Eat a Baseball
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Eat a Baseball
Executive Producer: Random HIllbilly
Associate Executive Producers: John White, Shawn Brooker, Sir Ryan Bemrose
Art By: Thoren
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the constant disapprobation of critics
Examples of DISAPPROBATION
See disapprobation defined for kids >>
See disapprobation defined for English-language learners >>
: the act or state of disapproving : the state of being disapproved : condemnation
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 10:52
Holly Blevins holds an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle December 5, 2012 in Berryville, Virginia. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
With each proposed anti-gun bill put forth by Democrats across the U.S., the demands appear to be getting more and more restrictive on gun owners. While the Obama administration pushes for a ban on so-called ''assault weapons'' and universal background checks, Democrats in both California and Missouri have proposed legislation that would result in possible confiscation of semi-automatic rifles.
Now, Democratic lawmakers in Olympia, Wash. last week introduced legislation that would allow county sheriffs to inspect the homes of semi-automatic rifle owners once a year. Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat describes the move as ''Orwellian.''
The proposed bill, Senate Bill 5737, would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable magazines and magazines that contain more than 10 rounds. It would also subject law-abiding gun owners to random searches by a county sheriff.
''In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall '... safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection,'' the bill states.
''They always say, we'll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder,'' Seattle trial lawyer Lance Palmer told the Seattle Times.
''I'm a liberal Democrat '-- I've voted for only one Republican in my life,'' Palmer added. ''But now I understand why my right-wing opponents worry about having to fight a government takeover.''
He also said it's this type of radical bill that ''drives people into the arms of the NRA.''
One of the bill's sponsors, State Sen. Adam Kline (D-Seattle), told the Seattle Times that he didn't properly vet the bill prior to jumping on board. He claims he didn't realize the bill authorized police searches.
''I made a mistake,'' he said. ''I frankly should have vetted this more closely.''
The legislation's main sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) also blasted the search provision written in his bill, saying it is likely unconstitutional.
''I have to admit that shouldn't be in there,'' he said.
Murray also explained that an assault weapons ban isn't likely to pass anyhow and the bill was intended to be a blueprint for gun legislation in the future. With the search provision included, the bill has very little chance of passing.
It wasn't immediately clear which lawmaker wrote the search provision into the bill.
To read the entire bill, click here.
UPDATE: Following up on a tip from a reader, TheBlaze has discovered that Democrats in Minnesota are also pushing for a gun confiscation bill using almost identical language as the bill proposed in Missouri.
From MN H.F. No. 241, as introduced '' 88th Legislative Session (2013-2014) Posted on Jan 31, 2013:
10.20 Sec. 7. PERSONS POSSESSING ASSAULT WEAPONS ON EFFECTIVE DATE ACT; REQUIRED ACTIONS.
Any person who, on February 1, 2013, legally owns or is in possession of an assault weapon has until September 1, 2013, to do any of the following without being subject toprosecution under Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133:
(1) remove the weapon from the state;
(2) surrender the weapon to a law enforcement agency for destruction;
(3) render the weapon permanently inoperable; or
(4) if eligible, register the weapon as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133, subdivision 5.
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.
This story has been updated. Featured image via shutterstock.com
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:26
Following the President's Plan to reduce gun violence released on January 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is conducting a review of existing and emerging gun safety technologies and plans to issue a report on the availability and use of those technologies. NIJ seeks input from all interested stakeholders to help inform its technology assessment and market research of existing and emerging gun safety technologies that would be of interest to the law enforcement and criminal justice communities and others with an interest in gun safety. Representative stakeholders include, but are not limited to, law enforcement, gun safety subject matter experts, firearms manufacturers, firearms experts, manufacturing engineers, biometrics specialists, radio frequency identification (RFID) engineers, microelectronics experts, or others with relevant training and experience. Those individuals wishing to provide relevant comments or information are directed to the following Web site: https://www.justnet.org/gun_safety_technology/. Relevant comments or information may also be emailed to the following address: email@example.com.
Relevant comments or information must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on April 8, 2013.
National Institute of Justice, by telephone at (202) 307-2942 [Note: This is not a toll-free telephone number].
Gregory K. Ridgeway,
Acting Director, National Institute of Justice.
[FR Doc. 2013-03884 Filed 2-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-18-P
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 02:56
While trying to explain why women in college don't need firearms for self-defense on campus, Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar said even if women feel like they might be raped, their suspected attacker might not actually have intent to rape. So please, put the guns away ladies.
''It's why we have call boxes, it's why we have safe zones, it's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at,'' he said during a legislative hearing. ''And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble and when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop '-- pop a round at somebody.''
The flaws in Salazar's argument are obvious. No gun-free zone has stopped a deranged killer, just like a ''safe zone'' wouldn't stop a rapist from assaulting a woman.
Watch the video of Salazar's remarks, provided to TheBlaze by Revealing Politics:
Salazar has since apologized if he offended anyone with his remarks. However, he still maintains that guns don't make people safer on campus.
''I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That was absolutely not my intention,'' Salazar said, according to KDVR-TV. ''We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don't believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I'm not sensitive to the dangers women face, they're wrong.''
''I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I've spent the last decade defending women's rights as a civil rights attorney. Again, I'm deeply sorry if I offended anyone with my comments,'' he added.
The folks over at RedState provide some self-defense statistics that are relevant to the issue:
In the vast majority of those self-defense cases, the citizen will only brandish the gun or fire a warning shot.
In less than 8% of those self-defense cases will the citizen will even wound his attacker.
Over 1.9 million of those self-defense cases involve handguns.
As many as 500,000 of those self-defense cases occur away from home.
Almost 10% of those self-defense cases are women defending themselves against sexual assault or abuse.
In somewhat related news, the University of Colorado (the same state that Salazar represents) is offering some advice to students who may get attacked on campus, at home or on the road. You can ''tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating,'' vomit or urinate or you can kick off your shoes and run away.
Here's the full list:
1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can't run in them.4. Don't take time to look back; just get away.5. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!9. Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.10. Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.
None of the University of Colorado's advice mentions legally obtaining a firearm and the necessary training, even if just for home defense.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 04:50
Credit: Getty Images
The anti-gun bills continue to roll in. The latest bill, introduced in the New York State Assembly by Democrat Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, seeks to force all gun owners to purchase at least $1 million in liability insurance to cover any damages caused by firearms. It would be a mandatory requirement for anyone who owns a gun, as those who refuse to comply within 30 days would have their firearms confiscated.
''Any person in this state who shall own a firearm shall, prior to such ownership, obtain and continuously maintain a policy of liability insurance in an amount not less than one million dollars specifically covering any damages resulting from any negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person,'' the bill, S2353, states.
''Failure to maintain such insurance shall result in the immediate revocation of such owner's registration, license and any other privilege to own such firearm,'' the bill adds.
Further, even if a New Yorker's gun is stolen, they are still responsible for any damage incurred until a loss or theft is reported to the police. The bill has been reportedly been passed along to the Assembly's Insurance Committee, according to the Washington Times.
The Examiner estimates that simple liability insurance for $1 million would cost gun owners about $1,600-2,000 annually.Lawmakers in California, Maryland and Massachusetts have introduced similar bills aimed at forcing gun owners to purchase liability insurance.
The bill comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the toughest gun laws in the nation, enacting a ban on semi-automatic rifles and limiting magazine capacity to seven. It appears that New York lawmakers still aren't satisfied.
Featured image via Getty
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 15:05
(NaturalNews) I really didn't want to cover this subject, but a warning has to be issued to Natural News readers. Infowars writer Paul Joseph Watson has uncovered proof that a U.S. based company called "Law Enforcement Training, Inc." has been selling millions of dollars worth of "no hesitation" targets to the Department of Homeland Security.These targets (see images below) are used to train DHS employees to shoot American citizens and they depict pregnant women, old men, children and even young moms with guns. The purpose of the targets, according to the company that sells them, is to "eliminate any hesitation" that U.S. government employees might normally feel in shooting to kill pregnant women, children and old men. (I'm not making this up. The government's plan to murder Americans is now right out in the open...)
InfoWars reports they have been informed the "no hesitation" targets were "strictly for Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies."
This puzzle isn't difficult to assemble, folks. We've got the U.S. government already on record purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the united states. The government is also purchasing thousands of full-auto assault rifles, calling them "personal defense weapons."On top of that, there are hundreds of thousands of multi-body coffins being stored right now at FEMA camp facilities, and there's also strong evidence that FEMA camps are being activated with core staff coming on line.
And then we've also got the feds saying they want Americans to turn in all their guns and completely disarm themselves so that only the government has guns.
Um... how much evidence do you need, folks? I'm just wondering how so many Americans can still be living in a state of total denial about all this. It is abundantly clear that the current occupying government of America -- which is an illegitimate occupying force of anti-constitution traitors and criminals -- literally has a plan to mass murder tens of millions of Americans by either gunning them down in the streets, or rounding them up and stuffing them info FEMA coffins (or mass graves).
This plan was openly talked about by one of President Obama's mentors, in fact, a key member of the "Weatherman" group of communist-leaning terrorists. Bill Ayers and his cohorts planned a communist takeover of America followed by the rounding up of resistance forces who would then be "re-educated" or terminated. This is all spelled out in great detail in this video interview of Larry Grathwohl, an undercover operative working for federal law enforcement agencies. He infiltrated the Weathermen organization and learned what they really wanted to accomplish.Watch his testimony in this video:
From the video:
Well, what is going to happen to those people we can't re-educate? That are die-hard capitalists? And the reply was that they'd have to be eliminated. And when I pursued this further, they estimated that they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say eliminate, I mean kill.
Here are the images of the cardboard targets, courtesy of InfoWars.com: (story continues below)
I hope you understand where this is all headed. A government does not buy 1.6 billion bullets for no reason. By my calculations, this is enough ammo to wage a 7-year war with the American people.A government does not stage gun-related killings (Fast & Furious, Aurora, and elements of Sandy Hook were all staged) and then demand the complete disarmament of the American people for no reason.
The Department of Homeland Security does not buy cardboard targets of pregnant women, young mothers and old men for no reason. They are buying these targets because this is who they are training to kill.
The President does not issue an executive order claiming government ownership of all farms, food, livestock and farm equipment for no reason.
Keep in mind that DHS "officers" do not take an oath of office, meaning they do not swear any allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. Their only allegiance is to their paycheck and their dangerous sense of power, and that comes from the illegitimate occupying government that is now actively plotting to murder its own citizens.
This has all reached the point of un-deniability. All of you who have sat back and watched this murderous police state being rolled out while you were paralyzed in a state of denial now need to come to your senses and realize this is real. Our government has been taken over and "occupied" by enemy forces who are openly attempting to destroy the Bill of Rights, eradicate the Constitution and put in place a communist / fascist system of dictatorial control.The planned economic destruction of the USA is just one part of it. Another part is the continued brain-numbing poisoning of the people through fluoride, lobotomizing vaccines and brain-frying psychiatric drugs.
The government is trying to lull everyone into a state of denial while it puts in place a militarized police state infrastructure that will soon be "activated" to start rounding people up and killing them off -- an action which has been "legalized" by President Obama under the NDAA. The Department of Justice recently issued a 16-page memo "justifying" the secret killing of American citizens on U.S. soil.
U.S. veterans are being openly characterizes as the new "terrorists." The same designation is given to anyone who owns a gun or believes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Democrats everywhere are practically calling for Obama to declare Martial Law, disband Congress and seize control of the entire country as an outright dictator. This is all being set up and to demonize (and then murder) anyone who resists the coming totalitarian dictatorship society.
It's now in your face and the targets are clear: Pregnant women will be shot. Young mothers with children will be shot. Old men defending their farms will be shot. Little boys will be shot. Grandmothers defending their homes will be shot. This is what DHS is training for, and anyone who does not yet realize what's happening is a fool.
Spread the word. Take action now, peacefully, while we still can. Fire every lawmaker who proposes "gun control" legislation. Impeach any President who does not abide by the Constitution. Demand accountability. Demand the government follow the laws of the land. Let your voice be heard and take all necessary precautions for yourself and your family. The day is coming when mass graves will be used in America, and all those citizens who sat around laughing it up on Facebook while living in denial will be marched to the edge of those graves and shot in the back of the head by members of their own government (DHS, TSA, etc.).
History is a bitch. Help me make sure we don't repeat it, because if we cannot restore law in America peacefully, then the only remaining option is to defend America and uphold the laws of the land through the use of force.
About the author: Mike Adams is an award-winning journalist and holistic nutritionist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2010, Adams created TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NaturalNews subscription database. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org
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Tue, 19 Feb 2013 10:58
The city is making a major push to sweep the streets of dangerous, mentally ill New Yorkers '-- and has even compiled a most-wanted list, The Post has learned.
The measure follows a pair of high-profile subway-shove fatalities from December allegedly involving mentally ill individuals.
The city has already drawn up a list of 25 targets, sources said.
''After the Queens subway attack [of immigrant Sunando Sen], the [city] decided to take a proactive approach to track down the most dangerous mental-health patients that currently have mental-hygiene warrants'' out for them, a law-enforcement source said.
Those warrants mean that the patients are not wanted for a crime but instead are being sought because they are not getting their court-ordered treatment.
There are a handful of cops assigned to the detail, which began working in the past few weeks, the source said.
Cops in the NYPD's Real Time Crime Center are using high-tech methods to first track down the individuals, and detectives on the street have been assigned to then go after them and take them to hospitals, law-enforcement sources said.
In the past, the city Department of Health would ask cops for help finding mentally ill people who aren't taking their court-mandated meds so they could be taken to clinics. But that only applied to those who had known addresses '-- and patients who went off the grid were rarely pursued, the sources said.
The city is now concerned it could be liable if one of those people goes off the rails and hurts someone '-- or themselves, the sources said.
And that's prompted the Health Department to seek more help from the NYPD. These patients could, of course, be dangerous, health officials noted.
Now, ''you have a family member who goes to the Department of Health and gives them the information. Then they go to the Police Department, and together, the DOH person and the police go out and try to track down these people,'' said a city official. ''They're just trying to get these people help.''
''All of these patients are receiving treatment for mental-health conditions,'' said Department of Health spokesman Sam Miller. ''If they do not receive sustained treatment . . . they could pose some risk to themselves, family members or others.''
But tracking them down won't be easy. ''There's no rhyme or reason to their craziness,'' said a law-enforcement source.
''You might find yourself looking all over the place for one of these kooks who rides the subway back and forth.''Such craziness includes homeless man Naeem Davis' alleged Dec. 3 fatal subway push of a Queens father '-- Davis has claimed voices guided his deadly act '-- and the horrifying shove of Sen allegedly by accused Muslim-hating maniac Erika Menendez.
Menendez told The Post in a rambling jailhouse interview that she likely would not have killed the hard-working man had she smoked weed that day '-- she uses it to self-medicate for bipolar disorder.
She also has allegedly told authorities that she killed Sen, a Hindu, because of 9/11 '-- not because so many people died, but because of the destruction of the buildings.
She has been found fit to stand trial.
Additional reporting by Josh Margolin and Dan MacLeod
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:50
by Sunny Hundal 10:15 am - February 21st 2013
A civil claim by EDF energy against environmental activists could have huge implications for the future of protests in the UK.
Yesterday, the Guardian reported that EDF Energy has launched a civil claim for damages against a group called No Dash for Gas and other 'associated activists' for costs that the company claims to have incurred '' a figure it puts at £5 million.
If the claim succeeds several of the campaigners could lose their homes, and all would face bankruptcy or be forced to pay a percentage of their salaries to EDF for decades to come.
This is the first time an energy company has attempted such a claim. It is clearly an attempt to bankrupt and stop peaceful direct action protests.
If successful the same tactics would likely be adopted by other organisations against all forms of direct action and protesting '' including Greenpeace, UKuncut and even the Countryside Alliance.
This video explains what the activists are now facing.
The amount EDF are claiming represents just 0.3% of EDF's annual UK profits, which rose by 7.5% this year to £1.7 billion.
The claims relate to a week-long shut-down and occupation of EDF's West Burton gas-fired power station last October by No Dash for Gas.
Sixteen campaigners occupied two chimneys at West Burton for a week in October 2012, stopping nearly 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The activists '' 21 in total '' were convicted this week of aggravated trespass at Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Activists claim there is evidence that Nottinghamshire Police colluded with EDF against 'No Dash for Gas' by formally serving civil papers on the activists after their arrest, and by sharing their personal data with the power company.
When the activists' lawyer wrote to the police asking to view CCTV footage from inside the station, he was told it had probably been deleted as footage was only kept for three months '' despite the fact that this three-month deadline had not yet passed.
The case is reminiscent of the record-breaking 'McLibel' case, when the fast food chain McDonalds sued two activists from North London from 1990-1997. That case turned into a huge public relations disaster for McDonalds.
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:30
Our experts turn up their noses at nothing in their quest for the truth
By Bjorn CareyPosted 02.10.2009 at 1:39 pmFeline FeastThe occasional kibble is fine, but don't make it a habit.iStock
Let's take a look at the ingredients in a typical can of cat food: meat by-products, chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, ash, taurine. Nothing too horrible, but in general, these things don't constitute a healthy human diet, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. "That said, I'm fully confident that your body can handle kitty chow."
Your liver, kidneys and skin do a terrific job of removing foreign substances from the body, especially mild ones like those found in cat food. "Technically, you could safely digest a baseball," Blatner says. Perhaps the worst stuff in cat food is the high mineral content in the ash, but your body would clear that out quickly.
Actually, the ingredients listed on the organic blends of cat food sound pretty tasty. Newman's Own canned beef formula uses only free-range beef from Uruguay, is 95 percent USDA-certified organic, and is chock-full of vitamins. Pass me a spoon, right? "Those are better," Blatner says, "but they too are developed with cat nutrition in mind and aren't formulated to keep humans healthy. It's OK to satisfy the occasional craving, but you shouldn't make it a staple of your regular diet. It's cat food for a reason."
Want to learn more about breakthroughs in electronics, medicine, nanotech, and more?Subscribe to Popular Science today, for less than $1 per issue!
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:24
By Jeffrey P. Hermes
For me, thinking about one of the Obama administration's latest initiatives to keep us all safe online is like one of those pattern recognition puzzles (you know, like "What is the next term in this sequence: O, T, T, F, F, S, S, E, N, __?"). Here, the sequence is:
cyber bullies, scammers, gangs, sexual predators, ________?
The pattern, you see, is perceived online threats against which the White House has taken action. In a February 5 post on the White House Blog , we get the administration's answer to what goes in the next blank: "online radicalization to violence."
The White House explains its concerns this way:
Violent extremist groups '-- like al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent ''sovereign citizens'' '-- are leveraging online tools and resources to propagate messages of violence and division. These groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment efforts. Some members and supporters of these groups visit mainstream fora to see whether individuals might be recruited or encouraged to commit acts of violence, look for opportunities to draw targets into private exchanges, and exploit popular media like music videos and online video games.
Al-Qa'ida, violence, music videos AND video games? I'll get my pitchfork.
Except, see, I'm pretty sure I remember reading something along the following lines:
[T]he constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. "[T]he mere abstract teaching . . . of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action."
Ah, yes. That's right -- it was Brandenburg v. Ohio , the 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case that held that the First Amendment required the reversal of the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader under an Ohio statute that prohibited "advocat[ing] . . . the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform" and "voluntarily assembl[ing] with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism."
Basically, you're allowed to talk about violence in the United States. You're allowed to be "divisive." You're even allowed to argue that violence is an appropriate response to the ills you perceive in the government or the world at large. You are certainly allowed to publish and to play violent video games , even realistic ones where you can choose a side opposing the United States. Only when your speech gets to the point of "inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action" do you leave the protection of the First Amendment.
The White House isn't (yet) attempting to pass laws to ban this content, which would pretty clearly be unconstitutional, but it's certainly considering normative and technological measures:
As a starting point to prevent online radicalization to violence in the homeland, the Federal Government initially will focus on raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online. In this process, we will work closely with the technology industry to consider policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online. Companies already have developed voluntary measures to promote Internet safety '-- such as fraud warnings, identity protection, and Internet safety tips '-- and we will collaborate with industry to explore how we might counter online violent extremism without interfering with lawful Internet use or the privacy and civil liberties of individual users.
Two problems: First, norms and technological tools are blunt instruments when it comes to chilling speech. Even if the White House were focused on preventing Brandenburg-style incitement (which I don't get from this blog post, but which would seem to be essential to avoid "interfering with lawful Internet use or the ... civil liberties of individual users"), it would be virtually impossible to fine-tune the "practical information and tools" that it intends to deploy at a community level so that they would not be applied more broadly.
Second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that the White House is attempting to accomplish its goals without overt or direct state action. The government will of course attempt to wash its hands of any industry overkill, because these would be "voluntary" measures undertaken by private parties. The First Amendment danger of indirect state action is, if anything, more pernicious than direct legislation subject to scrutiny by Congress and the courts.
To get back to the pattern puzzle with which I opened this post, the White House states that the above approach "is consistent with Internet safety principles that have helped keep communities safe from a range of online threats, such as cyber bullies, scammers, gangs, and sexual predators." But threats of physical violence, fraud, organized criminal activity, and sexual crimes all pretty clearly fall outside the First Amendment; radical speech doesn't really fit in this list.
Also note that the government platform tapped to lead this charge is OnGuard Online , managed by the Federal Trade Commission. True, the Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies are involved with the site, but the FTC? A quick look at OnGuard Online reveals information about phishing and online scams, evaluating consumer products online, protecting online privacy, protecting children online, and securing computers and networks -- all of which could be interpreted as falling within the FTC's remit. Protecting "the homeland" against "violent radicalization"? Not so much.
I'll end with another pattern puzzle:
Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, Brandenburg v. Ohio, Texas v. Johnson,Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, ________________?
Jeff Hermes is the Director of the Digital Media Law Project.
(Photo courtesy of Brandeis University 's Radical Pamphlet Collection pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.)
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:24
February 05, 2013 at 10:02 AM EST
The American public increasingly relies on the Internet for socializing, business transactions, gathering information, entertainment, and creating and sharing content. The rapid growth of the Internet has brought opportunities but also risks, and the Federal Government is committed to empowering members of the public to protect themselves against the full range of online threats, including online radicalization to violence.
Violent extremist groups '-- like al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent ''sovereign citizens'' '-- are leveraging online tools and resources to propagate messages of violence and division. These groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment efforts. Some members and supporters of these groups visit mainstream fora to see whether individuals might be recruited or encouraged to commit acts of violence, look for opportunities to draw targets into private exchanges, and exploit popular media like music videos and online video games. Although the Internet offers countless opportunities for Americans to connect, it has also provided violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.
As a starting point to prevent online radicalization to violence in the homeland, the Federal Government initially will focus on raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online. In this process, we will work closely with the technology industry to consider policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online. Companies already have developed voluntary measures to promote Internet safety '-- such as fraud warnings, identity protection, and Internet safety tips '-- and we will collaborate with industry to explore how we might counter online violent extremism without interfering with lawful Internet use or the privacy and civil liberties of individual users.
This approach is consistent with Internet safety principles that have helped keep communities safe from a range of online threats, such as cyber bullies, scammers, gangs, and sexual predators. While each of these threats is unique, experience has shown that a well-informed public, armed with tools and resources to stay safe online, is critical to protecting communities. Pursuing such an approach is also consistent with the community-based framework we outlined in Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States and the Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.
A New Interagency Working Group
To more effectively organize our efforts, the Administration is establishing a new Interagency Working Group to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence, chaired by the National Security Staff at the White House and involving specialists in countering violent extremism, Internet safety experts, and civil liberties and privacy practitioners from across the United States Government. This Working Group will be responsible for developing plans to implement an Internet safety approach to address online violent extremism, coordinating the Federal Government's activities and assessing our progress against these plans, and identifying additional activities to pursue for countering online radicalization to violence.
Raising Awareness through Existing Initiatives
In the coming months, the Working Group will coordinate with Federal departments and agencies to raise awareness and disseminate tools for staying safe from online violent extremism primarily through three means.
First, information about online violent extremism will be incorporated into existing Federal Government Internet safety initiatives. Internet safety initiatives at the Department of Education, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies provide platforms that already reach millions of Americans, and relevant departments and agencies will work to add materials related to online radicalization.
The primary government platform for raising awareness about Internet safety is OnGuard Online, managed by the Federal Trade Commission and involving 16 departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education. OnGuard Online'-- in addition to other Federal Government Internet safety platforms like Stop.Think.Connect and Safe Online Surfing'-- will begin including information about online violent extremism. This information also will be posted on the Countering Violent Extremism homepage on the Department of Homeland Security's website and updated to reflect new best practices and research.
Second, the Federal Government will work with local organizations throughout the country to disseminate information about the threat. One reason for the success of Federal Government Internet safety awareness efforts is that they work closely with local organizations '-- such as school districts, Parent Teacher Associations, local government, and law enforcement '-- to communicate to communities. Law enforcement is a particularly important partner in raising awareness about radicalization to violence and is already developing materials with support from the Department of Justice. Law enforcement departments and agencies have established Internet safety programs and relationships with community members and local organizations that can reach multiple audiences with critical information about the threat of online violent extremism and recruitment. Departments and agencies will provide the latest assessments of this threat to our local partners and encourage them to incorporate this information into their programs and initiatives.
Third, departments and agencies will use our preexisting engagement with communities to provide information about Internet safety and details about how violent extremists are using the Internet to target and exploit communities. U.S. Attorneys throughout the country, who historically have engaged with communities on a range of public safety issues, are coordinating these Federal engagement efforts at the local level, with support from other departments and agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. U.S. Attorneys and others involved in community engagement will seek to incorporate information about Internet radicalization to violence into their efforts, as appropriate. At the same time, the Federal Government will engage with State, local, and tribal government and law enforcement officials to learn from their experiences in addressing online threats, including violent extremism.
As the Federal Government implements this effort in the coming months, we will continue to investigate and prosecute those who use the Internet to recruit others to plan or carry out acts of violence, while ensuring that we also continue to uphold individual privacy and civil liberties. Preventing online radicalization to violence requires both proactive solutions to reduce the likelihood that violent extremists affect their target audiences as well as ensuring that laws are rigorously enforced.
For a fact sheet on Countering Online Radicalization to Violence, click here.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:26
February 14, 2013
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
What's not to like about the convenience of free public Wi-Fi? It's nice to be able to connect to the internet when you're away from home. Unfortunately, these hotspots often aren't secure. If you go online using public Wi-Fi '-- like at an airport...Read More
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:27
OnGuardOnline.gov is the federal government's website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.
The Federal Trade Commission manages OnGuardOnline.gov, in partnership with the federal agencies listed below. OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:52
BEIJING: Chinese state media stepped up the war of words Thursday over allegations of sophisticated cyberattacks on US firms, branding the accusations a "commercial stunt" and accusing Washington of ulterior motives.
American Internet security firm Mandiant earlier this week said that a Chinese military cyberspy unit had been targeting US and other foreign firms and organisations with hacking attacks.
But an editorial in the state-run China Daily said: "One cannot help but ask the real purpose of such a hullabaloo.
"With the US economic recovery dragging its feet, it is reasonable to think that some in Washington may want to make China a scapegoat so that public attention is diverted away from the country's economic woes."
Defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the People's Liberation Army had itself been the target of a "significant number" of cyberattacks.
"A considerable number" of them originated in the United States, judging from the IP addresses involved, he said, but added that he did not accuse the US government of being involved. He had earlier said Mandiant's claims had "no factual basis".
The media backlash came after the US government Wednesday vowed to aggressively combat a rise in the foreign theft of trade secrets.
A new strategy document released by the White House did not explicitly name China, but warned that foreign governments and firms had stepped up efforts to obtain such material, threatening US economic and national security.
In its report, Mandiant alleged the hacking group "APT1" -- from the initials "Advanced Persistent Threat" -- was part of the Chinese military's Unit 61398 and had stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations across 20 industries.
Targeted companies included some involved with significant sections of the American domestic infrastructure.
Western analysts dismissed the Chinese denials as "meaningless".
A strongly worded commentary by the official news agency Xinhua said the Mandiant document "reeks of a commercial stunt".
"Next time, the CEO could simply say: 'See the Chinese hackers? Hurry up, come and buy our cyber security services'," it went on.
It said the US had a "matchless superiority and ability to stage cyberattacks across the globe", and that the US military had "established a significant cyber force, including the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, which is a regular military unit tasked with carrying out cyber missions".
Washington, it added, had a "habit of accusing other nations based on phony evidence".
"Facts will eventually prove that the cyberattacks accusations are groundless and will only tarnish the image and reputation of the company making them, as well as that of the United States," it said.
An expert quoted in China's state-run Global Times newspaper questioned US motives, saying Washington was exaggerating the cyber threat posed by China in order to garner support from other Asian countries.
"The US is raising the profile of the 'invisible' cyber threat as a new weapon in order to balance its losses in the Asia-Pacific pivot strategy," said Hun Xudong, a professor with the PLA National Defence University.
"The US controls the world's main servers. This has been a threat to China's cyber security," he added.
Western academics said they were unsurprised at the rhetoric used by Chinese officials in denying the hacking allegations.
James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: "It's a standard Chinese diplomatic ploy to say 'it isn't us, and in any case, you do it, too'.
"So their denial and accusations are meaningless."
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:20
Joe Stewart, Dell SecureWorks' Director of Malware Research, and the Counter Threat Unit (CTU) research team have long been researching Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) hacking activity. Since different entities may use the term APT differently, it is important to define the term as used in this analysis. According to Stewart , APT is best defined as ''cyber-espionage activity targeted at government, industry or activists.''To date, Stewart and the CTU have catalogued over 60 different families of custom malware involved in APT activity. Stewart and the CTU have developed countermeasures and Threat Intelligence to detect this malware. During this research, Stewart discovered that the hackers using these APT malware families sometimes use a common tool in order to disguise the location of their command-and-control (C2) servers. This tool is known as ''HTran''.HTran is a connection bouncer, sort of like a simplified reverse proxy server. Hackers can install an HTran listener on a host anywhere on the Internet (most often on hacked third-party servers), and bounce incoming connections back to their real C2 server. HTran was authored by ''lion'', a well-known Chinese hacker and reported founder of the Honker Union of China (HUC), a patriotic hacking group in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The name ''HTran'' actually stands for ''HUC Packet Transmit Tool''.What led Stewart to the discovery of the common use of HTran was an error message that HTran emits to connecting clients whenever the hidden backend C2 server is unreachable. By creating a system to establish regular connections to a list of over 1,000 IP addresses known by the CTU to be associated with APT activity bouncers, Stewart was able to uncover several HTran installations that eventually reported error messages revealing the IP address of the true C2 controllers. While all of the found HTran installations were on computers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Taiwan, all of the hidden C2 controllers they redirected traffic to were located on just a few networks in the PRC.Two of the families of malware, where variants were discovered using HTran bouncers, can be directly connected to the RSA Security breach disclosed in March 2011, based on related samples analyzed by Stewart that use C2s from the list disclosed in the CERT bulletin ''EWIN-11-077'".All of the detected HTran and hidden C2 IP addresses are listed in the full report, along with information and Snort signatures which can enable other institutions to detect HTran error messages in networktraffic and possibly uncover not only latent APT activity, but also the true destination of any data that would be exfiltrated.
I had the opportunity to interview Joe Stewart from Black Hat about HTran.
The research started as Joe focused on APT because of a number of reasons. He set about to classify APT, to survey the malware environment and how the APT malware is related as well as how the infrastructure they share is related. A bunch of malware samples related to but not used in the RSA attack and looking at the network traffic he saw a pattern. It was an error message from HTran saying that it couldn't bounce. So he wondered, how many of these bouncers are there and can we find out where the systems are that are on the other side of the bouncer.
HTran basically gives away the IP address of the hosts that are on the back side. HTran came out in 2000 and is a popular bouncer used widely in hacking so this is significant because it could lend insight to how to combat HTran.
He's got over 6,000 back end hosts identified and over 60 individual strains of malware isolated as results of this analysis. After resolving all of the host names he ended up with about 1000 IP addresses. He started to connect to them every 10 minutes with software he wrote to obtain that error message from the servers. From those 1000 he ended up with 18 back end servers.
Joe's written 2 snort rules to detect the activity so this functionality has been rolled out to SecureWorks customers already. The snort rules were publicly posted on Wednesday so anyone running an open source based IPS can take advantage of this knowledge. Someone who has malware using the HTran network could install these rules and spot the traffic in order to protect themselves.
The research is available in full.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:47
Original Date: January 24, 2013
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution that applies to a security program, this State of the Hack webinar will address general questions organizations have when starting or updating one.
Whether your organization has products and mechanisms in place, or is in the beginning stages of setting up a security program, this webinar will address specific concerns based on where you are as an organization and by organization type (Government, DIB, Private-Sector, etc.).
Original Date: January 10, 2013
Join Ted Wilson and David Ross for this Tools of Engagement webinar for Mandiant's freeware tool: Redline'. During the webinar they will walk you through an investigation using all of the cool new features introduced in version 1.7.
Original Date: December 13, 2012
2012 is drawing to a close, which means it's time for Mandiant's annual year-end review. Join us for this State of the HackTM webinar, where our own Richard Bejtlich will share highlights from the past twelve months '-- Mandiant style.
Original Date: November 29, 2012
Move over Windows, you've had the spotlight for too long! Join us for this Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar where Mandiant's Devon Kerr and Jason Rebholz show you the forgotten side of incident response '' the compromise of a *NIX environment. During this webinar, they will walk you step-by-step through the compromise of a *NIX environment and show you how attackers can use your environment against you.
Original Date: November 08, 2012
Join us for this month's Tools of Engagement webinar, where Kelly McCracken and Matthew Shaffer will talk about Mandiant's latest offering: Response Readiness Assessment.
Original Date: October 23, 2012
Join Mandiant's Richard Bejtlich and Grady Summers as they discuss highlights from Mandiant's Incident Response Conference, MIRcon.
Original Date: September 20, 2012
Incident responders spend a good portion of their time chasing down ''traditional'' backdoors: malware that establishes persistence, hides on systems, and periodically calls-out to command-and-control servers for instructions. However, such backdoors aren't the only way to get into a typical corporate environment '' and targeted attackers are increasingly relying on novel remote access techniques in lieu of typical malware. In many cases, these methods leverage a victim's existing infrastructure in ways they never anticipated!
Original Date: August 30, 2012
Join Mandiant's Jeff Hamm and Willi Ballenthin on this month's Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar as they discuss NTFS INDX Buffers and their role in incident response investigations.
Original Date: August 01, 2012
Join Mandiant's own Tim Crothers and David Mackey as they discuss how you can effectively optimize your incident response workflow by integrating Mandiant Intelligent Response¨ (MIR) with the tools you have now, such as your SIEM (Security Information Event Management) or advanced malware alerting solutions.
Original Date: July 19, 2012
Join Mandiant's Michael J. Graven and Devon Kerr as they provide a mid-year update on current attacker trends, investigative techniques, and remediation strategies.
Original Date: June 27, 2012
Having the confidence to admit your systems and network are vulnerable can be a liberating and positive experience! In this edition of Tools of Engagement, join Mandiant's own Yanek Korff and Wade Woolwine to discuss how that admission can open the door to truly being prepared to fight adversaries targeting your organization.
Original Date: June 21, 2012
As a CISO your organization's security is your top priority. That cannot be questioned. What can be questioned is the best metrics to use when evaluating how effective your program is.
Original Date: May 24, 2012
Join us for this Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar where Mandiant's Chris Nutt and Jason Rebholz will deep dive into the technical side of Mandiant's annual threat report, M-Trends', using the three case studies illustrated within the report.
Original Date: May 17, 2012
Join us for our inaugural Tools of Engagement webinar, where Mandiant's Redline' team will kick things off by showing you how to organize your analysis command center, how to acquire data and how to perform deep dive analysis using Redline.
Original Date: April 19, 2012
In this month's Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar, Mandiant's Doug Wilson and Will Gibb will take you on a trip through the world of OpenIOC', an open framework for sharing threat intelligence.
Original Date: March 16, 2012
In this webinar Richard Bejtlich, Chief Security Officer; Michael J. Graven, Director; and Grady Summers, Vice President of Customer Success, survey the key findings from Mandiant's annual threat report.
Original Date: February 29, 2012
In this Fresh Prints of Mal-Ware webinar we discuss the forthcoming book Practical Malware Analysis:The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software.
Original Date: January 19, 2012
In this Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar, Mandiant's Chuck Willis and Willi Ballenthin discuss the types of attacks that are making headlines today. While these types of attacks are highly technical, this webinar provides exposure to a variety of concepts and answers to basic questions.
Original Date: October 28, 2011
In this State of the Hack presentation Richard Bejtlich and Lucas Zaichkowsky discuss highlights from Mandiant's incident response conference, MIRcon.
Original Date: June 23, 2011
During this Fresh Prints of Mal-ware webinar, Mandiant's Christopher Glyer and Jason Rebholz take you straight to the forensic frontlines of a recent PCI data breach investigation.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:45
Dave Merkel is Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Products at Mandiant. He has worked in the information security and incident response industry for over 15 years, including directing technical security operations at America Online, leading incident response management efforts at Time Warner, and performing computer crime investigations as a Special Agent in the United States Air Force. Dave has led numerous engineering teams in crafting scalable technology solutions for information security problems in a variety of environments.
Read moreDave Merkel is Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Products at Mandiant. Based in Alexandria, Va., Dave focuses on shaping the strategy and direction of our technology and engineering solutions by building scalable innovation to address the rapidly evolving information security market.
Dave has worked in the Information Security industry and within the world of Incident Response for more than 15 years, including service as a federal agent in the United States Air Force, and more than seven years directing security operations at America Online (AOL).
At AOL, Dave led a team of technologists to protect corporate systems and network infrastructure. His department was responsible for the design, implementation, and operation of technical security defenses throughout the organization. He established AOL's first incident response team and led the formation of a company wide program for managing security incidents across Time Warner's diverse business units. Dave also played a key role in establishing AOL's security assurance program, providing technical risk assessment services for systems, networks, internal applications, and products.
As a primary security stakeholder, he authored significant portions of both the AOL and Time Warner information security policy, established an information security management framework for the corporation, and played an instrumental role in ensuring Sarbanes-Oxley and Payment Card Industry compliance.
Dave also managed AOL's internal security infrastructure software development initiatives. His team provided innovative solutions for protecting data centers and transit networks at scale, including technologies for intrusion and anomaly detection, incident response management, automated countermeasures deployment, and authentication and authorization.
Prior to AOL, Dave served as a Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where he focused on computer crime and digital forensics. Specifically, Dave conducted criminal and counterintelligence investigations ranging from the trafficking of digital contraband to the pursuit of international felons responsible for attacks against Department of Defense networks. Dave has participated in countless forensic examinations and is a qualified expert witness in federal and state proceedings.
Dave earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has held security clearances at Top Secret and higher.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 02:39
WASHINGTON '--As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take against Beijing or any other country guilty of cyberespionage.
According to officials familiar with the plans, the White House will lay out a new report Wednesday that suggests initial, more-aggressive steps the U.S. would take in response to what top authorities say has been an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the threatened action.
The White House plans come after a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details Monday that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398.
Military experts believe the unit is part of the People's Liberation Army's cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China's version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As such, its activities would be likely to be authorized at the highest levels of China's military.
The release of Mandiant's report, complete with details on three of the alleged hackers and photographs of one of the military unit's buildings in Shanghai, makes public what U.S. authorities have said less publicly for years. But it also increases the pressure on the U.S. to take more forceful action against the Chinese for what experts say has been years of systematic espionage.
"If the Chinese government flew planes into our airspace, our planes would escort them away. If it happened two, three or four times, the president would be on the phone and there would be threats of retaliation," said former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry. "This is happening thousands of times a day. There needs to be some definition of where the red line is and what the repercussions would be."
Henry, now president of the security firm CrowdStrike, said that rather than tell companies to increase their cybersecurity the government needs to focus more on how to deter the hackers and the nations that are backing them.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in the past year the White House has been taking a serious look at responding to China, adding that "this will be the year they will put more pressure on, even while realizing it will be hard for the Chinese to change. There's not an on-off switch."
The Chinese government, meanwhile, has denied involvement in the cyber-attacks tracked by Mandiant. Instead, the Foreign Ministry said that China, too, is a victim of hacking, some of it traced to the U.S. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei cited a report by an agency under the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry that said in 2012 alone that foreign hackers used viruses and other malicious software to seize control of 1,400 computers in China and 38,000 websites.
"Among the above attacks, those from the U.S. numbered the most," Hong said at a daily media briefing, lodging the most specific allegations the Chinese government has made about foreign hacking.
Cybersecurity experts say U.S. authorities do not conduct similar attacks or steal data from Chinese companies, but acknowledge that intelligence agencies routinely spy on other countries.
China is clearly a target of interest, said Lewis, noting that the U.S. would be interested in Beijing's military policies, such as any plans for action against Taiwan or Japan.
In its report, Mandiant said it traced the hacking back to a neighborhood in the outskirts of Shanghai that includes a white 12-story office building run by the PLA's Unit 61398.
Mandiant said there are only two viable conclusions about the involvement of the Chinese military in the cyberattacks: Either Unit 61398 is responsible for the persistent attacks or they are being done by a secret organization of Chinese speakers with direct access to the Shanghai telecommunications infrastructure who are engaged in a multi-year espionage campaign being run right outside the military unit's gates.
"In a state that rigorously monitors Internet use, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese government is unaware of an attack group that operates from the Pudong New Area of Shanghai," the Mandiant report said, concluding that the only way the group could function is with the "full knowledge and cooperation" of the Beijing government.
The unit "has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations," Mandiant wrote. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. The most popular version of the new iPhone 5, for example, has 16 gigabytes of space, while the more expensive iPads have as much as 64 gigabytes of space. The U.S. Library of Congress' 2006-2010 Twitter archive of about 170 billion tweets totals 133.2 terabytes.
"At some point we do have to call the Chinese out on this," said Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush and now chairman of the Chertoff Group, a global security firm. "Simply rolling over and averting our eyes, I don't think is a long-term strategy."
Richard Bejtlich, the chief security officer at Mandiant, said the company decided to make its report public in part to help send a message to both the Chinese and U.S. governments.
"At the government level, I see this as a tool that they can use to have discussions with the Chinese, with allies, with others who are concerned about this problem and have an open dialogue without having to worry about sensitivities around disclosing classified information," Bejtlich said. "This problem is overclassified."
He said the release of an unclassified report that provides detailed evidence will allow authorities to have an open discussion about what to do.
Mandiant's report is filled with high-tech details and juicy nuggets that led to its conclusion, including the code names of some of the hackers, like Ugly Gorilla, Dota and SuperHard, and that Dota appears to be a fan of Harry Potter because references to the book and movie character appear as answers to his computer security questions.
The White House would not comment on the report expected Wednesday.
"We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cybertheft with senior Chinese officials, including in the military, and we will continue to do so," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. "The United States and China are among the world's largest cyber actors, and it is vital that we continue a sustained, meaningful dialogue and work together to develop an understanding of acceptable behavior in cyberspace."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the report reinforces the need for international agreements that prohibit cybercrimes and have a workable enforcement mechanism.
Associated Press writers Christopher Bodeen, Gillian Wong, Charles Hutzler and Joe McDonald contributed to this report.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:03
Source: The Guardian
A blogger has published once-classified FBI files that show how the agency tracked and collected information on internet activist Aaron Swartz.
Swartz, who killed himself in January aged 26, had previously requested his files and posted them on his blog, but some new documents and redactions are included in the files published by Firedoglake blogger Daniel Wright.
Wright was given 21 of 23 declassified documents, thanks to a rule that declassifies FBI files on the deceased. Wright said that he was told the other two pages of documents were not provided because of freedom of information subsections concerning privacy, ''sources and methods,'' and that can ''put someone's life in danger.''
Read full article
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:30
The Western media cover-up, promoted by so-called "meteor experts" planted by the military complex, tells of a fantastic meteorite striking Russia's Urals region, while trying to ignore a second spectacular space disaster in Cuba, which occurred just hours later. A pair of massive meteorites, each brighter than the Sun, has never been recorded before in the entire history of astral chronologies. Obviously, the bus-size objects that fell from the sky are man-made and not freaks of nature.
While it is too early yet for a conclusive determination, one scenario can explain the twin disasters, and that is a free fall of a U.S. Air Force orbital weapons platform loaded with super-heavy "God Rods". A dual-cabin space-based bomber likely caused the falsely attributed "meteorite" hits on Russia's Urals region and, just hours later, on Cuban territory. In both cases, witnesses and videophone images showed "bus-shaped" objects "brighter than the Sun" falling to Earth in regions halfway around the world from each other.
Rods from God
God Rods are the ultimate bunker busters, which strike with Luciferian power despite their name, which came no doubt from the apocalyptic corps of evangelical graduates of the Air Force Academy. To prepare a God Rod assault on Iran's hardened nuclear bunkers, the USAF dual-chamber orbital ship would be positioned into a slower near-geostationary orbit over the Caspian Sea.
The Rods from God are depleted uranium rods sheathed in a ceramic foam shell, which prevents friction-caused searing vaporization during re-entry. The DU rods rely on kinetic energy from gravity acceleration reaching supersonic speeds along a close-to vertical trajectory. Upon impact with the Earth's surface, the ceramic shell is shattered into powder, while the DU becomes a red-hot searing liquid fire that burns through rock and concrete. Turning into dust and gas, the depleted uranium will ignite the air inside any bunker or tunnel, creating shock waves that cause the roof to cave in.
A test drop of a God Rod probably caused the seismic blast and destruction of an underground Iranian nuclear lab in late January.
What Goes Up
One problem of near-geostationary orbit, however, is the massive weight of the God Rod canisters aboard the space bus. With the slightest miscalculation of minimum orbital momentum, the space-based weapons platform tumbles into free fall.
Plummeting to Earth along an oscillating parabolic path, the astro-soldiers aboard the USAF weapons platform would have to decouple the weapons-carrying cabin from the command module. Presumably the crew boarded an escape pod, the blue streak seen by San Franciscans, which landed at sea in the Gulf or Atlantic. Their fate will never be revealed to the public, despite the loud claims from the United States of being a democracy with information transparency in contrast to evil dictatorships.
It was probably the weapons cabin that hit the Russian Urals, a region with a dozen nuclear research reactors around the Chelyabinsk nuclear-weapons zone and the large power reactor near Ekaterinaberg. Besides injuring 1,400 people, mainly from flying glass of windows broken by sonic booms, the vaporized DU rods will also add more radiation to the atmosphere, already contaminated by the Fukushima meltdowns, and further degrade the Siberian environment, which is highly radioactive from reckless Soviet strategic weapons testing in the past.
If the USAF vehicle had smashed into one of the many terrestrial research reactors, a nuclear power station or a warhead facility in the Urals, there would undoubtedly have been a thermonuclear exchange between Russia and the US. A Russian "retaliatory strike" would have destroyed every US military base worldwide and most major cities in America.
The complacent and amoral American public has tolerated the secret space-based weapons program and so would have no grounds for complaint at the loss of a hundred million or more lives inside their own territory. The rest of the world, of course, would not be so forgiving to the USA for triggering an Armageddon.
As for the gung-ho evangelical Air Force officer corps, it seems the loss of their space toy means that God must be on the other side of the rod.
Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of The Japan Times Weekly, is a Hong Kong-based science writer.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:37
Gennady Belimov, a renowned expert on the paranormal, believes that a meteorite crashed near Chelyabinsk was downed UFO. According to him, it saved people from certain death. As evidence, he cites the video
''I think we, the people of Russia in particular and the Earth as a whole, once again lucky '' said Belimov. '' The video clearly shows that the'' alien Chelyabinsk ''initially reacted in the sky a UFO. And it was after that interaction luminous object begins to explode and disintegrate into small pieces. ''
Video that ''proves'' the interference of alien forces, was sent Belimovu credible source '' living in the suburbs of military-aerospace engineer, retired. ''Some extraterrestrials have once again saved mankind from the more unfortunate consequences than those that we have,'' '' concluded the head of the Volga group to study anomalous phenomena.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:04
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Moscow believes an operable national defense against threats from outer space can be built within 10 years' time. The 500-kiloton explosion of a space bolide above the Urals region has sped-up allocation of some $2 billion to prevent future threats.
Russian scientists have presented a federal program designed to counteract space threats. Elaborated by the Institute of Astronomy at Russia's Academy of Sciences and the Central Engineering Research Institute, Russia's leading space industry enterprise, the program has already been approved by Roskosmos, the national space agency.
The program has nothing to do with Hollywood sci-fi movie scenarios; no lasers, annihilators or Bruce Willis drilling a huge peace of rock rushing towards Earth.
The system will consist of a network of robotic telescopes monitoring space around our planet, some of them delivered to orbit, others operating from the surface.
Destruction of an asteroid in emergency cases may be performed by a rocket with a powerful megaton-class thermonuclear warhead. If the threat is detected early, more advanced means of changing an asteroid's orbit may be considered.
The program costing 58 billion rubles (over $1.9 billion) has already been handed over to the head of Russia's defense industry, Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin who is expected to present it to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Lidia Rykhlova from the Institute of Astronomy (RAS) who presented the project, reported that Russia will need to modernize and fully computerize the 60 cm lens telescopes it already has. Several larger telescopes with 2 meter lens will have to be additionally installed.
Rykhlova announced that an analytical center will be created to collect the data from various sources and analyze it in real time mode.
Professor of the Moscow State University, head of the laboratory for space monitoring Vladimir Lipunov told Interfax news agency that it will take about two years to modernize all Russia's existing nine telescopes with the diameter of the lens of 40 centimeters and unite them into one network. A network of larger telescopes across the globe could be ready in five years.
''It will cost a mere trifle. What [Russian billionaire] Roman Abramovich paid for Chelsea [football club] would cover all the costs of the project,'' Lipunov said.
According to Forbes during the eight years of owning Chelsea Abramovich spent $1.3 billion on the football club.
Lipunov stressed that tracking and forecasting space threats is more real and efficient than engaging air defense systems to deal with meteorites in the atmosphere, as people could be evacuated from an impact zone in advance.
Asteroid threat is growing by the year''There are a lot of asteroids orbitingclose to Earth and every year up to 1,000 more are being discovered,'' Lidia Rykhlova said, specifying that three years ago the number of known asteroids passing close to our planet was about 7,000 and now their number has grown up to around 9,400.
Most of the relatively large asteroids, with a diameter of one kilometer and larger are already known.
''We know about 90 per cent of kilometer-class asteroids, their orbits are well known and predictable. As for the smaller 40-50 meter ones '' we still have insufficient observation apparatus. The more we observe '' the more of them we find,'' Rykhlova acknowledged.
If the space object is discovered beforehand, at least a month prior to possible collision with Earth, there is time to find out its size and consider various measures of its elimination.
The execution of a really complicated operation will require at least a year, Rykhlova pointed out.
''Therefore our emergency aid is a rocket with a nuclear warhead,'' she concluded.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 01:27
Yekaterina Pustynnikova / AP
In this photo provided by Chelyabinsk.ru, a meteor contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.
By Suzanne Choney
There aren't yet any advance warning systems that could give Earthlings a heads-up before an untracked space rock hits. But a telescope project in Hawaii aims to change that, and potentially provide a chance for those in threatened areas to evacuate. A meteor alert might have made a difference to Russia's Chelyabinsk region on Friday.
Read: Nuclear-like in its intensity, Russia meteor blast is largest since 1908
"There are excellent ongoing surveys for asteroids that are capable of seeing such a rock with one to two days' warning, but they do not cover the whole sky each night, so there's a good chance that any given rock can slip by them for days to weeks. This one obviously did," astronomer John Tonry of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii told NBC News Friday.
Tonry is one of the key players in a NASA-backed effort to build ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System), two observatories in Hawaii that can simultaneously scan the entire visible sky twice a night.
"If ATLAS were up and running we might very well have seen" the meteor that hit Russia, he said, and "could have provided one to two days' warning."
However, he adds, the success of detection "depends on a couple of assumptions." One is that it's not cloudy. Another is that the asteroid doesn't go over the South Pole, "where ATLAS cannot see."
Telescopes, Tony said, "can only see the sky above the horizon, obviously. A telescope that's sited in the northern hemisphere (which ATLAS will be) cannot see all the way to the South Pole of the sky." And, "if the asteroid were coming from that direction, there's a good chance that it would never rise above the horizon for a northern telescope before it hits."
While it would "easy to build multiple copies of ATLAS and put some in the south, and spread them out so they see different weather patterns ... that's for the future," he said.
Dozens were hospitalized and nearly 1,000 residents suffered minor injuries from fallen debris and the impact of the meteor's powerful landing. NBC's Tom Costello reports.
The ATLAS telescopes are "just now" being built, Tonry said; ATLAS should "start running around the end of 2014 and be fully operational by the end of 2015." NASA has provided $5 million in funding for ATLAS.
At one time, NASA considered launching an asteroid-hunting probe, but that didn't go forward because of the cost, estimated at $500 million almost a decade ago.
Other private efforts are in the works, too.
Last year, leaders of the nonprofit B612 Foundation, including Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, started a campaign to fund and launch a space telescope that will hunt for potential killer asteroids over the course of five and a half years.
Another venture, from a group called Planetary Resources, ultimately wants to do asteroid mining, but says its first step is to "launch an orbital fleet of 'personal space telescopes' capable of looking out into the heavens or back down on Earth," wrote Alan Boyle, NBC News.com's Science editor last year.
More about cosmic hits (and near misses):
Suzanne Choney is a contributing writer for NBC News.com. You can follow her on Twitter.
NASA looks at the flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 from several amateur observatories across Australia.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 01:58
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A meteor that exploded over Russia's Ural mountains and sent fireballs blazing to earth has set off a rush to find fragments of the space rock which hunters hope could fetch thousands of dollars a piece.
Friday's blast and ensuing shockwave shattered windows, injured almost 1,200 people and caused about $33 million worth of damage, said local authorities.
It also started a "meteorite rush" around the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, 1,500 km (950 miles) east of Moscow, where groups of people have started combing through the snow and ice.
One amateur space enthusiast estimated chunks could be worth anything up to 66,000 roubles ($2,200) per gram - more than 40 times the current cost of gold.
"The price is hard to say yet ... The fewer meteorites that are recovered, the higher their price," said Dmitry Kachkalin, a member of the Russian Society of Amateur Meteorite Lovers. Meteorites are parts of a meteor that have fallen to earth.
Scientists at the Urals Federal University were the first to announce a significant find - 53 small, stony, black objects around Lake Chebarkul, near Chelyabinsk, which tests confirmed were small meteorites.
The fragments were only 0.5 to 1 cm (0.2 to 0.4 inches) across but the scientists said larger pieces may have crashed into the lake, where a crater in the ice about eight meters (26 feet) wide opened up after Friday's explosion.
"We just completed tests and confirm that the pieces of matter found by our experts around Lake Chebarkul are really meteorites," said Viktor Grokhovsky, a scientist with the Urals Federal University and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"These are classified as ordinary chondrites, or stony meteorites, with an iron content of about 10 percent," he told RIA news agency.
He did not say whether the fragments had told his team anything about the origins of the meteor, which the U.S. space agency NASA estimated was 55 feet across before entering Earth's atmosphere and weighed about 10,000 tons.
The main fireball streaked across the sky at a speed of about 30 km (19 miles) per second, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos, before crashing into the snowy wastes.
More than 20,000 people took part in search and clean-up operations at the weekend in and around Chelyabinsk, which is in the heart of a region packed with industrial military plants.
Many other people were in the area just hoping to find a meteorite after what was described by scientists as a once-in-a-century event.
Residents of a village near Chelyabinsk searched the snowy streets, collecting stones they hoped would prove to be the real thing. But not all were ready to sell.
"I will keep it. Why sell it? I didn't have a rich lifestyle before, so why start now?" a woman in a pink woolen hat and winter jacket, clutching a small black pebble, told state television Rossiya-24.
The Internet filled quickly with advertisements from eager hunters hoping to sell what they said were meteorites - some for as little as 1,000 roubles ($33.18).
The authenticity of the items was hard to ascertain.
One seller of a large, silver-hued rock wrote in an advertisement on the portal Avito.ru: "Selling an unusual rock. It may be a piece of meteorite, it may be a bit of a UFO, it may be a piece of a rocket!"
($1 = 30.1365 Russian roubles)
(Additional reporting by Ludmila Danilova and Gabriela Baczinska, Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Andrew Heavens)
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:22
Notice; Request For Comments, Data, And Information.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the Agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient. FDA is issuing this notice to request comments, data, and information about the issues presented in the petition.
Submit either written or electronic comments by May 21, 2013.
You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. FDA-2009-P-0147 by any of the following methods:
Submit electronic comments in the following way:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Submit written submissions in the following ways:
Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for paper or CD-ROM submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
Instructions: All submissions received must include the Agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received may be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For additional information on submitting comments, see the ''Comments'' heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the ''Search'' box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
Daniel Y. Reese, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-820), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-2371.
The IDFA and NMPF jointly submitted a citizen petition (Ref. 1) on March 16, 2009, requesting that FDA amend the standard of identity in part 131 (21 CFR part 131) for milk (¤ 131.110). Specifically, the petition requests that FDA amend ¤ 131.110(c)(2) to allow the use of ''any safe and suitable'' sweetener in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk.  The petition also requests that FDA similarly amend the standards of identity for 17 other milk and cream products. Those standards (hereinafter referred to as the ''additional dairy standards'') are as follows: Acidified milk (¤ 131.111), cultured milk (¤ 131.112), sweetened condensed milk (¤ 131.120), nonfat dry milk (¤ 131.125), nonfat dry milk fortified with vitamins A and D (¤ 131.127), evaporated milk (¤ 131.130), dry cream (¤ 131.149), heavy cream (¤ 131.150), light cream (¤ 131.155), light whipping cream (¤ 131.157), sour cream (¤ 131.160), acidified sour cream (¤ 131.162), eggnog (¤ 131.170), half-and-half (¤ 131.180), yogurt (¤ 131.200), lowfat yogurt (¤ 131.203), and nonfat yogurt (¤ 131.206). The petition asks that the standards of identity for these products be amended to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener in the optional ingredients. 
IDFA and NMPF request their proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk (e.g., chocolate flavoring added to milk) to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener'--including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame. IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school. As further support for the petition, IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would assist in meeting several initiatives aimed at improving the nutrition and health profile of food served in the nation's schools. Those initiatives include state-level programs designed to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day. Finally, IDFA and NMPF argue that the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace and are therefore appropriate under section 401 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341).
The petition acknowledges that the use of non-nutritive sweeteners in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients in milk is allowed under the existing regulatory scheme, with certain additional requirements. The regulatory framework governing the naming of standardized foods that do not fully comply with the relevant standards of identity changed with the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 and FDA's rulemaking establishing the Agency's requirements for foods named by use of a nutrient content claim and a standardized term (¤ 130.10 (21 CFR 130.10)). Section 130.10(d) allows the addition of safe and suitable ingredients to a food named by use of a nutrient content claim and a standardized term when these ingredients are used to, among other things, add sweetness to ensure that the modified food is not inferior in performance characteristic to the standardized food even if such ingredients are not specifically provided for by the relevant food standard. Therefore, while the milk standard of identity in ¤ 131.110 only provides for the use of ''nutritive sweetener'' in an optional characterizing flavor, milk may contain a characterizing flavor that is sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener if the food's label bears a nutrient content claim (e.g., ''reduced calorie'') and the non-nutritive sweetener is used to add sweetness to the product so that it is not inferior in its sweetness property compared to its standardized counterpart. However, IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as ''reduced calorie'' are not attractive to children, and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims. Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk'--including flavored milk'--as necessarily containing sugar. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can ''more easily identify its overall nutritional value.''
As to the additional dairy standards, IDFA and NMPF state that administrative efficiency counsels in favor of similar changes. As long as FDA is dedicating resources to amending the standard of identity for milk, they argue, the Agency should also amend the standards for these products at the same time. They state that it is most efficient to consider all of the proposals together. According to the petition, the requested changes to the additional dairy standards present the same issues as the milk standard, and it is therefore appropriate to consider all of the requested changes together.
FDA requests that interested persons submit comments, data, and information concerning the need for, and the appropriateness of, amending the standard of identity for milk and the additional dairy standards. FDA specifically requests comment and supporting data, as appropriate, on the following matters:
1. The petition states that amending the standard of identity for milk (¤ 131.100) to allow the use of ''any safe and suitable'' sweetener in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients would promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers by creating consistency in the naming of flavored milk products because flavored milk could contain a non-nutritive sweetener without bearing a nutrient content claim (e.g., ''reduced sugar'') as part of its name. Would the proposed amendments promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers?
2. If the standard of identity for milk is amended as requested by petitioners, milk manufacturers could use non-nutritive sweeteners in flavored milk without a nutrient content claim in its labeling. Will the inclusion of the non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient statement provide consumers with sufficient information to ensure that consumers are not misled regarding the characteristics of the milk they are purchasing?
3. The petition states that flavored milk labels that bear nutrient content claims such as ''reduced calorie'' are unattractive to children. What, if any, data are available on children's purchase habits with regard to flavored milks labeled as ''reduced calorie flavored milk,'' ''no sugar added,'' ''less sugar,'' etc?
4. The petition states that if FDA dedicates resources to amending the standard of identity for milk, for purposes of administrative efficiency the Agency should also amend the Additional Dairy Standards because the issues presented are the same with respect to the use of non-nutritive sweeteners. Would amending the Additional Dairy Standards as requested promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers? If the labels of these products do not bear nutrient content claims, would the inclusion of non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient statements provide consumers with sufficient information to distinguish between the two types of products (i.e., sweetened with nutritive versus non-nutritive sweeteners) so that consumers are not misled? 
5. The petition notes that ice cream is permitted to contain either a nutritive or non-nutritive sweetener without the label bearing a nutrient content claim or otherwise distinguishing the two types of products from one another. Are the considerations underlying FDA amendments to the standard of identity for ice cream  applicable to the requested amendments to the standard of identity for milk or the Additional Dairy Standards?
6. If the standard of identity for milk and the Additional Dairy Standards are amended in the manner requested by the petition, what will be the effect on search costs  for consumers who would like to determine whether a product contains a nutritive or non-nutritive sweetener?
After reviewing the comments received, FDA will further evaluate the need for, and appropriateness of, the amendments requested by IDFA and NMPF and will decide what further actions are appropriate. For a copy of the petition filed by IDFA and NMPF please go to: http://www.regulations.gov and insert ''Docket No. FDA-2009-P-0147'' into the ''Search'' box.
FDA has placed the following references on display. To view the references, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number(s), found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the ''Search'' box. The references may also be seen in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
1. International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, Citizen Petition, March 16, 2009.
2. '' Frozen Desserts: Removal of Standards of Identity for Ice Milk and Goat's Milk Ice Milk; Amendment of Standards of Identity for Ice Cream and Frozen Custard and Goat's Milk Ice Cream'' (59 FR 47072, September 14, 1994).
Dated: February 14, 2013.
Assistant Commissioner for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2013-03835 Filed 2-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4160-01-P
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:42
A cross section of kill-to-injury ratios of major mass shootings suggests that if Adam Lanza acted alone in carrying out the Sandy Hook Elementary School carnage he was among the most accurate killers in modern history, exceeding even the lethal damage meted out by Al Capone's machine gun-wielding henchmen in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Incident, # of shooters, weapon(s) usedShotKilledWoundedKill-to-wounded ratioSANDY HOOK (2012) 1 shooter, AR-15, .2232726 (96.2%)1 (3.8%)26:1Aurora, CO (2012) 1 shooter, AR-15, .2237112 (16.9%)59 (83%)1:5Tucson, AZ (2011) 1 shooter, Glock 9mm146 (42.8%)8 (57.1%)1:1.2N. Ill. U (2008) 1 shooter, 9mm265 (20%)21 ((80%)1:4Virginia Tech (2007) 1 shooter, 9mm pistol4932 (68%)17 (32%)2:1Columbine, CO (1999) 2 shooters, 12 ga., 9mm3312 (36%)21 (64%)1:2U. Iowa (1991) 1 shooter/.38 spec.65 (83%)1 (16%)5:1Stockton, CA (1989) 1 shooter AK-47355 (14%)30 (86%)1:6Åcole Polytechnique/Montreal Massacre (1989) 1 shooter, Ruger Mini 14 .2232714 (52%)13 (48%)1.1:1Cal. St. Fullerton (1976) 1 shooter .22 LR semi-auto97 (78%)2 (22%)3.5:1U. Texas Tower (1966) 1 shooter4816 (33%)32 (67%)1:2St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1929) 2 shooters, .45 submachine guns76 (85.8%)1 (14.2%)6:1
Never mind the facts, however. The public has been repeatedly told by corporate news media that the December 14, 2012 incident was exclusively carried out by the awkward 20-year-old man with virtually no firearms or military training.
''The debate over gun violence gained urgency after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut,'' Reuters observed as recently as February 7. ''The killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 type assault rifle to shoot his victims before killing himself.''
Over the past seven weeks mainstream media have spoken in one earsplitting voice to drive home the now familiar ''lone gunman'' storyline ostensibly proffered by law enforcement while dismissing a multitude of important evidence indicating a far more complex scenario.
Indeed, as information recently pointed to by Digital Journal indicates, in a widescale rush to judgment major news media have neglected vital information and statements from Connecticut state authorities suggesting that Lanza may have had accomplices.
In a December 26 court plea to postpone release of contents yielded through five search warrant, Connecticut State Attorney General Stephen Sedensky argued that unsealing such findings might ''seriously jeopardize'' the investigation by divulging evidence heretofore known only to other ''potential suspects.''
Pointing to ''information in the search warrant affidavits that is not known to the general public,'' Sedensky also argued that opening the warrants would ''identify persons cooperating with the investigation, thus possibly jeopardizing their personal safety and well-being.''
The prosecutor's statement came less than two weeks after Connecticut State Police Lieutenant J. Paul Vance told reporters how there were ''some cards that we're holding close to our vest.''
In light of the above and alongside a wealth of additional evidence calling the ''official story'' into question, the corporate news media's long-running and continued emphasis of the ''lone gunman'' narrative appears increasingly fraudulent. The question remains whether this is merely a case of slipshod reporting or part of a more intentional mass deception against the American public.
 Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cohen, ''House Democrats to Unveil Gun Control Package; Mirrors Obama's,'' NBC/Reuters, February 7, 2013.
 Ralph Lopez, ''Sandy Hook DA Cites 'Potential Suspects,' Fears Witness Safety,'' Digital Journal, February 5, 2013.
Brennan kicked Allen out
DIA looking for 5000 spies
Asymmetric warfare is the application of dissimilar strategies, tactics, capabilities and approaches used to circumvent or negate an opponent's strengths while exploiting his weaknesses.
We would be Delta Operators - Analysts and Advisors
Are not official 'boots on the ground' nor do they need permission.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:53
Published: 21 Feb 13 11:04 CET | Print versionOnline: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20130221-48103.html
It was like King Kong versus Godzilla - two of the world's richest men have got into a billionaire brawl over whether Bill Gates tried to dupe SAP founder Hasso Plattner into giving away half his fortune.
The Giving Pledge, started by Microsoft founder Gates and US investor Warren Buffett to encourage the extremely wealthy to promise to give half their wealth to good causes, announced this week that software mogul Plattner, one of Germany's richest men, had signed up.But a disgruntled Plattner later said he had made no such commitment to give away half of his money.
"I feel Bill Gates has gone behind my back and used me," Plattner told regional newspaper the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten on Thursday.
The charity had quoted from a letter Plattner had wrote praising the practically free higher education he had received in Germany, and talking about wanting to give something back to society.
He and a handful of other billionaires including British tycoon Richard Branson, had signed up to the pledge, the letter said. A condition of joining is that the new member promises to give away at least half their wealth to good causes, although there is no stipulation of where the money goes.
Plattner, 69, is estimated to be worth more than 'Â5 billion. He started a foundation to promote education and health care around 20 years ago - but has not filled it with half of his fortune, much of which is still tied up in SAP, the software firm he founded.
He said he was furious at The Giving Pledge organizers, telling the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten that he had not signed up, would not be bounced into doing so, as he intended to retain control of both his stake of SAP and how he funded good causes.
Yet on Wednesday evening SAP itself released a statement saying Plattner was pleased to have joined the Gates-Buffett foundation - seemingly contradicting him.
Just a few hours later he repeated his denial that he was signing up to the foundation.
"They can all write that I am a member of the foundation as far as I am concerned. But I know that I do not fulfil the criteria - whatever Bill Gates says. There is less than 20 percent of my fortune in my foundation," he said.
The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten quoted a spokesman for The Giving Pledge saying that Gates knew about Plattner's social engagement and considered that this fulfilled the criteria.
"Gates will have to explain the rest," Plattner told the paper.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:03
The FBI is looking into possible insider trading in the options of ketchup maker HJ Heinz before its blockbuster deal last week to be acquired by Warren Buffett and Brazil's 3G Capital, a bureau spokesman has said.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G said last Thursday that they would buy Heinz for $23bn in cash.
Almost immediately, options market players noted there had been extremely unusual activity the day before the deal was announced.
"The FBI is aware of the trading anomalies the day before Heinz' announcement," a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday. "The FBI is consulting with the [US] SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] to determine if a crime was committed."
On Friday, the SEC filed a suit against unknown traders who it said used a Goldman Sachs account in Switzerland to trade on purported inside knowledge of the transaction.
A spokeswoman for the investor group declined to comment on the FBI's involvement.
A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs said the bank is cooperating with authorities' investigations.
Swiss authorities have already said they have not been asked to help with the US probe.
The SEC enforcement action marked the second time in six months regulators have taken aim at alleged insider trading in a deal involving 3G.
The first instance, last September, involved a stockbroker trading on inside information related to 3G's 2010 purchase of Burger King.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:33
Reggie Love seen nodding in approval.
Via ABC News:
When Tiger Woods is your teammate, it's hard to lose. Still, President Obama has a pretty good game, according to the world's second-ranked golfer.
President Obama and Woods played golf over Presidents' Day weekend, and Woods divulged on Tuesday that they teamed up to beat the other players in their foursome, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.
''He was my partner, and as I said, we won,'' Woods told reporters at a press conference after a practice round at the WGC-Accenture Matchplay Championship in Arizona.
''He hit the ball well, and he's got an amazing touch. He can certainly chip and putt,'' Woods said of Obama. ''If he '... spends more time playing the game of golf, I'm sure he can get to where he's got pretty good stick'' '-- golf-aficionados' terminology for a talented game.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 19:19
Bewerkt door: redactie '' 20/02/13, 18:04 '' bron: ANP
(C) ANP. Camiel Eurlings op Schiphol Oost
Oud-minister Camiel Eurlings wordt per 1 juli de nieuwe topman van luchtvaartmaatschappij KLM. Dat maakte het bedrijf vandaag bekend. Hij volgt Peter Hartman op, die in 2014 met pensioen gaat.
Eurlings zit sinds juli 2011 in het bestuur van KLM als topman van de vrachtdivisie van Air France-KLM. De geruchten dat hij het stokje van Hartman over zou nemen, gingen al langer. Hartman stond sinds april 2007 aan het roer bij de Nederlandse tak van Air France-KLM.
De voormalige minister van Verkeer en Waterstaat maakte de overstap naar KLM omdat dit hem als logistiek ingenieur dichter bij zijn vakgebied zou brengen. Daarvoor leek hij in de wieg gelegd voor de politiek. Eurlings was onder meer lijsttrekker voor het CDA bij de Europese verkiezingen en werd later door velen gezien als de opvolger van toenmalig premier Jan Peter Balkenende.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:27
Over to the debt markets, where Spain has sold more bonds than targeted, thanks to strong demand.
Madrid sold 'Â4.2bn of debt due in 2015, 2019 and 2023, compared with a target of 'Â3bn-'Â4bn, and borrowing costs eased.
The bond due in 2019 had an average yield of 4.275%, almost 2.5 percentage points lower than yields paid at its last outing in July, at the height of worries about the eurozone.
The bond due in 2015 had an average yield of 2.54%, compared with 2.82% in February.
The bond due in 2023 sold at a yield of 5.2%, in its first auction since it was introduced.
But traders said the sale was helped by the amount of money central banks are pumping into markets. Lyn Graham-Taylor at Rabobank said:
This is a strong set of results and continues the theme of decent demand for Spanish debt. We still believe this to be largely driven by the large amount of central bank liquidity in the system rather than an improvement in the fundamentals of Spain and major progress towards fiscal union being made by the eurozone.
Ireland, meanwhile, sold 'Â500m of three-month Treasury bills at a yiueld of 0.24% '' close to the lowest levels it has reached since Ireland returned to the debt markets last year.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:48
Wolf Richter www.testosteronepit.com www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter
France is in upheaval. Arguments erupt live on TV, demonstrations block the streets, strikes shut down plants, and threats of mayhem are part of the show [French Workers Threaten To Blow Up Their Factory]. The problem: an economy where businesses are suffocating under an obese public sector. Ever larger budgets have been the only source of economic growth. But now that model has run aground.
During the campaign last year, candidate Fran¤ois Hollande forecast that the economy in 2013 would grow 1.7%. Shortly after taking office, he shaved it down to 1.2%. Late last year, for the new budget, he chopped it to 0.8%.
And now that too has gone up in smoke. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius guesstimated on RTL that growth would instead be 0.2% to 0.3%. And the goal of a budget deficit of 3%? It hasn't been ''abandoned,'' Fabius said. But there'd be ''a delay.''
The final vestiges of economic optimism are evaporating. Taxes have already been raised to absurd levels, and new tools are being implemented to crack down on tax fraud [read... Draconian Cash Controls Are Coming To France].
But the deficit still isn't coming in line. Now the chopping block has been moved to the center. On it are child benefits. Instant hullabaloo.
Child benefits are part of a gamut of social benefits and subsidies. Parents of one child receive no child benefits. Once they have two children, they receive 'Â127 per month. With four kids, they receive 'Â452 per month. For each additional one, they receive another 'Â162. A household with eight kids receives 'Â1,100 ($1,500) per month in salary-like payments. And it's tax free, regardless of income.
But there are drawbacks: a single mom with one child and a minimum-wage job receives nothing, while a wealthy household with two kids receives 'Â127 per month; and it's very, very expensive. Hence its sudden appearance on the chopping block.
Three options have been mentioned: include child benefits in taxable income; reserve the benefits for lower-income parents; or cap the benefits for high-income parents. The prior Socialist Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, had already run his head into that wall. Tumults in the street forced him to retreat.
In this context, the evening news on France 2, France's largest TV channel, had an amazing report, amazing because it showed a well-mannered, articulate, well-intentioned and rarely televised meeting of government functionaries and elected officials that, unintentionally, displayed in a microcosm what is wrong with the French economy.
France has a shortage of daycare centers'--up to 12,000 places in Paris alone, according to the report. When three places opened up at the in-house daycare center of the H«tel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris, 16 families applied. So 13 elected representatives and bureaucrats'--some of them doctors and childhood specialists'--sat around a conference table. The director of the daycare center, after meeting with the families, had put together a dossier on each case. Hours of work. Now she was presenting the dossiers. The 13 people weighed pertinent aspects and carefully arrived at a decision. It took nearly two hours'--26 man hours (not counting the many hours put into it beforehand), paid for by taxpayers, to decide which three children should be able to enter the government-owned daycare center.
But where the heck was the private sector? Not a single word. Despite a shortage, and hence demand. No one even seemed to think about it. Certainly not the reporters of government-owned France 2. The private sector simply didn't enter into the equation'--though entrepreneurs creating daycare centers for 12,000 kids in Paris alone would have stimulated the economy in numerous ways.
''We have a major, massive, heavy problem that has never been dealt with until now,'' lamented Fran¤ois Bayrou, presidential candidate of the centrist MoDem, ''which is, our country has abandoned the force that it had, the force of creation, of enterprise, of production. If you don't produce, you don't have new products, new services, innovations, things to sell.'' France has abandoned the private sector.
He estimated that growth in 2013 would be ''zero, at best.'' And the lofty growth forecast during the campaign? ''As always during an election,'' he said, ''they tell the French things that are illusions and lies.''
But instead of falling for the latest fad of blaming German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Europe, globalization, or other specters of the French economic nightmare, he said, ''The problems of France are French.''
And so, the French economic model with its domineering public sector is being put through the wringer. That these discussions are taking place is a positive, though whether or not they will lead to anything constructive, or just more government intervention'--and more stimulus, for ''a moment of euphoria,'' as Bayrou sneered'--remains uncertain.
Not everything in the Eurozone is falling apart, not even in crisis-struck Italy: Ferrari booked records sales and profits in 2012. As dazzling as its cars. Not a single cloud darkened the horizon. Except in Italy where sales collapsed. And in the rest of the world, where central-bank printer ink stained the records. Read.... What Ferrari's Glorious Results Tell Us About The World.
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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:59
The CEO of an American tire maker has launched a brutal attack in writing on productivity in France, telling the government that some French workers put in only ''three hours'' a day and that his company would be ''stupid'' to take over a troubled factory in the country.
In a letter published in Wednesday's edition of French daily Les Echos, Titan International Inc. (NYSE:TWI) Chairman Maurice Taylor told French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg he had no interest in rescuing a tire plant that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Nasdaq:GT), the largest U.S. tire maker, is closing in France.
Taylor said in the letter dated Feb. 8: ''I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but work only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!''
Goodyear said last month it was set to close the plant, which employs 1,173 workers, following five years of failed talks with unions.
Taylor said Titan had a long history of buying and turning around troubled factories but in this case was not in any way interested. ''Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government,'' Taylor wrote.
"Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs," Taylor said. "You can keep the so-called workers."
The communist-backed CGT union hit back on Wednesday, saying the ''insulting'' letter showed that Taylor was more of a ''lunatic'' than a person suitable ''to hold the reins of a multinational,'' according to the Financial Times.
The CGT last year opposed a possible Titan takeover and Montebourg had hoped Titan would reconsider.
Mickal Wamen, a CGT official, said Taylor's letter justified the union's opposition to Titan. ''He says that the union is crazy, the government is sh-- and that [President Barack] Obama is a joke and he is going to produce in China'Å.'Å.'Å.'ÅWhat he's said today is not the way to break into [the European market].''
Here's the whole letter (via FTAlphaville's tumblr)
Dear Mr. Montebourg:
I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business; therefore, my apologies for answering your letter dated 31 January 2013.
I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting industrial activities and jobs in France. I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk.
I have visited the factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three, and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!
The Chinese are shipping tires into France - really all over Europe - and yet you do nothing. In five years, Michelin won't be able to produce tire in France. France will lose its industrial business because government is more government.
Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with money and talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tire. He does not care if the tires are from China or India and governments are subsidizing them. Your government doesn't care either. ''We're French!''
The US government is not much better than the French. Titan had to pay millions to Washington lawyers to sue the Chinese tire companies because of their subsidizing. Titan won. The government collects the duties. We don't get the duties, the government does.
Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory.
Best regards, Maurice M. Taylor, Jr.Chairman and CEO
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:17
TweetShare thisEmailPrintItaly's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he appears as a guest on the RAI television show Porta a Porta (Door to Door) in Rome February 20, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Remo Casilli
BERLIN | Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:30am EST
BERLIN (Reuters) - The German president of the European Parliament, once compared to a Nazi concentration camp guard by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, warned Italians on Thursday not to back the scandal-ridden media tycoon at the ballot box.
Martin Schulz is the latest in a line of German politicians to express fears about a possible Berlusconi comeback largely due to worries he will halt Rome's reform drive that has helped to lift investor confidence in the euro zone.
"Silvio Berlusconi has already sent Italy into a tailspin with irresponsible behavior in government and personal escapades," Schulz was quoted as saying in German daily Bild.
Berlusconi has been sentenced to prison for tax fraud and is on trial for having sex with an under-aged prostitute.
In quotes not printed in the paper but sent in an advance copy of the report, Schulz went on to urge Italians to vote for continued reforms.
"Much is at stake in the forthcoming elections, including making sure that the confidence built up by (Prime Minister) Mario Monti is not lost. I am very confident that Italian voters will make the right choice for their country."
There is bad blood between Berlusconi and Schulz, a Social Democrat.
In 2003, the then Italian prime minister said he would like to suggest Schulz, who had criticized his policies, for the role of a Kapo in a film on Nazi concentration camps. A Kapo was a camp inmate given privileges for supervising prison work gangs.
Berlusconi later brushed off the comment, saying he was being ironic and had referred to a television comedy series.
Merkel herself, who has supported Monti's austerity drive and has a difficult relationship with Berlusconi, has kept mum on who she would like to see lead the euro zone's third biggest economy .
Monti risked embarrassing her this week by saying Merkel did not want the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) to win, following Berlusconi's remark that Monti would join forces with the PD after the election "with Merkel's blessing".
Polls suggest the PD is likely to win control of Italy's lower house in the February 24-25 vote. Monti's centrist alliance is trailing in fourth place, but the PD may need its support to control the upper house of parliament and form a government.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Brown)
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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:08
''Greek workers walk off the job on Wednesday in a nationwide anti-austerity strike that will disrupt transport, shut public schools and tax offices and leave hospitals working with emergency staff.
Greece's two biggest labor unions plan to bring much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill during a 24-hour strike over the cuts, which they say only deepen the plight of a people struggling to get through the country's worst peacetime downturn.
Representing about 2.5 million workers, the unions have gone on strike repeatedly since Europe's debt crisis erupted in late 2009, testing the government's will to implement necessary reforms in the face of growing public anger.
''The (strike) is our answer to the dead-end policies that have squeezed the life out of workers, impoverished society and plunged the economy into recession and crisis,'' said the private sector union GSEE, which is organizing the walkout with its public sector sister union ADEDY.''
Read more here: Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill | Reuters.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:14
Greece is in the grip of yet another national strike. Much of the country is at a standstill.
The two biggest unions called the 24-hour stoppage to protest against existing austerity measures, and those to come.
Thousands gathered before the parliament in Athens to deliver their message that the belt-tightening policies will only deepen hardship that is already severe.
One resident in the Greek capital, Vassilis Samidis, said: ''This is one way to make those incompetents in government leave.''
Another pensioner, Dimitris, was more resigned. ''The strike isn't helping. Whatever will happen will happen. There's no other way,'' he said.
It's the deepest downturn debt-laden Greece has ever seen in peacetime. The Greek government is between two powerful forces. On one side, the troika of lenders who are demanding more austerity in exchange for emergency funds. On the other, Greeks who say enough is enough.
More about:Austerity, Greece, Protests in Greece, StrikeCopyright (C) 2013 euronews
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:08
20-02-13 13:30 uur - Bron: Het Parool
Omdat de nieuwe landelijke prostitutiewet is gestrand, zoekt Amsterdam alvast naar eigen manieren om misstanden aan te pakken - bijvoorbeeld een verhoogde leeftijdsgrens en een taaltoets.
Volgende week dinsdag gaat het college in gesprek over de toekomst van het stedelijke prostitutiebeleid. Het stadsbestuur wil onder andere regelen dat iedere prostituee een taaltoets moet doen, dat de leeftijdgrens wordt verhoogd van 18 naar 21 jaar en dat er een grotere verantwoordelijkheid bij de exploitanten komt te liggen.
Een woordvoerder: 'Zo'n taaltoets is belangrijk. Dan kunnen politie en hulpverleners met hen spreken, maar kunnen zij ook zelf adequaat handelen in noodsituaties. Het is allemaal bedoeld om de misstanden in de prostitutie, zoals uitbuiting en mensenhandel, tegen te gaan en de positie van prostituees te versterken.'
De aanpassingen zullen worden gedaan met een verandering in de Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening. Een noodgreep, omdat een nieuwe kaderwet, waarin onder andere de controversile registratieplicht voor alle prostituees was opgenomen, vorig jaar voor behandeling in de Eerste Kamer strandde.
Lees vandaag meer in Het Parool.
(Door: Hiske Versprille)
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:07
Het hoerenloopverbod is er nog niet, maar Amsterdam gaat wel wat strenger op haar publieke vrouwen letten. Er moet een verplichte taaltoets komen voor prostuti.. prostitio.. prutsitu.. hoeren. Fellatio is immers pas echt lekker als de zuigmevrouw weet hoe ze het moet spellen. 'VERVOEG BEFFEN, BITCH!' is het nieuwe 'ZUIGEN, KRENG!'. Overigens heeft een taaltoets niet zoveel zin als er geen taallessen aan voorafgaan. Hoe zou de gemeente Amsterdam dat gaan aanpakken? Als een role playing game? "Dan speel ik de taalnazi en ben jij het ongeletterde joodse kampmeisje." Zoiets. Het idee van de taaltoets is dat de rode lampmÛdchens over hun erbarmelijke situatie uit angst voor de pooier in correct Nederlands kunnen zwijgen. De meeste hoertjes slikken namelijk meer woorden in dan sperma als het gaat om hulp vragen. Ze kijken wel uit. Het leven van een onvrijwillige verhandelde vrouw is minder waard dan de rode gloeilamp waar ze onder staan. Helaas. De smeerbekken die vrouwen ontvoeren, verhandelen en uitbuiten gaan zeer waarschijnlijk niet sneller opgepakt worden door een taaltoets voor seksmeisjes. Maar een gemeente mag dromen, dat zeker. Afijn, iedereen weet dat het pas echt geil wordt bij de betaalvagina's als ze dingen doen die eigenlijk niet mogen. Benieuwd hoeveel spelfouten we op de Wallen kunnen krijgen voor vijftig euro.
Johnny Quid | 20-02-13 | 16:54 | Link | Reageer ookJe bent ingelogd als: (Uitloggen)
Probeer trouwens eens de totaal officieuze niet-ondersteunde third-party GeenStijl extension die compleet niet door ons ondersteund wordt en volledig op eigen risico is.
Je bent niet ingelogd, klik hier om dat wel te doen: login of doe een CookieSync.
Mon, 18 Feb 2013 14:20
First Greece was subjugated and forced to yield (still is) national sovereignty, now comes Portugal. One country at a time, the European continent is being captured via economic warfare. Be it the Troika or the EU itself, all roads lead back to Europe's powerhouse, Berlin, and it's Fourth Reich making the capture. With the Vatican undergoing a leadership transition and possible candidate elected this St. Patrick's Day, we could likely soon see the revived Holy Roman Empire.
Little by little, the Portuguese state is going down in defeat. In April 2011, when the country got a loan of 'Â78bn from the troika (EC, ECB and IMF) to avoid bankruptcy, it committed itself to privatisation. But under the leadership of Passos Coelho, a model student of the fiscal discipline demanded by the troika, the sell-off of the ''crown jewels'' '' what's left of them, that is '' has sped up.
For the 80,000 or so inhabitants of Viana, like for the rest of the country, the powerful wave of privatisation is causing a lot of worry. ''Some of these state enterprises are gems, others are junk buckets, but they're all strategic assets. And we're losing them forever,'' worries Bernardo S Barbosa, head of the local weekly Aurora do Lima. The Socialist mayor, Jos(C) Maria Costa, shares a growing national concern: the feeling that the country is losing its sovereignty. In a vast room at City Hall, this engineer by training reacts very angrily to the policy of the executive: ''By taking away our public assets, which are so vital, to the benefit of foreign companies, and private interests at that, we're losing control of our own destiny. I even fear that in the end it will affect our freedom and democracy.''
Around the area, it's the fate of the naval shipyards (ENVC) that is causing the most anxiety. After the public hospital, the municipality and the German company Enercon (which employs 1,200 people manufacturing wind turbines), ENVC is a major employer in the Upper Minho region. Especially since, once orders do come in, the work at the shipyards has a multiplier effect on all the peripheral businesses '' from transport companies to SMEs manufacturing assembly parts, to local businesses. ''Since the yards have shut down it's been a depression around here,'' laments hotelier Lucilia Passos Cruz. ''When they're sold off, foreign workers will fill up the restaurants and hotels. All that will be left to us will be tourism and our surfing beaches.''
Full article: The great Portuguese sell-off (Presseurop)
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Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams appealed Friday to Irish Republican Army die-hards to stop their violence and to support his seemingly Quixotic campaign for a vote in Northern Ireland on uniting politically with the rest of the island, the long-elusive dream of Irish republicans.
Sinn Fein this year has launched a campaign seeking support from the British and Irish governments to hold a referendum in both parts of Ireland on unity, an idea contained within the 1998 Good Friday deal. Both governments remain publicly cool on the idea in practice, citing the unrelenting hostility of the north's Protestant "unionist" majority to leaving the United Kingdom.
Adams, a reputed former commander of the long-dominant Provisional IRA faction that renounced violence in 2005, said sporadic attacks by IRA splinter groups still opposed to Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace agreement make it harder to build public support for uniting the British territory with the Republic of Ireland.
IRA now threatening bankers
In an interview with The Guardian the Real IRA said: "We have a track record of attacking high-profile economic targets and financial institutions such as the City of London. The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain's colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed."
Mon, 18 Feb 2013 14:20
In the Vatican there's a German pope, a German bank president with connections to German aristocratic families as well as a German military connection. Is history repeating itself?
ATICAN CITY '-- The Vatican was drawn into a new controversy Friday after acknowledging that its bank's new president is also chairman of a shipbuilder making warships '-- a significant conflict for an institution that has long shunned ties to military manufacturing.
The Vatican announced to great fanfare that Pope Benedict XVI had signed off on one of the last major appointments of his papacy, approving Ernst von Freyberg as president of the Vatican's bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works.
The Vatican spokesman was caught off-guard, though, when a journalist noted that the German shipbuilder von Freyberg chairs, Blohm + Voss, is known for its military ship construction.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi demurred and defended the selection. He later issued a statement saying von Freyberg chairs a civilian branch of Blohm + Voss, which repairs and transforms cruise ships and builds yachts '-- but that the company is currently part of a consortium that is building four frigates for the German navy.
Michael Brasse, spokesman for Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, said that von Freyberg is chairman of the executive board of Blohm + Voss Shipyards, a unit that concentrates on building civilian ships.
But before Blohm + Voss Shipyards and other non-military units of Blohm + Voss were sold in 2011 to Star Capital Partners, its military shipbuilding unit, Blohm + Voss Naval, had contracted with the German Defence Ministry for four new frigates. Blohm + Voss Naval subcontracted the actual construction of those vessels to Blohm + Voss Shipyards.
Though Blohm + Voss Naval is now known as ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH, and is entirely separate from the other Blohm + Voss units, the Shipyards unit is still constructing the frigates under the legacy contract.
Lombardi pointed out that Blohm + Voss is not engineering or designing military equipment, just involved in steel welding and docking. Germany's navy has contributed frigates and other ships to the EU's anti-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa.
The revelation dominated what was supposed to have been the Vatican's triumphant appointment of a new president for the bank after its last president, Italian banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was fired nine months ago for incompetence.
Gotti Tedeschi's stunning ouster came just as the Vatican was submitting its finances to a review by the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee in a bid to join the list of financially transparent countries.
The Vatican last summer passed the test of the Moneyval committee, which seeks to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. But the IOR and the Vatican's financial watchdog agency received failing grades.
The new president will be tasked with bringing the IOR into compliance by Moneyval's next review.
The Vatican stressed von Freyberg's Catholic credentials, noting that he was a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an ancient chivalrous military order drawn from European nobility. He himself is a member of one of Germany's aristocratic families.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:47
Bitcoin-Central is set to become the first Bitcoin exchange to operate as a real bank, thanks to new approvals from French regulators. Run by Paymium, Bitcoin-Central partnered with two French companies '-- the payment processor Aqoba and bank Credit Mutuel '-- to create a payment service based on Bitcoins. Customers will be able to deposit their funds into the service in either euros or Bitcoins, and they will be able to easily convert the funds between the two currencies.
Thanks to the approvals from authorities in France, deposits made in euros will benefit from insurance provided by the Garantie des d(C)p«ts, a French version of the FDIC in the US. Bitcoin-Central accounts will also be tied into the complete French banking system, which allows for direct deposit and other modern banking conveniences. A debit card, which will allow customers to spend their Bitcoins at retails establishments, is also in the works. It's not yet clear exactly when the service will launch, though approval for it is the key first step to getting it off the ground.
Bitcoins are a digital form of currency that have had trouble gaining traction in mainstream culture, thanks to a number of factors. Fraudulent activity with Bitcoins has caused earlier Bitcoin exchanges to shut down, the US-based Tradehill nd BitFloor exchanges being the most notable. Also, the rather nebulous way in which Bitcoins are created (they are "mined" by computers as opposed to being printed or produced by official government agencies) makes it difficult for the average consumer to put their trust in the currency. But gaining integration with traditional banking methods is an important step towards bringing Bitcoin to the masses, and it will be interesting to see if this venture by Bitcoin-Central will be able to shake off fraud concerns and become a successful operation.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:10
UPDATE: Minutes after the post - Stocks getting ugly now, catching down to VIX and USD's move
Bonds were sold instantly as the more hawkish comments from the FOMC hit - as was Gold. The USD rallied and stocks dipped modestly. Once that initial knee-jerk settled, stocks have gone largely sideways to modestly lower, Treasury yields have pushed back towards the day's highs as the USD strength and Gold weakness are tracking each other perfectly for now. Unfortunately, this is not helping the price of Oil - which is higher post-FOMC. Notably, while this is clearly being viewed as hawkish for bonds, commodities, and the USD, stocks appear unphased - but it seems VIX is soaking up the equity uncertainty for now (VIX +1.1 vols at 13.40%) indicating considerably more concern than the market itself (for now). The 'bond-like' Utilities sector is the most pressured (as rates rise) for now.
USD Up (inverted), Gold Down, Treasury yields Up, Oil Up, Stocks Flat...
But VIX not happy...
and Utes are hurting more as rates rise..
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Mon, 18 Feb 2013 04:34
The NY Fed secretly bailed out Bank of America last Summer, and it's just coming to light now.
Don't Blink, Or You'll Miss Another Bailout
New York Times
By Gretchen Morgenson
Many people became rightfully upset about bailouts given to big banks during the mortgage crisis. But it turns out that they are still going on, if more quietly, through the back door.
The existence of one such secret deal, struck in July between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America, came to light just last week in court filings.
That the New York Fed would shower favors on a big financial institution may not surprise. It has long shielded large banks from assertive regulation and increased capital requirements.
Still, last week's details of the undisclosed settlement between the New York Fed and Bank of America are remarkable. Not only do the filings show the New York Fed helping to thwart another institution's fraud case against the bank, they also reveal that the New York Fed agreed to give away what may be billions of dollars in potential legal claims.
Here's the skinny: Late last Wednesday, the New York Fed said in a court filing that in July it had released Bank of America from all legal claims arising from losses in some mortgage-backed securities the Fed received when the government bailed out the American International Group in 2008. One surprise in the filing, which was part of a case brought by A.I.G., was that the New York Fed let Bank of America off the hook even as A.I.G. was seeking to recover $7 billion in losses on those very mortgage securities.
Let's recap: For zero compensation, the New York Fed released Bank of America from what may be sizable legal claims, knowing that A.I.G. was trying to recover on those claims.
It gets better.
What did the New York Fed get from Bank of America in this settlement?
Continue reading at the New York Times...
Photos by William Banzai7...
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:19
(DailyReckoning) '' Germany recently made big news by announcing its plan to bring home part of its massive gold reserves. By retrieving 300 tons from New York and all 374 tons from Paris, 19% of its holdings '' $36 billion worth '' will be repatriated. By 2020, Deutsche Bundesbank expects to have 50% of its gold reserves stored in its Frankfurt vaults.
While Germany's announcement is no longer front-page news, it is important to consider the reasons behind this move, and the message being sent to investors by central banks around the globe '' gold is money. So fasten your seatbelt, this around-the-world tour is about to begin.
GermanyThe reason given by the German central bank for its recently announced repatriation plan was to ''build trust and confidence domestically, and the ability to exchange gold for foreign currencies at gold-trading centers abroad within a short space of time.'' Keeping reserves in London and New York '' both international markets with great liquidity '' affords Germany the ability to complete transactions quickly. Furthermore, Bundesbank has made it clear that this is not to be taken as a sign that it will be selling gold. Quite the opposite, as it also stated that this move is a ''pre-emptive'' measure ''in case of a currency crisis.''
VenezuelaYou'll likely recall Hugo Chvez's repatriation of Venezuelan gold in late 2011 '' a decision that was widely believed to be motivated by fears of US sanctions and frozen assets. Chvez, however, said the move was to ''safeguard against volatility in financial markets.'' Admittedly, Chvez's decision did not hold the same weight as Germany's in the eyes of the world. Germany is an ally of the US, after all. However, having repatriated his gold just months before Europe's debt crisis took hold, it's hard to dismiss the foresight demonstrated by the 15th-largest gold holder in the world.
RussiaRussia, with the eighth-largest holding of gold in the world '' almost 938 tonnes (over $50 billion) '' has been increasing its gold holdings hand over fist in recent years. In 2012, its gold reserves increased a hair shy of 55 tonnes, more than 6%. The reason given, according to Reuters, is ''to diversify its foreign reserves away from paper assets it views as risky.''
SwitzerlandIn 2011, an alarm was raised as many realized that more than half of the Swiss national gold had been sold off. This gave rise to the ''Gold Initiative: A Swiss Initiative to Secure the Swiss National Bank's Gold Reserves.'' Launched by four members of the Swiss parliament, the goal of the initiative is clearly identified in the name; to keep gold reserves secure through three requirements.
1. The gold of the Swiss National Bank must be stored physically in Switzerland.
2. The Swiss National Bank does not have the right to sell its gold reserves.
3. The Swiss National Bank must hold at least twenty percent (20%) of its total assets in gold.
Two of the main reasons given for desiring to secure these reserves are: ''the United States Federal Reserve and the European Union (with the European Central Bank ECB) are in the process of a de facto devaluation of their respective currencies, by printing tremendous amounts of Dollars and Euros''; and ''These actions strongly affect the Swiss National Bank, as the Swiss franc runs the risk of being devaluated as well.'' As is stated clearly, ''The greater the risk, the more important it is to maintain a sufficient gold stockpile!''
The NetherlandsOf the Netherlands' 612.5 tonnes of gold, only about 11% is in Dutch vaults. Over half is in New York, with the rest divided between London and Ottawa. While recently the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal Party has made an official appeal to repatriate Netherlands' gold reserves, interestingly, this is nothing new. In January, 2012, Willem Middelkoop warned that ''The Netherlands should repatriate its gold as soon as possible.''
ChinaWhile the World Gold Council reports China as owning just over 1,054 tonnes of gold, it's a well-known fact that the Asian powerhouse is very secretive about its true holdings until it sees an advantage in reporting. Even then, speculation abounds as to the verity of its claims. Some have estimated that, in light of the 1,054 tonnes being reported in 2009, by the end of 2013 China may hold as much as 4,000 tonnes of the yellow metal. Even if this is true, it would still only represent approximately 8% of its total reserves. However, the gold market could react quite strongly if China announces reserves anywhere near these levels.
As the world's largest gold producer for the past six years, China is perfectly capable of building reserves under the radar. Furthermore, due to its secrecy regarding its holdings, don't hold your breath waiting to find out how much gold it's holding. It seems somewhat incongruous that, unlike most central banks, the People's Bank of China encourages citizens to buy precious metals and pursues means of making them readily available. In light of gold's value as a hedge against currency devaluation, one can't help but wonder why.
TurkeyBoasting the first known coin '' the slater of Lydia (6th century BC) '' Turkey has a rich and ancient relationship with precious metals. A great deal of speculation abounds regarding how much silver and gold the people have stashed as personal reserves. Turkey's central bank has launched an all-out campaign to persuade citizens to deposit these hoards in their vaults. This is the result of two changes in the banking system. The first was that gold's monetary stability was recognized more fully when banks were allowed to increase their gold reserves from 10% to 30%. Second, as of the fall of 2011, banks were also allowed to include any gold deposited by customers as part of their reserves.
AzerbaijanWhile it's entirely possible you've not read about Azerbaijan in the headlines recently, it's interesting to note that the largest of the Caucasus states bought almost 15 tonnes of gold last year as part of a two-year goal to acquire 30 tonnes for its reserves. Recently it's begun taking delivery of the gold, formerly stored in JP Morgan's London vaults, moving it to Central Bank of Azerbaijan vaults in Baku.
An Old Relationship Renewed
It's quite evident that the relationship between the world's central banks and gold has been changing in recent years. Just fifteen years ago, many were selling gold reserves at rock-bottom prices, seeing no real value in maintaining such vast quantities in their reserves. Today these same countries are facing public outcry as the citizenry realizes, albeit too late, that the real sovereign wealth of their nation has been squandered by myopic monetary policies. Other central banks are aggressively increasing their gold reserves.
You, the Investor
As investors, we should take note. After a couple decades of shunning gold as a useless relic, banks are refixing their sights on the yellow metal for many reasons. Central to these is the reality that gold represents the world's true money. Whether we're attempting to diversify our portfolios or hedge against inflationary fiscal policy, true money is one of the few tangible monetary investments backed up by its own intrinsic value.
Devaluation of fiat currencies highlights the importance of maintaining a sufficient gold stockpile Central banks are embracing policies of anywhere from 5% to 90% gold reserves. Carefully consider their reasons, and whether you are sufficiently diversified.
J. Keith Johnson
Original article posted on Daily Resource Hunter
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 at 4:20 am and is filed under Dictatorship, Economic Crisis, Education/Mind Control, Fascism, NWO. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:06
''Bancolombia said on Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $2.1 billion to acquire HSBC Panama, as the bank continues to expand in Central America.Bancolombia, based in Medellin, Colombia, said in a filing that it would acquire all the common stock and 90.1 percent of its preferred shares.
It estimated HSBC Panama's net asset value to be $700 million. Bancolombia's regulatory filing said that through Sept. 30, 2012, HSBC Panama had $7.6 billion in assets, $5.7 billion in loans and $5.8 billion in deposits.
The deal is the latest signal of Bancolombia's global ambitions. In December, Bancolombia said that it had agreed to obtain 40 percent of Grupo Agromercantil of Guatemala. It also owns Banco Agricola in El Salavador.
''The financial sector in Central America has evolved in an important way in the last few years, in particular in Panama,'' Bancolombia's president, Carlos Raul Yepes, said in a statement.''
Read more here: Colombian Bank Buys HSBCs Panama Unit for $2.1 Billion '' NYTimes.com.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:59
caption: Beyonce and Jayzee in Nigeria in October 2006
By SaharaReporters, New York
SaharaReporters has uncovered a document indicating that a million dollars of Bayelsa State's poverty alleviation fund was spent by then Governor Goodluck Jonathan on bringing American entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z to Nigeria in 2006.
In a letter stamped and signed by Bayelsa officials, N150 million (approximately a million dollars in 2006) was released from the state's poverty alleviation fund for the first ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos.
The document came to light after a controversy was ignited over how much money American ''reality TV'' star Kim Kardashian was paid for a brief visit to Nigeria.
Ms. Kardashian, star of a US TV show about her idle rich family and who shot to international fame after a sex tape featuring her and her rapper boyfriend went viral, was reportedly paid half a million dollars for the 24-hour-visit last week.
The sources who provided the 2006 document for Beyonce and Jay Z's visit told Saharareporters that there was a shady financial link between the producers of some high profile entertainment events and the governors and other officials who control budgets at the state and federal levels. Mr. Obaigbena's newspaper, ThisDay, is a major sponsor of entertainment events that brings US music stars as well as top public figures for flying visits to Nigeria in exchange for gargantuan paychecks.
''Mr. Obaigbena often lines up financial bonanzas from numerous governors, ministers and other top government officials to finance his jamborees,'' said one of the sources who is based in the UK and is knowledgeable about such deals.
SaharaReporters obtained a letter from Mr. Obaigbena to the Bayelsa State government soliciting funds from the oil-producing state ahead of Nigeria's 46th independence celebrations in 2006. The publisher wrote, ''We invite you to partner with us as co-hosts of the festival.'' The letter added: ''With a total budget of $10 million, the co-host is expected to contribute a minimum of $2.5 million (two million five hundred thousand USD).''
At the bottom of the letter, minuted by hand and signed by then Governor Jonathan's aides as well as the Bayelsa State accountant general are the words, ''Release N150,000,000.00 (One hundred and fifty million naira) only to be drawn from the poverty alleviation subhead.''
One source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obaigbena sent similar letters to other south-south states.
SaharaReporters could not ascertain how much of the released funds was paid directly to performers at the festival. There is no indication that Beyonce, one of the few entertainment stars internationally famous enough to only need one name, was aware that her performance was being subsidized by the poor people of Bayelsa.
But during Beyonce's celebrated rendition of the Nigerian national anthem, pictures of Bayelsa State were projected onto the wall of the Lagos concert venue.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 47% of Bayelsans live in poverty. The World Bank says that per capita gross domestic product in the Niger Delta is significantly below the country's average. According to the state's own 2005 development strategy, 80% of rural communities have no access to safe drinking water, a key indicator in judging poverty. In Yenagoa, the state capital and Bayelsa's largest urban area, an estimated two out of every five residents do not have access to safe drinking water.
In 2005, as part of its UN-approved strategy to combat poverty, the state promised to make a fund of N100 million available as soft loans and micro-credit to Bayelsans. The allocated fund was N50 million less than Mr. Jonathan approved for Mr. Obaigbena's music festival. That promise was made in the Bayelsa State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, published by the United Nations Development Program and signed by then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. A civil rights activist in Yenogoa told SaharaReporters that the state ''has been a woeful failure in its poverty reduction program.''
The letter from Mr. Obaigbena to then-governor Goodluck Jonathan said the concert was necessary to show that the news from Nigeria was ''not just'...HIV/AIDS, conflicts, poverty, kidnapping, strife and riots.''
The publisher added: ''This is the longest ever period of democracy in Nigeria, over seven years and counting! And a stable democracy means more investment and economic prosperity for all.''
The publisher went on to give reasons why the state government should contribute to the concert.
The stars' performances would ''tell the world, through music, that Nigeria's time has come,'' Mr. Obaigbena wrote. The letter added, ''And once the good news catches on with the young and upwardly mobile, music loving new generation it will catch on with the world of investments and bountiful opportunities.''
In 2006, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had just become governor of Bayelsa after his boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was impeached and convicted on corruption charges. Mr. Jonathan was then elevated to Vice President to then President Umaru Yar'Adua. Mr. Yar'Adua's death in 2010 enabled Mr. Jonathan, a zoologist whose PhD focused on tropical fish, to assume the presidency.
Since 2006, Mr. Obaigbena's parent company, Leaders & Company, has produced a number of high-profile events that have seen such American stars as Rihanna, R Kelly, and Usher perform for Nigerians. The ticket prices for these concerts are usually out of reach of the ''average'' Nigerian. The events feature tickets that cost many tens of thousands of naira, usually reserved for ''VIP access.'' ThisDay has also hosted political luminaries like former US President Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to the Obama presidency, Lawrence Summers. At an Africa Rising concert in London, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell came on stage and danced to the popular Naija jam ''Yahooze'' by Olu Maintain.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 20:55
Is the United States Eyeing a New Military Base in Tajikistan? >>Today Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake, visited with senior Tajik government officials in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, according to a State Department press release. T......
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:51
YAOUNDE, Cameroon: A Cameroonian minister denied Thursday reports that a French family seized in the north of the country this week had been freed.
"It is a wild rumour. If this was true, the Cameroonian government would have already given the information to France," said Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary. Earlier, a French minister went back on an initial confirmation that the family of seven had been freed.
Mon, 18 Feb 2013 01:26
17 February 2013Last updated at12:55 ETSeven foreign workers have been seized and a security guard shot dead by gunmen who attacked a construction company site in northern Nigeria, officials say.
One of the workers seized was Italian, one was Greek and two others Lebanese.
But UK officials could not confirm a report that another was British.
No-one has admitted the abductions but the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, has staged a series of attacks in northern Nigeria.
A security guard was killed as the attackers targeted the workers' camp at Jama'are in Bauchi state.
Correspondents say it is the biggest kidnapping in northern Nigeria in recent times.
However, there have been a number of smaller incidents in the region, including the kidnapping of a French national, Francis Colump, in the northern state of Katsina.
That abduction was claimed by a second militant group, Ansaru, which emerged in June 2012.
The kidnapping of foreigners and wealthy Nigerians is common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, in the south of the country, and has become a lucrative trade for criminals.
Oil workers and other foreign nationals are often targeted because companies pay high ransom money to secure their employees' release, correspondents say.
Police station attackedLebanese foreign minister Adnan Mansour said two of those held were from Lebanon.
An Italian and a Greek national were also abducted from the site run by Lebanese-owned firm Setraco, the foreign ministries in Rome and Athens confirmed.
Another of those seized was a Filipino, a union leader at Setraco told the BBC.
The Italian ambassador in Abuja said, "Italy's absolute priority is the safety of its compatriot," Ansa news agency reported.
A UK foreign office spokesman said it was investigating reports of a Briton being kidnapped.
The raid was preceded by an attack on the local police station, when two vehicles were blown up, in the town of Jama'are, some 125 miles (200km) north of the state capital, Bauchi.
The attackers then moved on to a camp belonging to Setraco, killing a guard and seizing the workers. Setraco is currently expanding a major road in the area.
The state capital has itself been attacked several times by Boko Haram, which wants to impose Sharia (Islamic law) across Nigeria.
Earlier this month, nine polio vaccinators were shot dead at two health centres in northern Nigeria.
Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility.
Boko Haram has emerged as one of the most prolific militant groups in West Africa, carrying out a large number of low-level attacks but also some more sophisticated attacks.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:21
Kai RYSSDAL: Time now for a little bit of Freakonomics Radio -- that moment in the broadcast every couple of weeks where we talk to Stephen Dubner, the coauthor of the books and the blog of the same name. It is ''the hidden side of everything.'' Dubner, how you been man?
Stephen J. DUBNER: Great Kai, thank you. Been thinking about you. You drive a lot out there in California, right?
RYSSDAL: It's L.A. baby. Of course we do!
DUBNER: What are you paying for gas these days.
RYSSDAL: Oh, a lot! It's over four bucks a gallon.
DUBNER: So people generally don't like that, even though relatively we pay pretty cheap gas. The good news, however, is M.P.G. -- miles per gallon. We are now at a point where we get more miles per gallon of gas than any time in history, about 24 miles on average for the U.S. car fleet. And that number because of federal regulations is going to go up quite a bit in coming years. So great news, right?
RYSSDAL: Great, yes. Now, what? With you it's always good news, bad news, dude. What do you got?
DUBNER: Well, let's go a little deeper. Fuel economy goes up, which means what? It means that the cost of every mile you drive goes down. So people have an incentive to drive more, which can lead to more congestion, more risk of accident, but there's an even less obvious problem than those. Where do we think the money to build and maintain our roads all comes from? Here is Jaime Rall from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
RALL: And right now, the nation relies extremely heavily on gas taxes for transportation funding and advancements in fuel efficiency pose some real problems for transportation budgets.
RYSSDAL: If you follow the logic train here, it's people are using less gas because cars are more efficient, and then there's less tax revenues being raised to pay for the road. Right?
DUBNER: You got it. Revenues are hurting. But it hurts additionally because the gas tax is such a strange tax. Instead of being a percentage of, you know, whatever, two percent, five percent per gallon, it's a fixed rate. So the federal rate is 18 cents a gallon. States add their own state taxes on -- again, a fixed rate. But because it's fixed, unlike, let's say, a sales tax, you don't raise more tax revenue when the price of gas goes up. So every year, what happens is gas tax revenues lose purchasing power.
RYSSDAL: All right, so this is one of those gotta-ask-it questions even though I know the answer. Why not just raise the gas tax?
DUBNER: It would seem logical. Many economists have been lobbying that for years. But politically, for whatever reason, the gas tax is one of these things that's just a no-go zone.
RYSSDAL: All right. So find me the Freakonomics way out of this then.
DUBNER: Well, let's go down a wrong path first, shall we? I hate to pick on politicians, but the governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell has an idea that seems like a pretty bright idea, but most economists would say it's not bright at all. What he wants to do is eliminate the state gas tax in Virginia and make up for those funds by raising the sales tax.
RYSSDAL: And that's a bad idea because ...
DUBNER: Because a tax is most fair when it hits the people who should pay it, but leaves everyone else alone. Right? But what Gov. McDonnell is doing is flipping that logic.
RYSSDAL: All right. So hit me with your plan.
DUBNER: Well there is a growing movement -- I don't know how well this would work -- but the idea is this: to tax drivers the way they probably should be taxed, which is per mile driven. So that way, you'd pay the same amount for the roads whether you're driving, you know, a gas-guzzler, or an electric car that doesn't use any gas at all. Here's Jaime Rall again.
RALL: At least 18 states have pursued pilot projects. And in the past five years, legislatures in at least 11 states have considered more than 20 proposals to establish or study state level fees of this kind.
RYSSDAL: Yeah, you know what though? This smacks of Big Brother watching me when I drive, dude. Knowing where I'm going. Right?
DUBNER: Yeah, people will not like this idea, in many cases.
RYSSDAL: They'll go nuts!
DUBNER: On the other hand, let me just say this: we've all gotten used to willingly carrying around a GPS device with us at all times, which is what a smartphone does, right? We're also getting used to the ideas of electronic tolling where we don't have to stop at the booth. So I wouldn't be shocked if we were to see some per-mile taxing in the future. If things get really desperate, if you really need to raise money for roads, we could try what they do in other parts of the world, which is this, Kai: traffic fines that are indexed to how much money you actually earn. So, in Finland for instance, if you get a speeding ticket, you're fined about 20 percent of one month's take-home pay. So, you know, the speeding fisherman is going to pay a lot less for his ticket than the speeding high tech boss or radio talk show host, for that matter.
RYSSDAL: Yeah, ba dum boom. One cautions though, that this is America my friend. Not Finland.
DUBNER: That's true -- not yet, Kai. Check in with me in a couple of weeks. We'll see if we're all looking a bit more Finnish around the ears.
RYSSDAL: Steven Dubner, Freakonomics.com is the website. We'll see you in a couple of weeks.
DUBNER: Thanks for having me, Kai.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:11
Last week, the Kansas House Education Committee introduced a bill that mandates teachers question the scientific basis of global warming, becoming the latest state to take up one of American Legislative Exchange Council's ''model bills'' aiming to misrepresent climate change in schools.Kansas would join Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma as the fifth state to cast climate change as a ''controversial'' topic. But climate change is only controversial in political and polluter circles, not the scientific community. 97 percent of climate scientists actively publishing in the field agree climate change is human-caused.
As National Center for Science Education executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained, ''The only effects of enacting such a misguided bill would be to discourage responsible teachers from presenting climate science accurately and to encourage irresponsible teachers to misrepresent it as controversial.''
Read the text of the bill:
The bill resembles an ALEC ''model bill,'' written for corporate lobbyists. ALEC's model bill mandates ''a range of perspectives presented in a balanced manner,'' ''instruction in critical thinking so that students will be able to fairly and objectively evaluate scientific and economic controversies,'' and present climate change ''in language appropriate for education rather than for propagandizing.'' At the same time ALEC's legislation has gained ground in other states, the similarities to Kansas' bill are striking, even though the state battles a destructive drought made more likely and severe in a warming climate.
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:25
Police are Ðpreparing to arrest a former Tory Cabinet minister after a woman came forward to claim she had been raped by him as a girl.
Detectives are also investigating claims that he abused boys.
We can reveal that the former minister is suspected of being part of a VIP Ðpaedophile ring that was regularly handed boys by child rapist and killer Sidney Cooke for vile sex orgies.
The former high-ranking MP, who we cannot name, is under investigation by Scotland Yard's paedophile unit.
Sources close to the probe gave details of the new allegations to the Sunday ÐMirror and investigative news website ÐExaro.
A former detective who worked on the original investigation into Cooke told the Sunday Mirror that the minister was among those alleged to have been Ðphotographed in a 1986 police surveillance on premises where boys had been dropped off.
Others allegedly included Jimmy Savile, MP Cyril Smith and top judges '' though none of them were ever arrested.
Cooke, 85 '' dubbed Britain's most notorious paedophile after he tortured and killed 14-year-old Jason Swift in 1985 '' would pick the unsuspecting teenage boys up off the streets around Kings Cross.
He would drive them to locations across North London where paedophiles lay in wait to repeatedly rape them.
Last week the former officer, who worked on Operation Orchid which convicted Cooke and his gang, said they had taken pictures of the minister.
Sick Jimmy Savile was 'part of the gang'
(C) 2009, Roger Moody, all rights reserved
The former officer said up to 16 high profile figures were due to be arrested. But the day before they were to be carried out detectives were told the operation had been disbanded.
The revelation means Scotland Yard knew about allegations concerning the Cabinet Minister and Savile in 1986 but did nothing about it, instead choosing to cover up the claims.
A source told Exaro last week that senior officers, including Commander Peter Spindler, the head of the Paedophile Unit, have had a secret briefing on preparations to arrest the ex-minister.
It is understood that the investigation is at an early stage but there is a plan to arrest him in the next few weeks.
After the 1986 operation into Cooke was disbanded the former officer went to check the file '' only to find the pictures had disappeared and any mention of the men involved had also vanished.
The former officer said: ''It was clear a cover-up had taken place.
''The investigation showed that Cooke would pick up rent boys and take them back to flats or garages where large groups of men were waiting to abuse them.
''These paedophiles, which included a lot of high-profile figures that were said to include the former Cabinet Minister, Savile and MP Cyril Smith, all knew each other and all operated together. They would lie in wait and Cooke would turn up with the boy who wouldn't know what was going to happen.
''We had photographic evidence of these high-profile figures entering or leaving buildings where the abuse was taking place. Everyone knew Savile was a paedo but nothing was ever done.
''Cyril Smith was photographed going into one of the properties with a high-profile film director.
''All of the others were pictured and were going to be arrested before the plug was pulled. I was sickened and to this day I wonder how many children we could have saved if we had been allowed to arrest those men.
''I feel guilty they weren't arrested but there was nothing I could do at the time as the evidence had gone.''
MP Cyril Smith was spotted in surveillance
The Sunday Mirror knows the identity of the paedophiles in the gang but has chosen not to name them.
In 1993 Detective Superintendent Ed Williams tried to track down the Orchid file on Cooke to see if there were any similarities with the abduction and murder of nine-year-old Daniel Handley, but he struggled to find the folder.
He eventually found it in the basement of Arbour Square Police Station in Stepney, East London.
While there were references to a ''wider paedophile ring'' there were no photographs or names.
Mr Williams said: ''I was very upset about the way the Met treated paedophile cases but I was a voice in the wilderness at that time and people thought I was being over-emotional.
''I found the Orchid files where they had been put for storage purposes and somebody had completely forget to send it back to the Yard. I was trying to look for paedophiles and connections with other cases as I was trying to build up a profile of the offender.
''The report spoke about boys being passed around from paedophile to paedophile.
''There were no pictures on the file. It did mention that there was a wider ring of individuals but did not mention Jimmy Savile or a cabinet minister.''
Child killer: Rapist Sidney Cooke
Sidney Cooke, along with three accomplices '' Leslie Bailey, Robert Oliver and Steven Barrell '' was found guilty of the manslaughter of Jason Swift in May 1989. They have been linked to up to 20 murders.
Cooke was believed to have murdered seven-year-old Mark Tildesley but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring charges as he was already serving 19 years for Jason's death.
He was released in 1998, to a public outcry, but was rearrested the following year for systematically abusing two boys in the 1970s and jailed for life.
Savile was exposed last year as one of the UK's most prolific paedophiles, with 450 victims. Police said he ''groomed a Ðnation'' by avoiding justice while Ðabusing hundreds of children over 54 years.
Officers on Operation Yewtree, which investigated the claims, have also Ðarrested celebrities including Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis, publicist Max Clifford and comedian Jim Davidson. All have denied any wrongdoing and not all the allegations involve under-16s.
Scotland Yard said they would not comment on an on-going investigation.
Visit the Exaro website for more on this story.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:08
Lebanon seems to be moving closer to becoming a major new front in Syria's 2-year-old civil war after a series of deadly clashes in Syrian between rebel forces and Hezbollah, which backs the embattled Damascus regime.
The Free Syrian Army, one of the leading groups within the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslimopposition, threatened Tuesday to strike at the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon after the Iranian-backed movement sought to extend its control of Syrian territory along the border.
The Hezbollah offensive, which began last week, appears intended to protect vital supply routes to Syrian forces loyal to the regime from Hezbollah's heartland in the Bekaa Valley in northeastern Lebanon.
Hezbollah also needs to maintain its own supply route from Syria along which it has been reportedly receiving advanced weapons, such as surface-to-surface missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel, and Russian SA-17 anti-aircraft weapons, from President Bashar Assad's regime and Iran.
Israel views this flow of weapons with considerable alarm because, among other things, they will allow Hezbollah for the first time to challenge its air supremacy.
This is the most likely issue to draw the Israelis into Syria's war and a Jan. 30 airstrike, supposedly against a Hezbollah arms convoy, indicated how jumpy the Israelis are getting about Iran's support for Assad, its key Arab ally.
The recent assassination in Syria of a senior Iranian general involved in this operation demonstrated how the Syrian conflict may be expanding.
There is still confusion over when and where Gen. Hassan Shateri of the elite Al-Quds Force, the covert action arms of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was killed.
The FSA claims he was killed in the Jan. 30 airstrike and may have been the target of that raid, about which Israel has maintained a stony silence. Tehran said he was ambushed Feb. 11 by rebels.
So Hezbollah's push on the border may have wider implications. One report said Hezbollah had deployed 1,000 fighters, partly to relieve Syrian troops needed to block rebel advances in the north.
Hezbollah has sought to expand the control it has over a cluster of some 20 Shiite villages on the Syrian side of the porous border by seizing nearby Sunni villages where the FSA's deployed.
These have long been involved in smuggling and are an important route for arms, fighters and other supplies to regime forces around the town of Qusayr, where many Lebanese Shiites reside and where there has been heavy fighting.
West of Qusayr lies the strategic city of Homs, a major battleground.
There have been casualties on both sides in the Qusayr clashes, although figures are hard to come by.
FSA spokesman Louay al-Miqdad termed Hezbollah's push as ''an unprecedented invasion '... the first of its kind in terms of organization, planning and coordination with the Syrian regime's air force '...
''If Hezbollah does not stop its land invasion, which is accompanied by covering fire, we are allowed to retaliate '... If they do not stop, we will retaliate.''
That would mark a sharp escalation in the Syrian conflict and would likely ignite broader Sunni-Shiite violence in Lebanon that many have feared has been steadily coming to the boil in recent weeks as the Syrian war sharpened long-simmering sectarian animosities.
Sunni sources in Beirut have been talking darkly of ''something big'' expected in the coming days, hinting at action by Sunni jihadists linked to those fighting in Syria, most notably the Jabhat al-Nusrah, or the Al-Nusrah Front.
Hezbollah is widely believed to have substantial forces in Syria fighting alongside Assad's military and his murderous paramilitary force, the Shabiha, or Ghosts.
Some 50,000 of Assad's Alawites have recently been recruited to bolster regime forces as the rebels gain ground, spearheaded by the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusrah, the most ruthless of the anti-regime groups.
The Front reportedly demonstrated its capabilities recently, claiming it decimated a Syrian army convoy in an elaborate ambush using 50 roadside bombs detonated simultaneously in the eastern Ghotah district of Damascus.
A Front video of the massive ambush obtained by the SITE intelligence group indicated the spectacular attack took place Dec. 6.
The irony is that elaborate roadside ambushes like this were pioneered by Hezbollah in the 1990s in its campaign in south Lebanon against Israeli occupation forces who eventually withdrew in May 2000.
Tags: Al Nusrah Front, Assad, Assad Alawites, Bekaa Valley, border, FSA, iran, Israel, Lebanese Shiites, Lebanon, report, Shiite Hezbollah, SITE, strike, Sunni Muslimopposition, Syria, UPI, war, weapons
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 13:53
Who is Harrison J. Bounel? According to the 2009 tax return submitted by President Barack Obama, he's the President of the United States. All nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices are scheduled to discuss this anomaly today.
The case in question is Edward Noonan, et al v. Deborah Bowen, California Secretary of State, and the Justices are finally looking at it thanks to the dogged determination of Orly Taitz. The case calls into question many of the documents Obama (Bounel, Soetoro, Soebarkah, etc.) has used and/or released as authentic since he came on the national scene. The case contends that the documents '-- birth certificate, Social Security number, Selective Service registration, etc. '-- are fakes or forgeries. If that's the case, Obama should not have been on the California ballot in 2008 and, therefore, should not have received the State's electoral votes.
Four of the nine Justices must vote to move the case forward. We'll see.
Meantime, on Feb. 4, Kathleen O'Leary, presiding judge of the 4th District Court of Appeal, reinstated the appeal of Taitz v. Obama et al filed by Taitz when she ran for Senate. That case involves evidence of 1.5 million invalid voter registrations in the State of California. The appeal also involves Obama's lack of legitimacy to hold the office of President based on his forged IDs, stolen Connecticut Social Security number, the fact the last name he's using is not legally his and his fraudulent claim to be the U.S. citizen.
Evidence in the case includes:
A certified copy of the passport records of Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, showing her son's legal last name to be Soebarkah, not Obama.Obama's school records from Indonesia, showing his citizenship to be Indonesian.Sworn affidavits of top law enforcement experts and investigators, showing Obama's birth certificate and Selective Service certificate are forgeries and that the Social Security number used by Obama on his 2009 tax returns as posted on WhiteHouse.gov was fraudulent. (The SSN failed when checked through both E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Service.)On another legal front, Obama defaulted in the case of Grinols et al v. Obama et al on Jan. 30 when he failed to file a response within 21 days of being served notice of the suit. This case also involves Obama's phony SSN.
The suit states:
[I]nvestigator Albert Hendershot found in the database of http://www.acxiom.com/identity-solutions/acxiom-identity-batch-solutions/ the name of the individual whose Social Security Obama is using. Acxciom-batch-solutions showed (Exhibit 1) that Harry J Bounel with the same Social Security number xxx-xx-4425 at 5046 S Greenwood Ave in Chicago, home address of Barack Obama, Database shows Bounel with the same address and Social Security number as Barack Obama himself. According to the databases last changes to the information on Harrison (Harry) J Bounel were made in and around November 2009 by Michelle Obama, who is listed as Bounel's relative. Database changes can involve entering the information or deletion of information. It appears that changes made by relative Michelle Obama included deletion of information, which was done at a time when Taitz brought to Federal court in the Central District of California before Judge David O. Carter a case of election challenge by her client, former U.S. ambassador Dr. Alan Keyes and 40 state Representatives and high ranked members of the U.S. military.
Recently obtained results of the 1940 census, Exhibit 2, provided the last missing link, link (sic) between Harry J. Bounel and the date of birth of 1890. Exhibit 2 shows the printout of the U.S. census, showing Harry J Bounel, immigrant from Russia, residing at 915 Daly Ave, Bronx, NY, age 50 during the 1940 census, meaning he was born in 1890, as shown in the affidavit of Investigators Daniels and Sankey.
There is a pattern of Obstruction of Justice and tampering with the official records and falsification/forgery of the official records related to Obama. This happens in particular when [George W.] Bush employees leave their positions and are replaced by Obama appointees.
Taitz has asked for expedited default judgment and post judgment discovery in this case out of fear that any records on hand at the Social Security office will be destroyed when George W. Bush-appointed Commissioner Michael Astrue leaves office in February. Records that might have proven Obama's Selective Service registration was a forgery were destroyed in 2009 after Bush-appointed Selective Service Director William Chatfield resigned, Taitz alleges.
Bob LivingstonBob Livingston is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:51
WASHINGTON - A freewheeling and almost entirely one-sided argument at the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that the justices would not allow Monsanto's patents for genetically altered soybeans to be threatened by an Indiana farmer who used them without paying the company a fee.
The question in the case, Bowman v. Monsanto Company, No. 11-796, was whether patent rights to seeds and other things that can replicate themselves extend beyond the first generation. The justices appeared alert to the consequences of their eventual ruling not only for Monsanto's very lucrative soybean patents but also for modern agriculture generally and for areas as varied as vaccines, cell lines and software.
A lawyer for Monsanto, Seth P. Waxman, a former United States solicitor general, was allowed to talk uninterrupted for long stretches, which is usually a sign of impending victory.
"Without the ability to limit reproduction of soybeans containing this patented trait," he said, "Monsanto could not have commercialized its invention and never would have produced what is, by now, the most popular agricultural technology in America."
"This is probably the most rapidly adopted technological advance in history," Mr. Waxman said of his client's product, a genetically altered soybean called Roundup Ready, which is resistant to the herbicide Roundup, also a Monsanto product. "The very first Roundup Ready soybean seed was only made in 1996. And it now is grown by more than 90 percent of the 275,000 soybean farms in the United States."
Farmers who buy the seeds must generally sign a contract promising not to save seeds from the resulting crop, which means they must buy new seeds every year.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:03
Earth Open Source has warned an EU-US free trade deal would weaken safeguards on genetically modified (GM) crops.The proposed deal wants to tie health issues related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to 'accepted, science-based standards' and 'harmonize regulations and standards that can hinder transatlantic trade and investment'.
"This is doublespeak for watering down the EU's already weak GM regulatory system to the level of the almost non-existent regulation in the US" said Claire Robinson, research director at Earth Open Source.
"The US system assumes that GM foods are no different from non-GM foods and so do not require special regulatory oversight or safety tests."
"If the new trade agreement goes through, it will be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules for the EU to have a stronger regulatory system for GMOs than the US system. It will be a race to the bottom in which public health will be the loser."
"The proposed agreement fits neatly with ongoing attempts by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Commission to water down the EU's GMO regulatory system to the US level."
EU laws on GMOs aim at a high level of protection for human and animal health and the environment.
But they have been undermined by weak guidelines for risk assessment of GMOs developed by the GM industry-funded International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and adopted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
In September last year Earth Open Source warned that the EU's GMO risk assessment methods would be further weakened by a draft Regulation currently passing through the Commission's opaque comitology process.
The draft Regulation is scheduled for a possible vote in a meeting of the Commission's standing committee on the food chain and animal health on 25 February.
The draft Regulation does not require long-term animal feeding trials on GMOs, such as that carried out by Prof GE S(C)ralini's team at the University of Caen, which found serious health effects in rats fed GM maize over a long-term 2-year period.
Currently, industry often carries out a short 90-day animal feeding study on a GMO it hopes to commercialise.
But the draft Regulation fails to make even this type of study mandatory and enables it to be waived in the future.
It also allows the GM food to escape a full risk assessment and safety testing if it is deemed equivalent to a non-GM food in a process that is based on assumptions, rather than scientific testing.
Robinson said: "The system laid down in the draft Regulation is not based on science but on a US-inspired 'don't look, don't find' attitude among industry and regulators. It's now clear that the draft Regulation and the proposed free trade agreement are working in tandem to dismantle the EU's public health protections on GMOs."
The draft Regulation has reportedly been frozen in its progress through the Commission's comitology process, pending agreements on proposals to allow EU member states to place national bans on growing GMOs.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:13
SEATTLE '-- Many Europeans are fretting these days over horse meat, and whether it might have adulterated their shepherd's pie. Over here, it's all about the red snapper.
That tempting seafood delight glistening on the ice at the market, or sizzling at the restaurant table in its aromatic jacket of garlic and ginger? It may not be at all what you think, or indeed even close, according to a big new study of fish bought and genetically tested in 12 parts of the country '-- in restaurants, markets and sushi bars '-- by a nonprofit ocean protection group, Oceana.
In the 120 samples labeled red snapper and bought for testing nationwide, for example, 28 different species of fish were found, including 17 that were not even in the snapper family, according to the study, which was released Thursday.
The study also contained surprises about where consumers were most likely to be misled '-- sushi bars topped the list in every city studied '-- while grocery stores were most likely to be selling fish honestly. Restaurants ranked in the middle.
Part of the problem, said the study's chief author, Kimberly Warner, is that there are quite simply a lot of fish in the sea, and many of them look alike. Over all, the study found that about one-third of the 1,215 fish samples bought, from 2010 to 2012, were mislabeled.
''Even a relatively educated consumer couldn't look at a whole fish and say, 'I'm sure that's a red snapper and not lane snapper,' '' she said.
Geographically, the study had bad news for residents of Southern California, land of the midnight sushi. They were more likely than residents in any of the other sampled regions to be eating something other than what they had been told. About 52 percent of the samples bought and sent for testing turned out to be something else.
Salmon-crazed Seattle, by contrast, was tied with cod-country Boston as having the lowest deception rates. Still, almost one in five fish samples were wrongly labeled.
Some types of fish fared worse in different places. In New York, for example, fish that was not really tuna was being passed off as tuna in 94 percent of the samples taken, the study said.
What is in a name, anyway, when it comes to fish? Shakespeare might not have pondered the question exactly, but the seafood industry certainly has.
In the real world of perception and marketing, a fish called ''slimehead'' '-- a real name, by the way '-- is probably not going to fly off the menu. Far better to call it ''orange roughy,'' a distinction allowed by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. The government also allows Patagonian toothfish, real name, to be called Chilean sea bass, invented marketing name.
The Oceana study did not declare a fish mislabeled if the seller was following the federal guidelines.
But what the study found pervasive was mislabeling '-- beyond what is allowed by federal food regulators '-- by retail outlets using a name that consumers are more likely to want to buy. Almost two-thirds of the ''wild'' salmon samples, for example, were found actually to be farmed Atlantic salmon, which is considered less healthy and environmentally sustainable.
The National Fisheries Institute, a trade group representing the industry, did not respond to a request for comment on the study. But the institute has specifically criticized Oceana's work in the past as being more agenda-driven than scientific and rigorous.
Dr. Warner said that the study did raise some red flags about health. Fish known to accumulate mercury in their flesh, in particular, should be avoided, especially by pregnant women. But in what the study called ''one of the most egregious swaps,'' in New York, tilefish '-- known for its mercury content and on federal advisory lists for sensitive populations to avoid '-- was sold as red snapper. Tilefish was also found substituted for halibut.
She also cautioned that the study did not aim to produce a real scientific, top-to-bottom sampling of the seafood system. In Boston, for example, only grocery store fish were tested, leaving out sushi bars that might have lowered the city's honesty rate (although, in a separate effort in 2011 and 2012, The Boston Globe found widespread mislabeling in stores and restaurants).
And the Oceana study's authors also could not determine where in the food chain the mislabeling arose '-- the wholesaler, the retailer or at the fishing dock itself '-- or whether it came about through misunderstanding or deliberate concealment.
A common pattern, though, Dr. Warner said, was economic gain at the consumer's expense, with understudy fish '-- tilapia, in particular '-- often substituting for a menu's star, without a word to the audience.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:20
A US senator has said that an estimated 4,700 people have been killed in America's secretive drone war, the first time a government official has offered a total number of fatalities caused by nearly a decade of drone strikes, local media reported.
Republican senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of the drone raids, revealed the figure in a speech on Wednesday in his home state of South Carolina.
"We've killed 4,700," Graham was quoted as saying by the Easley Patch, a local website covering the small town of Easley. "Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we're at war, and we've taken out some very senior members of al-Qaeda," he told the local Rotary Club.
Graham's office did not dispute his reported remarks, but said that he had not divulged any classified information.
A spokesman told the AFP news agency that the senator "quoted the figure that has been publicly reported and disseminated on cable news."
US officials have sometimes hinted at estimates of civilian casualties, but never referred to an actual total body count.
"Now this is the first time a US official has put a total number on it," said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
If there was an official death toll estimate, it would be classified as secret, he added, raising the prospect that Graham could have broken secrecy laws.
Several organizations have tried to calculate how many militants and civilians may have been killed in drone strikes since 2004 but have arrived at a wide range of numbers.
The figure cited by Graham matches the high end of a tally by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It says the number killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia is between 3,072 and 4,756.
The Washington-based New America Foundation says there have been 350 US drone strikes since 2004, most of them during Barack Obama's presidency. And the foundation estimates the death toll at between 1,963 and 3,293, with 261 to 305 civilians killed.
US intelligence agencies and the White House have refused to divulge details about the strikes, which are officially termed classified, but officials have suggested that few if any civilians have been killed inadvertently.
In confirmation hearings this month for John Brennan, Obama's nominee to lead the CIA, senator Dianne Feinstein said she understood that the number of civilians killed was in the "single digits."
Despite criticism from lawmakers and rights advocates who have questioned the secrecy and the legality of the drone attacks, Graham defended Obama's reliance on the unmanned, robotic aircraft. "It's a weapon that needs to be used," Graham said. "It's a tactical weapon. A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is now armed."
The Obama administration has insisted the "targeted killings" are "a last resort" against those plotting to attack the United States but who cannot be captured.
Opponents, however, say drone strikes amount to extrajudicial assassinations that sow resentment among local populations and lack oversight by Congress or courts.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:18
Air Vehicles Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, is already developing prototypes of tiny drones that can hoverThe Micro Air Vehicles will work in swarms to provide complex surveillance of a battlefieldThey can also be armed with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives 'for precision targeting capability'By Michael Zennie
PUBLISHED: 19:11 EST, 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 19:29 EST, 19 February 2013
The U.S. Air Force is developing tiny unmanned drones that will fly in swarms, hover like bees, crawl like spiders and even sneak up on unsuspecting targets and execute them with lethal precision.
The Air Vehicles Directorate, a research arm of the Air Force, has released a computer-animated video outlining the the future capabilities of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The project promises to revolutionize war by down-sizing the combatants.
'MAVs will become a vital element in the ever-changing war-fighting environment and will help ensure success on the battlefield of the future,' the narrator intones.
'Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal - Micro Air Vehicles, enhancing the capabilities of the future war fighter.'
Scroll down for video
Hovering: Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are the future of the unmanned drones program, according to a new video from the Air Force. The Air Force has already developed a drone capable of hovering like a moth
Perching: The video, released by the Air Vehicle Directorate, shows a pigeon-like drone that can draw power from an electrical wire while its camera watches a target
Crawling: The drones will be equipped with legs so that they can crawl through tight spaces like an insect
The project, which is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, was revealed in the March issue of the National Geographic magazine.
Air Force officials said they have already produced tiny remote-control prototypes - but they consume so much power that can only operate for a few minutes. Researchers estimate that it will take several years of advances in battery technology to make the designs feasible.
Still, the Air Force has a clear concept of what it hopes to accomplish with the program.
The promotional video begins with a swarm of tiny drones be dropped on a city from a passing plane.
The drones will work in concert to patch together a wide, detailed view of the battlefield - singling out individual targets without losing sight of the broader scene.
'Data will be communicated among the MAVs to enable real time, reliable decision-making and to provide an advanced overall picture for other platforms or operators,' the Air Force says.
Killing: The video demonstrates how MAVs could be used to sneak up behind unsuspecting targets and kill them with a single, lethal shot
Lethal: The drones could be equipped with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives 'for precision targeting capability'
As the drones fall, they begin to fly - not like planes, but like insects. High frequency flapping wings allow the drones to hover and maneuver in tight spaces.
The military has already produced a drone patterned after a hawk moth that can flap its wings 30 times a second. However, the activity exhausts the drone's tiny battery in just a few minutes, according to National Geographic.
Another drone type soars like a pigeon and perches unobtrusively on a power line to observe a surveillance target with a camera.
The Air Force is working on technology that will allow the drones to steal electricity from power cables and other sources - so they can continue to operate for days or weeks on end.
Swarming: The drones couple be dropped en masse over a battlefield or a city and would work together to create a complex surveillance network
Working together: The drones would use advanced software to navigate by 'sight,' rather than GPS - which can be blocked by buildings or by jamming from the enemy
The Air Force training video shows a winged MAV following a target as he drives through the streets of a dense city.
Advanced sensors will enable 'optic flow,' which will allow remote pilots to fly by 'sight' - rather than flying by GPS, which can be disrupted by buildings or deliberately jammed by enemy forces.
The video depicts three drones following the target into a house, where they maneuver hallways and rooms undetected.
'Small size and agile flight will allow MAVs to covertly enter locations inaccessible by traditional means of aerial surveillance,' the narrator says.
The video follows the drones as they fly through an open door and sneak up behind a man who is aiming a sniper rifle.
'Individual MAVs may perform direct attack missions and can be equipped with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives for precision targeting capability,' according to the video.
On screen, a small, hovering vehicle pauses before shooting the man directly in the back of the head.
Play VideoLoading video...
ANYONE can buy and use a drone
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:12
By Eric W. DolanWednesday, February 20, 2013 17:18 EST
A Motor Vehicle Commission office in New Jersey called the police on a man who refused to remove a pasta strainer from his head while having his driver's license photo taken.
Aaron Williams, 25, said his pasta strainer was a religious head covering and that he had a right to wear it, according to a South Brunswick Police Department report obtained by The Smoking Gun.
Police informed Williams that a pasta strainer was not approved by the MVC and convinced him to take the photo without it. The incident occurred on February 2.
Williams told Patch on Tuesday that he was a devout Pastafarian and was merely showing his allegiance to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by wearing the pasta strainer. The parody religion took off in 2005, after Bobby Henderson mocked the Kansas Board of Education in an open letter for allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools.
''Had it been a turban or a head scarf, or something from a mainstream religion, then it would've been fine,'' he said. ''I guess since they hadn't heard of the religion, that's why they opposed it. But that's not really acceptable to me. They're not in a position to discriminate against religions that are mainstream, or not mainstream, just because they may not have heard about it.''
Williams is not the first Pastafarian to claim the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head. Austria allowed entrepreneur Niko Alm to wear a pasta strainer in his driver's license photo last year, after officials requested the Pastafarian show he was ''psychologically fit'' to drive.
'' ''[Image via Giovanni Dall'Orto, Creative Commons licensed]
Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:52
Check out this piece of fine investigative journalism from CNN. KIRO-TV, a Seattle-based CBS affiliate, set out to see what would happen if you got people high on marijuana and then put them behind the wheel of a car. In a groundbreaking new report, CNN reveals that driving stoned can be dangerous:
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:52
Donna Svennevik / ABC / Getty ImagesDr. Drew Pinsky (right), the host of "Celebrity Rehab with Dr.Drew, with Mackenzie Phillips and Mindy McCready, attending a special edition of "The View" called "Women and Addiction", March 17, 2010.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) '-- The criticism of Dr. Drew Pinsky spread on the Internet almost as quickly as news of Mindy McCready's death.The country singer with the tumultuous personal life became the fifth cast member of his Celebrity Rehab series to die since appearing on the show and the third from Season 3. The previous deaths stirred up rumors of a curse and a debate about the show's helpfulness, and McCready's apparent suicide upped the pitch of the reaction.While many noted that Drew took on hard cases, others rendered stark judgment. Singer Richard Marx on Twitter compared Pinsky to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the so-called suicide doctor: ''Same results.''
(MORE: Singer Mindy McCready Dies in Apparent Suicide)
Marx backed off later Monday, saying the crack went too far. But he restated his thoughts in a way that summed up much of the reaction in the first 24 hours since the 37-year-old McCready's death Sunday afternoon in Heber Springs, Ark.''It is, however, my opinion that what Dr. D does is exploitation and his TV track record is not good,'' Marx wrote.VH1'Ós Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew is not currently on the air. Pinsky switched his focus to non-celebrities in Season 6 last fall and changed the title to Rehab. The show spawned two spinoffs, Sober House and Sex Rehab.Season 3, shot in 2009, featured McCready, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, actors Tom Sizemore and Mackenzie Phillips, former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and a handful of lesser known celebrity types.''My heart is breaking. Rest in peace dear friend,'' Phillips said Monday on Twitter.McCready was a sympathetic character on the show and appeared to be far less damaged than her fellow cast members, some of whom experienced fairly graphic symptoms of opiate withdrawal in front of the cameras. McCready suffered a seizure while on the show, further endearing her to Pinsky and the others.
(PHOTOS: Singer Mindy McCready's Life in Retrospect)
She said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press that she initially turned Pinsky down.''But Dr. Drew said something to me that just mowed me over literally, just floored me,'' she said. ''He said, 'You've been being treated for the symptoms of what's wrong with you, not the problem. And you're going to have to put your family aside for a moment, put their feelings aside for a moment and worry about you because if you don't get better, it doesn't matter what your family thinks. You're not going to be there anymore.'''Pinsky diagnosed her with ''love addiction'' during the series' run and called her an ''angel'' in the finale. In an interview with The Associated Press several months later, he said McCready had a good shot at recovery if she remained in treatment.''Like with anybody I treat, it's really up to them,'' Pinsky said. ''I never know. If they do the work they're supposed to do, yes (there can be success). If she does the work it will be great. It's up to her how much of that she does, how much she feels she needs to do. It seems like she's doing rather well right now so I hope she continues to do so.''Three years later, she's dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head. McCready walked away from treatment several days ago after her father asked a judge to intervene. Her body was found on the front porch of a home she shared with David Wilson, the longtime boyfriend and father of her youngest son who appears to have killed himself in the same spot last month.Pinsky wasn't immediately available for comment, his publicist said, but he issued a statement Sunday night that noted he'd spoken with McCready recently.''She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many,'' the statement said. ''Although I have not treated her for a few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger (child). She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.''A lack of continued treatment also appears to have led to the deaths of McCready's Season 3 castmates Mike Starr, bassist for Alice in Chains, and Joey Kovar, a Real World participant. Los Angeles riots spark Rodney King and actor Jeff Conaway also have passed away. Starr and Kovar overdosed and King was found dead in his pool with alcohol and marijuana in his system. Conaway was initially thought to have overdosed, but died of pneumonia and an infection.Bob Forrest, a chemical dependency counselor who appeared on Season 3 of Celebrity Rehab and continues to work with Pinsky, said a discussion about mental health and substance abuse issues is important. But attacking Pinsky has only distracted from the real issues.''Regardless of your feelings about how we do it with the TV show, calling Dr. Drew 'Dr. Kevorkian,' what kind of dialogue is that?'' he said. ''It's a good headline. We're going through a growth spurt in regards to who we are as a country. I really feel there's something going on in America beyond Mindy McCready's death.''The most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show there were 38,364 suicides in the U.S. in 2010 '-- an average of 105 a day. Thirty-three percent of suicides tested positive for alcohol in 2009 and 20 percent for opiates, including heroin and prescription painkillers.Experts said there is no good data on suicides after rehab in part because treatment programs vary widely and it can be unclear if an overdose is intentional. But a patient with substance abuse problems is at higher risk for a suicide attempt.
(MORE: Is Dr. Drew More Like Charlie Sheen than He Thinks?)
Dr. Sharon Hirsch, an associate professor in the University of Chicago's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, says patients can get trapped in the yin and yang of addiction. She was not familiar with McCready's case, but noted people abusing alcohol or drugs have a lower impulse control. And their lows when they're off drugs become more difficult to overcome, also lowering their resolve.Dealing with loss, as McCready was, also increases risk, especially around anniversaries.Hirsch said mental health and addiction issues have to be taken as seriously as a heart attack.''Depression and substance dependence are all very malignant disorders and I think people forget that,'' Hirsch said. ''They think of cancer, strokes and heart attacks killing people, but depression, substance abuse and eating disorders, too, all kill people. There are very, very high rates of deaths in those illnesses.''Pinsky's shows drew attention to the struggle. But did they help patients? Pinsky has taken an interest in cast members after the shows end and referred them to continuing treatment. But ultimately Hirsch wonders who was on call the last time McCready pondered killing herself.''One of the key components of any treatment is to talk confidentially with your treatment provider about every aspect of what is going on with you, to be able to get the best care you can,'' she said. ''I just don't know how that could occur in the context of an internationally televised show. And so it would be difficult for me to envision it as a complete treatment program. '... It just really strikes me as entertainment and not as treatment.''
Federal Register | Prospective Grant of Exclusive License: Development of MUC-1 Tumor Associated Antigens as Cancer Vaccines for Bladder Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Pr
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:17
This is notice, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209(c)(1) and 37 CFR Part 404.7(a)(1)(i), that the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, is contemplating the grant of an exclusive patent license to practice the inventions embodied in the following U.S. Patents and Patent Applications to Bavarian Nordic Immunotherapeutics (''BNIT'') located in Mountain View, CA, USA:
The patent rights in these inventions have been assigned to the government of the United States of America.
The prospective exclusive license territory may be worldwide and the field of use will be limited to the use of Licensed Patent Rights for development of Pox-virus based vaccines for bladder cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.''
Only written comments and/or applications for a license which are received by the NIH Office of Technology Transfer on or before March 22, 2013 will be considered.
Requests for copies of the patent application, inquiries, and comments relating to the contemplated exclusive license should be directed to: Sabarni K. Chatterjee, Ph.D., M.B.A. Licensing and Patenting Manager, Cancer Branch, Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 325, Rockville, MD 20852-3804; Telephone: (301) 435-5587; Facsimile: (301) 435-4013; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer immunotherapy is a recent approach where tumor associated antigens (TAAs), which are primarily expressed in human tumor cells, and not expressed or minimally expressed in normal tissues, are employed to generate a tumor-specific immune response. Specifically, these antigens serve as targets for the host immune system and elicit responses that results in tumor destruction. The initiation of an effective T-cell immune response to antigens requires two signals. The first one is antigen-specific via the peptide/major histocompatibility complex and the second or ''co-stimulatory'' signal is required for cytokine production, proliferation, and other aspects of T-cell activation.
Dr. Jeffrey Schlom et al. at NCI have identified 7 new agonist epitopes of the MUC-1 tumor associated antigen. Compared to their native epitope counterparts, peptides reflecting these agonist epitopes have enhanced ability to generate cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL), which in turn have a greater ability to kill MUC-1 expressing human tumor cells. The agonist epitopes span both the VNTR region of MUC-1 and the C-terminus region. The epitopes encompass two major MHC alleles reflecting the majority of the population.
Along with the method of use, the technology encompasses the use of these agonist epitopes in peptide- and protein-based vaccines, with dendritic cells or other antigen presenting cells, or encoding sequences in DNA, viral, bacterial, yeast, or other types of vectors, or to stimulate T-cells in vitro for adoptive immunotherapy protocols.
The MUC-1 tumor associated antigen has been shown to be overexpressed and/or underglycosylated in a wide range of human cancers. The C-terminus region of MUC-1 (MUC-1C) has been shown to be an oncogene and has been associated with a more aggressive phenotype in several different cancers.
The prospective exclusive license will be royalty bearing and will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR Part 404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless within thirty (30) days from the date of this published notice, the NIH receives written evidence and argument that establishes that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR Part 404.7.
Applications for a license in the field of use filed in response to this notice will be treated as objections to the grant of the contemplated exclusive license. Comments and objections submitted to this notice will not be made available for public inspection and, to the extent permitted by law, will not be released under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
Dated: February 13, 2013.
Richard U. Rodriguez,
Director, Division of Technology Development and Transfer, Office of Technology Transfer, National Institutes of Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-03799 Filed 2-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:44
(NaturalNews) Breaking news: According to two Merck scientists who filed a False Claims Act complaint in 2010 -- a complaint which has just now been unsealed -- vaccine manufacturer Merck knowingly falsified its mumps vaccine test data, spiked blood samples with animal antibodies, sold a vaccine that actually promoted mumps and measles outbreaks, and ripped off governments and consumers who bought the vaccine thinking it was "95% effective."See that False Claims Act document at:www.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Merck-False-Claims-Act.pdf
According to Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, both former Merck virologists, the Merck company engaged in all the following behavior:
' Merck knowingly falsified its mumps vaccine test results to fabricate a "95% efficacy rate."
' In order to do this, Merck spiked the blood test with animal antibodies in order to artificially inflate the appearance of immune system antibodies. As reported in CourthouseNews.com:
Merck also added animal antibodies to blood samples to achieve more favorable test results, though it knew that the human immune system would never produce such antibodies, and that the antibodies created a laboratory testing scenario that "did not in any way correspond to, correlate with, or represent real life ... virus neutralization in vaccinated people," according to the complaint. (http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47851.htm)
' Merck then used the falsified trial results to swindle the U.S. government out of "hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization."
' Merck's vaccine fraud has actually contributed to the continuation of mumps across America, causing more children to become infected with mumps. (Gee, really? This is what NaturalNews has been reporting for years... vaccines are actually formulated to keep the outbreaks going because it's great for repeat business!)
' Merck used its false claims of "95 percent effectiveness" to monopolize the vaccine market and eliminate possible competitors.
' The Merck vaccine fraud has been going on since the late 1990's, say the Merck virologists.
' Testing of Merck's vaccine was never done against "real-world" mumps viruses in the wild. Instead, test results were simply falsified to achieve the desired outcome.
' This entire fraud took place "with the knowledge, authority and approval of Merck's senior management."
' Merck scientists "witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine's efficacy findings," according to court documents (see below).
Rather than taking action on this false claims act, the U.S. government simply ignored it, thereby protecting Merck's market monopoly instead of properly serving justice. This demonstrates the conspiracy of fraud between the U.S. government, FDA regulators and the vaccine industry.Following the unsealing of this 2010 False Claims Act, Chatom Primary Care, based in Alabama, smelled something rotten. Three days ago, Chatom filed a lawsuit against Merck. That lawsuit record is available here:www.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Chatom-Lawsuit-Merck-Mumps.pdfIt alleges, among other shocking things:
[Merck engaged in] ...a decade-long scheme to falsify and misrepresent the true efficacy of its vaccine.
Merck fraudulently represented and continues to falsely represent in its labeling and elsewhere that its Mumps Vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 percent of higher.
In reality, Merck knows and has taken affirmative steps to conceal -- by using improper testing techniques and falsifying test data -- that its Mumps Vaccine is, and has been since at least 1999, far less than 95 percent effective.
Merck designed a testing methodology that evaluated its vaccine against a less virulent strain of the mumps virus. After the results failed to yield Merck's desired efficacy, Merck abandoned the methodology and concealed the study's findings.
...incorporating the use of animal antibodies to artificially inflate the results...
...destroying evidence of the falsified data and then lying to an FDA investigator...
...threatened a virologist in Merck's vaccine division with jail if he reported the fraud to the FDA...
...the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection. And while this is a disease that, according to the Centers for Disease Control ('CDC'), was supposed to be eradicated by now, the failure in Merck's vaccine has allowed this disease to linger, with significant outbreaks continuing to occur.
Chatom Primary Care also alleges that the fraudulent Merck vaccine contributed to the 2006 mumps outbreak in the Midwest, and a 2009 outbreak elsewhere. It says, "there has remained a significant risk of a resurgence of mumps outbreaks..."
NaturalNews has only begun to investigate this incredible breaking news about Merck and the vaccine industry. We are pouring through the court documents to identify additional information that may be relevant to this case, and we plan to bring you that information soon.For the record, Merck denies all allegations. Is anyone surprised?
Sources for this article:NaturalNews wishes to thank CourthouseNews.com for its coverage of this story. Original article at: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47851.htm
Chatom Lawsuit against Merckwww.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Chatom-Lawsuit-Merck-Mumps.pdf
2010 False Claims Act against Merck, by two Merck virologistswww.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Merck-False-Claims-Act.pdf
Announcement of the lawsuit in the media:http://www.nasdaq.com/article/lawsuit-claims-merck-overstated-mumps-v...
About the author: Mike Adams is an award-winning journalist and holistic nutritionist with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He has authored more than 1,800 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, and he has authored and published several downloadable personal preparedness courses including a downloadable course focused on safety and self defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams created TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He's also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NaturalNews subscriptions. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including NaturalPedia.com and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body.
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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:14
Greece is in the grip of yet another national strike. Much of the country is at a standstill. The two biggest unions called the 24-hour stoppage to protest against existing austerity measures, and those to come. Thousands gathered before the parliament in Athens to deliver'...
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:20
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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:55
Was McCready's last song a suicide note?Police: This rape suspect prowled dating sitePolice: Rape suspect prowled dating siteLawrence: I can be vulnerable anytimeShe doesn't know he's about to proposeA rock and roll hamburger experienceCar loving soldier surprised by NASCARDefense on attack at Pistorius hearingDoes Pistorius defense argument hold up?Remembering Reeva SteenkampHaywood: Pistorius is 'kind and gentle"See inside Pistorius' homeParalympian: Pistorius 'inspired me'Arias describes day Alexander was killedJodi Arias phone sex tape plays in courtJodi Arias says victim was pedophileArias: I felt 'like a prostitute'Jodi Arias: I killed him, he attacked meSee Arias deny stabbing in 2008 videoCoach's winning shot pays for tuitionPlane barely misses hitting peopleMan stripped, whipped over $20 debtWatch as $40 million oil rig sinksClerk wields sword, chases robberAlleged 'fake' punch floors boxerDistraction: Baby rhino being all cuteDistraction: Pig uses wheelchairDistraction: Dog plays with cheetahDistraction: Pinwheel of dogsDistraction: Pit bull pup uses treadmillDistraction: Teensy puppy learns to walkConan's tragic 'Downton Abbey' spoiler'SNL' mocks Carnival cruise'SNL' spoofs Rubio's water breakConan: Bill Maher not a proud gun ownerConan: Comic takes aim at Lance, OprahBill Burr: Oprah surprised by Armstrong?'SNL' takeson Super Bowl blackout takes on Super Bowl blackout'Houdini horse' is an escape artistSen. Rubio drowning in 'water-gate'Canada 'dead-icated' to stopping zombiesPoliticians mock zombie drill'Mohawk Guy' returnsJudge flips out after getting flipped offBad (dog) hair day at WestminsterDrugs discovered in duct tape diapersLoose 'lion' prompts 911 callsPastor uses tithe excuse to refuse tipPastor uses tithe excuse to dispute tipMichael Jackson's son makes TV debutSykes: Odd time for Clive to say he's biAlec Baldwin's photographer feudActress: Director taped my abuseSupermodel: Don't strive to be like meWolf Blitzer parties with the NBAWatch a 'putting conga line'Upton on bikini shoot: 'I was frozen'See skier's downhill (careful at 1:21!)LeBron James: I'm not Michael JordanPatrick: 'Gender doesn't matter'Danica Patrick:British ice hockey's big battleWatch sea otter dunk basketball'Ma'am, you have an owl in your grille'Bunny's favorite snack: Car wiresRescued deer is part of the familyPuppy goes for wild ridePuppy rides 10 miles stuck in wheel wellSee cute dwarf goat knock over playmatesSoldier goes from fatigues to fabulousSaints give soldier a big 'thank you'Kid Rock surprises wounded warriorWWE star makes soldier WrestleMania VIPReservists surprise wives on live TVSoldier makes surprise proposal on TVHundreds of dolphins race tourists' boatLove, octopus styleSee orca give birth to 300+ lb. babyClose encounter of humpback kindGiant squid seen in Northern PacificWatch shark feast on giant squidTeen shot after Obama's gun speechInauguration performer killed in ChicagoChicago's violence witnessed firsthandGang members face off on the courtMom loses 4th child to gun violenceChicago's 500th homicide this yearChina security officers chase CNN crewMagdalene survivors demand apologyRape as a weapon of warFilm brings royal love triangle to lifeSingapore: More people neededExpert: Meat scandal 'social problem'See Catherine's baby bumpA look back at Catherine's first yearCatherine passes big testDancing royals: Will and Kate shake itRecapping the royal weddingKate 'shocked' by proposalWorld's largest yacht docks in NYC$445,000 Lamborghini hits streetsAmerican 'palace' on sale for $135MSee what NYC apt. is selling for $100 millionSee what NYC apt. is asking $100 millionWould you want a $10,000 smartphone?iPad becomes one pricey cat toyQuvenzhane Wallis captures Oscar's heartWill Day-Lewis make Oscar history? Will Day-Lewis make Oscar history?Denzel 'more relaxed' about actingBigelow, Affleck's Oscar snubFilm highlights plight of Afghan boysBringing "Life of Pi" to lifeRoad to gold: 85th Academy Awards nodsDining with the Oscar nominees'Silver' movie seeks Oscar goldMasseuse to client: You'll break tableFrom overweight teen to beauty queenReunited 9 months later, 60 lbs. lighterGym only allows overweight peopleDoctor won't treat anyone over 200 poundsChild obesity ads spark outrageHow thieves got $50M in diamondsDiamond heist like plot out of HollywoodMasked thieves steal diamondsRace on to find stolen rough diamondsSee McCain's testy exchange at town hallActress Ashley Judd to run for Senate?Skimpy facts in senator sex case Searching for the truth about MenendezJohn King explains: The sequesterJohn King explains: Forced budget cutsMarco Rubio's dry mouth momentFirst lady: Bangs are my midlife crisisTeen with cancer records 'goodbye' songA dying child's wishBullied teen leaves chilling videoDying mom lives long enough to see son graduateMom lives to see son graduateSoldiers make boy's dying wish come trueDying grandma lives to see grandson bornBiden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-15Number of women buying guns surgesCNN Explains: The 2nd AmendmentNudists visit 'nude men' museum exhibitMilitary wives go topless for PTSDColumbia professor strips for lectureNaked man sings to hamNaked cave dweller worries neighbor'Spider-Man' streaker has getaway carA scarf that changes colors in the coldKids create hybrid that gets 65+ MPGThe origami-inspired folding kayakA game that brings your drawings to life'Hip' places to dine off the gridTeen builds nuclear fusion reactorInvestigating tainted water at VA hospital429
$50 million diamond heist at airport199
Rand Paul to Obama: Do the right thing302
Forced spending cuts deadline approaches201
Geragos: Pistorius has plausible story409
AC360 Podcast: 2/19/13585
Gas explosion causes huge fire, injuries131
Witness: Kansas City fire was 'huge'69
Stranger accused of slapping baby102
Stranger accused of slapping baby102
Dr. Drew: McCready feared stigma197
Prosecutor will upgrade Pistorius charges105
MacFarlane: I'm the wrong guy for Oscars149
Robin Roberts returns to 'GMA'60
Actress raises dogs for the blind370
NASA able to talk to ISS crew again42
Bourbon: there's something in the water193
JFK jacket auctioned for $629,00094
Hadiya Pendleton's parents speak out60
Barbara Bush fights for health equality297
Man accused of slapping toddler on plane150
Letters from Lennon's killer revealed250
Dr. Drew reacts to McCready's death469
Fashion week hotels157
Student sex alleged at preschool183
Woman almost killed by online date209
Lawyer asked about Casey Anthony finances67
Uncle: Don't use teen in gun debate152
Woman is 20 but looks like a toddler115
Man describes date with Arias108
Mystery illness made woman psychotic172
Inside the brain of a psychopath147
Michael Lohan: 'Lindsay needs rehab'125
90 surgeries create 'human Ken doll'134
Photographer: I couldn't rescue him77
Parents use social media to punish kids165
Russia wants to stop all intl. adoptions133
Holes in prosecution of Pistorius?198
Will Sony unveil PlayStation 4 today?76
Female employee missing in KC blast127
Security concerns after diamond heist101
Can Pistorius get a fair trial?190
See Catherine's baby bump57
What forced budget cuts would look like96
Premeditated murder charge for Pistorius140
CNN Trends: King hacked, Titanic II65
World on watch for royal baby bump89
Lanza motive to outdo Norway toll?107
Execution halted at the last moment48
Was Cleopatra murdered?105
Number of women buying guns surges193
Obama, GOP clash on forced spending cuts245
Preying on Christian Mingle users117
Author calls Kate Middleton "plastic"135
Adam Lanza obsessed with mass murders203
Pistorius lays out murder defense245
World's largest yacht docks in NYC117
Hunter takes aim at camo industry156
Pistorius friend: He's 'kind and gentle'147
Coast Guard: Blaze not intentional157
Last Look: Eliminating the Penny?57
What in the World? Opening Up N. Korea181
Fareed's Take: Infrastructure for Jobs260
GPS: Summers on Corporate Tax Reform57
GPS: Howard, Gun Control is Not Partisan32
GPS: Summers on forced budget cuts31
Howard on Gun Control Benefits92
Fareed's Take: Obama's partisan strategy200
GPS: Mikati on Lebanon & Syria52
GPS: Ambani, Bullish on America60
GPS: Ambani on the Future of Energy87
GPS: Krugman on Obama's Second Term60
The day Jodi killed Travis237
Arias describes day Alexander was killed196
McCready's ex: She couldn't find peace105
Mindy McCready's ex speaks about suicide253
Jodi Arias: Vixen or victim?177
Arias' friend: I saw signs of abuse261
Arias' friend: She called me that night60
Jodi Arias: I was depressed, suicidal273
Pornographic texts shown in court212
Jodi Arias' close friend speaks out224
Jodi Arias phone sex played in court184
Jodi Arias phone sex tape plays in court218
Nudists visit 'nude men' museum exhibit43
Watch a 'putting conga line'65
Reservists surprise wives on live TV291
Tearful mom sends son a special salute79
Reunited 9 months later, 60 lbs. lighter105
Military couple ties the knot on Skype89
Kid Rock surprises wounded warrior179
Soldier makes surprise proposal on TV390
WWE star makes soldier WrestleMania VIP282
Help for military moms-to-be110
Falcons help wounded vets score homes75
Proud mom welcomes Army daughter home63
Arias' love interest details her denials71
Roseanne: Fire lit in Steubenville93
Searching for answers in Newtown tragedy211
Classmate describes Lanza as quiet, shy103
Shooter's classmate breaks silence190
Teacher guilty of group sex with students193
Cops: Lotto winner was killed for money249
Friend of missing boy family speaks188
Nancy Grace Caught on Tape: Car Chases108
Nancy Grace Caught on Tape: Car Chases200
Did wife hire hitman to kill hubby?245
'Frankenstein' doc victim family speaks163
A scarf that changes colors in the cold64
An asteroid scanning telescope195
Saving the Earth from asteroids76
Ed Lu's urgent mission to save Earth74
Using microbes to manufacture biofuels177
Saving lives with synthetic biology63
Turning sugar into high performance fuel63
The origami-inspired folding kayak71
Can Virtual Reality Warfare Combat PTSD?178
Saving Lives with Gaming Technology70
Tech Wizard Takes On PTSD74
The next age of neuroscience177
Sykes: Odd time for Clive to say he's bi118
Paralympian: Pistorius 'inspired me'167
'Raising Adam Lanza'213
Texas teen talks abortion246
John Walsh on gun control213
Evacuated passenger: It was scary88
Trip ruined by ship, bus and plane164
Ladies stuck on cruise happy for 'booze'164
The ship comes in207
The seriousness of the ship96
Donny Deutsch on the approaching ship171
Lawrence: I can be vulnerable anytime107
Michael Jackson's son makes TV debut159
Was McCready's last song a suicide note?209
Beyonce's father: 'I'm proud'155
BCS beauty's sudden fame94
Snooki's love of motherhood61
Does Tina Fey have 'Bieber fever'?139
Did Adele yell at Chris Brown?96
Upton on bikini shoot: 'I was frozen'121
Bill Maher to Trump: 'Suck it up'125
Critic calls Melissa McCarthy 'hippo'125
Kendall, Kylie: Kanye's a 'sweetheart'47
Cracking down on Chinese hackers245
First lady: Bangs are my midlife crisis54
How the reported Chinese hackers worked172
Biden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-1553
CNN talks about budget cuts383
Actress Ashley Judd to run for Senate?121
John King explains: Forced budget cuts96
'Houdini horse' is an escape artist128
Police: Rape suspect prowled dating site186
Scud attacks near Aleppo137
Alec Baldwin's photographer feud137
Horse meat sold as beef in Europe153
Karpovsky: The boyfriend on 'Girls'281
Bowles: Getting fiscal house in order284
Pulling off a massive diamond heist157
Who was Newtown shooter Adam Lanza?226
China security officers chase CNN crew122
Report:Chinese Army behind cyber attacks163
Family 'home run' with two sets of twins219
Does Pistorius defense argument hold up?124
Coach's winning shot pays for tuition170
Questions in adopted Russian boy's death144
Challenges to Pistorius defense93
Homeless man returns ring dropped in cup279
Can Obama meet second term wish list?258
Debate emerges over guns in movies394
Lawmakers weigh in on forced budget cuts479
Schumer optimistic on immigration reform95
Should doctors question kids about guns?59
Barrasso: Budget cuts will go through440
Sen. Schumer on Pres. Obama's agenda469
Senator questions drone killings217
Senator questions drone killingsBuilding SOTU expecatations219
The true cost of your lucky penny155
Politics panel reviews SOTU expectations595
Gates: Forced budget cuts a big concern144
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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:41
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:40
Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 15:04
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:03
Paul Broadwell's attachment to Gen. David Petraeus has now taken another casualty in its wake: Gen. John Allen.
President Barack Obama is looking for a new candidate to lead American and allied forces in Europe after his first choice, Marine Gen. John Allen, bowed out Tuesday and announced his intention to retire for what he called personal reasons.
After meeting with Allen at the White House, the president issued a brief statement praising Allen's service. He called the 57-year-old Allen "one of America's finest military leaders, a true patriot, and a man I have come to respect greatly."
This story didn't get much attention yesterday because all the Beltway deficit scolds were carrying on about the big bad Sequester. If you've forgotten about Jill Kelly, here's a quick refresher:
This is the woman who complained to the FBI about harassing emails from the mistress of Gen David Petraeus. Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa, Florida, is an unpaid social liaison officer to military headquarters in the city and has a longstanding friendship with Petraeus, who quit as CIA director in disgrace last week.
Mrs Kelley lives in a $1.3 million house with her husband Scott, a surgeon, and their three children, age nine, seven and six.She packed her bags and sped away from her lavish home on Sunday night after national news media descended on her upscale neighborhood.
Mrs Kelley told agents that Paula Broadwell, the 40-year-old biographer who has been identified as the ex-CIA boss' mistress, sent her harassing emails telling her to 'back off' Petraeus.
An online picture album posted by the family talks about meeting Gen. Petraeus at the family's home.'We and our family have been friends with Gen Petraeus and his family for over five years. We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children,' she said in a statement on Sunday.
When the story about the Petraeus affair with Broadwell broke, many Benghazi conspiracy nuts in the GOP went ballistic, but their Bircher fantasies were quickly doused as more info about their affair became public. They not only lost a cherished military hero, but a potential 2016 presidential candidate as well. Allen's loss is a significant blow to the military high command, and even though the general was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Petraeus fiasco, he opted not to be fodder for a Senate confirmation hearing. You know he watched the lunatic Republican Sen. Ted Cruz go all Joe McCarthy on Chuck Hagel's ass because he had the audacity of being nominated by Obama, so why should he suffer the fools?
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:16