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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 13:38
But'... the rum's gone! Image courtesy of Flickr user BrotherMagneto.
It's September 19, which means it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day, your once-a-year opportunity to embrace linguistic absurdism and greet your friends and colleagues with a cheery ''Ahoy, matey!'' Started in 1995 by John Baur and Mark Summers, the holiday is celebrated all over the world with the official Talk Like a Pirate Day website offering a vocabulary crash course in English, German and Dutch. But really, what's a holiday without food to enhance the celebration? While we all have a communal sense of how pirates talked'--or how we like to think they talked'--our sense of how pirates ate sits, by comparison, in uncharted waters. Pirates had to survive on more than a bottle of rum.
From a food standpoint, a pirate's life was problematic. Being at sea and without easy access to major seaports meant that there was rarely a steady supply of food and hunger was a regular aspect of day-to-day living. Much of their lives were spent on board a ship, and perpetually damp conditions put normal pantry staples such as flour and dried beans at high risk of mold. Climate also presented preservation problems: if sailing in warmer regions of the world, such as the Caribbean, keeping fresh fruits and meats was near impossible. Fresh water was also difficult to keep during long sea voyages because it could develop algae scum. By contrast, alcohol would never spoil, making beer and rum the preferred preferred beverages. Rum, in addition to being consumed straight up, was used along with cinnamon and other spices to sweeten stagnant water and make grog. Dried meats and hardtack, a relatively shelf-stable biscuit, were regular parts of a pirate's diet, although the latter was frequently infested with weevils.
With such a bleak dining situation, what's a pirate to do? For one, they pillaged. For pirates sailing the waters of Spanish America, beef was a hot commodity for pirates as a single head of cattle could go a long way when it came to feeding a hungry crew. In 1666, French pirate Fran§ois l'Onnais promised to leave the Venezuelan port city of Maracaibo if, among other riches, he was supplied with 500 head of cattle. In 1668, Henry Morgan, the namesake of the rum, invaded Puerto del Principe in Cuba, also demanding a ransom of 500 cattle. And in 1682, Captain Jean Toccard took the Mexican port of Tampico for the sole purpose of slaughtering cows for provisions. In addition to beef, turtle was also a valued source of protein, and ideal in that it was readily found along beaches and could be kept alive and serve as a source of fresh meat when out to sea.
Pirates also had to be resourceful with the staples that they had'--especially when it came to making pickled and salted foods palatable. In the West Indies, a popular pirate dish among marauders was salmagundi, a stew of the odds-and-ends of meat and vegetables thrown into a communal pot and heavily seasoned. In his book Pirates and Piracy, author David Reinhardt provides a litany of ingredients one might find in the cauldron and the manner of preparation:
Included might be any of the following: turtle meat, fish, pork, chicken, corned beef, ham, duck and pigeon. The meats would be roasted, chopped into pieces and marinated in spied wine, then mixed with cabbage, anchovies, pickled herring, mangoes, hard-boiled eggs, palm hearts, onions, olives, grapes and any other pickled vegetable available. The entire concoction would then be highly seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and mustard seed and soaked with oil and vinegar.
Legend has it that Bartholomew Roberts, whose years of marauding earned him the posthumous Forbes magazine distinction of being one of the highest-earning pirates, was eating salmagundi when he was attacked'--and killed'--by the Royal Navy ship HMS Swallow.
The historical pirate diet may not appeal to the modern diner. Nevertheless, for those wishing to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day to the hilt by setting an appropriately-themed spread, you have a few options. The New England Pirate Museum has a freeform salmagundi recipe that'll allow you to make the classic pirate meal, but without all the pickled and salt-cured ingredients. You can also use the day as a personal challenge to raid ye pantry and figure out how you can turn the provisions you have on hand into a hearty stew.
Although grog in its original conception was utilitarian more than anything else, it has since been re-imagined as a cocktail to be enjoyed for its palate-pleasing merits. Check out these three on-the-rocks versions of the cocktail here, with recipes using a variety of rums paired with grapefruit, lime and orange juices. You can also enjoy your grog hot, spiced with cinnamon and brown sugar. If you're dying to try hardtack, recipes and videos are out there to show you how to make this classic survival food. Personally, I'd dive into a package of Wasa crackers and call it a day.
Breverton, Terry. The Pirate Dictionary. Canada: Pelican, 2004.
Marley, David F. Daily Life of Pirates. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012.
Hamilton, John. A Pirate's Life. Edina: ABDO Publishing Company, 2007.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:00
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 16, 2013
CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY, CONSTITUTION WEEK, 2013
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In May of 1787, delegates gathered in the Pennsylvania State House to chart a new course for our nascent country. They met in a time of economic hardship and passionate debate, but with the understanding that while controversy is a hallmark of democracy, the forces of tension and uncertainty pale in comparison to the strength of our common ideals. In a document that has endured for more than two and a quarter centuries, the Framers put forth their vision for a more perfect Union.
Our Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and after an extended period of national conversation and with the promise of a bill of rights, it became the supreme law of the land. Since that time, America's Constitution has inspired nations to demand control of their own destinies. It has called multitudes to seek freedom and prosperity on our shores. We are a proud Nation of immigrants, home to a long line of aspiring citizens who contributed to their communities, founded businesses, or sacrificed their livelihoods so they could pass a brighter future on to their children. Each year on Citizenship Day, we welcome the newest members of the American family as they pledge allegiance to our Constitution and join us in writing the next chapter of our national story.
Throughout our history, immigrants have embraced the spirit of liberty, equality, and justice for all -- the same ideals that stirred the patriots of 1776 to rise against an empire, guided the Framers as they built a stronger republic, and moved generations to bridge our founding promise with the realities of our time.
The pursuit of this promise defines our history; with amendments that trace our national journey, the Constitution bears witness to how far we have come. As we celebrate the world's longest surviving written charter of government, let us remember that upholding our founding principles requires us to challenge modern injustices. Let us accept our responsibilities as citizens, our obligations to one another and to future generations. Let us move forward with the knowledge that in the face of impossible odds, those who love their country can change it.
In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the Americans who strive to uphold the dutiesand responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 108), requested that the President proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as "Constitution Week."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 17, 2013, as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and September 17 through September 23, 2013, as Constitution Week. I encourage Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to conduct ceremonies and programs that bring together community members to reflect on the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of our Constitution, and reaffirm our commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in this great Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand thissixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 00:56
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 18, 2013
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO PERSONS
WHO COMMIT, THREATEN TO COMMIT, OR SUPPORT TERRORISM
On September 23, 2001, by Executive Order 13224, the President declared a national emergency with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks against United States nationals or the United States.
The actions of persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 23, 2013. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism declared in Executive Order 13224.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 14:43
WH: 'We Urge Citizens to Listen to the Authorities and Follow Directions from the First Responders on Site'
An unnamed White House official released this statement on the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.:
"The President has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromanaco. The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials. We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site."
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:29
Click here for a full recap on how the Navy Yard shooting unfolded on Monday
UPDATE via the AP:
Police in Washington have released the names of seven of the 12 victims killed in Monday's shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard.
- 59-year-old Michael Arnold
- 53-year-old Sylvia Frasier
- 62-year-old Kathy Gaarde
- 73-year-old John Roger Johnson
- 50-year-old Frank Kohler
- 46-year-old Kenneth Bernard Proctor
- 61-year-old Vishnu Pandit
At the time of the rampage, suspected shooter Aaron Alexis was an information technology employee with The Experts, a company that was a Defense Department subcontractor on a Marine computer project, authorities said.
Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI's field office in Washington, said he had legitimate access to the base as a defense contractor and used a valid pass.
Alexis had been a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to early 2011, leaving as a petty officer third class, the Navy said. It did not say why he left. He had been an aviation electrician's mate with a unit in Fort Worth.
Original story below.
FBI officials have released the first photos of Aaron Alexis, deceased, who they say is the shooter that went on a rampage killing 12 individuals at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., early Monday morning. Authorities said they believe the shooter acted alone.
Alexis served in the U.S. Navy Reserves as an Aviations Electrician for four years, enlisting in New York in May 2007 and being discharged in January 2011, according to the U.S. Navy.
Watch the press conference where the FBI identified the shooter as Aaron Alexis:
Chris Childs, director of TheBlaze TV's ''The Pat & Stu Show,'' told us he frequently visited the Thai restaurant Alexis worked at in Fort Worth, and got to know him over time.
''The thing that really struck me was the fact that he was really big into the shooter video games,'' Childs told TheBlaze. ''We would talk about all kinds of stuff'... I know the family that owns the Thai restaurant is devastated because they can't imagine that he would do this. I can't imagine it.''
Childs also said Alexis seemed like an ''extremely normal guy.'' He said the deceased shooter also spoke about his ''out of the blue'' visit to Thailand.
Further, Seattle Police said Alexis was arrested in 2004 for ''shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what Alexis later described to detectives as an anger-fueled blackout.''' He was booked in the King County Jail for malicious mischief.
On May 6, 2004, two construction workers saw Alexis ''pull a gun from his waistband and fire three shots into the two rear tires of their Honda,'' according to Seattle Police. The workers apparently told police he had been upset over the parking situation nearby and had ''stared'' construction workers down every day over the past month.
Alexis told police he had been ''mocked'' by the workers and had an anger-fueld ''blackout.'' Seattle Police also say he told them he was present during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and explained ''how those events had disturbed him.''
Seattle detectives talked to Alexis' father, who said he suffered from anger management problems associated with PTSD.
Alexis was also arrested in September 2010 for accidentally discharging a firearm, according to a police report obtained by KXAS-TV. However, the documents reportedly indicate he was never officially charged.
The police report reveals that a woman called police in September 2010 after she heard a ''loud pop'' and saw a ''hole in her floor.''
Police then interviewed Alexis who said that ''he did have a gun'' and claimed to be ''cleaning it when it went off.'' A gun cleaning kit was found near the firearm.
''After investigating the situation, Aaron was taken to 350 W. Belknap and booked,'' the police report concludes.
Alexis' roommate until about four months ago was Texas man Nutpisit Suthamtewakul who told KDFW-TV he lived with Alexis for three years.
Suthamtewakul described Alexis as a great guy and reportedly said he was stunned to learn his ex-roommate may have committed such a heinous act.
The ex-roommate added that Alexis had a concealed handgun license, worked as a computer technician and spoke Thai.
Moreover, Suthamtewakul said Alexis spent his free time at a local Buddhist temple.
Alexis was born in Queens, New York in 1979, according to KDFW-TV.
This is a breaking news story. Updates will be added.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twiter
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:31
(WASHINGTON) '-- U.S. law enforcement officials are telling The Associated Press that the Navy contractor identified as the gunman in the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.
Aaron Alexis, 34, had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation in the case was continuing. The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance that Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.
Family members told investigators that Alexis was being treated for his mental issues.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 18:12
WASHINGTON '-- Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California doubled down on her call for heavier gun control Tuesday, lamenting that gun rights zealots wait to buttonhole her at her hair salon.
Feinstein said a background check law, of the variety that congress failed to pass earlier this year, would have flagged Aaron Alexis, the gunman who shot and killed 12 people at Navy Yard on Monday morning, and prevented him from purchasing the weapon he used.
Feinstein is a vocal gun control advocate, who issued a new call for gun control legislation after the shooting Monday. The debate had been largely dormant after a compromise amendment failed to pass the Senate in April.
''We're talking about a background check which would have picked up this person if, in fact, he did have three gun incidents that got into the system in terms of reports, he would've been picked up and denied the ability to have a gun,'' Feinstein told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.
But Feinstein said she was ''not optimistic right now'' that any legislation of the sort could be passed in the Senate, much less in the Republican-controlled House.
''I'm going to have my hair done this morning and there's somebody outside the salon waiting for me who says, 'Are you going to try and take our guns away again?' With, you know, malevolence. It's that attitude, that, the lack of, I guess, care and concern about the survival of the general public so that somebody can have a house full of weapons.''
Other Democrats have also joined the call for gun control legislation in the wake of Monday's shooting.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who represents Connecticut, the site of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 26 people dead, 20 of them young children, decried the lack of congressional action.
''It's unconscionable that we sit by and do nothing in Washington as 6,000 people have died across the country since Newtown, 13 more yesterday,'' he told reporters.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin also called for a legislative response, saying on the Senate floor Tuesday morning: ''We've got to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands who would misuse them. Felons who have a history of misusing firearms. The mentally unstable can't be trusted to have a firearm.''
Follow Alexis on Twitter
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 14:12
WASHINGTON '-- Despite deep divisions that have kept Congress from passing new gun safety laws for almost two decades, there is one aspect of gun control on which many Democrats, Republicans and even the National Rifle Association agree: the need to give mental health providers better resources to treat dangerous people and prevent them from buying weapons.
Yet efforts to improve the country's fraying mental health system to help prevent mass shootings have stalled on Capitol Hill, tied up in the broader fight over expanded background checks and limits on weapons sales.
Now the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard by a man who authorities say showed telltale signs of psychosis is spurring a push to move ahead with bipartisan mental health policy changes. The new debate over gun control is beginning to turn not on weapons or ammunition, but on the question of whether to spend more money on treating and preventing mental illness.
Proponents again face a steep uphill push, but they see an opening even if it remains unclear whether any changes under consideration could have headed off the latest attack, in which the authorities say Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, bought the shotgun he used in Virginia.
''Given the clear connection between recent mass shootings and mental illness, the Senate should not delay bipartisan legislation that would help address this issue,'' Senators Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, and Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, wrote Wednesday in a joint statement to the Senate leadership. The legislation they are pushing, which was held up when a more sweeping gun measure was defeated earlier this year, would establish programs to train teachers to recognize the signs of mental illness and how to defuse potentially violent situations.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a strong proponent of the failed Senate plan to expand the federal background check system, is resisting any move to advance the mental health provisions, fearing that it would be used as a fig leaf by those who oppose expanded checks while closing the door to weapons restrictions in the future. Both Ms. Ayotte and Mr. Begich opposed the gun control bill that failed in April.
Some gun rights advocates fear the opposite: that opening discussion on mental health could be a back door to a flood of new federal gun laws.
But several senators, like Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who has pushed for tougher gun laws since last year's elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., see mental health policy as a way forward.
''Mental health is really the key to unlocking this issue,'' Mr. Blumenthal said. ''I've become more and more convinced that we should establish the mental health issue as our common ground.''
But while state lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to make buying weapons harder for certain people showing signs of mental illness in places including New York, Connecticut and Florida, where the legislation won the blessing of the National Rifle Association, there is not yet serious discussion in Congress of doing so.
''If you're having auditory hallucinations, that's a sign of schizophrenia,'' said Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, referring to reports that Mr. Alexis suffered from delusions. Though someone like that should not have a gun, Mr. Coburn said, he expressed little faith that Congress could come together to write a law to fix that.
''It's all politics,'' he said. The senator helped lead negotiations on a background check proposal that fell apart earlier this year.
Mr. Alexis appears to be only the latest gunman whose mental health issues did not reach the level at which he would have been prohibited from buying a firearm under federal law. And it is unknowable whether even the most drastic improvements to the nation's mental health system would have caught and treated the symptoms of someone like Mr. Alexis. The same can also be said for laws that restrict gun ownership for people with histories of mental illness.
The Veterans Affairs Department said Wednesday that on the two times Mr. Alexis visited an emergency room in August, he seemed alert and denied being depressed or thinking of harming himself.
Similarly, Jared L. Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson in 2011, and James E. Holmes, who killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last year, were not barred from buying firearms under federal law, despite their own serious mental health issues.
In vivid contrast to what has happened at the federal level, some states have been much more aggressive about keeping guns out of the hands of those with mental illnesses. California has long had a statute that bars people from buying guns for five years if they have been deemed a danger to themselves or others and placed by the authorities on a 72-hour or 14-day psychiatric hold. Such holds fall short of an involuntary commitment, which bars people under federal law from having guns.
After the Newtown shootings, lawmakers in New York passed a raft of stricter gun laws this year, including a provision that requires mental health professionals to report to local officials anyone who ''is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.'' If those officials agree with the assessment and the person owns a gun, law enforcement is ordered to confiscate it and revoke the person's gun license.
Similarly, Connecticut lawmakers, as part of a larger package of gun restrictions passed this year, voted to require that hospitals report people who have been voluntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment to state authorities, who would then bar them from buying or possessing firearms for six months.
In Florida, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law this year that extended gun bans to people determined to be a danger to themselves or others, and who voluntarily admit themselves to a mental health facility. Strikingly, the measure won the support of the N.R.A.
Yet in Congress, that kind of compromise seems unlikely.
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, has introduced a bill with Republican co-sponsors, including Marco Rubio of Florida, that would set new federal mental health care standards like requiring 24-hour crisis care at community health centers. It is still waiting for a vote.
''People are losing their lives,'' she said. ''And we are seeing this pattern of it being tied to lack of treatment, lack of resources. We need action now.''
Jeremy W. Peters reported from Washington, and Michael Luo from New York.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 19:00
The Chronicle ReviewBy Christopher Shea September 16, 2013
Chronicle illustration by Scott Seymour, original images from Science Photo Library
Imagine that psychologists are scanning a patient's brain, for some basic research purpose. As they do so, they stumble across a fleeting thought that their equipment is able to decode: The patient has committed a murder, or is thinking of committing one soon. What would the researchers be obliged to do with that information?
That hypothetical was floated a few weeks ago at the first meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues devoted to exploring societal and ethical issues raised by the government's Brain initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), which will put some $100-million in 2014 alone into the goal of mapping the brain. The commission has been asked to examine issues facing researchers and society now, as well as those around the corner.
It will be months, at least, before we learn the group's answer to that question and others raised by advancing neurotechnology.
But one commissioner present on that August morning at the University of Pennsylvania has been exploring precisely those sorts of far-out scenarios. Will brain scans undermine traditional notions of privacy? Are existing constitutional protections sufficient to guard our freedom of thought, or are new laws required as fMRI scanners and EEG detectors grow evermore precise?
Asking those questions is the Duke University professor of law Nita A. Farahany, 37, a rising voice in her field. "We have this idea of privacy that includes the space around our thoughts, which we only share with people we want to," Farahany said in a telephone interview before the meeting. "Neuroscience shows that what we thought of as this zone of privacy can be breached." In one recent law-review article, she warned against a "coming siege against cognitive liberties."
Her particular interest is in how brain scans reshape our understanding of, or are checked by, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. Respectively, they protect against "unreasonable searches and seizures" and self-incrimination, which forbids the state to turn any citizen into "a witness against himself." Will "taking the Fifth," a time-honored tactic in American courtrooms, mean anything in a world where the government can scan your brain? The answer may depend a lot on how the law comes down on another question: Is a brain scan more like an interview or a blood test?
Farahany, whom Duke lured away from Vanderbilt University last year, is a child of immigrants from Iran. Her interest in privacy was stoked early, by dinnertime conversations about that country's repressive practices. She began her legal-academic career by looking at the intersection of behavioral genetics and the law'--her undergraduate major was in genetics and biology, and she has a Ph.D. in philosophy in addition to her J.D., both from Duke. But neuroscience began to interest her because it has less to do with probabilistic outcomes within populations than with concrete issues involving specific human beings, not to mention its hold on people's imaginations.
Her work'--notably two law-review articles published last year, "Incriminating Thoughts," in the Stanford Law Review, and "Searching Secrets," in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review'--adds to a robust discussion in the legal literature about how neuroscience will alter American jurisprudence, a discussion that has spawned articles with such titles as "Is My Mind Mine? Neuroethics and Brain Imaging" and "The Government Can Read Your Mind: Can the Constitution Stop It?"
Farahany believes there's no guarantee. And she has plenty of allies in arguing that there's a hole in constitutional law that needs to be patched where mental privacy is concerned.
The commission's work may help to put questions of neuroprivacy on the national agenda. So might a new documentary, Brains on Trial, airing in two parts on PBS this month. Hosted by the actor Alan Alda, the documentary discusses the potential and the limitations of brain scans in the courtroom. Farahany offers commentary, and even gamely climbs into an fMRI scanner to see if her brain reveals whether she recognizes photographs of certain faces. It does. But she can also game the machine by pretending not to recognize them.
The ways of peering into the brain are myriad. Neural lie detection using fMRI scans, which measure blood flow, has attempted to identify areas of the brain that register more activity when someone is trying to conceal information. A separate kind of "concealed information test" makes use of electroencephalography (EEG). In one variation, pursued by J. Peter Rosenfeld, of Northwestern University, the relative strength of a brain wave known as P300 is used to determine whether a test subject is familiar with a particular location, weapon, or plot.
Jack Gallant, at the University of California at Berkeley, has had some success in reconstructing, on video monitors, scenes of images that test subjects are viewing'--simply by examining brain data. His team analyzes how subjects' brains respond to a large stock of movie trailers and video clips. The researchers create a "dictionary" of the brain activity caused by those scenes; in subsequent sessions, decoding software infers, by matching patterns of blood flow in the brain with patterns seen in previous viewings, what subjects are watching at the present time'--and they recreate those scenes on monitors. In one instance described in Brains on Trial, when a test subject thinks of an image of vegetables, the computer produces a picture of precisely that.
"The more you describe how these techniques are getting better," Alda tells Farahany during Brains on Trial, "the more I wonder how different that is from Big Brother looking into our heads."
Granted, it's easy to get swept up in neurohype. In Brains on Trial, the cognitive scientist Nancy Kanwisher, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dismisses fMRI lie-detection as "noisy, feeble," and "error prone," and says it would be "insane" to rely on it. On the other hand, Berkeley's Gallant says that although it will take an unforeseen breakthrough, "assuming that science keeps marching on, there will eventually be a radar detector that you can point at somebody and it will read their brain cognitions remotely."
What's more, some scholars think that lie detectors, or concealed-information detectors, are already working far better than acknowledged by analysts or by courts, which generally but not completely forbid their use. The machines are far from perfect, but juries rely on all sorts of faulty folk wisdom in determining who is lying and who is telling the truth. (Crucially, courts have excluded the detectors not on principle but because they have not won the approval of scientists.)
Farahany is well aware that we are a long way from portable memory downloaders. "I'm taking 'proof of concept' technology and thinking about the implications," she says. Her goal is to establish a new lens through which to view privacy issues, so her arguments do not hinge on the success or failure of any specific technique.
This brings up the question of whether a brain scan is "physical" evidence'--like a fingerprint'--or "testimonial" evidence. To grapple with that, it helps to know a bit about the convoluted development of the concept of self-incrimination in the United States.
Some physical evidence used to be harder to introduce into the courtroom. Into the 20th century, some states would allow defendants, on Fifth Amendment grounds, to decline to reveal even their shoe size. In determining the line between physical and testimonial, a crucial case was Schmerber v. California (1966), in which a drunken-driving suspect was forced to give a blood sample, whose results were damning.
James Kin-Holmes, Science Photo Library, The Image Science Photo Library, Monty Rakusen, Science Photo Library
The tools of forensic science, which include fingerprint scans, lie-detector tests,and ballistic analysis, are being extended by neuroscience.
He and his lawyers argued that this was self-incriminating evidence that should have been stricken from the record. But over a blistering dissent by Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blood was physical evidence and not "testimony." The court also decided that this kind of time-sensitive, minimally invasive search did not require a warrant, because police had probable cause to think that the defendant was drunk, and blood-alcohol content drops with time. (Muddying the waters, in a ruling issued in April, Missouri v. McNeely, the court revisited the issue and concluded that the constitutionality of warrantless blood draws, in the DWI context, must be determined case by case. Justice Antonin Scalia predicted that the decision will cause chaos.)
In a passing comment that hasn't been tested, the justices in Schmerber wrote: "Some tests seemingly directed to obtain 'physical evidence'"'--i.e., old-fashioned lie detectors measuring things like heart rate and skin temperature'--"may actually be directed to eliciting responses which are essentially testimonial."
With brain scans, the distinction really starts to fall apart. Consider a thought experiment that Farahany uses in "Incriminating Thoughts." A woman is murdered in her home by a masked man wielding a hammer'--an act captured on videotape'--but first she's able to deliver a blow to his head with the tool. After that counterattack, an accomplice of the man spurs his companion to kill the woman by yelling, "Let's go!" The police (correctly) suspect that the killer was the woman's husband. Brain scans done on the husband, she writes, could determine several things. Did the alleged killer suffer brain damage of the sort a hammer blow might cause? What were his "automatic and physiological responses" to photographs of his wife'--disdain and loathing? Love and sadness? They could also see whether the suspect recalled the "Let's go" urging, and could retrieve shards of memories from that night, as in the research at Gallant's lab.
Under current doctrine, it might be consistent to accept all of those scans as permissible. After all, the scans are no more intrusive than a blood draw, and they measure physical characteristics, like blood flow and electrical impulses.
To help think through the puzzles, Farahany proposes a new taxonomy of information, which would capture the types of thought-data being discussed. These more or less track where judges have drawn the line and provide hints about where we might redraw it, if we choose.
Moving roughly from less protected to more protected, her categories are: identifying information, automatic information (produced by the brain or body without effort or conscious thought), memorialized information (that is, memories), and uttered information. (Contrary to idiomatic usage, her "uttered" information can include information uttered only in the mind. At the least, she observes, we may need stronger Miranda warnings, specifying that what you say, even silently to yourself, can be used against you.)
The right against self-incrimination has its roots in efforts to eradicate confessions elicited by torture, but, as many lawyers have pointed out, it can seem hard to justify today. Why shouldn't people have to explain their alleged misdeeds? They have no right to keep their thoughts to themselves when other people's crimes are at issue, nor can they keep silent about their own crimes when they've been immunized against prosecution. So protecting privacy, per se, isn't at the core of the Fifth Amendment.
Miranda warnings might need to specify that even what you say to yourself can be used against you.
One overarching theory that purports to justify the right'--the one that Farahany is most drawn to'--was elaborated by the late William J. Stuntz, a professor of law at Harvard University: the "excuse theory." It says the Fifth Amendment applies when defendants are placed in the tight spot of having to choose between lying and incriminating themselves, a test many people would fail.
Mating her information categories and Stuntz's theory, Farahany argues, in her thought experiment, that if brain scans were deployed only to determine that the husband has brain damage consistent with a hammer strike, that would count as identifying information. It would be like examining him to see if his skull is broken; he'd have been placed under no coercive pressure. Courts, too, would be unlikely to consider automatic responses to a photograph (visceral revulsion, for example) as self-incriminating, she thinks, because such reactions require no conscious decision to lie or not to lie. In contrast, classic lie-detection, involving yes-no answers and the retrieval of episodic memories, would fall into the utterance category and be the most likely to be protected by the Fifth Amendment.
Memories are particularly vexing: If they can be retrieved like the files on a computer, Farahany suggests, they may be accorded little protection. If they require more-conscious reconstruction, a view that seems to better accord with current brain science, they would seem more like utterances.
Of Farahany's categories, the Stanford law professor Henry T. Greely, a friend and mentor, says: "You don't find that fourfold distinction in the Constitution, you don't find it in 200 years of constitutional precedent, but it's the kind of thing we may need, to deal with privacy issues today."
But what about the Fourth Amendment, which governs when warrants are required, and the limits of lawful searches? Here, Farahany introduces yet another factor to think about how courts might treat brain scans. Courts have tended, when weighing whether searches are overly intrusive, to focus on physical trespass. They have said a warrant is required if people have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in the space where they are voicing their thoughts, but they've tended to define that language in terms of physical spaces (a telephone booth, one's home). "We haven't been generous about interpreting the Fourth Amendment to protect secrets," she says. "It's been more about physical intrusion." She wants to revive a latent respect for intellectual property that she says is also inherent in the amendment.
Consider another hypothetical: a "stop and frisk" of the sort that has become controversial in New York. If police had hand-held brain scanners, they might be able to judge intoxication even less intrusively than with a Breathalyzer, and whether the person being examined was familiar with the faces of people involved in recent crimes. The greater the extent that people are "authors" of the information being examined, the more likely courts would protect it.
That analysis has ramifications that extend beyond brain scans. Focusing on the sensitivity of secrets, as opposed to the physical intrusiveness of a search, might lead courts or legislatures to pay more deference to personal papers or even diaries, which have largely been considered fair game. What would be decisive is the sensitivity of the information, not whether it's in a diary, on a hard drive, or lodged in the brain.
Where self-incrimination is concerned, Ronald J. Allen, a professor of law at Northwestern University, lauds Farahany's detailed presentation of the neuroscience but thinks her overall findings are more or less consistent with ones he reached a decade ago, using a far simpler analysis. In a paper written with M. Kristin Mace, he began by asking whether it would count as self-incriminating if someone were asked questions while affixed to a lie detector, gave no verbal answers, and yet had telltale bodily functions measured. Would that be testimony? Yes, they concluded.
"When the government compels cognition and uses the substantive results of that against the defendant, that is privileged," Mr. Allen says in an interview'--emphasizing that he is describing the arc of precedent and not any moral ideal.
In a book to be published next month, Mind, Brains, and Law: The Conceptual Foundations of Law and Neuroscience (Oxford University Press), Michael S. Pardo and Dennis Patterson directly confront Farahany's work. They argue that her evidence categories do not necessarily track people's moral intuitions'--that physical evidence can be even more personal than thought can. "We assume," they write, "that many people would expect a greater privacy interest in the content of information about their blood"'--identifying or automatic information, like HIV status'--"than in the content of their memories or evoked utterances on a variety of nonpersonal matters."
On the Fifth Amendment question, the two authors "resist" the notion that a memory could ever be considered analogous to a book or an MP3 file and be unprotected, the idea Farahany flirts with. And where the Fourth Amendment is concerned, Pardo, a professor of law at the University of Alabama, writes in an e-mail, "I do think that lie-detection brain scans would be treated like blood draws."
Farahany agrees that the gap between how courts treat automatic information'--the kind produced without conscious thought'--and people's moral intuitions is problematic, but she argues that the categories can be a tool to expose that gap. More generally, she says, her critics are overly concerned with the "bright line" of physical testimony: "All of them are just grappling with current doctrine. What I'm trying to do is reimagine and newly conceive of how we think of doctrine."
"The bright line has never worked," she continues. "Truthfully, there are things that fall in between, and a better thing to do is to describe the levels of in-betweenness than to inappropriately and with great difficulty assign them to one category or another."
Among those staking out the brightest line is Paul Root Wolpe, a professor of bioethics at Emory University. "The skull," he says, "should be an absolute zone of privacy." He maintains that position even for the scenario of the suspected terrorist and the ticking time bomb, which is invariably raised against his position.
"As Sartre said, the ultimate power or right of a person is to say, 'No,'" Wolpe observes. "What happens if that right is taken away'--if I say 'No' and they strap me down and get the information anyway? I want to say the state never has a right to use those technologies."
Farahany stakes out more of a middle ground, arguing that, as with most legal issues, the interests of the state need to be balanced against those of the individual. Her taxonomy, she hopes, will provide a useful framework for a robust democratic debate about how the various interests can be weighted.
Extending as it does beyond brain scans, her theory may also help provide answers to the looming "GPS" question, which is closely related to the hot-button telephone-metadata issue raised by recent revelations about the National Security Agency. In United States v. Jones, a case decided last year, the Supreme Court unanimously concluded that the government had conducted an illegal warrantless search when it placed a GPS device on the defendant's car. But the court decided the case on narrow grounds: Officials had missed the deadline imposed by a warrant by one day, and they had put the device on the car in Maryland, not the District of Columbia, as required.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito went along with the decision, but both separately raised far-reaching questions. The information relayed by GPS devices has been viewed by the court as noninvasive, at least when cars are on public roads (after all, the police could always tail the car). Should it still be considered so, in the era of ubiquitous GPS, when suddenly the police can electronically tail all of our cars 24/7'--to church, to our lovers' houses, to Tea Party meetings?
"I would ask whether people reasonably expect that their movements will be recorded and aggregated in a manner that enables the Government to ascertain, more or less at will, their political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and so on," Justice Sotomayor wrote.
But the justices didn't push the issue'--at least in that case. "At some point, they are going to have to deal with the informational issue," Farahany says. "They can't ignore it forever." The nonprotection of automatic information, she writes, amounts to "a disturbing secret lurking beneath the surface of existing doctrine." Telephone metadata, another kind of automatic information, can, after all, be as revealing as GPS tracking.
Farahany starts by showing how the secrets in our brains are threatened by technology. She winds up getting us to ponder all the secrets that a digitally savvy state can gain access to, with silky and ominous ease.
Corrections (9/16/2013, 2 p.m.): This article originally identified Nita Farahany as an associate professor recruited from Vanderbilt this year. She is a full professor who was recruited last year; the article has been updated to reflect those corrections.
Christopher Shea is a contributing writer to The Chronicle.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 23:06
Officials: Navy Yard shooter carved odd messages into his gun...www.washingtonpost.com/...gun.../edaae792-2065-11e3-8459- 657e0c72fec8_story.html
6 hours ago ... The phrases ''Better off this way'' and ''My ELF weapon'' were etched on the stockof Aaron Alexis's shotgun.Aaron Alexis carved bizarre phrases including 'my ELF weapon' on ...www.dailymail.co.uk/.../Aaron-Alexis-carved-bizarre-phrases-including-ELF -weapon-stock-shotgun-massacre-mother-Washington-Navy-Yard-killer- ...
5 hours ago ... Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter, carved bizarre phrasesreferencing microwave communication into the shotgun he used to ...Navy Shooter Carved Messages Onto Gun - 'My ELF weapon,' was ...www.newser.com/story/.../navy-shooter-carved-messages-onto-gun.html
1 hour ago ... Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis carved two cryptic messages onto his shotgunbefore Monday's shooting spree, investigators tell the ...Official: Alexis etched "better off this way" and "my elf weapon," into ...inagist.com/all/380448921568284672/
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3 hours ago ... Gawker writes, Aaron Alexis carved ''Better off this way'' and ''My ELF weapon''onto his shotgun before he killed 12 people at the Washington ...Navy Yard shooter message: my ELF weapon - Military photos . netwww.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?...my-ELF-weapon
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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 00:03
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LANGLEY, VA '' MARCH 20: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to intelligence agency employees at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters May 20, 2011 in Langley, Virginia. Obama visited the inelegance headquarters to thank personal from intelligence agencies for their work in tracking down Osama bin Laden. (Photo by Martin H. Simon-Pool/Getty Images)
By AvalonIntellihub.comSeptember 17, 2013Special ReportProject MKUltra is the code name of a U.S. government covert human research operation experimenting in the behavioral engineering of humans (mind control) through the CIA's Scientific Intelligence Division. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and officially halted in 1973. ['...] Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress, and a Gerald Ford commission to investigate CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms' destruction order. Source: Project MKUltra
Describing Project MKUltra and the CIA Program Project Sedgwick, which is described as Phase II of Project MKUltra, Robert Connors warns, ''Unfortunately, the last decade of my career, I have seen and been a part of one of the biggest threats to this great nation and its citizens.''
He goes on to say, ''In March of 1994, I was brought in as Director of Communications for a project called Operation Sedgwick, formed under President Ronald Wilson Reagan in 1989. This program was the second stage in the project called MKUltra. Its focus and sole purpose was the control of the African-American population and urban youth through music.''
Adding to the authenticity of the video, Mr. Robert Connors says at the beginning, of the video, ''I'm showing my face and I will reveal my name for my own protection. If something were to happen to me, you know it was not an accident.'' In an appeal directly to the DoD and CIA agents worldwide, Robert informs the DoD that he has a number of video and audio recordings that his division was ordered to destroy, which he couldn't do in good conscience.
Robert then goes on to inform the DoD that they have until September 23, 2013 to release information on Project Sedgwick, or he will be forced to release via YouTube, the evidence he has in his possession. Courageously, Robert also asks coworkers in his department to join him in exposing the lies perpetrated by the government.
Lastly, Robert gives brief details of the death of Tupac Shakur and hints at widespread assassination of music industry performers, as well as, in his own words, ''entities beyond the federal government and this world.''
Intellihhub.com will continue to monitor this news as it develops. Any information relating to this story can be confidentially emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted here.
In what sounds clearly like the voice of Michael Jackson, the transcript of the audio recording:
''I don't know if I should tell you this. I don't know who may be listening. There may be a group of people'...they want to get rid of me. I can't talk about it over the phone. I don't know what's going to happen, I just feel'...in my soul. Only God knows. They could shoot me, they could stab me, they could frame me and say I overdosed on drugs. They can do a lot of things. It's not the government. It's more than the government. But I don't know, I don't care about my life anymore, I just want my children to be okay, my little angels. I want them to be safe.''
DOD Whistleblower Exposes MK Ultra Hip Hop Conspiracy
Published on Sep 17, 2013 '' 22 views
 CIA '' Wikipedia
 Behavioral Engineering '' Wikipedia
 DOD Whistleblower Exposes MK Ultra Hip Hop Conspiracy '' youtube.com
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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 01:14
DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE & MIND CONTROL TECHNOLOGY Domestic Surveillance and Mind Control Technology?The following are the first six pages of evidence in a lawsuit filed by a citizen against the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1992 alleging harassment and seeking relief for same. This lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C.
Evidence for the Lawsuit filed at the U.S. courthouse in Washington, D.C.
(Civil Action xx-xxxx)
Xxx Xxxx vs NSA, Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland.
My knowledge of the National Security Agency's structure, national security activities, proprietary technologies and covert operations to monitor individual citizens.
The NSA's mission and the NSA's domestic intelligence operationCommunications Intelligence (COMINT) Blanket coverage of all electronic communications in the U.S. and the world to ensure national security. The NSA at Ft. Meade, Maryland has had the most advanced computers in the world since the early 1960's. NSA technology is developed and implemented in part from private corporations, academia, and thegeneral public.
Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
The Signals Intelligence mission of the NSA has evolved into a program of decoding EMF waves in the environment for wirelessly tapping into computers and tracking persons with the electrical currents in their bodies. Signals intelligence is based on the fact that everything in the environment with an electric current in it has a magnetic field around it which gives off EMF waves. The NSA/DOD has developed proprietary advanced digital equipment which can remotely analyze all object whether (tran-maze?) or organic that have electrical activity.
Domestic Intelligence (DOMINT)
The NSA has records on all U.S. citizens. The NSA gathers information on U.S. citizens who might be of interest to any of the over 50,000 NSA agents (HUMINT). These agents are authorized by executive order to spy on anyone. The NSA has a permanent National Security Anti-Terrorist surveillance network in place. This surveillance network iscompletely disguised and hidden from the public.
Tracking individuals in the U.S. is easy and can effectively implemented with the NSA's electronic surveillance network. This network (DOMINT) covers the entire U.S. and involves thousands of NSA personnel, and tracks millions of persons simultaneously. Cost-effective implementation of operations is achieved by NSA computer technology designed to minimize operations costs.
NSA personnel serve in quasi-public positions in their communities and run cover business and legitimate businesses that can inform the intelligence community of persons they would want to track. NSA personnel in the community usually have cover identities such as social workers, lawyers, and business owners.
Individual citizens occasionally targeted for surveillance by independently operating NSA personnel
NSA personnel can control the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals in the U.S. by using the NSA's domestic intelligence network and cover businesses. The operations independently run by them can sometimes go beyond the bounds of law. Long-term control and sabotage of tens of thousands of unwilling citizens by NSA operatives is likely to happen. NSA DOMINT has the ability to covertly assassinate U.S. citizens or run covert psychological control operations tocause subjects to be diagnosed with ill mental health.
NSA's domestic electronic surveillance network
As of the early 1960's the most advanced computers in the world were at the NSA, Ft. Meade. Research breakthroughs with these computers were kept for the NSA. At the present time the NSA has advanced technology computers that are 15 years ahead of present computer technology.
The NSA obtains blanket coverage of information in the U.S. by using advanced computers that use artificial intelligence to screen all communications, regardless of medium, for key words that should be brought to the attention of NSA agents/cryptologists. These computers monitor all communications at the transmitting and receiving ends. This blanket coverage of the U.S. is a result of the NSA's Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) mission.
The NSA's electronic surveillance network is based on a cellular arrangement of devices that can monitor the entire EMF spectrum. This equipment was developed, implemented and kept secret in the same manner as other electronic warfare programs.
Signals Intelligence Remote Computer Tampering
The NSA keeps track of all PCs and other computers sold in the U.S. This is an integral part of the Domestic intelligence network.
The NSA's EMF equipment can tune in RF emissions from personal computercircuit boards (while filtering out emissions from monitors and powersupplies). The RF emission from PC circuit boards contains digital information on the PC. Coded RF waves from the NSA's equipment can resonate PC circuits and change data in the PCs. Thus, the NSA can gain wireless modem-(?) entry into any computer in the country for surveillance or anti-terrorist electronic warfare.
Detecting EMF Fields in Humans for Surveillance
A subject's bioelectric field can be remotely detected, so subjects can be monitored anywhere they are. With special EMF equipment NSA cryptologists can remotely read evoked potentials (from EEGs). These can be decoded into a person's brain-states and thoughts. The subject is then perfectly monitored from a distance.
NSA personnel can dial up any individual in the country on the SignalsIntelligence EMF scanning network and the NSA's computers will then pinpoint and track that person 24 hours-a-day. The NSA can pick out and track anyone in the U.S.
NSA Signals Intelligence Use of EMF Brain Stimulation
NSA Signals Intelligence uses EMF Brain Stimulation for Remote NeuralMonitoring (RNM) and Electronic Brain Link (EBL). EMB Brain Stimulation has been in development since the MK Ultra program of the early 1950's which included neurological research into "radiation (non-ionizing EMF) and bioelectric research and development. The resulting secret technology is categorized at the National Security Archives as "Radiation intelligence" defined as "information from unintentionally emanated electromagnetic waves in environment, not including radioactivity or nuclear detonation."
"Signals Intelligence implemented and kept this technology secret in the same manner as other electronic warfare programs of the U.S. government. The NSA monitors available information about this technology and withholds scientific research from the public. There are also international intelligence agreements to keep this technology secret.
The NSA has proprietary electronic equipment that analyzes electrical activity in humans from a distance. NSA computer-generated brain mapping can continuously monitor all of the electrical activity in the brain continuously.The NSA records and decodes individual brain maps (of hundreds of thousands of persons) for national security purposes. EMF Brain Stimulation is also secretly used by the military for bring-to-computer links. (In military fighter aircraft, for example.)
For electronic surveillance purposes electrical activity in the speech center of the brain can be translated into the subject's verbal thoughts. RNM can send encoded signals to the brain's auditory cortex thus allowing audio communications direct to the brain (bypassing the ears).
NSA operatives can use this to covertly debilitate subjects by simulating auditory hallucinations characteristic of paranoid schizophrenia.
Without any contact with the subject, Remote Neural Monitoring can map out electrical activity from the visual cortex of a subject's brain and show images from the subject's brain on a video monitor. NSA operatives see what the surveillance subject's eyes are seeing. Visual memory can also be seen. RNM can send images direct to the visual cortex, bypassing the eyes and optic nerves. NSA operatives can use this to surreptitiously put images in a surveillance subject's brain while they are in R.E.M. sleep for brain-programming purposes.
Capabilities of NSA operatives using RNM
There has been a Signals Intelligence network in the U.S. since the 1940's. The NSA, Ft. Meade has in place a vast two-way wireless RNM system which is used to track subjects and non-invasively monitor audiovisual information in their brain. This is all done with no physical contact with the subject. RNM is the ultimate method of surveillance and domestic intelligence. Speech and 3Dsound, and subliminal audio can be sent to the auditory cortex of the subject's brain (bypassing the ears) and images can be sent into the visual cortex. RNM can alter a subject's perceptions, moods and motor control.
Speech cortex/auditory cortex link has become the ultimate communications system for the intelligence community. RNM allows for a complete audiovisual brain-to-computer link.
NSA Signals Intelligence Electronic Brain Link Technology
NSA SIGINT can remotely detect, identify and monitor a person's bioelectric fields.
The NSA's Signals Intelligence has the proprietary ability to remotely and non-invasively monitor information in the human brain by digitally decoding the evoked potentials in the 30-50 Hz 5 milliwatt electro-magnetic emissions from the brain.
Neuronal activity in the brain creates a shifting electrical pattern that has a shifting magnetic flux. This magnetic flux puts out a constant 30-50 Hz 5 milliwatt electromagnetic (EMF) wave. Contained in the electromagnetic emission from the brain are patterns called "evoked potentials."
Every thought, reaction, motor command, auditory event, and visual image in the brain has a corresponding "evoked potential" or net of "evoked potentials". The EMF emission from the brain can be decoded into the current thoughts, images and sounds in the subject's brain.
NSA SIGINT uses EMF-transmitted Brain Stimulators as a communications system to transmit information (as well as nervous system messages) to intelligence agents and also to transmit to the brains of covert operations subjects for a non-perceptible level).
EMF Brain stimulation works by sending a completely coded and pulsedelectromagnetic signal to trigger evoked potentials (events) in the brain, thereby forming sound and visual images in the brains' neural circuits. EMF Brain Stimulation can also change a person's brain-states and affect motor control.
Two-way electronic Brain-Link is done by remotely monitoring neuralaudiovisual information while transmitting sound to the auditory cortex(bypassing the ears) and transmitting faint images to the visual cortex(bypassing the optic nerves and eyes). The images appear as floating 2-D screens in the brain.
Two-way electronic Brain Link has become the ultimate communications system for CIA/NSA personnel. Remote neural monitoring (RNM, remotely monitoring bioelectric information in the human brain) has become the ultimate surveillance system. It is used by a limited number of agents in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
RNM requires decoding the resonance frequency of each specific brain area. That frequency is then modulated in order to impose information in that specific brain area. The frequency to which the various brain areas respond varies from 3 Hz. to 50 Hz. Only NSA Signals Intelligence modulates signals in this frequency band.
An example of EMF Brain Stimulation
Motor Control Cortex
Bioelectric Resonance Frequency
Information Induced Through Modulation
Motor impulse coordination
Sound which bypasses the ears
Images in the brain bypassing the eyes
Phantom touch sense
Imposed Subconscious Thoughts
This modulated information can be put into the brain at varying intensities from subliminal to perceptible.
Each person's brain has a unique set of bioelectric resonance/entrainment frequencies. Sending audio information to a person's brain at the frequency of another person's auditory cortex would result in that audio information not being perceived.
The Plaintiff learned of RNM by being in two-way RNM contact with theKinnecome group at the NSA, Ft. Meade. They used RNM 3D sound direct to the brain to harass the Plaintiff from 10/90 to 5/91. As of 5/91 they have had two-way RNM communications with the Plaintiff and have used RNM to attempt to incapacitate the Plaintiff and hinder the Plaintiff from going to the authorities about their activities against the Plaintiff in the last twelve years.
The Kinnecome group has about 100 persons working 24 hours-a-day at Ft. Meade. They have also brain-tapped persons the Plaintiff is in contact with to keep the Plaintiff isolated. This is the first time ever that a private citizen has been harassed with RNM and has been able to bring a lawsuit against NSA personnel misusing this intelligence operation method.
NSA techniques and Resources
Remote monitoring/tracking of individuals in any location, inside anybuilding, continuously, anywhere in the country.
A system for inexpensive implementation of these operations allows forthousands of persons in every community to be spied on covertly by the NSA.
Remote RNM Devices
NSA's RNM equipment remotely reads the evoked potentials (EEGs) of the human brain for tracking individuals and can send mental images through the nervous system to affect their performance.
Now I know you aren't going to read all of them, they are doing it and it's much more complicated than that, and think what this means to those with whom you have come to love, to your family and to yourself.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 03:22
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTIONInasmuch as microwaves can damage human tissue, any projected energy must be carefully regulated to stay within safe limits. The guideline for 1,000 MHz, set by the American Standards Institute, is 3.3 mw/cm2 (3.3 milliwatts per square centimeter). The apparatus described herein must be regulated to stay within this upper limit.
Referring to FIG. 1 a microphone 10 or other generator of audio frequencies, delivers its output by wire 11 to an FM capable pulse generator 12 and by branch wire 13 to a comparator 14. The comparator 14 also receives a signal from a voltage standard 16. When the peak voltage of the audio generator 10 falls below the standard 16 the comparator delivers a signal by wire 17 to the FM capable pulse generator 12 to shut down the pulse generator 12. This avoids spurious signals being generated. The output of the FM pulse generator 12 is delivered by wire 18 to a microwave generator 19 which delivers its output to the head of a human being 23. In this fashion the person 23 is radiated with microwaves that are in short bursts.
The microwave generator 19 operates at a steady frequency presently preferred at 1,000 megahertz (1,000 million). I presently prefer to pulse the microwave energy at pulse widths of 10 nanoseconds to 1 microsecond. For any one setting of the FM capable generator 12, this width is fixed. The pulses are arranged in bursts. The timing between bursts is controlled by the height of the audio envelope above the voltage standard line. In addition the bursts are spaced from one another at a non-uniform rate of 1 to 100 KHz. This non-uniform spacing of bursts is created in the FM capable generator 12.
Referring to FIG. 2 there is illustrated an audio wave 27 generated by the audio input 10 wherein the horizontal axis is time and the vertical axis is voltage. For illustrative purposes the wave 27 is shown as having a voltage peak 28 on the left part of FIG. 2 and a voltage peak 29 of the right side of FIG. 2. The voltage standard 16 of FIG. 1 generates a dc voltage designated at 31 in FIG. 2. This standard voltage is preferably at about 50% of the peak voltage 28. The comparator 14 of FIG. 1 actuates the FM capable generator 12 only when the positive envelope of the audio wave 27 exceeds the voltage standard. The negative portions of the audio wave are not utilized.
Referring now to FIG. 3 there is illustrated two groups of bursts of microwave energy that are delivered by the antenna 22 of FIG. 1 to the head of the person 23. FIG. 3 has a horizontal time axis identical to the time axis of FIG. 2 and has a vertical axis that in this case represents the power of the microwaves from generator 19. At the left part of FIG. 3 are a plurality of microwave bursts 32 that occur on the time axis from the point of intersection of the standard voltage 31 with the positive part of the audio wave 27, designated as the time point 33 to time point 34 on FIG. 2. It will be noted in FIG. 3 that the bursts 32 are non-uniform in spacing and that they are closer together at the time of maximum audio voltage 28 and are more spread out toward the time points 33 and 34. This is the frequency modulation effected by the FM pulse generator 12.
Referring to the right part of FIG. 3 there are a plurality of microwave bursts 36 that are fewer in number and over a shorter time period than the pulses 32. These extend on the time axis of FIG. 2 from point 37 to point 38. These bursts 36 are also frequency modulated with the closest groupings appearing opposite peak 29 of FIG. 2 and greater spacing near time points 37 and 38.
Referring now to FIG. 4 there is illustrated the fact that a single burst shown as straight lines 32 or 36 on FIG. 3 are made up of ten to twenty separate microwave pulses. The duration of the burst is between 500 nanoseconds and 100 microseconds, with an optimum of 2 microseconds. The duration of each pulse within the burst is 10 nanoseconds to 1 microsecond and a time duration of 100 nanoseconds is preferred. The bursts 32 of FIG. 3 are spaced non-uniformly from each other caused by the frequency modulation of 12. FIG. 4 depicts a burst. Each vertical line 40 in FIG. 4 represents a single pulse. Each pulse is represented by the envelope 41 of FIG. 5. The pulses within a burst are spaced uniformly from eachother. The spacing between pulses may vary from 5 nanoseconds to 10 microseconds.
Referring now to FIG. 3, the concentration of bursts 32 opposite the peak 28 of FIG. 2 can be expressed as a frequency of repetition. I presently prefer to adjust the FM capable generator 12 to have a maximum frequency of repetition in the range of 25 Khz to 100 Khz. I deliberately keep this range low to reduce the amount of heating caused by the microwaves. The wider spacing of the pulses 32 opposite the cutoff points 33 and 34 of FIG. 2 can also be expressed as a frequency of reptition and I presently prefer a minimum repetition rate of 1 KHz. I find that this low repetition rate, altnough in the audio range, does not disrupt the transmission of auoio intelligence to the person 23. The aim, again, is to reduce the amount of heat transmitted to the subject 23.
OPERATIONReferring to FIG. 1, the intelligence to be perceived by the person 23 is introduced at the audio source 10 which may be a microphone for voice, or a tape player for music, instruction, etc. This audio signal is transmitted to the FM capable generator 12 and to the comparator 14. The comparator 14 compares the positive portions of the audio wave with voltage from the voltage standard 16 and when the audio wave instantaneously exceeds the standard voltage, the FM generator is actuated by the wire 17 connecting the comparator 14 and the FM generator 12. The FM generator 12 then sends a plurality of signals to the microwave generator 19 at each peak of the audio wave above the voltage standard.
This is shown graphically in FIGS. 2-5. The audio signal 27 of FIG. 2 exceeds the standard voltage 31 at point 33 whereupon the FM generator 12 starts emitting burst signals 32 at its lowest frequency of about 1 Khz. As time progresses past point 33 the voltage above the standard increases and the FM generator 12 responds by making the burst signals closer together until at peak 28 the maximum density of burst signals 32 is achieved, for example at a frequency of 50 Khz. The time duration of each pulse 40 (FIG. 4) is also controlled by a fixed adjustment of the FM generator 12 and for example the duration may be 100 nanoseconds.
The frequency modulated burst signals are delivered by FM generator 12 to the microwave generator as interrupted dc and the microwave generator is turned on in response to each pulse 40 and its output is delivered by coaxial cable 21 to the parabolic antenna 22 to project microwaves onto the head of a person 23. These microwaves penetrate the brain enough so that the electrical activity inside of the brain produces the sensation of sound. When the parameters are adjusted for the particular individual, he perceives intelligible audio, entirely independently of his external hearlng organs.
PRESENTLY PREFERRED QUANTITIESAs mentioned previously, I prefer rhat the standard voltage 31 of FIG. 2 be about 50% of peak audio voltage. This not only helps to reduce heating in the person 2 but also reduces spurious audio. This 50% is not vital and the useful range is 25% to 85% of peak audio.
The minimum burst repetition frequency (for example at time points 33 and 34) is preferably 1 KHz and the maximum repetition frequency is in the range of 25 KHz to 100 KHz, with the lower frequencies resulting in less heating.
The time duration of each individual pulse of microwave radiation is in the range of 10 nanoseconds to 1 microsecond as indicated in FIG. 5, with the shorter time periods resulting in less heating.
CONTROL OF POWER OUTPUTAs stated above, I maintain the power output of the parabolic antenna 22 within the present safe standard of 3.3 mw/cm2 (3.3 milliwatts per square centimeter). I control the power output by controlling the strengtn of the audio modulation. This results in a duty cycle of 0.005, the decimal measure of the time in any second that the transmitter is on full power. The peak power level can be between 500 mw and 5 w and at 0.005 duty cycle these peaks will result in an average power of 2.5 mw and 25 mw respectively. However, these values are further reduced by adjusting the audio modulation so that zero input produces a zero output. Since a voice signal, for example, is at maximum amplitude only a small fraction of the rime, the average power will be below the 3.3 mw/cm2 standard, even with 5 watts peak power.
THEORY OF OPERATIONI have not been able to experiment to determine how my microwave system works, but from my interpretation of prior work done in this field I believe that the process is as follows. Any group of bursts related to the audio ek 28 of FIG. 2 causes an increasing ultrasonic build up within the head of a human being starting with a low level for the first bursts pulses and building up to a high level with the last bursts pulses of a group. This buildup, I believe, causes the direct discharge of random brain neurons. These discharges at audio frequency create a perception of sound. This process, I believe, bypasses the normal hearing organs and can create sound in a person who is nerve-dead deaf. However, this theory of operation is only my guess and may prove to be in error in the future.
APPARATUSThe apparatus of FIG. 1 for carrying out my invention may include as a microwave generator Model PH40K of Applied Microwave Laboratories and described as Signal Source. The cable 21 connecting the microwave generator 19 and the antenna is RG8 coaxial cable by Belden Industries. The antenna 22 may be a standard parabolic antenna. The FM generator 12 has to be specially built to include the spacing runction which is obtained by a frequency generator built into a srandard FM generator.
I have described my invention witn respect to a presently preferred embodiment as required by the patent statutes. It will be apparent to those skilled in the technology that many variations, modification and additions can be made. All such variations, modifications and additions that come within the true spirit and scope of the invention are included in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGSIn the drawings forming an integral part of this specification:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the system of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a diagram of an audio wave which is the input to be perceived by the recipient.
FIG. 3 is a diagram on the same time coordinate as FIG. 2 showing bursts that are frequency modulated by the wave form of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 shows, on an enlarged time coordinate, that each vertical line depicted in FIG. 3 is a burst of pulses. (A burst is a group of pulses).
FIG. 5 shows, on a further enlarged time coordinate, a single continues pulse, Depicted as a vertical line in FIG. 4.
This invention relates to a hearing system for human beings in which high frequency electromagnetic energy is projected through the air to the head of a human being and the electromagnetic energy is modulated to create signals that can be discerned by the human being regardless of the hearing ability of the person.
THE PRIOR ARTVarious types of apparatus and modes of application have been proposed and tried to inject intelligible sounds into the heads of human beings. Some of these have been devised to simulate speech and other sounds in deaf persons and other systems have been used to inject intelligible signals in persons of good hearing, but bypassing the normal human hearing organs.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,629,521 issued Dec. 21, 1971 describes the use of a pair of electrodes applied to a person's head to inject speech into the head of a deaf person. An oscillator creates a carrier in the range of 18 to 36 KHz that is amplitude modulated by a microphone.
Science magazine volume 181, page 356 describes a hearing system utilizing a radio frequency carrier of 1.245 GHz delivered through the air by means of a waveguide and horn antenna. The carrier was pulsed at the rate of 50 pulses per second. The human test subject reported a buzzing sound and the intensity varied with the peak power.
Similar methods of creating "clicks" inside the human head are reported in I.E.E.E. Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, volume BME 25, No. 3, May 1978.
The transmission of intelligible speech by audio modulated Microwave is described in the book Microwave Auditory Effects and Applications by James C. Lin 1978 publisher Charles C. Thomas.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTIONI have discovered that a pulsed signal on a radio frequency carrier of about 1,000 megahertz (1000 MHz) is effective in creating intelligible signals inside the head of a person if this electromagnetic (EM) energy is projected through the air to the head of the person. Intelligible signals are applied to the carrier by microphone or other audio source and I cause the bursts to be frequency modulated. The bursts are composed of a group of pulses. The pulses are carefully selected for peak strength and pulse width. Various objects, advantages and features of the invention will be apparent in the specification and claims.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:20
NBC and CBS, two of the largest news organizations in the country, were both forced to retract initial reports about the name of the Navy Yard shooter who went on a killing rampage in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Both networks falsely identified the wrong man as the suspected shooter:
Screengrab via Mediaite
It was soon clear that the reports were false and came from sources who found an ID card that apparently looked like the suspected gunman. The retractions quickly followed:
Screengrab via Mediaite
Screengrab via Mediaite
The news networks have been highly criticized on social media by those who believe it's always better to be right rather than first when reporting on a breaking news story.
Featured image via AFP/Getty
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:22
A man named Rollie Chance was initially identified as the Navy Yard shooter (or one of the suspected gunmen) by two major networks before he was found to be home and safe during the incident and in the aftermath.
The misidentification of Rollie Chance is reminiscent of early Newtown shooting reports, during which gunman Adam Lanza was initially and wrongly identified in several media reports as his brother Ryan Lanza, who was not involved with the Sandy Hook shooting.
Chance, a Navy lieutenant, was named as a confirmed Navy Yard shooter by both NBC's Chuck Todd as well as CBS. Todd tweeted out the man's name in connection with the shooting, only to delete the tweet later and hastily attempt to explain the decision on the microblogging service.
Interestingly, it seems that similar reasons for the confusion in Newtown caused the reporting of Chance's name in relation to the shooting in Washington this morning.
At Sandy Hook, an ID card believed to have been carried by Lanza bearing his brother's name was fingered in the initial misidentification.
Similarly, Chuck Todd says, Rollie Chance's ID was located near the body of the dead gunman, who has yet to be identified officially.
CBS' Charlie Kaye tweeted a similar mea culpa:
While Rollie Chance has been vindicated in the misreporting and subsequent corrections, the name of the shooter has not yet been released by the media.
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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 14:49
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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:44
A Russian official blasted ''American exceptionalism'' in a tweet Monday morning, saying the deadly shooting at Washington's Navy Yard confirms the worst about the U.S.
''A new shootout at Navy headquarters in Washington '-- a lone gunman and 7 corpses. Nobody's even surprised anymore,'' tweeted Alexey Pushkov, a member of the Russian parliamentary foreign affairs committee.
SEE RELATED: U.S. Capitol on guard: SWAT-style teams deployed in wake of Navy Yard shooting
''A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism,'' he added.
The comment '-- met with disgust on Twitter Monday, as the situation at Navy Yard continues to unfold '-- is a reference to the recent New York Times op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the piece, Mr. Putin blasted American exceptionalism and admonished Americans to remember that God has created everyone equal.
Like Mr. Pushkov's tweet, Mr. Putin's comments fueled outrage from U.S. lawmakers and many others.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:31
by Patrick Gordon NDW Waterline Writer
September brings many changes to Naval District Washington (NDW); cooler temperatures, changing leaves, football season. But it also begins a time of safety, readiness and preparation.
September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. A time when everyone should ask themselves the question, ''Am I Navy ready?''
''National Preparedness Month reminds us all to be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and stay informed, not just for a month, but every day,'' said Jeff Sanford, Commander, Navy Installations Command emergency management specialist, ''Ready Navy provides a road map and creates a state of mind for Navy personnel and families to be and stay prepared for any potential hazard throughout the year, something leadership takes very seriously.''
The extra attention paid to emergency preparedness during September is not without cause. The month is in the middle of hurricane season, which runs June 1-Nov. 30 each year. Fall typically sees more tropical storms and hurricanes than the summer months of hurricane season, according to the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center, and it is only one threat of emergency that occur throughout the year.
''National Emergency Preparedness Month is a way to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to the safety of you, your family, and your shipmates,'' said Edward Lewis, Naval Support Activity Washington (NSAW) safety & occupational health specialist. ''Having a plan in place, knowing what to do, and staying informed in the case of any emergency will usually prevent trouble and anxiety, and sometimes tragedy. I recommend that everyone to take advantage of resources such as http://www.Ready.Navy.mil to keep themselves one step ahead of preventable danger.''
Ready Navy is a proactive Navywide emergency preparedness public awareness program. It is designed for the Navy community to increase the ability of every person and family on or near Navy installations to meet today's challenges head on and plan and prepare for all types of hazards, ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes to terrorist attacks.
By exploring the links on the Ready Navy site, personnel can educate themselves on a number of ways to prepare during and after National Emergency Preparedness Month. Pointers such as being informed of potential hazards and what to do before, during, and after an emergency; understanding the steps to make an emergency plan that includes what to do, where to go, and what to take with you; learning to build a kit to support basic needs for a minimum of three days; and accessing tools and resources to help you and your family prepare for emergency situations that could arise at any time are all available on the site.
Another valuable resource available to personnel is the AtHoc Wide Area Alert Network (WAAN). By registering with AtHoc WAAN, NDW personnel can receive weather and other emergency alerts by workstation, email, phone call or text. To register with the Wide Area Alert Network, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw/about/waan.html.
''Following your local weather updates and ensuring compliance with preparedness guidance is an essential part of the [emergency preparedness] process,'' said Larry R. Nelson, director of training and readiness for Naval District Washington (NDW). ''Advanced preparedness is the key to having an advantage over an inclement weather situation.''
For more information on emergency preparedness and other news in NDW, visit http://www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.
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Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:51
Effective January 1, 2000, Senate Bill 23, Statutes of 1999, establishes new criteria for defining assault weapons based on generic characteristics. This bill allows and requires persons who own/possess firearms that fall under the new "assault weapon" definition to register those firearms with the Department of Justice during the one-year period between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2000. Effective January 1, 2000, this bill adds Penal Code Section 12276.1 to the Penal Code as follows.
12276.1 (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following:A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.A thumbhole stock.A folding or telescoping stock.A grenade launcher or flare launcher.A flash suppressor.A forward pistol grip.A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.(B) A second handgrip.A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:A folding or telescoping stock.A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder."Assault weapon" does not include any antique firearm.The following definitions shall apply under this section:"Magazine" shall mean any ammunition feeding device."Capacity to accept more than 10 rounds" shall mean capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds."Antique firearm" means any firearm manufactured prior to January 1, 1899.This section shall become operative January 1, 2000.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:09
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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 03:26
The release of Rockstar Games' ''Grand Theft Auto V'' generated $800 million sales in 24 hours around the world, a record for any game from Take-Two Interactive, and the ''GTA'' franchise itself.
Success of the game bodes well for other tentpole game releases debuting this fall including the next ''Call of Duty,'' ''Assassin's Creed'' and ''Battlefield'' sequels, as well as ''Batman: Arkham Origins'' and newcomer ''Watch Dogs.''
The release of ''GTAV'' is certainly impressive, especially when compared to film releases.
The top three earners at the box office this year are Disney's ''Iron Man 3,'' which generated $1.2 billion; Universal's ''Despicable Me 2,'' at $840 million; and Warner Bros.' ''Man of Steel,'' at $663 million.
''GTAV'' boasted a budget just as lofty as most tentpoles, with Rockstar spending around $115 million to make the game and Take-Two another $150 million to market it throughout the year.
Of course, games are more expensive than movie tickets: ''GTAV'' is priced at $59.99 for the standard edition, $79.99 for a Special Edition and $150 for an exclusive GameStop edition.
''We are incredibly proud of Rockstar Games' creative achievement and could not be more pleased with the success of this launch,'' said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in a statement of the game which has generated high scores from game critics. It has a 98 on Metacritic.
Activision's bestselling ''Call of Duty'' franchise earned $500 million in a day when ''Call of Duty: Black Ops II'' was released in the U.S. last year.
It went on to earn $1 billion in 15 days, setting a record for the 'Call of Duty' franchise and the videogames biz. That figure was a record for the franchise, one day faster than 2011'²s ''Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.''
SEE ALSO: 'Black Ops II' crosses $1 billion sales mark
The results of ''Grand Theft Auto V'' don't come as a surprise and follow reports from several analysts that predicted the game would make $1 billion in its first month of release, and move 20 million copies by Take-Two's fiscal year that ends March 2014. The first ''Grand Theft Auto IV'' shipped nearly 25 million units after its release in 2008.
However the final numbers blew away even some analysts' expectations, with hundreds of people waiting in lines in cities around the country to get their hands on the first copies of the new game on Tuesday.
''We see potential for worldwide day-one sell-through of 6.5 million units [and] $400 million for GTA V,'' said analysts Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauser of Sterne Agee.
SEE ALSO: Report: 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' Expected to be Fall's Best-Selling Video Game
The fifth installment of the ''Grand Theft Auto'' series has yet to launch in Japan and Brazil.
Game revolves around a trio of criminals as they pull off heists in a fictional version of Los Angeles, known as Los Santos. Appeal of the franchise over the years has been the ability to veer off and explore the city, stealing cars and causing mayhem.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 03:26
Extremely low frequencyFrequency range3 to 300 HzExtremely low frequency (ELF) waves are electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) with frequencies from 3 to 300 Hz, and corresponding wavelengths from 100,000 to 1000 kilometers. In atmosphere science, an alternative definition is usually given, from 3 Hz to 3 kHz. In the related magnetosphere science, the lower frequency electromagnetic oscillations (pulsations occurring below ~3 Hz) are considered to lie in the ULF range, which is thus also defined differently from the ITU Radio Bands.
ELF radio waves are generated by lightning and natural disturbances in Earth's magnetic field, so they are a subject of research by atmospheric scientists. Because of the difficulty of building antennas that can radiate such long waves, ELF frequencies have been used in only a very few man-made communication systems. ELF waves can penetrate seawater, so the US and Russian militaries have used ELF transmission facilities to communicate with their submerged submarines. The frequency of alternating current flowing in electric power grids, 50 or 60 Hz, falls within this frequency band, and power grids are an unintentional source of ELF radiation.
ELF is a subradio frequency. Some medical peer reviewed journal articles refer to ELF in the context of "extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF)" with frequencies of 50 Hz and 50''80 Hz. United States Government agencies, such as NASA, describe ELF as non-ionizing radiation with frequencies between 0 and 300 Hz. The World Health Organization (WHO) have used ELF to refer to the concept of "extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (EMF)" and have also referred to "ELF electric and magnetic fields in the frequency range >0 to 100,000 Hz (100 kHz)." The WHO also stated that at frequencies between 0 and 300 Hz, "the wavelengths in air are very long (6000 km at 50 Hz and 5000 km at 60 Hz), and, in practical situations, the electric and magnetic fields act independently of one another and are measured separately."
The United States Navy utilized extremely low frequencies (ELFs) as radio band and radio communications. The Submarine Integrated Antenna System (SIAS) was a research and development effort to communicate with submerged submarines. The Soviet/Russian Navy also utilized ELFs for submarine communications system, ZEVS.
Explanation[edit source |edit]Because of its electrical conductivity, seawater shields submarines from most higher frequency radio waves, making radio communication with submerged submarines at ordinary frequencies impossible. Signals in the ELF frequency range, however, can penetrate much deeper. Two factors limit the usefulness of ELF communications channels: the low data transmission rate of a few characters per minute and, to a lesser extent, the one-way nature due to the impracticality of installing an antenna of the required size on a submarine (antennas need to be of exceptional size for the users to achieve successful communication). Generally, ELF signals were used to order a submarine to rise to a shallow depth where it could receive some other form of communication.
Difficulties of ELF communication[edit source |edit]One of the difficulties posed when broadcasting in the ELF frequency range is antenna size because the length of the antenna must be at least a substantial fraction of the length of the waves. Simply put, a 3 Hz (cycle per second) signal would have a wavelength equal to the distance EM waves travel through a given medium in one third of a second. Taking account of refractive index, ELF waves propagate slightly slower than the speed of light in a vacuum. As used in military applications, the wavelength is 299,792 km (186,282 mi) per second divided by 50''85 Hz, which equals around 3,500 to 6,000 km (2,200 to 3,700 mi) long. This is comparable to the Earth's diameter of around 12,742 km (7,918 mi). Because of this huge size requirement, to transmit internationally using ELF frequencies, the Earth itself forms a significant part of the antenna, and extremely long leads are necessary into the ground. Various means, such as electrical lengthening, are taken to construct practical radio stations with smaller sizes.
The US maintained two sites, in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin and the Escanaba River State Forest, Michigan (originally named Project Sanguine, then downsized and rechristened Project ELF prior to construction), until they were dismantled, beginning in late September 2004. Both sites used long power lines, so-called ground dipoles, as leads. These leads were in multiple strands ranging from 22.5 to 45 kilometres (14.0 to 28 mi) long. Because of the inefficiency of this method, considerable amounts of electrical power were required to operate the system.
Ecological impact[edit source |edit]There have been some concerns over the possible ecological impact of ELF signals. In 1984 a federal judge halted construction requiring more environmental and health studies. This judgment was overruled by a federal appeals court on the basis that the US Navy claimed to have spent over 25 million dollars studying the effects of the electromagnetic fields with results indicating that they were similar to the effect produced by standard power distribution lines. The judgment was not accepted by everyone and during the time ELF was in use, some Wisconsin politicians such as Senators Herb Kohl, Russ Feingold and Congressman Dave Obey called for its closure. Similar concerns have in the past been raised about electromagnetic radiation and health.
Transmitters in the 20 Hz range are also found in pipeline inspection gauges, also known as "PIGs".
Some radio hams record ELF (or even lower) signals from very large homemade antennas, and play them back at higher speeds to catch natural fluctuations in the Earth's electromagnetic field. Increasing the playback increases the pitch, so that it is brought into the audio frequency range.
Naturally occurring ELF waves are present on Earth, resonating in the region between ionosphere and surface. They are initiated by lightning strikes that make electrons in the atmosphere oscillate. Though VLF signals were predominantly generated from lightning discharges, it was found that an observable ELF component (slow tail) followed the VLF component in almost all cases. The fundamental mode of the Earth-ionosphere cavity has the wavelength equal to the circumference of the Earth, which gives a resonance frequency of 7.8 Hz. This frequency, and higher resonance modes of 14, 20, 26 and 32 Hz appear as peaks in the ELF spectrum and are called Schumann resonance.
They have also been tentatively identified on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan's surface is thought to be a poor reflector of ELF waves, so the waves may instead be reflecting off the liquid-ice boundary of a subsurface ocean of water and ammonia, the existence of which is predicted by some theoretical models. Titan's ionosphere is also more complex than Earth's, with the main ionosphere at an altitude of 1,200 km (750 mi) but with an additional layer of charged particles at 63 km (39 mi). This splits Titan's atmosphere into two separate resonating chambers. The source of natural ELF waves on Titan is unclear as there doesn't appear to be extensive lightning activity.
Finally, huge ELF radiation power outputs of 100,000 times the Sun's output in visible light may be radiated by magnetars. The pulsar in the Crab nebula radiates powers of this order at the frequency 30 hertz . Radiation of this frequency is below the plasma frequency of the interstellar medium, thus this medium is opaque to it, and it cannot be observed from Earth.
In electromagnetic therapy and electromagnetic radiation and health research, electromagnetic spectrum frequencies between 0 and 100 hertz are considered extremely low-frequency fields. Since the late 1970s, questions have been raised whether exposure to ELF electric and magnetic fields (EMF) within this range of frequencies produces adverse health consequences. In October 2005, WHO convened a Task Group of scientific experts to assess any risks to health that might exist from "exposure to ELF electric and magnetic fields in the frequency range >0 to 100,000 Hz (100 kHz) in regards to childhood leukaemia." There are established biological effects from acute exposure at high levels (well above 100 µT) that are explained by recognized biophysical mechanisms. External ELF magnetic fields induce electric fields and currents in the body which, at very high field strengths, cause nerve and muscle stimulation and changes in nerve cell excitability in the central nervous system. Health effects related to short-term, high-level exposure have been established and form the basis of two international exposure limit guidelines (ICNIRP, 1998; IEEE, 2002). At present, these bodies consider the scientific evidence related to possible health effects from long-term, low-level exposure to ELF fields insufficient to justify lowering these quantitative exposure limits. The long-term, low-level exposure is evaluated as average exposure to residential power-frequency magnetic field above 0.3 to 0.4 µT, and it is estimated that only between 1% and 4% of children live in such conditions. A common source of ELF fields in the United States is 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields from high-voltage electric power transmission lines and secondary distribution lines, such as those found in residential neighborhoods. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has evaluated the scientific data and has classified ELF magnetic fields as being "possibly carcinogenic" to humans. IARC based this classification on the following:
Human health population studies showing weak evidence of an association with childhood leukemia; and a large database of laboratory study results showing inadequate evidence of an association with cancer in animals.
To put this into context, it is important to understand that the "possibly carcinogenic" classification is also applied to coffee, gasoline engine exhaust and pickled vegetables, and is often used for agents that require further study. In summary, when all of the studies are evaluated together, the evidence suggesting that EMFs may contribute to an increased risk of cancer is very weak. Epidemiological studies suggest a possible association between long term occupational exposure to ELF and Alzheimer's disease.
Tanner, R. L., U.S. Patent 3,215,937, "Extremely low-frequency antenna", 1965Hansell, Clarence W., U.S. Patent 2,389,432, "Communication system by pulses through the Earth"Altshuler, U.S. Patent 4,051,479, ELF vertical dipole antenna suspended from aircraftNotes[edit source |edit]^"Extremely low frequency". ANL Glossary. Retrieved 9 August 2011. ^Liemohn, Michael W. and A. A. CHAN, "Unraveling the Causes of Radiation Belt Enhancements". EOS, TRANSACTIONS, AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION, Volume 88, Number 42, 16 October 2007, pages 427-440. Republished by NASA and accessed online, 8 February 2010. Adobe File, page 2.^R. Barr, D. Llanwyn Jones, C. J. Rodger, "ELF and VLF radio waves", Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 62, Issues 17-18, November 2000, Pages 1689-1718, ISSN 1364-6826, doi:10.1016/S1364-6826(00)00121-8.^ abNASA.gov, page 8. ">0 to 300 Hz ... Extremely low frequency (ELF)"[dead link]^Legros, A; Beuter, A (2006). "Individual subject sensitivity to extremely low frequency magnetic field". Neurotoxicology27 (4): 534''46. doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2006.02.007. PMID 16620992. ^ESTECIO, Marcos Roberto Higino and SILVA, Ana Elizabete. Altera§µes cromoss´micas causadas pela radia§£o dos monitores de vdeo de computadores. Rev. Saºde Pºblica [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.3, pp. 330-336. ISSN 0034-8910. Republished by docguide.com. Accessed 8 February 2010.^ abc"Electromagnetic Fields and Public HealthL - Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)". Fact Sheet N205. November 1998. World Health Organization. Accessed 12 February 2010. "ELF fields are defined as those having frequencies up to 300 Hz. ... the electric and magnetic fields act independently of one another and are measured separately."^ abcde"Electromagnetic fields and public health". Fact Sheet No. 322, June 2007. World Health Organization, Accessed 7 February 2010.^"U.S. Navy: Vision...Presence...Power." SENSORS - Subsurface Sensors. US Navy. Accessed 7 February 2010.^http://www.vlf.it/zevs/zevs.htm ZEVS, the Russian 82 Hz ELF transmitter^ ab"Titan's Mysterious Radio Wave". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-02. Republished as "Casini - Unlocking Saturn's Secrets - Titan's mysterious radio wave". 22 November 2007. NASA. Accessed 7 February 2010.^Tepley, Lee R. "A Comparison of Sferics as Observed in the Very Low Frequency and Extremely Low Frequency Bands". Stanford Research Institute Menlo Park, California. 10 August 1959. 64(12), 2315''2329. Summary republished by American Geophysical Union. Accessed 13 February 2010^ abCleary, Stephen F. "Electromagnetic Field: A Danger?". The New Book of Knowledge - Medicine And Health. 1990. 164-74. ISBN 0-7172-8244-9.^GC.ca^"Expertise de l'Afsset sur les effets sanitaires des champs (C)lectromagn(C)tiques d'extrªmement basses fr(C)quences" (in french). 6 April 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010. ^Garca AM, Sisternas A, Hoyos SP (April 2008). "Occupational exposure to extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields and Alzheimer disease: a meta-analysis". International Journal of Epidemiology37 (2): 329''40. doi:10.1093/ije/dym295. PMID 18245151. ^Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks-SCENIHR (January 2009). Health Effects of Exposure to EMF. Brussels: Directorate General for Health&Consumers; European Commission. pp. 4''5. Retrieved 2010-04-27. General information[edit source |edit]ELF3 Hz/100 Mm30 Hz/10 Mm
SLF30 Hz/10 Mm300 Hz/1 Mm
ULF300 Hz/1 Mm3 kHz/100 km
VLF3 kHz/100 km30 kHz/10 km
LF30 kHz/10 km300 kHz/1 km
MF300 kHz/1 km3 MHz/100 m
VHF30 MHz/10 m300 MHz/1 m
UHF300 MHz/1 m3 GHz/100 mm
SHF3 GHz/100 mm30 GHz/10 mm
EHF30 GHz/10 mm300 GHz/1 mm
THF300 GHz/1 mm3 THz/0.1 mm
Congratulations on continuing your Ripken-like with the six week cycle.
I hope you've had a chance to read that dolt John McCain's 19 September 2013 commentary Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/19-09-2013/125705-McCain_for_pravda_ru-0/
It is curious that one of America's most homophobic, anti-gay legislators would include this gem in his commentary:
They write laws to codify bigotry against people whose sexual orientation they condemn.
My failed effort to prove Adam wrong about the Russian propaganda laws allowed me to gain a deep understanding of this law and can honestly state that enforcement of individual violations will be minimal as its importance ranks a little above jaywalking and a bit below littering.
The endless stream of false reporting and propaganda from English-language media and elected officials (and the fact that as far as I can determine, I have the only complete translation of the law & law in context) caused me to reexamine the law to determine the motivation for this messaging about Russia when US media & politicians turn a blind eye to the fact that in Saudi Arabia homosexuality is punishable by death.
The answer is simple: Corporations (entertainment companies, media conglomerates) who violate the propaganda law will be subject to a fine of one million rubles (which is currently 31,647 USD) or administrative suspension of activity for up to ninety days for EACH violation. If one considers how many violations one G or PG rated Hollywood movie might contain, it is obvious that there is great potential for this to be a strong revenue stream for the Russian Federation.
Enough of my rambling... Look forward to your thoughts.
All my best,
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:09
Putin: Russia to reopen Soviet-era Arctic military baseTop News
Putin: Russia to reopen Soviet-era Arctic military base
Mon, Sep 16 16:07 PM EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is reopening a Soviet-era military base in the Arctic, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, part of a drive to make the northern coast a global shipping route and secure the region's vast energy resources.
Two decades after abandoning it, Russia has sent 10 warships behind four nuclear-powered ice breakers to the base on the Novosibirsk Islands, a show of force as it resumes a permanent naval presence in the thawing region.
The flotilla was led by Russia's flagship nuclear-powered cruiser, Peter the Great, along the Northern Sea Route, which connects Europe to Asia across Russian waters from the Kara Gate to the Bering Strait.
"Our troops left there in 1993, and yet it is a very important location in the Arctic Ocean, a new stage in the development of the Northern Sea Route," Putin told a meeting of Russian defense officials.
"We will not only reopen the military base but restore the airfield to working order and make it possible for the emergency services, hydrologists and climate specialists to work together to ensure the security and effective work of the Northern Sea Route."
Russia has staked future growth on mining the Arctic's vast energy resources, and reviving the Soviet-era shipping route is an integral part of that plan.
Warmer summers have thawed more of the frozen waterways, rendering it navigable for longer periods and raising hopes the maritime passage could become a shorter alternative to southern routes.
But industry analysts and mariners say poor infrastructure, ice floes, narrow straits, shallow waters, and stormy winters remain as obstacles to safe and profitable shipping.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
Putin: Russia to reopen Soviet-era Arctic military baseTop News
Putin: Russia to reopen Soviet-era Arctic military base
Mon, Sep 16 16:07 PM EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is reopening a Soviet-era military base in the Arctic, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, part of a drive to make the northern coast a global shipping route and secure the region's vast energy resources.
Two decades after abandoning it, Russia has sent 10 warships behind four nuclear-powered ice breakers to the base on the Novosibirsk Islands, a show of force as it resumes a permanent naval presence in the thawing region.
The flotilla was led by Russia's flagship nuclear-powered cruiser, Peter the Great, along the Northern Sea Route, which connects Europe to Asia across Russian waters from the Kara Gate to the Bering Strait.
"Our troops left there in 1993, and yet it is a very important location in the Arctic Ocean, a new stage in the development of the Northern Sea Route," Putin told a meeting of Russian defense officials.
"We will not only reopen the military base but restore the airfield to working order and make it possible for the emergency services, hydrologists and climate specialists to work together to ensure the security and effective work of the Northern Sea Route."
Russia has staked future growth on mining the Arctic's vast energy resources, and reviving the Soviet-era shipping route is an integral part of that plan.
Warmer summers have thawed more of the frozen waterways, rendering it navigable for longer periods and raising hopes the maritime passage could become a shorter alternative to southern routes.
But industry analysts and mariners say poor infrastructure, ice floes, narrow straits, shallow waters, and stormy winters remain as obstacles to safe and profitable shipping.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 19:08
18 September 2013Last updated at06:48 ETGreenpeace activists have launched an attempt to board a Russian oil platform and prevent it drilling in the Arctic.
The group released pictures of two activists scaling the side of the giant Prirazlomnaya platform, and of security forces boarding one of its boats.
The project, run by oil monopoly Gazprom, is Russia's first effort to extract oil from the Barents Sea.
Greenpeace opposes Arctic drilling, saying it threatens a unique and fragile environment.
The group said two of its activists were arrested and were being held on a Russian coastguard ship.
It said the coastguard vessel had fired 11 shots across the main Greenpeace ship.
Russian authorities did not comment on the Greenpeace reports.
Prirazlomnaya is scheduled to begin production by the end of the year. Russia's economy and recent growth depends on income from its huge oil and gas deposits.
A Greenpeace statement said: "Despite massive financing for Prirazlomnaya, it is not able to guarantee safe production of Arctic oil."
Sun, 15 Sep 2013 22:09
Michael Hayden: Terrorists Love GmailPosted on Sep 15, 2013While defending the legal basis for the NSA's mass domestic data mining program, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden claimed Sunday that ''Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,''adding: ''I don't think you're going to see that in a Google commercial, but it's free, it's ubiquitous, so of course it is.''
Hayden's speech on ''the tension between security and liberty'' was part of an adult education forum at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.
Asked whether the United States' spying activities was setting a dangerous example for other nations, Hayden suggested that the American origins of the Internet justifies the NSA's conduct. If the Web lasts another five centuries, he said, future generations may remember it ''the way the Romans are remembered for their roads.''
''We built it here, and it was quintessentially American,'' he said, adding that partially due to that, much of traffic goes through American servers where the government ''takes a picture of it for intelligence purposes.''
'--Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Andrea Peterson at The Washington Post:
Hayden also conceded that the United States. ''could be fairly charged with the militarization of the World Wide Web.'' The NSA's Tactical Access Operations (TAO) is reportedly charged with hacking foreign targets to steal data and monitor communications. It also reportedly develops programs that could destroy or damage foreign computers and networks using cyberattacks.
At one point, Hayden expressed a distaste for online anonymity, saying ''The problem I have with the Internet is that it's anonymous.'' But he noted, there is a struggle over that issue even inside government. The issue came to a head during the Arab Spring movement when the State Department was funding technology to protect the anonymity of activists so governments could not track down or repress their voices.
''We have a very difficult time with this,'' Hayden said. He then asked, ''is our vision of the World Wide Web the global digital commons'-- at this point you should see butterflies flying here and soft background meadow-like music'--or a global free fire zone?'' Given that Hayden also compared the Internet to the wild west and Somalia, Hayden clearly leans toward the ''global free fire zone'' vision of the Internet.
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Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:54
Published time: September 17, 2013 03:34Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)
Gmail is the preferred online-email service of ''terrorists'' and the US ''could be fairly charged with the militarization of the World Wide Web,'' former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden said Sunday.
Speaking at a forum on ''the tension between security and liberty'' at a church in downtown Washington, Hayden defended the legal rationale -- Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) -- for the PRISM program that allows the National Security Agency access into the servers of major tech companies like Google.
Of Google, Hayden said, ''Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,'' though Gmail is an online service. Hayden added, "I don't think you're going to see that in a Google commercial, but it's free, it's ubiquitous, so of course it is."
In defending mass surveillance programs exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Hayden said the US "could be fairly charged with the militarization of the World Wide Web."
Documents released by Snowden to The Washington Post showed the extent of the government's elite hacking unit, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), an aspect of the NSA that collects intelligence by hacking into foreign targets' computers, confiscating data and monitoring communique. In addition, the documents proved the US government routinely hacks into foreign computers around the world, especially targets in China.
Hayden dismissed a question about whether the US is setting a damaging precedent with its aggressive spying operation by pointing to the internet's US origins.
"We built it here, and it was quintessentially American," he said, adding that much of web traffic goes through American servers and that the government routinely monitors that communication, as verified by the Snowden revelations.
Should the internet last for centuries, Hayden said it may be the United States' legacy, "the way the Romans are remembered for their roads."
Hayden, former head of the world's largest intelligence and spying outfit, also expressed disgust for online anonymity.
"The problem I have with the internet is that it's anonymous,'' he said, though adding the issue of anonymity was contentious during the Arab Spring movement when the US helped protect the identities of some activists.
"We have a very difficult time with this," Hayden said. ''Is our vision of the World Wide Web the global digital commons -- at this point you should see butterflies flying here and soft background meadow-like music -- or a global free fire zone?"
Sun, 15 Sep 2013 12:52
The National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions, according to documents seen by SPIEGEL.
The information from the American foreign intelligence agency, acquired by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that the spying is conducted by a branch called "Follow the Money" (FTM). The collected information then flows into the NSA's own financial databank, called "Tracfin," which in 2011 contained 180 million records. Some 84 percent of the data is from credit card transactions.
Further NSA documents from 2010 show that the NSA also targets the transactions of customers of large credit card companies like VISA for surveillance. NSA analysts at an internal conference that year described in detail how they had apparently successfully searched through the US company's complex transaction network for tapping possibilities.
Their aim was to gain access to transactions by VISA customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to one presentation. The goal was to "collect, parse and ingest transactional data for priority credit card associations, focusing on priority geographic regions." In response to a SPIEGEL inquiry, however, a VISA spokeswoman ruled out the possibility that data could be taken from company-run networks.
The NSA's Tracfin data bank also contained data from the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a network used by thousands of banks to send transaction information securely. SWIFT was named as a "target," according to the documents, which also show that the NSA spied on the organization on several levels, involving, among others, the agency's "tailored access operations" division. One of the ways the agency accessed the data included reading "SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks," the documents show.
But even intelligence agency employees are somewhat concerned about spying on the world finance system, according to one document from the UK's intelligence agency GCHQ concerning the legal perspectives on "financial data" and the agency's own cooperations with the NSA in this area. The collection, storage and sharing of politically sensitive data is a deep invasion of privacy, and involved "bulk data" full of "rich personal information," much of which "is not about our targets," the document says.
(C) SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013All Rights ReservedReproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:56
In the summer of 2010, a Middle Eastern businessman wanted to transfer a large sum of money from one country in the region to another. He wanted to send at least $50,000 ('¬37,500), and he had a very clear idea of how it should be done. The transaction could not be conducted via the United States, and the name of his bank would have to be kept secret -- those were his conditions.
Though the transfer was carried out precisely according to his instructions, it did not go unobserved. The transaction is listed in classified documents compiled by the US intelligence agency NSA that SPIEGEL has seen and that deal with the activities of the United States in the international financial sector. The documents show how comprehensively and effectively the intelligence agency can track global flows of money and store the information in a powerful database developed for this purpose.
"Follow the Money" is the name of the NSA branch that handles these matters. The name is reminiscent of the famous catchphrase by former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, the whistleblower known as "Deep Throat" who offered the information to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters investigating the Watergate scandal in 1972.
Financial transfers are the "Achilles' heel" of terrorists, as NSA analysts note in an internal report. Additional fields of activity for their "financial intelligence" include tracking down illegal arms deliveries and keeping tabs on the increasingly lucrative domain of cybercrime. Tracing international flows of money could help reveal political crimes, expose acts of genocide and monitor whether sanctions are being respected.
Data Access vs. International Laws
"Money is the root of all evil," joke the intelligence agents. According to the classified documents, the spies' activities primarily focus on regions like Africa and the Middle East -- and their efforts often focus on targets that fall within their legal intelligence-gathering mandate. However, in the financial sector, just as in other areas, the NSA also relies on maximum data collection -- an approach that apparently leads to conflicts with national laws and international agreements.
Some members of the intelligence community even view spying in the global financial system with a certain amount of concern, as revealed by a document from the NSA's British counterpart -- the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) -- that deals with "financial data" from a legal perspective and examines the organization's own collaboration with the NSA. According to the document, the collection, storage and sharing of "politically sensitive" data is a highly invasive measure since it includes "bulk data -- rich personal information. A lot of it is not about our targets."
Indeed, secret documents reveal that the main NSA financial database Tracfin, which collects the "Follow the Money" surveillance results on bank transfers, credit card transactions and money transfers, already had 180 million datasets by 2011. The corresponding figure in 2008 was merely 20 million. According to these documents, most Tracfin data is stored for five years.
The classified documents show that the intelligence agency has several means of accessing the internal data traffic of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a cooperative used by more than 8,000 banks worldwide for their international transactions. The NSA specifically targets other institutes on an individual basis. Furthermore, the agency apparently has in-depth knowledge of the internal processes of credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard. What's more, even new, alternative currencies, as well as presumably anonymous means of payment like the Internet currency Bitcoin, rank among the targets of the American spies.
The collected information often provides a complete picture of individuals, including their movements, contacts and communication behavior. The success stories mentioned by the intelligence agency include operations that resulted in banks in the Arab world being placed on the US Treasury's blacklist.
In one case, the NSA provided proof that a bank was involved in illegal arms trading -- in another case, a financial institution was providing support to an authoritarian African regime.
The most politically explosive revelations, though, concern the agency's secret access to the SWIFT networks. Following extensive debates, in 2010 the European Union signed the so-called SWIFT agreement with the US. From its headquarters in Belgium, SWIFT handles international transactions for banks and other financial institutions. For many years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US lobbied for access to this international financial data, which SWIFT virtually monopolizes worldwide.
An initial agreement failed in early 2010 after it was vetoed by the European Parliament. A few months later, a slightly watered-down SWIFT agreement was signed with the express approval of the German government.
EU Compromise Violated by US
NSA documents from the archive of whistleblower Edward Snowden now show that the compromise reached with the EU is apparently being circumvented by the US. A document from the year 2011 clearly designates the SWIFT computer network as a "target." The secret data collection also involves the NSA department for "tailored access operations."
According to the documents, one of the various means of accessing the SWIFT information has existed since 2006. Since then, it has been possible to read the "SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks."
In the wake of revelations that the NSA bugged the EU embassies in New York and Washington, the attack on SWIFT could be the next major stress test for relations between the US government and the European Union. The NSA failed to comment on the latest allegations before SPIEGEL's printing deadline on Friday.
Late last week, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstr¶m said that the Americans should "immediately and precisely tell us what has happened, and put all the cards on the table." If it's true "that they share information with other agencies for purposes other than those outlined in the agreement '... we will have to consider ending the agreement," the Swede said after Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo first reported on the attack on SWIFT on Sept. 8.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a Green Party representative in the European Parliament, spoke of an "open breach of law." Four out of seven factions in the European Parliament have joined the growing number of calls to suspend the agreement.
The conflict is also particularly sensitive because the documents reveal the close involvement of the US Treasury in selecting the program's spying targets. Indeed, according to the documents, there is an exchange of personnel in which NSA analysts are transferred for a number of months to the relevant department in the US Treasury.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:41
1 of 3. Belgian Minister for Public Enterprises and Development Cooperation Jean-Pascal Labille (L) and Didier Bellens, chief executive officer of Belgium's telecom operator Belgacom, hold a joint news conference at Belgacom headquarters in Brussels September 16, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman
BRUSSELS | Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:24am EDT
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium said on Monday it was investigating suspected foreign state espionage against its main telecoms company, which is the top carrier of voice traffic in Africa and the Middle East, and a newspaper pointed the finger at the United States.
Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the former state telecoms monopoly Belgacom had filed a complaint in July about the hacking of several servers and computers.
"The inquiry has shown that the hacking was only possible by an intruder with significant financial and logistic means," they said.
"This fact, combined with the technical complexity of the hacking and the scale on which it occurred, points towards international state-sponsored cyber espionage." The prosecutors declined to say which foreign state they suspected.
Documents leaked by the former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have revealed a vast National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance program that has tracked enormous quantities of both Americans' and foreigners' email and telephone data.
This has mostly been done by agreement with telecommunications or internet providers or foreign government intelligence agencies.
However, the Brazilian television network Globo this month alleged that the NSA had tapped into the computer systems of companies including Google Inc. and the Brazilian state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro, as well as France's Foreign Ministry and the Belgian-based international banking cooperative SWIFT, which handles international financial transactions.
The Belgian daily De Standaard said the NSA had been monitoring international telephone traffic through Belgacom for two years. It said the hackers had been primarily interested in Belgacom's subsidiary BICS, a wholesale provider of international phone lines and biggest voice carrier in Africa and the Middle East.
STATE NOT NAMED
The government of Belgium, which has a majority stake in Belgacom, condemned the intrusion and the violation of a public company.
Prosecutors said the intruder had used malicious software and advanced encryption techniques with the aim of gathering strategic information, and had not sabotaged Belgacom's data or sought to cause direct economic damage.
Belgacom itself said it had carried out work over the weekend to improve security and remove an unknown virus from its internal systems, adding that at the moment there was no indication of any impact on customers or their data. It said it had filed a complaint against an unknown third party.
Globo's revelations were based on leaked U.S. documents provided by Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with Snowden to expose the extent of U.S. spying.
James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, responded last week by saying U.S. agencies did collect information about economic and financial matters, which was used to combat terrorist financing and predict problems that could lead to financial crises or disrupt financial markets.
"What we do not do," Clapper said in a statement, "is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we collect to - U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line."
(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:56
Belgacom, the largest telecommunications company in Belgium, has been hacked. The company's representatives said they found a piece of malware on a number of internal IT systems.According to a statement published by Belgacom, the unknown virus found on servers and workstations has been cleaned up. Authorities have been called in to investigate the incident.''Thus far we have no indication of any impact on our customers or their data. The virus has only been detected in the internal computer system of Belgacom, not in its telecom network,'' the telecoms firm noted.''At no point in time has the delivery of our telecommunication services been compromised. Neither has the clean-up caused any disturbance to our customers. All their telecom applications and services have continued to function normally,'' it added.
Belgacom has refused to name a culprit, saying that it's up to authorities to bring clarifications.
Belgium's Federal Prosecutor told De Standaard that the attack was highly sophisticated. In fact, it appears to be the work of a state-sponsored entity.
The malware used in the Belgacom hack is designed to collect strategic information, not to cause damage.
Dutch website NRC.nl reports that the main suspects are the United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the United State National Security Agency (NSA).
The publication's sources have revealed that sophisticated malware has been hosted on Belgacom's servers since 2011. The threat allowed the attackers to access phone and Internet information.
Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS), a global provider of wholesale carrier services, is said to have been the main target. BICS is a joint venture with South Africa's MTN and Swisscom.
By breaching BICS, the hackers could reportedly intercept telephone and Web data from countries such as Syria and Yemen.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:25
On Monday, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonwrote that he would press the CEOs, VCs, and other Silicon Valley leaders who he was interviewing at TechCrunch Disrupt about the NSA scandal.
''I'm scared of our government and I'm disgusted by what little Silicon Valley has done to fight it,'' Arrington wrote. He continued:
''I've brought this up in every one of my preparation meetings with the people I'll be interviewing.
There has been some pushback. Some people don't want to talk because lawyers. Others say this isn't their fight and they can't effectively lead their organizations from behind bars.
Others say they are willing to speak their mind.''
Over the course of the three day conference, Arrington interviewed 13 of the most influential people in the tech industry on stage, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Dropbox founder Drew Houston and Paypal co-founder Max Levchin also discussed the NSA with other TechCrunch writers.
Let's take a look at the highlights from their talks. Full videos of each speaker's comments regarding the NSA, and some analysis, are below.
Ron Conway, David Lee and Brian PokornyArrington called out Conway in his original post, saying, ''I am going to ask Ron Conway, who has pushed for gun control via his Sandy Hook Promise for nearly a year now, hasn't said a word about Silicon Valley's role in the wholesale destruction of our human rights by the United States government. He could do so much by leading an effort at real transparency, and a real pushback against the government. But he hasn't lifted a finger. I want to know why.''
Conway argued for a balance between national security and personal freedoms, and claimed he's too busy advocating for gun control and immigration reform to devote time to the NSA issue. Arrington pressed Conway the hardest, repeatedly questioning why Conway hadn't taken action on the NSA issue. Conway was candid, noting that immigration reform is a bigger issue for him personally, but didn't delve into a ton of detail on his personal beliefs about the NSA and the right balance he would like to see.
Lee and Pokorny, who are partners at SV Angel with Conway, mostly stayed out of the NSA discussion while Arrington and Conway locked horns.
Mark ZuckerbergZuckerberg and Mayer hold the most interesting positions for this debate, as both Yahoo and Facebook were implicated as participants in the PRISM program. Both companies have strongly denied involvement with the NSA and have pressed the government to allow them to reveal more information about the requests the NSA makes for information and how they handle them.
Zuckerberg was surprisingly candid on the topic, saying, ''''I think the government blew it.'' It would have been nice to hear more from him about Facebook's involvement in the PRISM program. Zuckerberg was happy to slam the government on its handling of the scandal, but didn't talk in much detail about Facebook and how it interacts with the NSA and what steps he is taking regarding the PRISM program.
John Doerr''With the appropriate safeguards, I'm comfortable with people knowing the two and from of my phone calls,'' Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, said. Doerr advocated for ''independent and rigorous judicial oversight'' of the programs, and he and Arrington seemed to just agree to disagree on the NSA.
Drew HoustonTechCrunch writer Josh Constine asked Houston how the NSA leaks have affected Dropbox's business. Houston said that ''day to day, it doesn't have much of an effect'' on Dropbox's operations, and added that he's frustrated as a citizen by the government's lack of transparency.
Mayor Ed LeeIn the conference's opening interview, Arrington asked San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee what Lee was doing to protect himself and the city from NSA snooping. Lee offered an interesting split between his thoughts as an individual and his role as Mayor, citing his experience in installing cameras around San Francisco to prevent crime and catch criminals while preserving some level of privacy.
Doug Leone and Sanjit BiswasLeone, a partner at Sequoia Capital, told Arrington, ''I'm not as far left as you but I'm not far right.'' He added that he is concerned that, ''the delicate balance between freedom and safety has been lost. It's upon guys like us that we make sure the issue stays in the limelight.''
Biswas, the co-founder of Meraki, said that as far as he knew, the NSA's intelligence-gathering programs had nothing to do with products Meraki made. He didn't comment on the larger implications of the NSA scandal. Neither one seemed particularly riled up by the issue.
Max LevchinLevchin talked to TechCrunch co-editor Alexa Tsotsis, and was the strongest supporter of the NSA. He discussed applying to work at the NSA while in college, and seemed to have a high personal respect for NSA employees.
While Levchin had an interesting perspective, I think he overlooked some of the negative behavior of the employees, like spying on their love interests, and failed to address the issue at its highest level. Just because Levchin respects the employees who are working to defend the United States doesn't mean that the program and agency at a high level don't need serious scrutiny and changes.
His comments drew the ire of Arrington:
Reid Hoffman and David SzeArrington seemed to be joking a bit, but also expressed some frustration, noting, ''I'm not getting anyone to care so far on stage,'' as he spoke with the two Greylock partners. Hoffman said LinkedIn, at which he is Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, has no direct server access for the NSA.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff was the only interviewee who Arrington didn't grill on the NSA. Early in their interview, Arrington remarked, ''And we're gonna get to the NSA stuff later,'' before launching into a question about Apple. That question led Benioff to share some amazing stories about Steve Jobs, and the two got so caught up discussing Jobs that they ran over time and skipped the NSA topic.
Marissa MayerMayer repeatedly spoke about treason, and said she and Yahoo have no choice but to comply with the NSA. When pressed, she noted that treason usually results in jail time, although many bloggers and pundits openly question whether the government would prosecute and incarcerate CEOs like Mayer and Zuckerberg for speaking out about the NSA program.
A number of outlets have pointed out that Mayer's comments don't align with the definition of treason, and a Yahoo spokesperson later said that Mayer's comments about treason weren't ''purely academic.'' Her comments drew some criticism from legendary blogger Om Malik:
Vinod KhoslaKhosla noted that he agreed with what Doerr and Levchin had said before him, noting he wants to ''avoid another terrorist attack.''
''I would bet we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars because of 9/11'...I think it was a big lesson for us,'' he said. ''We need to be secure, and that means giving up some privacy.''
He made interesting points about different kinds of freedom, and how Americans giving up online privacy may be allowing us to avoid things like frequent security checkpoints in the real world.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:03
This post is an excerpt of Mattermark Weekly, a regular newsletter covering top trends, data, news and analysis of venture capital and private company investing. If you like what you read here, we hope you will subscribe to receive our free weekly email.
Since 1999 In-Q-Tel has been strategically investing in startup companies that are used by the intelligence community. These investments are primarily enterprise software companies. The CIA Library has an in-depth overview of why and how the public/private partnership came to be in the late 1990s. Today, these companies have amassed more than $3.2 Billion in venture funding, and employ more than 7,000 people.
In-Q-Tel Co-Investors, Ordered by Number of Portfolio Companies SharedCountFirmCompanies7HarrisHarrisSiOnyx, OpGen, Cambrios Technologies, Contour Energy Systems, Nextreme Thermal Solutions, nanosys, D-Wave Systems7IntelAdaptive Computing, SignaCert, 10gen, Mocana, Quantum4D, nanosys, GainSpan6PolarisT2 Biosystems, SiOnyx, nanosys, Infinite Power Solutions, Seventh Sense Biosystems, Veracode5SamsungLensVector, Cambrios Technologies, Microchip Biotechnologies, Pure Storage, IntegenX4DAG3VR, Huddle, FireEye, Cloudera4SutterRedSeal Networks, Pure Storage, Platfora, Forterra Systems3BatteryDelphix, Narrative Science, Platfora3FlagshipSeventh Sense Biosystems, T2 Biosystems, Quanterix3GreylockPure Storage, Cloudera, Delphix3NorwestElemental Technologies, FireEye, Apigee2AccelTenable Network Security, Cloudera2AtlasRecorded Future, Veracode2AvalonCambrios Technologies, Cloudant2DFJD-Wave Systems, Power Assure2FlybridgeT2 Biosystems, 10gen2HighlandOpGen, QD Vision2IgnitionVisible Technologies, Cloudera2IntelCapitalHyTrust, Adaptive Computing2LuxCambrios Technologies, nanosys2MatrixHuddle, OpenSpan2MenloLensVector, 3VR2MeritechVeracode, Cloudera2NEA10gen, Cleversafe2SequoiaFireEye, 10gen2ShastaMocana, LucidWorks2SigmaPrimeOpenSpan, CallMiner2SV AngelCloudera, Mocana2USVPContour Energy Systems, ThreatMetrix2VantagePoint3VR, Tendril2VenrockRedSeal Networks, nanosys13MVenturesMersive1AHPlatfora1AislingT2 Biosystems1AlsopLouieCleversafe1AltosNetBase Solutions1AugustThreatMetrix1BainQuanterix1BaldertonCapitalRecorded Future1CrosslinkSiOnyx1DataCollectivePlatfora1DavidSacksPalantir Technologies1DCMSignaCert1DFJEspritLime Microsystems1EdenHuddle1ElDoradonanosys1FoundersFundPalantir Technologies1GeneralCatalystElemental Technologies1GoldenSeedsCarnegie Speech1GoogleVenturesRecorded Future1GSVPalantir Technologies1IARecorded Future1IndexPure Storage1InterWestPelican Imaging1KeithRaboisPalantir Technologies1KPCB3VR1LightspeedDelphix1LowercaseMotionDSP1MayfieldPixim1MDVPixim1NokiaPelican Imaging1NorthBridgeQD Vision1NYAngelsCarnegie Speech1NYC10gen1OmidyarInnoCentive1QualcommVenturesPelican Imaging1RedpointPure Storage1RRETendril1TenayaThreatMetrix1USV10gen1VanedgeOpenGeo1YCCloudantStartups Who Received Investment from In-Q-TelNameEstimated EmployeesTotal FundingLocationPalantir Technologies920$301,000,000Palo AltoFireEye867$85,450,000Bay AreaCloudera413$141,000,000Bay AreaApigee321$107,100,000Bay Area10gen268$73,400,000New YorkVeracode241$74,260,328BostonTenable Network Security199$50,000,000ColumbiaPure Storage171$245,856,468Bay AreaHuddle146$38,200,000United KingdomElemental Technologies124$27,600,000PortlandRedSeal Networks120$29,100,000Santa ClaraDelphix115$44,500,000Menlo ParkQD Vision102$70,000,000BostonOpenSpan101$31,000,000AlpharettaCleversafe96$91,400,000ChicagoMocana94$35,500,000Bay AreaNetBase Solutions90$50,700,000Bay AreaGoal Zero87$7,000,000BluffdaleBasis Technology85ThreatMetrix83$36,200,000Bay AreaVisible Technologies83$80,500,000SeattleTendril82$111,190,000BoulderAdaptive Computing80$19,999,999Provo3VR73$53,000,000Bay AreaD-Wave Systems69$66,223,982CanadaGainSpan64$76,821,324Bay AreaInnoCentive56$30,300,000BostonDigital Reasoning Systems56FranklinLucidWorks53$31,999,999Bay AreaPlatfora52$27,200,000Bay AreaOpGen49$63,132,442GaithersburgAdapx47$30,000,000SeattleCloudant46$16,250,000BostonLingotek45$4,997,122LehiT2 Biosystems44$83,500,000BostonMedShape Solutions43$11,557,026AtlantaEtherstack43Pixim42$45,100,000Bay AreaRecorded Future42$20,900,000BostonWiSpry41$48,300,000IrvineTerraGo Technologies41$18,729,962AtlantaCambrios Technologies38$31,500,000SunnyvaleLooxcie37Quanterix37$41,499,999BostonPelican Imaging36$37,000,000Bay AreaNarrative Science36$9,550,000ChicagoBay Microsystems34$8,400,000Bay AreaOpenGeo33$3,000,000New YorkBoreal Genomics32Contour Energy Systems31$20,000,000Los AngelesRedlen Technologies29LensVector27$30,000,000SunnyvalePower Assure24$34,750,000Bay AreaBiomatrica23$5,000,000San DiegoSiOnyx23$20,150,000BostonVSee Lab Inc22San JoseGATR Technologies21MotionDSP20Bay AreaKZO Innovations18RestonGenia Photonics18Surveylab Group18$1,390,000NZLRedOwl Analytics17Microchip Biotechnologies15$22,600,000Bay AreaNovoDynamics15Carnegie Speech14$14,886,399PittsburghReversingLabs13SpotterRF10Quantum4D7$200,000Bay AreaLime Microsystems7$343,000United KingdomTraction Software6BostonConnectify5PhiladelphiaMersive5$2,819,647DenverSitScape5MiserWare3BlacksburgWalleye Technologies1BostonWeather AnalyticsAlexandriazSpaceHyTrust$34,500,000Bay AreaInView Technology$274,999AustinTeradici$63,000,000CanadaDigital Solid State PropulsionFMS Advanced Systems GroupiMove$5,103,121PortlandIntegenX$143,879,767Bay AreaCallMiner$40,110,889Fort MyersAlfalightMadisonSignaCert$18,800,000PortlandNextreme Thermal Solutions$21,000,000DurhamNetwork Chemistry$6,000,000Bay AreaForterra Systems$1,200,000Bay AreaBio-NEMSBay AreaSignal Innovations Group (SIG)SpectraFluidics$550,000GoletaQynergy908 Devices$15,100,000BostonSemprius$47,641,005DurhamSonitus Medical$25,000,000Bay AreaClaremont BioSolutionsOculis Labs$1,414,665Hunt ValleyAdvanced PhotonixAnn Arbornanosys$103,273,415Bay AreaSeventh Sense Biosystems$20,687,500BostonInfinite Power Solutions$50,574,076LittletonImprint EnergypiXlogic
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 02:35
TweetShare thisEmailPrintVerizon Enterprise Solutions President John Stratton speaks during a CES Innovation Power Panel at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 11, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus
NEW YORK | Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:39pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A senior executive for Verizon Communications Inc has accused U.S. technology companies of "grandstanding" in public comments about their forced cooperation with U.S. spy agencies, according to a report by technology news website ZDNet.com.
Verizon declined to comment on the report, which was published on Tuesday. ZDNet cited comments made by John Stratton, the head of Verizon's enterprise business, during a business trip to Tokyo.
Companies including Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc have been pushing for authority to disclose more about their dealings with the U.S. National Security Agency after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed sweeping domestic classified surveillance operations earlier this year.
According to ZDNet, Stratton said he appreciates that it is important for the technology firms to "grandstand a bit, and wave their arms and protest loudly so as not to offend the sensibility of their customers."
But Stratton suggested that national security was more important than other concerns, according to the report.
LinkedIn Corp, the social networking site for professionals, on Tuesday joined other Silicon Valley companies, which have asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to grant permission to publish aggregate data about national-security requests, including those made through FISA court orders. (1.usa.gov/14iApFH)
Among the documents leaked by Snowden are some showing that the NSA obtained massive quantities of data about phone calls placed over Verizon's network.
Stratton said his company is obliged to cooperate with the laws in countries where it operates, according to ZDNet.
"There is another question that needs to be kept in the balance, which is a question of civil liberty and the rights of the individual citizen in the context of that broader set of protections that the government seeks to create in its society," he said.
The report cited Stratton as saying it was up to the public to address that issue, not executives with telecom or technology firms.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Matthew Lewis)
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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:25
September 15, 2013 9:41 PM EDT
The Five Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis: A Look Back at the Progress We've MadeFive years ago this week, a financial crisis unlike any in generations rocked Wall Street, turning a recession that was already hammering Main Street into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now, on the five-year anniversary of the crisis, the Administration has prepared a report that describes 15 key elements of the response to the financial crisis and where we find ourselves today.
September 14, 2013 5:30 AM EDT
Weekly Address: Pursuing a Diplomatic Solution in SyriaPresident Obama follows up on his speech to the nation on Tuesday and describes the possibility for a diplomatic solution in Syria, partially because of the credible threat of U.S. military force.
September 13, 2013 6:06 PM EDT
Weekly Wrap Up: Tribute to Those Lost on September 11thThe Weekly Wrap Up: The President's address to the nation, remembering those lost on September 11th, drink more water, and a meeting with the Cabinet
view all related blog posts
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 23:13
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Sylvia Mathews Burwell was confirmed by the Senate in 2013 as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). During the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Director of OMB, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, and Staff Director of the National Economic Council.
Sun, 15 Sep 2013 23:38
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel is reporting Larry Summers has withdrawn his name for Fed Chair."I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery," Summers wrote in a letter to President Obama, Wessel writes.
Current Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is stepping down in January.
Wessel has posted Summers' full letter here >>
The dollar instantly fell on the news.
Our Brett LoGiurato recently explained how four Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee, which has first say over accepting the president's nomination for Fed Chair, had already said they opposed Summers' candidacy.
Summers was also facing opposition from more than 200 economists who signed an open letter in support of current Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen.
Click here to see Wessel's full report >>
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:24
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2013
Earlier today, I spoke with Larry Summers and accepted his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Larry was a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today. I will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country, and I look forward to continuing to seek his guidance and counsel in the future.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:29
The NASDAQ MarketSite in New York's Times Square.
Options trading briefly froze today after the Options Price Reporting Authority (OPRA) saw a system glitch.Nasdaq, the CBOE, Bats and NYSE Euronext all ceased trading.
"NASDAQ Options Market (NOM) has halted trading in a issues A thru M as of 13:35:33, N thru Z as of 13:35:47 due to OPRA system issues," Nasdaq issued in a system status message.
The new issue comes only weeks after a Nasdaq malfunction caused a three hour halt in stock trading.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:44
By Danielle Douglas and Dina ElBoghdady, Published: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 10:40 PM ET Aa Authorities in the United States and Britain are set to hand down roughly $750 million in fines against JPMorgan Chase over the bank's disastrous ''London Whale'' trading losses last year, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
The settlements could be announced as soon as this week, said the people who were not authorized to speak publicly because the settlements have not been finalized. It would resolve a majority of the investigations that were launched after JPMorgan revealed that its traders in London placed bad bets on credit derivatives that resulted in billions of dollars in losses.
The bank may make a rare declaration of wrongdoing in its agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which recently introduced a policy demanding admissions of misconduct in certain types of civil settlements, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and Britain's Financial Conduct Authority have negotiated separate settlements with the bank, the people said.
While SEC Commissioner Mary Jo White has aggressively pushed for an admission of wrongdoing in some civil cases, she did not take part in the JPMorgan deal, people familiar with the case said.
Federal policy prohibits White and the SEC's co-director of enforcement, Andrew Ceresney, from weighing in because both had represented JPMorgan in the past year, when they were partners at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.
Officials at the agencies and JPMorgan declined to comment for this article.
For JPMorgan, the settlements will help put to rest months of upheaval at the bank that included the departure of senior executives and criminal charges against traders. The lead trader, Bruno Iskil, who was dubbed the London Whale because of his outsized bets, was not charged, although two of his colleagues were.
The former traders '-- Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout '-- were indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan, Reuters reported, citing court papers made public Monday. The Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission also are investigating the trading blunder, according to a public filing.
The revelation in May 2012 that JPMorgan traders lost billions of dollars on risky trades set off a firestorm that resulted in congressional hearings and regulatory probes. It was an embarrassing episode for a bank that prides itself as one of the best-managed firms in the industry.
JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon has been contrite about the trading blunder, calling it ''the stupidest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been a part of'' in his annual letter to shareholders this year. He also called it ''a real kick in the teeth'' and one of the ways in which the bank has ''let our regulators down.''
But days after the losses jumped to more than $1 billion, Dimon dismissed concerns about the trades as a ''tempest in a teapot.'' The trades ultimately cost the bank about $6.2 billion.
A Senate report released in March suggested that Dimon and his team were less than forthright with regulators about the mounting losses. The report accused the bank of hiding losses for three months last year, overstating the value of its trading positions and ignoring red flags. JPMorgan, according to the report, withheld information about the nature of the trading portfolio when regulators made inquiries.
At one point, the bank was providing regulators daily profit and loss statements from its investment division so they could see what was going on. But Dimon put a stop to it. When one of his subordinates resumed the updates, ''Dimon reportedly raised his voice in anger,'' the Senate report said.
Dimon has admitted that the bank failed to manage its risks, allowing the bad trades to persist, but the outspoken chief executive has not professed any knowledge of traders concealing the losses.
Almost every corner of JPMorgan's business is under scrutiny from state, federal and international authorities. Regulators are investigating the way the bank recouped credit card debts from delinquent borrowers, how it marketed mortgage-backed securities and whether it turned a blind eye to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
As a result of these cases, JPMorgan said it anticipates $6.8 billion in future legal costs in excess of the money it has already set aside to handle litigation. That is larger than the amount that other banks have added to their reserves, according to a recent analysis from Barclays Research.
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Wed, 18 Sep 2013 23:34
The Hidden Meanings in the New $100 Bill!
Bix WeirFirst of all, I must admit that I am one of those "Conspiracy Nuts" who loves to read meaning into the back of the US $1 bill like I'm trying to solve a centuries old puzzle. The "All Seeing Eye", the pyramid, "One World Government", Masonic symbols, the implications of the Latin words, even the words "In God We Trust" added in 1955...all of it...I'm a big fan of secret meaning. Just Google "US Dollar Hidden Meaning" and you will find almost EVERY INTERPRETATION you can imagine. Since I don't know which is true...I tend to believe ALL OF THEM. More fun that way. If you think this is all hogwash and there is no meaning to the back of the $1 bill..."Duh, it's just a nice picture"...then this article is not for you.
So, of course, I was more than excited when the new $100 bill was FINALLY announced and IT HAD ALL THAT GOLD ON IT!
I admit that I am slightly biased on this. One of the central themes of my work at the Road to Roota Letters is that there is a group of people working to end the fiat money system and return the US back to the Gold Standard. For those unfamiliar with the concept read:
The Road to Roota Theoryhttp://www.roadtoroota.com/public/190.cfm
A subscriber tipped me off years ago that the new $100 bill would be "special" when it finally got released and he wasn't lying. I LOVE this bill! Check out how it turns gold in the light...
Ok. So it may be a coincidence and I may have an over active imagination but bear with me while we explore further. Take a real close look at the new bill keeping in mind that the US has a special history of hidden meaning behind their bills and there's a real possibility of a currency crash (with a return to the Gold Standard) in the very near future.
Let's start with the most glaring difference even from the other new colored bills: that huge Blue Stripe down the right center. For those not familiar with the symbolism of the American flag colors: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice. Is it possible that the big Blue Stripe may have more significance that you might expect?
When it comes to monetary theory there are really only two serious camps. The first believes in fiat/paper money and the second believes in a "hard money" backed by gold. Lets assume these two opposing ideologies are represented on this bill. Look closely at the left side of the Blue Stripe.
Let's say the left side represents the fiat/paper money camp. There is no new coloring at all just the same ole drab green. The same ole fiat money. It's all there...the words "Federal Reserve Note", the Official Fed Seal, Ooo..looks like the US Treasury Secretary signature has been moved from the right to the left side(come on...which camp did you think Geithner would be put in?!). And for you currency buffs, even Benjamin Franklin is positioned on the left of the Blue Stripe with that quizzical grin...why you ask?
Well, not many know it but Ben Franklin was a BIG supporter of paper money in his day. Don't get me wrong, he was a great and loyal American who was very much anti-banker but in his day the battle was reversed. It was the English bankers who were all about forcing the colonists onto a Gold/Silver standard but Franklin knew that the overseas trade would leave no physical money for the colonies to conduct domestic commerce with. It was probably the TRUE cause of the American Revolution! Here's a good representation of what happened:
Truthfully, it's high time we rewrite the all the US History books and tell the world the REAL STORY. The American Revolution was actually...A REBELLION AGAINST THE BANKSTERS!
Back to the "Greenback"...
So you can see that everything on the left side of the new $100 bill relates to the continuance of fiat money.
Now let's look at the right side of that Blue Stripe...the "Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice" side!
OH MY GOODNESS...GOLD GALORE!! A Gold Ink Well, Gold Liberty Bell, Gold Feather Pen, Gold "100", Gold Watermark, Gold Writing in the background, Gold "July 4, 1776"...there's even a HUGE gold "100" on the back of the right side. The right side of this bill is so full of gold it will probably droop when you hand it to the cashier!
Here's my take on all the Gold symbolism:
- The US has long prepared to return to a Gold Standard and the time has come.
- The Gold Ink Well symbolizes the power of Congress to pass laws that can dismantle the Fiat Money System with the stoke of a pen.
- The Gold Liberty Bell within the ink well symbolizes Congresses ability to write laws that destroy the banking cabal's strangle hold on the Liberty of citizens in the United States.
- Notice the words "THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS,PUBLIC AND PRIVATE" has also been moved from the left to the right side (or the gold standard side!)
- Notice how the color of the "100" on the bottom front changes from GREEN to GOLD...still not convinced?
- And now my favorite... look at the wording right above the "100" on the far right.
Do you see it?
"...the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new..."
That, my friends, comes directly from our Declaration of Independence and says the following:
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Has there ever been a time in the last 100 years that the people were more ready to "alter or abolish" our government?!
Can "They" make it more obvious...GET READY FOR A GOLD STANDARD!
The odd fact that the US Treasury chose to "anti-counterfeit" the $100 bill last is very telling. The US $100 is the MOST counterfeited bill in the world by far. So much so that the fake bills even have their own name...the "SUPERDOLLAR" or "SUPERNOTE".
The new $100's were going to be released on Feb 10, 2011 but the Federal Reserve announced a "delay due to production problems". Why wait so long? In this video it sure looks like they are in full production already. (what's with the "Wizard of Oz-esque" green drapes? No, I won't run with that!)
Oh, did you notice that the bill in all the sample photos was printed in "SERIES 2009"? I believe that the new $100's are ready to go and HAVE BEEN READY SINCE THE ONSET OF THE CREDIT CRISIS! They were waiting for the crash and the return to a gold standard. With this announcement they might as well say ...WE ARE READY TO COLLAPSE THE SYSTEM!!
The monetary camps split by the Blue Stripe, the Liberty Bell in the Gold Inkwell, the quotes of overthrowing the government, the delayed implementation of the $100 bill...
Get ready for a Gold Standard because we are just about there!
**sign up for FREE UPDATES from Road to Roota Letters below :-) Having said all this...SILVER is a much better investment than gold as there has been MASSIVE hoarding of gold by the US Government in preparation for the return to the Gold Standard. As a matter of fact, I advocate getting OUT of gold all together and into physical silver! I have many articles on why and here is the latest for Private Road Members(see Subscriptions tab on left for info).
GET OUT OF GOLDhttp://www.roadtoroota.com/members/817.cfm
One thing can be known for sure - the future monetary chaos is approaching fast so be READY!
May the Road you choose be the Right Road!
*read by Tamz Broderick
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 23:33
The Road to Roota Theory
It was January 2007 when I first discovered the information released by the Federal Reserve Bank, Boston that changed my understanding of the gold & silver markets, the financial markets, the energy markets, the monetary system as well as the true essence of my country, the United States of America. Interestingly enough it came in the form of a children's comic book.
The Road to Roota Theory postulates that there is a group of people in the United States as well as around the world that are working to remove and destroy the financial banking powers that have secretly controlled all aspects of our lives for hundreds of years. The original idea of this group sprang from the mind of Alan Greenspan and involved rigging markets with computer programs that he had invented in the 1960's. The original articles can be found here:
The Original Road to Roota
My understanding of the way the world worked was blown to bits and replaced with a more unified theory on all things monetary... all things that lead us down The Road to Roota otherwise known as the Road to the Gold Standard.
Greenspan's Golden Secret
The following concepts are the key support pillars in The Road to Roota Theory and I have linked the support articles as back up. Once you understand these concepts you will understand what is happening all around you as the world you once knew comes crumbling down to be replaced by a new and better system.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THE ROAD TO ROOTA THEORY:
1) All markets have been 100% controlled by computer programs since the 1970's in order to steer and control prices thus prolonging the fiat monetary system.
2) A powerful cabal of the world's elite have taken over that market manipulation process and twisted it to enhance their own profits while pretending to service their nation's best interests.
3) In the early 1900's the United States embarked on a secret policy to hide all of its own natural resources and exploit the rest of the world's until resource scarcity was fully recognized.
4) In order to support the oil backed US Dollar and the world's petro-based economic system the "powers that be" have hidden new energy technologies that would greatly benefit the world's population as well as the environment.
5) Since 911 there is a group of people and governments that have decided "enough is enough" and are in the process of removing the banking cabal from their seat of power.
6) The planned destruction of the fiat monetary system is the type of "Creative Destruction" event that will force the implementation of a new Gold Standard within the United States.
You may argue all you want about my interpretation and conclusions but there will be no arguing the final results. When the final crash comes the facts will show that the Road to Roota Theory was the closest thing to a "correct analysis" of the gold market available at this time in history.
This is your peek behind the curtain of the Great and Powerful OZ!
As we read the papers today the events are unfolding before us. The real question now is what will happen in the future? Will we be cast into a deep and dark depression with no hope for future generations or will we survive and even thrive as we make this transition?
Here is my interpretation of all the information found in the RoadtoRoota.com archives:
These conclusions may sound way too positive and outrageously naive but everything I watch points to a very bright future'...even if it takes a few bumps to get there!
1) The collapse of the fiat monetary system will be total and complete equalizing the playing field between the "haves" and the "have-nots".
2) All paper/electronic debt and assets will evaporate with the collapse of the fiat money system.
3) Those who have perpetrated the outrageous and monstrous crimes of the past 100 years will be hunted down and prosecuted (if they are lucky).
4) The US will issue a new gold backed currency (domestically) allocating it according to future social security payments due.
5) The US will allocate much of the new gold backed money to support the funding of schools, police, health care, infrastructure and other necessities for a fully functioning society.
6) Globalization will end upon the collapse of the derivative structure and all countries will end global trade concentrating on their own internal commerce.
7) All US overseas troops will return home to protect our borders and ensure the safety of our citizens.
8) The US population will be fully employed working to replace all the overseas production lost in the reversal of Globalization.
9) The United States will tap into its VAST natural resources that have been hidden away for years in National Parks, Military Bases and sites deemed "Ecologically Sensitive".
10) A vast array of new energy technologies will be revealed since there will be no more need for the "oil standard" that has supported the US Dollar for the past 50 years.
11) The implementation of the new monetary system will usher in a glorious new "Golden Age" that the world will embrace after years of being lead around like "Sheeple".
We are on the cusp of something truly momentous in the history of the human race. With the full transition there is no need to lose the free markets system. Truthfully, a true "Free Market" system has never been given the chance it deserves with all the market rigging of the past 100 years.
We will be free again. We will resurrect our Constitution and we will make the United States of America the Land of Liberty that our forefathers envisioned.
Let's pray that the change is peaceful.
May the Road you choose be the Right Road.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 23:28
The Road to Roota or The Implementation of a New Gold Standard?
Bix WeirThe following Road to Roota Letter was written in January 2007 and lays the foundation for understanding the Gold Manipulation Conspiracy. The events that have transpired in the global economy and the "credit crisis" have all confirmed the original thesis of this document...that there is a group of people that were secretly rigging the gold markets for decades. This process was taken over by the Banking Cabal but now the original system riggers are dedicated to destroying the banking cabal, destroying the fiat monetary system and installing the old US Constitutional Gold Standard.
What follows will shatter your understanding of how the world works!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Did the 1981 Gold Commission begin the implementation of the gold standard and not tell anyone?
My latest adventure into uncovering "TRUTH" started when I found the very cryptic Federal Reserve Board COMIC on their educational website called "Wishes and Rainbows" as well as the teachers guide called "The Road to Roota". Both of these were originally issued back in 1981 when Reagan's Gold Commission was meeting to find a way to a gold standard. This comic had not been seen since...until it was re-posted and updated on the Federal Reserve website on January 1, 2007 in the electronic version.
1981 Version: http://ecedweb.unomaha.edu/ve/library/WISH.PDF
2007 Version: www.bos.frb.org/education/pubs/wishes.pdf
TEACHERS GUIDE "THE ROAD TO ROOTA"
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston originally released this Fed comic back in 1981. As of today there have been many comics released but "Wishes and Rainbows" is the only one that was updated, re-released and is the only one with a teachers guide (The Road to Roota). Clearly there was/is something special about this comic. First, note the emphasis added to important words in the comic including BOLD type, underlining and "quotations". It is my intention to prove that this comic is more than just a children's learning tool designed to teach kids about scarcity, but a window into the secretive world of the Federal Reserve Bank and monetary policy.
First a little fun, read the comic and the teachers guide (without any of my suggestive hints) and get a first impression. Fairly strange even cryptic comic isn't it? If you don't think so read the other ones which are fairly straight forward and you'll see that it's easy to grasp the teaching concepts behind them. Now, here is a list of words to substitute into the comic to find another meaning for what the Fed is trying to tell us:
Colorland = Gold Standard (or commodity based currency)
Boulder Ridge = Canada
Gopher Junction = Mexico
Pebbleton = USA
Pebblepeople = US Citizens
Grey Flowers = Fiat Currency
World of No Color = Fiat Money System
Color Flowers = Commodity Backed Treasury Notes
Cobblestone Canyon = (Secret Gold Mine in the Grand Canyon http://www.roadtoroota.com/public/181.cfm)
The Mayor = President Ford or Reagan
Golden Sunlight = Gold Reserves
Black Tears = Oil Backed Currency (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul303.html)
A new meaning jumps out doesn't it? Now walk with me down this "yellow brick road" of monetary policy and let's see what else we can discover!
Add these tidbits to your understanding of the gold standard:
1) In 1981 Greenspan (and/or others) developed a plan to return to the gold standard...the question was implementation.
Time Magazine, October 1981http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,921073,00.html?promoid=googlep
2) Stephen Devaux, the person who "adapted" the cartoon "Wishes and Rainbows", worked for the Federal Reserve in Boston...Mr. Devaux is now a world renowned author and trainer on "Project Management and Implementation" There is NO information about him available on the internet until the release of his Total Project Control concept. http://www.amazon.com/Total-Project-Control-Integrated-Operations/dp/0471328596
3) Stephen Devaux would have been the perfect person to implement the Greenspan plan. His teachings talk about long implementation time frames, and the necessity of profit enhancement during the process of change. http://www.maxwideman.com/papers/totalcontrol/totalcontrol.pdf
4) The main character of the story "Roota" struck me as a very odd name until I understood this:
"ROOTA" or "rootA" was one of the key programming concepts in financial computing using the computer programming language called "BASIC" in the 1960's. Let's put a few more things together - BASIC was invented by a man named John Kemeny who was a childhood friend of none other than Alan Greenspan! I find it interesting that Alan Greenspan was one of the few people at the time who knew this computer programming language and it was Greenspan who actually INVENTED financial computing! For further info on Greenspan's role read "Greenspan's Golden Secret":
RootA could also be understood as the ultimate basis for a backed currency (such as the "golden light" in the comic).
5) Mr. Devaux worked for the Federal Reserve Bank for 9 years during the Gold Commission crisis. The 1980's is when many gold bugs believe that Citicorp and Goldman Sachs (and friends...see Devaux's resume) implemented the trading programs for "managing" the markets (search "Mike Bolser" on GATA.org for further analysis.)
Devaux went to work for Citicorp right after his stint at The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. His job at Citi was described as: "Developed and taught customer seminars in the implementation and use of Citicorp banking software." Oil and Gold were just the beginning. Then he went on to Fidelity to train them how to use his software in the share market.
His last job before moving on to his own consulting firm was for Project Software and Development Inc or PSDI (supplied the software Maximo to the US Mint and almost every other high value asset business).
"Businesses, government agencies, and other organizations use PSDI's products across their enterprise to assist them in the management of their high-value capital assets, such as plants, facilities, and production equipment, to cut inventories and supply chain costs, control maintenance expenses, reduce downtime, and more effectively deploy productive assets, personnel and other resources."
PSDI software is now owned by IBM and is embedded in asset control software throughout the world ('...now is that "Total Project Control" or what?!).
6) Look at Stephen Devaux's resume:
Convenient that he left off his little stint at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston after college! Why did Citi hire him if he didn't have a job for 9 years (other than comic book writer...ha!)
1985-1986Citicorp Information ResourcesInstructional Designer and TrainerDeveloped and taught customer seminars in the implementation and use of Citicorp banking software.
1986-1987Fidelity InvestmentsCurriculum Manager, Brokerage TrainingManaged projects to develop the curriculum to train Fidelity's discount brokers in Fidelity products and NASDAQ procedures.
1987-1991Project Software & Development, Inc.Training Services ManagerSupervised development of training seminars for PSDI's project management software, and delivered seminars on project management theory.
EDUCATIONBachelor of Arts in English and Secondary School Teacher Certification in English and social studies, 1976, University of Massachusetts at Boston.
7) Stephen Devaux's "best friend" is Harold J. Sullivan. This I found in the Preface portion of his book "Civil Rights and Liberties" (http://www.amazon.com/Civil-Rights-Liberties-Provocative-Questions/dp/0131174355)
"I cannot acknowledge family support, however, without acknowledging my unofficial family, my closest friend for over 30 years, Stephen Devaux..."
It is not hard to draw a connection between Devaux and Sullivan's interest in high level government. It is clear from his bio that he is an expert on governmental law. (http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~govern/bios.htm) There is also a huge gap in information available about Harold J. Sullivan until the release of his book. The highest award for US Assistant District Attorney's is called the "Harold J. Sullivan Award" but I have not found any information about the award or the person it was named for.
8) Sullivan also mentions what he calls "the Group" in the Preface of his book:
"Finally, I acknowledge two very different contributors to all of my work, my close friends over three decades in "the Group" and my students at John Jay College. I have maintained very strong friendships over three decades with a collection of University of Massachusetts at Boston classmates, known collectively as "the Group"; they, together with their spouses, friends, and significant others, as well as other friends in Boston and New York have helped make life fun as well as intellectually stimulating. With a little help from the U.S. Supreme Court (see p. 65), Grendel's Den in Harvard Square has often served as our preferred rendezvous for nearly two decades."
9) George Goodwin, Jr. was Sullivan's mentor at University of Massachusetts. Goodwin wrote a book called The Little Legislatures: Committees of Congress about the power and autonomy of sub-committees in Congress.(www.jstor.org/pss/2110286). This would be essential if a secret committee was set up to fix the markets.
FIGHTING THE DARK-SIDE
So, why did the Boston Fed release "Wishes and Rainbows" now? Is it that the rest of the world had figured out that the "strong dollar" policy was a scam? Is it that other countries have figured out the ruse and are now buying up undervalued physical assets? Is it that the flooding of the world with US Dollars has finally capped out, and that everyone wants to trade-in their "treasure trove" of US Dollars for real assets? Is it that the "strong dollar", fiat money policy ignites hatred of the west around the world? All of the above or maybe something else'....
There was a significant change made to the new version of "Wishes and Rainbows" posted 1/07 that should not be ignored. The content of the 2007 revision is almost exactly the same as the 1981 version except for a few exceptions. On page 15 "Roota" is drawing numbers in the dust to determine who will get allocated flowers.
In the 1981 version she writes various asset allocation formulas including a formula very similar to Bertil Naslund's conclusion in "On The Road to the Golden Age"
This theory dealt with Nobel Prize winner E. Phelps's Golden Rule theory of equal capital accumulation. In the 60's and early 70's these were leading edge theories on monetary policy. Naslund's theory concluded the optimal path time frame (T) would be best if it went to infinity (See the symbol T and infinity in the sand?). It's not hard to conjecture that, applied to the implementation of the gold standard, the best strategy would be to first totally devalue the currency (sending gold to infinity in dollar terms) increasing GNP and hording physical gold (and other commodities) before introducing the discipline of the Gold Standard.
But notice in the 2007 version of the comic, the equations are not there but there is something else written in it's place: 11+ 9 or even 911'...which I believe to be the reason they are cutting short their original plan of long term implementation and preparing to go on the Gold Standard as soon as possible. Can you see the Islamic crescent moon inside the flower? By now EVERYONE should know that 911 was NOT caused by a handful of terrorists holding box cutters. Here's a "not so secret" 3 part analysis of what really happened on 911 which I think was released by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI):
PART 1 http://www.scribd.com/doc/9442970/Collateral-Damage-US-Covert-Operations-and-the-Terrorist-Attacks-on-September-11-200128062008
PART 2 http://www.scribd.com/doc/9421535/Collateral-Damage-Part-2-The-Subprime-Crisis-and-the-Terrorist-Attacks-on-September-11-200126122008
PART 3 http://www.scribd.com/doc/17233336/September-11-Commission-Report-Revised-December-2008
It is important to note that there are very "BIG" players who do not want to go to the gold standard and the Federal Reserve was aware of that fact in 1981 as well as today. This is clearly stated on page 4 of "Wishes and Rainbows".
It is also less well known (or at least not often discussed in the media) that the US Government operates on many secret and powerful levels, and there may be some serious competing factions within the US "Shadow Government". For background you can start here:
Could these "BIG" players have been behind 911? If you haven't done proper research into the tragedy of 9-11 you are not fulfilling your duty as a Citizen of the United States of America. Clearly there was a lot more to 911 than Bin Ladin and friends. Start here:
Yes, I know this is a little "conspiratorial" but without at least some background into this world you will be lead blindly by the current powers in office. Consult the US Constitution for your obligations as an American citizen!
Stephen Devaux "adopted" Wishes and Rainbows with a full understanding of the dilemma of the implementation of the Gold Standard.
In my opinion, it is no coincidence that "Wishes and Rainbows" and "The Road To Roota" were released again in January 2007. I think the Gold Commission DID enact the "Gold Standard" in 1981 but the implementation process, designed and coordinated by Stephen Devaux, continues to this day, but the end game is close at hand due to the "BIG" players within the US government and the 911 tragedy.
As the final summary of the cartoon "Wishes and Rainbows" states:
"But the townspeople are still not content. Many want two, three, and even four flowers of their own. Since Roota cannot grow that many in only two sunlit caves, she and Rockie still search for another opening to Colorland. So don't be surprised if some summer day when you're lying on the green grass and looking at the blue sky, you hear voices coming from underground. It could be Rockie and Roota searching for the entrance to Colorland."
These are my thoughts and I KNOW there is a lot more than what was presented here but it's quite enlightening.
Remaining questions I can't quite get my hands around:
1) Who/what is Roota? (Greenspan or Devaux?)
2) Who/what is Rockie? (Devaux, John Kemeny, someone else?)
3) Who/what is Grandma? (Arthur Burns?)
4) The pebblepeople are afraid of the BIG people of Colorland because they might get stepped on...Is the Federal Reserve on the side of the US Citizen? (wouldn't that be a shocker!)...Who are these BIG people (shadow gov't? Rothschilds? illuminati? The Banking Cabal? Etc'... Was it the same group that took out Kennedy and tried to take out Reagan?
5) How did the Devaux implementation plan go astray? Did Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. divest the peoples gold to stay in power?
6) Why did the original "Wishes and Rainbows" depict the characters as Asian? Why was it updated to a more "muddled" ethnicity?
7) What did Roota "find" behind the large bolder in the caves near Cobblestone Canyon? What was the "rockslide" that cut off the canyon?
See Grand Canyon issue addressed in this article:
Since this original article was written in January 2007 I have discovered MANY pieces to the puzzle.
Scan the RoadtoRoota.com archives for much MORE!
You can start here!
Greenspan's Golden Secret
May the Road you choose be the Right Road
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:36
UNITED NATIONS, United States: The United Nations said Monday there is clear evidence that rockets carried sarin gas into a Damascus suburb and that there has been widescale use of chemical arms in the Syria war.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon slammed the use of banned poison arms as a war crime and called on the UN Security Council to impose "consequences" to back a Russia-US plan to eliminate President Bashar al-Assad's chemical arsenal.
Without naming the perpetrator, Ban said an August 21 attack on Damascus suburb of Ghouta was "the most signficant" use of chemical weapons since late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein killed thousands in the town of Halabja in 1988.
The United States says more than 1,400 people died in Ghouta. Its threat of a military strike has eased following the agreement of a plan with Russia.
But the UN experts' report released Monday will now become a key weapon in a Security Council battle over how much of threat must be made against Assad to make him disarm.
While Assad blames opposition rebels for the attack, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quick to state that the UN report left "no doubt" that government forces were to blame.
"The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used" in Ghouta, said the report of UN inspectors who were in Syria when the attack was staged.
The experts said they had concluded that "chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians including children on a relatively large scale."
A UN-mandated independent commission of inquiry into rights violations in the Syria war announced separately on Monday that it was investigating 14 alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
The UN experts went to Damascus on August 18 to investigate claims that chemical weapons were used at Khan al-Asal, near Aleppo on March 19 and at Sheik Maqsood and Saraqueb earlier.
The team was told to focus on the Ghouta attack as soon as the horrific events became known. They will return later to investigate the other sites.
Ban called on the Security Council to impose "consequences" for any failure by Assad to keep to a Russia-US plan to destroy Syria's banned chemical arsenal in the next year.
He told the 15-nation council the UN investigators have "now confirmed, unequivocally and objectively that chemical weapons have been used in Syria."
"This is a war crime," he added.
Ban told how doctors treated civilians with no external signs of injuries in the streets of Ghouta in the hours after the attack.
"The weather conditions that morning were conducive to maximizing the potential impact," Ban said.
"The downward movement of air would have allowed the gas to easily penetrate the basements and lower levels of buildings and other structures where many people were seeking shelter," Ban said.
France and Britain will soon send a draft resolution to other Security Council members demanding a threat of sanctions if Assad does not keep to a disarmament plan and for the chemical attacks to be referred to the International Criminal Court, diplomats said.
The council is expected to start negotiations this week on a resolution.
After a meeting of their foreign ministers in Paris on Monday, France, the United States and Britain called for a "strong" resolution to put pressure on Assad to stick to the plan.
While the western states want a threat of sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter none have called for the threat of force to be included.
The United States and France have said military action in Syria is still possible. Russia has insisted, however, that it will not agree a UN resolution that includes a threat of force. Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011 that sought to increase pressure on Assad without imposing any sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who agreed the disarmament deal with US Secretary of State John Kerry, warned Monday that western talk of a tough resolution could wreck hopes of convening a Syria peace conference.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:10
The BM-14 (BM for Boyevaya Mashina, 'combat vehicle'), is a Soviet-made 140mm multiple rocket launcher, fielded by the Soviet Union.
The BM-14 can fire rockets fitted with chemical (MS-14), smoke (M-14D) or high-explosive fragmentation (M-14-OF) warheads. It is similar to the BM-13 "Katyusha" and was partly replaced in service by the 122 mm BM-21 Grad.
The rocket has a range of about 9.8 km and can carry a warhead of 8 kg weight. Launchers were built in 16 and 17-round variants.
The weapon is not accurate as there is no guidance system, but it is extremely effective in saturation bombardment.
Algerian armed forces used BM-14 rocket launchers in 1993 during the Algerian Civil War.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:58
Published time: September 17, 2013 08:15US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)
The Obama administration waived provisions of a federal law which ban the supply of weapons and money to terrorists. The move is opening doors to supplying Syrian opposition with protection from chemical weapons.
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) allows the US president to waive provisions in Sections 40 and 40A, which forbid providing munitions, credit and licenses to countries supporting acts of terrorism. But those prohibitions can be waived "if the President determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States."
President Barrack Obama ordered such a waiver for supplying chemical weapons-related assistance to "select vetted members" of Syrian opposition forces, the administration announced on Monday.
The announcement came after a UN report, which confirmed that sarin gas was indeed used in Syria on August 21, but didn't point to either the Syrian army or the rebel forces as the culprits.
US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said she was convinced that details of the report ''make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.''
But Power's counterpart from Russia Vitaly Churkin said the report has no ''airtight proof or conclusions'' pointing to the Assad government and that it allows ''everyone to draw their own conclusions, hopefully professional and not affected by political pressure.''
The US plan to provide chemical weapons-related assistance to Syrian opposition was in the works before the August attack a senior administration official said as cited by NBC News. Under the AEC rules, it will take at least 15 days before any of the materials can be officially shipped to Syria.
The Syrian opposition groups are increasingly dominated by radical Islamists, many of them foreign fighters who, the UN says, are involved in numerous crimes committed in Syria. According to estimates of defense consultancy IHS Jane's, more than a half of the forces fighting to topple President Bashar Assad government are jihadists. The US explicitly listed Al-Nusra Front, a powerful Al-Qaeda-linked part of the Syrian opposition, as a terrorist organization.
Still, US politicians believe national intelligence community can ensure that the military assistance goes to the right hands.
"Our intelligence agencies, I think, have a very good handle on who to support and who not to support," Senator Bob Corker said on CBS on Sunday. "And there's going to be mistakes. We understand some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms. But we still should be doing everything we can to support the free Syrian opposition."
The US, France and UK announced their intention to provide more help to the Syrian opposition after a Monday meeting of foreign ministers in Paris. US Secretary of State said the US pursuits a political solution of the Syrian crisis, which would deliver a future Syria without Bashar Assad.
The US in the past provided non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, like vehicles, night goggles and body armor. CIA also reportedly helped countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to smuggle weapons to the rebels.
Damascus denied any responsibility for the August sarin attack. But it agreed to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpile after a call from Russia. The move put on hold US plan to use military force against Syria in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 10:53
Under section 101(b) of 95 (91 Stat. 1625; 50 U.S.C. App. 5(b) note) and a previous determination on September 10, 2012 (77 FR 56753, September 13, 2012), the exercise of certain authorities under the Trading With the Enemy Act is scheduled to terminate on September 14, 2013.
I hereby determine that the continuation for 1 year of the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba is in the national interest of the United States.
Therefore, consistent with the authority vested in me by section 101(b) of 95, I continue for 1 year, until September 14, 2014, the exercise of those authorities with respect to Cuba, as implemented by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515.
The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.
THE WHITE HOUSE,Washington, September 12, 2013.
[FR Doc. 2013-22758Filed 9-16-13; 11:15 am]
Billing code 4811-33-P
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 00:13
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 16, 2013
September 16, 2013
Presidential DeterminationNo. 2013-15
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Provision of Defense Articles and Services to Vetted Members of the Syrian Opposition for Use in Syria to Prevent the Use or Proliferation of Chemical Weapons and Related Materials, Organizations Implementing U.S. Department of State or U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Programs Inside or Related to Syria, and International Organizations for their Use Inside or Related to Syria
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 40(g) and 40A(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), I hereby:
determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and defense services to vetted members of the Syrian opposition; organizations implementing U.S. Department of State or USAID programs inside or related to Syria; and international organizations necessary for the conduct of their operations inside or related to Syria, or to prevent the preparation, use, or proliferation of Syria's chemical weapons, is essential to the national security interests of the United States;
waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction; and
delegate to the Secretary of State the responsibility under section 40(g)(2) of the AECA to consult with and submit reports to the Congress for proposed exports, 15 days prior to authorizing them to proceed, that are necessary for and within the scope of this waiver determination and the transaction referred to herein.
You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 01:27
TweetShare thisEmailPrintSyria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 18, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters
WASHINGTON | Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:19pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that his government would abide by an agreement to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons and hand them over to whatever nation was willing to take them.
Assad, in an interview on Fox News channel, said that his government was bound to dispose of its arsenal of deadly chemical weapons but insisted that his forces were not responsible for a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August 21.
(Reporting By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Philip Barbara)
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Thu, 19 Sep 2013 01:26
18 September 2013Last updated at20:52 ETSyrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is committed to a plan to destroy his country's chemical weapons but warned it could take about a year.
Speaking to Fox News TV, Mr Assad again denied claims that his forces were responsible for a deadly chemical attack near Damascus on 21 August.
The Syria disarmament plan was unveiled by the US and Russia last weekend.
The West wants the deal enshrined in a UN resolution backed by the threat of military force, but Russia objects.
Damascus - backed by Moscow - has insisted that rebel forces carried out last month's attack in the Ghouta area.
In a separate development, fierce fighting has been reported between two rebel groups.
Activists said the fighting began when jihadists from the al-Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq, and fighters from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army clashed in the town of Azaz, near the Turkish border.
This is believed to be one of the biggest confrontations so far between the jihadists and the FSA.
'Listen to your people'Referring to the issue of destroying Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons, Mr Assad said it was "a very complicated operation, technically".
"And it needs a lot of money, some estimates (say) about a billion.
Continue reading the main storyCIA believes Syria's arsenal can be "delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile, and artillery rockets"Syria believed to possess mustard gas, sarin, and tried to develop VX gasSyria has agreed to join Chemical Weapons Convention; it signed Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972 but never ratifiedSources: CSIS, RUSI
"So it depends, you have to ask the experts what they mean by quickly. It has a certain schedule. It needs a year, or maybe a little bit more."
And when asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical to the US, President Assad said: "It needs about one billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don't they do it?"
'Very serious'Mr Assad also used the one-hour interview recorded in Damascus to criticise the American stance in the Syrian crisis.
Unlike the Russians, he said, Washington had tried to get involved in Syria's leadership and governance.
He stressed that if there was mutual respect, there would not be any problems.
"Listen to your people. Follow the common sense of your people," he said, in an apparent reference to US President Barack Obama.
Mr Assad's comments come shortly after a senior Russian diplomat said Damascus would fulfil its commitment to eliminate its chemical weapons by mid-2014.
After talks in Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said President Assad was "very serious" about the disarmament plan.
Mr Ryabkov also said that Syrian officials had handed him "material evidence" that showed the rebels were involved in the sarin attack last month, contradicting claims by the US that the regime was responsible.
And the Russian diplomat criticised the United Nations for being "one-sided" in its recent report on the attack - a claim the UN denied.
The report - prepared for UN weapons experts after a visit to Syria - did not apportion blame for the 21 August attack.
More than 100,000 people have been killed since Syria's civil war began in early 2011, according to the UN.
Millions have fled the country and millions more have been left homeless.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:32
PBS's Charlie Rose was lucky enough (or good enough) to land Syria President Bashar al-Assad's first interview since his military allegedly gassed government rebels in the country.
ABC ''Good Morning America's'' George Stephanopoulos wasn't so lucky, according to the New York Times:
The Syrian government wanted an American morning show to televise an interview with Mr. Assad on Wednesday, as a rebuttal of sorts to President Obama's Tuesday-night [last week] address to the nation, according to ABC staff members. Mr. Assad's previous interview, with Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS, had received international attention on Monday. So Mr. Stephanopoulos secretly flew to Beirut, Lebanon, just as Mr. Rose had before the CBS crew drove across the border to Damascus.
But Mr. Assad must have had a change of heart, because once Mr. Stephanopoulos was in Beirut, the interview was called off. Mr. Stephanopoulos returned to the United States empty-handed.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 18:13
Former Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich reportedly interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday.
Kucinich, now a contributor with Fox News, conducted the interview with Assad on Tuesday, according to Sunday Times reporter Hala Jaber.
If Kucinich in fact interviewed Assad, he would be the second American journalist to sit down with the Syrian president in recent weeks.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:20
Who Is Fethullah G¼len?
Controversial Muslim preacher, feared Turkish intriguer'--and ''inspirer'' of the largest charter school network in America
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times/Redux
G¼len in his Pennsylvania compound
With the American economy in shambles, Europe imploding, and the Middle East in chaos, convincing Americans that they should pay attention to a Turkish preacher named Fethullah G¼len is an exceedingly hard sell. Many Americans have never heard of him, and if they have, he sounds like the least of their worries. According to his website, he is an ''authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.'' The website adds that ''by some estimates, several hundred educational organizations such as K''12 schools, universities, and language schools have been established around the world inspired by Fethullah G¼len.'' The site notes, too, that G¼len was ''the first Muslim scholar to publicly condemn the attacks of 9/11.'' It also celebrates his modesty.
Yet there is a bit more to the story. G¼len is a powerful business figure in Turkey and'--to put it mildly'--a controversial one. He is also an increasingly influential businessman globally. There are somewhere between 3 million and 6 million G¼len followers'--or, to use the term they prefer, people who are ''inspired'' by him. Sources vary widely in their estimates of the worth of the institutions ''inspired'' by G¼len, which exist in every populated continent, but those based on American court records have ranged from $20 billion to $50 billion. Most interesting, from the American point of view, is that G¼len lives in Pennsylvania, in the Poconos. He is, among other things, a major player in the world of American charter schools'--though he claims to have no power over them; they're just greatly inspired, he says.
Even if it were only for these reasons, you might want to know more about G¼len, especially because the few commentators who do write about him generally mischaracterize him, whether they call him a ''radical Islamist'' or a ''liberal Muslim.'' The truth is much more complicated'--to the extent that anyone understands it.
To begin to understand G¼len, you must start with the history of the Nurcu movement. Said Nurs® (1878''1960), a Sunni Muslim in the Sufi tradition, was one of the great charismatic religious personalities of the late Ottoman Caliphate and early Turkish Republic. His Risale-i Nur, disdained and sometimes banned by the Republic, nevertheless became the basis for the formation of ''reading circles'''--geographically dispersed communities the size of small towns that gathered to read, discuss, and internalize the text and to duplicate it when it was banned. Nurcus tend to say, roughly, that the Risale-i Nur is distilled from the Koran; non-Nurcus often find the claim inappropriate or arrogant.
These reading circles gradually spread through Anatolia. Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish political scientist at the University of Utah, calls the Nurcu movement ''a resistance movement to the ongoing Kemalist modernization process.'' But it is also ''forward-looking,'' Yavuz says, a ''conceptual framework for a people undergoing the transformation from a confessional community (Gemeinschaft) to a secular national society (Gesellschaft). . . . Folk Islamic concepts and practices are redefined and revived to establish new solidarity networks and everyday-life strategies for coping with new conditions.'' To call this movement ''fundamentalist'' or ''radical'' is to empty both terms of meaning. It is equally silly to dismiss it as theologically primitive. I confess that I have not read all 6,000 pages of the Risale-i Nur, but I have read enough to be convinced that Nurs® is a fairly sophisticated thinker.
G¼len's movement, or cemaat, arose from roughly a dozen neo-Nur reading circles. G¼len was born in 1941 in a village near Erzurum, the eastern frontier of what is now the Turkish Republic. This territory was bitterly contested by the Russian, Persian, and Ottoman empires and gave rise to interpretations of Islam strongly infused with Turkish nationalism: when nothing but the Turkish state stands between you and the Russians, you become a Turkish nationalist, fast. Likewise, contrary to a common misconception among Americans who view the Islamic world as monolithic, G¼lenists do not consider Persians their friends.
Two notable points about G¼len's philosophy. First, he strongly dissuades his followers from tebliÄ, or open proselytism. He urges them instead to practice temsil'--living an Islamic way of life at all times, setting a good example, and embodying their ideals in their way of life. From what I have seen in Turkey, the embodiment of these ideals involves good manners, hard work, and the funding of many charities. It also involves a highly segregated role for women. I would not want to live in the segregated world that they find acceptable here; neither, I suspect, would the Western sociologists who have enthusiastically described the G¼len movement as analogous, say, to contemporary Southern Baptists or German Calvinists.
Second, G¼len holds (publicly, at any rate) that Muslims and non-Muslims once lived in peace because the Ottoman Turks established an environment of tolerance. To restore this peaceful coexistence worldwide, he says, Turks should become world leaders in promoting tolerance among religions'--and Turks following his teachings should become world leaders.
G¼len's detractors, however, inevitably point to a speech of his that surfaced in a video in 1999:
You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers. . . . Until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria, . . . like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. . . . The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it. . . . You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey . . . . Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all'--in confidence . . . trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here, [just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.
By this point, G¼len had decamped from Turkey to the United States for medical treatment. Nonetheless, in 2000, he was tried in absentia by a state security court for endeavoring to replace Turkey's secular government with an Islamic one; the indictment alleged that his movement had attempted to infiltrate Turkey's military schools. His followers say that the video was altered to incriminate him, but they have never produced the putatively innocuous original videotape. After years of legal wrangling, G¼len was acquitted in 2008.
G¼len's cemaat is by far the strongest Nurcu group in Turkey, described by many as Turkey's third power, alongside Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan's increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP, its initials in Turkish) and the military. The structure and organization of the cemaat are a subject of controversy. Members tend to be evasive not only about their relationship to G¼len but about the very existence of the cemaat; of late, some have urged Turks to use the word camia in its place. What's the difference? Not much. Camia conveys looser ties; cemaat can mean ''congregation,'' whereas a camia is more like a circle. But the word cemaat has become so fraught with sinister overtones that rebranding was in order. G¼len himself calls his movement Hizmet, or service.
The movement's supporters say that its structure is informal'--that being ''inspired'' by G¼len is akin to being ''inspired'' by Mother Teresa. Critics, including many people who have left the movement, observe that its organizational structure is strict, hierarchical, and undemocratic. G¼len (known to his followers as Hocaefendi, or ''master teacher'') is the sole leader, they say, and each community is led by abis, or elder brothers, who are privy to only a limited amount of information. Sociologist Berna Turam has argued that the abis make strong suggestions about, and perhaps dictate, whom members should marry. Even if prospective spouses are not within the cemaat, the cemaat should benefit from them; a spouse from a rich or powerful family would be an asset, for example. This sounds plausible: we often see this approach to marriage in societies with weak institutions and low social trust, and Turkey is certainly such a society.
The movement, according to researchers such as Yavuz, has three coordinated tiers: businessmen, journalists, and teachers. The first tier, the so-called Anatolian bourgeoisie, provides financial support: it funds private high schools, universities, colleges, dormitories, summer camps, and foundations around the world. The journalists of the second tier own one of the leading Turkish dailies, Zaman; its English-language counterpart, Today's Zaman (which is often not a faithful translation); the Turkish television station STV; the Cihan news service; many magazines and academic journals; several lesser dailies and TV channels; and many Internet-only news outlets. Finally, teachers operate the schools.
An e-mail message released by WikiLeaks and written by Reva Bahalla, an employee of the private intelligence company Stratfor, details the first two tiers. The e-mail describes ''hanging out with hardcore G¼lenists'' in Istanbul. It begins with a visit to the headquarters of Zaman:
The way they represent their agenda is that this is about democratization in Turkey, human rights, world peace, etc. The guy was actually quoting Western liberal philosophers trying to show how much in common they have with them in respect for these democratic values, and this is what's essential for Turkey's candidacy in the EU. The irony, they claim, is that people think because they're Islamist, they're fundamentalist and not modern, whereas the authoritarians (in their view) i.e. the military, are the ones who are seen in the West as modern. . . . (my note'--what Emre and I noticed is that in all our meetings with G¼lenists, they recited almost the same lines verbatim. . . .)
The next day, Emre and I visited a major G¼lenist organization that puts together these massive conferences all over the world to promote their agenda, raise funds, recruits, etc. Their office is in a very expensive part of Istanbul. They've got the best facilities, this beautiful theater system. In short, they've got money. Now you have to ask yourself, where is the money coming from? . . . Their funding comes mainly from co-opting the Anatolian business class. . . .
After getting a very long tour of the entire building, top to bottom, they sat us down for a G¼len propaganda film in their theater. . . . The G¼len guy is so overcome by the speech shown in the video by Fethullah G¼len, that he starts crying. Meanwhile I'm trying really hard not to laugh.
Well, it's funny unless you have to live here.
Wherever the movement establishes itself, it seems to follow a particular pattern. Sociologist Jonathan Lacey has studied its activities in Ireland, where the G¼len-inspired Turkish-Irish Educational and Cultural Society (TIECS) organizes one-week trips to Turkey for non-Turkish people:
I established that these trips are subsidized by businessmen, who are members of the G¼len Community. Members of TIECS claim that these trips are subsidized in order to promote intercultural dialogue. However, given the fact that the G¼len Community is actively engaged in trade as well as education in Central Asia, I proposed that these businessmen subsidize these trips, at least partly, to increase trade between Ireland and Turkey. Another possibility for these subsidies may lie in the hope of promoting a positive impression of Turkey in Europe and thereby securing entry into the European Union.
French researcher Bayram BalcÄ±, who is of Turkish origin, describes something similar in the movement's activities in Central Asia:
Businessmen from a particular city in Turkey, for example Bursa, will decide to concentrate their efforts on a particular Central Asian city, for example Tashkent. Nurcu investment will then become important in Tashkent, and a kind of twinning . . . between the two cities results. Nurcu group members'--whom we can consider as missionaries'--are sent by the movement with the aim of making contact with important companies, bureaucrats and personalities in order to appraise local needs. They then invite some of these important personalities to Turkey. . . . Nurcu organizations receive them and show them the private schools and foundations of the cemaat, without ever mentioning this word.
Whether one should admire the cemaat or be disturbed by it depends on the answer to this question: What is it after? And to arrive at that answer, we should explore two things about it that are known to be troubling. First, there is evidence that the cemaat is internally authoritarian, even cultlike. Ilhan TanÄ±r, a Turkish journalist who was in the cemaat but who left it, has expressed particular concern about the blind obedience demanded of its members:
Confusing the real world with the cosmic one, the movement sees itself many times as self-righteous and blessed in every occasion, and surrounded with miracles. Consequently, when hearing any criticism against its wishes and work, it equates suspicious inquirers either with iniquity or having ulterior motives. ''Itaat,'' or obedience, therefore becomes the first and the most important characteristic of a ''good'' and ''trusted'' member. . . . Living in such an environment for so long, many of these people simply become afraid to face the outside or are too weak to live in a real world.
Moreover, TanÄ±r holds, the cemaat believes that its cosmic mission ''justifies any conduct to achieve its ends at any cost.''
In 2008, the Dutch government investigated the movement's activities in the Netherlands. Ella Vogelaar, the country's minister for housing, communities, and integration, warned that ''in general terms, when an organization calls for turning away from society, this is at odds with the objectives of integration.'' It was, she noted, incumbent upon the government to ''keep sharp watch over people and organizations that systematically incite anti-integrative behavior, for this can also be a breeding ground for radicalization.'' Testifying about one of the schools in the investigation, a former member of the movement called it a ''sect with a groupthink outside of which these students cannot [reason]'':
After years living in the boarding school it is psychologically impossible to pull yourself away; you get guilt feelings. Furthermore, it forces the students to live, think and do as the Big Brothers [the abis] instruct them to. Furthermore, through psychological pressure, these students are told which choice of career is the best they can make for the sake of high ideals. . . . Another very bad aspect is that students no longer respect their parents and they do not listen if the parents do not live by the standards imposed by the group; they are psychologically distanced from their parents; here you have your little soldiers that march only to the orders of their abis. The abis are obliged to obey the provincial leaders, who in turn must obey the national leaders, who in turn obey Fethullah G¼len.
Following the investigation, the Dutch government, presumably concluding that the G¼len schools did indeed promote ''anti-integrative behavior,'' reduced their public funding.
The belief that the movement commands or inspires blind obedience is not confined to those who have left it'--its spokesmen are proud of it. In 2010, American journalist Suzy Hansen, writing for The New Republic, visited the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, where G¼len lives. The president of the facility, Bekir Aksoy, explained to her that ''our people do not complain. . . . They obey commands completely. . . . Let me put it this way. If a man with a Ph.D. and a career came to see Hocaefendi, and Hocaefendi told him it might be a good idea to build a village on the North Pole, that man with a Ph.D. would be back the next morning with a suitcase.''
The second troubling fact about the cemaat's activities is that the Turkish media organizations associated with it are clearly pursuing an agenda at odds with the movement's publicly stated ideals. The English version of Zaman is often significantly different from the Turkish one. Remarks about enemies of Islam, perfidious Armenians, and Mossad plots are edited out of the English version, as are other comments that sound incompatible with the message of intercultural tolerance. For example, Today's Zaman last year published G¼len's criticism of the government for failing to solve long-standing issues over the rights of Kurds, but omitted his ambiguous prayer: ''Knock their homes upside down, destroy their unity, reduce their homes to ashes, may their homes be filled with weeping and supplications, burn and cut off their roots, and bring their affairs to an end.'' G¼len's supporters will insist that he was referring only to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which the United States quite properly considers a terrorist group. But many ethnically Kurdish citizens of Turkey heard this as a call for genocide and were terrified by it.
Or consider G¼len's reasonable rebuttal, printed in Today's Zaman, to the common charge that his followers have infiltrated the organs of the state: ''To urge fellow citizens to seek employment at state institutions is not called infiltration. Both the people urged and these institutions belong to the same country. . . . It is a right for them to be employed in state posts.'' Those ellipses indicate something from the Turkish-language Zaman that has been omitted from the translation. What has been omitted is ''Kastedilen manadaki sÄ±zmayÄ± belli bir d¶nemde bu milletten olmayanlar yaptÄ±lar,'' meaning roughly that in the past, the state was infiltrated'--by those who ''weren't part of this nation.'' Those who know Turkey will immediately recognize the statement as part of a common understanding of history in which infiltration explains the state's actions as far back as the nineteenth century. The clear intimation is that the state was once infiltrated by non-Muslims or people only pretending to be Muslim'--among them Atat¼rk, of course. (Though expatriates in Turkey read Today's Zaman for roughly the reasons that Kremlinologists once read Pravda, I should note that it seems to be influential among foreign observers and is apparently beloved of Anne-Marie Slaughter, recently the State Department's director of policy planning.)
But to understand the strongest case against the G¼len media empire, we must explore some recent Turkish history. In June 2007, police discovered a crate of grenades in an Istanbul slum. Investigators claimed that they belonged to a shadowy clique of conspirators called Ergenekon. The organization was supposedly an outgrowth of the so-called Deep State'--a secret coalition of high-level figures in the military, the intelligence services, the judiciary, and organized crime, which surely existed at one point and doubtless still does. Ergenekon allegedly planned to stage a series of terrorist attacks throughout Turkey and use the ensuing chaos as the pretext for a military coup.
Since the day this news broke, thousands of Turks have been arrested by the AKP-led government, including military officers, academics, theologians, and journalists. In 2009, a new round of mass arrests began, targeting Kurds and leftists, as well as their attorneys. Journalists who witness these trials come away shocked, unable to believe the absurdity of the spectacle. I've watched a presiding judge, for example, ask a defendant why'--if the evidence against him had been forged, as the defendant claimed'--he had not caught the forger. Beyond the irrelevance of the question (that isn't the job of the accused), there was the obvious fact that the defendant had been in a prison cell since his arrest and thus hardly in a position to do freelance police work.
It's impossible not to conclude that something is rotten in the way the judicial process works in these cases, which until recently were under the control of the so-called Special Authority Courts. These were sold to the public as an advance upon Turkey's loathed military courts, but as far as I can tell, they have represented no great improvement in the justice system. You don't have to be a forensic specialist to see this; you only have to spend 15 minutes looking at the quality of the evidence upon which they rely. The most famous example involves the admission as evidence of coup plans that refer to entities that did not yet exist in the year that they were allegedly drafted; but anyone who wants other examples is spoiled for choice.
Yet the G¼lenist media have cheered on these arrests and mass trials'--representing them as the cleansing of the Deep State; describing them as a move against ''terrorist networks''; calling those who question the cases' legal standards darbeci, or coup-mongers; and failing to retract or correct misleading claims in their reporting. In other respects, by the way, journalists employed by the G¼len-''inspired'' media are often better reporters than those employed by Turkey's older media, so it's not convincing to suggest that they're just dumb and sloppy. They are careful and professional when they want to be. For these trials, they apparently don't want to be.
Now to America. G¼len lives in the United States, and he has received praise and support from high-level figures in the American government. Bill Clinton and James Baker have delivered encomiums to his contributions to world peace, for instance, and President Obama has made an admiring visit to the G¼len-inspired Pinnacle School in Washington, D.C. Former CIA officer Graham Fuller'--also former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council and the author of The Future of Political Islam'--vouched for G¼len personally in his green-card application process, as did former CIA officer George Fidas and former ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz.
All this support fuels conspiracy theories in Turkey and feeds deep anti-American sentiment among those who fear G¼len. They don't understand why these former spooks and diplomats have been helping him. Frankly, neither do I. Nor can I dismiss their fears as absurd Oriental delusions; on the face of it, it might make sense for the United States to back G¼len. He is pragmatically pro-American; he has been quoted as saying that he would do nothing to undermine America's interests in the region. He is suspicious of Russians and Iranians, as are we. He is influential enough in Turkey that it's at least plausible to imagine that America wants to placate him or use him. I understand why many Turks believe that G¼len is reposing himself in the Poconos because, for some inscrutable imperial purpose, we're protecting him.
Unfortunately, I know enough about American foreign policy to be confident that we're not that smart. Our government is often astonishingly incompetent, with branches habitually failing to communicate important information with one another and even senior officials uninterested in following the details of complex events in Turkey. I also know that Americans are on the whole very kind and decent and want very much to be friends with Muslims who say that they denounce terrorism. But they don't understand that by befriending G¼len, they infuriate Muslims in Turkey who likewise denounce terrorism but who also loathe G¼len as a power-hungry opportunist.
G¼len has used his time in America to become the largest operator'--or perhaps merely inspirer'--of charter schools in the United States. Sharon Higgins, who founded the organization Parents Across America, believes that there are now 135 G¼len-inspired charter schools in the country, enrolling some 45,000 students. That would make the G¼len network larger than KIPP'--the runner-up, with 109 schools. The schools, in 25 states, have anodyne names: Horizon Science Academy, Pioneer Charter School of Science, Beehive Science and Technology Academy. Thousands of Turkish nationals, almost all of them male, have come to America on H-1B visas specifically to teach in them. The schools focus on math and science, and their students often do well enough on standardized tests. The administrators say that they have no official ties to G¼len, and G¼len denies any connection to the schools. But federal forms required of nonprofits show that virtually all the schools have opened or operate with the aid of G¼len-inspired groups'--local nonprofits that promote Turkish culture. The Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield, for example, cosigned a five-year building lease with Chicago's Niagara Foundation, which explicitly promotes G¼len's philosophy of ''tolerance, dialogue and peace.''
The FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education have been investigating the hiring practices of some of these schools, as the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer have reported'--particularly the replacement of certified American teachers with uncertified Turkish ones who get higher salaries than the Americans did, using visas that are supposed to be reserved for highly skilled workers who fill needs unmet by the American workforce. The schools claim, according to an article written by Higgins in the Washington Post, that they are unable to find qualified teachers in America'--which seems implausible, given that we're in the depths of the worst economic downturn in postwar memory, and given that some of these new arrivals have come to teach English, which often they speak poorly, or English as a second language, which often they need themselves. They have also been hired as gym teachers, accountants, janitors, caterers, painters, construction workers, human-resources managers, public-relations specialists, and'--of all things'--lawyers.
Two of the schools, located in Texas, have been accused of sending school funds'--which are supplied by the government, of course, since these are charter schools'--to other G¼len-inspired organizations. Last year, the New York Times reported that the charters were funneling some $50 million in public funds to a network of Turkish construction companies, among them the G¼len-related Atlas Texas Construction and Trading. The schools had hired Atlas to do construction, the paper said, though other bidders claimed in lawsuits that they had submitted more economical bids. Meanwhile, Atlas may have played a part in protecting G¼len charter schools; Folwell Dunbar, an official at the Louisiana Department of Education, has accused Atlas's vice president, Inci Akpinar, of offering him a $25,000 bribe to keep mum about troubling conditions at the Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in New Orleans. Dunbar sent a memo to department colleagues, the Times-Picayune reported, noting that ''Akpinar flattered him with 'a number of compliments' before getting to the point: 'I have twenty-five thousand dollars to fix this problem: twenty thousand for you and five for me.' '' Abramson is operated by the Pelican Foundation, which is linked to the G¼len-inspired Cosmos Foundation in Texas'--which runs the two Texas schools.
Utah's Beehive Science and Technology Academy, another G¼len-inspired charter, was $337,000 in debt, according to a financial probe by the Utah Schools Charter Board. The Deseret News tried to figure out where all this taxpayer money had gone. ''In a time of teacher layoffs, Beehive has recruited a high percentage of teachers from overseas, mainly Turkey,'' the newspaper reported. ''Many of these teachers had little or no teaching experience before they came to the United States. Some of them are still not certified to teach in Utah. The school spent more than $53,000 on immigration fees for foreigners in five years. During the same time, administrators spent less than $100,000 on textbooks, according to state records.'' Reports have also claimed that the school board was almost entirely Turkish.
A reporter for the leftist magazine In These Times noted in 2010 that the Chicago Math and Science Academy obscured its relationship to G¼len. And the school board was strikingly similar to Beehive's: ''When I went to the school's board meeting on July 8, I was taken aback to see a board of directors comprised entirely of men. They all appeared of Turkish, Bosnian or Croatian descent. Although I have nothing against Turkish, Bosnian or Croatian men, it does seem that a school board serving students who are 58 percent Hispanic/Latino, 25 percent African American, 12 percent Asian and 5 percent white might be well served by some women board members and board members from ethnic backgrounds the school predominantly serves.''
Federal authorities are also investigating several of the movement's schools for forcing employees to send part of their paychecks to Turkey, the Inquirer reports. Also worrying is that some of these schools, after being granted the right to issue large, tax-free public bonds, are now defaulting on them. The New York Times recently reported that G¼len-inspired schools in Georgia had defaulted on $19 million in public bonds, having granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to businesses associated with G¼len followers.
There is no evidence that Islamic proselytizing takes place at the American G¼len schools and much evidence that students and parents like them. Most seem to be decent educational establishments, by American standards; graduates perform reasonably well, and some perform outstandingly.
So what are the schools for? Among other things, they seem to be moneymakers for the cemaat. They're loaded with private, state, and federal funding, and they have proved amazingly effective at soliciting private donations. The schools are also H-1B visa factories and perhaps the main avenue for building the G¼len community in the United States. In 2011, 292 of the 1,500 employees at the G¼len-inspired Harmony School of Innovation, a Texas charter school, were on H-1B visas, the school's superintendent told the New York Times. The feds have investigated Concept Schools, which operate 16 Horizon Science Academies across Ohio, on the suspicion that they illegally used taxpayer money to pay immigration and legal fees for people they never even employed, an Ohio ABC affiliate discovered. The feds' suspicion was confirmed by state auditors. Concept Schools repaid the fees for their Cleveland and Toledo schools shortly before the ABC story broke, but it's unclear whether they have repaid'--or can repay'--the fees for their other schools.
Perhaps to deflect scrutiny from the schools, people ''inspired'' by G¼len are constantly inviting high-ranking leaders to dinners to speak and lavishing them with awards. And remember those trips to Turkey that the Turkish-Irish Educational and Cultural Society organizes? The same thing happens in the United States. Dozens of Texans, ranging from state lawmakers to congressional staff members to university professors, have taken trips to Turkey financed by G¼len's foundations. The Raindrop Foundation, for instance, paid for State Senator Leticia Van de Putte's travel to Istanbul, according to a recent campaign report. Last January, she cosponsored a state senate resolution commending G¼len for ''his ongoing and inspirational contributions to promoting global peace and understanding.''
Steve Terrell, a reporter at the Santa Fe New Mexican, did a bit of digging and found that a remarkable number of local lawmakers had recently taken trips to Turkey courtesy of a private group, the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, that is tied to G¼len. In Idaho last year, a full tenth of state legislators went on the Turkey-trot tour, thanks to the Pacifica Institute, also inspired by G¼len. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission sent a memo to lawmakers reminding them to check with the commission before accepting the all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey to which they'd been invited by Pacifica. ''The State Ethics Commission,'' said the memo, ''does not have sufficient understanding of Pacifica Institute, the purpose of the trip, or the state 'benefit' associated with the trip.''
It is no very cynical asperity to wonder if all these trips are connected to the staggering amount of public money going to G¼len-inspired charter schools. Indeed, America is the only country in the world where the G¼len movement has been able to establish schools funded to a great extent by the host country's taxpayers.
But does the cemaat want something more than money? Its supporters call it a ''faith-based civil-society movement.'' Mehmet Kalyoncu, an advisor to the ambassador of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations, has observed correctly that the cemaat's Turkish enemies call it a creature of the CIA or the Mossad, a secret servant of the pope, or a Trojan horse trying to Christianize Muslims or weaken them. To some Western critics, such as Michael Rubin, the cemaat is ''a shadowy Islamist cult,'' anti-Semitic, anti-Western, and trying to Islamize Americans. G¼len is a second Khomeini, Rubin has warned, who is trying to establish a new caliphate.
But none of that is quite right. According to researcher Aydin Ozipek, who attended a G¼len school, ''the primary objective of the G¼len Movement is to increase its share of power.'' That, it seems to me, is the most accurate description of all. The cemaat poses problems not because its members are pious Muslims (that's probably the most admirable thing about them) but because it's a power-hungry business that often behaves repulsively'--like a mafia, in other words. G¼len does not run ''madrassas'' in America, as some have suggested; he runs charter schools. He does not ''practice taqiya''; he just dissimulates, like any ordinary politician.
I doubt that G¼len is a significant threat to American interests in the Middle East. For pragmatic reasons, the movement is friendly to any country where it can establish a business presence; if we stay friendly to business, it will stay friendly to us, however we define our interests. The cemaat need not be a problem within America, either, so long as we deal with it with our eyes open and make sure that its members are obeying the law. But eyes open is the key. Here's another excerpt from that infamous sermon that surfaced in 1999: ''The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of a spider, we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web; and we teach those who do. We don't lay the web to eat or consume them but to show them the way to their resurrection, to blow life into their dead bodies and souls, to give them a life.'' Those are words that suggest that G¼len's activities in the United States deserve careful scrutiny'--scrutiny because his business is organized and he thinks ahead.
Overall, America's assimilative power has a track record far more impressive than G¼len's. Our posture toward the G¼len movement in America has been, if inadvertently and late in coming, the right one: indict those who need indicting for specific, established crimes'--visa fraud and, I suspect, racketeering'--and wait for the next generation to become Americans. Treat people inspired by G¼len to the rule of law'--to the same laws that everyone else in America follows. If they don't already see it, they will recognize in time that those laws are excellent and connected to the economic opportunities that they enjoy. In fact, they may even do America some good, insofar as they're locked into battle with the teachers' unions: if G¼len's followers can break them, more power to them. Maybe one day, we'll even get a great American cemaat novel out of their experience.
Our posture toward the movement as a foreign policy actor, however, to the extent that I can understand it, has been foolish. It is wrong to imagine that G¼len can be some kind of asset to us internationally or to accept or promote him as one. He has not been elected in Turkey'--our NATO ally'--or anywhere else. We have an interest in seeing Turkey become a full-fledged liberal democracy. That means supporting G¼len's stated ideals'--not him.
Claire Berlinski, a City Journal contributing editor, is an American journalist who lives in Istanbul. She is the author of There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.
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Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:19
The G¼len movement is a transnational religious and social movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah G¼len. The movement has attracted supporters and critics in Turkey, Central Asia and increasingly in other parts of the World. The movement is active in education (with private schools in over 140 countries) and interfaith dialogue; and has substantial investments in media, finance, and for''profit health clinics. The movement has been described as a "pacifist, modern-minded Islam, often praised as a contrast to more extreme Salafism."
The movement has no official name but it is usually called simply as Hizmet (The Service) by its followers and is known euphemistically as Cemaat (The Community / Assembly) to the broader public in Turkey.
The exact number of supporters of the G¼len movement is not known, as the movement is rather secretive to some but to others there is no official membership structure, but estimates vary from 1 million to 8 million. The movement consists primarily of students, teachers, businessmen, journalists and other professionals. 
Some studies claim that the movement is arranged in a flexible organizational network. It has founded schools, universities, an employers' association, as well as charities, real estate trusts, student bodies, radio and television stations, and newspapers. They believe that the schools and businesses organize locally, and link into networks on an informal rather than legal basis.Forbes magazine wrote that the G¼len movement is not seeking to subvert modern secular states but rather encourages practicing Muslims to use to the fullest the opportunities those countries offer. The New York Times has described the movement as coming from a "moderate blend of Islam."Prospect magazine reported that G¼len and the G¼len movement "are at home with technology, markets and multinational business and especially with modern communications and public relations." Some believe that In Turkey, the G¼len movement tries to keep its distance from Islamic political parties.The Economist described the G¼len movement as a Turkish-based movement that sounds more reasonable than most of its rivals, and which is vying to be recognized as the World's leading Muslim network. It stated that G¼len has won praise from non-Muslim quarters with his belief in science, inter-faith dialog and multi-party democracy. Nil¼fer G¶le, professor of sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, who is known for her studies on modernization and conservatism, has described the G¼len movement as the World's most global movement. According to Lester Kurtz's (of University of Texas, Austin), Gulen schools (see section on Education) are a form of service to humanity designed to promote learning in a broader sense, to avoid explicit Islamic propaganda, and to lay the foundations for a more humane, tolerant citizenry of the World where people are expected to cultivate their own faith perspectives and also promote the well being of others.
Some other studies, including some people who have left the movement, state that its organizational structure is strict, hierarchical, and undemocratic. G¼len (known to his followers as Hocaefendi, or ''master teacher'') is the sole leader, they say, and each community is led by abis, or elder brothers, who are privy to only a limited amount of information. Sociologist Berna Turam has argued that the abis make strong suggestions about, and perhaps dictate, whom members should marry. Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish political scientist at the University of Utah, calls the movement ''a resistance movement to the ongoing Kemalist modernization process in Turkey.''Ilhan TanÄ±r, a Turkish journalist who was in the cemaat but who left it, has expressed his concern about the blind obedience demanded of its members. The belief that the movement commands or inspires blind obedience is not confined to those who have left it. In 2010, American journalist Suzy Hansen, writing for The New Republic, visited the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, where G¼len lives. The president of the facility, Bekir Aksoy, explained to her that ''our people do not complain... They obey commands completely... Let me put it this way. If a man with a Ph.D. and a career came to see Hocaefendi, and Hocaefendi told him it might be a good idea to build a village on the North Pole, that man with a Ph.D. would be back the next morning with a suitcase.''
The movement, according to researchers such as Yavuz, has three coordinated tiers: businessmen, journalists, and teachers. The first tier, the so-called Anatolian bourgeoisie, provides financial support: it funds private high schools, universities, colleges, dormitories, summer camps, and foundations around the world. The journalists of the second tier own one of the leading Turkish dailies, Zaman; its English-language counterpart, Today's Zaman (which is often not a faithful translation); the Turkish television station Samanyolu TV (STV); the Cihan News Agency; many magazines and academic journals; several lesser dailies and TV channels; and many Internet-only news outlets. Finally, teachers operate the schools.
The movement is sometimes accused of being "missionary" in intent, or of organizing in a clandestine way and aiming for political power. About the accusations of "hidden agenda", members of the movement say "Anybody who accuses us of having a hidden agenda, is welcome to come and quiz us. We have nothing to hide".
In the movement there are secular women from conservative-right circles and women who do not wear the Islamic head covering, but most of the time female participants do not question gender segregation in the movement, and wear clothing that does not expose any part of the arms and legs. Gender segregation "remains an ideal inside the cemaat and is never touched on in theory," but because of the variety of social activities the movement engages in, participants' practice is more liberal than the theoretical understanding of the movement. However, many women in Turkely and elsewhere find the movement's requirements far from acceptable.
Education[edit source |edit]Globally, the G¼len movement is especially active in education. In 2009 Newsweek claimed that movement participants run "schools in which more than 2 million students receive education, many with full scholarships". Estimates of the number of schools and educational institutions vary widely, from about 300 schools in Turkey to over 1,000 schools worldwide.
Two American professors at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Temple University wrote that "these schools have consistently promoted good learning and citizenship, and the Hizmet movement is to date an evidently admirable civil society organization to build bridges between religious communities and to provide direct service on behalf of the common good". Participants in the movement have also founded private universities.
The greatest majority of the teachers are drawn from members of the G¼len network, who often encourage students in the direction of greater piety. A 2008 article in the New York Times said that in Pakistan "they encourage Islam in their dormitories, where teachers set examples in lifestyle and prayer", and described the Turkish schools as offering a gentler approach to Islam that could help reduce the influence of extremism. However, schools are not for Muslims alone, and in Turkey "the general curriculum for the network's schools prescribes one hour of religious instruction per week, while in many countries the schools do not offer any religious instruction at all. With the exception of a few Imam-Hatip schools abroad, these institutions can thus hardly be considered Islamic schools in the strict sense."
Other commentators, who focus on the presence of Gulen schools in the West, disagree with these statements and are much more critical. In 2008, the Dutch government investigated the movement's activities in the Netherlands. Ella Vogelaar, the country's minister for housing, communities, and integration, warned that ''in general terms, when an organization calls for turning away from society, this is at odds with the objectives of integration.'' It was, she noted, incumbent upon the government to ''keep sharp watch over people and organizations that systematically incite anti-integrative behavior, for this can also be a breeding ground for radicalization.'' Testifying about one of the schools in the investigation, a former member of the movement called it a ''sect with a groupthink outside of which these students cannot [reason]'':
"After years living in the boarding school it is psychologically impossible to pull yourself away; you get guilt feelings. Furthermore, it forces the students to live, think and do as the Big Brothers [the abis] instruct them to. Furthermore, through psychological pressure, these students are told which choice of career is the best they can make for the sake of high ideals. . . . Another very bad aspect is that students no longer respect their parents and they do not listen if the parents do not live by the standards imposed by the group; they are psychologically distanced from their parents; here you have your little soldiers that march only to the orders of their abis. The abis are obliged to obey the provincial leaders, who in turn must obey the national leaders, who in turn obey Fethullah G¼len."
Following the investigation, the Dutch government, concluding that the G¼len schools did indeed promote ''anti-integrative behavior,'' reduced their public funding.
The United States of America is the only country in the world where the G¼len movement has been able to establish schools funded to a great extent by the host country's taxpayers. In June 2011, New York Times shed light on schools in the United States, revealing that "Gulen followers have been involved in starting similar schools around the country '-- there are about 120 in all, mostly in urban centers in 25 states, one of the largest collections of charterschools in America." 
On the other hand, there are a number of anti-charter groups that try to associate several successful charter schools, such as Harmony Public Schools, with the Gulen Movement. For example, when MerryLynn Gerstenschlager of Texas Eagle Forum, a conservative TEA Party group, testified before the House Public Education Committee of Texas, House Public Education Committee members did not share the Eagle Forum's concerns about Harmony charter schools. Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, says she has ''a large Turkish community in my district and several Harmony schools in my district. I think they are fabulous. I don't think they teach religion.''
Federal authorities are investigating several of the movement's schools for forcing employees to send part of their paychecks to Turkey. In March 2011, Philadelphia Enquirer reported that Federal Agencies including "FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education - were investigating whether some employees were kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet."
The schools are also H-1B visa factories. (These visas are supposed to be reserved for highly skilled workers who fill needs unmet by the American workforce). In 2011, 292 of the 1,500 employees at the G¼len-inspired Harmony School of Innovation, a Texas school, were on H-1B visas, the school's superintendent told The New York Times. The schools claim, according to an article written by Sharon Higgins in the Washington Post, that they are unable to find qualified teachers in America'--which seems implausible, given the economic crisis and given that some of these new arrivals teach English, which often they speak poorly, or English as a second language, which often they need themselves.
The FBI has investigated Concept Schools, which operate 16 Horizon Science Academies across Ohio, on the suspicion that they illegally used taxpayer money to pay immigration and legal fees for people they never even employed, an Ohio ABC affiliate discovered. The FBI's suspicion was confirmed by state auditors. Concept Schools repaid the fees for their Cleveland and Toledo schools shortly before the ABC story broke, but it's unclear whether they have repaid'--or can repay'--the fees for their other schools.
There is no evidence that Islamic proselytizing takes place at the American G¼len schools and much evidence that students and parents like them. Most seem to be decent educational establishments, by American standards; graduates perform reasonably well, and some perform outstandingly.
Some commentators argue that schools are simply moneymakers for the cemaat (Gulen movement) and are the main avenue for building the G¼len community in the United States. In the USA, they obtain a substantial amount of private, state, and federal funding (in addition to tuition fees), and they have proved amazingly effective at soliciting private donations.
Some analysts argue that the so-called schools linked to the movement became easy targets of the Islamophobia network in the US. The CAP report, called the Fear Inc, argued that various elements of the Islamophobia network treat these schools as a threat to America. They claim that "Muslim Gulen schools" would educate children through the lens of Islam and teach them to hate Americans".
Some people inspired by Gulen constantly invite high-ranking leaders to dinners to speak and lavish them with awards. Dozens of Texans, ranging from state lawmakers to congressional staff members to university professors, have taken trips to Turkey financed by G¼len's foundations. The Raindrop Foundation, for instance, paid for State Senator Leticia Van de Putte's travel to Istanbul, according to a recent campaign report. In 2012 she cosponsored a state senate resolution commending G¼len for ''his ongoing and inspirational contributions to promoting global peace and understanding.'' Steve Terrell, a reporter at the Santa Fe New Mexican, found that a remarkable number of local lawmakers had recently taken trips to Turkey courtesy of a private group, the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, that is tied to G¼len. In Idaho in 2011, a full tenth of state legislators went on a tour in Turkey financed by the Pacifica Institute, also inspired by G¼len. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission sent a memo to lawmakers reminding them to check with the commission before accepting the all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey to which they'd been invited by Pacifica. ''The State Ethics Commission,'' said the memo, ''does not have sufficient understanding of Pacifica Institute, the purpose of the trip, or the state 'benefit' associated with the trip.''
Two schools, located in Texas, have been accused of sending school funds'--which are supplied by the government'--to G¼len-inspired organizations. Last year, The New York Times reported that the some schools were funneling some $50 million in public funds to a network of Turkish construction companies, among them the G¼len-related Atlas Texas Construction and Trading. The schools had hired Atlas to do construction, the paper said, though other bidders claimed in lawsuits that they had submitted more economical bids. Folwell Dunbar, an official at the Louisiana Department of Education, has accused Atlas's vice president, Inci Akpinar, of offering him a $25,000 bribe to keep mum about troubling conditions at the Abramson Science and Technology School in New Orleans. Dunbar sent a memo to department colleagues, the Times-Picayune reported, noting that "Akpinar flattered him with 'a number of compliments' before getting to the point: 'I have twenty-five thousand dollars to fix this problem: twenty thousand for you and five for me.' " Abramson is operated by the Pelican Foundation, which is linked to the G¼len-inspired Cosmos Foundation in Texas'--which runs the two Texas schools.
Utah's Beehive Science and Technology Academy was $337,000 in debt, according to a financial probe by the Utah Schools Charter Board. The Deseret News tried to figure out where all this taxpayer money had gone. "In a time of teacher layoffs, Beehive has recruited a high percentage of teachers from overseas, mainly Turkey," the newspaper reported. ''Many of these teachers had little or no teaching experience before they came to the United States. Some of them are still not certified to teach in Utah. The school spent more than $53,000 on immigration fees for foreigners in five years. During the same time, administrators spent less than $100,000 on textbooks, according to state records.'' Reports have also claimed that the school board was almost entirely Turkish.
A reporter for the leftist magazine In These Times noted in 2010 that the Chicago Math and Science Academy obscured its relationship to G¼len. And the school board was strikingly similar to Beehive's:
''When I went to the school's board meeting on July 8, I was taken aback to see a board of directors comprised entirely of men. They all appeared of Turkish, Bosnian or Croatian descent. Although I have nothing against Turkish, Bosnian or Croatian men, it does seem that a school board serving students who are 58 percent Hispanic/Latino, 25 percent African American, 12 percent Asian and 5 percent white might be well served by some women board members and board members from ethnic backgrounds the school predominantly serves.''
In April 2009, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published a piece about the G¼len schools in Central Asia stating the "Turkish educational institutions have come under increasing scrutiny... Governments as well as many scholars and journalists suspect that the schools have more than just education on their agendas..." The article quoted Hakan Yavuz, a Turkish professor of political science at the University of Utah, as calling the G¼len movement
"a political movement... and it has always been political.... They want to train an elitist class that will then turn Turkey into a centre of the religious World, Islamise the country,... It is the most powerful movement right now in [Turkey]... There is no other movement to balance them in society."
The schools in Kazakhstan have been accused of following admission policies that favor the children from the wealthy and well-connected families. Schools established by G¼len movement participants in Tashkent and St. Petersburg were closed for a period, accused of supporting Islamic groups (Tashkent) and diverging from the state curriculum (St. Petersburg). However, the St. Petersburg school filed an appeal. Subsequently, the school was re-opened in July 2008 after having its license revoked for over a year.
In April 2010, Trend News Agency published a piece about the G¼len schools in Georgia. Excerpt: "The Georgian Labor Party protested the opening of Turkish schools in Georgia. The party's Political Secretary Giorgi Gugava called the mass opening of Turkish schools in Georgia, "the dominance of Turkey in the Georgian educational system," and noted that these schools aim to spread Turkish culture and fundamentalist religious ideas'...Gugava said the process is headed by Turkish religious leader Fetullah G¼len, whose activities are banned in his motherland'...''
In other sources, the schools in Central Asia have been described as supporting a philosophy based on Turkish nationalism rather than on Islam.
Interfaith Dialogue[edit source |edit]G¼len movement participants have founded a number of institutions across the World that claim to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue activities. For example, in 2006 in G¶teborg, Sweden, the G¼len movement started Dialogslussen which purports to promote interfaith dialogue in Sweden. G¼len has met with leaders of other religions, including Pope John Paul II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, and Israeli Sephardic Head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron. Similar to his role model Said Nursi, G¼len claims to favor cooperation between followers of different religions and different forms of Islam (such as Sunnism vs. Alevism). B. Jill Carroll of Rice University in Houston said in an Interfaith Voices program, an independent public radio program, that "G¼len has greatly impacted three generations in Turkey.". Of the schools she said: "These schools invest in the future and aim at creating a community that offers equal opportunities for everyone."
Other Activities[edit source |edit]Movement participants have set up a number of media organs, including Turkish-language TV stations (Samanyolu TV, Mehtap TV), an English-language TV station in the United States (Ebru TV), the Turkish-language newspaper Zaman, the English-language newspaper Today's Zaman, magazines and journals in Turkish like Aksiyon, SÄ±zÄ±ntÄ±, Yeni 'mit, the English language The Fountain Magazine, and Arabic language Hira, the international media group Cihan and the radio station Bur§ FM. Since 1998 the Journalists and Writers Foundation non-profit was set up, which claims that its mission is "to organize events promoting love, tolerance and dialogue." The aid charity Kimse Yok Mu? (Is anybody there?) was established in March 2004 as a continuation of a TV program of the same name that ran on Samanyolu TV for some years.
Movement supporters have also formed business lobbying groups and think tanks in Washington and Brussels, including Interfaith Dialogue Institute, Interfaith Dialog Center, and Rumi Forum.Bank Asya, formerly Asya Finans, was founded by G¼len movement participants in 1994. IÅÄ±k Sigorta (Light Insurance) company describes itself as a partner of Bank Asya.
Fethullah Gulen's and the Gulen movement's views and practices have been discussed in internationalconferences. In October 2007 in London a conference was sponsored by the University of Birmingham, the Dialogue Society, the Irish School of Ecumenics, Leeds Metropolitan University, the London Middle East Institute, the Middle East Institute and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Niagara Foundation of Chicago, together with several academic institutions, organized "The G¼len Movement: Paradigms, Projects and Aspirations" conference, which was held at University of Chicago on Nov 11-13 2010.
Political Involvement[edit source |edit]Questions have arisen about the G¼len movement's possible involvement in the ongoing Ergenekon investigation (Ergenekon allegedly being an ultra-nationalist, pro-military, anti-government gang), which critics have characterized as "a pretext" by the government "to neutralize dissidents" in Turkey. In March 2011, seven Turkish journalists were arrested, including Ahmet ÅÄ±k, who had been writing a book, "Imamin Ordusu" (The Imam's Army), which alleges that the G¼len movement has infiltrated the country's security forces. As Åik was taken into police custody, he shouted,''Whoever touches it gets burned!''. G¼len Movement newspaper Today's Zaman published an interview with publishers and writers who had published or written the harshest pieces against Gulen and they all claim "nothing happened to them" and thus voids claims made by Åik who made his claim apparently in an attempt to divert attention to Gulen rather than his arrest. Upon his arrest, drafts of the book were confiscated and its possession was banned. Åik has also been charged with being part of the Ergenekon plot.[unreliable source?]
In a reply, Abdullah Bozkurt, from G¼len Movement newspaper Today's Zaman, has accused Ahmet ÅÄ±k of not being "an investigative journalist" conducting "independent research," but of hatching "a plot designed and put into action by the terrorist network itself,"
According to Gareth H. Jenkins, a Senior Fellow of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center at Johns Hopkins University:
From the outset, the pro-AKP media, particularly the newspapers and television channels run by the G¼len Movement such as Zaman, Today's Zaman and Samanyolu TV, have vigorously supported the Ergenekon investigation. This has included the illegal publication of ''evidence'' collected by the investigators before it has been presented in court, misrepresentations and distortions of the content of the indictments and smear campaigns against both the accused and anyone who questions the conduct of the investigations.There have long been allegations that not only the media coverage but also the Ergenekon investigation itself is being run by G¼len's supporters. In August 2010, Hanefi AvcÄ±, a right-wing police chief who had once been sympathetic to the G¼len Movement, published a book in which he alleged that a network of G¼len's supporters in the police were manipulating judicial processes and fixing internal appointments and promotions. On September 28, 2010, two days before he was due to give a press conference to present documentary evidence to support his allegations, AvcÄ± was arrested and charged with membership of an extremist leftist organization. He remains in jail. On March 14, 2011, AvcÄ± was also formally charged with being a member of the alleged Ergenekon gang.
1938, 1941 or 1942G¼len born in Korucuk village of Pasinler township in Pasinler, Erzurum Province.1950s G¼len's first meeting with people from the Nur movement1960 death of Said Nurs®.1960s G¼len begins attracting disciples while a state preacher in Izmir1971 G¼len arrested for an alleged crime of organizing and/or participating activities to change the basis of the constitutional system but is released seven months later.late 1970s G¼len establishes himself independently of other Nurcu organizations; first Ä±ÅÄ±k evleri ("houses of light," i.e., student residences)established1978 First dershane (study center for university exams) opens1979 Science journal SÄ±zÄ±ntÄ± begins publication1981 G¼len retires1982 First "G¼len school" opens1986Zaman, a top selling daily newspaper in Turkey, begins publication1988-1991 G¼len gives lectures in Istanbul and Izmir1991 Fall of Soviet Union permits establishment of G¼len schools in Central Asia1994 The (Turkish) Journalists and Writers Foundation, with G¼len as "honorary leader"1996 Creation of Asya Finans (investment bank aimed at former Soviet Central Asia), with Tansu iller as an investor1998 G¼len meets with Pope John Paul II in Rome1999 G¼len movement schools in Tashkent closed by Uzbekstan government after a rift between Turkish and Uzbek governments1999 G¼len emigrates to Pennsylvania1999 Establishment of Niagara Foundation2004 Establishment of Kimse Yok Mu ("Is there anybody there?"), a charitable organization2005 Establishment of TUSKON (Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists)^"The Turkish exception: Gallipoli, G¼len, and capitalism". Australia's ABC. Radio National. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. ^ abJenny Barbara White, Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: a study in vernacular politics, University of Washington Press (2002), p. 112^http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21578113-muslim-cleric-america-wields-surprising-political-power-turkey-gulenists-fight-back Turkey's political imams: The Gulenists fight back^Bulent Aras and Omer Caha, Fethullah Gulen and his Liberal "Turkish Islam" Movement^ abMorris, Chris (2000-09-01). "Turkey accuses popular Islamist of plot against state". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-04. ^Abdulhamid Turker, Fethullah Gulen's Influence^Portrait of Fethullah G¼len, A Modern Turkish-Islamic Reformist^ abIslam in Kazakhstan^name=forbes0118^ abcdTavernise, Sabrina (2008-05-04). "Turkish Schools Offer Pakistan a Gentler Vision of Islam". New York Times. ^Interview with Sabrina Tavernise, World View Podcasts, New York Times, May 4, 2008^A modern Ottoman, Prospect, Issue 148, July 2008^Clement M. Henry, Rodney Wilson, The politics of Islamic Finance, Edinburgh University Press (2004), p 236^Economist: Global Muslim networks, How far they have traveled^Turkish schools World's most global movement, says sociologist^Lester R. Kurtz, "Gulen's Paradox: Combining Commitment and Tolerance," Muslim World, Vol. 95, July 2005; 379-381.^ abcInfra note, Berlinski 2012^http://ilhantanir.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-do-gulenists-change-rules-ii.html^The Fethullah G¼len Movement - Pillar of Society or Threat to Democracy?^Today's Zaman: response to criticism of Fethullah Gulen^Response to MEQ article of winter 2009^Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford University Press 2006) p. 130^Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford University Press 2006) p. 125^ abRobert W. Hefner, Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Schooling Islam: the culture and politics of modern Muslim education (Princeton University Press, 2007) p. 163.^In the headscarf controversy in Turkey, when covered girls were prevented from going to school and university by the headscarf ban, the G¼len movement ''was the first to insist on girls' schooling at the cost of compromising their headscarf.'' Female members of the Refah party who refused to take their scarves off to go to university were critical of the compromising attitudes of the G¼len Movement.^Behind Turkey's Witch Hunt^Turkish Islamic preacher - threat or benefactor?^Turkish Schools^Jon Pahl and John Raines, Professor of the History of Christianity in North America, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. "Gulen-Inspired Schools Promote Learning and Service". ^"Private university". ^Turkish Islamic preacher - threat or benefactor?^Claire Berlinski, City Journal, Autumn 2012, Vol. 22, Issue 4: "Who Is Fethullah G¼len?"^Charter Schools Tied to Turkey Grow in Texas^http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2012/02/eagle-forum-takes-on-harmony-charter-schools/^U.S. charter-school network with Turkish link draws federal attention^ abcdefghSupra note, Berlinski 2012^http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shank/islamophobia-network-targets-top-performing-american-schools_b_975946.html^Turkish Schools Coming Under Increasing Scrutiny in Central Asia.^Rashid, A. (Spring 2001). The Fires of Faith in Central Asia. World Policy Journal, 18, 1. p.45. Retrieved 10 July 2008^Akkan, Faruk (4 July 2008). "St. Petersburg Turkish college wins case, resumes services". Zaman. Retrieved 10 July 2008. [dead link]^Georgian Labor Party protests opening of Turkish schools^Fethullah Gulen and His Liberal "Turkish Islam" Movement^http://en.fgulen.net/conference-papers/gulen-conference-in-washington-dc/3091-the-gulen-movement-gender-and-practice.html^Advocate of Dialogue: Fethullah G¼len^Interfaith Voices: Fethullah G¼len^Journalists and Writers Foundation - About^Funding G¼len-inspired Good Works: Demonstrating and Generating Commitment to the Movement by Helen Rose Ebaugh & Dogan Koc^http://en.fgulen.com/conference-papers/contributions-of-the-gulen-movement^http://www.niagarafoundation.org/the-international-gulen-conference-2010-in-chicago-2/^ ab| Gareth H. Jenkins | silkroadstudies.org | April 2011^Behind Turkey's Witch Hunt, by Soner Cagaptay, Newsweek, May 16, 2009^Turkish authorities launch raids to censor book before publication in the Guardian of 5 April 2011; accessed on 11 April 2011^Arsu, Sebnem (2011-03-03). "7 More Journalists Detained in Turkey". The New York Times. ^Vural, Fatih. "'If whoever touched G¼len was doomed, we would have been ashes by now'". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 25 July 2011. ^Details can be found in English on the site of the Democratic Turkey Forum; accessed on 5 April 2001. In the footnotes to translated passages of the book you can find other works on the subject.^The alleged terrorist network is the Ergenekon organization, see Article of 29 March 2011; accessed on 5 April 2011^Son Karakol^http://www.medyatava.com/tiraj/^http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaman_%28gazete%29^http://www.tuskon.org/?p=content&cl=kurumsal&l=kurumsalIndependent Sources[edit source |edit]Claire Berlinski, City Journal, Autumn 2012, Vol. 22, Issue 4: "Who Is Fethullah G¼len?"Fethullah G¼len's Grand Ambition: Turkey's Islamist Danger, by Rachel Sharon-Krespin, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009, pp. 55-66Islamists Approach Europe: Turkey's Islamist Danger, by Bassam Tibi, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009, pp. 47-54Turkish Islam's Moderate Face, by B¼lent Aras, Middle East Quarterly September 1998, pp. 23-29Sociologist calls on G¼lenist charter schools to come clean, December 22, 2010, Tim Steller, Arizona Daily StarInterview with Helen Rose Ebaugh on the G¼len Movement: "An Alternative to Fundamentalism"The G¼len Movement: a modern expression of Turkish IslamThe G¼len Movement A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam by Helen Rose EbaughThe Guardian, Islamophonic: Turkey edition Riazat Butt travels to Istanbul to look at the Gulen movement and check out the country's designer headscarvesVideo, The Guardian: Turkey's most powerful man, Does the movement inspired by Fethullah G¼len represent a modern brand of Islam, or a subtle attempt to infiltrate religion into secular Turkey?Park, Bill. "The Fethullah Gulen Movement."Global Politician 12 Dec. 2008"Gulen Movement: Turkey's Third Power."] Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst Feb. 2009 http://tool.donation-net.net/Images/Email/1097/Gulen_movement.pdfHendrick, Joshua. "Globalization and Marketed Islam in Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen." PhD dissertation UC Santa Cruz June 2009 (partial view, pp. 1''40)News report video. "Rising Islamist movements challenge secularism in Turkey."Worldfocus (produced by WNET, distributed by American Public Television) 21 Oct. 2009"Transnational Religious Nationalism in the New Turkey: The Case of Fethullah Gulen."Baker Institute event at Rice University (webcast) 09 Dec. 2010"Islamic group is CIA front, ex-Turkish intel chief says."Washington Post 05 Jan. 2010"Islam Inc." A 28 minute programme on the Heart and Soul series of the BBC, 4 June 2011.Gulen Movement Websites[edit source |edit]
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:04
Fethullah G¼len (born 27 April 1941) is a Turkishwriter, former imam and preacher and Islamic opinion leader. He is the founder of the G¼len movement. He currently lives in a self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg,Pennsylvania, USA.
G¼len teaches an Anatolian (Hanafi) version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Bedi¼zzaman Said Nursi's teachings and modernizes them. G¼len has stated his belief in science, interfaith dialogue among the People of the Book, and multi-party democracy. He has initiated such dialogue with the Vatican and some Jewish organizations.
G¼len is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as "one of the world's most important Muslim figures." In the Turkish context G¼len appears relatively conservative and religiously observant.
G¼len was born in the village of Korucuk, near Erzurum. His father, Ramiz G¼len, was an imam. G¼len started primary education at his home village, but did not continue after his family moved, and instead focused on informal Islamic education. He gave his first sermon when he was 14. He was influenced by the ideas of Said Nursi and Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi.
Comparing G¼len to leaders in the Nur movement, Hakan Yavuz said, "G¼len is more Turkish nationalist in his thinking. Also, he is somewhat more state-oriented, and is more concerned with market economics and neo-liberal economic policies."
His pro-business stance has led some outsiders[who?] to dub his theology an Islamic version of Calvinism.Oxford Analytica says:
"G¼len put Nursi's ideas into practice when he was transferred to a mosque in Izmir in 1966. Izmir is a city where political Islam never took root. However, the business and professional middle class came to resent the constraints of a state bureaucracy under whose wings it had grown, and supported market-friendly policies, while preserving at least some elements of a conservative lifestyle. Such businessmen were largely pro-Western, because it was Western (mainly U.S.) influence, which had persuaded the government to allow free elections for the first time in 1950 and U.S. aid, which had primed the pump of economic growth."G¼len retired from formal preaching duties in 1981. From 1988 to 1991 he gave a series of sermons in popular mosques of major cities. In 1994, he participated in the founding of "Journalists and Writers Foundation" and was given the title "Honorary President" by the foundation. He did not make any comment regarding the closures of the Welfare Party in 1998 or the Virtue Party in 2001. He has met some politicians like Tansu iller and B¼lent Ecevit, but he avoids meeting with the leaders of Islamic political parties.
In 1999 G¼len emigrated to the United States for medical treatment, though arguably it was in anticipation of being tried over remarks (aired after his emigration to US) which seemed to favor an Islamic state. In June 1999, after Gulen had left Turkey video tapes were sent to some Turkish TV stations with recordings of Gulen saying, "the existing system is still in power. Our friends who have positions in legislative and administrative bodies should learn its details and be vigilant all the time so that they can transform it and be more fruitful on behalf of Islam in order to carry out a nationwide restoration. However, they should wait until the conditions become more favorable. In other words, they should not come out too early." G¼len complained that the remarks were taken out of context, and questions were raised about the authenticity of the tape, which he accused of having been "manipulated". G¼len was tried in absentia in 2000, and acquitted in 2008.
Theology[edit source |edit]G¼len does not advocate a new theology but refers to classical authorities of theology and takes up their line of argument. His understanding of Islam tends to be conservative and mainstream. Though he has never been a member of a Sufitarekat and does not see tarekat membership as a necessity for Muslims, he teaches that Sufism is the inner dimension of Islam and the inner and outer dimensions must never be separated.
Islamic believes; Mythological stories about Muhammad and of prophets decorated with surreal characters, takes place in prophetic biography books named Ahmadiyya, Muhammediyye etc. G¼len uses plenty of them on his sermons; Satans, ifrits, devils, gins, angels and other mythical characters such as Seven sleepers, Khidr, Lukman, Adam, Eve, Noah, and stories associated with them. Gulen attributes them reality and his faithfull pathway's main feature is to dedication  rather questioning  as many others.
His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream, moderate Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Quran: (1) he teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the ''common good'' of the community and the nation and to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and (2), the Muslim community is obliged to conduct interfaith dialogue with the "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians). Although this does not extend to other religions and atheists. In fact he appears to be intolerant of atheism, as in 2004 G¼len commented to the effect that terrorism was as despicable as atheism. In a follow-up interview he explained he did not intend to equate atheists and murderers; rather, he wanted to highlight the fact that according to Islam both were destined to suffer eternal punishment.
Service to the common good[edit source |edit]The G¼len movement is a transnational civic society movement inspired by G¼len's teachings. His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the "common good") have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia and increasingly in other parts of the world.
Creationism, science and education[edit source |edit]Gulen's arguments according to creation may be considered as conservative and of biological evolution as wrathful and rejective; according to Gulen evolution is a Charles Darwin's heresy and a heretic disbelief  and acceptance of evolution theory radically undermines faith and religion. Because of this, in these topics every man and women must be treated in brainwashing and conditioning.
In his sermons Gulen has reportedly stated: "Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God." Gulen's followers have built over 1,000 schools around the world. In Turkey Gulen's schools are considered among the best: expensive modern facilities, equal gender treatment and English taught from the first grade. However, former teachers from outside the G¼len community have called into question the treatment of women and girls in G¼len schools, reporting that female teachers were excluded from administrative responsibilities, allowed little autonomy, and - along with girls from the sixth grade and up - segregated from male colleagues and pupils during break and lunch periods.
Interfaith and intercultural dialogue[edit source |edit]Gulen movement participants have founded a number of institutions across the world which promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue activities. While G¼len's earlier works are (in Bekim Agai's words) "full of anti-missionary and anti-Western passages", during the 1990s he began to advocate interreligious tolerance and dialogue. He personally met with leaders of other religions, including Pope John Paul II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, and Israeli Sephardic Head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron. In the late 2000s, the movement also initiated dialogue with those of no faith. For example, the Dialogue Society in London, which is inspired by G¼len's teaching, has more atheist and agnostic members of its Advisory Board than it has Muslims.[unreliable source?]
Similar to Said Nursi, G¼len favors cooperation between followers of different religions (this would also include different forms of Islam, such as Sunnism vs. Alevism in Turkey)[according to whom?] as well as religious and secular elements within society[according to whom?]. He has been described as "very critical of the regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia" due to their undemocratic, sharia-based systems of government.[unreliable source?]
Publications[edit source |edit]G¼len has authored over 60 books and many articles on a variety of topics: social, political and religious issues, art, science and sports, and recorded thousands of audio and video cassettes. He contributes to a number of journals and magazines owned by his followers. He writes the lead article for the Fountain, Yeni 'mit, SÄ±zÄ±ntÄ±, and YaÄmur, Islamic and philosophical magazines. Several of his books have been translated into English (see: Books by G¼lenBooks on G¼len and the G¼len Movement and Conference papers on Gulen and the Movement).
Secularism and sharia[edit source |edit]G¼len has criticized laicism as a politics rooted in a philosophically reductionistmaterialism. But he has also argued that Islam and democracy are compatible and he encourages greater democracy within Turkey[by whom?]. He also argues that a secular approach that is not anti-religious and allows for freedom of religion and belief is compatible with Islam.
Sharia; Gulen says sharia was equated with Islam generally. According to Gulen in democratic-secular countries ninety-five percent of Islamic principles permissible and practically feasible, and not a problem with them. And five percent remainder not worthy to fight.
Turkey bid to join the EU[edit source |edit]Gulen favors Turkey's bid to join the European Union and argues that neither Turkey nor the EU have anything to fear, but have much to gain, from a future of full Turkish membership in the EU.
Women's roles[edit source |edit]According to Aras and Caha, G¼len's views on women are "progressive" but "modern professional women in Turkey still find his ideas far from acceptable." G¼len says the coming of Islam saved women, who "were absolutely not confined to their home and...never oppressed" in the early years of the religion. He feels that western-style feminism, however, is "doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements...being full of hatred towards men."
However, G¼len's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, G¼len has argued: "the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." 
Terrorism[edit source |edit]G¼len condemns any kind of terrorism. He warns against the phenomenon of arbitrary violence and aggression against civilians, that is terrorism, which has no place in Islam and which militates against its very foundational tenets of reverence for human life and for all of God's creation. Fethullah Gulen was the first Muslim Leader to openly condemn the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He wrote a condemnation article in the Washington Post on September 12, 2001, just the day after the attack, and stated that `A muslim can not be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true muslim`," G¼len lamented the deplorable hijacking of Islam by terrorists who claimed to be Muslims and acting out of religious conviction. He counseled that "One should seek Islam through its own sources and in its own representatives throughout history; not through the actions of a tiny minority that misrepresent it.
Gaza flotilla[edit source |edit]G¼len criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel's consent. He spoke of watching the news coverage of the deadly confrontation between Israeli commandos and multinational aid group members as its flotilla approached Israel's sea blockade of Gaza. "What I saw was not pretty," he said. "It was ugly." He continued his criticism. The "organizers' failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid "is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters."
Syrian civil war[edit source |edit]G¼len is strongly against Turkish involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Fethullah Gulen topped the 2008 Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll and came out as the most influential thinker.
Fethullah Gulen named in TIME magazine's World's 100 Most Influential People for 2013.
^Fethullah G¼len's Official Web Site - G¼len's Works^ abFethullah G¼len's Official Web Site - Fethullah G¼len in Short^Williams, Paul L. "A visit to the Pennsylvania fortress of ''The World's most Dangerous Islamist''"^Stakelbeck, Eric "The G¼len Movement: A New Islamic World Order?"^Berlinski, Claire "Who Is Fethullah G¼len?"^ ab"How far they have travelled". The Economist. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2012. ^ abcToward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance^An interview with Fethullah G¼len's primary school teacher^http://tr.fgulen.com/a.page/hayati/hayat.kronolojisi/a4443.html^The Gulen Movement: Communicating Modernization, Tolerance, and Dialogue in the Islamic World. The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 12, pp.67-78.^http://religion.info/english/interviews/article_74.shtml^http://en.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-478/_nr-907/i.html^"Gulen Inspires Muslims Worldwide". Forbes. 21 January 2008. ^http://www.gyv.org.tr/changelang.asp?lang=2&page2go=http://www.gyv.org.tr/^The Journalists and Writers Foundation Official Web Site^ abchttp://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/meria/journal/2000/issue4/jv4n4a4.html^ abClement M. Henry, Rodney Wilson, The politics of Islamic Finance, Edinburgh University Press (2004), p 236^ abcd"U.S. charter schools tied to powerful Turkish imam". 60 Minutes. CBS News. May 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-14. ^"Turkish investigation into Islamic sect expanded". BBC News. 21 June 1999. Retrieved 2 May 2010. ^Clement M. Henry, Rodney Wilson, The politics of Islamic Finance, (Edinburgh University Press 2004), p. 236^G¼len's answers to claims made based on the video tapes taken from some of his recorded speeches^WorldWide Religious News-Gulen acquitted of trying to overthrow secular government^Robert W. Hefner, Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Schooling Islam: the culture and politics of modern Muslim education (Princeton University Press, 2007) p. 162-3.^Portrait of Fethullah G¼len, A Modern Turkish-Islamic Reformist^Thomas Michel S.J., Sufism and Modernity in the Thought of Fethullah G¼len, The Muslim World, Vol. 95 No. 3, July 2005, p.345-5^http://www.gulenmovement.us/fethullah-gulen/fethullah-gulen-as-a-pious-dedicated-muslim^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/view/9783/10/^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/view/578/152/^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/view/21042/26/^Mehmet Kalyoncu, A Civilian Response to Ethno-Religious Conflict: The G¼len Movement in Southeast Turkey (Tughra Books, 2008), pp. 19-40^Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford University Press 2006) p. 61^Saritoprak, Z. and Griffith, S. Fethullah G¼len and the 'People of the Book': A Voice from Turkey for Interfaith Dialogue, The Muslim World, Vol. 95 No. 3, July 2005, p.337-8^Saritoprak, Z. and Griffith, S. Fethullah G¼len and the 'People of the Book': A Voice from Turkey for Interfaith Dialogue, The Muslim World, Vol. 95 No. 3, July 2005, p.337-8^Fethullah G¼len and Atheist-Terrorist Comparison^http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=219352^In Lester Kurtz's (of University of Texas, Austin) words, "One of the most striking operationalizations of Gulen's fusion of commitment and tolerance is the nature of the Gulen movement, as it is often called, which has established hundreds of schools in many countries as a consequence of his belief in the importance of knowledge, and example in the building of a better world. The schools are a form of service to humanity designed to promote learning in a broader sense and to avoid explicit Islamic propaganda." Kurtz also cites in the same work the comments of Thomas Michel, General Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Inter-religious Dialogue, after a visit to a school in Mindanao, Philippines, where the local people suffered from a civil war, as follows: "In a region where kidnapping is a frequent occurrence, along with guerrilla warfare, summary raids, arrests, disappearances and killings by military and para-military forces, the school is offering Muslim and Christian Filipino children, along with an educational standard of high quality, a more positive way of living and relating to each other." Kurtz adds: "The purpose of the schools movement, therefore, is to lay the foundations for a more humane, tolerant citizenry of the world where people are expected to cultivate their own faith perspectives and also promote the well being of others... It is significant to note that the movement has been so successful in offering high quality education in its schools, which recruit the children of elites and government officials, that it is beginning to lay the groundwork for high-level allies, especially in Central Asia, where they have focused much of their effort." See, Lester R. Kurtz, "Gulen's Paradox: Combining Commitment and Tolerance," Muslim World, Vol. 95, July 2005; 379-381.^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/view/3587/107/^http://www.fgulenkitap.com/Kitap/Kucuk_dunyam/19_vesvese.htm^Spiegelman, Margaret. "What Scares Turkey's Women?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 28 November 2012. ^http://en.fgulen.com/conference-papers/294-the-fethullah-gulen-movement-i/2132-discursive-and-organizational-strategies-of-the-gulen-movement.html^Advocate of Dialogue: Fethullah G¼len^ abcEuropean Muslims, Civility and Public Life Perspectives On and From the G¼len Movement^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/section/30/3/^http://tr.fgulen.com/content/view/227/141/^http://en.fgulen.com/recent-articles/2897-women-confined-and-mistreated.html^Berna Turam, Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), 125.^Fethullah G¼len: A life dedicated to peace and humanity- True Muslims Cannot Be Terrorists^Muslims Cannot Be Terrorists^Wall Street Journal, Joe Lauria, Reclusive Turkish Imam Criticizes Gaza Flotilla, June 4, 2010^http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21578046-turkish-government-under-attack-home-its-assertive-policy-towards-syria-explosive Turkey and Syria: An explosive border^"2008 top 100 public intellectual poll"^"World's 100 Most Influential People for 2013General references:
PersondataNameG¼len, FethullahAlternative namesShort descriptionTurkish preacher, author, educator, and Muslim scholarDate of birth27 April 1941Place of birthErzurumDate of deathPlace of death
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:24
by C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S. - Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools CASILIPS on Twitter, SlideshareNote that this website has two companion websites:A Guide to the Gulen Movement's Activities in the US and Gulen in the International PressWhat is a Gulen charter school?
A Gulen charter school is a publicly-funded charter school that was founded and is run by individuals who are secretly followers of a Turkish imam named Fethullah Gulen. Gulen's followers are called Gulenists, and collectively they form a worldwide covert network called the Gulen Movement. The key defining feature of Gulen charter schools is that control of the schools' policies and (most importantly) finances lies entirely in the hands of Gulenists. This allows the Gulenists to use the schools in ways that further the Gulen Movement's goals. The infiltration of the Gulen Movement into our publicly-funded education system has been made possible by a perfect storm of very lax charter school regulation; the current political climate favoring expansion of charter schools; the Gulenists' unparalleled skills at marketing, deception, and intimidation; the presence of influential sympathizers in our government and in academia; and an extreme reluctance on the part of many journalists, academicians and government officials to involve themselves in this issue for fear they might be labeled as Islamophobic or xenophobic.
Where are the Gulen charter schools, and how many are there?
The list of names of Gulen charter schools currently in operation in the US is given hereat our companion site, which is about the Gulen Movement. Another blogger is also keeping count of the number of schools. At last count (Sep 15, 2013) 140 are currently in operation, in 26 different states, and the Gulenists are actively proposing and founding new ones (at least 12 are currently in the works, and another 118 are known to have been attempted but never materialized).
What sort of information can I find here?
One of the most controversial aspects of these schools has been the public denials made by Gulenist administrators that there is any connection with the Gulen Movement. Many of the pages here are compilations of evidence that a strong connection exists. Other pages explore additional issues of concern about these publicly-funded schools. Our companion site, A Guide to the Gulen Movement's Activities in the US, has more information about the Gulen Movement in general, as the charter schools are only one aspect of this movement's growing influence in our country and around the world. For updates, follow CASILIPS on Twitter.
What are the characteristics of Gulen charter schools?
The following characteristics apply to nearly all of the over 100 Gulen charter schools across the country. Some exceptions exist; for example, the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania charter school appears to emphasize languages instead of the usual math/science emphasis. Some of the newer Harmony schools in Texas have names suggesting themes such as art, nature or political science. Nevertheless, there are strong commonalities among all these schools.
Emphasis on mathSchool advertised as emphasizing science, yet laboratory facilities are inferior to comparable schools and science classes have minimal or nonexistent experimental componentSmall select group of students receives intense math coaching and attends numerous math competitions, including Mathcounts; awards generate much positive publicity for schoolFree after-school tutoring; in a few cases Gulenist teachers tutor in students' homesAutomated online information system for students' grades and assignments is highly touted as allowing for parental involvement, yet system is not kept current, and may be inconsistent, inaccurate or difficult to navigateEmphasis on science fairs; for most students science project is mandatoryStudents encouraged to participate in ISWEEEP (Gulenist-run science fair); hotel stay in Houston paid by school. Similar for the GENIUS competition in Oswego.Students have much higher chance of winning awards at Gulenist competitions (ISWEEEP, GENIUS, others) than students from schools unaffiliated with the Gulen MovementRobotics clubs; participation in robotics competitionsHome visits offered to all familiesMajor emphasis on awards, mostly won by small fraction of the studentsUnusually high scores on standardized tests, even with very challenging student demographicsClasses divided according to ability in mathTurkish language classes; Turkish mandatory in some grade levels; very limited selection of foreign language classes besides TurkishTurkish culture emphasis, e.g., Turkish dance clubsSchool-sponsored Turkey tripsLarge number of Turkish/Turkic teachersParticipation of students in Turkish Language OlympicsUnusually high number of H1B visa applicationsMany teachers have poor English skillsHigh teacher turnoverGulenist teachers spend unusual amounts of time with students in extracurricular activities or socializingSleepovers, especially for select group of students participating in math competitionsIn communications with parents, school awards and achievements are relentlessly emphasized and not put into perspective relative to other non-Gulenist schoolsChronic problems with special education complianceTurkish/Turkic teachers and administrators have no work experience in education outside of the Gulen school networkSchool not under local controlApplication forms are excessively detailed, requiring information that legally cannot be used to determine admissionRelentless promotion of school through frequent press releases Press releases and news articles emphasize the activities of small group of students in after-school clubs or extracurricular activities; no mention that most students do not participate in these activities and have a very different experience in the regular classroomContinual courting of public officials by administrationSchool administration nearly exclusively Gulenist males of Turkish or Turkic ethnicityHiring practices favor Gulenists over equally qualified American teachers or administratorsAchievements of female teachers minimized or ignoredOpportunities for career development much greater for Gulenist teachers and administrators than for American employeesParental involvement encouraged in principle, but steered towards fundraising and supporting school; administration is authoritarian while attempting to appear otherwiseCharacter education classesSchool inaccurately claims to have few or no discipline or bullying problemsGulenist teachers often highly inexperienced in classroom managementIn some schools, excessive use of out-of-school suspensions for disciplineNo trained school counselorsSchool uniforms required; must be purchased from schoolDwindling enrollment with each successive year of high schoolSophisticated school security systems in established schoolsIn geographical areas where chain of schools has been established, flagship school is usually of higher qualityAdministrators persistently deny any connection to Gulen and the Gulen Movement, despite massive evidence showing this connectionAdministrators persistently deny Connections to the nationwide network of Gulen charter schools and worldwide network of Gulen schools, despite massive evidence showing this connection
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:23
Doorbraak 2, juni 2009
Auteur: Mehmet Kirmaci
G¼len-beweging bouwt macht op via islamitische scholen en instellingen
Op aandringen van de Tweede Kamer beloofde minister Eberhard van der Laan van Integratie in februari 2009 een onderzoek in te stellen naar organisaties in Nederland - met name schoolinternaten - die gelieerd zijn aan de beweging van de Turkse prediker Fethullah G¼len. De karakteriseringen van deze beweging lopen echter sterk uiteen: van moderne, spirituele beweging die zich inzet voor interreligieuze dialoog en vrede, tot een stroming met een dubbele agenda die uit is op indoctrinatie van kinderen en jongeren, en de vestiging van een islamitisch bewind over de hele wereld. Een eenduidige onderzoeksconclusie ligt dus niet voor de hand.
De ophef in Nederland over de beweging van G¼len '' die wereldwijd actief is '' ving plotsklaps aan: met een uitzending van tv-programma Nova in de zomer van 2008. Daarin werd de stroming ervan beschuldigd heimelijk te streven naar een islamitische staat, achter een rookgordijn van goed klinkende doelstellingen. De Tweede Kamerleden Madeleine Van Toorenburg (CDA) en Sadet Karabulut (SP) vuurden direct schriftelijke vragen af op Ella Vogelaar, toen nog de minister van Integratie. De bewindsvrouw liet daarop de zaak onderzoeken door de AIVD. Vogelaar concludeerde dat de G¼len-beweging weliswaar ''orthodox-islamitisch'', maar ''niet staatsgevaarlijk'' is.
De Nova-uitzending bracht ook Leefbaar Rotterdam-raadslid Anita F¤hmel tot het stellen van schriftelijke vragen. Het Rotterdamse college gaf in zijn antwoord toe dat educatieve organisaties waarvan beweerd wordt dat zij behoren tot de G¼len-beweging door de gemeente worden gesubsidieerd, maar tekende daarbij aan dat deze beweging niet centraal wordt gestuurd. De betreffende organisaties zouden zelfstandig zijn en hooguit worden ge¯nspireerd door het gedachtegoed van G¼len. Ook zouden zij binnen de kaders van de Nederlandse wet- en regelgeving opereren en geen voedingsbodem vormen voor radicalisering, of op een andere manier de openbare orde bedreigen.
Nadat F¤hmel bot had gevangen in Rotterdam, publiceerde ze in januari 2009 een 'onderzoekdossier' over G¼len, dat het beste is te omschrijven als een knip- en plakwerkje dat voor 90 procent bestaat uit bijlagen die het fortuynistische raadslid her en der bij elkaar heeft gesprokkeld. Maar belangrijker nog: het dossier bevat geen informatie die v""r de publicatie ervan onbekend was of die voor een plotse ontmaskering zou kunnen zorgen. Merkwaardig genoeg vormde het dossier van F¤hmel aanleiding voor een meerderheid in de Tweede Kamer om een onderzoek naar de G¼len-beweging te eisen van minister Van der Laan. Die gaf toe, omdat de schoolinternaten van de beweging ''niet aan controle onderhevig zijn'' en G¼len tegenstrijdige geluiden zou laten horen over zijn doelstellingen.
Een van de politici die juichte om de beslissing van Van der Laan is SP-er Karabulut. Zij vindt het ''heel gek dat deze omstreden beweging achter gesloten deuren kinderen opvoedt en onderwijst, zonder dat hier enig zicht en controle op bestaat''. Alsof de uitkomst van het onderzoek al vast staat, wil ze weten ''welke maatregelen het kabinet gaat treffen om aan deze praktijken een einde te maken''. Haar partijgenoot en fractievoorzitter in Rotterdam, Theo Coskun, snapt niets van deze opstelling: ''Blijkbaar hebben ze landelijk behoefte aan een onderzoek waar 100 procent zeker niets uitkomt. Ze doen mee aan de spokenjacht. Dankzij Wilders hebben ze daar allemaal last van islamofobie.''
Fethullah G¼lenFethullah G¼len werd in 1941 geboren in het dorp Korucuk in de oostelijke Turkse provincie Erzurum. Op 18-jarige leeftijd begon hij als imam te preken in Izmir. Als charismatische, belezen en welbespraakte prediker slaagde hij er in om voornamelijk scholieren, studenten en onderwijzers aan zich te binden. Hij roept gelovigen op om naar ''de waarheid'' te zoeken, door een evenwicht tussen materile en spirituele waarden tot stand te brengen. ''Intellectuele verlichting'', ''verstandige spiritualiteit'' en een ''zorgzaam, menselijk activisme'' zijn kernconcepten in zijn gedachtegoed. Deze ideen proberen G¼len en zijn aanhangers voornamelijk te verspreiden via een wereldwijd netwerk van scholen en internaten, en eigen tv-zenders, tijdschriften en dagbladen. G¼len woont en werkt sinds 1999 in de VS. In 2000 werd de prediker in Turkije aangeklaagd wegens anti-seculiere activiteiten. Acht jaar later werd hij vrijgesproken.GeliefdDe persoon G¼len en de wereldwijde beweging die rond zijn ideen is ontstaan, zijn niet makkelijk te doorgronden. Dat is een van de weinige conclusies die met zekerheid is te trekken. Tekenend voor dit mistige beeld is bijvoorbeeld dat G¼len goed lag bij de Turkse streng seculiere, sociaal-democratische voorman B¼lent Ecevit (1925-2006), omdat hij volgens deze vroegere premier heeft aangetoond ''dat de islam gepaard kan gaan met moderniteit, democratie en vooruitgang''. Maar G¼len was tegelijkertijd geliefd bij de fascistenleider Alparslan T¼rkes (1917-1997), die hem roemde omdat hij als Turk erin was geslaagd om over de hele wereld invloed te verkrijgen.
Dat G¼len invloedrijk is, is ook absoluut zeker. In meer dan honderd landen zijn ongeveer 500 onderwijsinstellingen actief die zich laten leiden door de ideen van Hocaefendi (''Mijnheer de Hodja''), zoals G¼len door zijn aanhangers wordt genoemd. Daaronder bevinden zich internaten, studentenhuizen, lagere en middelbare scholen en zelfs universiteiten. De G¼len-beweging beschikt ook over eigen bedrijven, werkgeversorganisaties en media, zoals het dagblad Zaman en de internationale tv-zenders Samanyolu, Ebru en Mehtap.
De Nederlandse tak van de beweging bestaat uit een verzameling van talloze rechtspersonen die voornamelijk actief zijn in het onderwijs en de mediawereld en op het gebied van interreligieuze dialoog. Voorbeelden van deze rechtspersonen zijn de landelijke studentenvereniging Cosmicus, Stichting Islam en Dialoog, basisschool Cosmicus en het Cosmicus College (beiden gevestigd in Rotterdam), de Time Media Group met lokale tv-uitzendingen in Amsterdam en Rotterdam, persbureau CHA en talloze ''educatieve centra'' die feitelijk functioneren als internaten en huiswerkinstituten in onder meer Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Groningen, Haarlem, Tilburg en Zaandam. Zoals in de rest van de wereld, bestaan de kaders van de G¼len-beweging en dus van de genoemde organisaties ook in Nederland uit hoogopgeleide en ''representatief'' ogende mannen en vrouwen. Overigens worden meerdere van deze rechtspersonen gesubsidieerd door de Nederlandse overheid.
De kritiek op de G¼len-beweging heeft meerdere aspecten en gradaties. Critici stellen dat zij middels haar educatieve netwerk, dat in het moederland Turkije, maar ook in Nederland, vooral is gericht op (kans)arme kinderen en jongeren, jeugdigen op een geraffineerde wijze disciplineert en indoctrineert met een conservatief-islamitisch wereldbeeld. En dat deze jongeren vervolgens hun leven lang als missionarissen fungeren voor de stroming, vaak omdat ze bevangen zijn door het gevoel ''iets'' terug te moeten doen voor de beweging. Ook worden er vragen gesteld over de financiering van de talloze G¼len-initiatieven. Andere critici stellen dat de G¼len-beweging geen los netwerk is en niet alleen een conservatief wereldbeeld heeft, maar een door G¼len zelf strak aangestuurde organisatie is die via het individueel bezetten van economische en politieke sleutelposities uit is op politieke macht en de vestiging van een islamitische staat.
G¼len zelf ontkent ten stelligste dat hij leider is van een beweging, of educatieve instellingen aanstuurt vanuit een bepaald centrum. Hij beweert slechts een prediker te zijn die anderen aanmoedigt en inspireert om scholen en internaten te stichten. Volgens G¼len is er mede door hem wel ''een los-vaste beweging'' ontstaan, die ''berust op deelname op vrijwillige basis van mensen, waarbij geen sprake is van een centrale structuur, een centrale organisatie, officile statuten en rechtspersoonlijkheid''. Wel vindt hij het ''vanzelfsprekend dat sommige mensen je om advies vragen''. Toch zijn er feiten die deze bescheiden opstelling in twijfel trekken. G¼len woont sinds 1999 in Pennsylvania, in de VS. Maar wel in een luxe omgeving met tientallen assistenten in zijn nabijheid. Dat doet toch het vermoeden rijzen dat hij de beschikking heeft over een staf, die tevens als centraal leiderschap kan fungeren. Bovendien hebben Amerikaanse advocaten van G¼len tijdens een procedure voor de bemachtiging van een green card voor hun clint tegenover de rechter verklaard dat hij de stichter is van de G¼len-beweging, die als doelstelling de wereldwijde oprichting van scholen heeft.
G¼len stelt voortdurend dat hij geen politieke ambities heeft, waarbij hij vaak benadrukt al jaren ziek te zijn en dat hij slechts een ''simpele sterveling'' en ''nederige dienaar van God'' is. Ook spreekt hij structureel zijn afkeuring uit over terrorisme: volgens G¼len is ''in de ware islam geen plaats voor terreur''. De prediker spreekt zich nergens onomwonden uit voor een islamitisch politiek bestel, maar wijst het ook niet nadrukkelijk af. Hij stelt dat de islam geen gedetailleerd voorstel doet voor een staatsvorm, een regime of een systeem, maar de bestuursvorm juist overlaat aan de vrije wil en keuze van de meerderheid van de bevolking. G¼len lijkt het exacte karakter van het staatsbestel ook niet belangrijk te vinden. In een interview verklaart hij: ''Uiteindelijk is de bron, de kleur en de klank van het recht binnen een democratische samenleving ook weer niet zo extreem belangrijk. Als het er maar op neerkomt dat, volgens dat wat eveneens de verwachting van de moderne wereld is, de primaire mensenrechten, de rechten van minderheden en de individuele vrijheden worden gerespecteerd.'' En: ''Als een staat aan een ieder de ruimte geeft om zijn geloof te beleven en als zij aan haar onderdanen de ondersteuning biedt die zij nodig hebben om zelfstandig te kunnen denken, om te leren en het geleerde in praktijk te brengen, dan is een dergelijk systeem niet in strijd met wat de koran leert. Als er sprake is van een staat die dit alles respecteert, dan mag men zich niet wenden tot ideen over een andere vorm van staatsinrichting.''
Echter, kenmerkend voor de ambivalente houding van G¼len ten aanzien van de politiek en de staat is zijn bewering in hetzelfde interview dat in de islam ''de soevereiniteit en heerschappij'' aan God toebehoren en dat er in de islam geen plaats is ''voor de klassieke democratie op de manier zoals deze in het Westen bekend staat''. En: ''In de islam berust het bestuur op een wederzijdse overeenstemming van bestuurders en bestuurden, een sociaal contract, dat zijn legitimiteit ontleent aan het principe van de suprematie van het recht. Het recht staat evengoed boven de bestuurders als boven de bestuurden, en behoort toe aan God. Het kan niet worden gewijzigd.''
In augustus 2000 werd G¼len overigens aangeklaagd voor activiteiten om het huidige Turkse (seculiere) staatsbestel omver te werpen en pogingen om een islamitische staat te vestigen. Dat vanwege een uitgelekte preek van een jaar eerder waarin de geestelijke zijn toehoorders oproept om de sleutelposities van ''dit systeem'' te verkennen, over te nemen en daarbij geduldig en voorzichtig te werk te gaan. Anders zouden zij het gevaar lopen verpletterd te worden door de wereld. ''Zoals in Algerije'', tekent G¼len daarbij aan. De aanklacht sneuvelde in 2008 bij de Turkse Hoge Raad. G¼len werd vrijgesproken. Welke maatschappijvorm G¼len nu nastreeft blijft onduidelijk, hoewel hij het nadeel van de twijfel verdient. De opvatting van minister Van der Laan dat de Turkse prediker zich tegenstrijdig uit over zijn doelstellingen berust in ieder geval niet op onzin.
Intussen blijven G¼len en zijn aanhangers volhouden niet-politiek te zijn. Zo kenschetst Kerim Balci, journalist bij het G¼len-dagblad Zaman, de beweging waartoe hij behoort als ''sociaal-economisch'' en ''apolitiek''. Balci benadrukt maatschappelijke verbeteringen te willen bewerkstelligen via het onderwijs en de economie. ''Wat we doen is dus '' nogmaals '' niet politiek, maar heeft wel politieke implicaties'', aldus de journalist. Misschien klopt het dat de G¼len-beweging in de kern niet uit is op een islamitische revolutie, maar dat zij politiek bezig is staat buiten kijf. Politiek moet breder gezien worden dan partijpolitiek of parlementaire politiek: de G¼len-beweging bedrijft alternatieve politiek door macht op te bouwen via scholen en bedrijven.
Overigens moet daarbij aangetekend worden dat de G¼len-beweging niet salafistisch is. G¼len erkent dat sommige religieuze principes veranderlijk zijn, dat er ruimte is voor interpretatie van religieuze geschriften. Ook heeft de prediker het over mystieke concepten als ''liefde'', ''tolerantie'' en ''het bereiken van de kennis van God''. Dat is vloeken in de moskee in de ogen van salafistische puriteinen. Een ander verschil met de salafisten is dat G¼len zich diplomatieker en respectvoller uit over vrouwen. Hij wekt de suggestie dat man en vrouw volkomen gelijk aan elkaar zijn in de islam wat betreft primaire rechten en verantwoordelijkheden. ''Verzen in de koran die het idee geven dat de man boven de vrouw staat, zijn verklaringen met de bedoeling om hun verschillende capaciteiten en talenten aan te voeren'', aldus G¼len. Dat vrouwen wel degelijk minder rechten hebben dan mannen in de islamitische geschriften kan er bij G¼len niet in. Dat de getuigenissen van twee vrouwen gelijk staan aan die van (C)(C)n man, wuift de Turkse prediker wel heel makkelijk weg met de woorden: ''Maar het is niet acceptabel om hier een betekenis aan te geven, als zou de vrouw op het punt van haar waarde en menselijkheid minder zijn dan de man.''
Terug naar Nederland. De G¼len-beweging doet via een uitgebreid netwerk van organisaties en instellingen wel degelijk aan machtsvorming op basis van een conservatief-islamitisch wereldbeeld. Voornamelijk via scholen, internaten en huiswerkinstituten. Dat is niet uniek, ook orthodoxe en fundamentalistische christelijke stromingen doen op die manier aan machtsvorming en -behoud. Maar dit maakt de situatie niet minder zorgelijk: kinderen worden in een etnisch en religieus gesegregeerde omgeving opgevoed en onderwezen door volwassenen met een expansionistische en conservatief religieuze levensovertuiging. Het recht op een vrije ontwikkeling van een kijk op de wereld en het leven wordt deze jeugdigen ontnomen. Het succes van de G¼len-beweging in Nederland is onder meer te verklaren uit het oprukkende racisme en de toenemende islamofobie. De moslimsgemeenschappen raken daardoor steeds meer in zichzelf gekeerd en de G¼len-beweging speelt hier handig op in. Maar ook het feit dat het reguliere Nederlandse onderwijsstelsel moslimkinderen onvoldoende perspectief weet te bieden is koren op de molen van deze lieden.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:33
Part I: Graham Fuller, Uncle Ruslan, the CIA and the Boston Bombings
Graham Fuller (foreground) and Turkish Muslim guru Fetullah G¼len who has dark ties to CIA and fanatical Jihadist groups worldwide.The open press statement of denial by senior reportedly former CIA official Graham Fuller in April of a link between the Boston Bombings and the CIA, labeling the reports ''absurd,'' may go down in history as one of the worst intelligence blunders  in the past century. The public admission by Fuller, on a website reported tied to the CIA, of his relationship to the Uncle of the alleged but not ever convicted Boston bombers opened a can of worms the CIA might well wish never had been opened.
The public admission by Fuller, on a website reported tied to the CIA, of his relationship to the Uncle of the alleged but not ever convicted Boston bombers  opened a can of worms the CIA might well wish never had been opened.
A deeper look into Fuller's role reveals him to be a key figure in what FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds terms American Deep State rogues. Edmonds worked as an FBI translator from Turkish, Azerbaijani and Farsi languages during and after September 11, 2001 when she uncovered damning email and other evidence of criminal networks linking the actors of 9/11, drug networks out of Turkey and terrorists in and around Al Qaeda together with senior Pentagon and other US Government officials. 
Fuller, A Deep State RogueAs later identified, among the people uncovered by Edmonds' translation efforts at FBI were notorious neoconservative Richard Perle, Iraq war architect who headed Bush's Defense Policy Board advisory committee in 2001; Douglas Feith, neocon Under-Secretary of Defense under Bush-Cheney; Anwar Yusuf Turani , key figure in the anti-Beijing Uygur separatist operations under the name East Turkistan National Freedom Center in Washington DC. East Turkistan is their name for China's Xinjiang Province where Uygur riots took place several years ago. Turani modestly calls himself President-in-exile, East Turkistan (Xinjiang), though it's by no means clear who if anyone elected him.
Whistleblower Sibel Edwards has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government's support for international terrorist networks and organised crime. She was described as "the most gagged person in the history of the United States" by the American Civil Liberties Union.In her classified translations Edmonds discovered that a criminal network had penetrated the highest levels of the US Government including Pentagon and FBI, and were engaged in illegal sales of weapons, including nuclear, of drugs and more. Criminal activities were being protected by claims of State Secrets, she asserted. Repeated attempts to call attention inside the FBI to what she was convinced was a conspiracy against the United States from within came to no avail. Her gripping account to bring attention to an alarming rogue network inside Washington is the subject of her autobiography, Classified Woman '' The Sibel Edmonds Story. 
Attorney General John Ashcroft went all the way to the Supreme Court to muzzle her under a little-used Doctrine of State Secrets. Edmonds, suffering under an unprecedented Bush Administration gag order, was banned from revealing the complicity of high-ranking US and Turkish figures uncovered by her and duly reported at FBI before she was fired in 2002 for ''blowing the whistle.'' She partly got around the Government gag by posting photos with no comment on her website. Others filled in the names. 
Graham Fuller was one of the 21 American Deep State rogues Edmonds posted.
In 1995, according to investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker, the uncle of the alleged Boston bombers, Ruslan Tsarnaev, ''incorporated the Congress of Chechen International Organizations in Maryland, using as the address listed on incorporation documents 11114 Whisperwood Lane, in Rockville Maryland, the home address of his then-father-in-law.''  Father-in-law was Graham Fuller whose daughter was married to Uncle Ruslan.
Chechnya, an autonomous province of Russia deeply involved in oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea, has been the scene of Islamic jihad terrorists since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1995 when Uncle Ruslan founded the Congress of Chechen International Organizations from Graham Fuller's home, the Islamist Jihad terror war against Moscow was raging full-force in Chechnya. Putin and Russian intelligence have repeatedly claimed the terrorism was being fed from outside.
As more is coming out on the role of Fuller, the evidence points to the conclusion that the Chechnya terrorists were also a project bearing the footprints of the ''former'' CIA political Islam expert, Graham Fuller. By 1988 Fuller had formally moved from a very senior post at CIA to the neo-conservative think tank, RAND Corporation, where he officially worked on the ''Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and problems of ethnicity and religion.'' 
While at RAND Fuller played a key role gaining asylum for a Turkish national in the USA. Fetullah G¼len, a Turkish national who was forced to flee in 1999 and seek asylum, won his US residence permit due to the intervention of two senior CIA or former men. One was Graham E. Fuller. 
Foreign Policy Journal describes the role of Fuller and the CIA in getting indicted Turkish fugitive G¼len asylum in the USA: ''Fethullah G¼len became a green card holder despite serious opposition from FBI and from Homeland Security Department. Former CIA officers (formally and informally) such as Graham Fuller and Morton Abromovitz were some of the prominent references in G¼len's green card application.'' 
Jihad Spreads to Central AsiaFrom his new luxurious heavily-guarded estate in Saylorsburg, a remote part of eastern Pennsylvania, G¼len launched a series of fundamentalist Salafist mosques and madrasses, not only in his native Turkey where he was the alleged power behind Turkey's AKP regime of Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, himself a product of G¼len's schools, but across the Islamic regions of Central Asia as they separated from the Soviet Union in the chaos after 1991. 
According to Edmonds, an authority on the subject, ''US Islamization Operations in Central Asia via G¼len started in late 1997, early 1998. That brings me to '...Graham Fuller.'' 
Fethullah Gulen, lives in Pennsylvania. From there he runs a $25 billion international network. He is tied to hundreds of Gulen charter schools in the United States itself, 36 of which are located in Texas alone.A memoir by former head of Turkish intelligence, Osman Nuri Gundes, claims that Fethullah G¼len's worldwide Islamic movement based in Pennsylvania has been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s, and that in the 90s, the movement ''sheltered 130 CIA agents'' at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone. 
G¼len schools in Russian Chechnya and Dagestan regions, both locations of fanatical Jihadists since 1991, were ultimately banned by Putin. The Russian government has banned all G¼len schools and the activities of the G¼len-linked Nurcu sect in Russia. Over 20 Turkish followers of G¼len were deported from Russia in 2002-2004. In 1999 Uzbekistan closed all G¼len's Madrasas and shortly afterward arrested eight journalists who were graduates of G¼len schools, and found them guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization. In Turkmenistan, government authorities placed G¼len's schools under close scrutiny and have ordered them to scrap the history of religion from curriculums. 
Responsible Turkish journalists I've met with relate that G¼len-loyal police tied to Edrogan's AKP have infiltrated the Turkish police, intelligence services and other key state institution and are systematically arresting, purging or silencing all nationalist military, trade union and other secular figues opposed to creation of an Islamic Sharia state in Turkey, uprooting ninety or more years of Kemalist legal foundations. More than one hundred Turkish journalists have been arrested for writing critically about the actions of G¼len's AKP.
G¼len's public profile is as a humble, deeply spiritual Imam of love and brotherhood. His record in practice is anything but. G¼len once stated, ''You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers, until the conditions are ripe." Sounds a bit like Lenin in the old days. Certain networks in Washington including people in and around Fuller obviously have no problem with that.
Why would the CIA and US agencies want Central Asia? As Obama adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, notes in his now-famous book, The Grand Chessboard, ''For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia...America's global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained'...It follows that America's primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it."
Washington has used Turkey and the AKP fundamentalist networks of G¼len to wreak havoc across the post-communist oil and mineral-rich regions of Central Asia. Graham Fuller's foot prints are all over those covert operations as are Fetullah G¼len's. In 2008 Fuller published a book titled, ''The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World.'' As Sibel Edmonds describes, the process involved using Turkey with assistance from 'actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia' as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army before 9/11. 
Edmonds notes regarding US operations in Central Asia, ''This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.'' 
Her middle name suggests a reference to her father's CIA posting in Turkey.What did Uncle Ruslan Tsarnaev, uncle of the Boston alleged bombers do when he was married to Graham Fuller's daughter? Ruslan worked for companies connected to Halliburton, doing oil deals in the Caucasus and as ''consultant'' for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Russia barred USAID from its soil in late 2012, alleging USAID together with CIA was attempting to influence the internal political processes in the country. 
Some are beginning to ask whether the Boston bombing might have been a deception operation carried out by the Rogues associated with Graham Fuller and the network within the CIA and Pentagon, to make it appear Putin was behind the ghastly events. In any case, when Graham Fuller went to the press to publicly denounce CIA links to the Tsarnaevs he made what is likely to go down as one of the greatest snafus in US intelligence history. He lost his cool, and with it, has put the spotlight on the entire CIA-sponsored Islamic Jihadist operations run through Fetullah G¼len across Turkey into Central Asia and Russia and China.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:33
One of the many unexplained (at least not officially) anomalies of the persons claimed to have carried out the Boston Marathon bombings is the presence of key CIA figure in the direct family of the accused brothers. Ruslan Tsarnaev, the outspoken uncle of the brothers was married to Samantha A. Fuller until 2004. Samantha's father is Graham Fuller, the senior CIA person who architected the Afghan Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen war against the Soviets. He is also implicated in creating a global jihad network, presumably acting on behalf of CIA interests.
Ruslan Tsarnaev, who changed his name to Ruslan Tsarni, lives in a posh Washington DC suburb of Bethesda Maryland. He has worked in the past for companies tied to Dick Cheney's Halliburton as well as a ''consultant'' in Kazakhstan with the State Department's USAID which has been identified as a CIA front.  Take it all in: The two brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accused though never proven in a court of law to have been responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, had an uncle, the same uncle who agreed to bury the remains of the one dead brother. This uncle was married to the daughter of Graham Fuller, one of the most important CIA architects of using Islamic Jihadists/terrorists against the USSR during the Cold War and after, throughout Central Asia, including Chechnya and Kazakhstan. Coincidence?
The Fuller CIA LinkThe discovery of the connection between a very, very senior CIA man, Graham Fuller, to the uncle of the accused Boston bombers was more than a bit embarrassing for Fuller. He took what for a professional CIA agent was an extraordinary step of issuing a public denial. In an exclusive interview on what reportedly is a CIA-linked website, ''Back Channel'--Al-Monitor,'' Fuller hurriedly denounced media links of his CIA connection to the bombers' uncle: '''...possible connections between Ruslan and the Agency through me are absurd.''  Fuller then went on to admit, ''Samantha was married to Ruslan Tsarnaev (Tsarni) for 3-4 years'...They also lived in our house in [Maryland] for a year or so'...'' 
Fuller went on to claim Ruslan was ''homesick'' for Chechnya, and that his English was ''shaky,'' yet after the Boston bombings, a very English-fluent Ruslan gave a press conference from his posh Maryland home denouncing his nephews.
The central question is who is Graham Fuller? The answer turns out to be that he was perhaps if not THE most instrumental, one of the most instrumental people inside the CIA during the 1980's who convinced CIA Director Bill Casey and the Reagan Administration to recruit fundamentalist Muslim Salafists or Jihadists from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere, train them in techniques of guerilla insurgency and send them against the Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. They were called Mujahideen.  One of the more famous of those Mujahideen was a young Saudi from a very wealthy family named Osama bin Laden. In a sense then we might call Graham Fuller the ''Godfather of Al Qaeda.''
Fuller was also the key CIA figure in convincing the Reagan Administration to tip the balance in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war by using Israel to channel weapons to Iran in what became the Iran-Contra Affair. As well, in 1999, around the time his daughter Samantha and ''Uncle'' Ruslan Tsarni (aka Tsarnaev) lived at his home near Washington, Fuller, former Deputy Director of the CIA's National Council on Intelligence, then a senior figure at the Pentagon and CIA-linked neo-conservative RAND corporation, advocated using Muslim forces to further US interests in Central Asia. He stated,
''The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against [the Russians]. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.'' 
Russia's main pipeline route out of the Caspian Sea basin transits through Chechnya and Dagestan. The 1994-1996 Chechen war, instigated by the main rebel movements against Moscow, served to undermine secular state institutions. The adoption of Islamic law in the largely secular Muslim societies of the former Soviet Union served US strategic interests in the region.This is precisely what happened in Chechnya with hundreds of CIA-trained Jihadists and Al Qaeda fighters sent into Chechnya, Dagestan and other parts of the former Soviet Union, precisely where Uncle Ruslan and his two Tsarnaev nephews came to the USA from. Coincidence?
Is it mere ''coincidence'' that the uncle of the two young men accused of the Boston bombings was related in marriage to the CIA figure who advocated using the networks which were later named ''Al Qaeda'' across Central Asia including Chechnya where the Tsarnaev brothers had roots? The more independent researchers examine evidence around the Boston terror bombings, the more the official US Government version of events stinks. Closeup pictures of obviously fake red paint designed to look like blood from a man whose legs were supposedly blown off of flesh to the bone, pictures of private security contractors carrying large backpacks at the direct bombing site after the bombing and chatting with police, reports of eyewitnesses of police over loudspeakers telling marathon runners there was a ''terrorism exercise'' taking place as a test that day. All these anomalies, combined with the CIA ties of Uncle Ruslan, present an incredible set of coincidences. It is time for an open and serious citizen commission of inquiry be formed to investigate.
In a future article we will look closely at the role of the same Graham Fuller in creation of what is rapidly becoming an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship in Turkey and across the Islamic world. The Graham Fuller-Ruslan Tsarni connection opens up what looks to be a very ugly can of worms. The two accused of the Boston bombings were never proven guilty. Their mother in Russia vehemently insists they were set up as patsies by the US Government to be blamed. 
It may be that carelessness somewhere exposed Graham Fuller and the tip of a very secret and very explosive network of international terror whose ties with Langley and the US Government are inadvertently coming into daylight in what might well be the most important revelation of destructive secret intelligence operations in modern history. Graham Fuller, 'methinks thou doth protest too much,' when you proclaim absurd ties between the CIA and accused Boston bombers and that is drawing the spotlight of the civilized world to you and your accomplices and activities. Fuller's earlier role in Turkey with another network of Salafist fundamentalist Islam will be our next view into the murky underworld of intelligence agencies and attempts to manipulate entire parts of the human population.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:04
Crucial Details Missing in the MSM Coverage of the Recent Intel Chief's Expos(C)
Last week I wrote about the Washington Post's incomplete and one-sided coverage of the recently published memoir by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes exposing CIA Operations via an Islamic Group in Central Asia. Since then I have gone over the same book's review and coverage by the Turkish mainstream media, and I have interviewed reporters and sources in Turkey who have read the book, followed the coverage, and or are intimately familiar with the topic. With that I now have several additional points on this expos(C) which further illustrate the journalistically mind-boggling piece marketed by the Post. Writing my previous piece cost me an associate whom I like and respect. It shouldn't have. I still believe this was a case of institution-Government-editors vs. the journalist, with the former winning. I am not going to weigh my writing, modify my facts, alter the truth, tweak, and censor based on worries of losing a source, or a friend, or even readership. With that said I'll briefly list my points gathered from documented facts and interviews, and sources familiar with Gundes' recent book and Gulen. Extensive Coverage in the Turkish Mainstream Media
As one might expect, the Turkish mainstream media (all major newspapers, magazines, radio & TV channels) extensively (and very intensely) covered the recent publication of Gundes' book. The following are the main points on former Turkish Intel Chief Gundes' CIA-Gulen allegations which were documented and reported by every single media outlet in Turkey (since mid December), including this one written by one of the most prominent journalists at Milliyet: 1- In Central Asia, within Gulen's Islamic schools, the CIA operatives worked under the guise of 'American Teachers teaching English.'
Okay, the Washington Post article, going through the exact same publications/articles forgot to add these crucial details, which would have paved the way for journalistic investigation(s) leading to either confirmation or denial. The following is the only detail the article provided:
In the 1990s, Gundes alleges, the movement ''sheltered 130 CIA agents'' at its schools in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan alone
In this case, as others had done already, the existence of mysterious American teachers teaching English in Gulen's schools in Central Asia has already been confirmed.
2- The American Teachers working at Gulen's Islamic Schools in Central Asia possessed US Diplomatic Passports.
I contacted my source, formerly with the State Department, and he confirmed issuing diplomatic status for at least 50 Americans to teach in former Soviet republics. When I asked him whether they were employed by the State Department, he said: 'Not officially.' I asked him whether they were connected to the CIA, and he responded, 'I wouldn't know.' I inquired about the direct foreign employer(s) of these American teachers, and this was his response: 'Private Turkish companies in education fields and several NGOs in Turkey.' This particular source was retired in 2004. Read more ½
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:20
"A New Power Lights The Way"
NEW YORK '-- The cast and crew of J.J. Abrams' post-apocalyptic drama "Revolution" are kicking off season two at the United Nations to discuss the basis of the show: what happens to people when the power goes off.
Show runner Eric Kripke and stars Billy Burke, Giancarlo Esposito and Tracy Spiraidakos are sitting down with officials at the U.N. Tuesday to talk about the plight of the one-fifth of the world's population that lives without electricity.
The event was sparked by two U.N. Undersecretaries General '-- fans of "Revolution" '-- who reached out to Abrams' Bad Robot production house and said they could use some help shining a light on the global energy crisis.
"When J.J. and I were cooking up 'Revolution' we really talked a lot about how we are this technology-dependent society and if you remove that infrastructure, much of a society would collapse as a result of something so simple and basic '-- and 'Revolution' is basically about that at its core underneath all the action and sword swinging," Kripke said. He said the U.N. outreach was "surreal."
Rebecca Goldman, director of Good Robot, Bad Robot's philanthropic arm, says the U.N. foundation's focus on energy access seemed like a perfect match. The show's writers are sitting down with five U.N. workers with experience in places like Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and the Republic of Congo.
"These are people who were negotiating directly with warlords for the release of child soldiers and trying to create infrastructure in places that don't have any power," Kripke said, "and can give you boots on the ground perspective on what life was like."
Kripke and his crew are writing some of those real experiences into the show. "We have a character this season who was a warlord and so we were really interested beyond what you hear in headlines and stories, what makes these kinds of people tick, how are they motivated and most importantly how do they motivate and manipulate people to fight and die for them?"
There have also been changes in production design and even a line in the premiere episode about a polio outbreak at a school '-- a reference to how diseases thought to be eradicated turn up in places that lack proper treatment.
Kripke says this all fits perfectly with season two of "Revolution," which premieres on NBC Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. EDT.
"It's still within its tone where it's fun and it's swashbuckling but we're putting in a little more danger and a little less civilization."
Follow Lauri Neff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lneffist
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 22:57
When the guy who ruined the Internet with banner ads tells you that a new kind of advertising might destroy journalism, it tends to get your attention.
That's not entirely fair. Joe McCambley, founder of The Wonderfactory, a digital design firm, helped build the first banner ad back in 1994. It was a much-maligned innovation that grew like kudzu until it had all but overwhelmed the consumer Web, defining its look and economics for years to come.
Now the new rage is ''native advertising,'' which is to say advertising wearing the uniform of journalism, mimicking the storytelling aesthetic of the host site. Buzzfeed, Forbes, The Atlantic and, more recently, The New Yorker, have all developed a version of native advertising, also known as sponsored content; if you are on Buzzfeed, World of Warcraft might have a sponsored post on, say, 10 reasons your virtual friends are better than your real ones.
It is usually labeled advertising (sometimes clearly, sometimes not), but if the content is appealing, marketers can gain attention and engagement beyond what they might get for say, oh, a banner ad.
Mr. McCambley is wary. He says he thinks native advertising can provide value to both reader and advertiser when properly executed, but he worries that much of the current crop of these ads is doing damage to the contract between consumer and media organizations.
''I completely understand the value of native advertising,'' Mr. McCambley said, ''but there are a number of publishers who are allowing P.R. firms and advertising agencies direct access to their content management systems and allowing them to publish directly to the site. I think that is a huge mistake.
''It is a very slippery slope and could kill journalism if publishers aren't careful,'' he said.
He's right. Publishers might build a revenue ledge through innovation of the advertising format, but the confusion that makes it work often diminishes the host publication's credibility.
Of course, some publishers have already gone flying off the edge, most notoriously The Atlantic, which in January allowed Scientology to create a post that was of a piece with the rest of the editorial content on its site, even if it was differently labeled. They got clobbered, in part because handing the keys to the car to a controversial religion with a reputation for going after journalists was dumb.
''You are gambling with the contract you have with your readers,'' Mr. McCambley said. ''How do I know who made the content I am looking at and what the value of the information is?''
Given his somewhat oracular status, it comes as little surprise that when you go to visit this particular ad wizard in Manhattan, you take an elevator up to an empty entranceway with a single cord dangling from the ceiling. I eventually pulled the cord and a door opened to The Wonderfactory.
Once inside, you find out that Mr. McCambley is not some crabby editorial type putting the old gimlet eye on the necessary, but distasteful evil of advertising. All he ever wanted to do was make good content, and the banner ad is not Mr. McCambley's only credential: The Wonderfactory has designed Web sites for National Geographic, Martha Stewart, Coca-Cola and The Huffington Post.
Part of his current skepticism is driven by his experience with those banner ads. Twenty years ago, most people got access to the Web through Internet service providers like Prodigy and CompuServe, which had a version of advertising but not the banners we have come to know and hate. In October 1994, HotWired, the digital version of Wired magazine, decided to create ads for the issue and AT&T opted in. The ad invited people to click through '-- and they did, at the astounding rate of 44 percent versus the 0.1 percent rate that is now common. Users were then transported to a list of museums around the world to show that the Web could take you places.
At the time it was unique, but as time went on the approach became ubiquitous and cheesy.
''We were proud of that ad,'' said Mr. McCambley. ''But everything starts out good until we end up making it bad.''
Now he is both a fan and a critic of Forbes.com, which has been at the vanguard of the native ad movement.
''What I love about Forbes is that they have the guts to take risks, to experiment, but I think some of it is dangerous,'' he said. ''When you go to Forbes, you expect sound business advice and news, information that has been fact-checked and vetted. But what you get instead is a mix of staff content, contributor content and sponsored content. It's hard to know where you are.''
Lewis Dvorkin is the chief product officer of Forbes and a veteran of both traditional and digital media publications, having worked at The New York Times, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and AOL.
''I believe that people gravitate toward content they trust and over the last three years, according to comScore, our audience has grown from 12 million unique users to 25 million,'' he said. ''We have very high standards and we spend a lot of time vetting our contributors and making sure that our marketers put real effort into what they put on the site, and understand the importance of coming up with accurate, useful information.''
Forbes's BrandVoice allows advertisers to produce editorial products that reflect their best efforts to engage audiences. The content is clearly labeled advertising, but has the familiar headline, art and text configuration of an editorial work.
As a result, things can get pretty complicated pretty quickly. In addition to staff posts, the site has a roster of 1,200 contributors '-- consultants, academics, journalists and others '-- who are compensated according to the audience they attract. And then there are the posts from the marketers, with a current roster of 15 active brands.
In a sense, Forbes has come up with an oven that makes its own food '-- something of a grail for publishers '-- with abundant content for readers and all manner of marketing opportunities for advertisers. But for a brand built on getting rich and living well, the messages in this new world are very mixed: on Friday, there were the expected Apple, Dell and Google articles, but there were others about gaming, films and listicles. And once you start clicking, it's hard to know what motives lie between the lines of what you are reading.
(This might be a good spot to mention that The New York Times has joined the fray, including embedding native advertising for Citi Bikes in an app called The Scoop.)
Malcolm Forbes might not recognize this version of his magazine, but it has been a hit: revenue from BrandVoice has doubled in the last year. Right now, Forbes can charge a premium for being a well-known brand that is an early adopter of a very sexy strategy, but the execution could dilute the power of that brand over time.
Mr. Dvorkin is quick to point out that the magazine is fresh off two prestigious Loeb awards, with magazine newsstand sales up 17 percent in the first half of the year. He suggests that the cornucopia of content is enabling, not preventing, his staff from producing sticky, credible work.
Mr. McCambley is doing his own share of work on native advertising, but said ''it has to stand on its own as good journalism. Bad native advertising is destructive for the publishers that host it.''
In other words, publisher looking to save the village commons of journalism through innovation should be careful they don't set it on fire in the process.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @carr2n
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 01:46
Editor's Note: The following is an edited version of the introductory chapter of a new e-book,Going Postal, by investigative journalist Peter Byrne.
On July 27, two hundred people sang and chanted on the steps of the historic main post office in downtown Berkeley to protest its upcoming closure and sale. City Councilman Jesse Arreguin took the microphone to angrily decry the closure. In fact, the Berkeley City Council had voted unanimously to oppose the sale. Why the day of rage?
When a post office closes, it is obviously that much harder to buy a stamp, pick up a package, send a registered letter, or purchase a money order. But inconvenience alone did not account for the existential angst being expressed by the mostly over-fifty members of the throng as they questioned the motives of the United States Postal Service for selling post offices all over the country to developers. "Which of our public assets will be privatized next?" speakers asked. "Streets? Schools? The Lincoln Bedroom?"
The Berkeley crowd is not acting alone: From the beaches of Santa Monica to the avenues of the Bronx to the orange farms of Nalcrest, Florida, people who like the US Mail are getting mad. "Hey, wait a minute, Mr. Postman! That is our community post office '-- "
To which the federal flak-catchers reply: "The Internet is killing us. The Postal Service is broke. We have to sell. Get used to it."
But email is not the problem and the budget deficit is easy enough to fix, so there must be other reasons for the forced sales, say save-the-post-office activists. The post office is being killed for political reasons, they assert, pointing out that the corporation with the exclusive contract to negotiate sales for the Postal Service's $85 billion real estate portfolio is C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE). And that the company is chaired by Richard C. Blum, who is the husband of US Senator Dianne Feinstein and a member of the University of California Board of Regents. CBRE's connection to a politically powerful family with a history of accessing public pension funds to make private investments has caused more than a few activists to suspect wrongdoing '-- even though no evidence of any conflicts of interest tied to the CBRE contract have been revealed.
My yearlong investigation has uncovered evidence of multiple conflicts of interest and problems with post office sales supervised by Blum's company, including:
' CBRE appears to have repeatedly violated its contractual duty to sell postal properties at or above fair market values.
' CBRE has sold valuable postal properties to developers at prices that appear to have been steeply discounted from fair market values, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in public revenue.
' In a series of apparently non-arm's-length transactions, CBRE negotiated the sale of postal properties all around the country to its own clients and business partners, including to one of its corporate owners, Goldman Sachs Group.
' CBRE has been paid commissions as high as 6 percent by the Postal Service for representing both the seller and the buyer in many of the negotiations, thereby raising serious questions as to whether CBRE was doing its best to obtain the highest price possible for the Postal Service.
' Senator Feinstein has lobbied the Postmaster General on behalf of a redevelopment project in which her husband's company was involved.
Because the Postal Service is running an artificially created budget deficit, tens of thousands of jobs are being liquidated as post offices and mail processing facilities in towns and cities across the country are short-listed to be sold for ready cash. CBRE has already sold 52 of these properties, and hundreds more are on the chopping block.
And 80 percent of the Postal Service's multibillion-dollar deficit is caused by a law passed by Congress in 2006 that requires it to prepay retiree health benefits 75 years into the future. This unprecedented, budget-killing command does not apply to any other government agency. If this burden were to be rescinded '-- and business mail were to be charged the cost of its delivery '-- the Postal Service would be in the black, according to Congressional reports.
The ugly truth of the matter, say informed critics such as New York University professor Steve Hutkins, is that the Postal Service is being privatized in the interests of scores of corporations that not only compete with it, but are also its largest contractors, including FedEx and United Parcel Service (package routing); Parsons Corporation (management services); Accenture (financial consulting); and Pitney Bowes (direct mail).
And then there is CBRE, the world's largest commercial real estate firm. In June 2013, Postal Service Inspector General David C. Williams published a scathing audit of CBRE's exclusive contract to manage all the sales and leasing of postal real estate. Williams noted that outsourcing these activities to a single firm is "a fundamental change from how the Postal Service previously managed its real estate portfolio [and] Facilities officials should improve oversight to mitigate inherent risks associated with the CBRE contract .... Specifically, there are conflict of interest concerns."
Williams warned of the potential for contract fraud, but he stopped short of referring the matter to a prosecutor, and advised the postal executives in charge of the CBRE contract to clean up their act.
Over the past year, my investigation has explored the kinds of conflicts of interest that concerned Williams by diving deep into the public record. CBRE's contract, its postal facility sales data, as well as expense reports for Postal Service executives were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The deeds of sale and assessment data for most of the postal properties sold by CBRE were found at the county level.
The county records allow for comparing the assessed value of the postal properties before they were sold to the final sales prices negotiated by CBRE on behalf of the Postal Service: And the comparisons reveal that CBRE has sold the bulk of this public real estate at prices under their assessed values '-- and apparently at far below fair market values.
When these findings were shared with Chuck Zlatkin, Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, he said, "Shocking as this information is, it is not surprising because we have seen a pattern of corruption at the Post Office ever since the manufacture of the health care benefit prepayment crisis. It is certainly not permissible for CBRE to sell property paid for by the public to its own business partners, or to anyone else, at a discount. In my opinion, CBRE's conflicts of interest contain an element of fraud."
CBRE Group Inc. was given a list of the key facts and analysis reported in this investigation. Through its spokesman Philip Russo, the company declined to comment.
Conflicts of Interest
In June 2011, the Postal Service hired CBRE as its exclusive agent to sell post offices, warehouses, parking lots, and vacant land worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The contract instructs CBRE to propose properties to sell with final approval reserved to the head of the Postal Service's Facilities Division, Tom Samra. And it requires CBRE to sell them at or above appraised (fair market) values, or not at all.
CBRE is also charged with appraising the fair market value of these properties and listing a reasonable sales price. It is important to point out that real estate appraisals are not customarily performed by the agent marketing the property. To avoid conflicts of interest, property appraisals are normally performed by professionals not involved in negotiating the sale.
Responding to a FOIA request through a staff attorney, Postmaster Patrick Donahoe categorically refused to disclose CBRE's appraisals. Attorney Jeff Meadows said that CBRE's appraisals do not need to be disclosed to the public because such information is "commercially sensitive" and it is comparable to a "national security" secret (even though the appraisals are not classified). The Postal Service eventually released the final sales price for each property sold by CBRE and CBRE's sales invoices, which recorded the amount of its commissions (2 to 6 percent). The appraisal figures, however, remain secret.
By way of explanation, an assessed value is normally based upon the most recent sales price of a parcel, which is likely to be less than its current fair market value. In many counties, the assessed value is calculated as a percentage of the fair market value. And during economic downturns, assessed values are often lowered to keep pace with a falling market.
During the first two years of its contract, CBRE sold the 52 properties it had picked to market for millions of dollars less than their assessed values. For example, in Seattle, CBRE sold a post office building in 2011 for $8 million that was assessed at $16 million. And earlier this year, it sold a seventeen-story office building in St. Paul, Minnesota for $20 million under the 2009 value assessed for it shortly before it was put on the market by CBRE.
Details presented in the chapter "Following the Money" of this e-book show that from June 2011 through May 2013, CBRE sold 52 postal properties for $166 million. The total assessed value of this portfolio at the time of sale was $232 million. Subtracting out the nine properties that sold at a value higher than their assessed value, CBRE has arguably undersold its postal real estate portfolio by at least $79 million. And it undersold these properties even as the price of commercial real estate, especially for central downtown parcels, was approaching the pre-crash highs of 2007.
Interviews about standard real estate practices with two experts provided by the National Association of Realtors indicate that the sale of a property at or below assessed values most often occurs when it is located in a distressed or impoverished area. When there is shortage of commercial real estate in developable areas '-- which has been the general situation, nationwide, for several years '-- demand tends to push prices far higher than assessed values.
But the vast majority of the CBRE-negotiated sales did not involve distressed properties: They were mostly located in economically healthy neighborhoods. The sales were mostly of central downtown buildings, with parking, in wealthy or revitalizing neighborhoods that attracted restaurant, boutique, and residential developers, or modern, suburban office buildings and warehouses, also with ample parking that attracted high-tech industrial firms.
In other words, the most saleable postal properties were the ones most likely to command prices that exceeded their assessed values.
Not at Arm's Length
Real estate transactions are normally negotiated by agents who stay at "arm's length" from each other's interests. That makes sense because sellers try to obtain the highest price possible, while buyers angle for the lowest price. Each agent is bound to get the best possible price for his or her client in a competitive marketplace.
But in a series of non-arm's-length transactions, CBRE has sold 20 percent of its postal portfolio to its own clients and/or business partners. In Boston, it sold a parcel at a large discount of its assessed value to a developer with whom it was partnered. And it sold another Boston parcel to one of its largest shareholders, Goldman Sachs Group. Real estate industry ethics require agents to get the best deal for their clients (in this case, the US Postal Service), not for their business partners and owners.
CBRE kept the entire seller/buyer commission of up to 6 percent in 34 of 52 transactions. In the majority of these deals, CBRE appears to have represented the interests of the buyer as well as those of the seller, even though CBRE was originally contracted to represent only the interests of the Postal Service.
Astonishingly, CBRE's contract was amended in 2012, at the request of CBRE, to allow it to negotiate on behalf of both the Postal Service and prospective buyers.
To be fair, CBRE need not shoulder all of the blame for the $79 million in lost revenue. In his June 2013 audit, the post office's inspector general reported that executives running the Postal Service Facilities Division were not properly monitoring the CBRE contract.
Williams found that:
' the dollar amount of the contract was improperly open-ended and posed a risk of runaway costs. The original $2 million budget had unaccountably tripled.
' Facilities Division officials improperly paid CBRE invoices without checking for fraud. At least 227 invoices worth $1.7 million were paid without proper oversight '-- "present[ing] an increased risk of fraud [and] pos[ing] an increased risk to the Postal Service's finances, brand, and reputation."
In short, the normal checks-and-balances mechanisms for preventing conflicts of interest and contract fraud have been missing in the monitoring of CBRE's performance by Facilities Division officials. Given the ethical norms at play on the top floors of the Postal Service's headquarters at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, DC, this is not surprising. The inspector general has also reported that high-ranking Postal Service executives have charged home mortgages and European vacations to their government credit cards.
And Facilities Division expense reports reveal that staffers have purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of expensive dinners, online gift cards, books, and even toys with their government-issued credit cards. The division's chief, Samra, has billed the deficit-ridden Postal Service for flying first class to Europe, even though he personally is worth as much as $98 million.
The Postal Service was given a list of the key facts and analysis reported in this investigation. Through his spokesman, David Partenheimer, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe declined to comment.
The Boston Seaport Deals
CBRE is a major player in the development of a brand-new neighborhood in downtown Boston called the Seaport District. The mixed-use district is slated to revitalize 1,000 acres of abandoned railways and crumbling docks that surround the Boston Convention Center. The linchpin of the giant redevelopment project's design is the upscale Channel Center, which will sport expensive residences, office buildings, and grassy parks. A portion of the project is sited on Postal Service land that has been sold by CBRE to the developers.
In Boston, during 2012, while acting as the Postal Service's agent, CBRE sold real estate at less than its assessed value to a group of developers called Commonwealth Ventures LLC, with whom it was partnered in a redevelopment project. CBRE also sold a valuable parcel in the same development project to one of its largest stockholders, Goldman Sachs Group. These and a host of similar transactions around the country raise questions as to whether CBRE improperly benefited from selling postal properties to its clients and business partners.
According to the Channel Center developer, Commonwealth Ventures LLC, CBRE is a member of its development team, which provides real estate services to the project. Commonwealth Ventures is also partnered with AREA Property Partners, which has collaborated with CBRE on other real estate ventures. Another CBRE client, the real estate arm of General Electric Corporation, is also a member of Commonwealth Ventures' Channel Center team. In what appears to have been a conflict of interest, CBRE has acted as the broker for both the Postal Service and the Channel Center development partnership, which is composed of its clients.
In September 2012, AREA Property Partners paid the Postal Service $10.3 million for a parking lot on which the company planned to construct the Channel Center parking garage. The Postal Service was represented by CBRE in the sale, even though CBRE is also the agent for the Channel Center developers, Commonwealth Ventures, and AREA.
According to the Boston Assessor's property database, the parking lot was valued at $12.4 million in 1991. This key piece of real estate in the Channel Center project was sold by CBRE for 20 percent less than it had been valued more than two decades before. In addition, because CBRE is also a member of the development team, the sale raises questions as to whether the company stands to reap additional profits from the Channel Center project.
Remarkably, the invoice that CBRE submitted to the Postal Service's Facilities Division for the sale of the Channel Center parking lot to Commonwealth Ventures did not contain an address for the property sold, only the notation "0 Square Feet." Under "value," someone wrote, "?" Nowhere on the undated invoice does the purchase price appear. Nor does the invoice reference a contract number, nor any form of payment authorization. It demands a "flat fee" of $377,500 for negotiating the sale, even though the CBRE contract does not allow for flat fees. Nonetheless, the incomplete invoice was paid by Postal Service facilities executives.
The Goldman Sachs Connection
A real estate partnership created by the Goldman Sachs Group called W2005 BWH Realty LLC purchased a parcel of Postal Service land for a residential development alongside the Channel Center in September 2011. The parcel was subdivided from a larger parcel, so it had no previously assessed value as a unit. CBRE sold the postal parcel for $1 million to the entity controlled by the Goldman Sachs Group, which owns 6.6 percent of CBRE, a stake that rivals Blum Capital Partners' stake of 6.9 percent. Goldman Sachs is also a longstanding CBRE client and its co-investor in numerous ventures. Since CBRE took the entire commission of 6 percent, it appears to have represented both seller and buyer in a transaction that poses an apparent conflict of interest.
The CBRE invoice for the sale to the Goldman Sachs partnership does not list a dollar amount for the sale, nor the name of the buyer (which was obtained from deeds on file with the Boston Assessor's office).
In an email, James Allen of the Postal Service Facilities Division wrote that after paying CBRE for both of the Boston Seaport deals, facilities managers requested that CBRE change the format of its invoices to include more information.
Richard C. Blum did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
To read about Senator Feinstein's efforts in a California redevelopment project in which Blum's company was involved, see the chapter "DiFi and the Blumpire" of the e-book.
Proceeds from the sale of the e-book, Going Postal, which may be downloaded in its entirety at Amazon, go solely to the author of this report.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:26
An Epoch-marking energy agenda
As the German federal election campaign is kicking into full gear, German energy policy has emerged as a key bone of contention.
Boosting renewable energies (largely photovoltaic and wind) in Europe's biggest industrial economy from a 22% to an 80 % share in 2050 is tantamount to the country's massive reconstruction efforts after World War II, carrying a price tag of around '¬550 billion.
Experts agree that the country urgently needs to enact major reforms to master its energy transformation (Energiewende) after the polls of 22 September.
Missing a roadmap
While Germany will soon reach a watershed moment, at which renewables will be expected to produce a 50 % share of its energy mix, the reforms' adjustment challenges become increasingly apparent; as network expansion is not keeping pace with mushrooming renewable energy plants, there is mounting concern over a lack of a comprehensive and strategic roadmap which would include the EU level.
The electoral campaign has brought to light a smouldering conflict between the country's powerful energy industry, car-makers and renewable-energy advocates which are supported by a whopping 82% of Germans. Concerns over dwindling competitiveness have led to exemptions from renewable surcharges for the country's energy-intensive industry. Yet the country's inadequate infrastructure, as well as soaring electricity costs, demands more sustainable solutions.
Moving towards net expansion?
The biggest parties agree on the reforms' basic goals, (phasing out of nuclear energy by 2022, build-up of renewables by 2050, CO2 reductions) but disagree on the way to get there.
The two most likely coalitions emerging from the elections are expected to continue exemptions for energy-intensive industries, but while a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition would end feed-in tariffs and privileged access to the grid for renewables, a grand CDU/CSU-SPD coalition would compromise on these two policies, maintaining coal as a core component of the German energy mix in the foreseeable future.
Under a scenario hailed by some experts and conservatives, Germany would shift priorities from building up renewables to expanding its grid, (in need of adding 3700km in transmission lines alone by 2022) as well as storage facilities.
Emerging conflicts with the EU
These outcomes are likely to clash with the European Commission's energy plans.
Energy Commissioner Oettinger recently warned that cutting promised subsidies for renewables would seriously hurt investor confidence, while Germany's minister of economic affairs R¶sler accused the EU of meddling into national competences in energy policies.
The Commission is also expected to launch an illegal state aid probe into the exemptions from the renewables surcharge for energy intensive industries.
Moreover, the Council of the EU is expected to reach a decision by late autumn '' after a new German government is formed '' on limiting carbon emission certificates (backloading); support from a possible new grand coalition government is likely, after the current coalition has postponed forming a position due to a disagreement between the supportive environment and the industry-friendly economy ministers.
Whether energy reforms by the future government will produce a much-desired long-term roadmap for Germany's and indeed, Europe's energy transformation is uncertain.
A safe bet for its post-election agenda is that Europe's frontrunner in energy-efficient, and green technologies will continue standing up for concerns of its powerful industry in confrontations with the EU level.
Ana Mingo JaramilloCitizen of the world, music lover, caffeine addict, annoying Facebook-girl, open-minded and committed Europhile. I studied IR in Dresden, I hold a MA degree in European Studies and I am currently a MA candidate in European Public Affairs at Maastricht University. For the past two years, I have worked for the Observatory for Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty, and for the Maastricht Centre for European Governance. Before this, I worked at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Mexico City, and the World Health Organization in Washington DC.My fields of interest include: European Public Affairs, EU foreign policy, International Relations, Contemporary world history and Social media.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:48
A senior official of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has reportedly said the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is 'out of control'.
Kazuhiko Yamashita told Japanese opposition lawmakers in the city of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture that the crippled nuclear plant's condition is out of control, as radioactive water continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean. Recently, a scientist had warned that more than the radioactive water flowing from the leaking plant, the quantity which is sitting in the tanks on land is a greater threat.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has reiterated that water leakage in the plant is contained and that Yamashita made his remarks under constant grilling by the opposition lawmakers.
TEPCO recently admitted that highly toxic water leaked from the plant and into the adjacent Pacific Ocean at a rate of around 300 tons per day from makeshift storage tanks on the site.Continue Reading at: dnaindia.com
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:38
Im Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen ist erneut ein Defekt an einem Brennelement entdeckt worden. Der betroffene Block B der Anlage geht deshalb diese Woche vom Netz.Von Stefan Drescher und Sascha Borowski
Der Defekt sei bei einer kontinuierlichen Betriebs¼berwachung des Reaktorkerns von Block B festgestellt worden,heit es in einer Mitteilung des Kraftwerkbetreibers. Der Block soll daher am 19. September vorsorglich heruntergefahren werden, um das betroffene Brennelement zu lokalisieren und auszutauschen. Die Anlage sei daf¼r technisch ausgelegt. "Spezielle R¼ckhaltesysteme sorgen auch in diesem Fall f¼r einen sicheren Betrieb.''
Einem Bericht der Kraftwerksgegner "Gemeinsam gegen das Zwischenlager", wonach es auch im Block C Hinweise auf ein defektes Brennelement gebe, widersprach Pressesprecher Tobias Schmidt im Gespr¤ch mit unserer Redaktion jedoch. "Daf¼r gibt es keinen Anhaltspunkt."
AKW-Betreiber: Keine Gefahr f¼r die UmweltJeder der zwei Bl¶cke im Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen besteht aus 784 Brennelementen. In diesen sind jeweils rund 90 Brennst¤be geb¼ndelt. Diese Rohre enthalten Urantabletten. Gibt es ein Leck an einem Brennstab, str¶mt radioaktives Gas in das Reaktorwasser.
Laut Kraftwerksbetreiber habe der Vorfall jedoch keine "sicherheitstechnisch relevanten Auswirkungen auf die Anlage, das Personal oder die Umwelt''. Alle genehmigten Grenzwerte w¼rden sicher eingehalten, heit es in einer Pressemitteilung. Die Aufsichtsbeh¶rde sei ¼ber den Sachverhalt informiert, eine Meldepflicht bestehe nach derzeitiger Kenntnislage nicht.
Die Anlage Gundremmingen zwischen G¼nzburg und Dillingen, die in dieser Form seit 1984 besteht, ist der leistungsst¤rkste Kernkraftwerksstandort in Deutschland. Die zwei Reaktoren erzeugen pro Jahr mehr als 20 Milliarden Kilowattstunden Strom. Dies entspricht rund einem Drittel des gesamten Verbrauchs in Bayern.Die Betreibergesellschaft der Anlage geh¶rt zu 75 Prozent RWE und zu 25 Prozent Eon. Nach dem Atomausstiegsbeschluss der Bundesregierung 2011 sollen Block B im Jahr 2017 und Block C 2021 abgeschaltet werden.Das Zwischenlager in Gundremmingen ging im August 2006 in Betrieb. Die Halle liegt rund 150 Meter vom Reaktorgeb¤ude entfernt und ist 104 Meter lang, 38 Meter breit und 18 Meter hoch. Die W¤nde aus Stahlbeton sind 85 Zentimeter dick. Die Halle verf¼gt ¼ber eine Kapazit¤t von 192 Castoren. Ein Castor wiederum enth¤lt 52 Brennelemente. Damit ist das schw¤bische Zwischenlager das gr¶te in Deutschland.Wie alle anderen Zwischenlager ist auch dieses f¼r eine Betriebszeit von maximal 40 Jahren ausgerichtet. Das heit, in Gundremmingen endet die Genehmigung 2046. Sp¤testens dann, so die urspr¼ngliche Planung, sollte ein Endlager in Deutschland zur Verf¼gung stehen.Die Kritiker bef¼rchteten schon bei der Genehmigung des Zwischenlagers, dass es de facto zu einem Endlager werden k¶nnte. Auerdem argumentierten sie, dass in jedem der Castoren mehr Radioaktivit¤t enthalten sei, als bei der Reaktorkatastrophe von Tschernobyl 1986 freigesetzt wurde.Gegen den Bau der Zwischenlager wurde bundesweit prozessiert. Im Fall von Gundremmingen reichten f¼nf Anwohner aus umliegenden Gemeinden Klage beim Bayerischen Verwaltungsgerichtshof in M¼nchen ein. Der VGH wies die Klage mit seinem Urteil vom 2. Januar 2006 ab.Raimund Kamm vom Forum "Gemeinsam gegen das Zwischenlager" spricht dennoch von einem Gesundheitsrisiko. So w¼rden in den kommenden Tagen im AKW Gundremmingen vermehrt radioaktive Emissionen ¼ber den Kamin abgegeben. "Diese liegen zwar unter dem gesetzlichen Grenzwert. Das heit aber nicht, dass sie gesundheitlich unbedenklich sind."
Zuletzt mehrere technische Zwischenf¤lle in GundremmingenIn den vergangenen Monaten war es zu mehreren technischen Zwischenf¤llen in dem Atomkraftwerk gekommen. Im Fr¼hjahr mussten bereits ein defektes Brennelement ausgetauscht werden. Zudem wurde im Juli unter anderem ein Leck im K¼hlsystem entdeckt.
Anfang September gab es im Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen ein meldepflichtiges Ereignis: Eine Armatur in einem Stickstoffversorgungs-Strang schloss nicht ordnungsgem¤. Ursache sei ein defekter Schalter am Antrieb gewesen, hie es.
Gegner warnen vor Leistungserh¶hung in GundremmingenKamm betont, der j¼ngste Vorfall sei ein neuer Beleg daf¼r, wie gef¤hrlich eine Leistungserh¶hung im Kernkraftwerk Gundremmingen sei. "Fr¼her gab es alle f¼nf Jahre einmal einen Defekt, heute j¤hrlich mehrere."
Wie berichtet, m¶chten die Betreiber die Leistung in den 30 Jahre alten Reaktoren um knapp zwei Prozent bzw. rund 20 Megawatt steigern. Atomkraft-Gegner hatten dem bayerischen Landtag daraufhin eine Petition mit mehr als 6700 Unterschriften ¼berreicht.
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Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:46
China '' it's not just about killing your dog, and selling you dangerous drywall. Now China will be processing chickens for consumption across the US. And under the new rules, your local grocery store, or your local McDonald's, won't have to disclose if their chicken has been processed in a country that has had chronic problems meeting basic quality standards on food in particular.
What, you might ask, could possibly go wrong?
Last year, Chinese chicken sickened or killed 1,000 American dogsYou might recall that China is the country that a few years back killed your dogs, a few different times actually, including last year when Chinese dog treats reported sickened and/or killed American 1,000 dogs.
Oh, and guess what was in the jerky treats that killed our dogs? Chinese chicken.
Speaking of chicken, did you know that a few years back nearly 3 million Americans ate chickens that were fed poisonous Chinese pet food?
But the fun hardly stops there. Consumers have been plagued with Chinese poisonous toothpaste, dangerous tires that leave out a special safety feature, tainted baby milk, tainted pork, toxic rice, kidney-damaging cookies, cake and candies, bird-flu infected chicken, dying pigs, and toxic fish.
Mmm'... toxic fish.
Well, now China will be processing US-produced chicken that will then be shipped back to the US market, and no one will bother letting you know which chicken you're buying got processed first in beautiful China!
Perhaps my favorite Chinese quality-control disaster was the exploding watermelons (which brings back memories of the old exploding Soviet television sets). I have to admit, an exploding watermelon could be kind of fun.
And now our chicken is going to be processed in China. What could possibly go wrong?
US chicken processing also in troubleOh, but if you're not creeped out enough, there are now concerns about chicken processed in the US as well. From NPR:
And, chicken lovers, brace yourselves: There's more. A report suggests chicken inspections here in the U.S. might be poised to take a turn for the worse. The Government Accountability Office said this week it has serious ''questions about the validity'' of the new procedures for inspecting poultry across the country.
Basically, these changes would replace many USDA inspectors on chicken processing lines with employees from the poultry companies themselves. The USDA has been piloting the new procedures, which will save money and significantly speed up processing lines, in 29 chicken plants. As The Washington Post reports, the plan is to roll out the new procedures eventually to ''most of the country's 239 chicken and 96 turkey plants.''
The problem? According to the GAO, the USDA did a poor job of evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot programs it has in place.
That's one heck of a coincidence, all of these new chicken rules happening all at the same time, and all of them benefit Big Chicken at the seeming expense of the consumer.
PUNING, CHINA '' MARCH 18: dirty chickens are fed at home garden, in Puning, Canton on March 18 2013. An H7N9 bird virus was first reported to have infected humans in 2013 in China. (Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com)
So my basic takeaway is to stop eating chicken all togetherBack to China for a moment, I routinely check my dog's food and treats to make sure they're not made in China. And there is no way in hell I'm eating chicken processed in a country whose food I won't even feed my dog.
And remember: They're not going to identity the country of origin on the chicken, so you're whole chicken, chicken nuggets, and even chicken soup and chicken bouillon could be processed in China, and no one is ever going to tell you.
One has to wonder if McDonald's, and Safeway, and Costco, and Jewel, and Dominick's, and Harris Teeter, and Walmart are going to be selling chicken surreptitiously processed in China.
Ask your local supermarket if they're going to sell Chinese-processed chickensPerhaps it's time you asked them '' here are their Twitter handles for starters. You'd be surprised how well Twitter works on issues like this. Also, make sure the next time you to go the supermarket you ask if they're going to be getting chicken processed in China, then tell them how you feel about it.
Costco (@CostcoTweets)@Safeway@HarrisTeeterJewel/Osco (@jewelosco)Dominick's: (@dominicks)@Walmart@Kroger@WholeFoods
Tags: chicken, China, Chinese, Costco, Dominicks, FDA, food, Jewel, processing, safety, Safeway, USDA
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:35
Please comment on this article at Canada Free Press
By Douglas J. Hagmann
16 September 2013: The innocuously sounding 'Media Shield Law,' also referred to as a bill to provide the free flow of information to the public, is not what it is presented to be. It is an integral plank of the Progressives and Globalists who have been advancing the Communist agenda for decades, using it to ultimately seek control under global governance. The bill, should it become law, will have a chilling effect on free speech, especially any negative discourse against the people in power, their policies and plans. Everyone needs to pay very close attention to this bill and take a stand to assure its defeat.
Instead of offering legal protections to journalists and their confidential sources who expose governmental corruption, this law will provide the 'legal' means long sought by the Executive branch to instead compel journalists to identify their sources based on a fluid and arbitrary definition of national security and the narrow 'definition' of a journalist. It is a direct attack on the First Amendment and a stealth attack against political dissidence. It is a stepping stone to the reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine and a step toward controlling the information accessible on the internet.
Media oligopoly refined
By definition, an oligopoly is a condition where just a few firms dominate a certain market. Over the last few decades, we've seen media oligopoly in action. Today, about a half-dozen media conglomerates dominate what is known as the main-stream media, thereby allowing much easier control over the content of the news and editorials. A virtual monopoly is created, and what is aired as news is better controlled by those in control of licensing. By adding the nebulous factor of national security as we have seen in many other instances within our society, America is at risk of losing any remaining freedom of the press that once existed.
Centralization is the objective
Currently, forty-eight-(48) states and the District of Columbia have enacted 'shield laws' or some form of a shield law, protecting a reporter's privilege to keep sources confidential. Why is the federal government pushing so hard to usurp state's rights and redefine what has already been established? It's to control information and those who disseminate it. Instead of reinforcing one's First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, they are being redefined under an oligarchy of an elite royalty.
The First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution are inextricably linked, each dependent upon the other. One needs not to look any father than the recent attacks on the Second Amendment to see their plans for the First Amendment. For example, each state has gun laws which they enforce, however they are under asymmetrical attack by the federal government for the purposes of control and enforcement, and ultimately registration and confiscation. By removing the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, there will be little ability to exercise your rights under the First Amendment. By hobbling the First Amendment, there will be little discourse permitted about the Second.
It is absolutely critical that people take a few steps back and look at the larger picture, as these issues are not confined to a vacuum. It's all about centralization, which provides the ability for complete control of our lives. Examples of centralization in the U.S. are plentiful, from the modern income tax statutes of 1913 to the Affordable Health Care Act that will dominate one-sixth of our national economy. 'Obamacare' is not about health care, but about centralization of power and control. Correspondingly, the federal Media Shield Law is not about protecting journalists or the prevention of disclosing classified information, but about centralizing the authority to control the dissemination of information that is inconvenient to the oligarchy.
Additionally, the same people who rely on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to expose government corruption are the same people who will fall all over themselves to promote this feigned treaty of cooperation between the oligarchs and the unwashed. While they chase their tails over papers peppered in black that tell nothing to those requesting the truth, the people in power chuckle at the sideshow while advancing their objectives. They are doubling down to prevent the exposure of their nefarious plans of subjugating the world's populace to global domination, and have no intention of disclosure.
You don't have to believe me, though. Instead, let the words of David Rockefeller, talking at the June, 1991 Bilderberger meeting in Baden, Germany speak for themselves:
''We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years.''
''It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto determination practiced in past centuries.''
Don't fall for this Trojan Horse legislation. Make your voices heard before they are silenced.
H.R. 1962: Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 Text May 14, 2013
S. 987: Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 Text May 16, 2013; On Thursday, 12 September 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the media shield law bill with the Feinstein-Durbin amendment by a vote of 13-5.
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Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:49
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is supposed to guarantee that the press gets access to public records within a timely fashion, and has been instrumental in gathering documents related to the recent National Security Agency revelations. But the existence of the Act isn't enough to make reporters' lives easy.
Until recently, the most efficient method for making FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) was via fax. It was speedy and reliable, unlike snail mail and the registration-required web portal. About two weeks ago, MuckRock reports, the fax machine stopped working and won't be back up any time soon. "We would hope that it is back up sometime in October, but could extend into November," a spokesman said.
The OSD handles records related to the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff, and does not process requests for the entire Department of Defense. Even so, it's still managed to build up a substantial backlog of FOIA requests: more than 1,000 awaiting processing. Perhaps the broken fax machine will help.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:49
Time to swap out 1960s technology and leap into the bold world of email requests
by Shawn Musgrave on Sept. 12, 2013, noon
Starting two weeks ago, requests faxed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) started coming back as undeliverable. After several subsequent attempts and troubleshooting on our end, MuckRock reached out to the OSD. Sure enough, their fax machine is down... possibly until November.
Now, in 2013, you wouldn't think this would be an issue. But when an agency accepts FOIA requests by a) fax, b) mail or c) a clunky online request portal that doesn't play nice with other systems, suddenly that fax machine becomes a technical linchpin.
It bears repeating: The office that oversees the most powerful military in history (not to mention the best-funded) is unable to project when its single fax machine will once again be operational.
The OSD's FOIA section chief confirmed the grim news yesterday, responding that his office "will likely need to procure (purchase) a new fax machine. However, that purchase will not occur until the start of the new fiscal year (at the earliest)."
Given its budget of a mere $31.8 billion for maintenance and operations and last year's backlog of more than 1,000 overdue FOIA requests for the Secretary's office alone, we urge the Defense Department to move into the 21st century. (They might even look into Faxaway, an email-based service that MuckRock uses for all its fax needs. It even offers free incoming faxes.)
FOIA is about facilitating the public's access to government information and documents. Every agency ought to make maximum effort to make FOIA as easy and straightforward as possible, from request submission to fulfillment. And when technical difficulties arise, agencies must adapt. For instance, when the FBI's digital copying capacity went offline last summer, its FOIA office printed responsive documents at no cost to requesters. We hope that OSD will follow suit and take this opportunity to make their FOIA process a more modern and efficient machine than an upgraded fax.
In the meantime, I've filed a request for the inventory of the OSD's FOIA office, as well as their equipment budget to see if we can help find some savings for a spare fax machine for next year.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Curious about government spending on office supplies? Register for a MuckRock account today and we'll help you write, file, track and share your requests, or help you get your FOIA questions answered free. Stay in touch via our mailing list, on Twitter or on Facebook.
Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:48
Members of the Anonymous hacker collective, known as Anons, are targeting US lawmakers who have financial ties to intelligence contractors in their latest campaign.
Unlike other Anonymous operations, however, OpNSA does not involve hacking or illegality of any kind.
Instead, the operation aims to bring attention to what Anons have termed collusion between US senators and private contractors, whom Anons allege enabled privacy violations as part of National Security Agency surveillance programs.
The contractors include Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and others.
Specifically, Anons hope to highlight suspect campaign contributions to several prominent US lawmakers '-- including Diane Feinstein, Dutch Ruppersberger, Mike Rogers and Saxby Chambliss '-- by US defense and intelligence contractors.
Those involved with OpNSA say that these lawmakers have been given a pass by the American public in spite of playing a large role in enabling the government to violate the privacy of citizens via NSA programs. By raising awareness of those connections among the officials' constituents, Anons hope the senators will begin losing public support.
''There are those who say; 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.' However these are the same people who won't tell you any of their own personal information upon your request. Complacent cowards like these have made it easier for this enormous surveillance operation to come to fruition,'' reads a statement released by OpNSA.
More from GlobalPost: Syrian Electronic Army revealed: Anonymous hacks SEA website, dumps data
''Campaign contributions is just a fancy way of spinning 'bribes,''' said one Anon involved in the operation. ''Saxby Chambliss is a money sponge.''
The Anon continued: ''Dutch Ruppersberger and Mike Rogers are huge players, over $800k from defense contractors and NSA-affiliated tech companies since 2007, when the Protect America Act was implemented.''
The information Anons are highlighting has already been made public by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Online outrage over NSA spying programs revealed by those leaks has centered mostly on relationships between the intelligence community, intelligence contractors and the Obama administration.
''Campaign contributions are public, yes, but hardly anyone ever looks into it themselves which is why we are working to make [OpNSA] as viral as possible for each politician that we did a video on who is up for reelection,'' one Anon told GlobalPost.
More from GlobalPost: Hacks continue as FBI claims to have dismantled Anonymous
In addition to redirecting public outrage and placing more blame on lawmakers for what they see as privacy violations, OpNSA also hopes to the American public thinking of Snowden as an important whistleblower, whose revelations are of great consequence.
''Surveillance is not the same thing as security, no matter how politicians or federal officials want to spin it,'' said another Anon involved with OpNSA. ''What the government is doing may not be as grotesque as George Orwell's Telescreens from "1984" but while it's not as obvious, it's not that far off.''
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:55
16 September 2013Last updated at07:32 ETDiplomats and international officials are discussing a "New Deal" for Somalia, which should see hundreds of millions of dollars pledged for the country after two decades of conflict.
The European Union (EU)-backed conference is being held in Brussels.
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab dismissed the meeting as "Belgian waffle".
Al-Shabab is fighting to oust Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's government, the first to be recognised by the US in more than 20 years.
The group controls most of southern Somalia, but it has been driven out of the main cities and towns, including the capital Mogadishu, by an African Union (AU) force backing the government.
'Milestone'BBC Somalia analyst Mary Harper says the New Deal will focus on promoting peace and state-building.
The EU and Somali government believe now is a good time to adopt the programme as the country has entered a new era, with a more legitimate government and progress on the security front, our correspondent says.
Continue reading the main storySomalia is a good test case for the New Deal. It certainly fits the criteria for a fragile state, given that for six years in a row it has come top of the list of the world's most failed states.
The New Deal focuses on peace and state-building. Without these, goes the argument, there can be no meaningful development, and aid money simply goes to waste. This has certainly been the case in Somalia, where billions of dollars have been thrown at a problem that refuses to go away.
The EU and Somalia argue that now is a good time to adopt the New Deal. They say the country has entered a new era, with a more legitimate government and progress on the security front.
But it is possible that the Brussels meeting will simply be the latest in the long list of expensive conferences on Somalia that end with ambitious communiques but have little or no impact on the development of the country.
Mr Mohamud told the BBC Somali service he welcomed the proposed New Deal.
"It's a standard deal throughout the world in the post-conflict environment. This is a deal that is based on Somalia-led initiatives," he said.
The UK said it would contribute £50m ($80m) to the New Deal.
The money would go towards improving health and water services and rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by war, it said.
The UK's ambassador to Somalia, Neil Wigan, said the conference was "a major milestone", AFP news agency reports.
Diplomats were hoping to see more than $1bn (£600,000) in pledges to help rebuild Somalia, widely regarded as a failed state, it reports.
"Our combined efforts will maintain momentum and deliver the change that the people of Somalia desperately need," Mr Wigan is quoted as saying.
Al-Shabab said it expected donor pledges would remain mostly unfulfilled or the money would be lost in corruption.
"It's a bit like Belgian Waffles: sweet on the outside but really has not much substance to it," it said on its Twitter account.
'Slush fund'Mr Mohamud said at a news conference that aid money had been used to save lives, and provide basic services to Somalis.
The New Deal would take Somalia from an "emergency to recovery" over the next three years, he said.
"This is a new chapter. Today we are ending a journey and starting a new one," Mr Mohamud added.
The EU gave Somalia about $1.6bn in aid from 2008 to 2013, AFP reports.
Most of the money was used to finance the AU force of some 18,000 troops, it reports.
Our correspondent says billions of dollars have been thrown at a problem that refuses to go away.
There have been several international conferences to help Somalia rebuild itself, including one hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in May.
The UK and other donors pledged some $130m in aid for Somalia at the time.
Earlier this month, Somalia's government said international investigators it had appointed had cleared it of corruption allegations made by United Nations monitors.
In July, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia said Somalia's central bank had become a "slush fund" for political leaders and that the current governor played a central role in irregularities surrounding unaccountable disbursements of cash.
In September, Norway decided to directly pay government employees their salaries in order to curb corruption, UN-backed Somali Radio Bar-Kulan reported at the time.
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:52
(AP) '' A South Korean weightlifter heard his national anthem played today after winning gold in an international competition in North Korea, an unusual development between the bitter rivals and a vivid sign of the Koreas' easing tensions after a spring of war threats. Two South Koreans were the only competitors in their particular weight category and automatically won gold and silver. The crowd in Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium stood as the South Korean national anthem played and two South Korean flags were raised.
It's the first time South Korean athletes have attended an international sports event in North Korea, government officials in Seoul said. North and South Korea are pursuing diplomacy after a March and April that saw Pyongyang threatening Seoul and Washington with nuclear strikes. In recent weeks, the Koreas have restored a military hotline at the border, agreed to restart a jointly run factory park shut down in April, and will have reunions this month of families separated by the war.
Copyright 2013 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 16:12
At a campaign event today, someone tried to get a photo of Angela Merkel by using a cheap drone.
According to the AP, the police demanded that the 23-year-old operating the drone quickly land it (citing safety). After briefly detaining the man, police decided he was harmless and they let him go.
In these two photos, from Reuters, you can see the abrupt crash landing that happened right in front of Merkel when the operator was forced to do a quick landing.
The photos offer a nice glimpse of the very near future.
There's no reason why cheap, simple-to-operate drones won't be a standard mode to get great photo angles for big, crowded events.
In the case of events with high-profile figures, the proliferation of these drones promises to be a security nightmare.
And just in general, the varying reactions to the drone's presence (Merkel's smirk, the death stare from the other lady, and the range of reactions in between from the men on the podium) hint at the general way humans will react to the increased presence of robots and drones in everyday life. Pictures like these will get a lot more common.
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 16:18
(09-15) 18:56 PDT -- A running shoe apparently washed up on San Francisco's Ocean Beach on Sunday morning - which wouldn't be news except that inside was a human foot.
The grim discovery was made by the National Park Service beach patrol in a response to a call from a visitor to the section of the beach near Taraval Street. There was no sign of the rest of the body, and whatever happened probably happened some time ago, in some other place.
"What we have is a human foot, with some associated tissue, inside of a shoe," said Mark Powning, an investigator with the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. "It probably was rolling around the seabed for awhile."
The remains were inside a green-and-black-mesh Puma running shoe, size 11 1/2.
John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter:@johnkingsfchron
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:28
Wolfgang Sch¤uble: he's right about everything
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Sch¤uble has been vindicated.
For my part, I have been wrong about everything. German discipline policies for the eurozone have been a tremendous success. I am ashamed for suggesting otherwise.
As the wise, patient, and always self-effacing Mr Sch¤uble writes today in The Financial Times, the Euro-sceptics talk and write relentless drivel.
''Ignore the doomsayers: Europe is being fixed'' is the headline:
The eurozone is clearly on the mend both structurally and cyclically.
What is happening turns out to be pretty much what the proponents of Europe's cool-headed crisis management predicted. The fiscal and structural repair work is paying off, laying the foundations for sustainable growth. This has taken critical observers aback. It should not have, because, in truth, we have seen it all before, many times and in many places.
Despite what the critics of the European crisis management would have us believe, we live in the real world, not in a parallel universe where well-established economic principles no longer apply.
Mr Sch¤uble says Germany pulled it off the old-fashioned way earlier this decade, with root-and-branch reform. The UK did it in the 1980s, Sweden and Finland in the early 1990s, Asia in the late 1990s:
The recipe worked then and it is working now, somewhat to the chagrin and bemusement of its numerous critics in the media, academia, international organisations and politics.
In just three years, public deficits in Europe have halved, unit labour costs and competitiveness are rapidly adjusting, bank balance sheets are on the mend and current account deficits are disappearing. In the second quarter the recession in the eurozone came to an end.
Systems adapt, downturns bottom out, trends turn. In other words, what is broken can be repaired. Europe today is the proof.
So there we have it. The problem is solved. How can I not have seen it? How can any of us on this blog thread have missed it?
I apologise for mentioning that unemployment is 27.8pc in Greece, 26.3pc in Spain, 17.3pc in Cyprus, and 16.5pc in Portugal, or for pointing that it would be far worse had it not been for a mass exodus of EMU refugees. Nor was is proper to mention that Greek youth unemployment in 62.9pc. These are trivial details.
I apologise for pointing out that the EU-IMF Troika originally said the Greek economy would contract by 2.6pc in 2010 and then recover briskly, when in fact it contracted by roughly 23pc from peak-to-trough, and will shrink another 5pc this year according to the think-tank IOBE. This slippage is well within the normal margin of error.
I apologise for mentioning that the debt trajectories of Spain, Greece, Italy, and Ireland have accelerated upwards under the austerity plans, and therefore that the policy has been self-defeating.
It was quite uncalled for to point out that Italy's debt ratio has jumped to 130pc of GDP, or to so suggest that debt cannot keep rising on a contracting nominal GDP bas, and I will wash my mouth soap if I ever utter the words ''denominator effect'' again. It is shabby to use such cheap language.
I apologise for mentioning IMF studies showing that the fiscal multiplier is three times higher than first thought by EU officials in EMU crisis states, and therefore that the contractionary effects of belt-tightening are far greater than first calculated.
As for using that pious and pretentious Greek word ''hysteresis'' to suggest that mass unemployment and the collapse of investment in southern Europe has lowered the economic growth trajectory of these countries for years to come, outweighing any of the alleged gains from the EU-imposed reforms: this is just trying to blind good folk with posh talk.
I apologise for suggesting that German reforms under Schr¶der have been vastly overblown, and that German competitiveness gains have been chiefly the result of a beggar-thy-neighbour wage squeeze at the cost of EMU trade partners. Nor should I have said that a small open economy like Sweden in the 1990s may well be able to tighten its way back to vitality in a the middle of a global boom, but if half Europe does so in unison in a slump, it will inflict carnage.
It was unconscionable of me to say that Germany has locked in a semi-permanent trade advantage over Club Med, or for saying that the trying to close this gap by imposing deflation on the South is impossible because this will play havoc with debt dynamics.
How could any of in the eurosceptic camp have stooped to the historical pornography of the 1930s, suggesting for one moment that EMU replicates the worst errors of the interwar Gold Standard, or that the German-led creditor bloc is doing to Spain exactly what the US-led creditor bloc did to Germany from 1928-1933? Just sheer smut.
I apologise personally to Mr Sch¤uble for calling him a dangerous mediocrity: arrogant, shallow, narrow-minded, provincial, and unscientific in equal degree. This was shockingly rude. It brings shame to Fleet Street.
I should not have questioned his wisdom in thinking it is possible to harmlessly enforce contractionary policies on the South of a single currency zone without offsetting expansion in the North. Events have shown that he has the finest mind in Europe, and a superb grasp of European politics. Moreover, people have seen the light even in Greece, where he is now adored.
I apologise for screaming for two years that the EMU would blow apart unless Germany allowed the ECB to step up to its responsibilities as a lender of last resort for sovereign states, as it finally did at one minute to midnight in July 2012. It was the Fiscal Compact that saved EMU, and the Six Pack, and the Two Pack, and all those rule books from Berlin.
It was carping for me to suggest that recent charts showing a dramatic narrowing of unit labour costs in Spain et al are largely bogus, the mirror of mass unemployment that causes an automatic rise in apparent productivity; and nor should I have quibbled about the low trade gearing of Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece, or suggested that exports are too small a share of GDP to lift these countries out of the morass quickly. This is just pointy-headed, clever-clever, anorak stuff, and frankly laughable.
So no, Mr Sch¤uble has pulled it off. The German Constitutional Court is in the pocket of the German finance ministry and will thankfully run a coach and horses through the Grundgesetz when it rules next month, or soon after. The court will not stop the ECB keeping Italy and Spain afloat. The law has been stitched up, so no problems there.
The eurozone is recovering. It is immune to the sharp rise in the exchange rate of the euro over the last six months. It is immune to a 70 basis point rise in borrowing costs imported from Fed tapering. It is immune to the emerging market crisis. It doesn't matter that the M3 money supply has rolled over again, slowing to stagnation levels, or that EMU credit contracted at an accelerating rate of 1.6pc in July. None of this matters.
I feel like an utter fool. Having read Mr Sch¤uble's succinct and well-crafted thoughts, I just want to curl in a ball and weep. Es tut mir leid.
Read more by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on Telegraph BlogsFollow Telegraph Blogs on Twitter
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 23:21
AMSTERDAM (AP) '-- King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government Tuesday in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.
In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government.
The king traveled past waving fans in an ornate horse-drawn carriage to the 13th-century Hall of Knights in The Hague for the monarch's traditional annual address on the day the government presents its budget for the coming year. It was Willem-Alexander's first appearance on the national stage since former Queen Beatrix abdicated in April and he ascended to the throne.
"The shift to a 'participation society' is especially visible in social security and long-term care," the king said, reading out to lawmakers a speech written for him by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government.
"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form."
Rutte may be hoping that the pomp and ceremony surrounding the king and his popular wife, Queen Maxima, will provide a diversion from the gloomy reality of a budget full of unpopular new spending cuts he revealed later in the day.
A series of recent polls have shown that confidence in Rutte's government is at record low levels, and that most Dutch people '-- along with labor unions, employers' associations and many economists '-- believe the Cabinet's austerity policies are at least partially to blame as the Dutch economy has worsened even as recoveries are underway in neighboring Germany, France and Britain.
After several consecutive years of government spending cuts, the Dutch economy is expected to have shrunk by more than 1 percent in 2013, and the agency is forecasting growth of just 0.5 percent next year.
"The necessary reforms take time and demand perseverance," the king said. But they will "lay the basis for creating jobs and restoring confidence."
Willem-Alexander said that nowadays, people expect and "want to make their own choices, to arrange their own lives, and take care of each other."
The 'participation society' has been on its way for some time: benefits such as unemployment compensation and subsidies on health care have been regularly pruned for the past decade. The retirement age has been raised to 67.
The king said Tuesday some costs for the care of the elderly, for youth services, and for job retraining after layoffs will now be pushed back to the local level, in order to make them better tailored to local circumstances.
The monarchy was not immune to cost-cutting and Willem-Alexander's salary will be cut from around 825,000 euros ($1.1 million) this year to 817,000 euros in 2014. Maintaining the Royal House '-- castles, parades and all '-- costs the government around 40 million euros annually.
A review of the government's budget by the country's independent analysis agency showed that the deficit will widen in 2014 to 3.3 percent of GDP despite the new spending cuts intended to reduce it.
Eurozone rules specify that countries must keep their deficit below 3 percent, and Rutte has been among the most prominent of European leaders, along with Germany's Angela Merkel, in insisting that Southern European countries attempt to meet that target.
Among other measures, the government announced 2,300 new military job cuts. That follows a 2011 decision to cut 12,000 jobs '-- one out of every six defense employees '-- between 2012 and 2015.
However, the government said Tuesday it has decided once and for all not to abandon the U.S.-led "Joint Strike Fighter" program to develop new military aircraft. The program has suffered cost overruns and created divisions within Rutte's governing coalition.
A debate over the budget later this week will be crucial for the future of the coalition, as it does not command a majority in the upper house, and it must seek help from opposition parties to have the budget approved.
Challenged as to whether his Cabinet may be facing a crisis, Rutte insisted in an interview with national broadcaster NOS on Tuesday that he ultimately will find support for the budget.
"At crucial moments, the opposition is willing to do its share," he said.
Geert Wilders, whose far right Freedom Party currently tops popularity polls, called Rutte's budget the equivalent of "kicking the country while it's down."
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 23:25
Koning Willem-Alexander heeft vanmiddag in zijn eerste Troonrede gezegd dat de crisis in Nederland nog steeds voelbaar is, maar dat ons land ook weer perspectief heeft om uit die crisis te komen. Lees en kijk hier de eerste Troonrede van de koning terug.
Het begin van de Troonrede was erg persoonlijk:
'Gevolgen crisis steeds voelbaarder':
'Verzorgingsstaat verandert in participatiesamenleving':
'Extra maatregelen om staatsschuld te beperken':
'Syri toont belang krijgsmacht aan':
'De werkloosheidswet en ontslagwet worden gemoderniseerd':
'Nederland actief in Europa':
Kijk hier de Troonrede in zijn geheel terug:
Lees hieronder de volledige tekst van de Troonrede terug:
Leden van de Staten-Generaal,
Nu ik mij vandaag voor het eerst op Prinsjesdag tot u mag richten, hecht ik eraan te zeggen dat u in uw Verenigde Vergadering van 30 april de aanzet heeft gegeven tot een hartverwarmende start van mijn koningschap. Het is een dag waaraan ik met grote dankbaarheid terugdenk. Die dankbaarheid betreft in de eerste plaats mijn moeder. Zij heeft zich 33 jaar lang met groot plichtsbesef, warmte en diep gevoelde betrokkenheid ingezet voor het Koninkrijk en al zijn inwoners, in goede en in slechte tijden. Zij blijft voor mij een belangrijke inspiratiebron. De gevoelens van verbondenheid die mijn familie en ik hebben ervaren na het overlijden van mijn broer Friso, waren ons tot grote steun. Wij zijn daarvoor zeer dankbaar.
Op de dag van de inhuldiging heeft Nederland zich aan de wereld laten zien als een goed georganiseerd land, rijk aan talent. Het was ook een dag van tastbare eenheid en verbondenheid, tussen generaties en bevolkingsgroepen en tussen de verschillende delen van het Koninkrijk. Er is in onze samenleving veel dat een gezond vertrouwen in eigen kunnen rechtvaardigt. Het doet goed om dit, vlak voor de start van de viering van tweehonderd jaar Koninkrijk, te kunnen constateren.
Leden van de Staten-Generaal,
Sinds vijf jaar kampt Nederland met de economische crisis. De gevolgen worden steeds voelbaarder. De werkloosheid stijgt, het aantal faillissementen loopt op, huizen worden minder waard, pensioenen staan onder druk en de koopkracht blijft achter.
Er zijn voorzichtige signalen dat het einde van de mondiale crisis in zicht is. Daarmee ontstaat ook voor ons land perspectief op herstel. Dat neemt niet weg dat de Nederlandse economie kampt met een aantal specifieke problemen van structurele aard, waaronder de schuldenlast van de overheid en huishoudens en de vermogenspositie van banken.
De regering wil het groeivermogen van de Nederlandse economie versterken. Dit legt de basis voor het creren van banen en herstel van vertrouwen bij mensen en bedrijven. De noodzakelijke hervormingen kosten tijd en vragen om doorzettingsvermogen.
Door maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen zoals vergrijzing en internationalisering voldoen onze arbeidsmarkt en ons stelsel van publieke voorzieningen niet meer volledig aan de eisen van deze tijd. De financile en economische crisis heeft dit eens te meer duidelijk gemaakt. De regering zet niet alleen in op toekomstige betaalbaarheid van voorzieningen, maar ook op solidariteit tussen generaties en evenwicht tussen verschillende inkomensgroepen. De onderlinge betrokkenheid is in ons land van oudsher sterk. Om ervoor te zorgen dat dit zo blijft, moeten we onder ogen zien dat publieke regelingen en voorzieningen aangepast moeten worden.
Het is onmiskenbaar dat mensen in onze huidige netwerk- en informatiesamenleving mondiger en zelfstandiger zijn dan vroeger. Gecombineerd met de noodzaak om het tekort van de overheid terug te dringen, leidt dit ertoe dat de klassieke verzorgingsstaat langzaam maar zeker verandert in een participatiesamenleving. Van iedereen die dat kan, wordt gevraagd verantwoordelijkheid te nemen voor zijn of haar eigen leven en omgeving.
Wanneer mensen zelf vorm geven aan hun toekomst, voegen zij niet alleen waarde toe aan hun eigen leven, maar ook aan de samenleving als geheel. Zo blijven Nederlanders samen bouwen aan een sterk land van zelfbewuste mensen. Een land met een compacte en krachtige overheid, die ruimte geeft en kansen biedt waar het kan en beschermt als dat nodig is, zodat niemand tussen wal en schip raakt. Elke Nederlander moet de kans krijgen om de veranderingen die ons wachten, in zijn eigen leven in te passen.
De relatie tussen parlement en regering staat het komende jaar in het teken van veel wetgeving. Op basis van het regeerakkoord en de uitwerking daarvan in afspraken met sociale partners en andere maatschappelijke partijen, zal de regering voorstellen bij u indienen.
Cruciaal is en blijft 'een prudent niveau van overheidsschuld', zoals het Centraal Planbureau dat eerder dit jaar noemde. Momenteel betalen alle Nederlanders samen - zelfs bij de huidige lage rentestand - 11 miljard euro per jaar aan rente over de overheidsschuld. Als de schuld groeit en de rente stijgt, gaat die rentelast steeds zwaarder drukken op economische groei, op betaalbaarheid van voorzieningen en op de inkomens van mensen.
Zonder ingrijpen blijft het overheidstekort te hoog. De regering legt u daarom extra maatregelen voor van in totaal 6 miljard euro. In 2014 zal de regering voor het laatst geen loonbijstelling uitkeren. In de gezondheidszorg zijn afspraken gemaakt om een groter deel van de zorg via de huisarts te verstrekken en strikter te zijn met het geven van verzekerde zorg. De regering zal een voorstel doen om verschillende toeslagen en regelingen te bundelen in (C)(C)n huishoudentoeslag, die lager wordt naarmate het gezinsinkomen stijgt.
Daarnaast introduceert de regering maatregelen die de economie en de werkgelegenheid op korte termijn stimuleren. Zo krijgen mensen de gelegenheid ontslagvergoedingen die in een aparte bv zijn ondergebracht, versneld te laten uitbetalen tegen een voordelig belastingtarief. De vrijstelling van de schenkingsbelasting wordt verruimd, waardoor jongere generaties makkelijker kunnen investeren in de eigen woning. Om de toegang tot kredieten te vergroten, maakt de regering in 2013 125 miljoen euro vrij. Daarmee kan het midden- en kleinbedrijf investeren in nieuwe activiteiten. Ondernemers hebben daarnaast de mogelijkheid om investeringen versneld fiscaal af te schrijven. De regering zal - samen met pensioenfondsen, verzekeraars en banken - een Nederlandse investeringsinstelling oprichten. Het doel van deze instelling is grote beleggers te koppelen aan geschikte investeringsprojecten op terreinen als zorg, energie, schoolgebouwen en infrastructuur, om zo de economie te stimuleren.
Om zoveel mogelijk mensen aan het werk te houden en te krijgen, stelt de regering 600 miljoen euro beschikbaar. Zoals afgesproken in het Sociaal Akkoord, komen werkgevers en werknemers hiervoor met sectorplannen. Die zijn gericht op meer banen en stageplaatsen voor jongeren, behoud van vakkrachten en betere begeleiding van werk naar werk. Voor het bestrijden van de jeugdwerkloosheid werkt de regering samen met gemeenten, sociale partners en onderwijsinstellingen om jongeren aan de slag te krijgen en hun kansen op de arbeidsmarkt te vergroten. Het Onderwijsakkoord beoogt 3000 extra banen te creren om jonge leraren aan het werk te helpen of te houden. Het Techniekpact zorgt voor een betere aansluiting tussen onderwijs en arbeidsmarkt en bestrijdt het tekort aan technisch geschoolde vakmensen. Het Energieakkoord stimuleert duurzame economische groei en creert 15.000 extra banen. De Omgevingswet vereenvoudigt en versnelt ruimtelijke procedures, zonder afbreuk te doen aan de kwaliteit van de leefomgeving.
Voor de lange termijn werkt de regering aan hervormingen die het groeivermogen van de Nederlandse economie versterken en onze publieke voorzieningen aanpassen aan de eisen van deze tijd.
De omslag naar een participatiesamenleving is in het bijzonder zichtbaar in de sociale zekerheid en in de langdurige zorg. De klassieke verzorgingsstaat uit de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw heeft juist op deze terreinen regelingen voortgebracht die in hun huidige vorm onhoudbaar zijn en ook niet meer aansluiten bij de verwachtingen van mensen. In deze tijd willen mensen hun eigen keuzes maken, hun eigen leven inrichten en voor elkaar kunnen zorgen. Het past in die ontwikkeling zorg en sociale voorzieningen dicht bij mensen en in samenhang te organiseren. Om dit te bereiken, decentraliseert de regering overheidstaken op drie gebieden.
Ten eerste heeft de regering u onlangs een voorstel gedaan voor een nieuw stelsel van jeugdzorg met ingang van 2015. Kinderen moeten veilig opgroeien en hun talenten kunnen ontwikkelen, om later naar vermogen te participeren in de samenleving. Het nieuwe stelsel brengt de jeugdzorg via de gemeenten dicht bij het kind. Juist gemeenten zijn in staat om op basis van de specifieke situatie van het kind dat hulp nodig heeft, maatwerk te leveren in samenspraak met andere domeinen, zoals wonen, onderwijs, veiligheid en sport.
Ten tweede komt de regering in het komende parlementaire jaar met een voorstel om de langdurige zorg grondig te hervormen. Dat is nodig omdat de uitgaven daarvoor explosief blijven stijgen. Die bedragen nu al 2200 euro per Nederlander per jaar. Lichtere vormen van langdurige zorg worden straks uitgevoerd door gemeenten, die beter kunnen beoordelen of een traplift of taxivergoeding noodzakelijk is. Vergoeding van huishoudelijke hulp blijft beschikbaar voor mensen die deze hulp echt nodig hebben en niet zelf kunnen betalen. Medische zorg zoals verpleging valt straks onder de reguliere zorgverzekering.
Ten derde gaan gemeenten samen met sociale partners werkbedrijven oprichten om mensen in de bijstand of met een arbeidsbeperking te helpen bij het vinden van een baan. Werkgevers en overheid stellen zich samen garant voor 125.000 extra banen in 2026. Als blijkt dat dit aantal niet wordt gehaald, worden bedrijven alsnog verplicht een percentage van hun personeel te rekruteren uit mensen met een arbeidsbeperking. Het wetsvoorstel daartoe ontvangt u dit najaar.
In aansluiting hierop worden ook de Werkloosheidswet en het ontslagrecht gemoderniseerd. De WW krijgt een meer activerend karakter. Sociale partners nemen het voortouw bij begeleiding van werk naar werk, bijvoorbeeld via scholing. De regering beperkt het publiek gefinancierde deel van de WW tot 24 maanden. Sociale partners nemen de verantwoordelijkheid voor een privaat gefinancierd deel van de WW. Dat legt een extra prikkel bij werkgevers en werknemers om te investeren in de kwaliteit van mensen. Werknemers die ontslagen dreigen te worden, ontvangen een scholingsbudget. Flexwerkers krijgen meer zekerheid en meer bescherming. Het ontslagrecht wordt eerlijker en eenvoudiger door (C)(C)n ontslagroute voor te schrijven voor alle werknemers.
Op het gebied van de woningmarkt nam de regering eerder al besluiten, zoals het verplicht annu¯tair aflossen bij nieuwe hypotheken als voorwaarde voor de aftrek van hypotheekrente. Met ingang van 2014 wil de regering de maximale aftrek voor de eigen woning geleidelijk terugbrengen naar 38 procent. Dit zal gebeuren in 28 jaarlijkse stappen van een half procent. De opbrengst van deze maatregel komt ten goede aan mensen met een middeninkomen via een verlenging van de derde belastingschijf. Om de huurmarkt te hervormen, kiest de regering voor inkomensafhankelijke huurverhogingen. De extra inkomsten hiervan worden bij de woningcorporaties afgeroomd door middel van een verhuurdersheffing.
Met deze binnenlandse hervormingen bereidt de regering Nederland voor op de toekomst. Daarbij moet vanwege een groeiende internationale verwevenheid onverminderd aandacht zijn voor ontwikkelingen buiten onze landsgrenzen.
Onze open economie heeft ons veel gebracht, maar maakt ons land ook extra kwetsbaar in tijden van internationale crisis en stagnatie. Samenwerking met andere landen, en zeker met die om ons heen, is in het belang van Nederland. De laatste jaren is gebleken hoe de ontwikkelingen in de Europese Unie van betekenis zijn voor de economische, sociale en politieke toekomst van ons land. Nederland moet daarom in de Europese Unie een actieve rol spelen.
Een stevig fundament onder de euro is cruciaal. Daarom maakt de regering zich sterk voor de totstandkoming van een bankenunie. Houdbare tekorten en versterking van de economische structuur blijven de aandacht vragen. Kansen om de concurrentiekracht en het groeivermogen van de lidstaten te versterken, liggen op de Europese interne markt. Die kent op sommige terreinen nog te veel belemmeringen. Daarnaast kan de handel met landen buiten de Europese Unie een impuls krijgen door vrijhandelsakkoorden te sluiten met onder meer de Verenigde Staten en Japan. Een speerpunt voor de regering is de discussie over het takenpakket van de Europese Unie. Een aantal zaken kunnen lidstaten beter zelf regelen, zoals belastingen, sociale zekerheid, pensioenen, zorg en onderwijs. De regering zal hierin het voortouw nemen en het gesprek hierover aangaan met de andere lidstaten.
Ook buiten de Europese Unie heeft Nederland een lange traditie van internationale samenwerking. Dat werd onlangs nog zichtbaar tijdens de viering van honderd jaar Vredespaleis. Volgend jaar is ons land gastheer van de Nuclear Security Summit, waar leiders vanuit de hele wereld afspraken zullen maken om nucleair terrorisme tegen te gaan. Het recente geweld en de humanitaire noodsituatie in Syri onderstrepen de noodzaak van een internationale rechtsorde met een sterke nadruk op het humanitaire recht. Onveiligheid en instabiliteit in kwetsbare regio's be¯nvloeden onze vrijheid, veiligheid en welvaart. Dit vraagt om een krijgsmacht die op zijn taken berekend is en die in Nederland en het buitenland kan opereren om de belangen van ons land veilig te stellen. In de nota 'In het belang van Nederland' geeft de regering concreet aan hoe die krijgsmacht eruitziet en welke aanpassingen daarvoor noodzakelijk zijn. Over de hele wereld zijn Nederlandse mannen en vrouwen actief om de internationale rechtsorde te beschermen. Zij verdienen onze grote dank en waardering voor hun moeilijke werk.
Met de 'nieuwe agenda voor hulp, handel en investeringen' geeft de regering vorm en inhoud aan de doelstelling om klassieke vormen van ontwikkelingshulp te verbinden met versterking van handelsrelaties. Het is een combinatie die wederzijds voordeel biedt. Zo heeft het Nederlandse bedrijfsleven veel expertise in waterbeheer. Hiermee helpen we landen in alle delen van de wereld hun waterproblemen op te lossen.
De staatsrechtelijke relatie tussen Nederland en de Caribische delen van het Koninkrijk is in 2010 veranderd. Sindsdien is er steeds meer aandacht voor samenwerking op economisch terrein. Dat is profijtelijk voor alle partijen. Het draagt ook bij aan de noodzakelijke financile zelfstandigheid en stabiliteit van de Caribische eilanden, die ik binnenkort samen met Koningin Mxima alle zes zal bezoeken.
Leden van de Staten-Generaal,
Om de kracht en kwaliteit van onze samenleving vast te houden, zijn veranderingen noodzakelijk, die voor iedereen dragelijk moeten zijn. Aan de opdracht die daaruit voortvloeit, wil de regering in het parlementaire jaar dat voor ons ligt met volle inzet werken, samen met u. De vraagstukken waarover u zich gaat buigen, zijn complex en ingrijpend. U mag zich in uw zware taak gesteund weten door het besef dat velen u wijsheid toewensen en met mij om kracht en Gods zegen voor u bidden.
Lees meer over:koning Willem-AlexanderPrinsjesdagTroonrede
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:54
16 September 2013Last updated at05:28 ETA week of mass strike action has begun in Greece in protest at large public sector layoffs and forced transfers.
State school teachers walked out on Monday in the first of a planned five-day rolling strike.
Civil servants have called a separate two-day strike on Wednesday, backed by universities, doctors and lawyers.
The job cuts are part of bailout conditions imposed by international creditors, due to meet in Athens to discuss the next loan instalment.
So far Greece has received two aid packages totalling about 240bn euros (£205bn).
It will need around 10bn euros more to cover a funding gap.
Stiff resistanceA number of striking school guards clashed with riot police outside the Ministry for Administrative Reform in Athens on Monday morning.
Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the protesters and three people were taken to hospital with light injuries.
Government officials were due to meet union representatives later on Monday.
Officials from the so-called lending troika - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - will convene in Athens this week to decide on the next 1bn-euro instalment.
In exchange for the loans, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has agreed to put 25,000 civil servants on a reduced salary this year before being transferred or dismissed.
It is the first time under the Greek constitution that public sector workers will lose their jobs, with 15,000 redundancies expected by the end of 2014, the BBC'S Mark Lowen, in Athens, reports.
Some 4,500 civil servants - mostly teaching staff - were already redeployed at the end of July.
Greece insists that its notoriously inefficient and bloated public sector needs reform, our correspondent says.
But with unemployment nearing 30%, it is a hard argument to sell to the people, he adds.
The prime minister recently announced that the recession was slowing and Greece would soon wipe out its deficit.
However, public debt remains unsustainably high and the government has faced stiff resistance from those who risk losing their jobs in the coming months.
Greece's economy has shrunk by 23% since 2008. International lenders expect it to diminish by a further 4.2% this year.