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Test Microwave Theory with our own spacecraft

Hi Adam,

I heard you and John talking about satellites picking

up microwave signals given off by towers from

space. It's very doable.

In fact as a ham you can try a similar experiment

communicating with your own spacecraft in space

if you back the Pocket Spacecraft Mission to the

Moon KickStarter:

http://kck.st/14zOnAA

as the signal strengths involved are quite similar.

Apologies if this blatant attempt to plug our

KickStarter is inappropriate but it seemed

relevant and it is a cool project :-)

Let me know if you have any questions and perhaps

you'll even pledge to join us on the moon today!

Michael

Michael Johnson

Founder, PocketSpacecraft.com

michael@PocketSpacecraft.com

Check out the Pocket Spacecraft: Mission to the Moon on KickStarter

and pledge today - http://kck.st/14zOnAA

Sent from my iPad

PocketSpacecraft.com | Open source open access personal space exploration

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Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:52

Have you ever dreamt of exploring the solar system with your own spacecraft?

Well finally you can!

We've developed a very low cost, open source, open access, mass space exploration system that anyone can use, and we need your help to send your very own Pocket Spacecraft, and thousands of others, on a first of its kind expedition to the moon.

We're a global team of scientists, engineers and designers that have worked on this concept at some of the world's leading universities and come together to kick start the personal interplanetary space age and give you the opportunity to become a hands on citizen space explorer. Explorers who back the project can personalise their own spacecraft by adding a picture and customising the message it transmits using just their web browser. More technical explorers can even customise software and hardware.

Check out our KickStarter project for details and join us on an expedition to the moon!

VIDEO-Send your own Pocket Spacecraft on a Mission to the Moon! by Pocket Spacecraft '-- Kickstarter

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:49

Have you ever dreamt of exploring the solar system with your own spacecraft?

Well finally you can!

We've developed a very low cost, open source, open access, mass space exploration system that anyone can use, and we need your help to send your very own Pocket Spacecraft, and thousands of others, on a first of its kind expedition to the moon.

We're a global team of scientists, engineers and designers that have worked on this concept at some of the world's leading universities and come together to kick start the personal interplanetary space age and give you the opportunity to become a hands on citizen space explorer. Explorers who back the project can personalise their own spacecraft by adding a picture and customising the message it transmits using just their web browser. More technical explorers can even customise software and hardware.

Smaller than a CD and as thin as a piece of paper, you'll be able to watch online as your Pocket Spacecraft is built in the lab and loaded into an Interplanetary CubeSat Mothership. Having hitched a ride into space on a commercial rocket, some Pocket Spacecraft will be released into space to flutter to the ground to demonstrate landing on a planet with an atmosphere (the Earth). The mothership will set off to the moon where, when it arrives many months later, the rest of the Pocket Spacecraft will be released, photographed and then land on the moon to complete the mission.

You'll monitor progress throughout with your own Pocket Mission Control app - track the progress of your spacecraft as it is designed, built and travels through space. See data from your spacecraft's instruments as it arrives, relayed from space by a global ground station network direct to your smartphone. Hold your phone up to the sky and use the augmented reality feature to point out exactly where your spacecraft is!

Never before will private individuals have had such a hands on opportunity to take an active part in interplanetary space exploration - this is your chance to be a true space pioneer!

Members of our team co-created the first space mission funded on KickStarter (KickSat - due to be launched by NASA later this year), and have created or co-led influential workshops such as the Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop at MIT, and the Keck Institute for Space Studies Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science workshop at Caltech.

We've created more than twenty open space projects since 2009 building the elements we need for this mission, with contributions from more than a hundred volunteers in twenty countries (and counting) led by our co-ordinators in Europe (Bristol, UK) and America (Pasadena, USA). In short, we're serious.

We'll tell you how we expect the project to work in a moment, but first a little about your mission, should you choose to accept it'...

Space is big - really big! Mankind has only sent a few dozen successful robotic exploration missions into the solar system since the start of the space age, yet there are millions of places waiting to be explored including asteroids, moons, planets, ring systems and more.

Although space agencies do an amazing job launching high end exploration systems to interesting places, there are many more missions proposed than can ever be funded as high end missions are typically one offs that cost many many millions or even billions.

We need your help to provide another option - to explore space at scale needs a generation of interested minds with access to affordable exploration tools. By supporting this mission you can help make this happen and be the first of this new generation of space explorers.

We want to demonstrate that thousands of technical and non-technical people can design their own spacecraft, send these spacecraft into space, land some on a planet with an atmosphere (Earth this time) and send the rest a significant interplanetary distance to a body without an atmosphere (the Moon), and do useful science while having fun.

That's bold, crazy some people might even say, but thanks to Moore's law and advances in flexible and printable electronics, it's now possible and we need your help to prove it. If we succeed, one day every child may be able to have their own spacecraft to take part in robotic field trips around the solar system as a normal part of growing up - and you'll have helped make it happen!

The key to our approach are 'Pocket Spacecraft'. These spacecraft (that can also function as landers and rovers to some degree), are small enough to fit in your pocket, both physically and financially - we're talking the cost of a nice birthday present here.

Your Scout spacecraft

Your Pocket Spacecraft will be a Thin-Film Spacecraft / Lander / Rover 'Scout'. These will be loaded by the thousand into an Interplanetary CubeSat Mothership which will fly to the body of interest, send out the Scouts to explore it, and relay their discoveries back to Earth and amongst each other.

Your Scout is a polyimide disc (a material used for flexible circuit boards, spacesuits and, of particular relevance for this application, high performance solar sails) held taut by a NiTi memory metal hoop that can also double as an antenna.

Solar cells, a thinned commercial off the shelf system-on-a-chip die (ground down with diamond sand paper) and support components, sensors and instruments are bonded or printed on the polyimide and protected with a conformal coating resulting in a spacecraft with an average thickness less than one twentieth of a millimetre (two thousandths of an inch), and a mass much less than a gram (a thirtieth of an ounce).

This thinness and lightness allows us to pack thousands per mothership, act as very small solar sails (when coated with a thin metal layer) to move about space, and potentially survive re-entry from orbit to the surface of bodies with suitable atmospheres.

Your Interplanetary CubeSat mothership

CubeSats revolutionised low cost access to space a decade ago when professors Bob Twiggs at Stanford and Jordi Puig-Suari at CalPoly created a 30x10x10cm,

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The Emperor's New Clothes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 12:25

"The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye Kl...der) is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" The tale has been translated into over a hundred languages.[1]

"The Emperor's New Clothes" was first published with "The Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen by C. A. Reitzel on 7 April 1837 as the third and final installment of Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children. The tale has been adapted to various media, including the musical stage and animated film.

A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid". The Emperor's ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues the procession.

Sources[edit]Andersen's tale is based on a story from the Libro de los ejemplos (or El Conde Lucanor, 1335),[2] a medieval Spanish collection of fifty-one cautionary tales with various sources such as Aesop and other classical writers and Persian folktales, by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282''1348). Andersen did not know the Spanish original but read the tale in a German translation titled "So ist der Lauf der Welt".[3] In the source tale, a king is hoodwinked by weavers who claim to make a suit of clothes invisible to any man not the son of his presumed father; whereas Andersen altered the source tale to direct the focus on courtly pride and intellectual vanity rather than adulterous paternity.[4]

Composition[edit]Andersen's manuscript was at the printer's when he was suddenly inspired to change the original climax of the tale from the emperor's subjects admiring his invisible clothes to that of the child's cry.[5] There are many theories about why he made this change. Most scholars agree that from his earliest years in Copenhagen, Andersen presented himself to the Danish bourgeoisie as the naively precocious child not usually admitted to the adult salon. "The Emperor's New Clothes" became his expose of the hypocrisy and snobbery he found there when he finally gained admission.[6]

Andersen's decision to change the ending may have occurred after he read the manuscript tale to a child,[7] or had its source in a childhood incident similar to that in the tale. In 1872, he recalled standing in a crowd with his mother waiting to see King Frederick VI. When the king made his appearance, Andersen cried out, "Oh, he's nothing more than a human being!" His mother tried to silence him by crying, "Have you gone mad, child?". Whatever the reason, Andersen thought the change would prove more satirical.[8]

Publication[edit]"The Emperor's New Clothes" was first published with "The Little Mermaid" on 7 April 1837 by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen as the third and final installment of the first collection of Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children. The first two booklets of the collection were published in May and December 1835 and met with little critical enthusiasm.[9] Andersen waited a year before publishing the third installment of the collection.[10]

Traditional Danish tales as well as German and French folktales were regarded as a form of exotica in nineteenth century Denmark and were read aloud to select gatherings by celebrated actors of the day. Andersen's tales eventually became a part of the repertoire and readings of "The Emperor's New Clothes" became a specialty of and a big hit for the popular Danish actor Ludvig Phister.[11]

On 1 July 1844, the Hereditary Grand Duke Carl Alexander held a literary soiree at Ettersburg in honor of Andersen. The author was on the verge of vomiting after days of feasting and speaking various foreign languages but managed to control his body and read aloud ''The Princess and the Pea'', "Little Ida's Flowers", and "The Emperor's New Clothes".[12]

Jack Zipes, in Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller, suggests that seeing is presented in the tale as the courage of one's convictions; Zipes believe this is the reason the story is popular with children. Sight becomes insight, which, in turn, prompts action.[13]

Alison Prince, author of Hans Christian Andersen: The Fan Dancer, claims that Andersen received a gift of a ruby and diamond ring from the king after publications of "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Swineherd"'--tales in which Andersen voices a satirical disrespect for the court. Prince suggests the ring was an attempt to curb Andersen's sudden bent for political satire by bringing him into the royal fold. She points out that after The Swineherd, he never again wrote a tale colored with political satire, but, within months of the gift, began composing "The Ugly Duckling", a tale about a bird born in a henyard who, after a lifetime of misery, matures into a swan, "one of those royal birds".[14] In Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller, biographer Jackie Wullschlager points out that Andersen was not only a successful adapter of existing lore and literary material such as the Spanish source tale for "The Emperor's New Clothes" but also equally competent at creating new material that entered the human collective consciousness with the same mythic power as ancient, anonymous lore.[15]

Hollis Robbins, in "The Emperor's New Critique" (2003),[16] argues that the tale is itself so transparent "that there has been little need for critical scrutiny."[17] Robbins argues that Andersen's tale "quite clearly rehearses four contemporary controversies: the institution of a meritocratic civil service, the valuation of labor, the expansion of democratic power, and the appraisal of art".[18] Robbins concludes that the story's appeal lies in its "seductive resolution" of the conflict by the truth-telling boy.

In The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (2008), folk and fairy tale researcher Maria Tatar offers a scholarly investigation and analysis of the story, drawing on Robbins's political and sociological analysis of the tale. Tatar points out that Robbins indicates the swindling weavers are simply insisting that "the value of their labor be recognized apart from its material embodiment", and notes that Robbins considers the ability of some in the tale to see the invisible cloth as "a successful enchantment".[19]

Tatar observes that "The Emperor's New Clothes" is one of Andersen's best known tales and one that has acquired an iconic status globally as it migrates across various cultures reshaping itself with each retelling in the manner of oral folktales.[20] Scholars have noted that the phrase 'Emperor's new clothes' has become a standard metaphor for anything that smacks of pretentiousness, pomposity, social hypocrisy, collective denial, or hollow ostentatiousness. Historically, the tale established Andersen's reputation as a children's author whose stories actually imparted lessons of value for his juvenile audience, and "romanticized" children by "investing them with the courage to challenge authority and to speak truth to power."[21] With each successive description of the swindlers' wonderful cloth, it becomes more substantial, more palpable, and a thing of imaginative beauty for the reader even though it has no material existence. Its beauty however is obscured at the end of the tale with the obligatory moral message for children. Tatar is left wondering if the real value of the tale is the creation of the wonderful fabric in the reader's imagination or the tale's closing message of speaking truth no matter how humiliating to the recipient.

Naomi Wood of Kansas State University challenges Robbins's reading, arguing that before the World Trade Center attacks of 2001, "Robbins's argument might seem merely playful, anti-intuitive, and provocative."[22] Wood concludes: "Perhaps the truth of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is not that the child's truth is mercifully free of adult corruption, but that it recognizes the terrifying possibility that whatever words we may use to clothe our fears, the fabric cannot protect us from them."[23]

Adaptations and cultural references[edit]Various adaptations of the tale have appeared since its first publication including a 1919 Russian film directed by Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky, a 1987 musical starring Sid Caesar, and numerous short stories, plays, spoofs, and animated films.[1]

The story has been parodied numerous times, including one story in the animated television seriesALF: The Animated Series where Alf plays a frustrated tailor of comfortable casual clothes who pulls the trick on the uninterested emperor who refused his usual goods. At the end, when the emperor's pretension is exposed by a girl who makes some sarcastic comments about his state of undress, Alf's character supplies the ruler some of his usual wares which the emperor finds agreeable and so forgives the tailor for the humiliation. Furthermore, the story ends happier still with the emperor realizing that he has his one opportunity to go streaking and invites Alf and Rhonda to join him.

The Emperor's New Clothes is the title of a fanciful 2001 film starring Ian Holm as Napoleon.

The 1990 song "The Emperor's New Clothes" by recording artist Sin(C)ad O'Connor has the same general message as the original fairytale. The song ends with the lines, "through their own words / they will be exposed / they've got a severe case of / the emperor's new clothes."

Le Roi nu (The Naked King) is a 1935 ballet with music by Jean Fran§aix, libretto and choreography by Serge Lifar.

In the 1952 film musicalHans Christian Andersen based on the life of the Danishpoet and story-teller Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye, the story of The Emperor's New Clothes is told in The King's New Clothes as one of the film's eight songs.

The tale was made into a stop-motion animated TV special from Rankin-Bass, again with Danny Kaye's involvement and narration, entitled: The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The Emperor's New Clothes.

The tale itself was adapted as an episode of the 2008 series Fairy Tales.

The Chinese novelist Ye Sheng Tao continued the story which Andersen had left off; it is also titled, The Emperor's New Clothes.

The song "Ready to Start" by Arcade Fire contains the lyric "All the kids have always known that the Emperor wears no clothes / but they bow down to him anyway, 'cause it's better than being alone".

A modern animated film that revolves around an arrogant emperor is The Emperor's New Groove.

In the Doctor Who story "The Romans", the Doctor is mistaken for a musician and gets roped into playing the lyre, which he cannot play. He manages to convince everyone present that the music he plays is so subtle that only the truly gifted can hear it. He then silently waves his hands over the instrument. Everyone present, not willing to admit they were too dull-witted to hear it, applauds his performance. Also, in the episode "Night Terrors" the Doctor jokingly mentions that one of the stories he enjoyed as a child was "The Emperor Dalek's New Clothes".

The sculpture group "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Keld Moseholm is placed in Odense, the native town of Andersen.

In 1980, computer scientist C.A.R. Hoare used a parody tale, The Emperor's Old Clothes, to advocate simplification over embellishment, for clothing or computer sorting algorithms.[24]

The Emperor's New Clothes was parodied in Muppet Classic Theater. In this story, the Emperor of Fozzalia (played by Fozzie Bear) is fooled into believing that his vestments are made of an invisible cloth made by some tricksters (played by Rizzo the Rat, Yolanda the Rat, and Montague the Rat). When Fozzie goes out to show his new clothes, a young boy (played by Robin the Frog) notices that the Emperor is wearing nothing but his boxers. The citizenry think that since the Emperor isn't wearing clothing and that public nudity must be the latest fad. The Emperor tells his people that they should stop doing things just because he does them, and that they should start thinking for themselves.

In the "Heather Locklear" episode of Muppets Tonight, a "Fairyland PD" segment had Clifford and Bobo the Bear busting the Emperor for supposedly streaking even though he claims that he is wearing his new outfit. When the Chief of Police arrives, he ends up complimenting the Emperor's "new outfit" as the Emperor leaves to get his tutu out of the dryer. When Clifford and Bobo start to say something to the Chief about this, the Chief quotes "Yeah, I know. He's naked as a jay bird. But hey, he's the Emperor and he signs the checks."

In 2010, Alan Schmuckler and David Holstein adapted the well known story into a modern, family musical which underwent critical appraise during its run at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. An extended version of the musical is now being performed in Sydney, Australia by the Stage Artz Theatre Company.

The story is often sited by the non-religious community in forms such as "The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome". This comparison drawn by considering the feeling of some non-believers among a presumably believing population where until one publicly voices the opinion of the minority, people's true opinions will not be known.[25]

In 2013, Jonathan Liu created a boardgame called "The Emperor's New Clothes" and put it on Kickstarter. It was a game that came with a blank box, a blank board, blank cards, and some other blank tokens. In an instant of life imitating art, some people backed it thinking there was something more and the reveal was that there was actually nothing other than that.[26][27]

Use as an idiom[edit]The phrase "emperor's new clothes" has become an idiom about logical fallacies.[28] The story is an example of what happens because of pluralistic ignorance.[29] The story is about a situation where "no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes."[30]

See also[edit]References[edit]^ abAndersen 2005a 4^In Spanish:Exemplo XXXIIº '' De lo que contesci" a un rey con los burladores que fizieron el pa±o. In English: Of that which happened to a King and three Impostors from Count Lucanor; of the Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio, written by the Prince Don Juan Manuel and first translated into English by James York, M. D., 1868, Gibbings & Company, Limited; London; 1899; pp. xiii''xvi. Accessed 2010-03-06. This version of the tale is one of those collected by Idries Shah in World Tales.^Bredsdorff 312''3^Wullschlager 2000, p. 176^Wullschlager 2000, p. 177^Andersen 2005b, p. 427^Bredsdorff, p. 313^Frank, p. 110^Wullschlager 2000, p. 165^Andersen 2005d, p. 228^Andersen 2005d, p. 246^Andersen 2005d, p. 305^Zipes 2005, p. 36^Prince, p. 210^Andersen 2005a, p. xvi^Robbins, Hollis "The Emperor's New Critique." 34. New Literary History. pp. 659''675. ISSN 0028-6087. Link^Robbins, p. 659^Robbins, p. 670^Quoted in Tatar 8,15^Tatar xxii,xiii^Tatar xxiii^Wood 193''207^Wood 205^1980 Turing Award Lecture; Communications of the ACM 24 (2), (February 1981): pp. 75''83.^http://machineslikeus.com/news/why-atheism-winning-11-some-concluding-thoughts^"BoardGameGeek thread on "The Big Reveal". ^"ENC Kickstarter Page". ^Graves, Joseph L. (2003). The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millenium, p. 1; Hollis Robbins, "The Emperor's New Critique," New Literary History, Vol. 34, No. 4, Autumn 2003; retrieved 2013-3-1.^Zellner, William W. and Marc Petrowsky. (1998). Sects, Cults, and Spiritual Communities: A Sociological Analysis, p. 13; excerpt, "Like the villagers in the story of the emperor's new clothes, members of the inner circle were unwilling to reveal their ignorance by challenging .... As a result, they suppressed whatever doubts they had an worked even harder to make sense of what, in the final analysis, may have been nonsensical."^Hansen, Jens Ulrik. (2011). "A Logic-Based Approach to Pluralistic Ignorance" at Academia.edu; retrieved 2013-3-1.Further reading[edit]Andersen, Hans Christian; Tatar, Maria (Ed. and transl.); Allen, Julie K. (Transl.) (2008). The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-06081-2. Andersen, Hans Christian; Wullschlager, Jackie (Ed.); Nunnally, Tiina (Transl.) (2005). Fairy Tales. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-03377-4. Andersen, Hans Christian; Frank, Diane Crone (Ed. and transl.); Frank, Jeffrey (Ed. and transl.) (2005). The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen: A New Translation from the Danish. Durham and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3693-6. Andersen, Jens; Nunnally, Tiina (Transl.) (2005). Hans Christian Andersen: A New Life. New York, Woodstock, London: Overlook Duckworth. ISBN 1-58567-737-X. Bredsdorff, Elias (1975). Hans Christian Andersen: The Story of His Life and Work, 1805''75. London: Phaidon Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7148-1636-1. Prince, Alison (1998). Hans Christian Andersen: The Fan Dancer. London: Allison & Busby Ltd. ISBN 0-7490-0478-9. Robbins, Hollis (Autumn 2003). /journals/new_literary_history/v034/34.4robbins.html Emperor's New Critique34 (4). New Literary History. pp. 659''675. ISSN 0028-6087. Wood, Naomi (2007). "The Ugly Duckling's Legacy: Adulteration, Contemporary Fantasy, and the Dark". Marvels & Tales20 (2): 193''207. Wullschlager, Jackie (2000). Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-91747-9. Zipes, Jack David (2005). Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller. New York and Middleton Park: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97433-X. External links[edit]

Statement by the President on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's Announcement

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:22

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2013

I want to thank Secretary Napolitano for her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years. At the Department of Homeland Security, Janet's portfolio has included some of the toughest challenges facing our country. She's worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild. Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values. And the American people are safer and more secure thanks to Janet's leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks. I've come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice, but I've also come to value her friendship. And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck.

Shield The Truth

USDOJ: Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on the Justice Department Report on Revised Media Guidelines

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Archived Version

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:47

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, July 12, 2013

Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on the Justice Department Report on Revised Media Guidelines

After conducting a rigorous review of internal Justice Department guidelines governing investigations and other law enforcement matters that involve journalists, Attorney General Eric Holder today released a report outlining several key reforms to the department's protocols, as well as the following statement: ''The Department of Justice is firmly committed to ensuring our nation's security, and protecting the American people, while at the same time safeguarding the freedom of the press. These revised guidelines will help ensure the proper balance is struck when pursuing investigations into unauthorized disclosures. While these reforms will make a meaningful difference, there are additional protections that only Congress can provide. For that reason, we continue to support the passage of media shield legislation. I look forward to working with leaders from both parties to achieve this goal, and am grateful to all of the journalists, free speech advocates, experts, and Administration leaders who have come together in recent weeks '' in good faith, and with mutual respect '' to guide and inform the changes we announce today.''

During the review, Attorney General Holder personally held seven meetings with approximately 30 news media organizations as well as with First Amendment groups, media industry associations and academic experts.

A copy of the full Justice Department report is attached.

Email about Certs

Hi Adam,

In show 529, you and John were talking about how websites will soon have to be licensed, and you said that it will start with a seal of approval or a "sticker" for your website, which made me realise that it's already happening.

Like:

Companies that sell SSL certificates all give you a little sticker that you can put on your site to tell everyone that you are now secure, and they charge $50-$1500 per year for it, when essentially, all they are doing is verifying certificates.

As I'm sure you know already, sites that use certificates that are not verified with one of the 36 "trusted" Certificate Authorities are just as secure as those with verifiable certificates, the point of the Certificate Authority is to just be a trusted third party that will verify the certificate, to add an extra layer of security or something.

The only community sourced and non-commercial Certificate Authority, CAcert, isn't "trusted" by any modern web browser or OS, except for some open source OSs and browsers and some versions of Firefox. They can't have people realise that this should be free, because there is very little effort that goes into creating and verifying SSL certificates. It can be done in about 3 lines of bash script.

I hope this email isn't too long, or that I'm wasting your time.

Love the show, keep up the great work!

Villiers from Cape Town

Obama Nation

Statement by the President on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's Announcement

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:22

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2013

I want to thank Secretary Napolitano for her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years. At the Department of Homeland Security, Janet's portfolio has included some of the toughest challenges facing our country. She's worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild. Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values. And the American people are safer and more secure thanks to Janet's leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks. I've come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice, but I've also come to value her friendship. And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck.

LA Times - Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security chief, to head UC

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:17

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg vows to resist pressure to retire - NY Daily News

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:39

At age 80, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, says she is in excellent health, even lifting weights despite having cracked a pair of ribs again, and plans to stay several more years on the bench.

In a Reuters interview late on Tuesday, she vowed to resist any pressure to retire that might come from liberals who want to ensure that Democratic President Barack Obama can pick her successor before the November 2016 presidential election.

Ginsburg said she had fallen in the bathroom of her home in early May, sustaining the same injury she suffered last year near term's end.

"I knew immediately what it was this time," she said, adding that there was nothing to do but take pain killers and wait out the six weeks as her ribs healed. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said on Wednesday that the day after the May 2 incident, Ginsburg was examined at the Office of the Attending Physician at the Capitol and then went about her regular schedule.

RELATED: UNCIVIL COURT? JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO SPOTTED MOCKING JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG AS SHE READS DISSENT

The justice, who survived two serious bouts with cancer, in 1999 and 2009, is keeping up a typically busy summer of travel, at home and abroad, beginning next week with a trip to Paris. Ginsburg said she was back to her usual weight-lifting routine and recently had good results from a bone density scan.

Supreme Court justices are appointed for life and can be a president's most enduring legacy. Disputes over many social dilemmas come down to 5-4 votes, as was seen in the recently completed term on gay marriage and voting rights. A retirement decision rests with an individual justice, but history is rife with tensions between aging justices and anxious presidents. Ginsburg, the eldest justice on an ideologically divided court, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Political pressure is an age-old backdrop to Supreme Court appointments, and for Ginsburg it is likely to accelerate before the November 2014 congressional elections that could alter the Democratic dominance of the Senate.

Such talk is always subtle because a presidential administration never wants to be perceived to engage in politics over the judiciary given the bedrock American principle that separates the branches of government.

RELATED: SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT, CLEARS WAY FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA IN TWO LANDMARK DECISIONS

Before Obama's 2012 reelection, Harvard University law professor Randall Kennedy stirred public debate with an April 2011 essay for the New Republic urging Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer, now 74 and also appointed by Clinton, to retire to ensure a possible Republican president not fill their seats.

On Wednesday, Kennedy repeated his sentiment, telling Reuters he still thinks that "the responsible thing" would be for Ginsburg to step down. "It seems to me that a justice should take into account the politics surrounding confirmation and not allow (an) opportunity to fall to a Republican," said Kennedy, who was a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall.

University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, who has studied judicial nominations, said Wednesday he expected to see "opinion leaders trying to shape attitudes" among the public as well as "efforts through back channels to increase the pressure for her to step down."

In her interview, Ginsburg referred to past liberal commentary and predicted, "That's going to start up again."

RELATED: SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN PART OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT

Brushing off political calculations, she said, "It really has to be, 'Am I equipped to do the job?' ... I was so pleased that this year I couldn't see that I was slipping in any respect." She said she remains energized by her work as the senior liberal, a position she has held since 2010 when Justice John Paul Stevens retired, and calls being a justice "the best job in the world for a lawyer."

She has previously said she wanted her tenure to at least match the nearly 23 years of Justice Louis Brandeis, which would get her to April 2016, and said she had a new "model" in Justice Stevens, who retired at age 90 after nearly 35 years on the bench.

Reinforcing the message that she might not leave before her health requires it, she mused of another former colleague, "I wonder if Sandra regrets stepping down when she did?"

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired in January 2006 at age 75 to take care of her husband, John, who had Alzheimer's disease. He died in 2009.

RELATED: NEW YORKERS MOB GAY PRIDE PARADE POST-DOMA

Ginsburg, who picked up the mantle of the liberals after Stevens' departure, took the unusual step of reading three dissenting statements from the bench in the final week of the term. Dissenting justices typically issue their statements only in writing. During one of them, on June 24, the media commented on the antics of Justice Samuel Alito, who had written the majority opinion in a job discrimination case Ginsburg was protesting, Vance v. Ball State University. As she spoke, he conspicuously rolled his eyes and screwed up his face.

Alito did not respond to a request for comment.

Ginsburg said she was oblivious, and only learned of his behavior from her law clerks. When she read another dissenting statement from the bench the next day, "he did not make any faces."

Was she insulted? Her answer appeared to allude to Alito's nationally televised grimace and mouthing of "Not true" in response to comments Obama made in his 2010 State of the Union speech about a court campaign-finance ruling.

"I'm in such good company," said Ginsburg. "I'm in the company of the president."

Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort - ProPublica

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Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 20:16

Army Secretary John McHugh confirms to members of Congress that commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to keep required field records: ''Steps are being taken to make sure this doesn't happen again.''

An Army sergeant from Alpha Company 1-325 of the 82nd Airborne Division prepares to search a home in the Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, in September 2007. Among the missing war records are nearly all those from the 82nd Airborne Division. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The U.S. Army has conceded a significant loss of records documenting battlefield action and other operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched a global search to recover and consolidate field records from the wars.

In an order to all commands and a separate letter to leaders of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said the service also is taking immediate steps to clarify responsibility for wartime recordkeeping.

The moves follow inquiries from the committee's leaders after a ProPublica and Seattle Times investigation last year reported that dozens of Army and National Guard units had lost or failed to keep required field records, in some cases impeding the ability of veterans to obtain disability benefits. The problem primarily affected the Army but also extended to U.S. Central Command in Iraq.

McHugh, in his letter to committee leaders, said that while the Army had kept some of the required records, ''we acknowledge that gaps exist.''

And in an enclosure responding to specific questions from the committee, McHugh confirmed that among the missing records are nearly all those from the 82nd Airborne Division, which was deployed multiple times during the wars.

McHugh's letter was addressed to Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and the panel's senior Democrat Michael Michaud of Maine, who said in an email Friday that the records were of critical importance to veterans.

''The admission that there are massive amounts of lost records is only the first step,'' Michaud said. ''I appreciate the Army issuing orders to address this serious problem, but I'm concerned that it took a letter from Congress to make it happen.''

''Our veterans have given up so much for our country, and they deserve a complete record of their service '' for the sake of history as well as potential disability claims down the road,'' he said.

A call and an email to Miller were not returned. Maj. Chris Kasker, an Army spokesman, said McHugh was not available for further comment.

In his order to Army commands, McHugh notes that units are required under federal law to keep field records, including ''daily staff journals, situation reports, tactical operations center logs, command reports, (and) operational plans.''

''In addition to providing support for health-related compensation claims, these documents will help capture this important period in Army history,'' he wrote.

But ProPublica and the Seattle Times uncovered assessments by the Army's Center of Military History showing that scores of units lacked adequate records. Others had wiped them off computer hard drives amid confusion about whether classified materials could be transferred home.

In one 2010 report, investigators found infighting between the Army and U.S. Centcom over recordkeeping in Iraq and ''the failure to capture significant operational and historical" materials in the theater.

The missing records do not include personnel files and medical records, which are stored separately from the field records that detail day-to-day activities.

McHugh's response to the congressmen said Army rules delegate recordkeeping responsibility to commanders at all levels, but they weren't always followed.

''Although numerous directives have been issued to emphasize the importance of the preservation of records,'' the response says, ''these directives unfortunately were often overcome by other operational priorities and not fully overseen by commanders.''

''Steps are being taken now to make sure this does not happen again,'' the letter says.

McHugh's order launching an Army-wide search for records also shifts responsibility for maintaining them in a new central repository.

Under regulations, individual units are charged with maintaining their records under the direction of the Army's Records and Declassification Agency (RMDA), which archives some records but is not required to collect them. Separately, the Center of Military History sends trained historians into combat zones to collect materials to write the official history of the Army campaigns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the historians found themselves becoming de facto archivists in combat, chasing down what field reports they could find. Their reports of missing or inadequate recordkeeping prompted alarms and complaints from military and civilian historians but little corrective action from Army brass.

Emails obtained by ProPublica show that the Center of Military History and RMDA have long argued about which Army branch should be gathering different records. Now, McHugh's memo orders commands to send whatever they have to the Center, which is to assess what the Army does and does not have by Dec. 31.

Calls to the Center for Military History were not returned. Officials at the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates, which had called on the Army to reconstruct missing field records, were not immediately available for comment.

Shut Up Slave!

Canadian Crime Stoppers Association on FB Gamer Lockup

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Archived Version

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 14:31

What is Crime Stoppers?Crime Stoppers is a civilian, non profit, charitable organization that brings together in a triparte relationship, the police services of a community, the media and the community in the fight against crime.

Crime Stoppers provides citizens with a vehicle to anonymously supply the police with information about a crime or potential crime of which they have knowledge. Cash rewards are offered to people who call the program and their information leads to an arrest.

Who administers the Crime Stoppers Program?A volunteer board of Directors actively administers and is responsible for the program. The Crime Stoppers Society is a non-profit charitable organization and is responsible for raising funds and the disbursements of rewards. The Board of Directors work in close cooperation with the Police Department and all areas of the media.

How is the Crime Stoppers program funded?Crime Stoppers is a Community Project supported by donations of money, goods or services. Contributions from individuals, corporations, clubs, professional associations, retailers, civic and social groups keep the Crime Stoppers program functional. All donations to a Crime Stoppers Society are tax deductible.

How did Crime Stoppers begin?In July 1976, in Albuquerque New Mexico, a university student was killed during a gas station robbery. After 6 weeks of investigation the police had very few leads as to who was responsible. Police investigators thought that if the public was able to observe a re-enactment of the crime on television this might lead to a citizen providing information that may lead to an arrest.

The police investigators were right. A0 caller contacted the police Department the next day after seeing the re-enactment. The tip information was enough to lead the police to the two men who were responsible. Within 72 hours of the re-enactment being aired, the police had solved the murder. This was the beginning of Crime Stoppers.

Since the program started, there are now more than 1700 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide in 32 countries. More than 425,000 crimes have been solved since the programs inception and over $8 billion worth of stolen property and narcotics have been seized.

How does Crime Stoppers work?The Crime Stoppers tip line is staffed by trained personnel who receive, process, and pass on tip information to investigating officers. Callers are given a code number which is used in all subsequent calls and callers do not have to identify themselves.

A reward of up to $2,000 is offered to anyone providing information which leads to an arrest for a crime. Rewards may also be made for information leading to the recovery of stolen property, the seizure of illegal drugs or an arrest on an outstanding warrant.

The media is a very important component of Crime Stoppers. An unsolved crime may be re-enacted and shown on television or may be publicized in a newspaper or aired on the radio. The media also brings the program to the attention of the public

Note: This site does not accept Tip information. If you have information about a crime, phone 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). For the closest Crime Stopper Program to you, use this link to obtain the closest Crime Stoppers Program to you to submit your information. Note: Not all programs have 'web tip' capability.

Army Choppers Drill Port Angeles

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Archived Version

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 16:42

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) -- Army special operations helicopters on a training exercise buzzed around the small city of Port Angeles, Wash., late Thursday in an episode that the mayor says "terrorized my city."An Army official apologized Friday for the unannounced training mission.Dozens of alarmed residents called police to ask what was going on."No one had any warning about the helicopters, no one said anything afterward, and today city officials had to spend hours just trying to find out what had happened - who had invaded Port Angeles," said Cherie Kidd, mayor of the Olympic Peninsula city about 60 miles west of Seattle.The Army said the helicopters involved included both twin-engine Chinooks and Blackhawk attack helicopters.The training exercise involved part of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which is based at Fort Campbell, Ky., but has individual units in various locations, said Sgt. Jimmy Norris, an I Corps spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. Part of the 160th is based at Lewis-McChord, he said."Our watch commander last night reported that we received `dozens of calls' complaining about low-flying helicopters over the city," Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.After multiple calls to Puget Sound-area military bases, Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict was finally able to determine about mid-day Friday that the helicopters belonged to the Army, The Peninsula Daily News reported (http://is.gd/QaMw82d ).Army Col. H. Charles "Chuck" Hodges Jr., garrison commander at Lewis-McChord, told the newspaper that he had launched an investigation and was meeting with unit commanders at the base."I apologize, this is totally unacceptable," he said.Hodges said the helicopters - he mentioned four Chinooks - were over Port Angeles from about 11:15 p.m. to shortly before midnight Thursday.An Army spokesman for Hodges' office did not immediately return an Associated Press phone call Friday evening.Kidd said she plans to meet Monday with Hodges at the base about 90 miles south of Port Angeles.The helicopters were "training to work in urban environments," Norris told the AP, adding that the exercise involved landing at the small Port Angeles Coast Guard base. It's located across the city harbor from the downtown business area."I guess a lot of people got spooked because they had their lights on and the lights were bright, but I guess they had to have the lights on as part of the operation for landing at the airfield," he added.Port Angeles resident Eric Phillips said he saw four helicopters traveling in two sets, with the leading set flying without lights. The aircraft circled the city for at least an hour, he told Daily News.Army Maj. Michael Burns, interviewed by telephone from Fort Campbell, told the newspaper the exercise also included Blackhawk helicopters.He said he couldn't discuss many details of the mission or say why the Port Angeles area was chosen, only that "the particular area just gave a different training environment for the pilots, something unfamiliar."We do our best to try to avoid populated areas, but (with) those aircraft being so large and so loud, even if we're not very low, it seems very loud," Burns said.Specific law enforcement agencies in the area were not notified of Thursday's training mission, Burns confirmed, saying that's not typically done for operations as short as a one-night exercise.Also, the aircraft used in such missions can cover such a wide area, "it's tough to notify every agency," he told the newspaper.---Information from: Peninsula Daily News, http://www.peninsuladailynews.com

Hunger strike for 29,000 US inmates

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Archived Version

Source: BBC News - Home

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 21:59

11 July 2013Last updated at17:43 ETA hunger strike by California prisoners has entered its fourth day, with 29,000 inmates protesting against lengthy solitary confinement sentences at the state's high-security prisons.

But California's prisons chief says the strike is detrimental to their cause.

Many of the roughly 3,800 prisoners in solitary confinement have been deemed to have gang ties, and some have spent more than a decade in isolation.

It is the third such hunger strike in California prisons in two years.

But the strike that began on Monday when 30,000 inmates refused meals is the largest in the state's history. The number of striking prisoners has fallen below 29,000 as of Wednesday.

'Make their point'"I don't think it helps anything to do this," Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said on Thursday in his first comments on the strike.

"Much of what they're asking for is being done. It's just not being done fast enough for them... the hunger strike actually interferes with the process."

After the two previous strikes, the corrections department began a programme to reduce isolation sentences. Hundreds have either already been released from solitary confinement or have been marked for release.

But the programme was suspended as the strike began on Monday. Mr Beard told an oversight hearing that corrections authorities would not make concessions to the prisoners.

"I think the department has pretty much done what it can do," Mr Beard told the Associated Press on Thursday. "My hope is that they sort of make their point, get the thing over and we can go back and start doing the reviews."

Groups supporting the strikers say California's programme does too little to prevent or limit the confinement sentences.

22-24 hours a day"They're asking for a more humane set of conditions that aren't designed to destroy people," said Claude Marks, a spokesman for the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition.

"If that's [Beard's] position, that [California] has nothing else to offer, then that explains why there's an issue."

In one high-security prison near the Oregon border, Pelican Bay, more than a 1,000 prisoners remain in solitary confinement.

About 500 have been in isolation between 22-24 hours a day for more than a decade, with dozens spending more than 20 years in the cells, according to a lawsuit filed on their behalf.

Three other high-security prisons in California have similar programmes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, those formerly in isolation have been released into the general prison population either because they no longer qualified for isolation, were part of a four-year "step-down" programme, or had agreed to inform on other prisoners.

Battleground Texas

BBC News - Europe's abortion rules

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:06

AUSTRIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: First three months - in practice often before 12 weeks

Conditions: Must have medical consultation. May be performed after 12 weeks if necessary to avoid serious danger to the woman's physical or mental health; if the child is at risk of being born with a serious physical or mental defect; or if the woman is under 14 years of age.

In practice, the ability of a woman to pay for an abortion is an important factor. It is difficult for women to get an abortion outside Vienna and other big cities. Few doctors perform abortions in private practice in rural areas.

BELGIUM

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Woman must say she is in a "state of distress". Abortions allowed at any stage later in pregnancy if two physicians agree there is a serious risk to the health of the mother or that the child has an "extremely serious and incurable disease".

The woman must receive counselling at least six days prior to procedure, which must be performed by a physician under good medical conditions in a healthcare establishment with the proper information resources.

BULGARIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Between 12 and 20 weeks, abortion is permitted only if the woman is suffering from a proven, documented case of a disease that could endanger the life of mother or child.After 20 weeks, abortion is permitted only if the woman's life is in danger or evidence is found of severe foetal impairment.

CYPRUS

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 28 weeks

Conditions: Allowed to save a woman's life, to preserve her mental or physical health or in cases of rape or incest and if the child is likely to be born with serious disabilities. The UN says that although not specified by law, in practice abortion is performed within 28 weeks of gestation.

Certification by two doctors is required for all grounds except rape - when certification by a police authority is necessary. Free of charge for patients eligible for free medical care.

Anyone caught performing an unlawful abortion is liable to seven years' imprisonment. A woman inducing her own abortion is liable to the same punishment. In practice, terminations are often carried out for social and economic reasons.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Requires consent of the woman and authorisation by her gynaecologist. After 12 weeks, pregnancy can be terminated only if the woman's life or health is endangered or in the case of suspected foetal impairment. The procedure must be authorised by a medical commission and performed in a hospital. Therapeutic abortion is permitted up to 26 weeks.

Women who have had an abortion are not allowed another within six months unless they have had two deliveries, are at least 35 years of age or the pregnancy was the result of a rape.

The number of abortions in the Czech Republic dropped by about two-thirds in the 1990s mainly due to the increasing availability of the birth-control pill and other types of contraception.

DENMARK

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: After 12 weeks, if the pregnancy does not pose a risk to the woman's life or of serious deterioration to her physical or mental health, the abortion must be approved by a committee of four people.

The procedure must be performed by a physician in a state or communal hospital or in a clinic attached to a hospital. No cost, part of the public health system.

Abortion for non-residents is not allowed unless they have some special relationship with Denmark.

FAROE ISLANDS:

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 16 weeks

Conditions: If there is a risk to life of woman, in cases of rape and severe risk of foetal malformation. If married, consent is required from the husband.

ESTONIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: After 12 weeks, a woman must undergo a consultation with doctors and the reason for the abortion has to be stated in writing.

Abortions are permitted until 22 weeks for health reasons and certain other reasons, including pregnancy at a very young age (under 16) or over 45 years of age. A woman choosing to have an abortion must pay a larger cost of the abortion than she would if it should be performed on medical grounds.

FINLAND

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 24 weeks

Conditions: Abortions permitted up to 12 weeks to save the woman's life, to preserve her mental health, for economic or social reasons or in the cases of rape or incest.Available up to 20 weeks if there is a risk to the physical health of woman or if she is younger than 17. The procedure can be performed up to 24 weeks if the woman's life is at risk or there is a risk of foetal malformation.

An abortion must be authorised by one or two doctors up to 12 weeks, or by the State Medical Board up to 20 weeks. Abortion is free of charge under national health insurance but women must pay hospital fees.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) says that in practice a woman can get an abortion on demand, but illegal abortion is rare.

FRANCE

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: The woman must claim to be in a "state of distress" because of her pregnancy. After 12 weeks, abortions are allowed only if the pregnancy poses a grave danger to the woman's health or there is a risk the child will suffer from a severe illness recognised as incurable. If this is the case, two doctors must confirm the risk to the health of the woman or foetus.

A pregnant girl under the age of 16 may ask for an abortion without consulting her parents first. But she has to be accompanied by an adult of her choice.Conscientious objection allows professionals to decline involvement in procedures, but they must inform the patient without delay.

GERMANY

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: The woman must receive proper counselling three days before the procedure. The state-regulated counselling is required to inform the woman that the unborn have a right to life and to try to convince her to continue her pregnancy.

The procedure is not covered by public health insurance except for women with low income. The law includes penalties for people who force a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion or who induce a pregnant woman to have an abortion by maliciously withholding support payments.

GREECE

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Abortions are allowed up to 19 weeks in the case of rape or incest and 24 weeks in cases of foetal abnormality.

Abortions must be performed by a practising physician in a private clinic or hospital. A minor must obtain the written consent of her parents or guardian.The United Nations says the public is still not fully aware of the new laws and illegal abortions are still common.

HUNGARY

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: The woman must obtain counselling. A consultation with a nurse is compulsory to inform the pregnant woman on issues of contraception, as well as to provide assistance if the pregnancy is carried to term.

Before 1953 abortions were illegal except for health reasons. The 1992 law stressed respect for the foetus, but it allowed abortions.

If the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman, or the foetus shows malformation that renders any form of postnatal life impossible, the abortion can be performed at any time during pregnancy.

IRELAND

Availability: Strict conditions

Gestational limit: No set limit

Conditions: Only allowed if woman's life is at risk (including the risk of suicide).

Ireland has voted five times in the past 20 years on its abortion laws, most recently deciding to continue to allow women to have an abortion if they say they are suicidal - a loophole the government and Catholic Church wanted closed.

Women can have counselling and advice on options, and can leave the country to have the procedure elsewhere - more than 6,000 a year go to the UK for a termination.

ITALY

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: A one-week reflection period is imposed unless the situation is one of urgency. A certificate confirming the pregnancy and the request for termination must be issued by a doctor and signed by the woman and the doctor.

Parental authorisation is required if the woman is under 18. After 12 weeks, abortion is allowed only if the foetus has a genetic deficiency or to preserve the physical and mental health of the mother. An abortion must be performed in a public hospital or authorised private facility - if there are staff willing to perform the procedure.

The influence of the Roman Catholic Church - and the threat of excommunication for anyone performing an abortion and any woman obtaining an abortion - means the majority of physicians and other healthcare professionals invoke a conscience clause allowing them to be exempted on moral or religious grounds.

LATVIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: After the first three months, special authorisation is required but non-medical reasons can include the death of the husband during pregnancy; imprisonment of the pregnant woman or her husband; divorce during pregnancy; pregnancy following rape; and history of child disability in the family.

The laws were liberalised during the Soviet era. Procedures must be performed in a hospital or other authorised health-care facility.

LITHUANIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: After 12 weeks, special authorisation is required. The laws are similar to Latvia, the countries having been a part of the former Soviet Union. Abortion laws have changed little since independence.

LUXEMBOURG

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Allowed during first 12 weeks to save a woman's life, to preserve her mental or physical health, for economic or social reasons in the cases of rape or incest or foetal impairment. A one-week reflection period is required and the pregnant woman must be given an information booklet in which options other than abortion are explained.

After 12 weeks, the law allows abortion only if there is a very serious threat to the health of the woman or the unborn child. Two qualified doctors must confirm in writing that a serious threat exists. A doctor is not required to perform an abortion except when the life of the pregnant woman is in imminent danger.

The UN says there remains a reluctance among doctors to perform abortions, partly because of the country's religious conservatism.

MALTA

Availability: None

Conditions: Abortion is prohibited in all circumstances. Anyone performing an abortion - or a woman who performs one on herself or consents to the procedure - can be jailed for between 18 months and three years. A physician, surgeon, obstetrician, or pharmacist who performs an abortion faces a jail term of 18 months to four years and a lifelong ban from exercising his or her profession.

The government and bishops on the island objected strongly to moves in 2000 to perform abortions on a ship in international waters off Malta.

THE NETHERLANDS

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 13 weeks

Conditions: A five-day waiting period is required between the initial consultation and the performance of an induced abortion. The procedure must be performed in a licensed hospital or clinic. Abortion is allowed after 13 weeks (up to 24 weeks) if she claims to be in a state of distress.

Since November 1984, women in the Netherlands have been able to obtain abortions free of charge under the government-sponsored national health insurance system. Foreigners may have abortions in the Netherlands, but they have to pay.

POLAND

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Allowed to save a woman's life, to preserve her mental or physical health or in the cases of rape or incest or foetal impairment. The procedure must be performed by an obstetrician or gynaecologist who has passed the national proficiency tests.

After 12 weeks, abortions are allowed only if continued pregnancy would endanger the life or health of the pregnant woman. It must be performed in a hospital or clinic with the consent of the pregnant woman or her parents or guardian if she is a minor.

PORTUGAL

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 16 weeks

Conditions: Allowed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to save a woman's life or to preserve her mental or physical health.

Abortions are allowed within 16 weeks in the cases of rape or another sexual crime and up to 24 weeks if there is a risk that the child will be born with an incurable disease or malformation - which must be certified by a doctor other than the one performing the procedure.

Portugal's laws will now be liberalised to allow abortions on request within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, after a referendum which saw almost 60% of voters back the move.

It was not legally binding, because less than half the electorate voted, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates said "the people spoke with a clear voice" and the law would be changed.

ROMANIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 14 weeks

Conditions: Must be carried out with the woman's consent in an approved medical institution or surgery. Abortions may be performed later in pregnancy if absolutely necessary for therapeutic reasons, according to legal provisions.

A doctor who performs an illegal abortion faces suspension.

SLOVAKIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: Woman must request procedure in writing. It is allowed only if at least six months have elapsed since a previous abortion, except in the case of a woman who has had two other births or is 35 years of age or older, or in the case of rape.

A woman must receive counselling before an abortion is performed. Parental consent is required for women under 16 years of age; for minors between 16 and 18 years of age, the physician must inform the parents following the abortion. Abortions after 12 weeks are only allowed for medical and genetic reasons and in cases of rape or other sexual crimes.

SLOVENIA

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 10 weeks

Conditions: After the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, special authorisation by a commission composed of a gynaecologist/obstetrician, a general physician or a specialist in internal medicine and a social worker or a psychologist is required.

If the woman is a minor, approval of her parents or guardian is required, unless she has been recognised as fully competent to earn her own living.

SPAIN

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 22 weeks

Conditions: Abortions are allowed to avoid serious risk to physical or mental health of the woman within the first 12 weeks. If the pregnancy is a result of rape, the rape must first be reported to the police and the procedure carried out within 12 weeks of pregnancy.

In case of foetal impairment, two specialists, other than the doctor performing the abortion, must certify that the child would suffer from severe physical or mental defects. The procedure must be performed within the first 22 weeks.All abortions must be reported to the national health authorities.

SWEDEN

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 18 weeks

Conditions: Between 12 and 18 weeks of gestation, the women must discuss the procedure with a social worker. After 18 weeks, permission must be obtained from the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Abortions must be performed by a licensed medical practitioner and, except in cases of emergency, in a general hospital or other approved healthcare establishment. Abortion is subsidised by the government. The country says illegal abortions have been eradicated.

UNITED KINGDOM

Availability: Under certain conditions

Gestational limit: 24 weeks

Conditions: Abortion is allowed in England, Wales and Scotland to save a woman's life, for health, economic or social reasons. Two registered medical practitioners must certify that the required medical grounds have been met.

The procedure must be carried out, except in emergency, in a National Health Service hospital or in a nursing home, private hospital or other approved place. The consent of the spouse is not a prerequisite of the medical termination.

In Northern Ireland, the woman's health must be at risk. The difference between the British mainland and Northern Ireland occurred in 1967 when the Westminster parliament let the then Ulster authority decide not to adopt the new laws. Hundreds of women each year cross the Irish Sea to get abortions in England.

Sources: United Nations and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Jen's Response

I wonder if the demand for abortions is lower in Europe due to easier/free access to birth control? Also sex ed. has got to be better in Europe than in the U.S. (hello, abstinence-only education). So perhaps women don't feel the need to fight for abortion on demand there? I'm actually surprised Italy isn't *more* restrictive -- I had assumed that between the influence of the roman catholic church + concerns over the low birth rate of Italians there'd be stricter abortion laws.

Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide

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Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:07

WORLDWIDE INCIDENCE AND TRENDS' After declining substantially between 1995 and 2003, the worldwide abortion rate stalled between 2003 and 2008. [1]

' Between 1995 and 2003, the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age'--i.e., those aged 15''44) for the world overall dropped from 35 to 29. It remained virtually unchanged, at 28, in 2008. [1]

' Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and nearly all unsafe abortions (98%) occur in developing countries. In the developing world, 56% of all abortions are unsafe, compared with just 6% in the developed world. [1]

' The proportion of abortions worldwide that take place in the developing world increased between 1995 and 2008 from 78% to 86%, in part because the proportion of all women who live in the developing world increased during this period. [1]

' Since 2003, the number of abortions fell by 600,000 in the developed world but increased by 2.8 million in the developing world. In 2008, six million abortions were performed in developed countries and 38 million in developing countries, a disparity that largely reflects population distribution. [1]

' A woman's likelihood of having an abortion is slightly elevated if she lives in a developing region. In 2008, there were 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15''44 years in developing countries, compared with 24 in the developed world. [1]

REGIONAL INCIDENCE AND TRENDS' The overall abortion rate in Africa, where the vast majority of abortions are illegal and unsafe, showed no decline between 2003 and 2008, holding at 29 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. [1]

' The Southern Africa subregion, dominated by South Africa, where abortion was legalized in 1997, has the lowest abortion rate of all African subregions, at 15 per 1,000 women in 2008. East Africa has the highest rate, at 38, followed by Middle Africa at 36, West Africa at 28 and North Africa at 18. [1]

' Both the lowest and highest subregional abortion rates are in Europe, where abortion is generally legal under broad grounds. In Western Europe, the rate is 12 per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Europe it is 43. [1] The discrepancy in rates between the two regions reflects relatively low contraceptive use in Eastern Europe, as well as a high degree of reliance on methods with relatively high user failure rates, such as the condom, withdrawal and the rhythm method.

' In Europe, 30% of pregnancies end in abortion. A higher proportion of pregnancies end in abortion in Eastern Europe than in the rest of the region. [1]

' In Eastern Europe, the abortion rate held steady at 43 per 1,000 women between 2003 and 2008, after a period of steep decline between the mid-90s and the early 2000s. [1]

' Western Europe, Southern Africa and Northern Europe have the lowest abortion rates in the world, at 12, 15 and 17, respectively. [1]

' The abortion rate fell in Latin America from 37 to 31 abortions per 1,000 women between 1995 and 2003; it has held fairly steady since, reaching 32 in 2008. [1]

' In Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 29 in Central America (the subregion that includes Mexico) to 32 in South America and 39 in the Caribbean. The Caribbean (the subregion that includes Cuba, where abortions are generally safe) has the lowest proportion of abortions in the region that are unsafe (46%), compared with nearly 100% in Central and South America. [1]

' In Asia, abortion rates across subregions held steady between 2003 and 2008, ranging from 26 per 1,000 in South Central Asia and Western Asia to 36 per 1,000 in Southeastern Asia. [1]

' Abortion incidence appears to have risen in China since 2003, after an extended period of decline. Evidence shows that this is due to an increase in premarital sexual activity and disruptions in access to contraceptive services resulting from rapid urbanization.

ABORTION LAW' Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America'--regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds. [1]

' Where abortion is permitted on broad legal grounds, it is generally safe, and where it is highly restricted, it is typically unsafe. In developing countries, relatively liberal abortion laws are associated with fewer negative health consequences from unsafe abortion than are highly restrictive laws. [2] [3]

' In South Africa, the annual number of abortion-related deaths fell by 91 % after the liberalization of the abortion law. [2]

' In Nepal, where abortion was made legal on broad grounds in 2002, it appears that abortion-related complications are on the decline: A recent study in eight districts found that abortion-related complications accounted for 54% of all facility-treated maternal illnesses in 1998, but for only 28% in 2008''2009. [3]

' Between 1997 and 2008, the grounds on which abortion may be legally performed were broadened in 17 countries: Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guinea, Iran, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand and Togo. Mexico City and parts of Australia (Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia) also liberalized their abortion laws. In contrast, El Salvador and Nicaragua changed their already restrictive laws to prohibit abortion entirely, while Poland withdrew socioeconomic reasons as a legal ground for abortion.

UNSAFE ABORTION' The World Health Organization defines unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating a pregnancy that is performed by an individual lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.

' Between 1995 and 2008, the rate of unsafe abortion worldwide remained essentially unchanged, at 14 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15''44. [1]

' During the same period, the proportion of all abortions that were unsafe increased from 44% to 49%. [1]

' In 2008, more than 97% of abortions in Africa were unsafe. Southern Africa is the subregion with the lowest proportion of unsafe abortions (58%) [1]. Close to 90% of women in the subregion live in South Africa, where abortion was liberalized in 1997.

' In Latin America, 95% of abortions were unsafe, a proportion that did not change between 1995 and 2008. Nearly all safe abortions occurred in the Caribbean, primarily in Cuba and several other countries where the law is liberal and safe abortions are accessible. [1]

' In Asia, the proportion of abortions that are unsafe varies widely by subregion, from virtually none in Eastern Asia to 65% in South Central Asia. [1]

' In Western Asia, the proportion of abortions that are unsafe increased from 34% to 60% between 2003 and 2008. [1]This increase is likely due to improved measurement of unsafe abortions and to a steady decline in abortions (partly due to the increasingly widespread use of effective contraceptives) in countries where abortion is legal and safe.

' Worldwide, medication abortion (a technique using a combination of the drugs mifespristone and misoprostol, or misoprostol alone) has become more common in both legal and clandestine procedures. Increased use of medication abortion has likely contributed to declines in the proportion of clandestine abortions that result in severe morbidity and maternal death.

CONSEQUENCES OF UNSAFE ABORTION' The estimated annual number of deaths from unsafe abortion declined from 56,000 in 2003 to 47,000 in 2008. Complications from unsafe abortion accounted for an estimated 13% of all maternal deaths worldwide in both years. [4]

' Declines since 2003 in the annual number of deaths from unsafe abortion, along with concurrent increases in the annual number of unsafe abortions performed, indicate that the risks associated with clandestine procedures may be decreasing.

' In the United States, legal induced abortion results in 0.6 deaths per 100,000 procedures. Worldwide, unsafe abortion accounts for a death rate that is 350 times higher (220 per 100,000), and, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate is 800 times higher, at 460 per 100,000. [4]

' Almost all abortion-related deaths occur in developing countries, with the highest number occurring in Africa.

' Unsafe abortion is a significant cause of ill-health among women in the developing world. Estimates for 2005 indicate that 8.5 million women annually experience complications from unsafe abortion that require medical attention, and three million do not receive the care they need. [5]

' Treating medical complications from unsafe abortion places a significant financial burden on public health care systems in the developing world. According to a 2009 study, the minimum annual estimated cost of providing postabortion care in the developing world is $341 million. [6]

' In developing countries, poor women have the least access to family planning services and the fewest resources to pay for safe abortion procedures; they are also the most likely to experience complications related to unsafe abortion.

' Unsafe abortion has significant negative consequences beyond its immediate effects on women's health. For example, complications from unsafe abortion may reduce women's productivity, increasing the economic burden on poor families; cause maternal deaths that leave children motherless; cause long-term health problems, such as infertility; and result in considerable costs to already struggling public health systems.

UNINTENDED PREGNANCY: THE ROOT OF ABORTION' The uptake of modern contraceptive methods worldwide has slowed in recent years, from an increase of 0.6 percentage points per year in 1990''1999 to an increase of only 0.1 percentage points per year in 2000''2009. In Africa, the annual increase in modern contraceptive use fell from 0.8 percentage points in 1990''1999 to 0.2 percentage points in 2000''2009. [7]

' An estimated 215 million women in the developing world have an unmet need for modern contraceptives, meaning they want to avoid a pregnancy but are using a low-efficacy traditional family planning method or no method. [8]

' Some 82% of unintended pregnancies in developing countries occur among women who have an unmet need for modern contraception. [8]

' In the developing world, women's reasons for not using contraceptives most commonly include concerns about possible side-effects, the belief that they are not at risk of getting pregnant, poor access to family planning, and their partners' opposition to contraception.

' Reducing unmet need for modern contraception is an effective way to prevent unintended pregnancies, abortions and unplanned births.

1. Sedgh G et al., Induced abortion worldwide in 2008: levels and trends, Lancet, 2012, (forthcoming)

2. Jewkes R and Rees H, Dramatic decline in abortion mortality due to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, South African Medical Journal, 2005, 95[4]:250.

3. Pradhan A et al., Nepal Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Study 2008/2009: Summary of Preliminary Findings, Kathmandu, Nepal: Family Health Division, Department of Health Services, Ministry of Health, 2009.

4. World Health Organization (WHO), Unsafe Abortion: Global and Regional Estimates of the Incidence of Unsafe Abortion and Associated Mortality in 2008, sixth ed., Geneva: WHO, 2011.

5. Singh S, Hospital admissions resulting from unsafe abortion: estimates from 13 developing countries, Lancet, 2006, 368[9550]:1887''1892.

6.Vlassoff M et al., Estimates of health care system costs of unsafe abortion in Africa and Latin America, International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,. 2009, 35[3]:118.

7. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, United Nations, World contraceptive use 2010, 2011, , accessed Dec. 19, 2011.

8.Singh S et al., Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Family Planning and Maternal and Newborn Health, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2009.

Most data in this fact sheet is from Sedgh G et al., Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008, Lancet, 2012, (forthcoming), and the World Health Organization.

January 2012

Bogative Abortion Study

Well, that didn't take long, and again Jen, I really appreciate you challenging me on this, because it is hard to come by an informed counter party who is willing to engage for any length of time on this particular topic.

You have also helped me develop some great material for the show. (that means I owe you a beer at the very least)

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is a well funded NGO, receiving over $100mm from the CDC alone.

In my experience with large organizations with a lot of money (I ran one back in the dot com days), they are always well intended, but need to create resons for their existence.

The Title of this report is misleading at best: "Unintended Pregnancy in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?"

This implies a difference that in the abstract is cleverly explained:

"Abortion rates have declined significantly in the United States since 1981, but remain higher than many European countries."

The key here is that it's not about a difference between all of Europe and the US, but "many" European countries.

To be exact, they chose 4. The European Union counts 28 countries. I don't think 4 can be classified as "many".

Here's where it gets interesting. This document uses the same Guttmacher data from 2008 for US abortions that I sent you earlier, being 19 per 1000 women, but instead of using the European data from Guttmacher, which shows 27 abortions per 1000 women, they literally cherry picked 4 countries.

Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.

This is very funny to me, as Belgium and the Netherlands are practically one country, in fact the region including Luxembourg is known as the BeNeLux.

Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and France would be disappointed to learn they have been excluded from such an important study!

I can change the numbers for the US if I chose 'many' of the 50 states;

Delaware, Florida, New York and Connecticut have an average of 25.5% abortions per 1000 women

Mississippi, Texas, South Dakota and Utah, have an average of 8.5% per 1000 women.

This is how agenda's are set. Take some data, massage it into a statistic until it suits your needs.

Further footnotes are that there is no research done here regarding these 4 European countries being monarchies, which other research has shown to have a huge effect on childbirth. The Brits are all over the "Kate Effect". More children born could possibly mean less abortions.

Also, these very 4 countries have cities with an increasing percentage of Muslim populations: Amsterdam 14%, Brussels 25.5%, Berlin 9%, and Mälmo 20% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_the_European_Union_by_Muslim_population)

This is not taken into account in this document either, in fact there is only one reference to 'religion' in the entire document:

"43 U.S. states permit institutions to refuse to perform abortions, although some of these limit refusal by institutions to those with religious affiliations or private ownership."

Also no mention is made of child subsidies in these countries, which encourages child birth through state support.

In the summary of the document, the authors revert back the the full 'Europe', not just the 4 countries they actually 'studied': "Abortion is costlier in the U.S. than in Europe and there are fewer abortion providers relative to the size of the population."

And finally, in my research I am always looking for who will benefit from this study... Cui Bono!?

The final lines of the study are revealing: "This report has sought to generate suggestive evidence on which predictors might account for the high rate of abortion in the U.S. relative to Europe, and which might be most fruitfully explored in future research."

"Suggestive" indeed, and again, they elude to ALL of Europe, which they simply did not study, but …… they could! Yah! We need to do another study! More research! We have a reason to exist!

I am curious how this study was distributed, who it came from or if you found it through your own research, as I would like to trace the path this kind of material makes.

With love and respect,

Texas Passes Abortion Restriction Bill

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Archived Version

Source: Weasel Zippers

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 17:50

Wendy Davis, her catheter and haters fail; epic scream mode commences.

Via The Blaze:

AUSTIN, Texas (TheBlaze/AP) '-- The Texas Senate passed sweeping new abortion restrictions late Friday, sending them to Republican Gov. Rick Perry to sign into law after weeks of protests and rallies that drew thousands of people to the Capitol and made the state the focus of the national abortion debate.

Republicans used their large majority in the Texas Legislature to pass the bill nearly three weeks after a filibuster by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis and an outburst by abortion-rights activists in the Senate gallery disrupted a deadline vote June 25.

Called back for a new special session by Perry, lawmakers took up the bill again as thousands of supporters and opponents held rallies and jammed the Capitol to testify at public hearings.

The bill requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, allows abortions only in surgical centers and bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Keep reading'...

Federal Funding for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs | The National Campaign

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 20:06

The Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program, administered by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), was initially funded at $110 million for FY 2010. Funding was cut to $105 million in FY 11. This funding provides competitive grants to a broad range of organizations and agencies to implement evidence-based programs to prevent teen pregnancy. The grants (known as cooperative agreements) will run for five years, contingent upon funding being appropriated each year. The $105 million for FY 11 includes:

$75 million for 75 ''Tier 1'' grants to replicate teen pregnancy prevention programs that have shown to be effective through rigorous evaluation.$25 million for ''Tier 2'' grants to develop, replicate, refine and test additional models and innovative strategies to reduce teen pregnancy. OAH awarded 19 grants totaling $15 million; the remaining $10 million supports eight grants awarded in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for community-wide initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy in communities with the highest rates.An additional $5 million is available for program support, including evaluation, training, technical assistance for the grantees. When the program was originally created in FY 10, funding for program support was $10 millionResources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community-Wide Initiatives to Reduce Teen PregnancyIn partnership with OAH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded competitive grants to 8 state and local organizations for a project to advance community-wide strategies to reduce teen pregnancy. These grants were funded with a portion of the $25 million in Tier 2 funding above. In addition, 5 national organizations, including The National Campaign, received grants funded by CDC. These national, state, and local organizations will work together to promote the use of evidence-based programs, educate community leaders about the importance of preventing teen pregnancy, and connect youth to clinical services. For more information about this initiative and the grantees, click here.

Pregnancy Assistance FundOAH awarded competitive grants to 17 states and tribes for projects to support pregnant and parenting teens and women. Programs will provide support for teens in high schools and community service centers, young women in institutions of higher education, victims of domestic violence in partnership with the state attorney general's office, and will raise public awareness about these services. For more information from OAH, click here.

Russia & Chiners

China, Russia hold largest-ever joint naval drills

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Archived Version

Source: Global Times

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 04:12

(Source: Navy.81.cn)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

(Photo Source: Chinamil.com.cn)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Chinese naval vessel fire anti-submarine missile during the "Joint Sea-2013" drill at Peter the Great Bay inRussia, July 10, 2013. The "Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concluded here on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Chinese naval Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer attends the "Joint Sea-2013" drill at Peter the Great Bay in Russia, July 10, 2013. The "Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concluded here on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Chinese and Russian naval vessels are seen during a military review of the "Joint Sea-2013" drill at Peter the Great Bay in Russia, July 10, 2013. The "Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concluded here on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Directors of "Joint Sea-2013" drill from China andRussiaexchange gifts at the closing ceremony of the joint naval drills in Vladivostok, Russia, July 11, 2013. Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy and director of the "Joint Sea-2013" drill, announced the end of the joint naval drills here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Naval officers from China and Russia salute at the closing ceremony of the joint naval drills in Vladivostok, Russia, July 11, 2013. Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy and director of the "Joint Sea-2013" drill, announced the end of the joint naval drills here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Destroyer Shenyang of the ChinesePeople's Liberation Army(PLA) Navy leaves the Pier of Golden Horn Bay inRussia, on July 12, 2013. Seven Chinese warships left Russia's far eastern port of Vladivostok Friday morning after taking part in a joint naval drill with Russia. (Xinhua/Wang Jingguo)More Photos:Seven Chinese warships left Vladivostok after joint naval drillChina-Russia "Joint Sea-2013" drill concludesSino-Russian joint naval drills end in Vladivostok"Joint Sea-2013" drill participated by Chinese and Russian warships concludesFemale soldiers in China-Russia joint drill come into focusChina-Russia joint drill enters 2nd dayChinese Navy vessels leave for joint naval drills from Vladivostok, RussiaChinese Navy Shijiazhuang guided-missile destroyer opens to the public in VladivostokChinese warships arrive in Russia's Far East for joint naval drillSino-Russian joint naval drills held in sea of JapanNaval vessels seen during Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese fleet departs for Sino-Russian joint naval drillsChinese, Russian warships stage variety of exercises during joint drill

Gazprom gets Kyrgyzstan Ga for $1

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Sat, 13 Jul 2013 14:15

From:

To:

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Crisis increases heroin and alcohol> TVI24

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:47

From:

To:

EMCDDA | European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction '-- information on drugs and drug addiction in Europe

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Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:47

The pages below provide information and resources by drug-related topic.

new Perspectives on drugs series:

The links below point to some of the working areas for the EMCCDA, inlcuding epidemiology, best practice and monitoring new drugs.

European Drug Report 2013

Hepatitis C treatment among IDUs

Cocaine-related emergencies

Models for the legal supply of cannabis

SnowJob

[LOL] Snowden uncovers shocking truth behind Chemtrails | The Internet Chronicle

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Archived Version

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:10

According to Snowden, chemtrails are the only thing keeping the US from global warming incineration, but at what price?

MOSCOW, Russia '' Edward Snowden, the hacker who gained access to every secret corner of the Internet during his tenure at the NSA, has come forward with details of a classified project to alter the world's climate. The shocking truth, as he says, is that chemtrails are part of a benevolent program aimed at countering global warming. By cooperating in secret with jet fuel manufacturers, government agents have carefully kept the massive chemtrail efforts completely under wraps. Snowden added, ''I am only revealing this program because there is no oversight in the scientific community, no public discussion, and little concern for the side-effects which are well known only to a few privileged people interested in continuing the decades-long chemtrail program in secret.''

Because climate change is a threat to U.S. agriculture, it has been labeled a national security issue. With the influence and cooperation of Monsanto, a secret Geoengineering lab dubbed Muad'Dib has been operating since the late 1960s, and the chemtrail program is often referred to by insiders as its ''crown jewel.'' Muad'Dib has aimed to protect North America's climate at all costs '' even if that means accelerating desertification in Sub-Saharan Africa or spreading trace amounts of carcinogens over lightly populated areas. Other side effects, which scientists at the secret Muad'Dib Geoengineering Lab have predicted, include droughts in the Amazon and powerful windstorms along the East Coast.

Snowden shared decisive documents with The Internet Chronicle, but out of concern for national security, only his testimonial can be published. These documents contain references to scientists who would surely be targeted by foreign counterintelligence, and their knowledge is vital to short-term survival of the United States.

Snowden said, ''If this program were to stop, the scientists behind it strongly believe that within just one year the North American climate would spiral out of control, and crop failures would lead to a series of devastating famines that would quickly depopulate urban centers.''

Because the program has been carried out on such a massive scale, skeptics might find Snowden's story unbelievable. However, Snowden explained that the chemtrail program has been incredibly easy to hide, especially with the cooperation of jet fuel companies, a crucial part of the military-industrial complex. Snowden said, ''The chemicals which are released by passenger airplanes have been covertly introduced as 'additives,' supposedly to improve efficiency. Only as the plane reaches cruising velocity does the heat and atmospheric pressure cause a chemical reaction that synthesizes the top secret carbon-trapping molecule. This process is imperfect, and many of the by-products are incredibly dangerous even in trace quantities. The most dangerous thing is that although chemtrails are keeping the climate of the U.S. reasonably stable, citizens are bombarded every day with an invisible rain of carbon-laden molecules, and the effect on health is totally unknown.''

Bogative Moscow Conference

Edward Snowden full statement: 'It was the right thing to do and I have no regrets' | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Archived Version

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 17:10

Edward Snowden along with Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks (left) at a press conference in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow. Photograph: Tanya Lokshina/Human Rights Watch

Statement by Edward Snowden to human rights groups at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, posted by WikiLeaks:

Friday July 12, 15:00 UTC

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone's communications at any time. That is the power to change people's fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice '' that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement '' the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president's plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela's President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

Sarah Harrison, the woman from WikiLeaks - The Washington Post

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LONDON '-- He didn't have the space for it, but Gavin MacFadyen needed more bodies. The American running a British think tank for investigative journalism had eight staffers crammed into an 15-by-12-foot office in east central London, trying to crack a story on wrongdoing at a multinational company.

Then Sarah Harrison walked through his door.

Within a few years, Harrison would become the intense, 31-year-old emissary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the mystery woman sent to spirit former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow, where she is now aiding his quest to evade U.S. authorities.

But then, in late 2009, Harrison was an eager 27-year-old applying for an unpaid internship, a graduate of a prestigious boarding school with ambitions to become a journalist.

Harrison had no prior experience, but MacFadyen said he saw a spark that led him to bring her on board '-- a break that would set her on the path to meeting Assange and eventually bring her into the whistleblower Web site's inner circle.

''It was an intelligent choice to send her'' to Snowden, MacFadyen said. ''She's smart, determined and fully believes in the moral principle of shedding light. This is something she has strong feelings about.''

After being recommended by MacFadyen, Harrison began working with WikiLeaks in August 2010 on the internal vetting of confidential U.S. documents supplied by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, which the site later released. At some point that year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Harrison and Assange became intimately involved. They cautioned that the relationship was not Harrison's prime motivation in championing the WikiLeaks cause.

''She is firmly committed to what WikiLeaks is trying to do; she believes 100 percent in the mission,'' one of the people said. ''Any suggestion that her relationship with Julian is what has compelled her to do the things she has would be a totally wrong assumption.''

Although those who know her as an Assange confidante describe her as more comfortable behind the scenes, Harrison now finds herself in the spotlight. She has raced across continents to aid Snowden, assisting in his flight from Hong Kong and his search for asylum from Moscow. (On Friday, Venezuela offered Snowden asylum and Nicaragua said it would do so ''if circumstances allow it.'') All the while, she has has maintained a low profile and refrained from public statements.

Acknowledgment of her role has come via bare-bones WikiLeaks statements and a comment from one Russian authority. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesman, declined to comment for this article. Harrison did not respond to an interview request. Assange, who has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London for more than a year, said in an e-mailed statement that ''Sarah is spirited, courageous and completely incorruptible,'' but did not comment further.

Those who know Harrison say she appeared to blossom under Assange's tutelage, going from starry-eyed intern to a savvy crusader for the no-holds-barred brand of public disclosure that has come to define WikiLeaks.

Sarah Harrison (journalist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sarah Harrison (born c. 1982[1]) is a British journalist, legal researcher, and WikiLeaks section editor. She works with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense and is Julian Assange's closest adviser. Harrison accompanied National Security AgencyleakerEdward Snowden on a high-profile flight from Hong Kong to Moscow while he was sought by the United States government.

Early life and career[edit]Harrison was born to Ian and Jennifer Harrison, respectively, an executive at clothing retailer Burton, and a reading specialist.[1] In her youth, Harrison attended Sevenoaks School, a private school.[1] Her father has said she was a good runner and swimmer.[1] Harrison performed well in her International Baccalaureate exams and took a gap year to travel and ski.[1] She studied English at Queen Mary, University of London.[1] Harrison continued to travel and decided to be a journalist.[1]

In 2009, Harrison became an unpaid intern researcher at the Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University, London, which trains journalists.[1] In 2010, she became a junior researcher at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a new professional organization also at the university.[1] She later graduated from City University London.[3]

WikiLeaks[edit]As an intern at the Centre, she was assigned to Julian Assange before the Afghan War documents leak.[4] She sorted files about the Iraq War from Assange for future television documentaries.[1] When main members of WikiLeaks left the organisation due to a dispute with Assange, Harrison's role in the organisation increased, particularly with the embassy cable publication and Assange's legal fight against Swedish extradition.[4] Harrison is a WikiLeaks section editor.[5] She works with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense led by Baltasar Garz"n,[2] and is reportedly one of Julian Assange's closest advisers.[4]

Edward Snowden[edit]On 24 June 2013, WikiLeaks said that Harrison accompanied National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden on a high-profile[6] flight from Hong Kong to Moscow en route to political asylum from US extradition.[5][4][6][2] Dominic Rushe of The Guardian observed that Harrison was a "strange choice" because of her lack of legal qualifications compared to other WikiLeaks staff, such as human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson.[4] At the time, she had been with the organisation for over two years.[5] As of the announcement, Harrison and Snowden's final destination are unknown.[4]

References[edit]External links[edit]

Tanya Lokshina | Human Rights Watch

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Tanya Lokshina is Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Moscow office. Having joined Human Rights Watch in January 2008, Lokshina authored reports on egregious rights abused in Chechnya and Ingushetia and co-authored a report on violations of international humanitarian law during the armed conflict in Georgia in the summer of 2008. Lokshina runs a column for the Russian current affairs website Polit.Ru. She is recipient of the 2006 Andrei Sakharov Award for Journalism as Civic Accomplishment.

Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Lokshina headed a prominent Moscow-based human rights think-tank Demos, which carries out research and advocacy projects in such areas as human rights abuses in armed conflict zones; arbitrariness and excessive use of force in the activities of state agencies; effective implementation of international human rights standards, and human rights education.

Since 2003, Lokshina's work has largely focused on Chechnya and the Caucasus. Her books include Chechnya Inside Out and Imposition of a Fake Political Settlement in the Northern Caucasus. Lokshina also published articles on human rights issues in some prominent Russian and foreign newspapers, including Novaya Gazeta, Washington Post, and the Guardian.

Tom Hayden: CIA Secret Rendition Policy Backed by Human Rights Groups?

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It is confirmed that one of the loopholes in the president's anti-torture orders allows the continuance of rendition by the CIA, which consists of secretly snatching suspects off the street without any due process and "rendering" them to jails in other countries. Rendition is at the heart of the state secrecy apparatus, and should be of concern to any civil liberties, human rights, or democracy advocates.

But Human Rights Watch and, apparently, other human rights groups signed off on renditions in talks with the Obama administration, saying publicly that there is "a legitimate place" for the practice.

That's not a position that represents most human rights advocates, and deserves to be reconsidered in the months of drafting the new administration's rules. Human Rights Watch could have celebrated Obama's presidential order while vowing to close the rendition loophole. Instead, according to the LA Times, the proposal "did not draw major protests" among human rights groups because of "a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism." [see LA Times, Feb. 1, 2009]

"You still have to go after the bad guys", says an Obama spokesman in defense of renditions, which have been condemned by the European parliament. A Human Rights Watch representative, Tom Malinowski, says he urged the administration to guarantee public hearings in the countries to which they are rendered, as a protection against torture and disappearances. That would be an important corrective, but leaves unanswered the purpose of the secret abductions in which the CIA is the judge, jury, and in certain cases the executioner.

Italian politics were shaken when it was revealed that the CIA, in cooperation with the Berlosconi government, abducted an Egyptian cleric who was flown to Egypt and tortured in 2003. In another 2003 case, an Egyptian citizen, Khalid Masri, was grabbed by men wearing ski masks, stripped, blindfolded, placed in diapers, shackled and flown from Macedonia to Albania. He was released five months later as a case of mistaken identity. There perhaps have been hundreds of cases of rendition, tracked by European citizens as suspected CIA planes utilized landing rights in other countries. Despite causing an international uproar, the numbers of renditions may never be known.

If the Obama Justice Department wants to defend renditions as constitutional on "executive privilege" and "national security" grounds, human rights groups should perhaps meet them in court and seek a better outcome.

As the policy stands now, Jack Bauer would be pleased.

Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool - Los Angeles Times

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The role of the CIA's controversial prisoner-transfer program may expand, intelligence experts say.

Reporting from Washington -- The CIA's secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism -- aside from Predator missile strikes -- for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.

The European Parliament condemned renditions as "an illegal instrument used by the United States." Prisoners swept up in the program have sued the CIA as well as a Boeing Co. subsidiary accused of working with the agency on dozens of rendition flights.But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.

The decision underscores the fact that the battle with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is far from over and that even if the United States is shutting down the prisons, it is not done taking prisoners.

"Obviously you need to preserve some tools -- you still have to go after the bad guys," said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing the legal reasoning. "The legal advisors working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice."

One provision in one of Obama's orders appears to preserve the CIA's ability to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects as long as they are not held long-term. The little-noticed provision states that the instructions to close the CIA's secret prison sites "do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis."

Despite concern about rendition, Obama's prohibition of many other counter-terrorism tools could prompt intelligence officers to resort more frequently to the "transitory" technique.

The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.

"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured -- but that designing that system is going to take some time."

Malinowski said he had urged the Obama administration to stipulate that prisoners could be transferred only to countries where they would be guaranteed a public hearing in an official court. "Producing a prisoner before a real court is a key safeguard against torture, abuse and disappearance," Malinowski said.

CIA veterans involved in renditions characterized the program as important but of limited intelligence-gathering use. It is used mainly for terrorism suspects not considered valuable enough for the CIA to keep, they said.

"The reason we did interrogations [ourselves] is because renditions for the most part weren't very productive," said a former senior CIA official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject.

The most valuable intelligence on Al Qaeda came from prisoners who were in CIA custody and questioned by agency experts, the official said. Once prisoners were turned over to Egypt, Jordan or elsewhere, the agency had limited influence over how much intelligence was shared, how prisoners were treated and whether they were later released.

"In some ways, [rendition] is the worst option," the former official said. "If they are in U.S. hands, you have a lot of checks and balances, medics and lawyers. Once you turn them over to another service, you lose control."

In his executive order on lawful interrogations, Obama created a task force to reexamine renditions to make sure that they "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture," or otherwise circumvent human rights laws and treaties.

The CIA has long maintained that it does not turn prisoners over to other countries without first obtaining assurances that the detainees will not be mistreated.

Human Rights Watch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, and Washington.[1]

As of June 2011, the organization's annual expenses totaled $50.6 million.[2]

The George SorosOpen Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions and grants received by the HRW in the 2011 financial year.[3] The $100 million contribution from the Open Society Foundation will be paid out over ten years in $10 million annual installments.[4]

History[edit]Main article: Helsinki WatchHuman Rights Watch was founded as a private American NGO in 1978, under the name Helsinki Watch, to monitor the former Soviet Union's compliance with the Helsinki Accords.[5] Helsinki Watch adopted a methodology of publicly "naming and shaming" abusive governments through media coverage and through direct exchanges with policymakers. By shining the international spotlight on human rights violations in the Soviet Union and its European partners, Helsinki Watch contributed to the democratic transformations of the region in the late 1980s.[5]

Americas Watch was founded in 1981 while bloody civil wars engulfed Central America. Relying on extensive on-the-ground fact-finding, Americas Watch not only addressed perceived abuses by government forces but also applied international humanitarian law to investigate and expose war crimes by rebel groups. In addition to raising its concerns in the affected countries, Americas Watch also examined the role played by foreign governments, particularly the United States government, in providing military and political support to abusive regimes.

Asia Watch (1985), Africa Watch (1988), and Middle East Watch (1989) were added to what was then known as "The Watch Committees." In 1988, all of the committees were united under one umbrella to form Human Rights Watch.1

Profile[edit]Pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch opposes violations of what it considers basic human rights, which include capital punishment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Human Rights Watch advocates freedoms in connection with fundamental human rights, such as freedom of religion and the press.

Human Rights Watch produces research reports on violations of international human rights norms as set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what it perceives to be other internationally accepted human rights norms. These reports are used as the basis for drawing international attention to abuses and pressuring governments and international organizations to reform. Researchers conduct fact-finding missions to investigate suspect situations also using diplomacy, staying in touch with victims, making files about public and also individuals and providing required security for them in critical situations and in a proper time generate coverage in local and international media. Issues raised by Human Rights Watch in its reports include social and gender discrimination, torture, military use of children, political corruption, abuses in criminal justice systems, and the legalization of abortion.[5] Human Rights Watch documents and reports violations of the laws of war and international humanitarian law.

Human Rights Watch also supports writers worldwide who are being persecuted for their work and are in need of financial assistance. The Hellman/Hammett grants are financed by the estate of the playwright Lillian Hellman in funds set up in her name and that of her long-time companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. In addition to providing financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants help raise international awareness of activists who are being silenced for speaking out in defence of human rights.[6]

Each year, Human Rights Watch presents the Human Rights Defenders Award to activists around the world who demonstrate leadership and courage in defending human rights. The award winners work closely with Human Rights Watch in investigating and exposing human rights abuses.[7][8]

Human Rights Watch was one of six international NGOs that founded the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in 1998. It is also the co-chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global coalition of civil society groups that successfully lobbied to introduce the Ottawa Treaty, a treaty that prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines.

Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of non-governmental organizations that monitor censorship worldwide. It also co-founded the Cluster Munition Coalition, which brought about an international convention banning the weapons. Human Rights Watch employs more than 275 staff'--country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics '' and operates in more than 90 countries around the world.[9]

The current executive director of Human Rights Watch is Kenneth Roth, who has held the position since 1993. Roth conducted investigations on abuses in Poland after martial law was declared 1981. He later focused on Haiti, which had just emerged from the Duvalier dictatorship but continued to be plagued with problems. Roth's awareness of human rights began with stories that his father told about escaping Nazi Germany in 1938. He graduated from Yale Law School and Brown University.

Financing and services[edit]For the financial year ending June 2008, HRW reported receiving approximately US$44 million in public donations.[10] In 2009, Human Rights Watch stated that they receive almost 75% of their financial support from North America, 25% from Western Europe and less than 1% from the rest of the world.[11]

According to a 2008 financial assessment, HRW reports that it does not accept any direct or indirect funding from governments and is financed through contributions from private individuals and foundations.[12]

Notably, billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros announced in 2010 his intention to donate US$100 million to HRW over a period of ten years. He said, "Human Rights Watch is one of the most effective organizations I support. Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they're at the heart of open societies."[13][14] The donation increases Human Rights Watch's operating budget from $48 million to $80 million. The donation was the largest in the organization's history.[15]

Charity Navigator gave Human Rights Watch a four-star rating overall, but only a three-star rating in their financial rating.[16]The Better Business Bureau said Human Rights Watch meets its standards for charity accountability.

Human Rights Watch published the following program and support services spending details for the financial year ending June 2011.

Program services2011 Expenses (USD)[2]Africa$5,859,910Americas$1,331,448Asia$4,629,535Europe and Central Asia$4,123,959Middle East and North Africa$3,104,643United States$1,105,571Children's Rights$1,551,463Health & Human Rights$1,962,015International Justice$1,325,749Woman's Rights$2,083,890Other programs$11,384,854Supporting servicesManagement and general$3,130,051Fundraising$9,045,910Human Rights Watch published the following program and support services spending details for the financial year ending June 2008.

Program services2008 Expenses (USD)[10]Africa$5,532,631Americas$1,479,265Asia$3,212,850Europe and Central Asia$4,001,853Middle East and North Africa$2,258,459United States$1,195,673Children's Rights$1,642,064International Justice$1,385,121Woman's Rights$1,854,228Other programs$9,252,974Supporting servicesManagement and general$1,984,626Fundraising$8,641,358Notable staff[edit]Some notable current and former staff members of Human Rights Watch have included:[17]

Robert L. Bernstein, Founding Chair EmeritusJames F. Hoge, Jr., Chairman of the BoardKenneth Roth, Executive DirectorJan Egeland, Deputy Director and the Director of Human Rights Watch EuropeMinky Worden, Media DirectorJamie Fellner, Senior Counsel for the United States Program of Human Rights WatchScott Long, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights DirectorSarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa DirectorJoe StorkMarc Garlasco, former staff member, resigned due to a scandal involving his Nazi memorabilia collection[18]Sharon HomTae-Ung Baik, former research consultantNabeel Rajab, member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch's Middle East DivisionIssues and campaigns[edit]Publications[edit]Human Rights Watch publishes reports on many different topics[19] and compiles an annual World Report presenting an overview of the worldwide state of human rights.[20] It has been published by Seven Stories Press since 2006; the current edition, World Report 2013, was released in February 2013.[21] Human Rights Watch has reported extensively on subjects such as the Rwandan Genocide of 1994[22] and the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[23]

Comparison with Amnesty International[edit]Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are the only two Western-oriented international human rights organizations operating worldwide in most situations of severe oppression or abuse.[8] The major differences lie in the groups' structure and methods for promoting change.

Amnesty International is a mass-membership organization. Mobilization of those members is the organization's central advocacy tool. Human Rights Watch's main products are its crisis-directed research and lengthy reports, whereas Amnesty lobbies and writes detailed reports, but also focuses on mass letter-writing campaigns, adopting individuals as "prisoners of conscience" and lobbying for their release. Human Rights Watch will openly lobby for specific actions for other governments to take against human rights offenders, including naming specific individuals for arrest, or for sanctions to be levied against certain countries, recently calling for punitive sanctions against the top leaders in Sudan who have overseen a killing campaign in Darfur. The group has also called for human rights activists who have been detained in Sudan to be released.[24]

Its documentations of human rights abuses often include extensive analysis of the political and historical backgrounds of the conflicts concerned, some of which have been published in academic journals. AI's reports, on the other hand, tend to contain less analysis, and instead focus on specific abuses of rights.

In 2010 The Times of London wrote that HRW has "all but eclipsed" Amnesty International. According to The Times, instead of being supported by a mass membership, as AI is, HRW depends on wealthy donors who like to see the organization's reports make headlines. For this reason, according, HRW tends to "concentrate too much on places that the media already cares about", especially in disproportionate coverage of Israel.[25]

Criticism[edit]HRW has been criticized by national governments, other NGOs, its founder and former Chairman Robert L. Bernstein, and the media. It has been accused by critics[26] of being influenced by U.S. foreign policy,[27] in particular in relation to reporting on Latin America;[28][29][30][31][32] ignoring antisemitism in Europe or being antisemitic;[33] biases in relation to the Arab''Israeli conflict; and unfair and biased reporting of human rights issues in Eritrea and Ethiopia.[34][35][36] Accusations in relation to the Arab''Israeli conflict include claims that HRW is biased against Israel[37][38][39] and requesting donations from Saudi Arabian citizens on the basis of its criticism of Israel;[40] it has also been accused of unbalanced reporting on Palestinians by, Jonathan Cook and others.[41][42] HRW has publicly responded to criticisms relating to its reporting on Latin America[43][44][45] and in the context of the Arab''Israeli conflict.[39][46][47][48][49]

See also[edit]References[edit]^"Frequently Asked Questions". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^ ab"Financial Statements, Year Ended June 30, 2011". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2012-06-26. ^See page 16 for the Open Society Foundation's contribution^"George Soros to Give $100 Million to Human Rights Watch". Human Rights Watch. ^ abc"Our History". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^Hellman-Hammett Grants,Human Rights Watch^Human Rights Watch. "Five Activists Win Human Rights Watch Awards". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 23 February 2013. ^ abSocialSciences.in. "Human Rights Watch". Retrieved 23 February 2013. ^"Who We Are". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^ ab"Financial Statements. Year Ended June 30, 2008". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^"Human Rights Watch Visit to Saudi Arabia". Human Rights Watch. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^"Financials". Human Rights Watch. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2009-07-23. ^Soros to give Human Rights Watch $100m. over 10 years^Colum Lynch (2010-09-12). "With $100 million Soros gift, Human Rights Watch looks to expand global reach". Washington Post. "The donation, the largest single gift ever from the Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, is premised on the belief that U.S. leadership on human rights has been diminished by a decade of harsh policies in the war on terrorism." ^George Soros gives $100 million to Human Rights Watch (The Guardian, Sept. 7, 2010)^"Charity Rating - Human Rights Watch." Charity Navigator - America's Largest Charity Evaluator | Human Rights Watch.[1]^Human Rights Watch: Our People^Pilkington, Ed (2009-09-15). "Human Rights Watch investigator suspended over Nazi memorabilia". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-15. ^"Publications". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-28. ^"Previous World Reports". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-07-28. ^World Report 2013, Seven Stories Press.^Rwandan genocide report,Human Rights Watch^Congo report,Human Rights Watch^Human rights group says activists detained in Sudan^NGO Monitor research featured in Sunday Times: "Nazi scandal engulfs Human Rights Watch", March 28, 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-19.^Russia investigates alleged Chechnya atrocities (The Guardian, Feb. 25, 2000)'No Jenin massacre' says rights group (BBC, May 3, 2002)Libyan human rights in the spotlight (BBC, January 20, 2003)^Naiman, Robert (2009-08-21). "Latin America Scholars Urge Human Rights Watch to Speak Up on Honduras Coup". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2009-08-22. ^Steve Miller and Joseph Curl (2004). "Aristide accuses U.S. of forcing his ouster". Washington Times. Retrieved 2005-12-26. ^"Aristide related articles". Democracy Now. Retrieved 2006-07-21. ^Emersberger, Joe (2006-03-29). "Haiti and Human Rights Watch". Z Communications. Archived from the original on 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-08-11. ^Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 12 January 2009, Scholars Respond to HRW's Kenneth Roth's Riposte on Venezuelan Human Rights^Grandin, Greg; Adrienne Pine (2009-08-22). "Over 90 Experts Call on Human Rights Watch to Speak Out on Honduras Abuses". Common Dreams. Archived from the original on 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2009-08-22. ^Anti-Semitism in Europe: Fighting Back,Anti-Defamation League^"Eritrea: Repression Creating Human Rights Crisis". Human Rights Watch. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-08-21. ^Tesfamariam, Sophia (2009-04-29). "Human Rights Watch at Chatham House-A Peddlers Event". American Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-08-21. ^"A row over human rights". The Economist. 2009-02-05. ^Levy, Daniel (2009-07-20). "The "Swiftboating" of Human Rights Watch". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-19. ^Keinon, Herb (2009-07-16). "Diplomacy: Israel vs. Human Rights Watch". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-08-19. ^ ab"False Allegations about Human Rights Watch's Latest Gaza Report". Human Rights Watch. 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-08-17. ^Bernstein, David. "Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia."The Wall Street Journal. 15 July 2009. 15 July 2009.^http://www.counterpunch.org/cook11302006.html^Mujahed: ''Human Rights Watch'' is blatantly biased in favor of Israel Occupied Palestine, December 25, 2012^https://nacla.org/node/5369^Tom Porteus, 30 September 2008, New Statesman, HRW v Chavez II^Human Rights Watch (2009-08-25). "Honduras: Rights Report Shows Need for Increased International Pressure". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2009-08-28. ^Derfner, Larry (2009-07-22). "Rattling the Cage: The smearing of human rights organizations". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-08-18. ^Visit to Saudi Arabia and False Allegations of Human Rights Watch 'Bias' [2]^"Human Rights Watch Visit to Saudi Arabia". Human Rights Watch. ^Whitson, Sarah Leah (September 22, 2006). "Hezbollah's Rockets and Civilian Casualties: A Response to Jonathan Cook". Counterpunch. Retrieved 2006-10-14. External links[edit]

Report Indicates More Extensive Cooperation by Microsoft on Surveillance - NYTimes.com

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:25

WASHINGTON '-- Microsoft has collaborated with the National Security Agency more extensively than it previously acknowledged, providing the spy agency with up-to-date access to its customer data whenever the company changes its encryption and related software technology, according to a new report based on disclosures by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden.

Quoting classified internal N.S.A. newsletters obtained from Mr. Snowden, The Guardian newspaper reported that Microsoft had helped the security agency find ways to circumvent its encryption on its Outlook.com portal's encrypted Web chat function, and that the agency was given what The Guardian described as ''pre-encryption stage'' access to e-mail on Outlook, including Hotmail e-mail.

The Guardian, which did not release the N.S.A. documents that it quoted, said that Microsoft had also provided the F.B.I. with access to its SkyDrive service, a cloud storage service with millions of users.

Microsoft, according to The Guardian, also worked with the F.B.I. to study how Outlook allowed users to create e-mail aliases, while Skype, now owned by Microsoft, worked with the government to help it collect both the video and audio of conversations. It also reported that information collected through the N.S.A. program code-named Prism was shared with both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.

Senator Ron Wyden believes the White House is rethinking one surveillance program.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Microsoft said in a statement that it only provided access to its systems when required to do so by court orders.

''We only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks,'' the company said in its statement. ''To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product. Finally, when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request.''

The latest disclosure from documents leaked by Mr. Snowden underscores the increasingly close ties between the N.S.A. and the high-tech community. Microsoft, Facebook and other companies have already been forced to address questions about their cooperation with the agency following Mr. Snowden's disclosure of the Prism surveillance program.

Many of the companies have repeatedly denied that they agree to blanket collection requests from the government, despite evidence that the government has for years collected huge amounts of phone and Internet data from American citizens. An N.S.A. Internet metadata collection program revealed by Mr. Snowden, for example, was halted in 2011 only after two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee began to question its value.

Fearing a negative public response to their cooperation, some Silicon Valley companies are beginning to openly push back against the security agency. Yahoo, for example, is now asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret court that rules on data collection requests by the government, to allow it to make public the record of its 2008 challenge to the constitutionality of the law requiring it to provide its customer data to the agency.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said Thursday that the company was ''seeking permission from the FISA court to unseal the arguments and orders from the 2008 case.''

Yahoo said in a public filing with the FISA court this week that releasing documents about the 2008 case would allow it '' to demonstrate that it objected strenuously to the directives that are now the subject of debate, and objected at every stage of the proceeding, but that these objections were overruled and its request for a stay was denied.''

Signs of a popular backlash against the security agency's large-scale collection of the personal data of Americans have convinced a leading privacy advocate in Congress that the Obama administration may soon begin to back away from the most aggressive components of the agency's domestic surveillance programs.

The advocate, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an interview Thursday that he believed that the security agency might soon abandon the bulk collection of the telephone calling data of millions of Americans.

The current controversy over the agency's surveillance policies was first set off after Mr. Snowden leaked a secret FISA court order telling Verizon to turn over calling data from all of its customers. Mr. Wyden now believes that the White House is beginning to recognize that the program raises so many privacy concerns that it is willing to drop it.

''I have a feeling that the administration is getting concerned about the bulk phone records collection, and that they are thinking about whether to move administratively to stop it,'' he said. He added he believed that the continuing controversy prompted by Mr. Snowden had changed the political calculus in Congress over the balance between security and civil liberties, which has been heavily weighted toward security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

''I think we are making a comeback,'' Mr. Wyden said, referring to privacy and civil liberties advocates.

Claire Cain Miller contributed reporting from San Francisco.

U.S. Is Pressing Latin Americans to Reject Snowden

Why We Can No Longer Trust Microsoft | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Latin American Countries Recall Ambassadors From Spain, France, Italy And Portugal Over Snowden "Neo-Colonial" Flap

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Source: Zero Hedge

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 17:39

The global fallout from the Snowden affair continues to reverberate following the latest news that four Latin American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Urugay and Venezuela - announced on Friday they would recall their ambassadors from the countries that blocked their airspace to Bolivia's Evo Morales following false rumors he was carrying Snowden, forcing an emergency landing in Austria. The four countries said this incident violated international law. As a result of Obama's "neo-colonial" practices in Europe, as Uruguay's foreign minister Luis Almagro denounces Europe's servile compliance with pax AmericaNSA, the Mercosur ambassadors in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal will be pulled back for consultations.

The decision to take this stance was made during a summit of the Mercosur trade bloc.

"We emphatically reject the interception of telecommunications and espionage actions in our nations, as they constitute a violation of human rights, of the right of our citizens to privacy and information,'' Mercosur leaders said in the summit's final statement.

"It's unacceptable behaviour that breaches our sovereignty and harms relations between nations."

The South American group also defended the right of asylum after Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua recently offered it to Snowden.

Curiously, the post-Snowden schism continues to split the world in pro-US/China demarcation lines: Latin America, far more reliant on Chinese import markets for its growth has denounced the NSA spying scandal, and Snowden's treatment far more vocally than the failing Eurozone, which is vastly more reliant on the Fed's monetary generosity to preserve its cohesiveness. It is not surprising, thus, that while French president Hollande logged a statement of protest, one which resulted in Le Monde exposing precisely the same spying set up in France, Europe has largely taken the Snowden disclosures quietly. It knows that if it rocks the boat too much, then the Fed/Goldman/US-backed support for Europe just may slip away.

Latin America, on the other hand, being far more reliant on Chinese goodwill, has had little trouble denouncing the NSA scandal, as well as offering Snowden the asylum he has requested, unlike European countries, including Iceland, all of which have rejected the NSA-whisteblower's plea.

If nothing else, Snowden's disclosures over a month ago, have cemented the new bipolar world: one in which an American empire in decline is critical to a European continent on the edge of collapse both of which depend exclusively on the Fed's perpetuation of a reserve currency fiat myth, offset by a block comprising of China, Russia and Latin America.

More on Friday's Mercosur announcement from Al Jazeera:

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro said the four Mercosur trace bloc nations will recall their own ambassadors in the European countries involved for consultations over the incident.

The actions of the four European countries were "unfounded, discriminatory and arbitrary, in a flagrant violation of the precepts of international law," Almagro said.

He said the summit found that Morales was subjected to "neo-colonial practices."

"It is an incredible, unfriendly and hostile action that violates human rights and affects the freedom of transit and movement and the immunity that every head of state enjoys," Mercosur leaders concluded, according to Almagro.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that the European actions were offensive to each of the leaders at the summit as Latin American presidents, and vowed "concrete and effective actions, be it with regard to the governments or the ambassadors of those countries."

Rousseff noted media reports based on US National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by Snowden that the United States spied on many countries around the world including Mercosur members Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

And from the BBC:

In a statement, Mercosur said: "We repudiate any action aimed at undermining the authority of countries to grant and fully implement the right of asylum."

It called for "solidarity with the governments of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which have offered to grant asylum to Mr Edward Snowden".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Mercosur would also demand "explanations and public apologies" from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal over the plane forced landing.

Bolivia, which is an associate member of Mercosur, summoned the ambassadors of the four European countries last week over the diversion of the plane, which it called an act of aggression.

Of course, if Bolivia's Evo Morales, president of the world's third largest producer of cocaine after Colombia and Peru, wanted to hurt those who make the real decisions, i.e., Wall Street, then he should just burn down all domestic coca plants and crush cocaine production for the next 6-12 months. Right after he nationalizes all remaining foreign mines in his country of course (the San Cristobal mine owned by Sumitomo is the third largest in the world with ~20MM oz/year, followed closely by Peru's Antamina mine) .

Only then would one see real "developed world" panic.

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Readout of President Obama's Call with President Putin

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Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 16:46

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2013

President Obama spoke by phone today with President Putin of Russia. The two leaders noted the importance of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations and discussed a range of security and bilateral issues, including the status of Mr. Edward Snowden and cooperation on counter-terrorism in the lead-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Spy vs Spy

Cell-All: Super Smartphones Sniff Out Suspicious Substances | Homeland Security

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:44

Crowdsourcing cell phones to detect dangerous chemicals

Years ago, if you wanted to take a picture, you needed a dedicated camera. You needed to buy batteries for it, keep it charged, learn its controls, and lug it around. Today, chances are your cell phone is called a ''smartphone'' and came with a three-to-five megapixel lens built-in'--not to mention an MP3 player, GPS, or even a bar code scanner.

This Swiss Army knife trend represents the natural progression of technology'--as chips become smaller and more advanced, cell phones continue to absorb new functions. Yet, in the future, these new functions may not only make our lives easier, they could also protect us'--and maybe even save our lives.

The Cell-All initiative may be one such savior. Spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Cell-All aims to equip your cell phone with a sensor capable of detecting deadly chemicals at minimal cost'--to the manufacturer (a buck a sensor) and to your phone's battery life. ''Our goal is to create a lightweight, cost-effective, power-efficient solution,'' says Stephen Dennis, Cell-All's program manager.

How would this wizardry work? Just as antivirus software bides its time in the background and springs to life when it spies suspicious activity, so Cell-All regularly sniffs the surrounding air for certain volatile chemical compounds.

When a threat is sensed, a virtual ah-choo! ensues in one of two ways. For personal safety issues such as a chlorine gas leak, a warning is sounded; the user can choose a vibration, noise, text message, or phone call. For catastrophes such as a sarin gas attack, details'--including time, location, and the compound'--are phoned home to an emergency operations center.

While the first warning is beamed to individuals'--a grandmother taking a siesta or a teenager hiking through the woods'--the second warning works best with crowds. And that's where the genius of Cell-All lies'--in crowdsourcing human safety.

Currently, if a person suspects that something is amiss, he might dial 9-1-1, though behavioral science tells us that it's easier to do nothing. If he does do something, it may be at a risk to his own life. And as is often the case when someone phones in an emergency, the caller may be frantic and difficult to understand, diminishing the quality of information that's relayed to first responders. An even worse scenario: the person may not even be aware of the danger, like the South Carolina woman who last year drove into a colorless, odorless, and poisonous ammonia cloud.

In contrast, anywhere a chemical threat breaks out'--a mall, a bus, subway, or office'--Cell-All will alert the authorities automatically. Detection, identification, and notification all take place in less than 60 seconds. Because the data are delivered digitally, Cell-All reduces the chance of human error. And by activating alerts from many people at once, Cell-All cleverly avoids the longstanding problem of false positives. The end result: emergency responders can get to the scene sooner and cover a larger area'--essentially anywhere people are'--casting a wider net than stationary sensors can.

But what about your privacy? Does this always-on surveillance mean that the government can track your precise whereabouts whenever it wants? To the contrary, Cell-All will operate only on an opt-in basis and will transmit data anonymously. ''Privacy is as important as technology,'' avers Dennis. ''After all, for Cell-All to succeed, people must be comfortable enough to turn it on in the first place.''

For years, the idea of a handheld weapons of mass destruction detector has engaged engineers. In 2007, S&T called upon the private sector to develop concepts of operations. Today, thanks to increasingly successful prototype demonstrations, the Directorate is actively funding the next step in R&D'--a proof of principle'--to see if the concept is workable.

To this end, three teams from Qualcomm, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Rhevision Technology are perfecting their specific area of expertise. Qualcomm engineers specialize in miniaturization and know how to shepherd a product to market. Scientists from the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA's Ames Research Center have experience with chemical sensing on low-powered platforms, such as the International Space Station. And technologists from Rhevision have developed an artificial nose'--a piece of porous silicon that changes colors in the presence of certain molecules, which can be read spectrographically.

Similarly, S&T is pursuing what's known as cooperative research and development agreements with four cell phone manufacturers: Qualcomm, LG, Apple, and Samsung. These written agreements, which bring together a private company and a government agency for a specific project, often accelerate the commercialization of technology developed for government purposes. As a result, Dennis hopes to have 40 prototypes in about a year, the first of which will sniff out carbon monoxide and fire.

To be sure, Cell-All's commercialization may take several years. Yet the goal seems imminently achievable: Just as Bill Gates once envisioned a computer on every desk in every home, so Stephen Dennis envisions a chemical sensor in every cell phone in every pocket, purse, or belt holster. If it's not already the case, our smartphones may soon be smarter than we are.

Dyslexia is Britain's secret weapon in the spy war: Top codebreakers can crack complex problems because they suffer from the condition | Mail Online

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 04:29

GCHQ bosses say those with the disorder see things in codes others do notThe Cheltenham-based agency has set up a dyslexia support groupBy Robert Verkaik

PUBLISHED: 18:16 EST, 13 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:20 EST, 13 July 2013

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Many of Britain's top code-breakers and analysts are able to crack complex problems because they suffer from dyslexia, GCHQ has revealed.

A spokesman for the Government's top-secret electronic eavesdropping station in Cheltenham said last night that some of their most talented code-breakers have difficulty in learning to read or interpreting words.

But this can actually help them crack codes, as they 'see' things those without the disorder do not.

Cracking: GCHQ, whose headquarters are pictured, revealed that many of their codebreakers can crack problems because they are dyslexic

GCHQ's army of code-breakers and code-setters play a critical role in the battle to protect Britain from cyber attacks by other states and criminals, including terrorists.

GCHQ recently found itself at the centre of allegations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden that it had access to the online data of British citizens via US spy agencies.

Last week MPs on the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee praised steps taken by spy chiefs to harness the skills of dyslexic code-breakers.

The threat to the UK from cyber attacks, according to the report, is at its 'highest level ever' and is 'disturbing' in its scale and complexity.

Sufferer: Some of the world's greatest thinkers, including Albert Einstein, pictured, had dyslexia

The MPs said the Cheltenham-based agency had set up a Dyslexia and Dyspraxia Support Group, which provides 'mentoring and practical support to individuals'.

A GCHQ spokesman said some of their most talented code-breakers were affected: 'They are very creative but may need support, including adjustments in the workplace, such as IT tools and computer software, or [reductions] in their working hours.'

In a speech last year, Sir Iain Lobban, the director of GCHQ, said: 'Part of my job is to attract the very best people and harness their talents, and not allow preconceptions and stereotypes to stifle innovation and agility.'

Adrian Culley, a cyber expert and former Scotland Yard computer crime detective, said: 'Dyslexic people have the ability of seeing codes with patterns, repetitions and omissions.

'Dyslexia may in other circumstances be regarded as negative '' but most people only get to see the full jigsaw picture when it's nearly finished while dyslexic cryptographists can see what the jigsaw puzzle looks like with just two pieces.'

Some of the world's greatest thinkers suffered from dyslexia, including Albert Einstein.

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Adam's Email

Valet Service Down Under

Adam,

You will be pleased to know that they have finally installed SLAVE SCANNERS in SYD International airport. We are pretty slow on the uptake in Gitmo-Downunder.. (We are probably buying the old ones they are decommissioning in the US.) I encountered them for the first time leaving for Gitmo-Lowlands today.

Being a good producer, when asked to proceed into the scanner, I politely advised that my left shoulder prevented me lifting my arms above my head. (which is actually true!)

The confusion that ensued was hilarious….

Long story short, they apparently had an 'opt-out' procedure but NO-ONE knew what it was. Being the good shitizen that I am, inducted the security staff at SYD airport into the NoAgenda Valet Program with helpful suggestions like: "instead of the scanner, you have to pat me down" and "someone needs to collect my things for me then you can swab me and my bag" etc..

Everything went to plan until the security agent advised me, pre pat down / hand wand metal detector scan to go collect my bags from the X-ray table belt, pack it all up and bring it to the bomb material trace scanner for scanning.

To re-iterate: I was asked to pack my own bag up from the X-ray machine and could have put WHATEVER I WANTED out of my pockets back into my now scanned bag before I was treated to the hand massage!!!

I was *really* looking forward to my first valet service experience, so I even asked the agent: "Are you sure I am allowed to touch my stuff before I am pat-down?" to which the agent replied "yeah, that's fine…"

Nice to see that with all the new DNA scrambling "security" technology, it all comes unstuck with someone who isn't interested in being a slave…

For what it is worth, In the layover in Dubai, I declined to try any NA valet tips. I never know what grain of something might be on the sole of my shoe that might land me in jail over there...

Keep hittin-em in the mouth..

Aidan.

--

Snrkl

Associate Executive Producer - No Agenda Podcast

Worried about how only NA news as source

Dear Adam,

even though I don't agree with everything you say, you're doing amazing work!

I'm running into the danger of getting my information only from you, which is not a

good thing as many sources of information are better than one to form an opinion,

but it's getting harder and harder to hear/watch/read today's journalists.

And frankly I'm very very worried about it.

Thank you!

Best,

Hans Hafner

Filmcomposer

Media Hacking

NTSB Press Release July 12, 2013

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Sat, 13 Jul 2013 15:02

National Transportation Safety BoardOffice of Public Affairs

NTSB statement on erroneous confirmation of crew names July 12The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.

The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident.

Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

Office of Public Affairs490 L'Enfant Plaza, SWWashington, DC 20594(202) 314-6100Kelly Nantelkelly.nantel@ntsb.gov

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable causeof transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.

KTVU apologizes for racist SF plane crash gaffe | Matier And Ross | an SFGate.com blog

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Archived Version

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 14:48

Update: The National Transportation Safety Board late Friday issued its own apology for ''inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed'' to KTVU Channel 2 as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.

The statement said that an NTSB summer intern, in response to the station's inquiry, ''acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.''

However, in a subsequent phone interview with the SFGate's Jeff Elder, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel made clear that the names ''originated at the media outlet'' and that the intern '-- unaware of the offensive names '-- was ''acting in good faith and trying to be helpful'' by confirming names he didn't know.

''The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to the media,'' Nantel said.

Original blog post follows: '--

KTVU Channel 2 is apologizing for an on-air gaffe that the station '-- or viewers '' won't soon forget.

During the noon newscast Friday, co-anchor Tori Campbell, announced that ''KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board'' Asiana flight 214 when it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.

She then read from a teleprompter while a TV graphic displayed four fake names that clearly were someone's idea of a joke.

The first name '-- ''Captain Sum Ting Wong'' '-- should have been a give-away that something really was wrong. But Campbell kept reading'... ''Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, Bang Ding Ow.''

Yikes.

After a break, Campbell made an on-air correction, clarifying that the names were clearly wrong '-- but that they had confirmed them earlier with the National Transportation Safety Board.

KTVU news director Lee Rosenthal did not immediately turn our calls seeking comment.

This incident happened days after station made a web promo hyping its crash coverage:

''This past weekend viewers flocked to KTVU Channel 2 News for coverage of the tragic crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

KTVU Channel 2 News owned this breaking news story with a number of firsts!

- First on-air.- First on-line.- First with alerts to mobile devices.- First on Twitter & Facebook.- First with aerial shots from KTVU NewsChopper 2.- First with a live reporter from the scene.- First live interview with anyone connected to someone on the flight.

Rosenthal is quoted in the promo: ''Being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage was a great accomplishment, but being 100% accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom.''

In an-online apology, KTVU general manager Tom Raponi said ''We are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.''

Elite$

Nuland being confirmed for Asst Sec of State

Corridors of powder: Drug scandal at the Houses of Parliament after traces of cocaine are found on toilets across Palace of Westminster.

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Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 13:20

Evidence of class A drug use detected in UK's seat of powerChemical swabs found substance on toilet seats and hair dryersDrug was also found in toilets close to MPs' offices, away from public areas By Sam Webb

PUBLISHED: 04:15 EST, 14 July 2013 | UPDATED: 04:46 EST, 14 July 2013

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Evidence of cocaine use has been found inside toilets at the Houses of Parliament, including some just yards from MPs' offices.

Traces of the class A drug were found in nine toilets throughout the Palace Of Westminster, the meeting place of the UK's political elite.

The powder was detected in toilets used by guests at Parliament's bars, as well as cubicles a few yards away from MPs' offices - areas where members of the public are restricted from going.

Not to be sniffed at: Evidence of cocaine use has been uncovered at the Houses of Parliament

Charlie: Possession of cocaine can get you up to seven years in jail. File picture

The drug use was uncovered using cocaine indicator swabs, which come up with blue blotches when rubbed on surfaces where the drug has been laid out in lines, such as toilet seats and hairdryers. The swabs are used by the police and customs officers.

As Parliament's toilets are cleaned regularly, the white powder must have been snorted in the past few hours, according to reporters from The Sun, who did the testing.

Users would have to smuggle the drug past extensive security checks and 500 police officers and guards.

The reporters, acting on a tip-off from a House of Commons insider, claim to have found evidence of the drug in the cubicles of the toilets outside Strangers' Bar and in private areas close to MPs' offices.

High office: The cocaine use was uncovered using test kits, similar to the one pictured

Tory MP Douglas Carswell was scathing about the find.

He said: 'With decadence comes something rotten. It suggests there is something rotten about the institution itself.'

On two occasions cannabis has been confiscated at Westminster's entry checkpoints since the start of 2008, according to a Freedom of Information request.

A Parliamentary spokesman said: 'Parliament is a public place and we welcome over a million visitors a year who have either direct access to these facilities or access when accompanied.

'Clearly, it is inappropriate to monitor what happens in toilet facilities. In addition, we have issued over 14,000 passes, held by contractors and other third parties, as well as staff of both Houses, Members and their staff.

'Consequently, it is impossible to know who may be involved. Our security searches are focussed on preventing harm to others and the building, not the detection of small amounts of drugs.

'Parliament takes the issue of substance misuse very seriously and offers a range of welfare and health support services for those who need them.'

A few days ago a Parliamentary watchdog said MPs should have an 11 per cent pay rise to £74,000 a year.

In 2005 a German television station found traces of cocaine in 41 of 46 lavatories tested at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Conan O'Brien highlight secretive Bohemian Grove gathering in Monte Rio.

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 13:25

<p>Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and comedian Conan O'Brien, the former ''Tonight Show'' host, will be among the featured speakers at the Bohemian Grove encampment of rich and powerful men under the redwoods in Monte Rio.</p><p>Up to 2,500 Bohemian Club members and their guests will attend the all-male encampment that opened Thursday and runs through July 28, all in complete secrecy behind the gates of the San Francisco-based club's 2,700-acre enclave along the Russian River.</p><p>About 15 private jets, the conveyance for some of the plutocrats and powerbrokers, were parked Thursday at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, and more are expected to arrive today, airport manager Jon Stout said.</p><p>McChrystal, the former commander of American forces in Afghanistan, will discuss ''On Leadership'' in one of the daily talks presented beside a small lake ringed by towering redwoods.</p><p>O'Brien's topic '-- ''Success, Failure in Surviving the Media Revolution'' '-- sounds a bit more serious than his patter on the NBC show or his current show, ''Conan'' on TBS.</p><p>Also in the lineup for the Lakeside Talks are Paul Otellini, who retired in May as CEO of Intel, speaking on ''What My Life in Tech Taught Me''; Stanford University President John Hennessey (''The Coming Tsunami of Online Education''); and Jorge Quiroga, president of Bolivia (''South America After Chavez,'' referring to Hugo Chavez, the socialist president of Venezuela who died in March).</p><p>David Gergen, political commentator and former presidential adviser; Chris Matthews, political talk show host; and William Reilly, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, also will address the Bohemians.</p><p>The Lakeside Talks '-- which in the past have featured the likes of Henry Kissinger and George H.W. Bush, who in 1995 introduced his son George to the august crowd '-- were the object of protests launched by the Bohemian Grove Action Network in 1980.</p><p>Critics say they resent the midsummer frolics by the titans of the military-industrial complex, and fringe elements allege the Bohemians engage in satanic worship.</p><p>Club officials say its more like a group of guys ''out in the woods having a good time.''</p><p>The Bohemians inhabit 119 camps among the redwoods, each with a clubhouse, campfire area, a cluster of cabins and tents for sleeping, and a bar, typically featuring a speciality drink made with the finest alcohol.</p><p>Activist Mary Moore of Occidental, who founded the protest group, had scaled back her involvement in 2001 but re-engaged last summer to stage a protest in conjunction with the Occupy movement.</p><p>Moore, 77, is now fuming over what she considers another group's infringement on her organizations's name.</p><p>''I feel really pissed off,'' Moore said, referring to plans by a group called Bohemian Grove Action and Resistance for a daylong protest at the grove gates on Saturday.</p><p>Sean Ackley of Brentwood posted notices online saying, ''Let us descend of (sic) Bohemian Grove and keep up the pressure so they know we have not forgot.''</p><p>Moore said she's getting calls from people who think she's involved, and she's further annoyed by Ackley's posting that says ''the original BGAN group'' will show up at the grove on July 20.</p><p>Not so, Moore said, noting that Ackley, a computer systems professional, helped set up the Bohemian Grove Action Network's Facebook page, which went up May 25.</p><p>''I feel like we got snookered,'' she said.</p><p>Ackley, a Republican with conservative tea party sentiments, expressed surprise over Moore's pique.</p><p>Bohemian Grove Action and Resistance is the name of his Facebook page, and Ackley said he felt he was cooperating with Moore's group.</p><p>Told that Moore has no plans for a July 20 action, Ackley said, ''Yeah, OK. That's true.''</p><p>Ackley said his group will hand out fliers and use bullhorns to talk to people arriving at the grove on Saturday. The protesters have no plans to engage in civil disobedience or get arrested, he said.</p><p>Sam Singer, spokesman for the Bohemian Club, said the club ''supports people's right to protest and they hope the protesters respect the rights of the members of the club to peacefully assemble at the grove.''</p><p>The club remains ''exceptionally popular and relevant'' and has a 20-year waiting list for prospective new members, Singer said.</p><p>You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.</p>

Agents Descend on a New York Gallery, Charging Its Owner - NYTimes.com

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Sat, 13 Jul 2013 07:16

Outside the rarefied world of art dealers and collectors, where discretion is often prized nearly as much as the art itself, the Nahmad family does not attract the same recognition as some of their fellow billionaires.

But for those who trade in multimillion-dollar paintings, they have long been a major presence at the premier auctions held every spring and fall at Sotheby's and Christie's, where they often descend, wives and children included, and have been known to argue loudly with one another, even while others around them engaged in more genteel bidding.

Despite sneers from some of their more staid peers who have accused them of unfairly negotiating special terms with auction houses, they are among the most powerful, wealthy and colorful members of the elite global club of fine art dealers.

''They have sold more works of art than anybody alive,'' Christopher Burge, the former chairman of Christie's New York, once said.

Two men arrested on Tuesday as part of the investigation were Anatoly Shteyngrob and, back, a smiling Anatoly Golubchik.

John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times

But on Tuesday, the family's New York flagship gallery, the Helly Nahmad Gallery, at the opulent Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, was filled with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducting a raid. An indictment unsealed on Tuesday charged its owner, Hillel Nahmad, 34, with playing a leading role in a far-flung gambling and money-laundering operation that stretched from Kiev and Moscow to Los Angeles and New York.

The case features a wide cast of characters, including a man described as a Russian gangster accused of trying to rig Winter Olympic skating competitions in Salt Lake City and a woman who once organized high-stakes poker games for some of Hollywood's most famous faces. In all, 34 people were charged on Tuesday with playing a part in what federal prosecutors described as two separate but interconnected criminal groups '-- one operating overseas and the other in the United States. Together, they are accused of laundering more than $100 million in gambling money.

In addition to charges that Mr. Nahmad helped finance a multimillion-dollar gambling ring in the United States, the art dealer is accused of defrauding an unnamed person by selling him a painting for $300,000 when it was worth only $50,000, according to the indictment.

Mr. Nahmad, the indictment said, also wired money '-- once for $500,000 and another time for $850,000 '-- from his father's bank account in Switzerland to a bank account in America to help finance the gambling operation.

Hillel Nahmad

PatrickMcMullan.com, via Associated Press

The Nahmad family's rise to prominence dates from its roots in Aleppo, Syria, where the family's patriarch, also named Hillel, was a successful banker in the middle of the last century.

He had three sons, David, Ezra and Giuseppe; Giuseppe died last year in London.

David Nahmad, whose son Hillel ran the New York gallery, has been described as a risk-taker in both business and life. In Monte Carlo, he won the World Championship of Backgammon in 1996.

Over the years the family has amassed an estimated 300 Picassos worth $900 million, and about 4,500 other works by artists including Monet and Mir", many secreted in a duty-free warehouse near the Geneva airport. It is a treasure that Forbes estimated to be worth over $3 billion. Before this week, Hillel Nahmad's gallery was a cynosure of refinement and wealth, with masters like Wassily Kandinsky and Francis Bacon on the walls.

Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov

Associated Press

With an entrance at Madison Avenue and 76th Street, the gallery's connection with the Carlyle, itself synonymous with privilege, added to its prestige. The gallery has been at the Carlyle since at least the late 1990s.

However, even before the F.B.I. raid at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the gallery's windows were covered with brown paper, which is unusual since the spring art season is just kicking into high gear.

A sign on the door said, ''We are closed for renovation, please ring the bell or call.''

A man who answered the phone at that number declined to speak to a reporter.

According to the indictment, Hillel Nahmad was one of the leaders of a ''high-stakes illegal gambling business run out of New York City and Los Angeles that catered primarily to multimillionaire and billionaire clients.''

He was expected to surrender to the authorities in Los Angeles on Tuesday. His lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.

The indictment also named Molly Bloom, who made headlines in 2011 for her role in arranging clandestine games for high-rollers, including Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Federal law enforcement officials would not say whether the poker games Ms. Bloom ran in Los Angeles in 2011 came under scrutiny during the course of the investigation. But the charges in the indictment relate to her conduct between 2010 and the present. The indictment did not name any of the high-profile players who investigators said were involved in the poker games held in New York and Los Angeles.

According to the indictment, the organization would enforce payment of gambling debts through coercion. One client surrendered a 50 percent interest in his business, Titan P&H plumbing company in the Bronx, to repay a $2 million gambling debt. Some of the money generated by the scheme was also used to buy expensive property, including an apartment at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

One of the defendants, Vadim Trincher, helped run the scheme from the $5 million apartment, according to prosecutors, who said that $75,000 in cash and $2 million in chips from the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas were seized from the apartment.

At the center of the overseas operation detailed in the indictment was Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, 64, whom prosecutors describe as the leader of a Russian organized-crime gang.

Mr. Tokhtakhounov, according to the indictment, was a ''Vory V Zakone,'' sometimes known as a Vor or a ''thief in law,'' the highest level of Russian gangsters.

Between December 2011 and January 2012, Mr. Tokhtakhounov was paid $10 million for his leadership role in the organization, according to the indictment.

Mr. Tokhtakhounov, the indictment said, oversaw the laundering of money generated by a huge sports-betting operation in the former Soviet Union that served Russian oligarchs.

Mr. Tokhtakhounov, who remains at large, was indicted in 2002 on charges that he was part of a scheme to rig the results of the Winter Olympic finals in Salt Lake City in pairs figure skating and ice dancing.

In July 2002, Italian tax authorities detained Mr. Tokhtakhounov at his villa in Tuscany at the request of federal prosecutors in New York.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan in that case, he was accused of working with an unidentified member of a Russian crime gang and an unidentified Russian skating official to rig the competition. He helped secure a gold medal for Russia in the pairs event in exchange for a victory for the French ice dancing team, according to the complaint.

However, Italy's highest court overturned an extradition order, and he was never brought to the United States to stand trial.

In 2008, Mr. Tokhtakhounov, who has been linked with powerful Russian politicians, including some close to President Vladimir V. Putin, was interviewed by ESPN and denied all the charges against him regarding the Olympics scandal.

''All that's being written about me is completely untrue,'' he said. Still, he seemed to revel in his lavish lifestyle.

''I am not a poor man,'' he said. ''I am a wealthy man. I work a lot. I work hard.''

James Barron and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

Hollywood Whackers

From Producer dudegreg

VIDEO-BBC News - Glee star Cory Monteith dies in Canada hotel

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Monteith had played front man and heartthrob Finn Hudson since the hit musical comedy's start in 2009

Glee star Cory Monteith has been found dead in a Vancouver hotel.

The 31-year-old, who played Finn Hudson in the Fox TV hit, was found dead at the Pacific Rim Hotel in the city centre on Saturday, said police.

The cause of death was not immediately apparent, but police have ruled out foul play.

Monteith, who had been in the musical comedy since its 2009 start, was treated for drug addiction in April, and had a history of substance-abuse.

His body was found by Pacific Rim staff after he missed his check-out time at midday on Saturday, said Vancouver's Deputy Police Chief Doug Lepard. Monteith had been dead for several hours, he added.

The actor had returned to his room at the Pacific Rim alone early on Saturday morning having been out with friends earlier in the evening, said Mr Lepard.

Calgary-born Monteith had checked into the hotel on 6 July.

In response to a question about whether the actor died of a drug overdose, Mr LePard said he would "not discuss anything that we might have found in the room at this time".

Coroner Lisa Lapointe said: "We do not have a great deal of information as to cause of death."

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Monteith described himself on Twitter as "tall, awkward, canadian, actor, drummer, person".

He was treated for drug abuse aged 19 and had been open about his battle against addiction, telling one interviewer he took "anything and everything".

When he entered rehab in April this year, girlfriend Lea Michele issued a statement saying she loved and supported Cory. "I am grateful and proud he made this decision," she added.

Michele played Monteith's opposite number Rachel Berry in Glee, which follows a group of American secondary school misfits who form the glee club in their quest for singing contest glory.

As Hudson, Monteith played the school's star quarterback who risks alienation by his friends after joining the club.

Known for its melodic covers and celebrity cameo appearances, Glee's four series had made global celebrities of its cast. The show featured guest spots by Britney Spears, Gwyneth Paltrow and Neil Patrick Harris.

Cory Monteith had not featured in the final episodes of the fourth series earlier this year and was understood to be seeking treatment for his addiction issues.

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Doug LePard, Deputy Police Chief: "Monteith returned to his room by himself in the early hours"

He had been expected to take part in the filming of the fifth series, due to air in the US in September.

TV network Fox offered its thoughts and prayers to Monteith's family.

"Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person," said a statement by Fox. "He was a true joy to work with and we will all miss him tremendously."

Glee co-stars expressed their shock at his death and offered condolences to his loved ones.

Singer and former Glee star Kristin Chenoweth wrote: RIP Cory Montieth. You will be loved. Always."

Dot-Marie Jones, who plays the butch-but-sensitive American football coach at Glee's William McKinley High, tweeted: "I have no words! My heart is broken. Cory was not only a hell of a friend, he was one amazing man that I will hold close to my heart forever."

Iqbal Theba, who plays the school's Principal Figgins, tweeted simply: "OMG!! My Cory..."

'Pacific Rim' Looking Dire With $25 Million-$35 Million Opening | Variety

Slaves Revolt!

Belfast riots: seven more police officers injured | UK news | guardian.co.uk

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 14:14

Riot police deploy a water cannon in north Belfast, Northern Ireland, during violence on Saturday night. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP

A further seven police officers have been injured in the rioting and disorder linked to a banned Orange Order parade in Belfast, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed.

Saturday night's casualties bring the number of police officers hurt in the disturbances since Friday to 39. One officer was struck on the head with a piece of masonry, according to the PSNI.

A Belfast-based press photographer was also hit with a brick in the face during the riot on Saturday night which was concentrated around Twaddell Avenue and Woodvale Avenue in the Greater Shankill area.

Nearly 1,000 police officers from English, Welsh and Scottish constabularies are in Northern Ireland providing back-up for the PSNI.

Meanwhile the Democratic Unionist MP for North Belfast, Nigel Dodds, is resting at home according to his wife, Diane, a DUP MEP. He was knocked unconscious on 12 July after being hit on the head with a missile thrown from loyalist lines at Woodvale Avenue towards the police.

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Officers were attacked by petrol bombs, fireworks, masonry, laser pens, and by a whole range of weapons and missiles."

None of those who were injured required hospital treatment and all stayed on duty, the spokesperson added.

Police also had to fire 10 baton rounds against a small group of loyalists attacking their lines as well deploying water cannon.

The violence erupted at about 8pm and lasted until 1.30am on Sunday when calm was restored to the area. The trouble was on a far lower scale than the disturbances that broke out following the ban on the return feeder parade from central Belfast to the Upper Crumlin Road via the nationalist Ardoyne district.

There were also brief exchanges between nationalist and loyalist youths in the North Queen Street area of the city where a number of petrol bombs were thrown.

The PSNI said there had been more than 30 arrests since Friday. The latest arrests include those of a boy and girl aged 17 suspected of riotous behaviour, and a 40-year-old man on suspicion of breach of peace, all in the Castlereagh Street area of east Belfast.

A 29-year-old man was also detained in north Belfast on suspicion of riotous assembly and attempted criminal damage following disorder in the Woodvale area.

Police said they hoped to make further arrests in the coming days. On Saturday the PSNI released video footage shot from a police helicopter of the frontline violence at Woodvale Avenue on Saturday. Dozens of loyalists attacking police lines including a member of a marching band are clearly seen brandishing a sword at police while men wearing Orange sashes also strike out at police Land Rovers. Many of their faces are identifiable and police will be using the film to mount arrests and prosecutions over the coming days and weeks.

The Northern Ireland secretary, Theresa Villiers, described the events of the past 48 hours as depressing.

She said: "The violence last night and the night before was shameful and it is vital that calls for calm are heeded by those responsible for this violence.

"They say they are trying to defend their culture but they are not defending anything by throwing petrol bombs at police officers."

Belfast: loyalists clash with police in second night of violence

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Source: The Guardian World News

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 04:34

Loyalists clash with police in the Woodvale Road area of Belfast. Photograph: Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters

A police officer was struck by a petrol bomb during a second evening of violence linked to the banning of a controversial loyalist march in north Belfast.

Stones, bottles and fireworks were thrown at lines of riot police in the Woodvale area as young loyalists launched attacks on police on Saturday night.

A spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said the officer was not badly injured in the molotov cocktail attack and has since returned to duty.

Earlier a Belfast press photographer was struck in the face with a brick in the same area and sustained cuts to his mouth.

The violence however was not on the same scale as on Friday when 32 police officers were injured including two from other UK constabularies.

Northern Ireland's chief constable has been forced to call in 400 extra police officers from Britain to help his force cope with a deteriorating security situation linked to the province's sectarian marching disputes.

It will bring the number of English, Welsh and Scottish officers deployed across the Irish Sea to more than 1,000.

The move is unprecedented in terms of policing the marching season, even during the Troubles when the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) never asked for extra police back-up from other UK forces. Instead the RUC used the British army to bolster its security operations '' a move the government is determined not to repeat as part of its drive to demilitarise and normalise Northern Ireland.

The two police officers from constabularies in Britain were injured on Friday alongside 30 of their colleagues from the Police Service of Northern Ireland during sustained violence in greater Belfast. A female officer brought over from Britain suffered a broken leg and a male officer from England suffered a broken jaw. In total, 4,000 police were on duty on Friday to cope with the security around the most sacred day in the Ulster loyalist calendar.

In Belfast they faced a barrage of petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks, stones, bottles and even attacks with ceremonial swords as hundreds of loyalists attacked police lines in the north and east of the city.

Matt Baggott, the head of the PSNI , described the Orange Order's call for street protests which quickly degenerated into rioting as "reckless" given the widespread sectarian disorder in Belfast on Friday.

Reacting on Saturday morning to the way his officers were attacked, the chief constable said the loyal order "needs to reflect" on its stance.

He said the attacks on police and the overall violence was "shameful and disgraceful".

The violence erupted on Friday evening after loyalists protested against a ban on Orangemen returning from the main celebration of King William of Orange's victory at the Battle of Boyne in the city via their traditional route.

The PSNI fired about 20 plastic baton rounds as well as using two mobile water cannons to deal with hundreds of loyalist rioters some of whom included children. A 14year-old boy was due in a Belfast court on Saturday in connection with the rioting.

Across the river Lagan PSNI riot police backed by up English, Welsh and Scottish colleagues also had to quell rioting in east Belfast after trouble broke out when local loyalists there returned from the main Orange demonstration.

For almost six hours the PSNI had to keep rival loyalist and nationalist youths apart who were exchanging missiles across police lines. At one stage police officers had to deal with loyalists using ceremonial swords to attack their lines around the Lower Newtonards Road.

As well as suffering a barrage of missiles for hours, many of the English, Scottish and Welsh officers on the streets on Friday were visibly taken back by the level of sectarian abuse exchanged between Orangemen and their supporters, and protesting Catholic residents at two flashpoints in north Belfast.

Cultural Marxism

What ever happened to sticks and stones?

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Source: BadChad's ThoughtPile

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 06:03

Retired Boulder County Judge Thomas Reed

Boulder is appealing last month's municipal court ruling that the city's "fighting words" ordinance violated the First Amendment, arguing the judge abused his discretion in declaring the 32-year-old law unconstitutional.

The Boulder City Attorney's Office, in an appeal filed last week, contends Judge Thomas Reed -- a retired county court judge who was sitting in for Municipal Judge Linda Cooke -- "erroneously construed the law and abused its discretion when it found that 5-3-6, use of fighting words, Boulder revised code, 1981, was facially unconstitutional."

City spokesman Patrick von Keyserling said he could not comment further on the appeal since the case is still open.

On June 20, Reed threw out a fighting words ticket against Camille Lafont after her attorney filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of Boulder's "use of fighting words" ordinance.

The ordinance reads: "No person shall insult, taunt or challenge another in a manner likely to provoke a disorderly response."

Kevin Cheney, Lafont's attorney and a student lawyer with the University of Colorado Criminal Defense Clinic, filed a motion aruging the ordinance is unconstitutional because it did not require that a person intend to cause the disorderly response.

Reed granted the motion and dismissed the case against Lafont.

Should the ruling be upheld by an appellate court, it could force Boulder officials to re-examine the law. While the city can continue to prosecute cases until an appellate court upholds the ruling, Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner said in June he already was telling his officers that, unless an appeal was successful, the ordinance was "probably not very effective."

"The appeal by the city was not unexpected, and we remain confident the district court will reach the same conclusion as the municipal court and find the ordinance unconstitutional," Cheney said Friday.

In his original motion, Cheney cited examples in which the ordinance could be used to stifle protected forms of free speech, but the city contends in its appeal that the examples cited did not meet the burden of proof to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.

"Simply proposing a handful of speculative situations in which a code provision might burden protected speech does not meet the burden," the city's attorneys wrote in their appeal. "The Boulder Municipal Court did not apply the appropriate burden of proof and accepted a handful of speculative 'impermissible applications' as proof that (the ordinance) was facially unconstitutional."

In a written statement, Lafont said she has consulted with other legal experts and still believes Reed's ruling will stand.

"The facts in this case show this is a selective prosecution driven by political agenda within the city attorney's office and there is no truth to the charge whatsoever; however, judicial review is a vital component of the justice system because it promotes public confidence in the validity of important rulings like this," Lafont wrote. "I encourage Boulder citizens to apply political pressure to City Council to take a vibrant rather than passive approach to the ordinance and re-enact a constitutional one."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.

2TTH

Boston Brakes: ''No Skidmarks in the Sky'' | Veterans Today

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 05:22

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''BOSTON BRAKES'' ASSASSINATION TECHNIQUE BECOMES BIG ''PROBLEM SOLVER'''--

By Gordon Duff Senior Editor'--Several recent events, the controversial death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings in a one-car accident, juxtaposed by the relative impunity with which ''whistleblower'' Edward Snowden is able to ''flit'' from nation to nation and recent legal issues in the United Kingdom tied to the mysterious and controversial figure, John Bradenkamp, make the following study of ''Boston Brakes'' timely.

Last week, Bradenkamps's legal team joked about reports of their client being accused of stealing nuclear weapons and the crime being covered up by the Blair administration. But there is more to the story, much more.

I had never heard of ''Boston Brakes'' until 2010. I had been on the Kevin Barrett radio show yesterday, discussing, among other things, the endless ways to gain control of an aircraft and plow it into a building, something I had been briefed on by my Air Force buddies. There are a dozen ways to gain control of a plane, in fact, the more ''fly by wire'' a plane is, the more ways to control it remotely. Now I am told the same thing works for cars, not exactly the same but close enough.

Nothing particularly clever is required, especially when the plane is capable of landing itself or, with a bit of hacking, making an inconvenient stop in the side of a building. I am told this game started with the CIA back in Boston, not with planes but cars. Car wrecks were mechanically staged using the ''Boston Brakes'' method, not always fatal but always a good way of communicating to someone your displeasure. Sending a college age daughter into a light pole, reporting her speedometer was stuck at 200 mph and fudging her blood test to show she was ''double drunk'' has been done countless times.

It isn't just that crash that makes it ''Boston Brakes'' but the speedometer stuck at some outrageous speed and the blood acohol level, always from a sample that is mysteriously misplaced later. Oh, and I almost forgot, no skidmarks, something accident investigators only see at suicides or murder. Remember, always no skidmarks.

The trail that led me to look into ''Boston Brakes'' involved the suicide in 2003 of Dr. David Kelly, a suicide now ruled a murder. Kelly was believed to have killed himself because he had been attacked in the press by Prime Minister Tony Blair. Kelly, a prominent weapons scientist had claimed, as we all know is true today, that Tony Blair had falsified intelligence to force Britain into what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called ''the illegal invasion of Iraq.'' With evidence finally, years later, piling in showing that Kelly's body had been moved and a suicide scene staged, pathologist records falsified and that Kelly was murdered with broad complicity by more than one government agency, things have started to take on a life of their own.

The assassination of Dr. David Kelly if prosecuted, and it is now under full criminal investigation, could lead to the highest levels of the British and American governments, the absolute highest. Kelly was that important and the secrets they thought they had silenced when he was murdered point to the heads of state of several countries, not just Britain and America but Israel, North Korea, South Africa and maybe a few more. This was a stupid and clumsy murder of a good and decent man. Selling nuclear weapons to North Korea isn't a joke, not at least to Dr. David Kelly. This is what cost him his life.

The suicide is now a murder and the wheels of justice have begun to turn. When that happens, nobody can control the outcome, almost nobody anyway.

First of all, even the reason for the supposed suicide was totally false. Kelly was a whistleblower, yes, but not about falsified intelligence regarding Tony Blair and ''sexed up'' weapons reports. Kelly was spilling the beans on missing nuclear weapons that he, himself, was involved in, weapons involving Israel and South Africa, a big secret that is now at the root of a major investigation in the United Kingdom, an investigation that went critical when one of the missing bombs exploded in North Korea in 2009. This is why that mysterious ''Iraq Enquiry'' has come back to life but we are not told why.

Kelly was murdered, not just because he was going to rat out members of both political parties for failing to act in the national interest but because tons of money was spent by mysterious parties to cover this up, money that has shown up on the public record as campaign contributions in amounts not even seen in the United States, from bad sources, unimaginably bad sources, the worst.

The question isn't as much why Kelly was murdered, all this is out now, with a cover story being released, one with no missing nuclear weapons, no Israel and no North Korea for sure, but at least insiders in Britain, key members of the government, the judiciary and the intelligence services will know, some properly informed, some properly castigated and the ones who belong in prison for life, running scott free along with their Yank counterparts, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush.

The problem is the pattern of killings, that 9/11 signature that we call ''Boston Brakes.'' The mysterious death of Richard Waddington, relative of a potential witness in the Chilcot Inquiry that could have opened an unimaginable ''can of worms.'' Waddington was to be subjected to an intimidating show of power, an arranged car accident, not a murder as it ended up. Waddington was killed to prevent someone else from confirming Israel's complicity in building 10 nuclear weapons. The ''secret world'' says ''6.'' Keeping an Israeli nuclear test secret, keeping a nuke sold to North Korea secret, keeping an ''under the table'' deal involving the Thatcher government and gun runners secret cost a life.

In 2008, Jorg Haider, the anti-Zionist ready to take power as Prime Minister of Austria got the ''Boston Brakes'' treatment when his Volkswagen Phaeton, one of the world's finest road cars, as with Waddinton, Princes Di and others, rammed into a concrete abutment, ''no skidmarks.'' I keep going back in my mind to the ''dancing Israeli's'' when I think of Lady Di's death. How does she tie in? The money that flowed into Tony Blair's political coffers came from the pockets of ''Mr. Landmine,'' a Rhodesian arms merchant Lady Di may have given her life to stop. Tied to Israel, North Korea and the missing nukes, this trail heads to Paris and perhaps even the white Fiat Uno seen next to the ill fated Mercedes. Was it filled with ''dancing Israeli's?''

Jon King, writing of these incidents, says the following:

''According to former SAS officer and world-famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Feinnes, it is not beyond reason that both Princess Diana's Mercedes and Jorg Haider's Volkswagen were remotely hijacked.

&amp;amp;lt;img src=''http://www.consciousape.com/assets/559/feather_men_book_cover.jpg'' alt=''feather_men_book_cover'' /&amp;amp;gt;

In his book, The Feather Men, Feinnes recounts in some detail a highly sophisticated assassination technique which he says has been employed by the world's intelligence agencies for decades.A microchip transceiver, he explains, is fitted to the target vehicle's on-board computer, allowing the vehicle to be controlled remotely.

He says this technique was first deployed by the CIA in Boston, hence its name: the 'Boston brakes'.

Feinnes also recounts an instance of the 'Boston brakes' being successfully deployed in England in 1986, which resulted in the assassination of SAS Major, Michael Marman, and the near-death of a former equerry to the Queen, Sir Peter Horsley.

According to Sir Ranuplh Feinnes, the 'Boston brakes' is all fact, no fiction.

Certainly evidence John and I present in our new book Princess Diana The Evidence shows clearly enough that Diana was almost certainly the victim of the 'Boston brakes'.

And given the startling correlations presented above, one has to wonder if Jorg Haider might also have suffered this same premeditated fate.''

I remember the first time I stood out in the road, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, staring up at the Texas School Book Depository, supposed sight of Lee Harvey Oswald, once believed involved in the Kennedy assassination. Holding a photo from 1963 in my hand, I could see the Texas live oak was the same size, totally blocking the view from the window, blocking any potential shot on Kennedy. Even without the obfuscations of Arlen Specter and his ''magic bullet'' it all fell apart then as it does now.

Similarly, I have walked the route of Princess Di's Mercedes also, walked it when the road is closed for the summer Paris Plages festival and have driven it dozens of times. As with all the ''Boston Brakes'' killings, no skidmarks. I drive the BMW version of the 12 cylinder Mercedes 600, a car you can dance around curves like a Porsche. The Volkswagen Phaeton is much of the same ilk, powerful engine, race car brakes and suspension and incredible handling. I have driven hours above 150 mph on European roads. Drivers do that all the time, you seldom see a ''fender bender.''

Is there a great conspiracy out there, one that kills minor computer programmers in Ohio like Mike Cullen, who threatened to put George ''W'' Bush in prison for election rigging, one of the endless mysterious plane crashes that clean Democrats out of the United States Senate? Does anyone remember when Ross Perot, a certainty for the oval office, dropped out of the election?

Truth is, we live in a world where it is cheaper sometimes to use simple thuggery, than to go to the bother of rigging a Boeing 767 or running a car into a concrete abutment. When a member of congress is bribed to support a war, vote for a special tax break for a gangster or to submit to some Israeli abuse, did someone send him a photo of his children playing in a school yard or was his brothers wife raped and beaten recently? This is how the game is played.

Between 1995 and 2005, 50 scientists that we know of, all WMD specialists, germ warfare, bio weapons, chemical warfare, died under circumstances, some as plain as an unexpected heart attack in an otherwise healthy young adult to the inevitable ''Boston Brakes'' crash.

NUMBERSCIENTISTSAGECIRCUMSTANCEDATE#1 JoseTrias MurderedMay 19, 1994#2Dr. Tsunao Saitoh46 MurderedMay 7, 1996#3-7MicrobiologistsPlane crashOctober 4, 2001#8 Jeffrey Paris Wall41Murdered?November 6, 2001#9Dr.Vladimir Pasechnik64StrokeNovember 21, 2001#10-12Dr.Yaakov Matzner, Amiramp Eldor,& Avishai Berkman54, 59,50Plane crashNovember 24, 2001#13Roman Kuzmin 24Struck by a carDecember 2001#14Dr. Benito Que52 MuggingDecember 6, 2001#15Dr. David Schwartz57MurderedDecember 10, 2001#16Set Van Nguyen44Found in airlock chamberDecember 14, 2001#17Don C. Wiley57Body found by riverDecember 20,2001#18Ivan GlebovBandit attackJanuary 2002#19Alexi BrushlinskiKilled/murdered?January 2002#20Victor Korshunov56MurderedFebruary 9, 2002#21Dr. Ian Langford40MurderedFebruary 11, 2002#22-23 Tanya Holzmayer &Guyang ''Mathew'' Huang46,38Murder then suicideFebruary 28, 2002#24David Wynn-Williams55Struck by vehicleMarch 24, 2002#25Dr. Steven Mostow63Plane crashMarch 25, 2002#26Dr. Leland Rickman47UnknownJune 24, 2003#27Dr. David Kelly59Suicide?/ MurderJuly 18, 2003#28Michael Perich46Car wreckOctober 11, 2003#29Robert Leslie Burghoff45Hit and runNovember 20, 2003#30Dr Robert E. Shope74Idiopathic Pulmonary FibrosisJanuary 19, 2004#31Michael Patrick Kiley62Heart failureJanuary 24, 2004#32Vadake Srinivasan78Stroke/Car wreckMarch 13, 2004#33William T. McGuire39MurderedMay 5, 2004#34Dr. Eugene F. Mallove56MurderedMay 16, 2004#35Antonina Presnyakova46Accidental/EbolaMay 19, 2004#36Thomas gold 84Heart diseaseJune 23, 2004#37Dr. Assefa Tulu45Hemorrhagic strokeJune 24, 2004#38Dr. John Mullen67Acute arsenic intoxicationJune 29, 2004#39Dr Paul Norman52Plane crashJuly 2, 2004#40Dr. John Badwey54Pneumonia like symptomsJuly 21, 2004#41Dr Bassem al-MudareMurderedJuly 21, 2004#42Professor John Clark52HangingAugust 12, 2004#43Mohammed Toki Hussein al-Talakani40MurderedSeptember 5, 2004#44Matthew Allison32Car explodedOctober 13, 2004#45John R. La Montagne, Ph.D61Sudden pulmonary embolismNovember 2, 2004#46Taleb Ibrahim al-DaherMurderedDecember 21, 2004#47-48Tom Throne & Beth Williams63, 53Car wreckDecember 29, 2004#49Jeong H. Im72MurderedJanuary 7, 2005#50 Geetha Angara43 Murdered/DrownedFebruary 8, 2005Find this a bit overwhelming? This is only one of several lists. If you wondered what intelligence services do, the answer is simple, they murder people. If you wonder who they work for, the answer is simple also, crooked arms dealers, drug cartels and power mad politicians.

How many people will be murdered, how many kids threatened, how many poisonings, how much in bribes before America agrees to attack Iran? How many billions are being paid to keep America in Afghanistan, supporting Karzai and immune to knowlege of the $65 billion dollar a year drug trade? If you don't think members of congress are at the heart of the conspiracy, you aren't very good at using the Freedom of Information Act to track travel schedules or see who belongs to what organization along with drug lords and thugs.

Ask Sibel Edmonds.

If, like everyone else, you have come to expect terrorist acts, of late almost comedy routines, the ''crotch bomber'' and the Times Square Fizzler as potential Vegas headliners, expect that ''dirty bomb'' we have been warned about. If our ''bestest buddies in the whole world'' can sell submarines to North Korea or give them atom bombs, don't be surprised if, in order to push that Iran war we are hearing so much about, you don't wake up some morning to an American city glowing in the dark.

Within seconds, Fox News will have the whole story, Iranian suspects, airport footage, everything. It is all a game, everything is a game. Everything is a business and our businessmen today are all gangsters, same as our government.

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Trains Bad, Pipelines Good!

Five more bodies found in Lac-M(C)gantic, bringing death toll to 33 - The Globe and Mail

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 12:14

Five more bodies have been found in the ruins of Lac-M(C)gantic to bring the official death toll to 33 people, police confirmed at a press conference on Saturday. Seventeen people are still missing and presumed dead.

Nine of the 33 killed have been identified by investigators, and authorities have released the names of eight victims so far:

‰liane Parenteau-Boulanger, 93Fr(C)d(C)ric Boutin, 19Kathy Clusiault, 24‰lodie Turcotte, 18Yannick Bouchard, 36Karine Lafontaine, 35Maxime Dubois, 27M(C)lissa Roy, 29

The name of the ninth person identified is to be released on Monday.

S>>ret(C) du Qu(C)bec Inspector Michel Forget said that the SQ's investigation of the disaster scene will take several more weeks at least, and that the search of the Musi-Caf(C) bar is underway. The popular bar was just 30 feet away from the disaster after 73 cars of crude oil derailed and exploded just after 1 a.m. last Saturday.

When asked to describe the scene, Insp. Forget said: "Think of going through a two-storey building brick-by-brick in addition to dealing with all of the liquid and intense heat and this was a popular gathering place."

"You have to understand that officers are mothers and fathers before police," Insp. Forget said.

The mayor of Lac-M(C)gantic, Colette Roy-Laroche, also announced today that those still displaced by the disaster will be relocated from the local high school which has been serving as a shelter.

"They will be relocated to better places. Places with real beds," Ms. Roy-Laroche said.

The high school will continue to offer food, psychological and social services to those affected.

TRAINS Magazine - Trains News Wire, Railroad News, Railroad Industry News, Web Cam, Forums

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 02:58

WEBSITE MAINTENANCE

TrainsMag.com will be down for website maintenance on Tuesday, July 16 from5-7 a.m. CST. The website and community will be inaccessible during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Can't get enough of Norfolk Southern's heritage diesels? This special collector's issue pays tribute to the past and present with exclusive photos of all 20 new units and vintage color images of the engines that inspired them. You'll also get behind-the-scenes info about how these keepsake locomotives were created.Buy now >>

Baustin

FBI investigating Boston-area man after pressure-cooker bomb materials found - World - Canoe.ca

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Sun, 14 Jul 2013 02:46

TOPSFIELD, Mass. - The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating a Boston-area man after authorities found materials in his bedroom that could be used for making a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the devices used in the deadly Boston Marathon attack, authorities said on Saturday.

Police arrested 27-year-old Daniel Morley last month on domestic assault and battery charges and for making a bomb threat, according to the Topsfield Police Department.

After a nearly four-hour standoff on June 9, police discovered in Morley's bedroom a Russian-made assault rifle, a pressure cooker and other materials that concerned investigators, said Gary Hayward, a detective sergeant with Topsfield police.

"Along with the pressure cooker, there were some other items that were concerning," Hayward said. He said he could not give more details because the matter was under investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI's Boston office did not return messages seeking further comment.

Morley is suspected of having enough materials to make a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the ones used at the Boston Marathon, according to two law enforcement sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

On April 15 at the finish line of the storied marathon, homemade bombs - pressure cookers filled with explosives, nails and ball bearings - killed three people and injured 264 others. The tragedy set the city on edge for days as police hunted for the suspects.

On June 9, a tense scene unfolded at Morley's home near Topsfield's town square, where police blocked off a large area. The perimeter forced a church to cancel services in the town of about 6,100 people about 23 miles (37 km) north of Boston.

"Basically, it started with a domestic situation" about 2 o'clock in the morning, Hayward said.

Members of the Massachusetts State Police SWAT team eventually entered the house and took Morley into custody. No one was injured, Hayward said.

Morley has been arraigned on the assault and bomb threat charges and is due to appear next week in Ipswich District Court in Newburyport, Hayward said.

Morley is at Bridgewater State Hospital, where he has undergone psychiatric evaluation, police said.

Boston police officer arrested after bombs and explosives found inside home

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Source: USA RSS

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 22:44

A Boston police officer was arrested and charged after his wife called police to report that she found military-grade explosives, grenades, and ammunition in their home.

Police Officer Kirk D. Merricks, 43, is now facing 11 counts of possession of an explosive device, four counts of obtaining stolen property and one count of illegal possession of ammunition. A bomb squad was called in to remove the explosives from the residence on the night of July 11.

''We requested the assistance of the Mass State Police Bomb Squad, as well as the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], and we sought a search warrant after we secured those devices that we did locate'--some were in the house and some were in a shed in the backyard,'' Plymouth Chief Michael Botieri told WATV.

A police report states that Merricks' wife and son discovered the explosives when they were going through the officer's belongings. After calling Plymouth police around 3 p.m. Thursday, the officer's wife led them to a shed containing military-grade explosives. A metal box contained four explosive sticks wrapped in military-style cloth and marked as ''TNT''.

A black briefcase contained four 40 mm grenades that are normally used with an M203 grenade launcher '' a device that the US military introduced in the early 1970s. M203 grenade launchers are categorized as ''Destructive Devices'' under the National Firearms Act and are rarely available on the civilian weapons market.

Officers also found a detonation cord, blasting caps, and military-grade ammunition.

Chief Botieri told reporters that investigators believe the items were stolen, since they are generally not available for civilian purchase. Although Merricks is licensed to carry firearms, none of the explosives or military-grade ammunition were issued to him by police.

''They are obviously not anything that civilians should possess,'' Botieri told the Boston Globe. ''We believe it's all stolen. It's not something you can go out and buy without the correct permits.''

Merricks was on duty while his home was being searched, and was arrested shortly thereafter. He has been placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of his handgun and badge.

After pleading not guilty to his charges on Friday morning, he was freed on $1,000 bail.

Botieri is a 14-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who previously served with the Marine Corps during Desert Storm. Police were called to his home during a domestic dispute last month. Merricks' wife says the couple separated on June 4, when she filed a restraining order against him, accusing him of verbal abuse.

Eric Goldman, the attorney representing Merrick, said his client had not been living in the house for three months, and suggested that the ''contentious'' divorce proceedings may have something to do with the woman's call to police.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

The Wolverine (2013) - IMDb

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Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:55

The Wolverine (2013) - IMDb

When he's most vulnerable, he's most dangerous.

Watch Trailer Watchlist

See all photos

Kenuichio Harada/Silver Samurai

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons. Full Summary

"The Wolverine": 'Viper' Spoilers

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Agenda 21

Australia to scrap carbon tax for trading scheme

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Source: Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 13:22

Australia to scrap carbon tax for trading schemeJavascript is currently disabled in your web browser. For full site functionality, it is necessary to enable Javascript. In order to enable it, please see these instructions.45 minutes agoThis file photo shows Hazelwood power station billowing smoke from its exhaust stacks in the Latrobe Valley, 150 km east of Melbourne, on August 13, 2009. Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Sunday announced it will scrap its carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme that puts a limit on pollution from 2014, a year earlier than planned.

Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Sunday announced it will scrap its carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme that puts a limit on pollution from 2014, a year earlier than planned.

The move is set to cost the government billions of dollars but Treasurer Chris Bowen said cuts would be made elsewhere to compensate with the Labor Party sticking to its plan to return the budget to surplus in 2015-2016.

Bowen confirmed media reports that the fixed Aus$24.15 ($21.90) per tonne carbon tax would be dumped in favour of a floating price of between Aus$6 and Aus$10 per tonne from July 1, 2014, to ease cost of living pressures for families and help support the non-mining sectors of the economy.

With national elections later this year, Labor is hoping the change will see a drop in soaring electricity prices.

"There is a substantial impact on the budget of doing this, of course there is, and it is several billion dollars, but we will be financing that in a fiscally responsible way," Bowen told the Ten Network, adding that full details would be announced over coming days.

"It means ensuring that our strategy of returning to surplus over the economic cycle is adhered to, so it is a challenge."

He added: "I think families will see a big benefit in what we are bringing forward".

Australia's Treasurer Chris Bowen, pictured as he attends a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra, on June 27, 2013. Bowen on Sunday confirmed media reports that the fixed Aus$24.15 per tonne carbon tax would be dumped in favour of a floating price of between Aus$6 and Aus$10 per tonne from July 1, 2014, to ease cost of living pressures for families.

Australia is among the world's worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and mining exports and introduced a "carbon tax" in 2012, charging big polluters for their emissions.

The government has always said it would move to an emissions trading scheme after three years with a floating price set by the market, but new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has now moved that forward a year.

The issue of a carbon tax has been hotly debated in Australia.

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard's popularity sunk after she announced plans for the carbon tax in early 2011'--after pledging before her 2010 election that it would not be introduced by a government she led.

The policy backflip prompted protests around the country and conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, who opinion polls suggest will narrowly win the 2013 election, has vowed to abolish it.

Abbott on Sunday said the shift to 2014 was "just another Kevin con job".

"Mr Rudd can change the name but whether it is fixed or floating it is still a carbon tax," he said, adding that "it's a bad tax, you've just got to get rid of it".

Explore further:Australia to link with EU carbon scheme from 2015

(C) 2013 AFP

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(C) Phys.org' 2003-2013

Australia to scrap carbon tax for trading schemeJavascript is currently disabled in your web browser. For full site functionality, it is necessary to enable Javascript. In order to enable it, please see these instructions.45 minutes agoThis file photo shows Hazelwood power station billowing smoke from its exhaust stacks in the Latrobe Valley, 150 km east of Melbourne, on August 13, 2009. Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Sunday announced it will scrap its carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme that puts a limit on pollution from 2014, a year earlier than planned.

Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Sunday announced it will scrap its carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme that puts a limit on pollution from 2014, a year earlier than planned.

The move is set to cost the government billions of dollars but Treasurer Chris Bowen said cuts would be made elsewhere to compensate with the Labor Party sticking to its plan to return the budget to surplus in 2015-2016.

Bowen confirmed media reports that the fixed Aus$24.15 ($21.90) per tonne carbon tax would be dumped in favour of a floating price of between Aus$6 and Aus$10 per tonne from July 1, 2014, to ease cost of living pressures for families and help support the non-mining sectors of the economy.

With national elections later this year, Labor is hoping the change will see a drop in soaring electricity prices.

"There is a substantial impact on the budget of doing this, of course there is, and it is several billion dollars, but we will be financing that in a fiscally responsible way," Bowen told the Ten Network, adding that full details would be announced over coming days.

"It means ensuring that our strategy of returning to surplus over the economic cycle is adhered to, so it is a challenge."

He added: "I think families will see a big benefit in what we are bringing forward".

Australia's Treasurer Chris Bowen, pictured as he attends a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra, on June 27, 2013. Bowen on Sunday confirmed media reports that the fixed Aus$24.15 per tonne carbon tax would be dumped in favour of a floating price of between Aus$6 and Aus$10 per tonne from July 1, 2014, to ease cost of living pressures for families.

Australia is among the world's worst per capita polluters due to its reliance on coal-fired power and mining exports and introduced a "carbon tax" in 2012, charging big polluters for their emissions.

The government has always said it would move to an emissions trading scheme after three years with a floating price set by the market, but new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has now moved that forward a year.

The issue of a carbon tax has been hotly debated in Australia.

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard's popularity sunk after she announced plans for the carbon tax in early 2011'--after pledging before her 2010 election that it would not be introduced by a government she led.

The policy backflip prompted protests around the country and conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, who opinion polls suggest will narrowly win the 2013 election, has vowed to abolish it.

Abbott on Sunday said the shift to 2014 was "just another Kevin con job".

"Mr Rudd can change the name but whether it is fixed or floating it is still a carbon tax," he said, adding that "it's a bad tax, you've just got to get rid of it".

Explore further:Australia to link with EU carbon scheme from 2015

(C) 2013 AFP

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Australia announced Tuesday it would link its deeply contested emissions trading scheme with the European Union's from mid-2015 in an effort to combat climate change.

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Australia has halved the number of companies needing to pay a contentious pollution tax from 1,000 to about 500, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Thursday, stressing only big business will be hit.

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Eco-Blowback: Mutiny in the Land of Wind Turbines

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Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 13:53

The German village of Husarenhof, just north of Stuttgart, nestles picturesquely between orchards and vineyards. Peter Hitzker's house stands on a sharp bend in the road. "Sometimes I get up in the morning and find a couple of totaled cars in the front yard," he says. "But I guess nowhere's perfect."

Still, he finds the wind turbine behind his garden fence harder to cope with. The tower is 180 meters (590 feet) high, and the whirr of the blades and grinding of the actuators are clearly audible.

"When I leave my local bar in Heilbronn, 15 kilometers from here, I find my way home by heading for the turbine," he quips.

But he can't think of anything else positive to say about the turbine. "It's dreadful," he says. "And it's split the village. It's war here."

The wind turbine, an Enercon E-82, has been there for over a year. When it was inaugurated, the local shooting club, the "Black Hunters", fired their guns in celebration, and the local priest delivered a sermon on protecting God's creation.

But not everyone is happy. Some are angry at the way the landscape, celebrated by German Romantic poets such as H¶lderlin and M¶rike, is being butchered. The opponents protest with images of the Grim Reaper holding a wind turbine rather than his traditional scythe.

The situation in Husarenhof can be found across Germany. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and Germany's swift decision to abandon nuclear energy and embrace renewable energy as part of its so-called Energiewende, the country's 16 federal states reacted with a sort of excessive zeal. The northeastern state of Brandenburg plans to set aside 2 percent of its land for wind farms. The western state of Rhineland-Palatinate intends to more than double the amount of wind power it generates. North Rhine-Westphalia, its neighbor to the north, is planning an increase of more than 300 percent.

The winds of change are blowing in Germany -- and hard. Flat-bed trucks laden with tower segments make their way slowly across boggy fields. Cranes crawl up narrow forest paths to set up outsized wind turbines on the tops of mountains. Germany aims to increase its production of wind power from 31,000 to 45,000 megawatts over the next seven years. By the middle of the century, it hopes to be generating 85,000 megawatts in wind power

With the prime coastal locations already taken, operators are increasingly turning their attention to areas further inland. Even valuable tourist regions -- such as the Moselle valley, the Allg¤u and the foothills of the Alps -- are to be sacrificed. Sites have even been earmarked by Lake Constance and near Starnberg, where the Bavarian King Ludwig II drowned.

At the moment, things are still in the planning, reporting and application stage. Local authorities' filing cabinets are overflowing with authorization documents and wind strength measurements. Plans call for some 60,000 new turbines to be erected in Germany -- and completely alter its appearance.

The Backer-Opponent Divide

But what's really going on? Are politicians wisely creating the tools needed to prevent the end of the world as we know it? Or are they simply marring the countryside?

More than 700 citizens' initiatives have been founded in Germany to campaign against what they describe as "forests of masts", "visual emissions" and the "widespread devastation of our highland summits."

The opponents carry coffins symbolizing the death of environmental protection. They organize petitions on an almost daily basis. Local residents by Lake Starnberg have even filed a legal complaint alleging that the wind turbines violate Germany's constitution.

The underlying divide is basic and irreconcilable. On one side stand environmentalists and animal rights activists passionate about protecting the tranquility of nature. On the other are progressively minded champions of renewable energy and climate activists determined to secure the long-term survival of the planet.

The question is: How many forests must be sacrificed, how many horizons dotted with wind turbines, to meet Germany's new energy targets? Where is the line between thoughtful activism and excessive zeal? At what point is taxpayer money simply being thrown away?

The wrangling over these issues has led many in Germany's Green Party to question what their party really stands for. Enoch zu Guttenberg, a founding member of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), noisily left the association last year because of its support for wind power. Since then, he has felt a "panicky need" to warn humanity about the "giant totems of the cult of unlimited energy."

Michael Succow, a prominent German environmentalist and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, is also threatening to abandon ship. He fears soulless stretches of land and lost tranquility.

And his fears are not unfounded. Back in the 1980s, tree-huggers put up Aeroman wind turbines in their front yards -- but those days are long gone. Just the masts of today's wind turbines can reach up to 160 meters high. When active, they kill so many insects that the sticky mass slows the rotors down.

The sweeping blades of the Enercon E-126 cover an area of seven football fields. The rotors of modern wind turbines weigh up to 320 metric tons. There are 83 such three-armed bandits in Germany's largest wind farm, near the village of Ribbeck, northwest of Berlin.

As they drive their SUVs through these turbine forests, tolerantly minded city-dwellers sometimes comment on how ugly eastern Germany has become. Others find them attractive -- as they speed past.

But local Nimbies ("Nimby" = Not In My Back Yard) are indignant. Apart from everything else, the value of their homes has plummeted.

Even sparsely populated areas are beginning to take action. Take, for example, the campaign "Rettet Brandenburg" ("Save Brandenburg"). This eastern state surrounding Berlin is already home to more than 3,100 wind turbines, more than any other federal state. Now, however, the powers-that-be want to build 3,000 more turbines, but state residents are up in arms and have launched a citizen's initiative. At a protest day held in late May, its members railed against "wind-grubbers" and "monster mills."

Maxing Out Turbine Size

Nevertheless, their protests will do little to stop wind-turbine manufacturers from eagerly building taller and taller models. For the relatively weak inland winds to generate sufficient energy and profits, Germany's wind farmers need to reach higher and higher into the skies.

The goal is to get away from the turbulence found near the ground and to climb up into the Ekman layer, above 100 meters high, where the wind blows continuously. Up there, the forces of nature rage freely, creating enough terawatts to meet the energy needs of the global population hundreds of times over. Or at least that's the theory.

Inland, the "technical trend" toward bigger wind turbines "continues unabated," according to a study recently published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES).

A visit to the IWES test center in the northern port city of Bremerhaven reveals what lies in store. The center is home to a next-generation rotary blade: flexible, wobbly even, weighing 30 metric tons and stretching 83.5 meters across.

The mammoth prototype blade is currently at the testing stage. Hydraulic presses and cables bend and buffet the blade millions of times over, simulating the stress exerted by storms and gusts of wind.

IWES meteorologist Paul K¼hn thinks that the mast themselves, without the blades, could grow to up to 200 meters high. Anything taller would be unprofitable due to the "square-cube law."

Growing Intolerance

So, might we one day see wind turbines with blades stretching up almost 300 meters into the clouds -- a somber memorial to Germany's nuclear phase-out? Even hip urban fans of renewable energy think that would take some getting used to.

Recent studies by bird protectors reveal how the giant blades chop up the air in brutal fashion. "Golden plovers avoid the wind turbines," says Potsdam-based ornithologist J¶rg Lippert. Swallows and storks, on the other hand, fly straight into them. The barbastelle bat's lungs collapse as it flies by. A "terrible future" awaits the lesser spotted eagle and red kite, Lippert says.

German citizens are also having to make sacrifices to meet the ambitious goals of the new energy policy. In England, large wind turbines must be situated at least 3,000 meters away from houses in residential areas. In Germany, which is more densely populated, local planners place turbines much closer to homes. In the southern state of Bavaria, for example, the minimum separation is 500 meters, while it's just 300 meters in the eastern state of Saxony.

In the early days, when everyone was still very excited about clean wind power, some farmers in northerly coastal areas allowed turbines to be erected even 250 meters from their cottages. And then they received large compensation payments when the noise from the rotors triggered stampedes in their pigsties.

But now even those in northern Germany are grumbling. Many old wind turbines are being replaced with new, more powerful ones in a process known as "repowering." Instead of 50 meters tall, these new turbines are more than 150 meters high, have flashing lights on them to prevent aircraft from hitting them and make a lot of noise as they rotate.

The result? Complaints about the noise everywhere.

Words Do Matter

When The Constitutional Lecturer Becomes Commander-in-Chief

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Source: JustOneMinute

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 12:49

The NY Times explains that Obama shares a common bond with many other Americans - he just can't understand that he is Commander-in-Chief:

Remark by Obama Complicates Military Sexual Assault Trials

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

WASHINGTON '-- When President Obama proclaimed that those who commit sexual assault in the military should be ''prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,'' it had an effect he did not intend: muddying legal cases across the country.

In at least a dozen sexual assault cases since the president's remarks at the White House in May, judges and defense lawyers have said that Mr. Obama's words as commander in chief amounted to ''unlawful command influence,'' tainting trials as a result. Military law experts said that those cases were only the beginning and that the president's remarks were certain to complicate almost all prosecutions for sexual assault.

''Unlawful command influence'' refers to actions of commanders that could be interpreted by jurors as an attempt to influence a court-martial, in effect ordering a specific outcome. Mr. Obama, as commander in chief of the armed forces, is considered the most powerful person to wield such influence.

The White House has offered the "He was just running his mouth again, who knew anyone was listening?" defense:

White House officials said Mr. Obama's remarks, made in response to a reporter's question, were meant to demonstrate his concern about the issue and were not intended to recommend penalties for offenders.

''The president was absolutely not trying to be prescriptive,'' said Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House counsel. ''He was listing a range of examples of how offenders could be held accountable. The president expects all military personnel who are involved in any way in the military justice process to exercise their independent professional judgment.''

Do tell. Let's have a bit more context. This is in response to a question about sexual; assailt in the military at the May 7 press conference with President Park of South Korea:

So bottom line is I have no tolerance for this. I have communicated this to the Secretary of Defense. We're going to communicate this again to folks up and down the chain in areas of authority, and I expect consequences. So I don't want just more speeches or awareness programs or training but, ultimately, folks look the other way. If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable -- prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period. It's not acceptable.

Not "prescriptive"?

Pew poll: Americans hate journalists, even more than they did four years ago Hot Air

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Sat, 13 Jul 2013 16:09

posted at 9:21 pm on July 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In a Pew survey of Americans' attitudes about occupations, journalists suffered the worst fall in the last four years while the military maintained its top position. Also interesting, and worth pondering for those in the national news who constantly harp on the GOP for its outreach to women, journalists seem to have a serious woman problem:

Compared with the ratings four years ago, journalists have dropped the most in public esteem. The share of the public saying that journalists contribute a lot to society is down 10 percentage points, from 38% in 2009 to 28% in 2013. The drop is particularly pronounced among women (down 17 points). About as many U.S. adults now say journalists contribute ''not very much'' or ''nothing at all'' to society (27%) as say they contribute a lot (28%).

Down 17 points among women over four years? Even Mitt Romney couldn't come close to pulling that off. In seriousness, what caused the precipitous drop-off? There seems to be a very good opportunity for someone to figure this out and serve at least some of this currently poorly served market. Political news attracts a more male audience, in general, but maybe general news coverage just isn't addressing economic worries women are facing or isn't telling those stories in a way that appeals to them. Allow me to hope, for the sake of my gender, that the answer isn't more Jody Arias-style coverage.

Not mentioned in the Pew story, but interesting and counterintuitive given the near-constant narrative of the last four years: business executive is the only occupation whose score went up since 2009. Granted, it's only three points, from a paltry 21 percent who believe they contribute a lot to 24 percent, and it still resides near the bottom of the list, but it is curious that's the one occupation trending upward as the last four years have taken a toll on every other category.

If I didn't know better, I'd say the profession of journalism is in serious danger of becoming a rump, regional profession, losing ground across all demographic groups and ending up a stale relic of a bygone era. Perhaps the GOP should be urging journalism's rebranding as urgently as journalism is pushing the GOP's. The GOP could even teach journalism a thing or two about keeping the 50+ crowd happy. Journalism lost ground across all age groups:

The decline in public views about journalists' contribution to society since 2009 is more pronounced among women than men. Roughly three-in-ten women (29%) say journalists contribute a lot to society's well-being, down 17 percentage points from 46% in 2009. Men's views on this are about the same today as they were in 2009.

The decline in the perceived contribution of journalists cuts across partisan leanings, age and education level. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents as well as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents all are less likely to say journalists contribute a lot to society's well-being today (down 8 points among Republicans/leaning Republicans and 10 points among Democrats/leaning Democrats).

And, yes, I know I'm a media person in or near the journalism realm, and I'm happy to take my lumps. I think it's healthy for a profession, especially one customarily pumped full of save-the-world propaganda during its professional training, to have to evaluate just how valuable it is to its fellow citizens and perhaps change its behavior accordingly.

The military reigns supreme, with teachers and doctors close behind, and lawyers taking the bottom slot:

Americans continue to hold the military in high regard, with more than three-quarters of U.S. adults (78%) saying that members of the armed services contribute ''a lot'' to society's well-being. That's a modest decline from 84% four years ago, the last time the Pew Research Center asked the public to rate various professions. But the military still tops the list of 10 occupational groups, followed closely by teachers, medical doctors, scientists and engineers. A solid majority of the public says each of those occupations contributes a lot to society.

I wonder if the answer would have been different if the question had been about teachers unions?

Front-page photo via Jon S on Flickr.

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Haiti

Report Critical of USAID in Haiti: No ''Detailed Information on Funding and Sector Activities'' | Global Research

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Tue, 02 Jul 2013 13:57

In 2010, just months after Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake, the United States passed legislation allocating $651 million to USAID to support relief and reconstruction efforts. Three years later, just 31 percent of these funds have been spent as delays mount and goals are scaled back, according to anew Government Accountability Office (GAO) report [PDF] released yesterday. The report also criticizes USAID for a lack of transparency, especially in its reporting to Congress.

''This report shows a significant and sobering disconnect between what was originally promised for the Haitian people, and what it appears USAID is now prepared to deliver. The Haitian people, as well as the US taxpayer, deserve better answers about our assistance than we have received to date,'' according to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The GAO found that inaccurate cost estimates and delays led to an increase in the amount dedicated to providing shelter from $59 million to $97 million while at the same time ''decreased the projected number of houses to be built by over 80 percent, from 15,000 to 2,649.'' Originally estimated to cost less than $10,000 for a completed house, actual costs have been greater than $33,000. USAID has awarded over $46 million to contractors for housing. Meanwhile, some 300,000 people remain in camps over three years after the earthquake. Overall, the humanitarian community has constructed just 7,000 new homes, about 40 percent of what is currently planned.

Further, the GAO report is critical of U.S. investments supporting the Caracol Industrial Park. Randal C. Archibold of the New York Times reports:

A big portion of Agency for International Development money, $170.3 million, went toward a power plant and port for an industrial park in northern Haiti that was the centerpiece of United States reconstruction efforts and had been heavily promoted by the State Department and former President Bill Clinton.

But the project had mixed results. Although the aid agency completed the power plant under budget, the port, crucial to the industrial park's long-term success, is two years behind schedule ''due in part to a lack of U.S.A.I.D. expertise in port planning in Haiti,'' the report said, and is now vulnerable to cost overruns.

The GAO also found that a lack of oversight of USAID operations in Haiti and that congressionally mandated reports ''did not include'' ''detailed information on funding and sector activities'' as required and that despite a significant amount of funds left to be disbursed, the reporting requirement has now ended. ''Congress lacks information on the amounts of funds obligated and disbursed and program by program progress of U.S. reconstruction activities,'' concludes the report.

The findings echo those made by CEPR in a report released in April, ''Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in Haiti'' and should lead to increased support for the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act that is currently making its way through the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill (H. R. 1749), which requires detailed reporting on amounts obligated and spent by USAID, including use of contractors and subcontractors, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and has 29 cosponsors in the House. While all the cosponsors are currently Democrats, the GAO report was requested by former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and the former ranking Democrat on the Committee, Howard Berman,. Yesterday, Ros Lehtinen, along with the current chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), and the current ranking Democrat, Eliot Engel (D-NY) released a joint statement registering concern about the GAO's findings and calling for hearings on the issue, suggesting bipartisan support for greater transparency around U.S. assistance programs in Haiti.

Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in Haiti | Reports

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Tue, 02 Jul 2013 13:58

Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in HaitiApril 2013, Jake Johnston and Alexander Main

The U.S. government pledged $1.15 billion for relief and reconstruction projects in Haiti. Key U.S. actors, like the State Department's Cheryl Mills, acknowledged a ''unique opportunity to 'build back better''' and ''an obligation to ensure that aid is actually effective.'' Over three years have passed since Haiti's earthquake and, despite USAID's stated commitment to greater transparency and accountability, the question ''where has the money gone?'' echoes throughout the country. It remains unclear how exactly the billions of dollars that the U.S. has spent on assistance to Haiti have been used and whether this funding has had a sustainable impact. With few exceptions, Haitians and U.S. taxpayers are unable to verify how U.S. aid funds are being used on the ground in Haiti. USAID and its implementing partners have generally failed to make public the basic data identifying where funds go and how they are spent.

In the following paper we take a look at the effectiveness of U.S. assistance to Haiti: what we know about how it is being administered, to what extent U.S. assistance in Haiti is adhering to the USAID Forward reform agenda and what steps can be taken to ensure more effective and transparent delivery of aid to Haiti.

Report - PDF | Flash | En Fran§ais

Press Release

Vaccine$

FDA approves first GMO flu vaccine: Expected on market in 2014 -- Health & Wellness -- Sott.net

'Overheid moet kind beschermen tegen ouder' | nu.nl/binnenland | Het laatste nieuws het eerst op nu.nl

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Sat, 13 Jul 2013 21:52

Dat vindt senator voor de VVD Heleen Dupuis. Dat zei ze zaterdagavond in het tv-programma Nieuwsuur.

Eerder riep ze predikanten al op zich uit te spreken v""r vaccinatie. De ethica vindt het hoog tijd om de discussie te openen over een verplichte prik voor kinderen.

De Gezondheidsraad en het ministerie moeten zich erover buigen, vindt Dupuis, al is een verplichting volgens haar ook wel 'tricky': ''Er zitten ook nadelen aan.''

Maar ze wees erop dat we ook een leerplicht hebben. ''Die is ook een inbreuk op het ouderlijk gezag.''

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