Britain used to have 80 per cent of European fish stocks (Photo: PA)
If you think that leaving the EU would be catastrophic, take a look at Greenland. By rights its people ought to be poor. Their island is isolated, suffers from freezing weather, has a workforce of only 28,000 and relies on fish for 82 per cent of its exports. But it turns out that since leaving the EU, Greenland has been so freed of EU red tape and of the destruction of the Common Fisheries Policy, that the average income of the islanders today is higher than those living in Britain, Germany and France.
Greenland’s politicians realised that the fisheries policy was ruining their fishing industry. They had the guts to stand up against the all the prophets of doom and let their people vote in a referendum on leaving the European Community, as the EU was then called. On January 1, 1985, it became independent of Brussels – the only country ever to do so.
Greenland was, with Britain, one of only two EU countries to be heavily dependent on fishing. In fact, Britain had, in some estimates, 80 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks when it entered the EU, because our fishermen had carefully managed them, while the fisherman of Spain, France and Italy had destroyed most of the Mediterranean stocks.
Nouriel Roubini, the US economist, said Portugal should consider asking for a bailout before its financial plight worsens as the euro fell after the €85bn Ireland bailout failed to ease eurozone debt fears.
Mr Roubini, the economist who predicted the financial crisis, told daily paper Diario Economico it is “increasingly likely” Portugal will require international assistance.
He said the country is approaching “a critical point” due to it high debt load and weak growth and there were ample funds to shore up Portugal, one of the eurozone’s smaller countries which contributes less than 2pc to the 16-nation bloc’s gross domestic product.
However, he said neighboring Spain, Europe’s fourth-largest economy, is “too big to bail out.”
• FTSE 100 down 2%; Dow loses 1%
• Euro slides to two-month low against US dollar
• Cost of insuring Spanish and Portuguese debt hits record high
Irish prime minister Brian Cowen speaking to the media in Dublin yesterday after the EU approved the €85bn bailout. Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images
Stocks fell on both sides of the Atlantic, the euro tumbled, and the cost of borrowing for Ireland, Spain and Portugal jumped today, as details of the republic’s €85bn (£72bn) bailout failed to quell anxiety that the crisis in the eurozone was deepening.
Amid speculation that the European authorities may be left with little option but to embark on large-scale quantitative easing to try to bolster sentiment, Ireland’s borrowing costs shot as high as 9.6% as the terms of its bailout by the International Monetary Fund and European Union were digested by investors.
“The bottom line is that the financial markets are unimpressed, and that’s the most generous description,” Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital told Associated Press. “The crisis rumbles on.”
Harvard scientists were surprised that they saw a dramatic reversal, not just a slowing down, of the ageing in mice. Now they believe they might be able to regenerate human organs
In mice, reactivating the enzyme telomerase led to the repair of damaged tissues and reversed the signs of ageing. Photograph: Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies.
The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process.
An anti-ageing therapy could have a dramatic impact on public health by reducing the burden of age-related health problems, such as dementia, stroke and heart disease, and prolonging the quality of life for an increasingly aged population.
“This could lead to strategies that enhance the regenerative potential of organs as individuals age and so increase their quality of life. Whether it serves to increase longevity is a question we are not yet in a position to answer.”
BANNED EPISODE 43 MINS Complete Full Length. Great Quality, Share!
It only aired once then taken down ..
Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, “The Police State” Conspiracy”
Season 2, Episode 4
It’s been said the government has a plan to declare martial law and round up millions of United State citizens into concentration camps. Jesse may have found a conspiracy in plain sight as he investigates the proliferation of law enforcement Fusion Centers around the country. And they may be connected to hundreds of detention centers ready to accept prisoners at the stroke of a Presidential pen. TV-PG-L
Watch an ‘Inconvenient Truth (Lie)’ again (What a horrible thought!) or watch the following video from 2:20 and you will see that CO2 lags 800 years behind temperature rises:
And yes, the hockey stick graph is a fake and it is obvious to anybody:
Redd scheme designed to prevent deforestation but critics call it ‘privatisation’ of natural resources
An aerial view of trees at a forest on Sumatra, Indonesia where millions are being spent to fight deforestation. Photograph: Beawiharta/Reuters
Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN-backed forest protection scheme, according to a new report from the Friends of the Earth International.
The group’s new report – launched on the first day of the global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, where 193 countries hope to thrash out a new agreement – is the first major assessment of the several hundred, large-scale Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) pilot schemes. It shows that banks, airlines, charitable foundations, carbon traders, conservation groups, gas companies and palm plantation companies have also scrambled into forestry protection.
While forestry is billed as one issue where significant progress could be made at the talks, over the weekend David Cameron, Chris Huhne, the climate change secretary, and the government’s chief scientists all played down the prospect of a global deal to cut carbon emissions.
“British ministers are going to Mexico this week with an approach that is both realistic and optimistic,” the prime minister wrote in the Observer . “Realistic, because we don’t expect a global deal to be struck in Cancun, but optimistic too, because we are viewing this as a stepping stone to future agreement.”
Huhne, who will attend the second week of the talks, was more blunt: “No one expects a binding deal on climate change in Cancun.” But he said deforestation and longer-term climate finance were areas where progress could be made.
The Redd scheme is central to slowing, or halting, deforestation, which causes huge releases of carbon dioxide. But critics say that the scheme amounts to privatisation of natural resources.
FoE’s report shows, for example that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell has linked with Russian gas giant Gazprom and the Clinton Foundation to invest in the Rimba Rey project, 100,000ha of peat swamp in Indonesia. The project is expecting to prevent 75m tonnes of carbon being emitted over 30 years, which could earn the three groups $750m at a modest carbon price of $10 a tonne.
It also says that an investment of little more than $10m by the bank Merrill Lynch, the conservation group Flora and Fauna International and an Australian carbon trading company could generate more than $430m, over 30 years, from a project to protect 750,000ha of forest in Aceh province, Indonesia.
President Barack Obama delivers a statement to members of the media in the in the Old Executive Office Building, on the White House campus in Washington, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year freeze of the salaries of some 2 million federal workers, trying to seize the deficit-cutting initiative from Republicans with a sudden, dramatic stroke. Though signaling White House concern over record deficits, the freeze would make only a tiny dent in annual deficits or the nation’s $14 trillion debt.
“Small businesses and families are tightening their belts,” Obama said in brief remarks at the White House. “The government should, too.” The administration said the plan was designed to save more than$5 billion over the first two years.
The proposal, which must be approved by Congress, would not apply to the military, but it would affect all others on the Executive Branch payroll. It would not affect members of Congress or their staffs, defense contractors, postal workers or federal court judges and workers.
Obama’s move was an attempt to get in front of Republican plans to slash federal pay and the workforce next year, when they will flex more legislative muscle than now. It came a day ahead of Obama’s meeting at the White House with both Republicans and Democratic leaders — his first with Republicans since the midterm elections — and two days before the deadline for recommendations by his deficit-reduction commission.
Britain’s worst November snowfall for decades shut schools and roads from Cornwall to Scotland as forecasters warned that Siberian winds could bring temperatures as low as minus 20C in the coming days.
Deep snow and freezing conditions in the North East and Scotland were causing widespread travel disruption today, with icy temperatures everywhere else creating similar problems for commuters.
There is no sign of a let-up in the wintry weather, with bitter winds increasing and more parts of the UK including London facing snow in the coming days.
So far Scotland and the North East have been worst hit by snow, with more than 40cm in parts, and police have advised people to stay indoors for all but essential travel.
Forecasters warned the rest of the country is likely to be blanketed this week as the weather front moves west.
The severe conditions could also last well into next week, with rain, sleet and snow.
Aisling Creevey, of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Londoners should prepare for the possibility of snow tonight.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Two car bomb blasts killed an Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran on Monday in what Iranian officials called an Israeli or U.S.-sponsored attack on its atomic programme.
Another scientist badly wounded as attackers on motorbikes fix devices to windows of cars in Tehran
The reactor building of Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP
Bomb attacks have killed a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran, state TV reported today.
Attackers riding on motorcycles attached the bombs to the car windows of the scientists as they were driving to their workplaces this morning, the station’s website said.
One bomb killed Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti University, in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was wounded.
The second blast seriously wounded the nuclear physicist Fereidoun Abbasi,52, also a professor at Shahid Besheshti University, and his wife. Confusion surrounded reports of a third explosion. Javanonline, a newspaper website close to the Revolutionary Guards reported that another explosion in Tehran killed two people but semi-official news agency Fars published an interview with Tehran’s chief of police insisting there had only been two blasts.
Team of experts say such an increase would cause severe droughts and see millions of migrants seeking refuge
Monday 29 November 2010Nomadic pastoralists Turkana tribesmen herd goats and sheep to a almost dry dam on the outskirts of Gakong, in northwestern Kenya on 13 December 2009. Photograph: Stephen Morrison/EPA
A hellish vision of a world warmed by 4C within a lifetime has been set out by an international team of scientists, who say the agonisingly slow progress of the global climate change talks that restart in Mexico today makes the so-called safe limit of 2C impossible to keep. A 4C rise in the planet’s temperature would see severe droughts across the world and millions of migrants seeking refuge as their food supplies collapse.
“There is now little to no chance of maintaining the rise in global surface temperature at below 2C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary,” said Kevin Anderson, from the University of Manchester, who with colleague Alice Bows contributed research to a special collection of Royal Society journal papers published tomorrow. “Moreover, the impacts associated with 2C have been revised upwards so that 2C now represents the threshold [of] extremely dangerous climate change.”
The new analysis by Anderson and Bows takes account of the non-binding pledges made by countries in the Copenhagen Accord, the compromise document that emerged from the last major UN climate summit, and the slight dip in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the economic recession. The scientists’ modelling is based on actual tonnes of emissions, not percentage reductions, and separates the predicted emissions of rich and fast-industrialising nations such as China. “2010 represents a political tipping point,” said Anderson, but added in the report: “This paper is not intended as a message of futility, but rather a bare and perhaps brutal assessment of where our ‘rose-tinted’ and well-intentioned approach to climate change has brought us. Real hope and opportunity, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a raw and dispassionate assessment of the scale of the challenge faced by the global community.”
A rise of 4C could be seen as soon as 2060 in a worst case scenario, according to research in the same journal, led by the Met Office’s Richard Betts and first revealed in the Guardian last year. Betts accepts the scenario is extreme but argues it is also plausible given the rapidly rising trend in emissions.
John Bush of Texans for Accountable Government Exposes Agenda 21 to Dumb Austin City Council
Added: 14. October 2010
Most Americans are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program known as Agenda 21. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development created Agenda 21 as a sustainability agenda which is arguably an amalgamation of socialism and extreme environmentalism brushed with anti-American, anti-capitalist overtones.
A detailed history on sustainable development, definitions, and critical actions can be found here. Section III of the Agenda 21 Plan addresses local community sustainable development. The Preamble and Chapter 28 discuss how Agenda 21 should be implemented at a local level. The United Nations purposely recommends avoiding the term Agenda 21 and suggests a cleverly named alternative: “smart growth.” The United Nations Millennium Papers – Issue 2 (page 5) says this of Agenda 21 and smart growth:
Participating in a UN-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizen militias and some members of Congress. This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So, we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth [emphasis added].
Undoubtedly, residents of any town, county, or city in the United States that treasure their freedom, liberty, and property rights couldn’t care less whether it’s called Agenda 21 or smart growth. A recent example of this can be found in Carroll County, Maryland, where a smart growth plan called Pathways was drafted by the County Planning Department. The plan, if enacted, proposed a breathtaking reshuffling of land rights:
Rezoning of thousands of acres of beautiful, low-density agricultural farmland and protected residential conservation land into office parks
Down-zoning of agriculture land to prevent future subdivision by farmers
Up-zoning of low-density residential land around small towns into higher density zoning to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums
Inclusive housing with placement of multi-family construction on in-fill lots within existing residential single family communities
Endorsement of government-sponsored housing initiatives (subsidies) to ensure healthier, balanced neighborhoods
Every month, JPMorgan Chase dispatches a researcher to several supermarkets in Virginia. The task is to comparison shop for 31 items.
In July, the firm’s personal shopper came back with a stunning report: Wal-Mart had raised its prices 5.8% during the previous month. More significantly, its prices were approaching the levels of competing stores run by Kroger and Safeway. The “low-price leader” still holds its title, but by a noticeably slimmer margin.
Within this tale lie several lessons you can put to work to make money. And it’s best to get started soon, because if you think your grocery bill is already high, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, we could be just one supply shock away from a full-blown food crisis that would make the price spikes of 2008 look like a happy memory.
Fact is, the food crisis of 2008 never really went away.
True, food riots didn’t break out in poor countries during 2009 and warehouse stores like Costco didn’t ration 20-pound bags of rice…but supply remained tight.
Prices for basic foodstuffs like corn and wheat remain below their 2008 highs. But they’re a lot higher than they were before “the food crisis of 2008” took hold. Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010…
Corn: Up 63%
Wheat: Up 84%
Soybeans: Up 24%
Sugar: Up 55%
What was a slow and steady increase much of the year has gone into overdrive since late summer. Blame it on two factors…
Aug. 5: A failed wheat harvest prompted Russia to ban grain exports through the end of the year. Later in August, the ban was extended through the end of 2011. Drought has wrecked the harvest in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – home to a quarter of world production
Oct. 8: For a second month running, the Agriculture Department cut its forecast for US corn production. The USDA predicts a 3.4% decline from last year. Damage done by Midwestern floods in June was made worse by hot, dry weather in August.
America’s been blessed with year after year of “record harvests,” depending on how you measure it. So when crisis hits elsewhere in the world, the burden of keeping the world fed falls on America’s shoulders.
Police track down five children who were raised with no birth certificates, schooling, vaccinations or medical care
Police in York, Pennsylvania, are asking themselves how the parents of five children aged two to 13 managed to conceal them for so many years with no birth certificates, no schooling, no vaccinations and no evidence of medical care – and why.
“I don’t know what would possess them at all,” said detective Dana Ward Junior, who tracked down the children after a child welfare agency received an anonymous tip-off. Ward has charged Louann Bowers, 33, and Sinhue Johnson, 45, with five counts of child endangerment. They are due to appear in court on Friday.
Years of isolation have taken their toll on the children, experts say. They are now living in foster homes, but “some suffer health and vision issues,” Ward wrote in an affidavit. “None of the children are at their expected education levels, and there are possible mental health issues.” They have now been vaccinated and the older ones enrolled in school.
The release of more than 250,000 US embassy cables reveals previously secret information on American intelligence gathering, and political and military strategy. Photograph: Rex Features
The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.
These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches, which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers’ website, also reveal Washington’s evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues.
These include a shift in relations between China and North Korea, high-level concerns over Pakistan’s growing instability, and details of clandestine US efforts to combat al-Qaida in Yemen.
Among scores of disclosures that are likely to cause uproar, the cables detail:
Symbolic acknowledgment of culpability over Katyn murders in 1940 signals Russia’s willingness to face up to its past
A memorial dedicated to the Polish officers murdered in the Katyn forest in 1940. Photograph: Dario Thuburn/AFP/Getty Images
In a symbolic admission of guilt, Russia’s parliament has declared that Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, in one of the greatest mass murders of the 20th century.
Today’s acknowledgment of Stalin’s personal culpability over the Katyn massacre comes amid a cautious thaw between Moscow and Warsaw, whose recent relations have been thorny at best. It was also seen as a sign that Russia may finally be ready for muted self-scrutiny over its totalitarian past.
Mikhail Gorbachev admitted in 1990 that the NKVD was to blame for the massacre, after a half-century of the Soviets blaming it on Nazi troops. However, there has never been a formal statement which implicates the Soviet leadership in such explicit terms.
Officials in Warsaw greeted the declaration positively. “It is a good step, an important sign,” Poland’s speaker of parliament, Grzegorz Schetyna, told reporters. It would ensure a “better atmosphere” for Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Warsaw next week, he added.
The 21,768 officers, doctors, policemen and other public servants – captured by the Red Army when it swept into Poland after the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 – were mainly shot in Katyn forest near Smolensk in western Russia and in several other places.
As casualties continue to mount in Afghanistan, so does the cost of war after nine years
Since there are now three conflicts in the greater Middle East; Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/”Palestine” and maybe another Lebanese war in the offing, it might be a good idea to take a look at the cost of war.
Not the human cost – 80 lives a day in Iraq, unknown numbers in Afghanistan, one a day in Israel/”Palestine” (for now) – but the financial one. I’m still obsessed by the Saudi claim for its money back after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Hadn’t Saudi Arabia, King Fahd reminded Saddam, financed his eight-year war against Iran to the tune of $25,734,469,885.80? For the custodian of the two holy places, Mecca and Medina, to have shelled out $25bn for Saddam to slaughter his fellow Muslims was pretty generous – although asking for that extra 80 cents was surely a bit greedy.
But then again, talking of rapacity, the Arabs spent $84bn underwriting the Anglo-American operation against Saddam in 1990-91 – three times what Fahd gave to Saddam for the Iran war – and the Saudi share alone came to $27.5bn. In all, the Arabs sustained a loss of $620bn because of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – almost all of which was paid over to the United States and its allies. Washington was complaining in August 1991 that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still owed $7.5bn. Western wars in the Middle East, it seemed, could be fought for profit as well as victory. Maybe Iraq could have brought us more treasure if it hadn’t ended in disaster. At least it would help to have paid for America’s constant infusion of cash to Israel’s disastrous wars.
According to Israeli historian Illan Pappé, since 1949, the US has passed to Israel more than $100bn in grants and $10bn in special loans – more than Washington hands out to North Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Over the past 20 years, $5.5bn has been given to Israel for military purchases. But for sheer self-abuse, it’s necessary to read of the Midas-like losses in the entire Middle East since just 1991 – an estimated $12,000,000,000,000. Yup, that’s a cool $12trn and, if you don’t believe me, take a look at an unassuming little booklet that the “Strategic Fortnight Group” published not long ago. Its statistic caught a few headlines, but was then largely forgotten, perhaps because it was published in faraway Mumbai rather than by some preposterous American “tink-thank” (as I call them). But it was funded by, among others, the Norwegian and Swiss foreign ministries. And the Indians are pretty smart about money, as we know as we wait in fear of its new super-economy.
NOW here’s a story with a-peel: A Japanese fruit company has been playing Mozart to its ripening bananas, claiming it produces a sweeter product.
And that’s not all – the paper says a wide variety of food and beverages in Japan have been enjoying exposure to classical music, including soy sauce, udon noodles, miso and even sake, the Japan Times said.
In fact, the sake is downright picky when it comes to composers. At Ohara Shuzo brewery, senior managing director, Fumiko Ohara told the paper the classical musical experiment began over 20 years ago when the president, Kosuke Ohara, came across a book about brewing with music. They experimented with jazz, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, among others.
“We found Mozart works best for sake,” Mr Ohara said, “and that’s why we use only his music.”
But back to those bunches of Mozart-loving bananas. The Japan Times reported they arrive as ordinary unripe, and presumably unmusical, fruit from the Philippines at the Toyoka Chuo Seika fruit company. But then their whole existence changes.
Mozart’s String Quartet 17 and Piano Concerto 5 in D major, among other works, play continuously for one week over speakers in their ripening chamber, the paper said.
North Korea has placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads in the Yellow Sea and the reclusive state had moved surface-to-air missiles near frontline areas.
The reports came as the United States and South Korea began joint military exercises in waters west of the Korean Peninsula in the face of opposition by China and threats of “consequences” from Pyongyang.
South Korea also ordered residents of an island shelled by North Korea last Tuesday to evacuate to shelters, according to witnesses.
“They ordered people here to move to shelters saying there is an emergency situation,” the witness said, adding there were no details available.
The North’s official KCNA news agency warned of retaliatory action if its territory is violated.
“We will deliver a brutal military blow on any provocation which violates our territorial waters,” KCNA said.
Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, UKIP, Co-President of the EFD group
European Parliament, Strasbourg – 24 November 2010
EVEN GERMANS LOVE EU ATTACK
Nigel Farage (pictured) EU President Herman van Rompuy: “You should be the pin-up boy of the eurosceptic movement.”
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has become a Europe-wide internet sensation again with his latest attack on Brussels bureaucrats.
His speech to the European Parliament last week has been viewed 200,000 times on YouTube and has been translated into German.
Addressing EU President Herman van Rompuy Mr Farage said: “You’ve been in office for one year and in that time the whole edifice is beginning to crumble, there’s chaos and the money’s running out. I should thank you. You should be the pin-up boy of the eurosceptic movement.
“Your fanaticism is out in the open. You talked about the fact that it was a lie to say the nation state could exist in the 21st century globalised world.
“Well, that may well be true in the case of Belgium, which hasn’t had a government for six months, but for the rest of us, people are saying we don’t want that flag, we don’t want the anthem, we don’t want this political class – we want the whole thing consigned to the dustbin of history.”
The Ukip leader then turned on Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn for suggesting that Ireland delay any general election until its budget had approved.
“Who the hell do you think you people are?” he said. “You are very, very dangerous people. Your obsession with creating this Euro state means you are happy to destroy democracy.”
Mr Farage’s previous outburst last February attracted almost 600,000 views on YouTube and resulted in an official reprimand.
The CIA is notorious for its Cold War-era experiments with LSD and other chemicals on unwitting citizens and soldiers. Details have emerged in books and articles beginning more than 30 years ago.
But if military veterans have their way in a California law suit (PDF), the spy agency’s quest to turn humans into robot-like assassins via electrodes planted in their brains will get far more exposure than the drugs the CIA tested on subjects ranging from soldiers to unwitting bar patrons and the clients of prostitutes.
It’s not just science fiction — or the imaginings of the mentally ill.
In 1961, a top CIA scientist reported in an internal memo that “the feasibility of remote control of activities in several species of animals has been demonstrated…Special investigations and evaluations will be conducted toward the application of selected elements of these techniques to man,” according to “The CIA and the Search for the Manchurian Candidate,” a 1979 book by former State Department intelligence officer John Marks.
“[T]his cold-blooded project,” Marks wrote, “was designed … for the delivery of chemical and biological agents or for ‘executive action-type operations,’ according to a document. ‘Executive action’ was the CIA’s euphemism for assassination.”
The CIA pursued such experiments because it was convinced the Soviets were doing the same.
Victims have sought justice for years, in vain. Now, almost 40 years later, a federal magistrate has ordered the CIA to produce records and witnesses about the LSD and other experiments “allegedly conducted on thousands of soldiers from 1950 through 1975,” according to news accounts.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Larsen’s Nov. 17 order exempted the agency from having to testify about electrode tests on humans, but Gordon P. Erspamer, lead attorney for the veterans, says “we are pursuing this as well.”
“There is no question that these experiments were done,” Erspamer said by e-mail Tuesday, “but defendants say that they used private researchers and test subjects drawn from prisons, hospitals and nursing homes as subjects, not active duty military [personnel]. CIA said it had no one knowledgeable on this topic.”
I am a biochemist working in the field of biophysics. Specifically, the lab I work in (as well as many others) has spent the better part of the last decade working on the molecular mechanism of how mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, result in cancer. The result of that work is that we now better understand that people who have a deficient BRCA2 gene are hypersensitive to DNA damage, which can be caused by a number of factors including: UV exposure, oxidative stress, improper chromosomal replication and segregation, and radiation exposure. The image below shows what happens to a chromosome of a normal cell when it is exposed to radiation. It most cases, this damage is repaired; however, at high doses or when there is a genetic defect, the cells either die or become cancerous.
Quite some time ago, I posted a short educational video that describes how BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations cause cancer. In short, when a person who has a mutation in one of these genes is exposed to environmental factors that cause DNA damage, they simply don’t repair the damage with the same efficiency as the general population. Over the course of their lifetime, the incremental exposures to relative small and seemingly safe doses of ionizing radiation (which is everything from UV light to X-rays to gamma radiation) statistically accumulate damage (or the effects of damage and improper repair) until the probability of developing cancer becomes almost certain. This is because BRCA1 and BRCA2 are both part of a molecular process that is very similar to the spell-check on your word processor (in oncology parlance, these genes are known as caretakers of the genome for this specific reason). When these genes don’t work, mutations accumulate faster and eventually results in cancer.
Its because of my interest in this aspect of cancer biology that I felt compelled to review the safety reports released on the TSA website here. However, my interest is not only professional, but also personal. My grandmother died of breast cancer in 2005 after being in remission for 20+ years. While she was never tested for either BRCA1 or BRCA2, her family history indicates that there is a strong probability of one of these mutations running in my family. Including my grandmother, at least four of her siblings developed cancer: two died of breast cancer, one developed a rare form of leukemia and another died of skin cancer. All of her female siblings had cancer, and its noteworthy that her mother died of a very young age (maybe 30’s or early 40’s) of an unknown (to me) cause. For these reasons, I fear that inadequate safety evaluation of these machines could unduly expose my family (and myself) to levels of radiation that might be harmful should this high familial cancer rate in fact be hereditary.
Last spring, a group of scientists at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) including John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard Ph.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D. and Marc Shuman, M.D. sent a letter of concern to the TSA regarding the implementation of their ‘Advanced Imaging Technology’, or body scanners as a routine method of security screening in US airports. Of specific concern is the scanner that uses X-ray back-scattering. In the letter they raise some interesting points, which I’ve quoted below:
“Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.”
“The X-ray dose from these devices has often been compared in the media to the cosmic ray exposure inherent to airplane travel or that of a chest X-ray. However, this comparison is very misleading: both the air travel cosmic ray exposure and chest X-rays have much higher X-ray energies and the health consequences are appropriately understood in terms of the whole body volume dose. In contrast, these new airport scanners are largely depositing their energy into the skin and immediately adjacent tissue, and since this is such a small fraction of body weight/vol, possibly by one to two orders of magnitude, the real dose to the skin is now high.”
“In addition, it appears that real independent safety data do not exist.”
“There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations. We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted.”
Dr. Russell Blaylock is a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author, lecturer, and editor of The Blaylock Wellness Report.
The growing outrage over the Transportation Security Administration’s new policy of backscatter scanning of airline passengers and “enhanced pat-downs” brings to mind these wise words from President Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.’”
So, what is all the concern really about — will these radiation scanners increase your risk of cancer or other diseases? A group of scientists and professors from the University of California at San Francisco voiced their concern to Obama’s science and technology adviser John Holdren in a well-stated letter back in April.
The group included experts in radiation biology, biophysics, and imaging, who expressed “serious concerns” about the “dangerously high” dose of radiation to the skin.
Radiation increases cancer risk by damaging the DNA and various components within the cells. Much of the damage is caused by high concentrations of free radicals generated by the radiation. Most scientists think that the most damaging radiation types are those that have high penetration, such as gamma-rays, but in fact, some of the most damaging radiation barely penetrates the skin.
One of the main concerns is that most of the energy from the airport scanners is concentrated on the surface of the skin and a few millimeters into the skin. Some very radiation-sensitive tissues are close to the skin — such as the testes, eyes, and circulating blood cells in the skin.
This is why defenders using such analogies as the dose being “1,000-times less than a chest X-ray” and “far less than what passengers are exposed to in-flight” are deceptive. Radiation damage depends on the volume of tissue exposed. Chest X-rays and gamma-radiation from outer space is diffused over the entire body so that the dose to the skin is extremely small. Of note, outer space radiation does increase cancer rates in passengers, pilots, and flight attendants.
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will be planted on Kansas State University and according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it will not be a laboratory of bioweapons saying that anthrax, plague, ebola and smallpox will NOT be studied there at the proposed state of the art BSL-4 lab. Ok, I’ll take the DHS at their word for the moment because my concern is not human pathogens, but animal pathogens.
There are eight animal and livestock diseases that will be studied at the facility; Nipah virus, Hendra virus, African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, Japanese Encephalitis virus, Foot and Mouth disease (FMD), Classical Swine fever and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia.
So being in the heartland of America where there is hundreds of thousands if not millions of cattle and swine, based on previous safety and security issues from Plum Island and other facilities, how can we be sure that this will not devastate our food supply and economy?
Igor Sutyagin says he was given a laced tumbler of cognac
A former Russian academic who was sent to Britain this summer as part of the biggest spy swap since the Cold War has said he believes that Russia’s FSB security service used mind-bending psychotropic drugs on him.
Igor Sutyagin, who now lives in London, arrived in Britain in July after he and three other men convicted of spying for the West were swapped for ten Russian agents including the glamorous Anna Chapman who had been arrested by the FBI in America.
The 45-year-old researcher has always denied that he was a Western spy and has said he would like to return to Russia where his wife and two daughters live. Since settling in Britain, he has therefore tried to avoid antagonising the Kremlin.
In a Russian-language book however he wrote about his ordeal, suggesting that he and others were illegally drugged by the FSB security service during pretrial interrogation “to loosen their tongues.”
He described one incident in 2003 when he was given a tumbler of cognac laced with an unknown psychotropic drug and then encouraged to consume a bowl of borsch or beetroot soup in order to stop him noticing the drug’s strong odour later. Once the drug had taken effect, he said the FSB filmed a strange interview with him which it showed on Russian TV as proof that he was a spy. Soon afterwards, he said he began to suffer inexplicable short-term memory loss.
His family disclosed separately that he still suffered from a range of symptoms including chronic fatigue.
A Russian secret service unit was responsible for murdering six Western Red Cross nurses in Chechnya in cold blood fourteen years ago rather than Chechen rebels, it has been claimed.
The Kremlin’s version of events have been challenged by a former agent in Russia’s FSB security service Photo: CORBIS By Andrew Osborn in Moscow 7:21PM GMT 24 Nov 2010
The allegation, made by a former agent in Russia’s FSB security service, challenges the Kremlin version of events that the group was executed by Chechen rebels.
The murdered aid workers included a Dutch architect and nurses from New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Norway. They were working in a hospital not far from Grozny, the Chechen capital, caring for victims of the first Chechen war when they were murdered in their beds in a mysterious night time raid in December 1996.
FSB Major Alexei Potyomkin, who is on the run in Germany with his family, has claimed he was there at the time and that members of his unit murdered the aid workers in error, mistaking them for Chechen rebels. They then did their best to cover up the crime and pin it on the Chechens, he alleged.
Alexander Cherkasov of human rights group Memorial, an expert in Chechnya who has often clashed with the Kremlin, said he doubted the new claims.
An armed robot, called Maars, maneuvering at a training site at Fort Benning, Ga.
FORT BENNING, Ga. — War would be a lot safer, the Army says, if only more of it were fought by robots.
And while smart machines are already very much a part of modern warfare, the Army and its contractors are eager to add more. New robots — none of them particularly human-looking — are being designed to handle a broader range of tasks, from picking off snipers to serving as indefatigable night sentries.
In a mock city here used by Army Rangers for urban combat training, a 15-inch robot with a video camera scuttles around a bomb factory on a spying mission. Overhead an almost silent drone aircraft with a four-foot wingspan transmits images of the buildings below. Onto the scene rolls a sinister-looking vehicle on tank treads, about the size of a riding lawn mower, equipped with a machine gun and a grenade launcher.
Three backpack-clad technicians, standing out of the line of fire, operate the three robots with wireless video-game-style controllers. One swivels the video camera on the armed robot until it spots a sniper on a rooftop. The machine gun pirouettes, points and fires in two rapid bursts. Had the bullets been real, the target would have been destroyed.
UP to €15 billion from the National Pensions Reserve Fund, set aside when the Celtic Tiger was still roaring, is likely to be used to recapitalise three of the country’s banks.
Amid speculation last night that the rate of interest to be charged on the EU/IMF bailout could be as much as 6.7%, Fine Gael’s finance spokesman Michael Noonan said that kind of rate was “far too high” and unaffordable on any reasonable projection of growth.
The Department of Finance said the interest rate had still not been finalised, but given that much of the loan would be repayable over nine years the rate could be higher than the 5.2% charged to Greece but would not be as high as the 6.7% being quoted by some brokers.
Meanwhile, Anglo Irish Bank, which was downgraded to junk status yesterday evening, is expected to be closed swiftly, together with the Irish Nationwide Building Society, under the EU/IMF loan plan.
Officials hope to finalise the details of the €85bn package later today and have EU finance ministers approve it tomorrow.
The emphasis in the plan is to avoid drawing down money from the bailout and rely in the first place on money from the Pension Reserve Fund for the banks, and on the €20bn the state borrowed earlier this year to part-fund next year’s national budget.
Economist at the Economic and Social Research Institute, John FitzGerald, said he believed it would be a good idea to use the money in the pensions fund to recapitalise the banks, and keep the EU/IMF funds in reserve in case they needed further money later.
WikiLeaks is urging the public to download a mysterious ‘insurance’ file said to contain information to be released if Julian Assange is killed.
In a Twitter post today (pictured below) the whistleblowing service published a link to the Pirate Bay file sharing site with the comment: ‘Now is a good time to download some ‘history insurance’.
The giant file, nearly 2GB in size, is said to contain thousands of secret U.S. documents aimed at embarrassing the nation’s government, and potentially causing harm to the United States’ relations with allies.
The file has been around since this summer and is heavily encrypted.
In the event of Mr Assange’s death (or some other unspecified reason), the secret key would be released — exposing the documents to all who have downloaded and obtained the key.
It is uncertain why WikiLeaks is now urging users to download the file, but it just may be that they’re planning to release the key soon.
* 3 million documents set to go online
* Bombshell leak thought to include U.S. assessments of Gordon Brown
* Secret talks on return of Lockerbie bomber to Libya may also be leaked
* Allegations ‘include U.S. backing of Kurdish terrorists’
* U.S. diplomats face being kicked out of countries in backlash
* Corrupt politicians expected to be named and shamed
Blowing the whistle: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks (pictured earlier this month), is said to be preparing to release more sensitive documents
David Cameron was warned last night by America that damaging secrets of the ‘special relationship’ are about to be laid bare.
The U.S. ambassador to London made an unprecedented personal visit to Downing Street to warn that whistleblower website WikiLeaks is about to publish secret assessments of what Washington really thinks of Britain.
The website is on the verge of revealing almost 3million documents, including thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables sent to Washington from the American embassy in London.
The bombshell leak is thought to include U.S. assessments of Gordon Brown’s personality and his prospects of winning the General Election, and secret discussions on the return of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya.
Assessments of David Cameron’s election chances and his private assurances to U.S. officials may also be included, Government sources believe.
They fear they will emerge on Sunday in co-ordinated releases in newspapers in Britain, Germany and America.
The British government is so worried that last night it issued a D-Notice, warning that publishing the secrets could compromise national security.
The website has previously released secret details of allied military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Revelations of American brutality in Iraq and Afghanistan created shockwaves, made WikiLeaks notorious and led to its founder Julian Assange – an Australian-born computer hacker – being vilified by governments around the world. He is now wanted for alleged rape in Sweden.
In total, around 2.7million confidential messages between the U.S. government and its embassies around the world are to be released.
Expose: WikiLeaks’ posts on its Twitter page showing how the U.S. government, in anticipation of an imminent expose, is briefing its allies on what to expect
The U.S. State Department warned that the leaks would damage relationships around the world.
Spokesman P J Crowley said: ‘These revelations are harmful to the U.S. and our interests. They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.’
Users of the Web site torrent-finder.com saw this message after the site was seized on Friday.
By Friday morning, visiting the addresses of a handful of sites that either hosted unauthorized copies of films and music or allowed users to search for them elsewhere on the Internet produced a notice that said, in part: “This domain name has been seized by ICE — Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court.”
In taking over the sites’ domain names, or Web addresses, the government effectively redirected any visitors to its own takedown notice.
“ICE office of Homeland Security Investigations executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names,” said Cori W. Bassett, a spokeswoman for ICE, in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, there are no additional details available at this time.”
Among the domains seized were torrent-finder.com and those of three sites that specialized in music: onsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com and dajaz1.com. TorrentFreak, a news blog about BitTorrent — a file-sharing system that has tended to elude the authorities because it is decentralized — said that at least 70 other addresses had been seized, most belonging to sites related to counterfeit clothing, DVDs and other goods.
BERLIN—European leaders sparred over whether to commit more funds to rescue struggling euro-zone countries, as financial-market pressure on the region’s weakest economies intensified.
The European Union’s executive arm, the Brussels-based EU Commission, floated a proposal on Wednesday to double the size of Europe’s €440 billion ($588 billion) bailout fund for euro-zone governments, but the idea was dismissed by Germany, according to people familiar with the situation.
The disagreement between Brussels and Berlin comes amid growing fears that the crisis of investor confidence in euro-zone governments, which has already forced Greece and Ireland to seek international bailouts, could expand sooner or later to Portugal and Spain.
Many investors and analysts doubt whether the EU has agreed to supply enough financing to rescue Spain if the country were to lose access to bond markets. Support from Germany, Europe’s largest economy and biggest contributor to the EU’s main bailout fund, would be essential for any funding increase.
Following Greece’s €110 billion bailout in May, the EU set up a €750 billion rescue program together with the International Monetary Fund. The centerpiece of that effort is the European Financial Stability Facility, or EFSF, which euro-zone countries agreed to support with up to €440 billion in credit guarantees. The remaining contributions would come from the IMF and the EU Commission.
The escalating debt crisis on the eurozone periphery is starting to contaminate the creditworthiness of Germany and the core states of monetary union.
Chancellor Angela Merkel would risk popular fury if she had to raise fresh funds for eurozone debtors at a time of welfare cuts in Germany.
Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring risk on German, French and Dutch bonds have surged over recent days, rising significantly above the levels of non-EMU states in Scandinavia.
“Germany cannot keep paying for bail-outs without going bankrupt itself,” said Professor Wilhelm Hankel, of Frankfurt University. “This is frightening people. You cannot find a bank safe deposit box in Germany because every single one has already been taken and stuffed with gold and silver. It is like an underground Switzerland within our borders. People have terrible memories of 1948 and 1923 when they lost their savings.”
The refrain was picked up this week by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. “We’re not swimming in money, we’re drowning in debts,” he told the Bundestag.
While Germany’s public and private debt is not extreme, it is very high for a country on the cusp of an acute ageing crisis. Adjusted for demographics, Germany is already one of the most indebted nations in the world.
Reports that EU officials are hatching plans to double the size of EU’s €440bn (£373bn) rescue mechanism have inevitably caused outrage in Germany. Brussels has denied the claims, but the story has refused to die precisely because markets know the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) cannot cope with the all too possible event of a triple bail-out for Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
Military armoured vehicles have been sent into a Rio de Janeiro slum as Brazil’s security forces seek to restore order after five days of violence which have seen at least 26 people killed.
Heavily armed gang members have attacked police stations, stopped cars and buses, robbed the passengers of money and valuables, before setting them alight.
The scenes of carnage that have spread across large sections of the city since Sunday threaten to seriously undermine Rio’s reputation as host for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Most of the dead were killed in gun battles with police that have also seen two officers wounded but one victim was reported to be a 14-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet.
The authorities in Rio believe the violence was ordered by imprisoned gang leaders in retaliation for attempts by police to reassert control over Rio’s shanty towns, or favelas, ahead of the major sporting events to be staged in the city.
“This is a desperate attempt to weaken our security efforts,” said Sergio Cabral, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
“What they want is to create panic, for society to retreat but we will not retreat.”
Greedy energy giants are to be investigated after revelations of a 38 per cent rise in profit margins on the back of soaring bills.Industry regulator Ofgem is to investigate Britain’s ‘big six’ energy companies – many foreign-owned – amid allegations of profiteering on a massive scale.
The average profit margin per customer has leapt from £65 to £90 since September, taking it to the highest level in five years.
The increase came on the back of price rises timed to hit families and pensioners just as they turn up their heating to cope with the winter freeze.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that nine elderly people died every hour last winter from the cold or cold-related illnesses.
Britain’s biggest supplier, British Gas, made record profits of £585million in the first six months of the year – up 98 per cent on the same period in 2009.
The company is putting up gas and electricity tariffs by an inflation-busting 7 per cent for seven million customers from December 10.