Chinese hackers pose a clear and present danger to U.S. government and private-sector computer networks and may be responsible for two major U.S. power blackouts.
Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts.
One prominent expert told National Journal he believes that China’s People’s Liberation Army played a role in the power outages. Tim Bennett, the former president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a leading trade group, said that U.S. intelligence officials have told him that the PLA in 2003 gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the northeastern United States. The intelligence officials said that forensic analysis had confirmed the source, Bennett said. “They said that, with confidence, it had been traced back to the PLA.” These officials believe that the intrusion may have precipitated the largest blackout in North American history, which occurred in August of that year. A 9,300-square-mile area, touching Michigan, Ohio, New York, and parts of Canada, lost power; an estimated 50 million people were affected.
Officially, the blackout was attributed to a variety of factors, none of which involved foreign intervention. Investigators blamed “overgrown trees” that came into contact with strained high-voltage lines near facilities in Ohio owned by FirstEnergy Corp. More than 100 power plants were shut down during the cascading failure. A computer virus, then in wide circulation, disrupted the communications lines that utility companies use to manage the power grid, and this exacerbated the problem. The blackout prompted President Bush to address the nation the day it happened. Power was mostly restored within 24 hours.
There has never been an official U.S. government assertion of Chinese involvement in the outage, but intelligence and other government officials contacted for this story did not explicitly rule out a Chinese role. One security analyst in the private sector with close ties to the intelligence community said that some senior intelligence officials believe that China played a role in the 2003 blackout that is still not fully understood. Continue reading »
LOS ANGELES – As if sky-high gasoline prices weren’t frustrating enough, many owners of thirsty SUVs, pickups and motor homes who use a credit card at the pump are being blocked from getting a full tank.
If motorists hit the limit, they must do a second transaction at the pump to finish filling. Another solution, though inconvenient: Go see the attendant to have the card swiped inside. But this information often is not on the pump, and it can be aggravating even if it is, so customers are venting their ire.
“It’s frustrating to them, and they let us know,” says Tom Robinson, president of Rotten Robbie, a 34-station chain based in Northern California. “There’s always an adjective associated with the pump, and it’s like ‘stupid’ or worse.”
Station owners say they simply are passing through policies of Visa and MasterCard, which won’t reimburse them more than $75 per transaction at the pump if there’s a disputed charge or a fraudulent card is used.
May 30, 08
Source: USA Today
Police are targeting the law-abiding middle classes over minor misdemeanours so they can meet government targets, a report claims.
Officers are having to put Home Office targets before serving the public and are becoming increasingly alienated from ordinary people as a result.
Members of the public find officers to be “rude” and accuse them of neglecting their duties and failing to respond to reports of crime.
The report, by the think-tank Civitas, said political interference meant incidents that might previously have been regarded as innocuous were now treated as crimes.
Police performance is measured in “sanction detections” which means officers have detected or cleared a case by charging someone, issuing a penalty notice or giving a caution. Many officers are expected to complete a certain number each month.
Arresting or fining a normally law-abiding person for a trivial offence is a good way of achieving the target and pleasing the Home Office. Continue reading »
CCTV cameras are bringing more and more public places under surveillance – and passenger aircraft could be next.
A prototype European system uses multiple cameras and “Big Brother” software to try and automatically detect terrorists or other dangers caused by passengers.
The European Union’s Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project uses a camera in every passenger’s seat, with six wide-angle cameras to survey the aisles. Software then analyses the footage to detect developing terrorist activity or “air-rage” incidents, by tracking passengers’ facial expressions.
The system performed well in tests this January that simulated terrorist and unruly passenger behaviour scenarios in a fake Airbus A380 fuselage, say the researchers that built it.
Systems to analyse CCTV footage – for example, to detect violence (with video) or alert CCTV operators to unusual events – have been designed before. But the SAFEE software must cope with the particularly challenging environment of a full aircraft cabin.
As crew and passengers move around they often obscure one another, causing a risk the computer will lose track of some of the hundreds of people it must monitor. To get around this, the software constantly matches views of people from different cameras to track their movements.
“It looks for running in the cabin, standing near the cockpit for long periods of time, and other predetermined indicators that suggest a developing threat,” says James Ferryman of the University of Reading, UK, one of the system’s developers.
Other behaviours could include a person nervously touching their face, or sweating excessively. One such behaviour won’t trigger the system to alert the crew, only certain combinations of them.
Ferryman is not ready to reveal specifically which behaviours were most likely to trigger the system. Much of the computer’s ability to detect threats relies on sensitive information gleaned from security analysts in the intelligence community, he tells New Scientist.
But Mohan Trivedi of the University of California, San Diego, US, is sceptical. He has built systems that he says can track and recognise individual people as they appear and disappear on different floors of his laboratory building.
It correctly identifies people about 70% of the time, and then only under “optimal conditions” that do not exist inside an airplane cabin, he says.
“[Ferryman’s] research shows that a system detects threats in a very limited way. But it’s a very different thing using it day in and day out.” Trivedi says. “Lighting and reflections change in the cabin every time someone turns on a light or closes a window shade. They haven’t shown that they have overcome these challenges.”
Ferryman admits that his system will require thousands of tests on everyday passengers before it can be declared reliable at detecting threats.
The team’s work is being presented this week at the International Conference on Computer Vision Systems in Greece. Continue reading »
After CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly admitted that the CIA has, in fact, waterboarded detainees, the agency could no longer cling to its last excuses for covering up the use of the very word “waterboarding” in CIA records. As a result, yesterday we obtained several heavily redacted documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.
While the documents do, in fact, reveal the word “waterboarding” or some variation, they leave pretty much everything else to the imagination. The pages that haven’t been completely withheld (many of them contain the words “Denied in Full” instead of any actual content) have the clandestine blacked-out look that’s become a sort of trademark of this administration. This is my favorite:
One of the documents is a heavily redacted version of a report (PDF) by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on its review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The report includes information about an as-yet-undisclosed Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion from August 2002. Interestingly, this opinion appears to be the same OLC memo authorizing specific interrogations methods for use by the CIA that is being withheld by the CIA as a classified document in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation — but the OIG report refers to this document as “unclassified.”
The CIA continues to withhold many more documents that should not be secret. The incomplete response to the ACLU’s demand for records reflects a complete disregard for the right of the American public to know when and how often the government has employed illegal interrogation methods. Continue reading »
Belgian fishermen have been protesting directly to the EU
Fuel protests triggered by rising oil prices have spread to more countries across Europe, with thousands of fishermen on strike.
Union leaders said Portugal’s entire coastal fleet stayed in port on Friday, while in Spain, 7,000 fishermen held protests at the agriculture ministry.
French fishermen have been protesting for weeks, with Belgian and Italian colleagues also involved.
UK and Dutch lorry drivers held similar protests earlier this week.
The strike reflects anger at the rising cost of fuel, with oil prices above $130 (83.40 euros; £65.80) a barrel.
Trade unions say the cost of diesel has become prohibitively high, after rising 300% over the past five years.
Wholesale fish prices, meanwhile, have been static for 20 years.
Fishermen’s leaders from France, Spain and Italy have been meeting in Paris to co-ordinate strikes and protests over the next three weeks in the run-up to a European Union fisheries ministers’ meeting.
The protesters are calling for direct immediate aid for the fisheries industry, coupled with increased subsidies.
The European Commission said in a statement it was willing to show flexibility towards the industry but it has ruled out subsidies to offset rising fuel costs.
Short-term aid packages were acceptable as long as they were used to address structural deficiencies in the fleets, it said.
‘Ruin for fishermen’
Several thousand fishermen marched on the agriculture ministry in Madrid, where they handed out 20 tonnes of fresh fish to members of the public in an attempt to draw attention to their ailing industry.
Fishermen held protests in Brussels and Madrid
Many blew whistles and klaxons, and let off firecrackers producing red smoke.
The BBC’s Steve Kingstone at the protest said he could see flags from Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia. Continue reading »
(NaturalNews) Given the fact that just about everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream, it is interesting that there is a complete lack of regulation of cancer-causing ingredients in skin care products. There are over 150 toxic cancer-causing ingredients currently used in cosmetic products alone. According to federal law, products containing cancer-causing substances should carry a written warning. But the FDA does not enforce this law with cosmetics or personal care products. Consumers are left to purchase these products at their own risk, and as a result they are being harmed by them.
Let’s consider a product that’s harming tens of millions of people every day in America alone: sunscreen. Sunscreen products do not block ultraviolet radiation very well unless you apply multiple coats, but there has been a flurry of research lately on the harm caused by sunscreen chemicals. These chemicals actually promote skin cancer. This product is causing the very condition from which it claims to protect people.
The skin is not the only organ that is harmed by sunscreen chemicals. Those chemicals are absorbed by the skin, circulate throughout the body and end up harming the liver, the organ responsible for neutralizing chemicals in the body. The continued use of sunscreen products — especially those with fragrance in them — will inevitably harm the liver and, in my opinion, can lead to organ failure or liver cancer.
Sunscreen is not the only harmful product people put on their skin; consider perfume and cologne. In an effort to smell attractive to others, consumers routinely put toxic chemicals on their bodies that come out of beautifully designed glass bottles. Most people do not realize that these fragrances are often made from toxic substances that are known to cause cancer; the perfume industry gets away with murder. This includes everything from skin cream to moisturizer lotion, not to mention shower soaps and other cleaning products with added fragrance. Unless you are buying the natural forms of these products from truly organic companies, there is no doubt that you are applying a bewildering array of harmful chemicals to your skin. And when you put them on your skin, they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Continue reading »
Analysis: Environment Minister Hilary Benn again rebuffed calls this week for WW2-style energy rationing to return to the UK. He was responding to a Select Committee report urging ministers to issue 45 million Britons with an energy trading “credit card” – a mammoth techno-bureaucratic exercise costing several billions of pounds a year to operate.
What’s interesting is how the normal parliamentary business was turned upside down.
Usually, it’s ministers who propose batty and unworkable legislation, and fail to cost it, while select committees are supposed to scrutinize the proposals: picking apart the logic and bogus cost estimates. But in this case the select committee in question – the “Environmental Audit Committee” – is positively evangelical about a return to rationing. Perhaps not surprisingly, ministers are wary of committing electoral suicide, or at least, not in quite such an obvious fashion.
Benn said his department DEFRA had made its own enquiry, which unlike the watchdog’s investigation, included costs. A rationing scheme would cost between £700m and £2bn to set up, he said, and between £1bn and £2bn a year to operate he said.
“In essence it is ahead of its time,” the minister said Tuesday. “The cost of implementing it would be quite high and there are a lot of practical problems to be overcome.” Front bench Tories are equally wary.
So what are the MPs proposing?
The ration, or “personal carbon allowance” or PCA, is a measure of an individual’s energy usage, either at home or traveling. Such usage is capped, and “further emissions rights will simply not be available,” the Committee says. You may choose between a holiday, and turning on the heating. Points win prizes, however, and frugal individuals would be rewarded financially from the creation of an internal market.
“We could not find or imagine analogues in other fields of human activity for individual carbon trading beyond rationing during and after World War 2,” the authors of the DEFRA-commissioned report “A Rough Guide to Individual Carbon Trading” wrote in 2006. Continue reading »
Six Palestinians demonstrators, who were among thousands peacefully protesting the siege on Gaza, have been injured by Israeli fire.
Thousands of people took to streets to join a rally called by Islamic Hamas movement to demand Israel to lift its crippling blockade on the sliver.
The protesters marched from the cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis in southern Gaza towards the Sufa crossing, calling for the end of Israeli atrocities in Gaza.
The demonstrators waving Hamas flags chanted anti-Israeli slogans, condemning the regime for committing a holocaust in Gaza. Continue reading »
May 29 (Bloomberg) — Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, may not be the last to raise prices this year because of soaring raw materials costs.
Monsanto Co., Hershey Co., General Mills Inc. and Avery Dennison Corp. may follow suit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They’re among 11 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that increased their so-called LIFO reserve, which captures rising inventory costs, by at least 20 percent over the past four quarters.
With oil and commodity prices at record highs, companies will be forced to pass on higher costs, analysts said after Dow Chemical announced yesterday it will raise prices by the most in its 111-year history. That will contribute to inflation, and may prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in four years.
“We are going to see a cascading of higher prices through the system,” said Steve Hoedt, who helps manage $34 billion, including Dow Chemical shares, at National City Corp. in Cleveland. “Companies that are able to push prices through to their customers are the ones that are going to be successful.” Continue reading »
A pending New York State Assembly Bill dubbed, the “worst vaccine bill ever” by one activist group, would see all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made mandatory for all children, including infants and toddlers.
Assembly Bill 10942, introduced at the request of Richard Daines, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, calls for changes to the law in order to make recommended inoculation compulsory in order for children to attend school.
The bill would also permit the administration of vaccines for sexually transmitted infections to minors without parental consent.
Separate sections of the bill would come into effect next year with others becoming law in 2010.
A-CHAMP, a national, non-partisan political action organization formed by parents in support of children with neurodevelopmental and communication disorders, has called for rejection of the bill and is demanding the passage of A5468/S3031, a bill that would give individuals a right to a philosophical exemption from vaccine mandates.
The group’s press release highlights the key points in the bill:
- Our elected New York representatives would no longer determine the mandatory schedule of vaccines to attend school; decisions made by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would automatically become mandatory.
- All children, infants and toddlers included, in New York would be required to get all vaccines recommended by the ACIP according to the ACIP schedule
- All children in New York up to age 18 would be required to get annual flu shots.
- All girls in New York would be required to get a human papilloma virus shot.
- All junior high school children and college students would be required to get meningococcal shots.
- Doctors would be required to issue certificates for every shot given and parents would be required to maintain the records and provide them to school and other authorities.
- The rules committee claims that the new laws would have no fiscal impact on the state despite the necessity of the state to spend tens of millions on purchasing new vaccines, a vast increase in mandatory record keeping and enforcement for schools, and a huge increase that could be expected in the number of cases of neurological damage, Guillian Barré syndrome and other vaccine-caused injuries.
Besides certain laws that apply only to government medical specialists – there is no law that enforces the mandatory use of any vaccine in the United States. Waiver forms for personal or religious exemptions are freely available. Enforced medical treatment is an assault and a violation of the 14th amendment.
However, some lawmakers seem determined to ignore the Constitution and to make some vaccinations (usually the most profitable ones) mandatory.
There has recently been a spate of cases where officials, with the assistance of directed media propaganda, have attempted to cajole parents into believing that laws require vaccination.
In February 2006 one such media hoax fooled parents in Texas and other areas of the country into believing that the HPV vaccine, which experts have slammed as untested and has continued to be linked to dangerous side-effects, is now required by law and that young girls must take it. Merck Pharmaceuticals hit the headlines after it was revealed that the company was set to capitalize on this fraud by making obscene profits from a crony deal with Governor Rick Perry, while children were put at risk.
Last November we reported on a case in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where parents of more than 1600 children were told they could be put in jail for failing to get their kids vaccinated. At the time a local Fox News affiliate reported, “A new law was passed last year requiring children from 5th through to 10th grade to have the vaccine,” which was a total lie.
The non-complying parents were not charged not under vaccination laws (because there aren’t any) but under truancy, neglect or child in need of supervision laws, which state that the parent is culpable after 30 days of a child’s unexplained absence from school.
The school itself triggered the truancy violation by unfairly kicking the kids out of school, and failing to inform parents about vaccine waiver forms. A state prosecutor involved in the case then admitted that there is no law that mandates any vaccine.
If New York State lawmakers get their way, this could change.
As in the case of all other vaccines, executive orders and court mandates merely state that the vaccine is “recommended,” yet the mass media drumbeat constantly conditions people to believe that if they don’t take their shots they will be kicked out of school, arrested and thrown in jail. This trick will continue to hoodwink Americans into taking all manner of dangerous and untested vaccines, the number of which rises every year, until they realize that there is no law that forces them to take any vaccine.
There is a plethora of examples where vaccines containing mercury, live HIV virus, live cancer and other horrors have wrought misery after victims were bullied into taking them by government mandates that they were deluded into thinking was the law.
The flu vaccine for example, which continues to be manufactured with thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, is recommended for all pregnant women, infants and children despite the fact that the Institute of Medicine in 2001 recommended against the policy of exposing these same sensitive groups to thimerosal containing vaccines.
Studies have shown a direct relationship between mercury in children’s vaccines and autism. Further studies have shown a decline in neurodevelopmental disorders after the removal of thimerosal-containing vaccines. The preservative has been banned or limited in Europe, Japan, England and Russia. Furthermore, there are no reported instances of autism amongst religious groups such as the Amish community and very few instances are reported in the third world.
Autism was a practically unknown affliction some decades back, but now one in every 150 children is affected.
Mercury is the second most toxic metal known to man behind Uranium. Thimerosal is used in vaccines not because it is good for you, but purely because it prevents vaccine contamination. Yet some have questioned why thimerosal is even considered for vaccines because there are obviously safer alternatives to preventing contamination.
Many believe the only reason it is still in vaccines is that it allows substantial savings for pharmaceutical companies. Questions also remain about how those companies conduct vaccine research and how the government regulates them.
Last October President Bush vetoed a bill that would have banned mercury in flu vaccines for children despite the fact that he pledged in 2004 to support such a move when campaigning for re-election.
During Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 he stated:
“I support the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines on the childhood national vaccine schedule. During a second term as President, I will continue to support increased funding to support a wide variety of research initiatives aimed at seeking definitive causes and/or triggers of autism. It is important to note that while there are many possible theories about causes or triggers of autism, no one material has been definitely included or excluded.”
Despite this he vetoed the bill that would have removed thimerosal, citing “costs”. What costs would these be? Do the costs of big pharmaceutical companies and fat government kickbacks outweigh the costs of the healthy brains of every child in America? Seemingly so.
The following video from the University of Calgary highlights how mercury causes brain neuron degeneration:
While the media continues to hype reports that contend the evidence for links between mercury laden vaccines and autism are not concrete, there are scores of studies and testimony from credible figures asserting the exact opposite.
Starting in the early nineties, government regulators dramatically increased the amount of Thimerosal exposure to babies by adding two new vaccines to the roster of mandatory immunizations children must have before enrolling in school. The combination of the Hepatitis B vaccine and the HiB vaccine more than doubled the amount of mercury children.
Mercury expert Dr. Boyd Haley of the University of Kentucky has testified before Congress and the Pentagon as well as the FDA as one of the nation’s leading experts on Thimerosal and mercury poisoning, revealing that his research leads him to believe that some children are genetically predisposed to storing mercury in their brains, leading to neurological disorders, including autism.
The combination of the Hepatitis B vaccine and the HiB vaccine more than doubled the amount of mercury children in the 90s. “If you take a ten-pound baby in, and it gets four shots on that one day, which is a common practice – that’s equivalent to giving a 100-pound person forty shots in one day,” said Haley.
Haley has also proposed that Thimerosal in infant vaccines was also the most likely toxic agent involved in Gulf War syndrome and autistic spectrum disorders. Think about this, they are injecting into babies something that is breaking down the bodies of full grown combat veterans.
While the FDA questioned thimerosal’s safety in the 80s, noting that it was “not safe for ‘over-the-counter’ topical use because of its potential for cell damage”, and while it was removed from animal vaccines for the same reason, the government regulatory committees did nothing to question its use in childhood vaccines.
It’s too dangerous for cats and dogs but the government is happy for our babies to be pumped full of the stuff on a regular basis.
Dr Haley has also pointed out that it is also well known by any good biochemist that thimerosal and aluminum react dangerously when combined together. Given that Aluminum is a compound added to many vaccines as a catalyst you would think the government would have heeded this warning, yet it has still done nothing.
Despite the continued reports doubting the link between Thimerosal and autism, more studies have continued to verify the link. As reported in the Capitol Times last year:
A study done at the University of Washington in 2006 showed that baby primates exposed to injected thimerosal (50 percent mercury), at a rate equal to the 1990s childhood vaccine schedule, retained twice as much inorganic mercury in their brains as primates exposed to equal amounts of ingested methylmercury. We know from autometallographic determination that inorganic mercury present in the brain, following the dealkylation of organic mercury, is the toxic agent responsible for changes in the microglial population and leads to neuroinflammation.
In other words thimerosal, inorganic mercury, leads to neuroinflammatory disease which is proven to be the underlying medical condition of autism.
Furthermore In a study done at the University of Arkansas last year, autistic children were found to have significantly lower levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is the major antioxidant needed for the elimination of mercury at the cellular level.
Moreover, Professor Philippe Grandjean, from Harvard University and the University of Southern Denmark, considered the foremost scientific authority on the development of children’s brains, has recently claimed that the average human IQ is plummeting primarily due to IQ points in the population being chemically destroyed via low level mercury exposure in children.
The links between the ingestion of mercury and neurological breakdown are clear and proven. Professors all over the world are telling us outright that it is literally destroying people’s brains. Even if you choose to believe, in the face of all the evidence, that the links are still somewhat questionable, the solution is still obvious. GET IT OUT OF THE VACCINES NOW.
According to the EPA, one in every six women of childbearing age already has blood levels of mercury high enough to cause neurological damage to their unborn children due to environmental exposures alone.
“Injecting even more mercury into the bodies of pregnant women, infants and children when it is not a necessary component of vaccines is just bad medicine,” said Lyn Redwood, president of Safe Minds and parent of a mercury-injured child. “It defies logic that a flu vaccine must be disposed of as a hazardous waste if it is not used, but somehow injecting the same mercury-containing vaccine into a baby is safe.”
Yes it defies logic to someone who believes in the unabated progression of the entirety of the human race, however, to an elite devoid of all morality and interested only in the endgame pursuit of their own biological, spiritual and financial monopoly over the whole planet, it makes perfect sense.
Amazingly, despite all of these facts, sickening reports such as the one below continue to make out that injecting the second most poisonous substance in the world into babies is actually GOOD for their health:
Despite moves to ban mercury in childhood flu vaccines in many states including Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Washington, the FDA continues to reject outright bans or new limits on mercury in vaccines. Where such legislation has passed, in New York, California and Iowa it does not constitute a total ban, only a limiting of the preservative and only in children’s vaccines.
Such limitations may be seen as a step in the right direction but many fear irreversible damage has already been done. In addition to the now well documented mercury containing vaccines, a more recent worry has been that a combination vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, also has dangerous side effects and can lead to brain disorders.
Concerned parents across the U.S. are leading a nationwide revolt against unnecessary, untested and dangerous vaccines as CDC records show a growing amount of religious exemptions on vaccine forms. Adults too are turning away from personal vaccination.
http://www.vaclib.org/exemption.htm – Here you can find vaccine exemption forms online by state or country.
The Court of Federal Claims is currently hearing the second in a series of three high profile cases concerning vaccine-autism links. So far more than 5,300 cases have been filed by parents who believe vaccines may have caused autism in their children.
More parents across the country should rally to denounce the latest developments in New York, which sets the pretext for the state to dictate the health of their children, as well as moving us closer to legislation which would allow Americans to be forcibly vaccinated at gunpoint against their will during a time of manufactured crisis, such as in the case of a human to human bird flu pandemic.
New York State residents: take Action, via the A-CHAMP website, contact your elected representatives concerning Assembly Bill 10942, the worst vaccine bill ever in New York.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Three-year-old Fatima Ahmed
Families in Fallujah are calling for an investigation into the rise of birth defects after the US used phosphorus over the Iraqi city in 2004.
They have raised concerns about the weapons used by American forces in 2004, including constant bombardment with uranium depleted artillery shells and other depleted uranium ammunition- when Fallujah suffered the heaviest blitze following the overthrow of the Saddam regime of the entire war in Iraq.
Hikmat Tawfeeq, deputy chairman of the Fallujah-based human rights group Al-akhiyar said: “We have around 200 cases of deformities recorded by our society. Most of these cases are birth deformities which have arisen after the bombing of Fallujah.”
Campaigners say officials are reluctant to speak out publicly because of US pressure but at Fallujah’s children’s hospital one doctor told Sky News in the past month she has seen one or two cases of birth deformities every day.
An opthalmologist said he deals with four or five cases of newborn babies every week suffering from some form of eye deformity.
At one of the cemeteries in Fallujah, undertaker Mahmoud Hummadi said he usually buries four to five bodies of newborns every day and most of them are deformed.
Fallujah today still bears the scars of a time when it represented the backbone of the Sunni insurgency – a power-base America decided it had to break.
April and November 2004 saw some of the heaviest bombardments of the war in Iraq, including the controversial use of white phosphorous.
Phosphorus over Fallujah in 2004
It is a highly flammable material which ignites when it comes into contact with oxygen, causing severe burns.
In a statement to Sky News the US military said it had used white phosphorus in Fallujah but primarily as a smokescreen and not as an incendiary weapon.
The families say doctors have raised concerns to them about what kinds of materials were used by the Americans in order to achieve their military goals.
Fatima Ahmed is three years old. Small and lifeless she barely moves, burdened by two heads on her tiny frame.
Her mother Shukriya says doctors have been unable to diagnose exactly what has caused Fatima’s condition.
But her father Jassim, when asked who he held responsible for his daughter’s condition, said: “It’s because of the war – it’s the flagrant aggression they launched against us. What they dropped in Fallujah God knows.”
Fri, 30 May 2008 02:18:44
Source: Press TV
Cheney Tells New York’s G.O.P. He Sees Success in Iraq War
At a Midtown hotel ballroom, the vice president declared that the U.S. was “succeeding brilliantly” in Iraq and assailed Democrats on taxes, gas prices and national security.
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
Published: May 30, 2008
Source: The New York Times
Here is a (small) listing of what Cheney calls successes:
Related article: The Canadian National Newspaper:
Over 70,000 deaths, and over 1 million disabilities among American soldiers attributed to Iraq Wars says U.S. government data
”More than 1,820 tons (3-million, 640 thousand pounds) of radioactive nuclear waste uranium were exploded into Iraq alone in the form of armour piercing rounds and bunker busters, representing the worlds worst man made ecological disaster ever. “
U.S. investigative researchers have discovered an official U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs official, but not well publicized count, of 73,846 U.S. soldiers who have perished as an apparent result of Depleted Uranium based bio-chemical warfare exposure. This exceeds an estimate of 58,000 U.S. soldiers who had been killed in relation to the Vietnam War.
Well over 200,000 American soldiers could be killed by 2010, as a result of the after effects of exposure to U.S. dirty bombs.
Over One million U.S. soldiers have apparently been disabled from Depleted Uranium based biochemical exposure. Over one million Iraqis have also been documented to have been killed.
Related article: Chicago Tribune
Military suicide rate increased again
An Army official said Thursday that 115 troops committed suicide in 2007, a nearly 13 percent increase over the previous year’s 102.
“…the VA estimates that 18 veterans a day — or 6,500 a year — take their own lives, but that number includes vets from all wars.”
Related article: AP
Wartime PTSD cases jumped roughly 50 pct. in 2007
The number of troops with new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007 amid the military buildup in Iraq and increased violence there and in Afghanistan.
Records show roughly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with the illness, also known as PTSD, since 2003. Officials believe that many more are likely keeping their illness a secret.
Related article: Counterpunch
War Abroad, Poverty at Home
“The US Senate has voted $165 billion to fund Bush’s wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq through next spring.”
“The “world’s only superpower” is so broke it can’t even finance its own wars.”
“During the eight wasted and extravagant years of the Bush Regime, the once mighty US dollar has lost about 60% of its value against the euro.”
“The dollar has lost even more of its value against gold and oil.”
“Before Bush began his wars of aggression, oil was $25 a barrel. Today it is $130 a barrel.”
And here we have Dick Cheney calling this “succeeding brilliantly” !!!
Iraq, which means “The Land of the Gods”, is destroyed and poisoned by depleted uranium for thousands upon thousands of years.
Taking these effects into account the Bush Administration has destroyed this country utterly and totally.
Dick Cheney can only call this a success if he has a mindset like Hitler or worse.
For his bank account and for the New World Order all of this may be seen as a success but for nobody else.
– The Infinite Unknown
Taliban fighters have captured a remote district in central Afghanistan, taking prisoner the police and administration chiefs, officials and the Taliban have said.
The fighters attacked the district of Rashidan in the central province of Ghazni in a night attack, the provincial governor and a Taliban spokesman told the AFP news agency on Friday.
“Last night, Taliban attacked Rashidan district and it fell,” Jan Mohammad Mujahed, a provincial police chief, said.
Mujahed said the plight of the seized officials was unknown.
Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban, confirmed the fighters were in control and said the district chief, acting police chief and eight policemen had been taken prisoner.
“They are alive and we have captured them. The district is totally under our control,” he said.
Rashidan is a small district about 120km southwest of Kabul.
Teresa Bo, reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, said Ghazni – located along a major highway from Kabul, the capital, to the south – is one of the most complicated areas where fighting between Afghan, US and Taliban forces takes place almost everyday.
She said the Taliban hold power in strategic locations, adding: “Some of the police officers working here say they are afraid they will be the next target.
“Security is one of the major concerns for every one in the area; the soldiers know they can be attacked any minute.”
Bo said a vicious cricle of violence continues as the Taliban fight for the control of the country and the US-led coaliton struggles between re-construction and war.
The Taliban, in government between 1996 and 2001, last year overran several districts in remote parts of Afghanistan, but in most cases were ejected by government troops and soldiers attached to Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and a separate US-led military coalition are fighting Taliban militants.
Taliban officials say they control a handful of districts, mostly in the south of the country.
Nato military force officials said in December that the Taliban held not more than five districts.
May 30, 2008
U.S. Marine helicopters will land at the old Eastgate Consumer Mall, Brookside Park and other Indianapolis locations when the city becomes a mock battlefield next week.
About 2,300 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will conduct urban warfare training from Wednesday through June 19 in and around Indianapolis.
Most of the troops will be deployed at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Raytheon facility on Holt Road, said Debbi Fletcher of the Indianapolis/Marion County Emergency Management Agency.
“We don’t want anyone thinking that there’s an invasion happening or that we declared martial law or something like that,” Fletcher said.
The Marines have been cleared by state, federal and local authorities, Fletcher said. The unit’s commander promised to try to keep noise to a minimum and give neighbors plenty of warning.
“Our aim in Indianapolis is to expose our Marines to realistic scenarios and stresses posed by operating in an actual urban community, thereby increasing their proficiency in built-up areas,” Col. Mark J. Desens, commander of the 26th MEU, said in a statement. “While some of the activity will take place around Camp Atterbury, residents in many areas can expect to see helicopters flying overhead, military vehicles on the roads and Marines patrolling on foot,” Desens said.
The Marines will practice firing weapons, conducting patrols, running vehicle checkpoints, reacting to ambushes and employing nonlethal weapons, according to a statement.
May 30 (Bloomberg) — China is ordering the evacuation of up to 1.3 million people as a lake formed after the country’s deadliest earthquake in 32 years threatens to burst its banks, flooding a nearby city, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Tangjiashan, the biggest of more than 30 lakes created after landslides caused by the May 12 quake blocked rivers, is in an “extremely dangerous” state, the Ministry of Water Resources said on its Web site today.
The evacuation order was given by Tan Li, the Communist Party Secretary of Mianyang city and the head of the city’s earthquake control and relief headquarters, Xinhua said. People living in the area have been ordered to move to higher ground earmarked by the local government, the report said. Continue reading »
The predicted fMRI images for celery and airplane show significant similarities with the observed images for each word. Red indicates areas of high activity, blue indicates low activity. A computer has been trained to “read” people’s minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.
REUTERS/Carnegie Mellon University/Handout
A computer has been trained to “read” people’s minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.
They hope their study, published in the journal Science, might lead to better understanding of how and where the brain stores information.
This might lead to better treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities, said Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study.
“The question we are trying to get at is one people have been thinking about for centuries, which is: How does the brain organize knowledge?” Mitchell said in a telephone interview.
“It is only in the last 10 or 15 years that we have this way that we can study this question.”
Mitchell’s team used functional magnetic resonance imaging, a type of brain scan that can see real-time brain activity.
They calibrated the computer by having nine student volunteers think of 58 different words, while imaging their brain activity. Continue reading »
Chertoff has recently cleared the way for the completion of nearly 500 miles of a planned barrier fence in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
JERUSALEM, May 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday he will seek to adopt novel Israeli methods, like behaviour-detection technologies, to better secure America’s airports.
“That’s a scenario where Israel has a lot of experience,” Chertoff said in an interview with Reuters. “I think that it is of interest to us to see if there is any adaptation there.”
Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, known for its strict security measures, relies heavily on techniques that detect suspicious behaviour among travellers.
Chertoff said such methods, as well as Israeli technologies that detect explosives, are some of the things that may help protect U.S. airports and other public places against attacks.
Chertoff, at a conference in Jerusalem for public and homeland security ministers from around the world, signed an agreement with Israel to share technology and information on methods to improve homeland security.
One of the new systems presented at the conference, developed by the Israeli technology company WeCU, uses behavioural science, together with biometric sensors, to detect sinister intentions among travellers.
The U.S. homeland security chief said that not all methods developed and used in Israel, such as questioning every passenger, are practical in larger U.S. airports.
Israel’s Ben Gurion handles about 9 million travellers a year while major U.S. hubs, like Chicago O’Hare, see some 76 million passengers.
“Not every technological approach here (in Israel) is necessarily applicable, but we are always open to look for technology from whatever source,” Chertoff said.
Chertoff also said that the U.S. could not adopt border security methods used in Israel, which prevent Palestinian militants from entering its territory, for U.S. efforts to stop illegal immigrants from crossing its frontier with Mexico.
“(It’s) a vastly longer border. It’s not an area where there is much useful experience,” he said.
Chertoff has recently cleared the way for the completion of nearly 500 miles of a planned barrier fence in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
“The challenge will be to keep moving forward. We need to continue to implement the measures we have in place and continue to look for additional things to match what the enemies are doing because they are constantly retooling themselves,” he said.
Chertoff is expected to leave his post when President George W. Bush finishes his term in January 2009. (Editing by Jon Boyle)
Thu May 29, 2008 4:03pm EDT
“…the VA estimates that 18 veterans a day — or 6,500 a year — take their own lives, but that number includes vets from all wars.”
The number of Army suicides increased again last year, amid the most violent year yet in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
An Army official said Thursday that 115 troops committed suicide in 2007, a nearly 13 percent increase over the previous year’s 102. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a full report on the deaths wasn’t being released until later Thursday.
About a quarter of the deaths occurred in Iraq.
The 115 confirmed deaths among active duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve troops that had been activated was a lower number than previously feared. Preliminary figures released in January showed as many as 121 troops might have killed themselves, but a number of the deaths were still being investigated then and have since been attributed to other causes, the officials said.
Suicides have been rising during the five-year-old war in Iraq and nearly seven years of war in Afghanistan. Continue reading »
New cases follow September 2007 crash of CIA plane containing 4 tonnes of cocaine
Following last September’s crash of a Gulfstream jet used by the CIA for torture flights that contained 4 tonnes of cocaine, more customs officials and cops have been caught in drug smuggling and drug dealing rackets.
Customs supervisor Walter Golembiowski and officer John Ajello face narcotics, bribery and conspiracy charges after they were arrested for helping smuggle drugs and contraband through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“The investigation has led to the indictment and prosecution of more than 20 people – “from distributors to overseas sources of supply” – and the seizure of more than 600 pounds of imported hashish and other drugs from the United States and France,” according to a CNN report.
Meanwhile in Texas, Cameron County Constable Saul Ochoa was arrested by the FBI yesterday morning for possession and distribution of marijuana.
Ochoa’s brother is Justice of the Peace Benny Ochoa III of Port Isabel and his cousin is Port Isabel Police Chief Joel Ochoa.
“The grand jury charged Ochoa with possessing five to 10 pounds of marijuana on four different days in May with the intent to distribute. Each of the four counts carries a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine,” according to a Brownsville Herald report.
While reports of customs agents and cops dealing drugs are almost routine, the real head of the hydra has always been CIA involvement in smuggling drugs that end up on America’s streets, a symbiotic process that also helps finance wars and terrorist groups to do the bidding of the U.S. government around the world.
The corporate media will report on lesser drug smuggling scandals involving cops and customs agents, but when it comes to the gargantuan sprawling CIA drug smuggling racket, the silence is deafening.
In September 2007, a Florida based Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA was forced to crash land in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after it ran out of fuel.
After accident investigators arrived on the scene they discovered a cargo of nearly 4 tonnes of cocaine.
Journalists discovered that the same Gulstream jet had been used in at least three CIA “rendition” trips to Guantanamo Bay between 2003 and 2005.
Kevin Booth’s underground hit documentary American Drug War features footage of former DEA head Robert Bonner admitting that the CIA was involved in cocaine smuggling operations.
Former DEA agent Cele Castillo, who has appeared on The Alex Jones Show many times, personally witnessed CIA drug smuggling operations funneled through terrorists that were also involved in kidnappings and the training of death squads on behalf of the U.S. government.
Investigative reporter Gary Webb was instrumental in exposing CIA cocaine trafficking operations before his alleged suicide in 2004. In the You Tube clip below, Webb traces the history of Agency involvement in drug smuggling and its links to financing wars in central America.
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Source: Prison Planet
The debt markets in the US and Europe have begun to flash warning signals yet again, raising fears that the global credit crisis could be entering another turbulent phase.
The cost of insuring against default on the bonds of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and other big banks and brokerages has surged over the last two weeks, threatening to reach the stress levels seen before the Bear Stearns debacle. Spreads on inter-bank Libor and Euribor rates in Europe are back near record levels.
Credit default swaps (CDS) on Lehman debt have risen from around 130 in late April to 247, while Merrill debt has spiked to 196. Most analysts had thought the coast was clear for such broker dealers after the US Federal Reserve invoked an emergency clause in March to let them borrow directly from its lending window.
But there are now concerns that the Fed itself may be exhausting its $800bn (£399bn) stock of assets. It has swapped almost $300bn of 10-year Treasuries for questionable mortgage debt, and provided Term Auction Credit of $130bn.
“The steep rise in swap spreads this week is ominous,” said John Hussman, head of the Hussman Funds. “The deterioration is in stark contrast to what investors have come to hope since March.”
Lehman Brothers took writedowns of just $200m on its $6.5bn portfolio of sub-prime debt in the first quarter even though a quarter of the securities had “junk” ratings, typically worth a fraction of face value.
Willem Sels, a credit analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort, said the banks are beginning to face waves of defaults on credit cards, car loans, and now corporate loans. “We believe we’re entering Phase II. The liquidity crisis has eased a little, but the real credit losses are accelerating. The worst is yet to come,” he said. Continue reading »
In December, after all the lawsuits, the private eyes and the backroom deals, iRobot finally wrestled away the biggest ground-robotics contract in military history from its former employee and his secret partner. This “unmanned surge” was worth up to $286 million and 3,000 machines. And it didn’t look like it would be topped any time soon.
But appearances can be deceiving in the world of military robots. Turns out, there’s been a second unmanned surge. And yesterday, iRobot’s rival, Foster-Miller, announced that it had won the contract to supply it.
The five-year deal is worth up to $400 million. And it will cover thousands of Talon bomb-handling robots and spare parts — maybe between 2,000 and 4,000 robots, F-M executive Bob Quinn tells Xconomy.
That would more than double the 2,000 Talons already in the field, finding and getting rid of improvised explosives. If all the robots are actually ordered under this “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contract, that is.
Once the absolute darling of military bomb squads, the rugged, easy-to-drive Talon now has a more serious competitor in iRobot’s upgraded Packbot. With the number of bombs dropping overall in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with a beefed-up rival, is there really room to double the number of Talon machines? Continue reading »
The Chinese Olympic Committee for the 2008 Games has revealed that all tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies will include RFID-enabled microchips with spectators’ passport information and home and e-mail addresses, among other sensitive personal info.
This high-level precaution is in response to the increasingly sensitive security issues surrounding the games, due largely in part to the host’s controversial positions on human rights and freedom of speech.
All tickets for the ceremonies are valued at $720 and the RFID tagging is supposed to decrease the possibility of scalping and pirated tickets, which is obviously a big problem in copy-happy China. But carrying around all of that information with you is still a dangerous proposition.
We’ve heard that tickets were supposed to have the bearer’s photograph printed on them, which would have cut down on theft and the likely problem a family will face when distributing tickets right before a gate entrance. As you can see in the official ticket above, it appears that the idea has not been implemented.
Most security experts vacillate between thinking that a too-secure RFID system will put the Games at a standstill, or that a basic RFID set-up will expose people to hackers. According to Sports Illustrated, all tickets for the games will include RFID tags, but only the main two will have the passport and photo information. The Games’ security team will employ an IT team of at least 4,000 experts with 1,000 servers at their disposal — and they’ll begin testing the system full-bore for the next two months.
Yet, most of the stress about the tickets, apart from the RFID issue, can be traced to the fact that that it’s taken the committee a little bit longer to deliver the tickets than they originally thought –- it’s almost two months to the event and almost no one has received them. This has led some people to believe that the security restrictions are making it difficult for the hosts to actually deliver them on time.
However, the official ticketing website of The Games kept its dates conveniently open-ended –- it says the tickets will be delivered up to the end of June. This is not great if you’re traveling to the city for the opening event on August 8th.
The tense atmosphere might also point to the fact that the RFID tags were developed by Tsinghua University in conjuction with Beijing Tsinghua Tongfang Microelectronics Company — and no one wants a company in a country with privacy concerns to have access to your personal information.
So what do you think? Are the committee members practically begging for people to get jumped with those RFID-packed tickets? Or are they making the most out of a very tough situation? Continue reading »
During an appearance at a Long Island bookstore last month, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was asked by a member of the audience why the United States has not been hit again since 9/11.
“I honestly don’t know,” Gingrich replied. “I would have expected another attack. I was very, very worried … when we had the sniper attacks, because the sniper attacks were psychologically so frightening. … I was amazed that the bad guys didn’t figure out how to send ten or twelve sniper teams.”
“This is … one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration,” Gingrich continued. “The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger. And therefore, the better they’ve done at making sure there isn’t an attack, the easier it is to say, ‘Well, there never was going to be an attack anyway.’ And it’s almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.”
Gingrich then recommended splitting the FBI into a domestic crime unit, which would respect civil liberties, and a “small but very aggressive anti-terrorism agency” with “extraordinary ability to eavesdrop.”
“I think that your liberties in a domestic setting are paramount,” Gingrich explained. “I would rather risk crime than risk losing my civil liberties. But I would not rather risk a nuclear weapon. … I think the greatest danger to our liberty is to actually have the country end up in the kind of attack that would lead us to favor a dictatorship for security.
This video is from C-SPAN 2, broadcast April 29, 2008. The full video can be viewed here.
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday May 29, 2008
Source: The Raw Story
Related Article: Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks
The White House “culture of deception” has been exposed by Bush’s former press secretary
Now he tells us: George Bush’s former press secretary Scott McClellan has admitted that the Iraq war was “unnecessary” and a “strategic blunder” that was sold to the American people through manipulative propaganda campaign.
McClellan’s memoirs are described as “surprisingly scathing”. He was a loyal press secretary until April 2006, but has now spilled the beans on how the war was sold to the American people.
McClellan’s admissions include:
*Bush relied on propaganda “in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option”.
* The administration was not “open and forthright on Iraq”.
* On the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative and the subsequent coverup, “I allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood”.
* The press were too deferential to the White House on Iraq
* Steve Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, offered to resign over the erroneous claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium.
* “The Iraq war was not necessary”
Matthew WeaverSource: The Guardian
MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL OF LAW AT ANDOVER
Bush Claims More Powers Than King George III,
Constitutional Scholar David Adler Contends
The Bush administration has arrogated powers to itself that the British people even refused to grant King George III at the time of the Revolutionary War, an eminent political scientist says.
“No executive in the history of the Anglo-American world since the Civil War in England in the 17th century has laid claim to such broad power,” said David Adler, a prolific author of articles on the U.S. Constitution. “George Bush has exceeded the claims of Oliver Cromwell who anointed himself Lord Protector of England.”
Adler, a professor of political science at Idaho State University at Pocatello, is the author of “The Constitution and the Termination of Treaties”(Taylor & Francis), among other books, and some 100 scholarly articles in his field. Adler made his comments comparing the powers of President Bush and King George III at a conference on “Presidential Power in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, April 26th.
Adler said, Bush has “claimed the authority to suspend the Geneva Convention, to terminate treaties, to seize American citizens from the streets to detain them indefinitely without benefit of legal counseling, without benefit of judicial review. He has ordered a domestic surveillance program which violates the statutory law of the United States as well as the Fourth Amendment.”
Adler said the authors of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the president “shall take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land” because “the king of England possessed a suspending power” to set aside laws with which he disagreed, “the very same kind of power that the Bush Administration has claimed.”
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Adler said, repeatedly referred to the President’s “override” authority, “which effectively meant that the Bush Administration was claiming on behalf of President Bush a power that the English people themselves had rejected by the time of the framing of the Constitution.”
Adler said the Framers sought an “Administrator in Chief” that would execute the will of Congress and the Framers understood that the President, as Commander-in-Chief “was subordinate to Congress.” The very C-in-C concept, the historian said, derived from the British, who conferred it on one of their battlefield commanders in a war on Scotland in 1639 and it “did not carry with it the power over war and peace” or “authority to conduct foreign policy or to formulate foreign policy.”
That the C-in-C was subordinate to the will of Congress was demonstrated in the Revolutionary War when George Washington, granted that title by Congress, “was ordered punctually to respond to instructions and directions by Congress and the dutiful Washington did that,” Adler said.
Adler said that John Yoo, formerly of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in 2003 that the President as C-in-C could authorize the CIA or other intelligence agencies to resort to torture to extract information from suspects based on his authority. However, Adler said, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804 in Little vs. Barreme affirmed the President is duty-bound to obey statutory instructions and reaffirmed opinion two years later in United States vs. Smith.
“In these last eight years,” Adler said, “we have seen presidential powers soar beyond the confines of the Constitution. We have understood that his presidency bears no resemblance to the Office created by the Framers… This is the time for us to demand a return to the constitutional presidency. If we don’t, we will have only ourselves to blame as we go marching into the next war as we witness even greater claims of presidential power.”
The Massachusetts School of Law is a non-profit educational institution purposefully dedicated to providing an affordable, quality legal education to minorities, immigrants, and students from economic backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to afford to attend law school and enter the legal profession. Continue reading »
The Pentagon plans to shift $9.7 billion of its overall budget to pay for war operations but warned on Wednesday it will run out of money if the U.S. Congress does not approve more funding by mid-July.
The Defense Department, with major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent Congress requests to transfer $5.7 billion to the Army’s personnel account from the personnel accounts of other branches of the U.S. armed services.
It also asked Congress for permission to move $4 billion from the services’ operations and maintenance accounts to the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, whose troops train local security forces and conduct counterterrorism missions.
If approved, the transfers will allow the Pentagon to continue operations until late July, according to department spokesman Bryan Whitman.
“I don’t want to leave you with the impression that this provides us a whole lot,” he said.
“This $9.7 billion reprogramming only buys another few weeks of operations until the department as a whole will then run out of critical funding.” Continue reading »
Plans to eliminate Eurosceptics as an organised opposition within the European Parliament are expected to be agreed by a majority of MEPs this summer.
The European Union assembly’s political establishment is pushing through changes that will silence dissidents by changing the rules allowing Euro-MPs to form political groupings.
Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the charge to cut the number of party political tendencies in the Parliament next year, a move that would dissolve UKIP’s pan-European Eurosceptic “Independence and Democracy” grouping.
Under the rule change, the largest and most pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the Parliament’s political agenda and keep control of lavish funding.
“It would prevent single issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse,” said Mr Corbett.
“We want to avoid the formation of a fragmented Parliament, deeply divided into many small groups and unable to work effectively.”
Mr Corbett’s proposals will also give the President of the Parliament sweeping powers to approve or reject parliamentary questions.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, claimed that the move goes hand in hand with the denial of popular votes on the new EU Treaty.
“Welcome to your future. This shows an EU mindset that is arrogant, anti-democratic and frankly scary,” he said.
“These people are so scared of public opinion they are willing to set in stone the right to ignore it. Freedom requires the governing elite to be held to account. They must be getting very worried if they are enacting such dictatorial powers for themselves.”
(Dictatorship & Fascism for the EU – The Infinite Unknown)
‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Michel Chossudovsky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and an editor at the Centre for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca
Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare, says Michel Chossudovsky
Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.
Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’.
During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.
Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, ‘offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.’ Continue reading »
Tags: Air Force, Climate Change, Department of Defense, Electromagnetic Weapons, Global Warming, HAARP, IPCC, John von Neumann, Michel Chossudovsky, Military, Russia, Star Wars, U.S., weapons of mass destruction, WMDs
Washington – Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms. “I many times tried to talk to have a public exchange of views with him, and he’s not too much willing to make such a conversation,” Klaus said. “So I’m ready to do it.”
Klaus was speaking a the National Press Building in Washington to present his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles – What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, before meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday.
“My answer is it is our freedom and, I might add, and our prosperity,” he said.
Gore a former US vice president who has become a leading international voice in the cause against global warming, was co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Gore’s effort was highlighted by his Oscar winning documentary film An Inconvienent Truth.
Klaus, an economist, said he opposed the “climate alarmism” perpetuated by environmentalism trying to impose their ideals, comparing it to the decades of communist rule he experienced growing up in Soviet-dominated Czechoslovakia.
“Like their (communist) predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality,” he said.
“In the past, it was in the name of the Marxists or of the proletariat – this time, in the name of the planet,” he added.
Klaus said a free market should be used to address environmental concerns and said he oppposed as unrealistic regulations or greenhouse gas capping systems designed to reduce the impact of climate change.
“It could be even true that we are now at a stage where mere facts, reason and truths are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda,” he said.
Klaus alleged that the global warming was being championed by scientists and other environmentalists whose careers and funding requires selling the public on global warming.
“It is in the hands of climatologists and other related scientists who are highly motivated to look in one direction only,” Klaus said. Continue reading »
Scores of High-Level Political Positions Are Vacant or Are Being Filled by Temporary Appointees
With eight months left in President Bush‘s term, scores of senior officials already are heading for the exits, leaving nearly half the administration’s top political positions vacant or filled by temporary appointees, federal statistics show.
At the same time, agencies have begun preparing for a new administration, including plans to temporarily install career employees in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security during the transition. The White House also has taken the unusual step of ordering federal agencies to stop proposing regulations after Sunday — meaning that new rules on issues including greenhouse gases and air-traveler protection are unlikely to be finalized before Bush leaves office.
In many ways, the work slowdown and higher appointee turnover is typical of any changing of the political guard in Washington. But the process now occurs over years rather than months, and experts say it threatens to hamper the important work of agencies, whether it be improving public health, promoting affordable housing, fighting crime or providing for the nation’s security.
“You’ve got almost two years of pure chaos,” said Paul C. Light, an expert on the federal bureaucracy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. “The civil servants don’t know who they’re supposed to be talking to. They’re receiving no direction. Congress isn’t being talked to. The president isn’t really doing anything. It’s really a highly vulnerable time for running a government.”
Many experts say it is an especially bad time for vacancies, with two wars being waged abroad and a housing crisis and slumping economy at home. David E. Lewis, an assistant professor at Princeton University who has just written a book on presidential appointments, noted that the botched response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was exacerbated by high turnover and vacancies at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“If you told people on Wall Street that every four years or eight years, you were going to lop off the top of a Fortune 500 company and say the company would operate normally, you’d be called crazy,” Lewis said. “There is no question that it matters. Turnover and vacancies in politically appointed positions hurts performance.”
Scandal has thinned the administration’s ranks, as well. Dozens of appointee jobs have become vacant since ethical crises at the General Services Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department, to name a few. Continue reading »
Not ten minutes after IRS employees of the Austin Accounts Management center near I-35 and Ben White began protesting their office policies Tuesday afternoon, Homeland Security police began ordering them to leave.
The workers, represented under the National Treasury Employees Union, are upset about what they see as a double-standard in how managers are handling vacation days and late penalties when family is sick or when an employee is stuck in traffic.
“You can’t take leave to be with your dying father. You’re not taking care of him, therefore we have no obligation to let you go. They charged him AWOL,” Dorothy Pistole said, explaining a situation which she said happened to a colleague. KLBJ asked Pistole if the employees group has any fears of retaliation.
“We can use this as a marker to say, at this point, management didn’t have any problem with what the employee has done. But all the sudden now management is treating the employees differently? Then we have a point when we can start looking at a retaliation grievance.”
“It’s very important. The holiday is all about service to America. A lot of them, they were in the military. A lot of them have military families now,” Union President Ed Walker says. “They denied all of this leave before the Economic Stimulus Program came out, so if they began using that as an excuse, they would not be telling the truth.” Continue reading »
BRASILIA: South America is thinking of creating a common currency and a central bank along the lines of those in the European Union’s eurozone, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.
The idea is a logical next step following the signing last Friday of a treaty creating a Union of South American States that aims to promote joint regional customs and defense policies, Lula said during his weekly radio broadcast.
“Many things still haven’t been realised. We are now going to create a Bank of South America. We are going to move forward so in the future we’ll have a single central bank, a common currency,” he said.
But, he added: “This is a process. It won’t be something that happens quickly.”
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela all signed up to the Unasur treaty creating the regional union during a ceremony in Brasilia last Friday. Continue reading »
Feds investigate other employees who mix politics and their jobs
WASHINGTON — Any employee can get in trouble for personal blogging on company time, but U.S. government workers, as one NASA employee has discovered, can get into a special kind of legal trouble if they also write about politics. They risk violating a 1939 law called the Hatch Act, which requires federal employees to keep their jobs and political activities separate.
A National Aeronautics and Space Administration employee was suspended for 180 days for “numerous” blog posts about politics, sending “partisan e-mails” and soliciting for political contributions, according to an announcement last week by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The employee wasn’t identified.
The intent of the Hatch Act is to prohibit “the use of the mechanism of government from influencing the outcome of an election,” said James Mitchell, an OSC spokesman. If a person is seeking money for candidates on company time and on company equipment, “that person might as well have been soliciting within the office,” he said.
The suspension was the result of agreement reached with NASA by the special counsel. The employee, whose suspension began March 30, could have been fired from his job.
The OSC is investigating similar cases at other agencies, Mitchell said. In some instances, the practice may be due to intra-office e-mails about particular candidates.
“We have a lot of cases open right now in this election year,” Mitchell said. The NASA case, which involved a midlevel employee at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, may be a defining one, he said. Continue reading »
“Instead, take those steps necessary to protect yourself and your family to prepare for the dollar’s inflationary collapse. Buy gold. Buy silver. Avoid the US dollar.” – James Turk
Probably almost everyone is familiar with the hyperinflationary episode that engulfed Germany after the First World War. That nation’s economy was crippled by monetary problems that resulted in dreadful personal hardships, even though up to that time Germany had achieved one of the highest living standards in the world.
The newly formed German government, named for the city where their constitution was drafted after the Kaiser’s abdication in 1918, kept pumping up the money supply. The process started relatively slowly, but quickly the pace of money creation accelerated.
The Weimar government was paying its bills on credit – just like Zimbabwe is now doing. The Weimar government was issuing currency in exchange for valuable goods and services that it was receiving, and the vendors of those goods and services accepted the newly issued currency in the expectation that they would be able to exchange it for goods and services of like value. However, they soon realized that they were deluding themselves. Prices were rising rapidly, with the consequence that a flight from the currency into commodities and other tangibles began.
There was no discipline on the creation of new currency, with the result that it was being issued to excess. Within a few short years, the German government eventually destroyed the Reichsmark, the currency it had been issuing, making the words Weimar Germany synonymous with hyperinflation, economic collapse, deprivation and personal hardship. All the wealth saved in Reichsmarks was wiped out.
For example, in his classic book, “Paper Money”, penned three decades ago under the pen name of Adam Smith, George J.W. Goodman recounts the story of Walter Levy, an internationally known German-born oil consultant in New York. Levy told him: “My father was a lawyer, and he had taken out an insurance policy in 1903. Every month he had made the payments faithfully. It was a 20-year policy, and when it came due, he cashed it in and bought a single loaf of bread.”
The following photo is from an insightful book by Bernd Widdig entitled “Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany”. This photo shows one way in which people coped with rising prices.
As the inflation worsened, people sold whatever they could to survive. Widdig succinctly describes it in the caption to the above photo as follows: “The impoverished middle class has to sell its cherished possessions.”He should have correctly stated though that it was the “newly impoverished middle class”. They only became destitute after the inflation had destroyed their savings and ability to maintain their standard of living.
Sadly, the problems of Weimar Germany are now appearing in the US. To survive the impact of rising prices, Americans today – like Germans did eight decades ago – are selling cherished possessions, as explained in a recent story by Associated Press entitled “Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet”. The full article is available at the following link: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=4750846&page=1 Continue reading »
Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Wednesday that the world faced an era-defining oil “shock” that required urgent action, as European leaders struggled to contain growing protests over soaring fuel prices.
“It is now understood that a global shock on this scale requires global solutions,” Brown wrote in The Guardian newspaper.
Record oil prices of around 135 dollars a barrel have contributed to protests worldwide over the rise in fuel and food costs, with fishermen and truck drivers taking the lead in Europe, blocking ports and road access to oil depots.
“However much we might wish otherwise, there is no easy answer to the global oil problem without a comprehensive international strategy,” Brown said, adding that the problem should be made a “top priority” at the EU summit next month and the gathering of G8 leaders in July.
“The way we confront these issues will define our era,” he said.
Brown’s warning came a day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged a Europe-wide cut in consumer taxes on fuel and Portugal’s economy minister Manuel Pinho called on the Slovenian head of the European Union to hold an urgent debate on the crisis. Continue reading »
Ford Motor plans to cut its U.S. salaried work force by up to 12 percent after its turnaround plan stalled because of the downturn in the U.S. economy, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.
Ford warned last week it would not achieve its long-standing goal of returning to profitability in 2009 because of the U.S. economic downturn and a permanent shift in demand toward cars and crossovers and away from large trucks and SUVs.
The automaker also told employees in a memo last week that it expected to make cuts in hourly and salaried employees by Aug. 1 and would detail those steps in July. Continue reading »
Related video: The Energy Non-Crisis by Lindsay Williams
The U.S. Congress continues to show an incredible amount of ignorance on the oil issue. This week, the U.S. Senate held a hearing on the high price of oil and called out a group of oil company executives to testify. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to sue OPEC over the high oil price. All of this grandstanding by our so called elected officials is going to do nothing to resolve the high oil price. This is a case of the U.S. Congress misdirecting the blame of the high oil price on OPEC and the major oil companies when they are really only minor players in this game. Threatening to sue OPEC is an incredibly stupid move because that could very well have the reverse effect and cause OPEC to respond to this threat by reducing the amount of oil they decide to pump. The two major reasons for the high oil price involve the Federal Reserve devaluing the U.S. Dollar through their monetary policies as well as the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of this, it is clear that the Bush administration is looking for any excuse possible to bomb Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has even stated that a naval blockade of Iran is an option that should be put out on the table. With the devaluation of the U.S. Dollar and a potential expansion of war in an area where a tremendous amount of oil is drilled, it is no wonder why the oil price has skyrocketed as high as $135 a barrel. This makes the actions of the U.S. Congress entirely insane and intellectually bankrupt. Expect oil prices in the long term to move much higher.
Since oil is priced in U.S. Dollar denominated terms and the monetary unit of the U.S. Dollar continues to be devalued by the Federal Reserve’s ability to create as many U.S. Dollars as they like, it isn’t a real mystery as to why the oil price is so high. Instead of suing OPEC, the U.S. House of Representatives should be suing the Federal Reserve for fraud. The Coin Act of 1792 states that U.S. Mint employees who are caught debasing the nation’s coinage would be subject to the penalty of death. The Federal Reserve is engaging in the intentional debasement of the nation’s currency which is fundamentally no different and in fact worse than employees of the U.S. Mint debasing the nation’s coinage. Instead of debasing the physical coinage, bankers can simply type digits into a computer to devalue the nation’s currency. Maybe the death penalty should be explored for some of the central bankers that have engaged in these practices.
The U.S. Congress is also helping to contribute to the high oil price with their ridiculous policies. They have funded the illegal and unconstitutional occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. The U.S. Senate just passed another war funding bill which will give the executive branch another $165 Billion to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. By continuing the military occupation of these countries it makes an attack on Iran all the more likely and contributes to greater uncertainty in the oil producing region.
General David Patreaus the current commander in Iraq is on the path to being confirmed as the new CENTCOM commander which means he will be in charge of all U.S. military operations in the Middle East. Assuming he gets confirmed, the chances of a strike on Iran will be all the more likely. Admiral William Fallon the former CENTCOM commander resigned from the position due to the perception that he was refusing to play ball with the Bush administration’s agenda on Iran. Continue reading »