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Presidential Proclamation -- National Public Lands Day, 2013

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Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:18

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2013

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Atop soaring mountain peaks, alongside bubbling streams, in woodlands and grasslands that stretch over rolling hills, Americans find inspiration in our great outdoors. Just as our diverse and rugged landscapes reflect our national character, the way we care for these open spaces mirrors our commitment to future generations. On National Public Lands Day, we celebrate the lands we share and gather to conserve our natural heritage.

For two decades, Americans have observed this day by lending their time to the restoration of our country's historic places and natural treasures. Across our country, volunteers beautify parks, waterways, and wilderness areas. Through these small acts -- from planting trees to carving out trails, removing litter, and curbing the growth of invasive species -- volunteers carry forward a long tradition of conservation and public service. Their spirit is at the heart of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which is making the outdoors more accessible to all Americans. Since I established this initiative, we have expanded access to recreation, restored critical landscapes, and created urban parks and water trails. We are also working with partners to let young people serve as volunteers in our parks and help returning veterans find meaningful jobs protecting and enhancing America's great outdoors.

As we come together to honor and restore America's public lands, we recognize their role in shaping our history, enriching our lives, and bolstering our economy. Today, as we mark the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, let us pledge to maintain these open spaces. And let us pass forward the opportunity to experience their majesty, connect with our natural heritage, and refresh our bodies and minds.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 28, 2013, as National Public Lands Day. I encourage all Americans to participate in a day of public service for our lands.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand thistwenty-sixth 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, 2013

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Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:20

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 26, 2013

GOLD STAR MOTHER'S AND FAMILY'S DAY, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In our city centers and our bustling parks, monuments stand dedicated to visionary leaders and singular moments in the life of our Republic. But in empty seats at family dinners and folded flags above the mantle, we find the constant thread of our Nation's character -- the truth that America endures because it is home to an unbroken line of patriots willing to lay down their lives for the land they love. As we honor the men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion, we hold close the families left behind.

Most of us can only imagine the pain of a mother who loses a daughter, the husband who loses his partner, or the son who loses a father. Prepared to serve others at any cost, their loved ones exemplified the values of courage and selflessness that define our Armed Forces and fortify our Union. The families of the fallen embody that same character. Amid their sorrow, these homefront heroes support one another and lift up their communities. As our country seeks to understand the depth of their sacrifice, we draw strength and inspiration from their example.

On this day, we remember our commitment to the Gold Star mothers and families who carry on with pride and resolve despite unthinkable loss. We recall our sacred obligation to those who gave their lives so we could live ours. As a grateful Nation, we declare that we will never forget their sacrifice, and we renew our promise to build a future worthy of their devotion. We also recognize our countrymen and women who continue the fight, putting their lives on the line each day. Long after the battle is over, we will continue to give our military and Gold Star families the care and support they deserve -- in a listening ear, a comforting shoulder, a helping hand, and a moment given to keep alive the memories of their Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1985 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 29, 2013, as Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this special day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Presidential Proclamation -- National Hunting and Fishing Day, 2013

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 20:20

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 27, 2013

NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Through hunting and fishing, in traditions handed down from generation to generation, families strengthen their bonds and individuals forge connections with the great outdoors. They rise before dawn to cast a line on a misty stream or wait patiently in a stand as a forest awakes. Parents help toddlers reel in their first catch, and young hunters master the call of a wild turkey. On National Hunting and Fishing Day, we celebrate these longstanding traditions and recommit to preserving the places in which they flourish.

Working across all levels of government and alongside nonprofits, private organizations, and conservation advocates, my Administration launched the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. This program engages Americans at the grassroots level to protect and restore our cherished lands and waters and to help reconnect all Americans, regardless of their age or background, to the outdoors. Anglers and hunters have played an integral role, living up to their legacy as some of our Nation's strongest defenders of wild places.

In addition to its significance as a time-honored tradition, outdoor recreation supports millions of jobs. Hunting and fishing form a large part of this essential industry, bolstering tourism, strengthening America's economy, and funding conservation through fishing licenses or duck stamps.

Today, as we reflect on the value hunting and fishing bring to our lives -- from fortified family bonds to a renewed appreciation for nature -- let us ensure future generations will have the same opportunity to take part in this experience.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 28, 2013, as National Hunting and Fishing Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh 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.

BARACK OBAMA

Agenda 21

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A weatherman breaks down in tears and vows NEVER to fly again due to grim climate-change report | Mail Online

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:22

Eric Holthaus, who used to do weather for Wall Street Journal, was reacting to Friday's findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeScientists found in the report that it was 'extremely likely' that humans are causing warming trendsHolthaus said he has decided not to have children in order to leave a lighter carbon footprint, and has considered having a vasectomyHe tweeted on Friday 'no children, happy to go extinct'The weatherman also said he is committed to stop flying as 'it's not worth the climate'US Secretary of State, John Kerry, calls the report 'an alarm bell'It means scientists have moved from being 90 per cent sure to 95 per cent sure regarding global warmingBy Marie-louise Olson

PUBLISHED: 07:36 EST, 28 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:36 EST, 28 September 2013

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A meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal tweeted that he has decided not to have children in order to leave a lighter carbon footprint, and is considering having a vasectomy.

He also vowed to stop flying after the world's recent climate-change report made him cry.

Eric Holthaus was reacting to the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which released a report on Friday that found it was 'extremely likely' that humans are causing warming trends seen in the last several decades.

Scroll down for video

Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal, cried over the phone to his wife before getting on a plane, vowing it will be the last time he flies

Holthaus was reacting to findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released a report on Friday that found it is "extremely likely" that humans are causing warming trends

The weatherman said he would never fly again to reduce his carbon footprint

On Friday afternoon the weatherman tweeted: 'No children, happy to go extinct, which in and of itself, carries a certain sadness. #IPCC'

His next tweet said: 'Its a very emotional decision. Mixed feelings. adios babies?'

According to another tweet from Holthaus, the Dutch artist known as Tinkebell, who calls attention to animal rights issues through works that use the remains of dead animals, had herself sterilised last week for a similar reason.

Holthaus, who now writes for Quartz, has decided he will also reduce his carbon footprint by giving up on air travel.

'I just broke down in tears in boarding area at SFO while on phone with my wife. I've never cried because of a science report before. #IPCC,' was his first tweet on around 2pm on Friday.

'I realised just now: This has to be the last flight I ever take. I'm committing right now to stop flying. It's not worth the climate,' he tweeted a few minutes later.

IPCC says human impact on climate change is 'incontrovertible'

'Broke down': Holthaus' first tweet after reading the report

'Last flight': He commits to stop flying

No other way: He asks people to do everything they can to reverse carbon emissions

Devotion: The weatherman says people should spend all their energy on the issue of climate change

Extinct: Holthaus says he is happy to do it even though the thought makes him sad

Adios babies: He says the decision to not have children is 'emotional'

Vasectomy: His last tweet toys with the idea of getting sterilised

Scientists say human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used its strongest language yet in the report on the causes of climate change, prompting calls for global action to control emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

'If this isn't an alarm bell, then I don't know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it,' said US Secretary of State John Kerry.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the report was 'an alarm bell'

The IPCC, which has 195 member countries, adopted the report Friday after all-night talks at a meeting in Stockholm.

In its previous assessment, in 2007, the U.N.-sponsored panel said it was 'very likely' that global warming was due to human activity, particularly the CO2 emissions resulting from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The change means that scientists have moved from being 90 per cent sure to 95 per cent - about the same degree of certainty they have that smoking kills.

'At 90 percent it means there is a 10 percent probability that it's not entirely correct,' said Chris Field, Carnegie Institution scientist who is a leader in the IPCC but wasn't involved in the report released Friday.

'And now that's 5 per cent. So it's a doubling of our confidence. That's actually a consequential change in our level of understanding.'

The report said global warming was due to human activity, particularly the CO2 emissions resulting from the burning of coal, oil and gas

One of the most controversial subjects in the report was how to deal with what appears to be a slowdown in warming if you look at temperature data for the past 15 years.

Climate skeptics say this 'hiatus' casts doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, even though the past decade was the warmest on record.

In the end, the IPCC made only a brief mention of the issue in the summary for policymakers, stressing that short-term records are sensitive to natural variability and don't in general reflect long-term trends.

'An old rule says that climate-relevant trends should not be calculated for periods less than around 30 years,' said Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the group that wrote the report.

The IPCC said the evidence of climate change has grown thanks to more and better observations, a clearer understanding of the climate system and improved models to analyse the impact of rising temperatures.

The full 2,000-page report isn't going to be released until Monday, but the summary for policymakers with the key findings was published Friday.

It contained few surprises as many of the findings had been leaked in advance.

The IPCC raised its projections of the rise in sea levels to 10-32 inches (26-82 centimeters) by the end of the century, compared to previous reports predicting a rise of 7-23 inches (18-59 centimeters)

As expected, the IPCC raised its projections of the rise in sea levels to 10-32 inches (26-82 centimeters) by the end of the century. The previous report predicted a rise of 7-23 inches (18-59 centimeters).

Using four scenarios with different emissions controls, the report projected that global average temperatures would rise by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees C this century. That's 0.5-8.6 F.

The report adopted Friday deals with the physical science of climate change.

Next year, the IPCC will adopt reports on the impacts of global warming, strategies to fight it and a synthesis of all three reports.

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Meteorologist Eric Holthaus Quits Air Travel - Business Insider

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:02

AP/John Minchillo

Flooded streets in New York City during Hurricane Sandy.

Most New Yorkers probably know the name Eric Holthaus thanks to his incredible coverage as the Wall Street Journal's meteorologist during Hurricane Sandy. Holthaus now writes for Quartz and works on an app called Weathermob.

This week Holthaus made a big decision, one that immediately prompted a huge amount of debate on Twitter. The decision reflected his deep knowledge of extreme weather patterns and how global warming is changing them, he explained.

Holthaus is giving up flying, forever.

To a lot of people, that sounds crazy. How can someone live the rest of their life without getting on a plane?

Holthaus explained his decision in a series of tweets yesterday. It's hard not to find it compelling.

Holthaus went on to explain his decision in a series of responses to tweets from his followers:

Holthaus says that his decision to stop flying was prompted by news of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that found 95% confidence human-emitted greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the Earth's warming since 1951. It's certainly a disturbing report.

"Without jumping up and down on the desks of their computer terminals, this forum of scientists has done about as much as they can do," Holthaus wrote for Quartz. "With this report, they have proven humankind's impact on the climate, and confidently projected dire consequences should world governments fail to act immediately."

Finally, Holthaus also gave an interview to Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle about his decision, which you can read here. As Holthaus tells Berger, his experience as a meteorologist during events like Hurricane Sandy convinced him of the dangers of climate change.

"I'm considered an expert in my field," he says. "I have to do something big, right now."

------------------------------------------------

America's Denial of Climate Change Is at Philip-Morris-in-1950 Levels - Philip Bump - The Atlantic Wire

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:18

How certain are scientists that climate change is caused by human activity? As the Friday release of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests: as certain as they are that cigarettes cause cancer. So why do we keep smoking?

The report, the fifth issued by the body over the course of several decades, offers new depth and a new level of certainty, but of the kind you might have when you're checking to see if you have your wallet. You tap your pocket, it's there, but you give a peek anyway just to make sure. We knew climate change was happening as the result of human activity, as we have since the first report in 1990. But we keep taking more detailed peeks, with more and more evidence. Photos of the wallet in your pocket, sworn testimony from 18 Jesuit priests affirming it's there, wearing pants with see-through pockets. That's the stage we're at now on climate change. One reporter for the Associated Press described the existing certainty as follows:

Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill.

They are as sure about climate change as they are about the age of the universe. They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy or that dioxin in Superfund sites is dangerous.

So how is America responding to this new report? Here is a good example, picking on CNN's enthusiastic "New Day" program. (To be fair, it's on-air coverage was better.)

First of all, this isn't "new evidence." Quite the opposite: it's a collation of the existing scientific data, reviewed and compiled by other experts. It is old evidence, the World Book encyclopedia of the evidence that's out there.

But the aggravating part of the tweet is the first part. "Do you believe global warming is a man-made problem?" the show asks, as we do with regularity. "Scientists who studied for years and hew to rigorous methodology and systematically identifying and eliminating doubt before making assumptions have determined with enormous certainty that climate change is real. Fine '-- but do you agree, morning television viewer?" If you're curious how they respond, take a look at the replies to that tweet.

That response has been cultivated, carefully and deliberately for years, by those who would rather that the world not undertake the steps needed to address climate change '-- reducing the production and burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. And it is here that the analogy between climate change and smoking grows ever stronger.

Do you believe smoking causes cancer? Of course you do. It has been demonstrated repeatedly. We don't poll on that because it is established science. But it took decades to get to that point, thanks to tobacco companies.

The University of California at San Francisco has an archive of documents from tobacco companies and advocacy organizations spanning the middle of the 20th century '-- a period in which science had proven that smoking caused cancer, but the companies that sold cigarettes still denied it. Compare these two documents, one from an industry advocacy group in July 1960, the other from a tobacco company in March 1961.

Tobacco companies knew that cigarettes killed. They discussed how to reduce the cancer-causing agents, even as they and their allies did their best to assure the public that there was nothing to fear. The priority was the fiscal bottom-line. Once the truth came out, smoking declined and restrictions were put in place '-- and public health improved. Now, that's assumed fact.

What's really amazing once you extend that analogy to climate change, though, is that fossil fuel companies acknowledge their role in climate change publicly. Here, for example, ExxonMobil's statement on the issue. "Our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is focused on increasing energy efficiency in the short term, implementing proven emission-reducing technologies in the near and medium term, and developing breakthrough, game-changing technologies for the long term." That's how ExxonMobil wants to reduce climate change. This is like the company that produced the second document above sending out a mailer explaining how it would reduce the cancer-causing agents in its cigarettes and fund anti-smoking campaigns. Granted, Exxon keeps selling gasoline (and isn't eager to stop or raise its prices) but at least it admits it.

Despite science and fossil fuel companies agreeing that climate change 1) is a problem 2) caused by fossil fuel consumption that 3) needs to be addressed, the public '-- and Congress '-- is obstinate about inaction. Earlier this year, we looked at the trend in polls asking about "belief" in climate change over time. Here's what the trend in responses looks like since 2008. Asked if climate change is happening, the blue trend line is people who say "yes;" the red line, "no."

That article considered opinion in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a storm whose worst effects '-- the deaths and massive power outage '-- were linked directly to climate change-fueled sea level rise. But because the winter was pretty cold, people's "belief" in the fact of climate change had waned. And without broad public pressure, Congress hasn't acted.

As part of its report, the IPCC created a "summary for policymakers," recognizing that it was those who could create the carbon markets or emissions-reduction policies that it needed to convince at this point. Again, tobacco is instructive: people still smoke, but we've improved public health by substantially reducing the number of smokers. Stop checking your pockets. Your wallet is right there in your pocket, we promise. Now do something.

Photo: A man cleaning his Sandy-damaged home stops for a cigarette break. (AP)

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments or send an email to the author at pbump at theatlantic dot com. You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.

BBC News - IPCC report: 'Yet another wake-up call'

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 20:04

Scientists from the the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released their latest findings in a report that says it is 95% certain that humans are the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s.

The report by the UN's climate panel details the physical evidence behind climate change.

Michel Jarraud the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization said the report acted as "yet another wake-up call."

EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 07:50

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 27 September 2013

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?

What would you do if your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious illness?And what if it wasn'tjust one doctor, but hundreds of the world's leading doctors?Would you just ignore them and continue business as usual or would you start looking for a cure? It's just common sense. The same logic applies to climate science. Today, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its latest report on climate science.The report says it is unequivocal that climate change is occurring and confirms there is at least 95% certainty that human activities are the principal cause.

In reaction to the report, Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said:''The issue is not whether to believe in climate change or not. The issue is whether to follow science or not. The day when all scientists with 100% certainty warn you against climate change, it will be too late. If your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure. Why should we take bigger risks when it's the health of our planet at stake? Europe will continue to lead the fight against climate change.We have ambitious legislation in place. We are reducing our emissions considerably, expanding renewables and saving energy. And we are getting ready for the next step: climate and energy targets for 2030 that the Commission will present before the end of the year. The reality is that others are now following suit. Europe will continue to demand more action from all the emitters.''

Main findings

The IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, assesses the latest scientific knowledge on climate change. The working group finalised its 'Summary for Policymakers' earlier today in Stockholm. The Working Group 1 report is the first of four reports that together will form the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.

Overall, today's report confirms and strengthens the key findings of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007. It draws on new evidence, more extensive observations, improved climate models, greater understanding of climate processes and a wider range of climate change projections.

Its key findings include:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Global surface temperature has risen about 0.8°C since 1880. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased, the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, the Arctic summer sea ice is retreating and sea level has risen.

It is 'extremely likely' (meaning that there is now at least 95% certainty) that human activities caused most of the observed increase in surface temperature over the last 60 years. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 40% since 1750 as a result of human activity, almost entirely due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since instrumental records began in 1850. Warming has slowed over the past 15 years and this appears to be due in roughly equal measure to fluctuations in natural cycles, such as the El Ni±o/La Ni±a phenomena in the Pacific Ocean, and a cooling effect from volcanic eruptions and reduced solar activity. However, short-term trends do not in general reflect long-term trends. Temperature variations have been seen at several periods since 1901 but the overall trend remains upwards.

If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced significantly, the rise in global average surface temperature could be limited to between 0.9°C and 2.3‚°C above pre-industrial levels, and sea level rise to 30-50 cm relative to 1986-2005, towards the end of this century. However, with no action there is a 62% chance that by 2081-2100 the temperature could be more than 4‚°C higher than in pre-industrial times while sea level rise is likely to be between 40 and 80 cm relative to 1986-2005.

Background

The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to the understanding of climate change. Its assessment reports represent the consensus of thousands of scientists worldwide and are based on peer-reviewed and published scientific and technical literature covering multiple lines of analysis and datasets. For its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice-President Al Gore.

Research projects funded under the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programs for Research, as well as under the research programs of Member States, have contributed significantly to the IPCC reports. Climate change is a central element of the new Horizon 2020 research Framework Programme, where 35% of financial resources will be allocated to climate-related activities.

Further information

Video statement by Commissioner Hedegaard on theUN IPCC report on climate science:

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I081990

For more information on the projects contributing to the observations of the climate system:MEMO/13/826

The Working Group 1 Summary for Policymakers is available herehttp://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.UkUuiXea_To

Scientific Body Reports 'Human Influence on Climate Clear' - Bloomberg

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 19:50

InsideClimateNews.org '-- In its latest landmark assessment of the future of the planet under global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations concluded that it is "extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

The panel, which released its first batch of findings on Friday, said the evidence for its conclusion has grown stronger due to "better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models."

"Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850," according to the panel's 20-page Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I assessment report. The document was approved early this morning in Stockholm, Sweden by government officials from more than 120 countries who spent days wrangling with scientists over the final text.

For the first time, the IPCC specifies that the world needs to stick to a "carbon budget" and specifies the levels of future carbon emissions that are allowable in order to have a reasonable chance of staying within 2 degrees Celsius of warming in this century, the safe climate target. In short, to have a two-in-three probability of not crossing the danger mark, the world is allowed to burn, at most, 1,000 gigatons of carbon in total since the Industrial Revolution, and countries have already used up more than half that budget.

"Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system," said Thomas Stocker, co-chair of Working Group I. "Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions."

The Working Group I assessment, the IPCC's fifth since 1990, is about 2,500 pages long and draws on millions of observations and over 2 million gigabytes of numerical data from climate models, according to the IPCC. The review cites some 9,200 scientific publications, most of which were published since the last IPCC assessment in 2007.

Republished with the permission ofInsideClimate News, a non-profit news organization that covers energy and climate change issues in law, policy and public opinion.

Visitwww.bloomberg.com/sustainabilityfor the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.

Climate report: Lull in warming doesn't mean we're safe - environment - 27 September 2013 - New Scientist

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:06

Read more: "Climate report 2013: Your guide to the big questions"

Humanity's role in driving climate change is more certain than ever before, but the most extreme scenarios of future warming are looking less likely than a few years ago. This is the upshot of the latest scientific assessment from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published today.

Its authors say they have greater confidence than ever that most of the warming of the past 60 years is down to human activity. They are now 95 per cent certain of that '' up from 90 per cent last time they convened in 2007.

But they admit for the first time that the warming has slowed since 1998 '' still the warmest year on record. This is likely to be the most controversial element of the report.

The trend was not evident when the last IPCC report was being compiled in 2007, and climate models do not currently reproduce it. Nonetheless, the recent slowdown has caused the scientists to lower their estimates of future warming.

The final 3000-page IPCC assessment was drawn up by 259 authors from 39 countries, and reviewed by 1089 scientists. Its summary is released in Stockholm, Sweden, today after being debated and signed off by delegates from national governments. The findings will provide the scientific backdrop to the political wrangling that will take place in Warsaw, Poland, in November, when politicians step back into the ring to try and reach agreement on halting greenhouse gas emissions.

Brewing stormThe new report leaves no doubt that a storm is brewing. It is unequivocal '' temperatures are rising and human activity is to blame. Without drastic action to curb emissions, it says, the world faces a century of strong warming, in which glaciers and ice sheets melt, sea levels rise, the oceans acidify, weather systems shift and rainfall patterns change.

The most dramatic difference in the forecasts since the 2007 report concerns the rising seas. In 2007, the panel estimated that global sea levels would rise by up to 59 centimetres by 2100. This year's report finds that number could be as high as 98 centimetres.

Read more: "What are the prospects for polar regions?"

"We are committed to climate change, and [its] effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop," says Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, Switzerland, who co-chaired the group behind today's report.

Missing heatThe risk is this stark warning will be sidelined by the scientific conundrum over the "missing heat" that should, according to most climate models, have been warming the atmosphere ever faster these past few decades.

Read more: "Does IPCC report provide fodder for climate sceptics?"

This may be a short-term blip '' perhaps a result of the oceans temporarily taking up more heat from the atmosphere, says one of the IPCC's lead authors, Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. The report underlines that, whatever is happening to the atmosphere, the oceans continue to warm dramatically.

But the report admits that the slowdown may also be evidence of failings the way climate models deal with how factors other than greenhouse gases influence temperatures '' factors like solar cycles, the shading effect of smoke or a string of recent volcanic eruptions. "It's a bit of both, I suspect," says Allen.

Lower temperature extremesDespite this uncertainty, the IPCC's authors have concluded that the slowdown is inconsistent with some of the more alarming expectations raised in the past, says Allen. Many of those presumed that the strong warming in the 1990s would continue and perhaps increase.

"Recent events make the high end [predictions] less likely," he says.

The new report says a doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, which will probably happen late this century, is likely to deliver an eventual warming of between 1.5 °C and 4.5 °C. In 2007, the range was estimated to be between 2.0 °C to 4.5 °C.

In the 2007 report, warming of more than 6 °C was well within the range of some future scenarios. The conclusion this time is that anything higher than 6 °C is "very unlikely".

In the absence of serious political action to halt global warming, that will provide some relief. Whatever the precise response of the atmosphere to greenhouse gases, however, one thing remains clear: more gases in the atmosphere will cause more warming. The IPCC scientists conclude that the only way to stop escalating warming and prevent the dangerous climate change that the governments have pledged to avoid, is a complete cessation of emissions.

"We may not know everything, but we know enough," said Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environment Programme, in Stockholm this morning.

Correction:When this article was first published on 27 September 2013, it understated the new report's estimate for maximum sea level rise by 2100 by 1 centimetre.

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IPCC Working Group I

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IPCC WGI AR5

The Twelfth Session of Working Group I (WGI-12) was held from 23 to 26 September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. At the Session, the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI AR5) was approved and the underlying scientific and technical assessment accepted.

Summary For PolicymakersPDF - 36 Pages - 2.3MB

Release of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:43

This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire.

Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate.

Boil down the IPCC report and here's what you find: Climate change is real, it's happening now, human beings are the cause of this transformation, and only action by human beings can save the world from its worst impacts.

This isn't a run of the mill report to be dumped in a filing cabinet. This isn't a political document produced by politicians.

It's science.

It builds on the most authoritative assessments of knowledge on climate change produced by scientists, who by profession are conservative because they must deal in what is observable, provable and reviewable by their peers.

If this isn't an alarm bell, then I don't know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.

What one country does impacts the livelihoods of people elsewhere '' and what we all do to address climate change now will largely determine the kind of planet we leave for our children and grandchildren.

With those stakes, the response must be all hands on deck. It's not about one country making a demand of another. It's the science itself, demanding action from all of us.

The United States is deeply committed to leading on climate change. We will work with our partners around the world through ambitious actions to reduce emissions, transform our energy economy, and help the most vulnerable cope with the effects of climate change.

We do so because this is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.

PRN: 2013/1298

---------------BUDGET------------------

UN climate report set to establish 'global carbon budget'

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Governments could be set figure of fossil fuels that can be burnt before 2°C warming limit is breached

By Ed King

Next week's landmark UN climate science report is likely to set a figure on the amount of fossil fuels that can be burnt if global warming is to be limited to safe levels.

It could warn that less than a quarter of the planet's oil, coal and gas reserves can be consumed between now and 2050, and set a worldwide 'carbon emission budget'.

Previous studies have indicated that the world has already used a third of this budget it needs to stay within to avoid warming of more than 2°C. Scientists say rises about this level are likely to be dangerous.

''For the first time ever scientists will say to governments there is a budget of greenhouse gases that you can emit over the next century, beyond which you cannot go if you want to have a reasonable change of avoiding 2°C,'' said Bob Ward, Policy and Communications chief at the Grantham Institute of the London School of Economics.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will be published in Stockholm next Friday, amid intense speculation and intrigue.

The final 'Summary for Policymakers' will have to be vetted by representatives from the world's governments before it can be released, meaning the document carries political weight.

Contentious issue

Ward, who has seen drafts of the report, believes this explicit warning to governments could prove its most enduring legacy: ''That is the most important part. You can get into discussion about the science, but it has been clear for a fairly long time.''

Malte Meinshausen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, lead author of a 2009 study into the planet's carbon budget, warned it could be exhausted in under 20 years if emission levels remain constant.

''Only a fast switch away from fossil fuels will give us a reasonable chance to avoid considerable warming,'' he said at the study's launch. ''We shouldn't forget that a 2°C global mean warming would take us far beyond the natural temperature variations that life on Earth has experienced since we humans have been around.''

Researchers at the Carbon Tracker Initiative say fossil fuel companies are creating a 'carbon bubble' of unusable goods. They say that by 2011 the world had used over a third of its 50-year carbon budget of 886GtCO2, leaving 565GtCO2.

Reserves owned by the top 100 coal, oil and gas companies represent total emissions of 745GtCO2.

Climate ambition

The publication of a global carbon budget is likely to raise the pressure on governments to discuss specific emission reduction quotas at the November round of UN climate talks in Warsaw.

In 2011 governments agreed to work towards a legally binding climate change deal in 2015.

Progress has been slow, with increasingly fierce debates over who is responsible for making the largest cuts in pollution.

This week the head of the UN climate convention's implementation arm said ''credible commitments'' need to be in place by the scheduled Paris summit in 2015.

Halld"r Thorgeirsson said he hoped the IPCC report would strengthen the case for action from governments.

''They will also need to be ready to be held accountable for the delivery on their obligations,'' he added.

PwC sustainability expert Celine Herweijer says some businesses are already running scenarios to gauge how levels of warming above 2°C could affect their viability.

Supermarkets, insurers, the tourism industry and major agricultural operators are currently working with PwC to put a figure on the risks to their investments and supply chains.

Even major oil companies are now exploring how sea level rises and increasing incidences of extreme weather events will affect their deep sea oil and gas drilling rigs, she said.

''If we have unmanaged climate change we're actually talking about business surviving,'' Herweijer added. ''Impacts beyond 2°C will be difficult for society and business to adapt to.''

IPCC: 30 years to climate calamity if we carry on blowing the carbon budget | Environment | The Guardian

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:35

Calved icebergs in Qaqortoq, Greenland. The IPCC report says the world is on the way to dangerous levels of global warming. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The world's leading climate scientists have set out in detail for the first time how much more carbon dioxide humans can pour into the atmosphere without triggering dangerous levels of climate change '' and concluded that more than half of that global allowance has been used up.

If people continue to emit greenhouse gases at current rates, the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere could mean that within as little as two to three decades the world will face nearly inevitable warming of more than 2C, resulting in rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and more extreme weather.

This calculation of the world's "carbon budget" was one of the most striking findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the expert panel of global scientists who on Friday produced the most comprehensive assessment yet of our knowledge of climate change at the end of their four-day meeting in Stockholm.

The 2,000-plus page report, written by 209 lead authors, also found it was "unequivocal" that global warming was happening as a result of human actions, and that without "substantial and sustained" reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we will breach the symbolic threshold of 2C of warming, which governments around the world have pledged not to do.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, urged world leaders to pay heed to the "world's authority on climate change" and forge a new global deal on cutting emissions. "The heat is on. Now we must act," he said.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said in a statement: "This is yet another wakeup call: those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire."

Credit: Guardian graphics"Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or commonsense should be willing to even contemplate," he added.

The IPCC also rebuffed the argument made by climate sceptics that a "pause" for the last 10-15 years in the upward climb of global temperatures was evidence of flaws in their computer models. In the summary for policymakers, published on Friday morning after days of deliberations in the Swedish capital, the scientists said: "Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the northern hemisphere, 1983-2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1,400 years."

Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the report working group, said measuring recent years in comparison to 1998, an exceptionally hot year, was misleading and that temperature trends could only be observed over longer periods, of about 30 years.

Natural variability was cited as one of the reasons for warming being less pronounced in the last 15 years, and the role of the oceans in absorbing heat, which is still poorly understood.

"There are not sufficient observations of the uptake of heat, particularly into the deep ocean, that will be one of the possible mechanisms that would explain this warming hiatus," said Stocker.

Credit: Guardian graphicsBut the most controversial finding of the report was its "carbon budget". Participants told the Guardian this was the last part of the summary to be decided, and the subject of hours of heated discussions in the early hours of Friday morning. Some countries were concerned that including the numbers would have political repercussions.

The scientists found that to hold warming to 2C, total emissions cannot exceed 1,000 gigatons of carbon. Yet by 2011, more than half of that total "allowance" '' 531 gigatons '' had already been emitted.

To ensure the budget is not exceeded, governments and businesses may have to leave valuable fossil fuel reserves unexploited. "There's a finite amount of carbon you can burn if you don't want to go over 2C," Stocker told the Guardian. "That implies if there is more than that [in fossil fuel reserves], that you leave some of that carbon in the ground."

This raises key questions of how to allocate the remaining "carbon budget" fairly among countries, an issue that some climate negotiators fear could wreck the UN climate talks, which are supposed to culminate in a global agreement on emissions in 2015.

Their other key findings in the report '' the first such assessment since 2007 and only the fifth since 1988 '' included:

' Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now at levels "unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years".

' Global temperatures are likely to rise by 0.3C to 4.8C by the end of the century depending on how much governments control carbon emissions.

' Sea levels are expected to rise a further 26-82cm (10-32in) by 2100. The wide variation in part reflects the difficulty scientists still have in predicting sea level rises.

' The oceans have acidified, having absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted.

IPCC report: The financial markets are the only hope in the race to stop global warming - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent

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The financial markets are humanity's only hope in the battle against global warming, the world's top climate expert declared today as he presented the most overwhelming case ever made that humans are responsible for rapidly increasing the Earth's temperature.

Rajenda Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said his organisation's latest report provided ''unequivocal'' evidence that since 1950 the atmosphere and oceans had warmed, and that scientists were now ''95 per cent certain'' that humans were the ''dominant cause''.

These patterns had been replicated across the climate system, as the amount of snow and ice had diminished, the mean global sea level had risen and concentrations of greenhouse gases had increased, he added..

The report says many of the observed changes are unprecedented in recent millennia and without extreme action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, global warming is likely to exceed 2C by the end of this century. This is the level at which the consequences become even more devastating and which world governments have agreed to try to avoid.

But Dr Pachauri warned that unless a price could be put on carbon emissions that was high enough to force power companies and manufacturers to reduce their fossil-fuel use, there seemed to be little chance of avoiding hugely damaging temperature increases.

''An extremely effective instrument would be to put a price on carbon. It is only through the market that you can get a large enough and rapid enough response,'' he said, calling on policymakers around the world ''to see what's required''.

Dr Pachauri said the IPCC was working on ''mechanisms'' through which the market could be used to reduce carbon emissions. These are likely to be announced in April next year when the IPCC releases the third part of its assessment, which deals with climate change mitigation.

Today's instalment dealt with the science. The second section, released in March, will cover impact and adaptation.

Dr Pachauri noted that the world had already burned more than half of the one trillion tonnes of carbon permitted if it is to have a reasonable chance of limiting the temperature rise to 2C. Furthermore, rapid industrialisation in the developing world is increasing global emissions so fast that the world is on course to use up its entire carbon budget within 25 years.

Scientists are more certain than they have ever been that humans are causing climate changeThe consequences of climate change include rising sea levels, more and hotter heatwaves, and changes to rainfall meaning dry regions get less and wet areas receive more, the report says.

The report's co-chair, Professor Thomas Stocker, said: ''Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.''

In a clear message to climate change sceptics within the Conservative Party ahead of its conference in Manchester, the International Development Secretary Justine Greening told The Independent that global warming caused by humans ''could not be ignored''.

''It is clear to me that we need to see climate change tackled and we need to play our role both nationally and internationally. We cannot keep just consuming more and more and more forever'... Can we ignore it? No,'' she said.

Professor Kevin Anderson, of Manchester University and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, said: ''So what are we doing in the UK to help reverse this reckless growth in emissions? Record levels of investment in North Sea oil, tax breaks for shale gas, investment in oil from tar sands and companies preparing to drill beneath the Arctic.''

The IPCC admitted that it was still unclear about the causes for the slowdown in climate change in the past 15 years, but insisted that the long-term trends were beyond doubt and that a decade and a half was far too short a period in which to draw any firm conclusions. The temperature rise has slowed from 0.12C per decade since 1951 to 0.05C per decade in the past 15 years '' a point seized upon by climate sceptics to discredit climate science.

Professor Stocker said: ''People always pick 1998 but that was a very special year, because a strong El Ni±o made it unusually hot, and since then there have been a series of medium-sized volcanic eruptions that have cooled the climate.''

Thirty-seven per cent of American voters believe global warming is a hoaxThe oceans are also thought to have played a large role in the so-called warming hiatus, with the earth's heat being re-arranged as larger quantities are taken down into the deep ocean.

The report's 18 headline messages include the finding that the pace of the Earth's warming has increased rapidly over the past three decades '' a period that is ''likely'' to be the warmest in the past 1,400 years. It says it can state with ''high confidence'' that ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90 per cent accumulated by the planet between 1971 and 2010.

Qin Dake, the other co-chair of the report, said combating climate change would have severe implications for people's lifestyles, especially in his home country of China, the world's most populous nation and its largest carbon emitter.

Speaking through a translator, he said: ''If every Chinese has two or three cars like in the US, it will be a disaster for China as well as for the world'... This will have a very big impact on the lifestyle of Chinese people.''

What the Scientists Say...

Lord Stern. London School of Economics

The report makes clear that the Earth is warming and the climate is changing, that human activities are primarily responsible, and that without very strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, we face huge risks from global warming of more than 2C by the end of this century compared with the period before the Industrial Revolution. All governments have agreed that it would be dangerous to exceed a threshold of global warming by 2C. Delay is dangerous because greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere and because we are locking in high-carbon infrastructure and capital.''

Professor Tim Lenton. Chair in climate science at the University of Exeter

''What concerns me most is the growing evidence that frozen parts of the climate system are responding extremely sensitively to global warming '' the retreat of Arctic summer sea-ice is unprecedented and the rate of ice loss from both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has increased five-fold in just the last two decades.''

Professor Corinne Le Qu(C)r(C). Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

''This is not just another report, this is the scientific consensus reached by hundreds of scientists after careful consideration of all the available evidence. The human influence on climate change is clear and dominant. The atmosphere and oceans are warming, the snow cover is shrinking, the Arctic sea-ice is melting, sea level is rising, the oceans are acidifying, and some extreme events have increased. CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels need to substantial decrease to limit climate change.''

Professor Bob Watson. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the University of East Anglia

''The latest IPCC report strengthens its earlier conclusions that most of the observed warming since 1950 has been caused by human activities, and future changes are inevitable. Also, many of the other changes observed in the climate system, such as the rate of loss of Arctic sea-ice, melting of mountain glaciers and the Greenland ice-sheet are unprecedented. Without immediate reductions in global emissions of greenhouse gases, the world will not be able to achieve the political target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperatures to 2C, but rather we are likely to see an increase of 3-5C. Time to act is running out if we are to take the threat of human-induced climate change seriously.''

... and the sceptics

Professor Judith Curry, The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta

''Well, IPCC has thrown down the gauntlet '' if the pause continues beyond 15 years (well it already has), they are toast.''

Myron Ebell , the right-wing think tank the US Competitive Enterprise Institute

''Global warming, although it may become a problem some decades in the future, is not a crisis and is highly unlikely to become a crisis. We should be worried that the alarmist establishment continues using junk science to promote disastrous policies that will make the world much poorer.''

------------------------------------------------

Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoning

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 04:42

Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoningEnvironment

Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoning

Thu, May 16 01:25 AM EDT

By Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a barrage of legal briefs, a coalition of business groups and Republican-leaning states are taking their fight against Obama administration climate change regulations to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups, along with states such as Texas and Virginia, have filed nine petitions in recent weeks asking the justices to review four U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

If the court were to take up any one of the petitions, it would be the biggest environmental case since Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark 2007 decision in which the justices ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

The court's decision on whether to take up any of the petitions, likely to come in October, could help shape or shatter the administration's efforts to solidify its climate change agenda before President Obama leaves office in 2017.

The EPA regulations are among Obama's most significant tools to address climate change after the U.S. Senate scuttled in 2010 his effort to pass a federal law that would, among other things, have set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

The petitions give the court various options for cutting back on, or even overturning the 2007 ruling, according to John Dernbach, a law professor at Widener University in Pennsylvania, who represented climate scientists in the 2007 case.

If the court decides to hear any of the petitions, it "would be opening a really big can of worms," he said.

The rules being challenged apply to a cross-section of polluters, from vehicles to industrial facilities. A federal appeals court in Washington last summer upheld the rules, which were issued by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA is a federal agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment.

The number of petitions filed is unusually large.

The court only had five petitions to choose from in 2011 when it chose to review Obama's landmark healthcare law, which various states and business groups opposed. Lawyers involved in the process say the petitions, which raise different arguments, are not part of a centrally-coordinated plan, and that parties that joined the same petition are working closely together.

The petition filed by Texas, for example, was joined by 12 states. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's brief was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation and Alaska. Other business-oriented groups either filed their own briefs or joined another organization's brief.

COMPLAINTS OVER ECONOMIC BURDEN

Those challenging the rules all cite the economic burden of the regulations and note that the EPA is making plans to regulate power plants. "The extension of these rules will cost tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of dollars," lawyers for the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation said in its petition.

The administration has a May 22 deadline to file its response to the petitions but is expected to ask for an extension, meaning the court's decision on whether to take up one or more of the petitions is likely to come no sooner than October, the start of a new term after the its summer break. The Justice Department declined to comment on the litigation.

The claims made in the petitions vary from broad attacks on the concept of regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act to more nuanced arguments about the specific language of that law.

Some of the challengers specifically ask the court to consider overturning Massachusetts v. EPA. They point out that the Clean Air Act, which passed in 1970, was not designed to tackle climate change. At least one brief, by the state of Virginia, challenges the EPA's evaluation of the climate change science that underpinned its decision to regulate greenhouse gases. Others contend the Supreme Court's holding in the 2007 ruling, which specifically addressed automobile emissions, did not give the EPA the authority to issue greenhouse gas rules that affect such a broad cross-section of the economy.

If the justices were to accept one of these broad petitions and side with challengers, they could make it impossible for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and could open the door to attacks on the air pollution regulations the agency has formulated for 30 years, according to Dru Stevenson, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law.

"It will probably go into the textbooks as Massachusetts v. EPA Part Two," he said.

NARROWER GROUNDS

Most experts believe such broad action by the court is unlikely, though they say there is a chance the justices could take a case on narrower grounds. They point to a petition by the American Chemistry Council which does not attack the science behind climate change but questions whether the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under a specific program that issues permits for new or modified polluters, such as power plants and steel mills.

A ruling reversing the EPA on the permit program would be a significant win for industry interests. "It would be a big improvement over the immediate problem of oppression by permit," said Eric Groten, a lawyer with Vinson & Elkins who represents the industry-backed Coalition for Responsible Regulation, which has filed its own brief.

However, such a ruling would leave the architecture of greenhouse gas regulation in place, which - from the industry perspective - "would do little to prevent other abuses," Groten said. As the American Chemistry Council noted in its petition, under its interpretation of the law, the vast majority of greenhouse gas emitters currently subject to the rules would still be covered by them.

RELUCTANT COURT

Some observers say the flood of petitions may not be enough to get the court's attention. The justices "have a fair amount of confidence" in the federal appeals court in Washington, which handles regulatory cases all the time and has some expertise in the area, according to Jonathan Adler, an expert on regulatory law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

The Supreme Court, which hears less than one percent of the petitions that are filed, is generally reluctant to wade into highly technical government regulations, especially when it comes to the Clean Air Act. Air quality regulations focus on detailed scientific analysis of data on various pollutants in the air and their relative impact on public health.

"It's very convoluted," said Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. "The court typically doesn't like all this complicated stuff."

The court has only heard two Clean Air Act-specific cases since 2005, including Massachusetts v. EPA, although in 2011 it heard a climate change-related case.

In contrast, it has heard seven cases on the Clean Water Act, a law that environmental lawyers say is less complex, during the same period.

There is little sign the EPA is concerned about an adverse ruling. The agency is now looking at pushing ahead with regulating carbon dioxide from new and existing power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

If the EPA doesn't act, noted David Doniger, climate and clean air policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, it would leave itself vulnerable to legal attack from environmental groups.

"The legal pathway is quite clear and the need is there for the administration to move forward quickly on power plants," he said.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Amy Stevens, Howard Goller, Mary Milliken and Paul Simao)

Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoningEnvironment

Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoning

Thu, May 16 01:25 AM EDT

By Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a barrage of legal briefs, a coalition of business groups and Republican-leaning states are taking their fight against Obama administration climate change regulations to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups, along with states such as Texas and Virginia, have filed nine petitions in recent weeks asking the justices to review four U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

If the court were to take up any one of the petitions, it would be the biggest environmental case since Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark 2007 decision in which the justices ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

The court's decision on whether to take up any of the petitions, likely to come in October, could help shape or shatter the administration's efforts to solidify its climate change agenda before President Obama leaves office in 2017.

The EPA regulations are among Obama's most significant tools to address climate change after the U.S. Senate scuttled in 2010 his effort to pass a federal law that would, among other things, have set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

The petitions give the court various options for cutting back on, or even overturning the 2007 ruling, according to John Dernbach, a law professor at Widener University in Pennsylvania, who represented climate scientists in the 2007 case.

If the court decides to hear any of the petitions, it "would be opening a really big can of worms," he said.

The rules being challenged apply to a cross-section of polluters, from vehicles to industrial facilities. A federal appeals court in Washington last summer upheld the rules, which were issued by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA is a federal agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment.

The number of petitions filed is unusually large.

The court only had five petitions to choose from in 2011 when it chose to review Obama's landmark healthcare law, which various states and business groups opposed. Lawyers involved in the process say the petitions, which raise different arguments, are not part of a centrally-coordinated plan, and that parties that joined the same petition are working closely together.

The petition filed by Texas, for example, was joined by 12 states. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's brief was joined by the American Farm Bureau Federation and Alaska. Other business-oriented groups either filed their own briefs or joined another organization's brief.

COMPLAINTS OVER ECONOMIC BURDEN

Those challenging the rules all cite the economic burden of the regulations and note that the EPA is making plans to regulate power plants. "The extension of these rules will cost tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of dollars," lawyers for the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation said in its petition.

The administration has a May 22 deadline to file its response to the petitions but is expected to ask for an extension, meaning the court's decision on whether to take up one or more of the petitions is likely to come no sooner than October, the start of a new term after the its summer break. The Justice Department declined to comment on the litigation.

The claims made in the petitions vary from broad attacks on the concept of regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act to more nuanced arguments about the specific language of that law.

Some of the challengers specifically ask the court to consider overturning Massachusetts v. EPA. They point out that the Clean Air Act, which passed in 1970, was not designed to tackle climate change. At least one brief, by the state of Virginia, challenges the EPA's evaluation of the climate change science that underpinned its decision to regulate greenhouse gases. Others contend the Supreme Court's holding in the 2007 ruling, which specifically addressed automobile emissions, did not give the EPA the authority to issue greenhouse gas rules that affect such a broad cross-section of the economy.

If the justices were to accept one of these broad petitions and side with challengers, they could make it impossible for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and could open the door to attacks on the air pollution regulations the agency has formulated for 30 years, according to Dru Stevenson, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law.

"It will probably go into the textbooks as Massachusetts v. EPA Part Two," he said.

NARROWER GROUNDS

Most experts believe such broad action by the court is unlikely, though they say there is a chance the justices could take a case on narrower grounds. They point to a petition by the American Chemistry Council which does not attack the science behind climate change but questions whether the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under a specific program that issues permits for new or modified polluters, such as power plants and steel mills.

A ruling reversing the EPA on the permit program would be a significant win for industry interests. "It would be a big improvement over the immediate problem of oppression by permit," said Eric Groten, a lawyer with Vinson & Elkins who represents the industry-backed Coalition for Responsible Regulation, which has filed its own brief.

However, such a ruling would leave the architecture of greenhouse gas regulation in place, which - from the industry perspective - "would do little to prevent other abuses," Groten said. As the American Chemistry Council noted in its petition, under its interpretation of the law, the vast majority of greenhouse gas emitters currently subject to the rules would still be covered by them.

RELUCTANT COURT

Some observers say the flood of petitions may not be enough to get the court's attention. The justices "have a fair amount of confidence" in the federal appeals court in Washington, which handles regulatory cases all the time and has some expertise in the area, according to Jonathan Adler, an expert on regulatory law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

The Supreme Court, which hears less than one percent of the petitions that are filed, is generally reluctant to wade into highly technical government regulations, especially when it comes to the Clean Air Act. Air quality regulations focus on detailed scientific analysis of data on various pollutants in the air and their relative impact on public health.

"It's very convoluted," said Daniel Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. "The court typically doesn't like all this complicated stuff."

The court has only heard two Clean Air Act-specific cases since 2005, including Massachusetts v. EPA, although in 2011 it heard a climate change-related case.

In contrast, it has heard seven cases on the Clean Water Act, a law that environmental lawyers say is less complex, during the same period.

There is little sign the EPA is concerned about an adverse ruling. The agency is now looking at pushing ahead with regulating carbon dioxide from new and existing power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

If the EPA doesn't act, noted David Doniger, climate and clean air policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, it would leave itself vulnerable to legal attack from environmental groups.

"The legal pathway is quite clear and the need is there for the administration to move forward quickly on power plants," he said.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Amy Stevens, Howard Goller, Mary Milliken and Paul Simao)

United States Environmental Protection Agency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 15:00

Stacks emitting smoke from burning discarded automobile batteries, photo taken in Houston in 1972 by official photographer of recently founded EPA

Same smokestacks in 1975 after the plant was closed in a push for greater environmental protection

Beginning in the late 1950s[6] and through the 1960s, Congress reacted to increasing public concern about the impact that human activity could have on the environment. A key legislative option to address this concern was the declaration of a national environmental policy.[citation needed] Advocates of this approach argued that without a specific policy, federal agencies were neither able nor inclined to consider the environmental impacts of their actions in fulfilling the agency's mission.[citation needed] The statute that ultimately addressed this issue was the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4347).[7] Senator Henry M. Jackson proposed and helped write S 1075, the bill that eventually became the National Environmental Policy Act. The law was signed by President Nixon on January 1, 1970. NEPA was the first of several major environmental laws passed in the 1970s. It declared a national policy to protect the environment and created a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President.[citation needed] To implement the national policy, NEPA required that a detailed statement of environmental impacts be prepared for all major federal actions significantly affecting the environment. The "detailed statement" would ultimately be referred to as an environmental impact statement (EIS).

In 1970, President Richard Nixon proposed an executive reorganization that would consolidate many of the federal government's environmental responsibilities under one agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency. That reorganization proposal was reviewed and passed by the House and Senate.[8] For at least 10 years before NEPA was enacted,[9][better source needed] Congress debated issues that the act would ultimately address.[citation needed] The act was modeled on the Resources and Conservation Act of 1959,[citation needed] introduced by Senator James E. Murray in the 86th Congress.[citation needed] That bill would have established an environmental advisory counsel in the office of the President, declared a national environmental policy, and required the preparation of an annual environmental report.[10][better source needed] In the years following the introduction of Senator Murray's bill, similar bills were introduced and hearings were held to discuss the state of the environment and Congress's potential responses to perceived problems. In 1968, a joint House-Senate colloquium was convened by the chairmen of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (Senator Henry Jackson) and the House Committee on Science and Astronautics (Representative George Miller) to discuss the need for and potential means of implementing a national environmental policy. In the colloquium, some Members of Congress expressed a continuing concern over federal agency actions affecting the environment.[11]

The EPA began regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) from mobile and stationary sources of air pollution under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the first time on January 2, 2011. Standards for mobile sources have been established pursuant to Section 202 of the CAA, and GHGs from stationary sources are controlled under the authority of Part C of Title I of the Act. See the page Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act for further information.

On July 17, 2013, the EPA renamed its headquarters the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, after former president Bill Clinton.[12]

Energy StarEditMain article: Energy StarIn 1992 the EPA launched the Energy Star program, a voluntary program that fosters energy efficiency.

PesticideEditEPA administers the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (which is much older than the agency) and registers all pesticides legally sold in the United States.

Environmental Impact Statement ReviewEditEPA is responsible for reviewing Environmental Impact Statements of other federal agencies' projects, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Safer Detergents Stewardship InitiativeEditThrough the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI),[26] EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) recognizes environmental leaders who voluntarily commit to the use of safer surfactants. Safer surfactants are the ones that break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water. Nonylphenol ethoxylates, commonly referred to as NPEs, are an example of a surfactant class that does not meet the definition of a safer surfactant.

The Design for the Environment has identified safer alternative surfactants through partnerships with industry and environmental advocates. These safer alternatives are comparable in cost and are readily available. CleanGredients[27] is a source of safer surfactants.

Fuel economyEditManufacturers selling automobiles in the USA are required to provide EPA fuel economy test results for their vehicles and the manufacturers are not allowed to provide results from alternate sources. The fuel economy is calculated using the emissions data collected during two of the vehicle's Clean Air Act certification tests by measuring the total volume of carbon captured from the exhaust during the tests.

The current testing system was originally developed in 1972 and used driving cycles designed to simulate driving during rush-hour in Los Angeles during that era. Prior to 1984 the EPA reported the exact fuel economy figures calculated from the test. In 1984, the EPA began adjusting city (aka Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule or UDDS) results downward by 10% and highway (aka HighWay Fuel Economy Test or HWFET) results by 22% to compensate for changes in driving conditions since 1972 and to better correlate the EPA test results with real-world driving. In 1996, the EPA proposed updating the Federal Testing Procedures[28] to add a new higher speed test (US06) and an air-conditioner on test (SC03) to further improve the correlation of fuel economy and emission estimates with real-world reports. The updated testing methodology was finalized in December, 2006 for implementation with model year 2008 vehicles and set the precedent of a 12 year review cycle for the test procedures.[29]

In February 2005, the organization launched a program called "Your MPG"[30] that allows drivers to add real-world fuel economy statistics into a database on the EPA's fuel economy website and compare them with others and the original EPA test results.

It is important to note that the EPA actually conducts these tests on very few vehicles. "While the public mistakenly presumes that this federal agency is hard at work conducting complicated tests on every new model of truck, van, car, and SUV, in reality, just 18 of the EPA's 17,000 employees work in the automobile-testing department in Ann Arbor, Michigan, examining 200 to 250 vehicles a year, or roughly 15 percent of new models. As to that other 85 percent, the EPA takes automakers at their word'--without any testing-accepting submitted results as accurate."[31] Two-thirds of the vehicles the EPA tests themselves are selected randomly, and the remaining third are tested for specific reasons.

Although originally created as a reference point for fossil fuelled vehicles, driving cycles have been used for estimating how many miles an electric vehicle will do on a single charge.[32]

Air qualityEditThe Air Quality Modeling Group (AQMG) is in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) and provides leadership and direction on the full range of air quality models, air pollutiondispersion models[33][34] and other mathematical simulation techniques used in assessing pollution control strategies and the impacts of air pollution sources.

The AQMG serves as the focal point on air pollution modeling techniques for other EPA headquarters staff, EPA regional Offices, and State and local environmental agencies. It coordinates with the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) on the development of new models and techniques, as well as wider issues of atmospheric research. Finally, the AQMG conducts modeling analyses to support the policy and regulatory decisions of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS).

The AQMG is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Oil pollutionEditSPCC: Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule. Applies to all facilities that store, handle, process, gather, transfer, store, refine, distribute, use or consume oil or oil products. Oil products includes petroleum and non-petroleum oils as well as: animal fats, oils and greases; fish and marine mammal oils; and vegetable oils, (including oils from seeds, nuts, fruits, and kernels). Mandates that an SPCC Plan is required for facilities that may reasonably be expected to have a discharge into or upon navigable waters of the United States (as defined in the Clean Water Act)or adjoining shorelines. Secondary Containment mandated at oil storage facilities. Oil release containment at oil development sites.

WaterSenseEditWaterSense is an EPA program designed to encourage water efficiency in the United States through the use of a special label on consumerproducts. It was launched in June 2006.[35] Products include high-efficiency toilets (HETs), bathroomsinkfaucets (and accessories), and irrigation equipment. WaterSense is a voluntary program, with EPA developing specifications for water-efficient products through a public process and product testing by independent laboratories. The program was launched in 2006.[36]

Drinking waterEditEPA ensures safe drinking water for the public, by setting standards for more than 160,000 public water systems throughout the United States. EPA oversees states, local governments and water suppliers to enforce the standards, under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program includes regulation of injection wells in order to protect underground sources of drinking water. Select readings of amounts of certain contaminants in drinking water, precipitation, and surface water, in addition to milk and air, are reported on EPA's Rad Net web site in a section entitled Envirofacts. In certain cases, readings exceeding EPA MCL levels are deleted or not included[37][38] despite mandatory reporting regulations. A draft of revised EPA regulations relaxes the regulations for radiation exposure through drinking water, stating that current standards are impractical to enforce. The EPA is recommending that intervention is not necessary until drinking water is contaminated with radioactive iodine 131 at a concentration of 81,000 picocuries per liter (the limit for short term exposure set by the International Atomic Energy Agency), which is 27,000 times the current EPA limit of 3 picocuries per liter for long term exposure.[39]

Radiation ProtectionEditEPA has following seven groups of projects to protect public from nuclear contamination.[40]

Waste Management ProgramsEmergency Preparedness and Response ProgramsProtective Action GuideMain article: Protective Action Guide for Nuclear Incidents#Action Plan in USA

EPA developed the manual[41] to provide guideline for local and state governments to protect public from nuclear accident.EPA Cleanup and Multi-Agency ProgramsRisk Assessment and Federal Guidance ProgramsNaturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials ProgramAir and Water ProgramsRadiation Source Reduction and ManagementThere has been political controversy[who?] over whether environmental regulations generally increase or decrease national employment.[44][45][46][47]

The "LT2" Drinking Water ControversyEditA recent amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act, known as "LT2",[48] mandates costly treatment or burial for open reservoirs. This regulation has come under fire, with allegations that it is the unnecessary and wasteful[49] product of lobbying from corporate interests who stand benefit from ensuing public works contracts [50]

Fiscal MismanagementEditEPA director Anne M. Gorsuch resigned under fire in 1983 during a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste dumps. Gorsuch based her administration of the EPA on the New Federalism approach of downsizing federal agencies by delegating their functions and services to the individual states.[51] She believed that the EPA was over-regulating business and that the agency was too large and not cost-effective. During her 22 months as agency head, she cut the budget of the EPA by 22%, reduced the number of cases filed against polluters, relaxed Clean Air Act regulations, and facilitated the spraying of restricted-use pesticides. She cut the total number of agency employees, and hired staff from the industries they were supposed to be regulating.[52] Environmentalists contended that her policies were designed to placate polluters, and accused her of trying to dismantle the Agency.[53]

In 1982 Congress charged that the EPA had mishandled the $1.6 billion toxic waste Superfund and demanded records from Gorsuch. Gorsuch refused and became the first agency director in U.S. history to be cited for contempt of Congress. The EPA turned the documents over to Congress several months later, after the White House abandoned its court claim that the documents could not be subpoened by Congress because they were covered by executive privilege. At that point, Gorsuch resigned her post, citing pressures caused by the media and the congressional investigation.[54] Critics charged that the EPA was in a shambles at that time.[55]

Fuel economyEditIn July 2005, an EPA report showing that auto companies were using loopholes to produce less fuel-efficient cars was delayed. The report was supposed to be released the day before a controversial energy bill was passed and would have provided backup for those opposed to it, but at the last minute the EPA delayed its release.[56]

The state of California sued the EPA for its refusal to allow California and 16 other states to raise fuel economy standards for new cars.[57] EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson claimed that the EPA was working on its own standards, but the move has been widely considered an attempt to shield the auto industry from environmental regulation by setting lower standards at the federal level, which would then preempt state laws.[58][59][60] California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with governors from 13 other states, stated that the EPA's actions ignored federal law, and that existing California standards (adopted by many states in addition to California) were almost twice as effective as the proposed federal standards.[61] It was reported that Stephen Johnson ignored his own staff in making this decision.[62]

After the federal government bailed out General Motors and Chrysler in the Automotive industry crisis of 2008''2010, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox was released with EPA fuel economy rating abnormally higher than its competitors. Independent road tests[63][64][65][66] found that both vehicle did not out-perform its competitors, which had much lower fuel economy ratings. Later road tests[67][68] found better, but inconclusive, results. Palm-based biodiesel and renewable diesel failed to meet the minimum 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings threshold requirement to qualify as renewable fuels under the US Renewable Fuel Standard 2.[69]Palm oil plantations threaten the habitats of the endangered orang-utan and dwarf elephant.[70]

Global warmingEditIn June 2005, a memo revealed that Philip Cooney, former chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, had personally edited documents, summarizing government research on climate change, before their release.[71] Cooney resigned two days after the memo was published in The New York Times. Cooney said he had been planning to resign for over two years, implying the timing of his resignation was just a coincidence. Specifically, he said he had planned to resign to "spend time with his family."[72] One week after resigning he took a job at Exxon Mobil in their public affairs department.[73]

In December 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson approved a draft of a document that declared that climate change imperiled the public welfare'--a decision that would trigger the first national mandatory global-warming regulations. Associate Deputy Administrator Jason Burnett e-mailed the draft to the White House. White House aides'--who had long resisted mandatory regulations as a way to address climate change'--knew the gist of what Johnson's finding would be, Burnett said. They also knew that once they opened the attachment, it would become a public record, making it controversial and difficult to rescind. So they did not open it; rather, they called Johnson and asked him to take back the draft. U.S. law clearly stated that the final decision was the EPA administrator's, not President Bush's. Johnson rescinded the draft; in July 2008, he issued a new version which did not state that global warming was danger to public welfare. Burnett resigned in protest.[74]

LibrariesEditIn 2004, the Agency began a strategic planning exercise to develop plans for a more virtual approach to library services. The effort was curtailed in July 2005 when the Agency proposed a $2.5 million cut in its 2007 budget for libraries. Based on the proposed 2007 budget, the EPA posted a notice to the Federal Register, September 20, 2006 that EPA Headquarters Library would close its doors to walk-in patrons and visitors on October 1, 2006.[75] The EPA also closed some of its regional libraries and reduced hours in others,[76] using the same FY 2007 proposed budget numbers.

On October 1, 2008, the Agency re-opened regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City and the library at its Headquarters in Washington, DC.[77]

In June 2011, the EPA Library Network published a strategic plan[78] for fiscal years 2012-2014.

Mercury emissionsEditIn March 2005, nine states (California, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico and Vermont) sued the EPA. The EPA's inspector general had determined that the EPA's regulation of mercury emissions did not follow the Clean Air Act, and that the regulations were influenced by top political appointees.[79][80] The EPA had suppressed a study it commissioned by Harvard University which contradicted its position on mercury controls.[81] The suit alleges that the EPA's rule allowing exemption from "maximum available control technology" was illegal, and additionally charged that the EPA's system of pollution credit trading allows power plants to forego reducing mercury emissions.[82] Several states also began to enact their own mercury emission regulations. Illinois's proposed rule would have reduced mercury emissions from power plants by an average of 90% by 2009.[83]

9/11 air ratingsEditAn August 2003 report released by EPA's Inspector General claimed that the White House put pressure on the EPA to delete cautionary information about the air quality in New York City around Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Very fine airborne particulatesEditTiny particles, under 2.5 micrometres, are attributed to health and mortality concerns,[84] so some health advocates want the EPA to regulate it. The science may be in its infancy, although many conferences have discussed the trails of this airborne matter in the air. Foreign governments such as Australia[85] and most EU States have addressed this issue.

The EPA first established standards in 1997, and strengthened them in 2006. As with other standards, regulation and enforcement of the PM2.5 standards is the responsibility of the state governments, through State Implementation Plans.[86]

Political pressure and Scientific IntegrityEditIn April 2008, the Union of Concerned Scientists said that more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work. The survey included chemists, toxicologists, engineers, geologists and experts in other fields of science. About 40% of the scientists reported that the interference had been more prevalent in the last five years than in previous years. The highest number of complaints came from scientists who were involved in determining the risks of cancer by chemicals used in food and other aspects of everyday life.[87]

EPA research has also been suppressed by career managers.[88] Supervisors at EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment required several paragraphs to be deleted from a peer-reviewed journal article about EPA's integrated risk information system, which led two co-authors to have their names removed from the publication, and the corresponding author, Ching-Hung Hsu, to leave EPA "because of the draconian restrictions placed on publishing.".[89] EPA subjects employees who author scientific papers to prior restraint, even if those papers are written on personal time.[90] A $3 million mapping study on sea level rise was suppressed by EPA management during both the Bush and Obama Administrations, and managers changed a key interagency report to reflect the removal of the maps.[91] EPA employees have reported difficulty in conducting and reporting the results of studies on hydraulic fracturing due to industry[92][93][94] and governmental pressure, and are concerned about the censorship of environmental reports.[92][95][96]

Environmental justiceEditThe EPA has been criticized for its lack of progress towards environmental justice. Administrator Christine Todd Whitman was criticized for her changes to President Bill Clinton's Executive Order 12898 during 2001, removing the requirements for government agencies to take the poor and minority populations into special consideration when making changes to environmental legislation, and therefore defeating the spirit of the Executive Order.[97] In a March 2004 report, the inspector general of the agency concluded that the EPA "has not developed a clear vision or a comprehensive strategic plan, and has not established values, goals, expectations, and performance measurements" for environmental justice in its daily operations. Another report in September 2006 found the agency still had failed to review the success of its programs, policies and activities towards environmental justice.[98] Studies have also found that poor and minority populations were underserved by the EPA's Superfund program, and that this situation was worsening.[97]

Barriers to enforcing environmental justiceEditLocalization Many issues of environmental justice are localized, and are therefore hard to be addressed by federal agencies such as the EPA. Without significant media attention, political interest, or 'crisis' status, local issues are less likely to be addressed on local or federal level. With a still developing sector of environmental justice under the EPA, small, local incidents are unlikely to be solved compared to larger, well publicized incidents.

Conflicting political powers The White House maintains direct control over the EPA, and its enforcements are subject to the political agenda of who is in power. Republicans and Democrats differ in their approaches to, and perceived concerns of, environmental justice. While President Bill Clinton signed the executive order 12898, the Bush administration did not develop a clear plan or establish goals for integrating environmental justice into everyday practices, which in turn affected the motivation for environmental enforcement.[99]

Responsibilities of the EPA The EPA is responsible for preventing and detecting environmental crimes, informing the public of environmental enforcement, and setting and monitoring standards of air pollution, water pollution, hazardous wastes and chemicals. While the EPA aids in preventing and identifying hazardous situations, it is hard to construct a specific mission statement given its wide range of responsibilities.[100] It is impossible to address every environmental crime adequately or efficiently if there is no specific mission statement to refer to. The EPA answers to various groups, competes for resources, and confronts a wide array of harms to the environment. All of these present challenges, including a lack of resources, its self-policing policy, and a broadly defined legislation that creates too much discretion for EPA officers.[101]

Authority of the EPA Under different circumstances, the EPA faces many limitations to enforcing environmental justice. It does not have the authority or resources to address injustices without an increase in federal mandates requiring private industries to consider the environmental ramifications of their activities.[102]

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Livermore's Centennial Light Bulb

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:24

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Welcome to the homepage of the Centennial Bulb, the Longest burning Light Bulb in history. Now in its 112th year of illumination. For those of you coming here for the first time, feel free to explore the pages of our amazing little bulb, with pictures, stories, facts, and history.

The Bulb is Still Alive! After being Off for over 10 hours on the morning of May 20, 2013, Retired Asst. Chief Tom Bramell called the Station Captain and bypassed the UPS generator, and it Worked! See some pictures of the Bulb off on the Bulbcam page.To see the story by Juliette Goodrich, go to World's Longest Running Lightbulb Goes Out In Livermore.For a special treat from us for the season follow this Holiday Link!

The webmaster of the committee gave a Bulb Presentation, at Sugar Hill Elementary, in Gainesville, Georgia, to a 1st , and 5th grade class. Please follow the link to see pictures.

With a heavy heart I must report the passing of Huell Hauser. He really was a gentle and kind manwho brought fun and excitement into our lives with his truely unique perspective. As part of his legacyhe donated all of his episodes to be put online free of charge at Chapman University. You can see hisCentennial Bulb episode with the late Lynn Owens at Episode 11002.

The webmaster of the committee stopped by the museum, at NFWHS, in Fort Worth, Texas, to see theworld famous Palace Bulb, and it's committee!!! Please follow this link to see pictures.

Chris Leps has copies of the movie Century of Light available at createspace.com!!But more importantly he has a new movie in production named Wholehearted.

Our intrepid photographer Dick Jones has just made his first book named Aerial Photography,and is in the process of making another based on his mothers poetry, soon to be released.

Juliett Goodrich has also released a new children's book named I Am Special Because I Smile,which is about the Special Olympics.

A new unique Shelby Light Bulb was found sealed in a wall of Adolph Chailett's home in Shelby, Ohio!!!Please follow this link to Tom Clabaugh's page,A light from our distant past.Or go to the articles page to read the Shelby Globe,as donated by Tom Sutter, an old Shaaggy Shelbian.

If you are returning, our newest additions are, a tv spot from David Letterman and Stephen Colbert, NPR, FREE POSTCARDS, a tour of the old Livermore Fire Stations by Lynn Owens, a visit from Jeanine Benca & Jim Stevens from the East Bay News Group with the articles, a visit From Carolyn Jones and Michael Macor of the SF Chronicle, a visit with Mike Dunstan, the original reporter who broke the news of the bulb to the world, a visit to the MUSEUM in Shelby, Ohio, as guided by Sally Maier historian, the stories of our latest visitors, Chris Leps of Hollywood, making the documentary A Century of Light, Cosima Dannoritzer from Spain who made the documentary The Light Bulb Conspiracy, and Karin Steinberger from Germany.

Phoebus cartel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:30

The Phoebus cartel was a cartel of, among others, Osram, Philips and General Electric[1] from December 23, 1924 until 1939 that existed to control the manufacture and sale of light bulbs.

The cartel is an important step in the history of the global economy because of claims that it engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence[citation needed]. It reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs. The Phoebus cartel is also featured, lightly disguised, as a minor plot element in Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow. Phoebus was a Swiss corporation named "Phoebus S.A. Compagnie Industrielle pour le D(C)veloppement de l'‰clairage".

Osram, Philips, Tungsram, Associated Electrical Industries, ELIN, Compagnie des Lampes, International General Electric, and the GE Overseas Group were members of the Phoebus cartel,[2] holding shares in the Swiss corporation proportional to their lamp sales.

In 1921 a precursor organisation was founded by Osram, the "Internationale Gl¼hlampen Preisvereinigung". When Philips and other manufacturers were entering the American market, General Electric reacted by setting up the "International General Electric Company" in Paris. Both organisations co-ordinated the trading of patents and market penetration. Increasing international competition led to negotiations between all the major companies to control and restrict their respective activities in order not to interfere in each other's spheres.[3]

The cartel was a convenient way to lower costs and worked to standardise the life expectancy of light bulbs at 1000 hours,[3] while at the same time raising prices without fear of competition. Members' bulbs were regularly tested and fines were levied for bulbs that lasted more than 1000 hours[citation needed]. A 1929 table lists exactly how many Swiss francs had to be paid, depending on the exceeding hours of lifetime[citation needed]. This was not public knowledge at the time, and the cartel could point to standardization of light bulbs as an alternative rationale for the organization.

The cartel claimed that 1000 hours was a reasonable optimum life expectancy for most bulbs, and that a longer lifetime could be obtained only at the expense of efficiency, since progressively more heat and less light is obtained, resulting in wasted electricity. [4]

The Phoebus Cartel divided the world's lamp markets into three categories:

home territories, the home country of individual manufacturersBritish overseas territories, under control of Associated Electrical Industries, Osram, Philips, and Tungsramcommon territory, the rest of the worldIn the late 1920s a Swedish-Danish-Norwegian union of companies (the North European Luma Co-op Society) began planning an independent manufacturing centre. Economic and legal threats by Phoebus did not achieve the desired effect, and in 1931 the Scandinavians produced and sold lamps at a considerably lower price than Phoebus.

The original Phoebus agreement was intended to expire in 1955[citation needed]; however, World War II greatly disrupted the operation of the cartel.

^Metze, Marcel "Anton Philips (1874-1951). They will know who they're dealing with", Uitgeverij Balans, Amsterdam, 2004, ISBN: 90 5018 612 2 (Summary).^"Corporations: A Very Tough Baby". Time Magazine. 1945-07-23. Retrieved 2009-04-11. ^ ab[ Das Gl¼hbirnenkartell - tazblog] Extensive background information in the second half of the article, 06.02.2007.^Hehkulampussa ja lediss¤ sama ongelma: l¤mp¶, Suomen Kuvalehti 13.10.2011, an interview of research scientist, D.Sc. Eino Tetri, Leader of the Light Sources and Energy Group in Aalto UniversityWells, Wyatt C. (2002). Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12398-1. Patrick Gaughen "Structural Inefficiency in the Early Twentieth Century: Studies in the Aluminum and Incandescent Lamp Markets" Social Science 610, December, 1998, 36 pp.U K Monopolies Commission "Report on the Supply of Electric Lamps", His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, October 1951, v + 199 pp.Prªt jeter / Kaufen f¼r die M¼llhalde, ARTE TV documentary, France, 2010. [Commentary and excerpt from German translation]

Pyramids of Waste: The Lightbulb Conspiracy (2010) | Watch Documentary Free Online

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:26

Pyramids of Waste (2010) also known as "The lightbulb conspiracy" is a documentary about the negative effects of consumerism and planned obsolescence.

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Climate scientist warns of impending global-cooling crisis

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:03

''Could wreak havoc on the world's food supply.''

Ice storm '' Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to the so-called ''consensus,'' the planet's climate is not warming, says David Archibald, an Australian scientist and visiting fellow at the The Institute of World Politics (IWP) in Washington, D.C.

''The temperature of the planet is the same as it was 30 years ago,'' said Archibald. ''The IPCC models have failed.''

While temperatures have increased less than one degree Celsius (yes, less than 1 degree) in the last 150 years, that rise is unremarkable compared to previous increases in earth's history, said Archibald on Wednesday. That rise came about because ''the Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th century than it had been in the previous 8,000 years.''

Even with the higher solar activity, that small amount of warming is nothing new.

Temperature spikes have occurred for hundreds of thousands of years and were slightly higher in the Roman Empire and Medieval periods, according to a Swedish study and data from ice cores in Vostok, Antarctica, said Archibald.

In fact, it has been warmer than today for MOST of the past 10,000 years, says Dr. Don Easterbrook, Professor of Geology at Western Washington University.

Created by Cuffy and Clow in 1997, and based on Greenland ice core records, this chart shows global temperatures for the past 15,000 years.

Sometimes severe cooling comes out of the blue

Now, solar activity suggests that global temperatures will fall 2 to 3 degrees Celsius by 2040, said Archibald. ''And sometimes severe cooling comes out of the blue.''

That could wreak havoc on the world's food supply by potentially reducing global grain production by 400 million tonnes'--mirroring the skyrocketing crop costs and 200,000 European deaths sparked by the 1816 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia.

See slides from Archibald's presentation here.

See entire article:http://freebeacon.com/climate-expert-warns-of-impending-global-cooling-crisis/

Thanks to Ron de Haan for this link

Archibald, who is credited as the first scientist to develop a method for using solar sunspot cycles to predict temperatures, also predicts that ''sea level will start falling again.''

Where will that moisture go? It will start accumulating on land as ice, just as I have been predicting.

NATURAL VARIABILITY-Double Standard | Open Mind

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 02:15

Since 1975, global average surface air temperature has increased at a rate of 0.17 deg.C/decade (estimated by linear regression using either the NASA GISS or HadCRUT4 data sets). But the rate of increase hasn't been perfectly constant over that entire time span.

As a matter of fact, there's a 15-year time span during which the rate is notably different. Fifteen whole years!!! By at least one calculation, the difference is ''statistically significant.''

Does this mean that global warming is wrong? That the computer models are utter junk? That this whole climate science thing is just a hoax, a nefarious scheme to cheat us all out of tax dollars in order to support the lifestyle of gaudy luxury that we all know scientists wallow in? (Science: money for nothin' and your chicks for free'...)

That 15-year time span covers the years 1992 through 2006, during which the rate of warming was 0.28 deg.C/decade. That's a lot faster than the warming rate from 1975 to now.

Just a few years ago, when Rahmstorf et al. (2007) compared climate observations to computer model projections, they noticed the faster-than-expected warming leading up to 2006. It was faster than expected and faster than projected by those dreaded ''computer models'' used by the IPCC. According to the data, global average surface temperature was on a ''mad dash'' to extreme heat.

How did these evil denizens of global warming react? Did they use that result to push world government based on socialism, so that they could destroy our economy by taxing the super-rich out of some of their hardly-earned riches? Did they run screaming through the streets yelling about how we're all going to suffer spontaneous combustion by the year 2100?

No. Instead, they attempted to understand the result.

And what explanation, some bunnies may wonder, crossed their minds first? What was their first instinct regarding how this mad dash of global warming might have come about? This:

The first candidate reason is intrinsic variability within the climate system.

Wow. When the data indicated surface warming faster than expected, the first explanation offered by those greedy bastards was natural variation.

You missed your chance, guys. How ya gonna rob the super-rich of all their billions with that?

Since that time, when they failed miserably to capitalize on the opportunity for alarmism, there's been another 15-year time span when the trend differed noticeably from the trend-since-1975. It covers the years from 1998 through 2012:

The evil cabal of climate scientists are somehow trying to explain this away as simply being ''natural variation.''

But the poor, downtrodden ''deniers'' are on to them. They know the truth. You see, that extra-fast warming period really was just natural variation, but the extra-slow period is all because the computer models are junk, the whole climate science thing is just a hoax (gaudy luxury for scientists to wallow in), and we're headed for decades of imminent global cooling.

After all, isn't that what Aunt Judy would say? Didn't she already say that ''natural variability'' was responsible for more than half of the global warming since the 1970s '-- but isn't she now pushing as hard as she can that ''the pause'' is proof that we don't really understand what man-made tampering is doing to our climate? Hey '-- it's all just a ''regime shift'' anyway.

Isn't that what Willard Tony would say? Maybe not '-- maybe he wouldn't blame the extra-fast warming on natural variability at all, he'd just claim that the temperature record isn't reliable. If it shows extra-fast warming, that is '-- when the temperature record shows extra-slow warming it's scientific proof.

It's kinda like the changes in Arctic sea ice. When it takes a nose-dive like in 2007 and again in 2012, that gets blamed on ''weather.'' But when it makes an up-tick like 2013 '-- recovery!!!

I think I finally understand the Aunt Judy/Willard Tony approach to science. When data says we have a problem, either it's just ''natural variability,'' or the data are either faulty or fraudulent. But whenever data says we don't have a problem '-- even if it's just a single year's data '-- voila! Scientific proof.

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As Its Global Warming Narrative Unravels, The IPCC Is In Damage Control Mode - Forbes

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AQ-Inc.

Al Qaeda Opens First Official Twitter Account

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Source: WTF RLY REPORT

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 23:53

Washington Free BeaconBY Bill Gertz

An official al Qaeda website that is restricted to members of the terrorist group opened its first Twitter account this week in what U.S. officials say is an effort to resolve a major split over Syria's Islamist rebels.

The Shamukh al-Islam website, used as an official clearing house for al Qaeda members to communicate and issue propaganda statements, started its first Twitter account on Tuesday.

The first posts on the account focused on divisions between two al Qaeda rebel groups in Syria, al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The account, @shomokhalislam, issued 29 tweets, followed one account, and attracted 1,532 followers as of Friday afternoon. U.S. officials said among its followers are several high-profile digital jihadists.

Counterterrorism analysts view the new account as another indicator that terrorist groups are stepping up their use of social media over traditional Internet sites.

The official al Qaeda account also highlights the view among Islamists that Twitter is fast becoming an essential tool for online jihad, or holy war.

''We've seen terrorist groups make increasingly effective use of social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, in recent years,'' said Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism expert. ''Not only is this important for propaganda purposes but also recruitment.''

The new account also is expected to be a major intelligence target for foreign governments tracking al Qaeda through its online devotees. Unlike the closed website, Shamukh's Twitter postings and members are public.

Shamukh al Islam postings that were made public on other jihadist websites have been important indicators of al Qaeda activity. The site is considered one of two official media outlets for al Qaeda central, the Islamist terror group now led by Ayman al Zawahiri.

The emergence of the new Twitter account comes as jihadists are facing a major split, both online and on the ground, over divisions between al Nusra and ISIL, according to officials.

The Arabic-language account initial tweets included statements that decried the split between the Syrian rebel groups and promised a neutral stance '' an indication of significant divisions within al Qaeda.

Counterterrorism analysts said in the past the web forum appeared reluctant to embrace Twitter but now accepts that micro-blogging is a key element for jihadism.

The split in al Qaeda could be good news for western security services that have been battling the terror group since the 1990s.

It is hoped the divisions will render the group less effective and limit its ability to conduct deadly attacks and bombings.

However, the main benefit will be to foster ideological divisions. Al Qaeda is seeking to overthrow non-Islamist governments and replace them with those that impose strict Sharia law. The use of violence'--bombings, shootings, assassination, and other attacks'--is a hallmark of the group.

The split over Syria first emerged in April when the leaders of the Iraqi al Qaeda group, Islamic State of Iraq, announced its merger with al Nusra Front in Syria.

That prompted al Zawahiri to issue a statement a month later denying the merger and announcing the appointment of a mediator to try and bridge relations.

ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi then issued an audio message that rejected al Zawahiri's decree and stated that the merger would continue.

The split opened yet another front in the civil war in Syria. The battle lines now include Syrian government forces against three opposition rebel factions, al Nusra, ISIL, and the more secular but still Islamist Free Syrian Army.

A translated tweet from the new account included a reference to an earlier statement from Shamukh that stated: ''Obviously extremely serious challenges and state of dissension at this very sensitive juncture.''

Other messages noted divisions among ''brothers'' into three camps: those who are staying silent on the Syria division; those that favor al Nusra; and those supporting ISIL.

The rival al Nusra and ISIL members in the past asked online administrators to remove postings from each other's faction.

To address the problem, the administrator for the Twitter account said both it and the web site would remain neutral. Members also were warned that voicing hostility toward either al Nusra or ISIL would lead to account suspension.

It is not known why Twitter has not suspended the Shamukh account, as it did to the Somali al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab during the recent attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Twitter account also sought to promote unity between the warring factions and to provide jihadists with trusted statements and information.

Shamukh al Islam is one of two official al Qaeda web sites that are closed to non-members. The second is Al Fida. Another unofficial al Qaeda-related website is Ansar al-Mujahidin, which has been shut down since July. It was among the first al Qaeda sites to open a Twitter account last year.

Poole, the counterterrorism expert, said the recent Al Shabaab terrorist attack in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, involved the use of Twitter as part of an overall attack strategy. The group used Twitter to provide live updates and the four-day attack progressed in what Poole said was a relatively advanced psychological warfare operation.

''We've also seen divisions within these groups played out in social media, the most obvious example being the criticism on Twitter and YouTube directed at Al Shabaab leaders by former member American jihadi Omar Hammami, who had helped them develop their social media presence,'' he said.

Al Shabaab then used Twitter to admonish Hammami and challenge his views, Poole said. Hammami's online criticism was viewed as so serious a threat that he was pursued and reportedly killed in a gun battle with Al Shabaab within the past few weeks.

Aaron Y. Zelin, a counterterrorism analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, stated in a report published earlier this year that while jihadist are attracted to Twitter and Facebook, most favor approved online forums.

During two recent apparent cyber attacks on the Shamukh website, many jihadists opened Twitter accounts and Facebook pages to communicate, he said.

''Both of these forum takedowns'--in March and April, as well as in December and January'--exposed the limits of al Qaeda's official online media procedures, which are headed by its distribution network al Fajr Media,'' Zelin stated.

''Al-Fajr is responsible for coordinating between al-Qaeda Central (AQC), its affiliates' media outlets (As-Sahab Media for AQC, al-Malahim for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Furqan for al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and al-Andalus for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)), and the forum administrators.''

While the websites were blacked out, likely the result of an intelligence service cyber strike, al Fajr was unable to send official content to al Qaeda affiliates.

''If the dissemination of official releases is no longer to be done centrally, it has the potential to make the forums obsolete and usher in a new era whereby jihadi activists primarily rely on social media platforms to interact with one another,'' Zelin said.

Facebook use by terrorists also appears to be increasing, he said.

Via Washington Free Beacon

Al-Qaeda returns: The new face of terror | The Economist

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 14:38

A FEW months ago Barack Obama declared that al-Qaeda was ''on the path to defeat''. Its surviving members, he said, were more concerned for their own safety than with plotting attacks on the West. Terrorist attacks of the future, he claimed, would resemble those of the 1990s'--local rather than transnational and focused on ''soft targets''. His overall message was that it was time to start winding down George Bush's war against global terrorism.

Mr Obama might argue that the assault on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi by al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate, the Shabab, was just the kind of thing he was talking about: lethal, shocking, but a long way from the United States. Yet the inconvenient truth is that, in the past 18 months, despite the relentless pummelling it has received and the defeats it has suffered, al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies have staged an extraordinary comeback. The terrorist network now holds sway over more territory and is recruiting more fighters than at any time in its 25-year history (see article). Mr Obama must reconsider.

Back from the dead

It all looked different two years ago. Even before the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, al-Qaeda's central leadership, holed up near the Afghan border in Pakistan's North Waziristan, was on the ropes, hollowed out by drone attacks and able to communicate with the rest of the network only with difficulty and at great risk. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its most capable franchise as far as mounting attacks on the West is concerned, was being hit hard by drone strikes and harried by Yemeni troops. The Shabab was under similar pressure in Somalia, as Western-backed African Union forces chased them out of the main cities. Above all, the Arab spring had derailed al-Qaeda's central claim that corrupt regimes supported by the West could be overthrown only through violence.

All those gains are now in question. The Shabab is recruiting more foreign fighters than ever (some of whom appear to have been involved in the attack on the Westgate). AQAP was responsible for the panic that led to the closure of 19 American embassies across the region and a global travel alert in early August. Meanwhile al-Qaeda's core, anticipating the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan after 2014, is already moving back into the country's wild east.

Above all, the poisoning of the Arab spring has given al-Qaeda and its allies an unprecedented opening. The coup against a supposedly moderate Islamist elected government in Egypt has helped restore al-Qaeda's ideological power. Weapons have flooded out of Libya and across the region, and the civil war in Syria has revived one of the network's most violent and unruly offshoots, al-Qaeda in Iraq, now grandly renamed the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

The struggle to depose the Assad regime has acted as a magnet for thousands of would-be jihadists from all over the Muslim world and from Muslim communities in Europe and North America. The once largely moderate and secular Syrian Free Army has been progressively displaced by better-organised and better-funded jihadist groups that have direct links with al-Qaeda. Western intelligence estimates reckon such groups now represent as much as 80% of the effective rebel fighting force. Even if they fail to advance much from the territory they now hold in the north and east of the country, they might end up controlling a vast area that borders an ever more fragile-looking Iraq, where al-Qaeda is currently murdering up to 1,000 civilians a month. That is a terrifying prospect.

No more wishful thinking

How much should Western complacency be blamed for this stunning revival? Quite a bit. Mr Obama was too eager to cut and run from Iraq. He is at risk of repeating the mistake in Afghanistan. America has been over-reliant on drone strikes to ''decapitate'' al-Qaeda groups: the previous defence secretary, Leon Panetta, even foolishly talked of defeating the network by killing just 10-20 leaders in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The general perception of America's waning appetite for engagement in the Middle East, underlined by Mr Obama's reluctance to support the moderate Syrian opposition in any useful way has been damaging as well.

A second question is how much of a threat a resurgent al-Qaeda now poses to the West. The recently popular notion that, give or take the odd home-grown ''lone wolf'', today's violent jihadists are really interested only in fighting local battles now looks mistaken. Some of the foreign fighters in Syria will be killed. Others will be happy to return to a quieter life in Europe or America. But a significant proportion will take their training, experience and contacts home, keen to use all three when the call comes, as it surely will. There is little doubt too that Westerners working or living in regions where jihadism is strong will be doing so at greater risk than ever.

The final question is whether anything can be done to reverse the tide once again. The answer is surely yes. When Mr Bush declared his ''war on terror'', his aim was the removal of regimes that sponsored terrorism. Today, the emphasis should be supporting weak (and sometimes unsavoury) governments in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Niger and elsewhere that are trying to fight al-Qaeda. Even Kenya and Nigeria could do with more help. That does not mean a heavy bootprint on the ground, but assistance in intelligence, logistics and even special forces and air support. Most of all, it means more help to train local security forces, to modernise administrations and to stabilise often frail economies.

The most dismaying aspect of al-Qaeda's revival is the extent to which its pernicious ideology, now aided by the failures of the Arab spring, continues to spread through madrassas and mosques and jihadist websites and television channels. Money still flows from rich Gulf Arabs, supposedly the West's friends, to finance these activities and worse. More pressure should be brought to bear on their governments to stop this. For all the West's supposedly huge soft power, it has been feeble in its efforts to win over moderate Muslims in the most important battle of all, that of ideas.

The state of al-Qaeda: The unquenchable fire | The Economist

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 14:35

THE atrocity visited on Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre by al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate, the Shabab, was a bloody reminder that reports of the terrorist network's demise have been much exaggerated. From Somalia to Syria, al-Qaeda franchises and jihadist fellow travellers now control more territory, and can call on more fighters, than at any time since Osama bin Laden created the organisation 25 years ago.

The September 21st raid and the subsequent three-day stand-off left at least 67 people dead and nearly 200 injured (see article). The attack resembled in some ways that perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani outfit also linked to al-Qaeda, in Mumbai in 2008: non-Muslims were singled out for execution; hostages were taken to prolong the drama; well-trained fighters were able to hold off security forces for a considerable time; and, as at least six dead Britons bear witness, the killers picked a target with a Western clientele. Such attacks are easier to plan and execute than blowing up airliners and more glamorous (for the fighters involved) than suicide bombings. As a result Western intelligence agencies fear that they may become increasingly popular.

The Shabab's attack is not a sign of strength. Ousted from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, last year by a UN-backed African Union force that includes some 5,000 Kenyan troops, subject to American drone strikes from nearby Djibouti and suffering internal divisions after the decision by the group's emir, Ahmed Godane, to merge fully with al-Qaeda in 2011, the Shabab has been under severe pressure. But it has a hunkered-down resilience. The Shabab has proved impossible to dislodge from its southern Somali redoubts and has promised that the Westgate attack will be followed by others of its kind.

Life after Abbottabad

The Shabab's ability to strike back after a serious drubbing mirrors that of al-Qaeda at large. In July 2011, two months after the Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden, America's then defence secretary Leon Panetta boasted in Kabul that America was ''within reach of strategically defeating'' the network. Mr Panetta said that intelligence gathered in Abbottabad pointed to an organisation that was broke and reeling from American drone strikes. With a bit of further effort aimed at ten to 20 key leaders in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, Mr Panetta went on, ''We can really cripple al-Qaeda as a threat to this country.''

Specifically, America's leaders thought that such assassinations would leave the organisation incapable of carrying out complex plots against targets in the West. ''Lone wolf attacks'' carried out by misfits and madmen indoctrinated by al-Qaeda over the internet might continue; ''spectaculars''were increasingly beyond the beleaguered organisation's abilities.

Al-Qaeda was not only getting killed in the field. The tide of history seemed to be against it. In the first half of 2011 the Arab spring had shown that oppressive regimes that had resisted al-Qaeda, such as those of Egypt, Tunisia and the Yemen, could be removed by peaceful protests. Political parties with an Islamist agenda could contest and even win democratic elections without the West stepping in to stop them. This, many Western analysts and officials held, meant that al-Qaeda's day was done.

Two years after Mr Panetta's brave words, though, America's State Department abruptly announced that it was closing 19 diplomatic missions across the Middle East and north Africa, and a global travel alert was issued to all American citizens. In early August America's National Security Agency had intercepted communications between Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's successor as head of al-Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of its Yemen-based affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP), in which they discussed putting into action one or more terrorist operations against American interests. Mr Zawahiri recently appointed Mr Wuhayshi, once bin Laden's secretary, as general manager of al-Qaeda, putting him in overall operational command of the network.

The exposure of the plotters may have helped thwart their plans. But the seriousness with which the threat was treated casts doubt on the story of an isolated and ineffective core increasingly irrelevant to the region's broader conflicts. The central leadership has lost many people, and its ability to communicate securely with the rest of the network has been severely degraded. But Mr Zawahiri, Mr Wuhayshi and their colleagues still have substantial ideological and some practical influence over the wider movement. Mr Zawahiri does not have the charisma of bin Laden, and some intelligence sources stress the emergence of a new generation of younger jihadist leaders who pay only lip-service to his authority. But the emirs of many al-Qaeda affiliates, such as the Shabab's Mr Godane, have sworn allegiance to him.

Other jihads are available

Al-Qaeda and its fellow travellers, including militia groups under the umbrella name of Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law)in Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Mali and Egypt that both compete and co-operate with the organisation, have recovered momentum and self-confidence as the hopes invested in the Arab spring have withered. Indeed, the reverses of the Arab spring have been a boon to it.

Take Egypt. After the coup that toppled President Muhammad Morsi in July, Mr Zawahiri posted a 15-minute message on jihadist websites arguing that ''the crusaders'' in the West and their allies in the Arab world will never allow the establishment of an Islamist state. The Egyptian-born Zawahiri went on to urge ''the soldiers of the Koran to wage the battle of the Koran'' in Egypt. Al-Qaeda has always despised the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Mr Morsi is a part, but in these circumstances it is happy to make common cause. Its fighters are already allying themselves with Bedouin bandits and insurgents in the Sinai who make daily attacks on Egypt's army.

It is too soon to say how many young Egyptians will heed Mr Zawahiri's call. While violence may beget violence, there are other extremists on offer, such as Eyad Qunaibi, a Western-educated Jordanian. But at least some Islamists who would previously have rejected al-Qaeda will probably now turn to it. To see how frightening that prospect might be, look to the biggest gift the Arab spring has given al-Qaeda: the increasingly sectarian civil war in Syria.

The prospect of overthrowing Bashar Assad is catnip to jihadists; his Alawite regime is an heretical abomination to the hyper-orthodox Salafis from which al-Qaeda draws its support. Western intelligence thinks most of Syria's effective rebel militias may now be jihadist, with thousands of fighters from other Muslim countries and hundreds from Europe, especially Britain, France and the Netherlands.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), formerly al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), has recently pushed into eastern Syria from Iraq, following a resurgence there that is part of the more general pattern of ineradicability. After 2008 the ''Anbar Awakening'' of tribal leaders and the ''surge'' strategy led by General David Petraeus seemed to have defeated the spectacularly bloody AQI insurgency instigated by the psychotic Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But in the past 18 months, under its new emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS has brought veteran fighters back into the field through daring jailbreaks and has more than tripled the rate of its attacks against government targets and the majority Shia community. According to Iraq Body Count, an independent monitoring service, nearly a thousand civilians were killed in July, in August and in September to date (see chart).

Al-Qaeda wants to bring Iraq, Syria and Lebanon together into a single ''caliphate'', and ISIS uses foreign fighters drawn to Syria on both sides of the porous border with Iraq. It has also tried to merge with Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), one of the most militarily formidable rebel militias (and the one with which Mr Qunaibi is associated). In April Mr Baghdadi issued an audio message claiming that JAN was an al-Qaeda funded and trained entity'--which is true'--and that it would be absorbed into the Iraqi group under his command. Mr Baghdadi claimed that JAN's leader, Abu Muhammad al-Golani, was one his deputies.

Mr Golani has appeared less keen on a full merger; as was the case with the Shabab in Somalia, not everyone in JAN welcomes closer association with al-Qaeda. The prospect may encourage some JAN fighters, particularly native Syrians, to shift to Ahrar al-Sham, a considerably larger and marginally more moderate Salafi militia. Mr Golani claimed in June that Mr Zawahiri wanted JAN to retain a degree of autonomy. Mr Zawahiri may be worried about the foreigners, usually the most extreme of the extreme, gravitating to ISIS. As AQI showed, some levels of excess will alienate al-Qaeda's broader constituency.

Spring has sprung

On September 25th JAN and a dozen other militias announced their split from the Western-backed leadership of the Syrian opposition; they made no mention, though, of including ISIS in their new grouping. Al-Qaeda in Syria is thus split, with Mr Baghdadi or Mr Golani, or possibly both, showing less allegiance than the core would wish. At the same time it is killing its enemies and recruiting fighters on a grand scale; and having recently taken Azaz in northern Syria from other rebels, ISIS now sits on a NATO border.

For the time being, ISIS and JAN are focused entirely on the would-be caliphate of the Levant. Most of the network's affiliates are similarly engaged in regional struggles, the most extensive being that of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the north African branch. AQIM is seeking to make use of Libya's post-revolutionary chaos, and weapons from Muammar Qaddafi's former arsenal, to create an ''arc of instability'' across the Sahara and the Sahel. It provides help and advice to jihadist organisations from Boko Haram in Nigeria to the Shabab in Somalia.

In 2012 AQIM commanders allied to an indigenous insurgent group, Ansar Eddine, took control of the northern half of Mali. They ruthlessly implemented sharia law and picked an unnecessary fight with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a grouping of rebel Tuaregs. Their Algeria-based emir, Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, feared that this would result in a backlash among the local population and reprisals from overseas. He was right; a French-led coalition took back the north earlier this year. But AQIM still has bases in northern Niger and southern Libya. And since the Ansar al-Sharia attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others a year ago, some of the more violent Libyan militias have been drifting under its sway. A Libyan intelligence official reportedly likened it to ''a swarm of bees'' finding their way to a new queen.

While AQIM is committed to carrying out attacks against France and Spain, it has not yet acted outside its home region. This is true of most of al-Qaeda's current affiliates and fellow travellers; they are focused for now on ''the near enemy'', not ''the far enemy''. The exception is AQAP, which intelligence sources see as the only affiliate that currently has both the intent and the capability to carry out sophisticated operations against the West.

An intense drone campaign has killed several of AQAP's senior leaders; its second-in-command, Said al-Shihri, died on July 16th. Yemeni government operations have driven it out of some of the southern tribal areas it overran in 2011. But it has lost none of its ambition. According to Daniel Green of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, AQAP still has a ''pervasive infrastructure'' in Yemen. It is reconstituting its forces by retreating to parts of the interior it sees as safe; it has killed over 90 Yemeni officials and tribal leaders since 2012. It is expanding its criminal fund-raising activities and has made incursions into several governorates in which it had not previously operated to show its strength.

Given the fragility of the new Yemeni government of Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi, an army that is split into factions and fears that civilian casualties in drone strikes are driving the local population into the arms of the jihadists, AQAP looks able to maintain its special place in al-Qaeda. It is close to rich Gulf sheikhs with Salafi sympathies who are happy to back it. It still attracts sophisticated operatives such as Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi bomb-maker who was behind the 2010 plot to put bombs disguised as printer cartridges on planes headed for Chicago. Reports that Mr Asiri, dubbed by intelligence agencies the world's most dangerous terrorist, was wounded in a drone attack in August have not been confirmed.

Despite attempts by Western intelligence agencies to close it down, AQAP also continues to produce an online magazine, Inspire, that was started by Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both killed in a drone strike two years ago. Awlaki, a charismatic propagandist and, like Khan, an American citizen, was determined to recruit Muslims in the West to al-Qaeda's cause. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had studied in London and tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day 2009, was radicalised by Awlaki. So was Nidal Hasan, the army psychiatrist who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.

The same pattern of retreat followed by recovery seen in Yemen and Iraq'--and which may yet be seen in northern Mali, where Mr Wadoud has plans for a return less alienating to locals'--could also apply to the al-Qaeda core group in Pakistan. Bruce Riedel, who has advised four presidents and is now at the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC, recently warned that al-Qaeda in Pakistan remains embedded in a network of local support groups from the Taliban to Lashkar-e-Taiba. After the departure of NATO combat forces in 2014 it may be able to regenerate itself, rather as ISIS did in Iraq.

As well as its bases in North Waziristan, al-Qaeda already has relatively safe havens on the other side of the border with Afghanistan. Thomas Sanderson of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, also in Washington, says al-Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan are weaving a narrative that equates America's post-2014 withdrawal with the mujahideen defeat of the Soviet Union, another superpower with feet of clay, 25 years earlier.

Mr Zawahiri may not see out the next couple of years; America will probably still have drones in the region after 2014, even if the intelligence that guides them will no longer be as good as it has been. If he does survive, many doubt that he can restore the central leadership's grip on al-Qaeda's affiliates to what it once was. What is surprising is that he may well have the opportunity.

The base of the pillar

In May this year, Barack Obama declared that core al-Qaeda was ''on the path to defeat'' and ''their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us''. The ability of al-Qaeda to strike targets in the West is undoubtedly much less than it once was, as is the life expectancy of any given leadership cohort. But that is not the whole story. As one counter-terrorism intelligence source recently observed: ''Tactically, we may have defeated the central leadership, but strategically, they are winning.''

While attacks on the far enemy are important both as a deterrent and as a source of jihadist inspiration, they are not al-Qaeda's main purpose. Its overriding aim remains, as it has been since bin Laden saw the retreat of the Soviet Union, the creation of a new caliphate across the Islamic world based on unswerving adherence to sharia law. That requires the corrupting influence of the ''Zionist-Crusader alliance'' in the region to be extirpated and all apostate Muslim governments removed.

Seen from that point of view, things are not going badly. Al-Qaeda believes America is in retreat not just in Afghanistan but also across the Middle East. The poisoning of the Arab spring has given it new purpose and ideological momentum. Al-Qaeda itself may be divided and in some places depleted. It may be shunned by some with similar ideologies, and its affiliates may increasingly ignore its ageing leadership. But the Salafi jihadist view of the world that al-Qaeda promotes and fights for has never had greater traction.

Eric Holder: ''I don't think Al Shabab Could Pull Off A Terrorist Attack In America''

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Source: Weasel Zippers

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 02:57

Eric Holder is the stupidest man alive. WITHOUT A SINGLE DOUBT.

Via ABC News:

The nation's top law enforcement official suggested Thursday that the terrorist group believed to be behind the recent attack in East Africa could not pull off a similar strike inside the U.S. homeland.

Five days after terrorists launched a deadly assault inside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. intelligence community still has not seen ''any specific, credible evidence'' that al Shabab, an Al Qaeda off-shoot based in Somalia, is planning to do anything in the U.S.

''I'm not sure they have the capacity to do anything in the United States,'' Holder added. ''It doesn't mean, however, we will not take the threat that they pose '... as a serious one.''

Keep reading'...

Eugenics

Bill Gates interview: I have no use for money. This is God's work - Telegraph

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 15:42

''My wife and I had a long dialogue about how we were going to take the wealth that we're lucky enough to have and give it back in a way that's most impactful to the world,'' he says. ''Both of us worked at Microsoft and saw that if you take innovation and smart people, the ability to measure what's working, that you can pull together some pretty dramatic things.

''We're focused on the help of the poorest in the world, which really drives you into vaccination. You can actually take a disease and get rid of it altogether, like we are doing with polio.''

This has been done only once before in humans, with the eradication of smallpox in the 1970s.

''Polio's pretty special because once you get an eradication you no longer have to spend money on it; it's just there as a gift for the rest of time.''

One can see why that appeals to Gates. He has always sought neat, definitive solutions to things, but as he knows from Microsoft, bugs are resilient things. The disease is still endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and killing it off altogether has been likened to squeezing jelly to death. There is another, sinister obstacle: the propagation by Islamist groups of the belief that polio vaccination is a front for covert sterilisation and other western evils. Health workers in Pakistan have paid with their lives for involvement in the programme.

''It's not going to stop us succeeding,'' says Gates. ''It does force us to sit down with the Pakistan government to renew their commitments, see what they're going to do in security and make changes to protect the women who are doing God's work and getting out to these children and delivering the vaccine.''

Gates does not usually speak in religious terms, and has traditionally danced around the issue of God. His wife, a Roman Catholic, is less defensive on that topic but ploughs her own furrow, encouraging contraception when necessary, in contradiction to teaching from Rome.

''Melinda and I had been talking about this even before we were married,'' he says. ''When I was in my 40s Microsoft was my primary activity. The big switch for me was when I decided to make the foundation my primary purpose. It was a big change, although there are more in common with the two things than you might think '' meeting with scientists, taking on tough challenges, people being sceptical that you can get things done.''

Gates is still chairman of Microsoft but without his day-to-day attention it has taken on the appearance of a weary giant, trailing Apple and Google in innovation. Some have called for Gates's return to the company full-time to inject some verve but he isn't coming back.

''My full-time work for the rest of my life will be at the foundation,'' he says. ''I still work part-time for Microsoft. I've had two careers and I'm lucky that both of them have been quite amazing.

''I loved my Microsoft: it prepared me for what I'm doing now. In the same way that I got to see the PC and internet revolutions, now I see child death rates coming down. I work very long hours and try to learn as much as I can about these things, but that's because I enjoy it.''

He emphasises that the foundation's effort is part of a global campaign in which governments must play the lead role.

''The scale of the (foundation's) wealth compared to government budgets is actually not that large, and compared to the scale of some of these problems. But I do feel lucky that substantial resources are going back to make the world a more habitable place.''

In 1990 some 12'‰million children under the age of five died. The figure today is about seven million, or 19,000 per day. According to the United Nations, the leading causes of death are pneumonia (18 per cent), pre-birth complications (14 per cent), diarrhoea (11 per cent), complications during birth (nine per cent) and malaria (seven per cent). For Gates, though, polio is a totem. The abolition of the disease will be a headline-grabber, spurring countries on to greater efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will spend $1.8'‰billion in the next six years to accomplish that goal, almost a third of the global effort.

''All you need is over 90 per cent of children to have the vaccine drop three times and the disease stops spreading. The number of cases eventually goes to zero. When we started, we had over 400,000 children a year being paralysed and we are now down to under 1,000 cases a year. The great thing about finishing polio is that we'll have resources to get going on malaria and measles.''

Gates is no saint. He could be an intimidating boss at Microsoft and his company became notorious for using its clout to reinforce its dominance in the market place, at the expense of smaller rivals. Still, he and his wife are showing generosity on a staggering scale, a counterblast to the endemic greed of the Nineties and early Noughties, and they have convinced others that mega-philanthropy is the way of the future. That wily investor, Warren Buffett, has so far given away $17.5'‰billion via the Gates Foundation.

The children of Bill and Melinda Gates will never know poverty. They may not become multibillionaires but even the loss to charity of the vast bulk of their parents' fortune should leave them with a billion or so each.

Gates explains: ''The vast majority of the wealth, over 95 per cent, goes to the foundation, which will spend all that money within 20 years after neither of us are around any more.''

So, is it about some new-found faith, all this giving?

''It doesn't relate to any particular religion; it's about human dignity and equality,'' he says. ''The golden rule that all lives have equal value and we should treat people as we would like to be treated.''

The 37th Dimbleby Lecture will be broadcast on BBC One on Jan 29

NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. Bill Moyers Interviews Bill Gates. 5.09.03 | PBS

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:07

MOYERS: When I first heard that you were going to give away billions of dollars to, global health I was skeptical. I mean, no one can doubt that you know everything there is to know about information technology, but global health? And I thought, here's a man surrounded by power and privilege whose every need and every comfort are met. How could he possibly see the world through the eyes of an impoverished woman with HIV in India or a hungry, starving child in Mozambique? How could he possibly get inside of their way of seeing the world so that what he did wasn't just a rich man's hobby?GATES: Certainly I'll never be able to put myself in the situation that people growing up in the less developed countries are in. I've gotten a bit of a sense of it by being out there and meeting people and talking with them. And one of the gentlemen I met with AIDS talked about how he'd been kicked out of where he'd lived and how he felt awful he'd given it to his wife and their struggle to make sure their child didn't have it, and the whole stigma thing, which, you know, that's hard to appreciate. In this country when you get sick people generally reach out, you know, that's the time to help other people and yet some of these diseases it's quite the opposite.

So what I was thinking about was where my resources that I'm the steward of be able to make an impact, I thought "okay, what's the greatest inequity left?" And to me, and the more I learned about health and the unbelievable inequity, it kind of stunned me, it shocked me, every step of the way.

MOYERS: You could have chosen any field, any subject, any issue and poured billions into it and been celebrated. How did you come to this one? To global health?

GATES: The two areas that are changing in this amazing way are information technology and medical technology. Those are the things that the world will be very different 20 years from now than it is today.

I'm so excited about those advances. And they actually feed off of each other. The medical world uses the information tools to do their work. And so when you have those advances you think will they be available to everyone. Will they not just be for the rich world or even just the rich people and the rich world? Will they be for the world at large?

The one issue that really grabbed me as urgent were issues related to population'... reproductive health.

And maybe the most interesting thing I learned is this thing that's still surprising when I tell other people which is that, as you improve health in a society, population growth goes down.

You know I thought it was'...before I learned about it, I thought it was paradoxical. Well if you improve health, aren't you just dooming people to deal with such a lack of resources where they won't be educated or they won't have enough food? You know, sort of a Malthusian view of what would take place.

And the fact that health leads parents to decide, "okay, we don't need to have as many children because the chance of having the less children being able to survive to be adults and take care of us, means we don't have to have 7 or 8 children." Now that was amazing.

MOYERS: But did you come to reproductive issues as an intellectual, philosophical pursuit? Or was there something that happened? Did come up on'... was there a revelation?

GATES: When I was growing up, my parents were almost involved in various volunteer things. My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that. And so it's fascinating. At the dinner table my parents are very good at sharing the things that they were doing. And almost treating us like adults, talking about that.

My mom was on the United Way group that decides how to allocate the money and looks at all the different charities and makes the very hard decisions about where that pool of funds is going to go. So I always knew there was something about really educating people and giving them choices in terms of family size.

GATES: I have to say I got off the track when I started Microsoft, I thought okay now I have my, you know, my passion. At least for the next 40 years or so. And when my mom said to me, "oh you have to do a United Way campaign," I said to my mom, "mom this is serious stuff now. That was all nice to talk about but you know I've got to pay these people and if we don't get enough contracts. And this is a very competitive environment. And so this whole notion that we're gonna sit around and drink tea and do United Way campaigns, I don't think we have time for that."

But she kept working on me and saying, "no, this is a good thing." And had me meet with other people.

So finally I thought, "okay I'll fit it into my framework" which is getting the employees to kind of feel more bonded, more of a team. You know, and appreciate the unique position they're in. And so we made a United Way Fund. We had contests around it. We had the agencies come in.

But a little bit I have drifted away from thinking about these philanthropic things. And it was only as the wealth got large enough and Melinda and I had talked about the view that that wealth wasn't something that would be good to just pass to the children.

Because in a wealth of any kind of magnitude like that, it's actually more '-- haven't asked tem their opinion yet '-- but more of a handicap than it is of a benefit. So you know once you decide that over 95 percent of it's going back to society, then you do start talking about where it will go.

And so Melinda and I were having those conversations. But we only had one or two projects that we thought we'd get into early. We thought, okay, this is mostly for many decades from now.

MOYERS: You were clearly competent at making money. Did you doubt your competence in giving it away?

GATES: I actually thought that it would be a little confusing during the same period of your life to be in one meeting when you're trying to make money, and then go to another meeting where you're giving it away. I mean is it gonna erode your ability, you know, to make money? Are you gonna somehow get confused about what you're trying to do?

MOYERS: It's a nice confusion. It's a very nice confusion.

GATES: So, you know, I didn't want to mix those two things together. The big milestone event for me though was'... a report was done, it's called "The World Development Report 1993" that talked about these diseases. And I remember seeing the article and it showed that Rotavirus over a half million children per year. And I said to myself, that can't be true.

You know after all, the newspaper, whenever there's a plane crashing and 100 people die, they always report that. How can it be that this disease is killing a half million a year? I've never seen an article about it until now. And it wasn't even an article about that. It was just a graph that had you know these 12 diseases that kill, most of which I had never heard of.

And so I thought, this is bizarre. Why isn't it being covered? You know, and there's a mother and a father behind every one of these deaths that are dealing with that tragedy.

And so then I got drawn in a little bit.

And there was one dinner after we'd given our first vaccination grant. I think it was 125 million. All these doctors came. And they're'... they thought, "okay, this is a dinner where I'm supposed to just say thank you, thank you. And you know try not to use the wrong fork or something."

So they're there, and you know it's a nice dinner. But after about 15 minutes I say to them, "yeah. Well, it's okay. You've thanked me enough. But what would you do if you had more money?" And they're all kind of like, "well, does he really mean that? Is he serious?"

I said "yeah, what if you had, you know, ten times as much money. What would you do?" And then the guy who's worked his whole life on Hepatitis B speaks up and the guy who's working on AIDS speaks up, and the guy who's working on Immucocal speaks up.

And so it started opening the door to saying, you know, it's sort of a 'bad news' story in that governments are not giving the money, they're treating human life as being worth a few hundred dollars in the world at large. And that's, you know, in almost a factor of a thousand difference between how it's treated in the rich world versus in the rest of the world.

MOYERS: Oscar Wilde once said, "it's the mark of a truly educated man," and I'm sure he would today say woman, "it's the mark of a truly educated man to be deeply moved by statistics." What is that capacity that enables someone to transform a fact or figure on a page to a human being a long way off?

GATES: I think there is a general difficulty of looking at a number and having it have the same impact as meeting a person. I mean if we said right now, there's somebody in the next room who's dying, let's all go save their life. You know, everybody would just get up immediately and go get involved in that.

When my daughter whose 7 saw this video, you know, showing the kid who's got difficulty walking because of polio, her reaction was: "Who is that? Where are they? Let's go help them. Let's go meet that kid. What if he gets polio in his other leg?"

You know, so she's immediately drawn into that human on the screen.

It's a lot easier to connect to the story of the one person or the five people. It now, you know, because I'm mathematically literate, you know I know that when there's 3 million kids every year dying of things that are completely preventable with the technology we have today. You know I can try and magnify how I feel about that one situation by a factor of 3 million. It's tough. But at least you know it's super important.

MOYERS: What does it say to you that half of all 15 year olds in South Africa and Zimbabwe could lose their lives to AIDS? What does it say to you that 11 million children, roughly, die every year from preventable diseases?

What does it say to you that of the 4 million babies who die within their first month, 98 percent are from poor countries? What do those statistics tell you about the world?

GATES: It really is a failure of capitalism. You know capitalism is this wonderful thing that motivates people, it causes wonderful inventions to be done. But in this area of diseases of the world at large, it's really let us down.

MOYERS: But markets are supposed to deliver goods and services to people.

GATES: And when people have money it does. You know when our foundation is not involved in the diseases of the rich world. Not, you know, those are very important, but the market is working there. Between the basic research that the government funds, through NIH. The bio-tech companies. The pharmaceutical companies. You know incredible things will happen with cancer and heart disease over these next 20 or 30 years. Because that's a case where capitalism is at work.

MOYERS: There's a profit in it. There's a profit in it.

GATES: Right. Here what we have is, with the plural disease, not only don't the people with money have the disease, but they don't see the people who have the disease. If we took the world and we just re-assorted each neighborhood to be randomly mixed up, then this whole thing could get solve.

Because you'd look out your window and you'd say, you know there's mother over there whose child is dying. You know let's go help that person. This problem, the lack of visibility, it's partly you don't read about it, you don't see it. It's the silence that's allowing this to happen.

MOYERS: Was there an "Aha!" moment? Was there a moment of eureka when you realized what you're just saying and said, "this is where we're gonna put our billions"?

GATES: I know when I saw that article on the World Development Report, I said, this can't be true, but if it is true, this deserves to be the priority of our giving. And so I took the article and Melinda read it. I gave it to my dad and said, you know can you have the people you're working with, tell me is this some aberration here? Or if this is true, give me more things to read.

It was a shock, but then, you know it was an answer to say that governments weren't doing it.

And so maybe we could help step in. And maybe not just our resources, but maybe we could galvanize some interest and attention and IQ to go and look at these problems and think you know if I have the technology that can you know stop mosquitoes from carrying these diseases. Or allow vaccines to be delivered without a refrigerator, you know I have saved millions of lives by coming up with those ideas.

MOYERS: I talked on Saturday to one of the leading public health officials in the world. One of the pioneers in this field. And he said you once asked him for a list of books. And he provided you with a list of books. And the next time he had seen you just a few months later, you'd read 17 of them. I mean do you ever read anything for fun? Do you ever read your e-mails?

GATES: There was about six months where I was carrying around about 10 issues of The Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. And people would see that on my desk at work and what the heck? You're reading The Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. You know I'd say to them, yes, use this one from the 1980s when AIDS came out. This is a real collector's item here.

Actually it's taken a lot of different books to get you know the different perspectives and try and understand what could be done.

MOYERS: It's one thing to read a book, it's one thing to read the statistic, one thing to read a graph, it's another thing to read a human being's face. Did you go into the field?

GATES: Yes. And it's awkward. I'm not you know particularly good at this. Maybe I'll never be good at it. But to walk around to each patient and ask you know what is your problem? And be respectful of, you know, their desire for privacy.

But I think it is very important. If people got out like that you know these problems would get addressed.

MOYERS: There was a trip you took to Soweto in South Africa that was decisive in your thinking. Tell me about that.

GATES: Well we took a computer and we took it to this community center in Soweto. And generally there wasn't power in that community center. But they'd rigged up this thing where the-- the cord went 200 yards to this place where there was a generator. You know powered by diesel. So this computer got turned on. And when the press was there it was all working just fine.

And it-- it-- it was ludicrous, you know. It was clear to me that the priority issues for the people who lived there in that particular community were more related to health than they were to having that computer. And so there's certainly a role for getting computers out there. But when you look at the, say, the 2 billion of the 6 billion the planet who are living on the least income. You know they deserve a chance. And that chance can only be given by improving the health conditions.

GATES: the thing that's so stark is that you're in Johannesburg which is sort of a first world location. And you're talking with banks about their software and you know it's, if you like, it's not that much different than being in the United States.

And then you drive about 5 miles and you're in one of the most poor areas you've ever been in. You know those houses that are built out of the corrugated iron which you know and the heat is just unbearable.

It's very jarring to go from this experience in the city and to this other experience and have them be so close together. You think well how come it's so different in such a small distance?

MOYERS: What is your answer to how it is that the resources of the world are so misallocated?

GATES: It's a mistake.

MOYERS: But somebody has to make a mistake. Who makes it?

GATES: I think we make it every day by thinking that national borders are you know allow huge inequities to exist across those borders.

And I do think this next century, hopefully, will be about a more global view. Where you don't just think, yes my country is doing well. But you think about the world at large. There is one excuse that people have for not paying attention to this. It's not a valid excuse but.

And that is that things have been improving despite the research money not being in place applied the right way. Infant mortality or life expectancy, even in the countries in the worst situation, infant mortality is lower today than it was in the best country 120 years ago.

Now there are things that come along like the AIDS epidemic that send it in the other direction. And we shouldn't be willing to wait you know and have it take 50 or 100 years for these medicines, the new vaccines, that kind of treatment, to be wide-spread.

MOYERS: Have you made any progress on safe birth reproductive family planning issues?

GATES: Yes. There's a measurable impact when you can go in and educate families, but primarily women, about their different choices.

There's real impact that you can have in this area. Anything to do with reproductive health. Whether it's maternal mortality, infant mortality, there's new ideas. There's more people getting involved.

MOYERS: One of my colleagues accompanied your father and Jimmy Carter when they went to Africa not long ago. The footage was striking. There was your father and Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States sitting on the doorstep talking about condoms as if you were talking about computers. Are you comfortable dealing that openly with people's habits? People's behavior?

GATES: Well, it's interesting. The AIDS is a disease that is hard to talk about.

MOYERS: That visit that my dad did, the Health Minister had never been in that neighborhood. And so they invited him to come. And people didn't think he would. But he actually did come and then got involved and said, okay, we're gonna do free condom distribution to this neighborhood because of the impact that that can have.

MOYERS: Someone told me, actually a couple of weeks ago that, we'd actually be better off if you'd spend more money on distributing condoms than on this research on AIDS at the moment. That it's the immediate need that people have to you know about their behavior that is the biggest problem the world faces with AIDS. What do you think about that?

GATES: The ideal thing would be to have a 100 percent effective AIDS vaccine. And to have broad usage of that vaccine. That would literally break the epidemic. Because that it's not known how long that'll take, and the best case is probably in a 10 to 15 year timeframe, we also have to put huge energy into treatment of the people who have it today.

We've got to put a lot of money into changing behavior. Which we've funded a number of things in that. And there's even an intermediate intervention that we think is very important, which is a microbicide.

MOYERS: A what?

GATES: A macrobicide.

MOYERS: What is that?

GATES: Okay that's a gel that a woman could use to block sexual transmission without the male even knowing that it's being used, ideally.

MOYERS: That requires a great discipline of passion and the question that arises you know how to motivate your Microsoft employees. You know how to affect their behavior by the rewards that you hold out. How does the world affect the behavior of people at a sexual level?

GATES: It's a bit'... that's a very tough problem. It's particularly tough if political leaders aren't willing to speak out. You know there's been really just a few countries where the politicians said, this is so important for the welfare of our citizens. And even though it involves you know drug use, and sex workers. They were gonna get up and say that it was a crisis for the country. That happened in Thailand.

MOYERS: Right.

GATES: That's the only country that really caught the potential epidemic at the early stage. It happened in Uganda but it happened after the disease had already progressed to about a 20 percent prevalence.

It's not happening to the degree it should in other countries. And anyone who thinks it's confined to Africa is gonna get quite a wake-up call that already in India there's been five and 10 million people who have AIDS. And it's only a question of how many tens of millions or you know perhaps more than 100 million people in India who will get this disease.

And yet, intervening early, is when you can the biggest effect.

MOYERS: I interviewed Dr. David Ho a couple of weeks ago. He's made the great research breakthrough '-- TIME's Man of the Year for it. He's now worried about China, where his forbearers came from.

GATES: I was in China just two weeks ago talking to the Health Minister and talking to Jiang Zemin about raising the profile there.

And they have '-- for their level of income '-- quite a strong health system. And quite, you know, a willingness to say, okay, if this is about sex workers we'll go in and we'll register the sex workers. And we're gonna make sure that certain behavioral changes are taking place, like Thailand did.

And so I think the right thing will happen there. They will need international support. They'll need more encouragement to make sure it gets done.

MOYERS: What do you think about the Bush's administration retreat from women's health issues, reproductive rights around the world. Not only their retreat from it, but their outright opposition and their effort to impede it?

GATES: We've got to make sure that that money really gets allocated. And we've got to make sure it gets used effectively.

MOYERS: But they're not supporting contraception. They're not supporting condom distribution. They're not supporting safe sex.

GATES: Part of the problem is that the citizenry doesn't speak up enough and make it a big issue.

MOYERS: You know mean make global health a grassroots issue?

GATES: That's right. And yet if you grab somebody and say, do you care about this thing'...

MOYERS: Yeah.

GATES: You can engage them very quickly. But it's not on the agenda.

MOYERS: How do we do that?

GATES: And so well, I'm thinking a lot about that. I'm interested in any ideas. Because this is about human welfare. You know, how we deal with the AIDS epidemic should be one of the greatest ways that the world gets measured. The report card for this era these next few decades.

A big part of that grade should be, did we apply all of the world's resources and activities and visibility against the AIDS crisis. And yet, to the average voter, you know, it's not on the radar screen. There's only about $6 a year given to world health issues by the U.S. and we're quite a legged in our giving.

We have to go out and regalvanize people that the role of the United States is not just what we do in the area of security, it's also sharing our advances and our resources. And if somebody wants to think about the chance of terrorism in the decades ahead, I think this issue of how young people outside the U.S. think of our country; what is the role of the U.S. in terms of creating opportunity for them?

And if we don't step up to these health issues, you know we're really not answering that critical issue.

MOYERS: What would you like the average American to know about global health?

GATES: I think understanding the basic facts about the AIDS epidemic is important. I think knowing how little resources are going into these things. Knowing that this is not a case of government waste. I mean there's this notion of government spending in general and foreign aid that often ends up in some dictators bank account.

In the area of world health, we're actually coming into the country with vaccines. And you're working at the village level to measure coverage there. There we can be very effective. This is not money that 20 years from now we're gonna wake up and say, how was that money spent? We'll know how it was spent because we look at the stopping the disease progression.

And so it is a special thing that the cynicism about government spending should be suspended here because it can be handled in the right way.

MOYERS: In this country we have eliminated diphtheria and whooping cough. All of those childhood diseases that were still prevalent when I was a kid years ago. The vaccines exist but we do not get them to the people whose lives'... the children whose lives would be saved right now if they had it. Why don't they get to the people, the kids who need them?

GATES: Well the biggest single initiative we've done is the vaccine fund. And that was 750 million to galvanize the world to say, okay let's enter a new phase where we raise vaccination coverage from the little bit less than 70 percent it is today. And we get the new vaccines in there.

You know the Hepatitis B, the pneumococcal, there's about four that we have here in the U.S., that are not being given worldwide.

The total cost of getting vaccines, a package to a child, is about $30. And even if we add in the new vaccines, we'd still be at less than $50 of cost for this delivery. And so that money which was supplemented to some degree by governments and others but not as much as we had hoped is very directly related to this vaccination coverage.

MOYERS: What do you think are the major diseases that we're gonna have to deal with in the next 25 years?

GATES: Well top of the list is certainly AIDS. It's very epidemic. And I don't think AIDS even recognized how bad the epidemic could become.

If you were gonna design a bad disease you probably couldn't do something worse than AIDS. The latency, the fact that you're infected and you don't actually see the health effects till six to eight years later, that causes people not to understand what's going on.

You know take something like smoking: say that instead of dying 30 years later of cancer, that instead you smoked and you just dropped dead right then. You know people would get the connection. Oh. He smoked. He died. That's not good. Let's not smoke anymore.

Well AIDS is like that, where you just don't see the impact on a society. You know if people, someone visiting a sex worker walked out and they just fell on the street, you know there would be a pile of bodies there and you'd say, okay something's going on here.

The fact that there's these little epidemics of hemorrhagic fevers, they get incredible publicity. Ebola, Marburg, Lassa. You know and it's literally in the hundreds of people. But because it's all of a sudden that they die, that gets more visibility almost than AIDS gets.

GATES: You know plane crashes in India and the same day the plane crashed 8,000 kids died of things that could have been prevented. Which gets the coverage? Well, you don't expect coverage every day, but maybe at least once a month they ought to just say, by the way, every day this month, we don't want you to forget, just two paragraphs you know. 8,000 people are dying every day. And we'll let you know when it changes, but so far it's been that case for a long, long time.

MOYERS: Isn't it true that in Africa more children die of respiratory illness than people die of AIDS?

GATES: Because of this latency, 5 million people were infected this year. And so AIDS will be #1 in terms of the cause of death. Infant mortality is still higher, and the biggest piece of infant mortality is acute respiratory infection.

MOYERS: Yeah.

GATES: Generally pneumonia-related diseases. And so they both should be dealt with. In fact there are vaccines although they're still very expensive, that can deal with the respiratory problems of infants.

MOYERS: Are you looking for a vaccine for malaria? Because malaria kills a lot of people.

GATES: Yeah. In terms of what's #2, you'd probably put malaria. Malaria not only kills a million people a year, but at any time there's 300 million people who are being debilitated by the disease.

And if you took the top 10 diseases that are really troublesome in Africa, a lot of them you wouldn't know the names of. I mean you know Lice Maniasis, Sisto-Somaisis. Even something like trachoma that wouldn't make the top 20.

MOYERS: Trachoma is?

GATES: It's'... you get an infection in your eye and you start itching and it's the leading cause of preventable blindness. Because eventually you itch and your eye turns in and you lose your sight. And yet you know Zithromax is this anti-biotic that if you give it-- actually can prevent the disease. And if you get enough people taking it then you stop the spread of that disease. And yet it doesn't'... it wouldn't make the top 20'...

MOYERS: Can you think we will find a vaccine for malaria? Some people say it's impossible. It's such a complex disease.

GATES: No doubt. First of all, I'm an optimist, so'... I should explain that. But there is'...with malaria, there is innate immunity. That is if you get the disease, you are'... it's very'... except for different strains, you don't get it again. And so the immune system clearly does recognize something in the course of that disease.

And so all we have to do is take the sequencing information and try and find out what that is. You know I'd say quite certainly within the next 20 years and ideally in the next 10 we'll have a good vaccine for malaria.

MOYERS: In business, the market kicks you in the pants if you make a mistake. In philanthropy, some of your mistakes are celebrated because you gave the money and nobody ever came back to ask what happened?

GATES: We have to be really brutal with ourselves on this. We will make mistakes.

But then again, you've got to take risks. I mean that's one of the things a philanthropist can do that governments aren't as well suited to do. A politician doesn't want to allocated money if it's a one out of three chance of doing something really good, because, you know, then two out of three they'll have to stand up and say it was a waste.

Whereas a philanthropist can say, "Okay. But we will take that risk." Because the payoff would be there. And, you know, we're'... I'm not gonna get voted out of office if in fact it's a dead end.

So we should be doing the things that the normal approaches can't do, whether it's approaches to the AIDS vaccine or malaria or delivery systems. We've got to be out there and accept some kind of failure rate.

MOYERS: Is the basic problem that we don't have enough knowledge to solve global health issues?

Or is it poverty? I mean if I'm forced to live on $1 a year, I'm not gonna be able to afford any medical care'... I mean $1 a day. I'm not gonna be able to afford an aspirin. I'm not gonna be able to afford to make that trip to that clinic.

Your children, my children, my grandchildren. We can afford, they can afford decent medical care. Isn't poverty the real issue here?

GATES: It shouldn't be. The benefit to the world, both on a humanitarian basis but even on a pure economic basis of dealing with these diseases is'... it's quite clear and quite positive. I actually get angry when people try and justify these health things in economic terms. You know like you'll read a paper that says, you know, "If malaria was cured, the GNP of this country would be 30 percent higher."

That gets it so backwards. I mean it's true. Statistically it's true and I suppose there're some audiences that you've got to use that argument. But the whole wealth is a tool to measure human welfare. It's just a tool that we created to help us sort of incentivize people and help get things done.

If death doesn't get reflected in GNP, then that doesn't mean it's unimportant. If the suffering in malaria doesn't get reflected in those numbers, it's still very important. So we shouldn't have to resort to these economic arguments.

Some people resort to security arguments. They say, "If we don't cure these diseases, the instability in these countries will be bad. And, you know, that could be scary." Or they resort to the, you know, "It's coming to your neighborhood argument." That, you know, somebody could get on a plane from one of these places and, you know, you might get sick. I mean don't worry about these people, but you might get sick.

And those, you know, those arguments, if they get more money for world health, then fine. I won't object. But they're wrong. The right argument is, you know, this mother's child is sick. And that child's life is no less valuable than the life of anyone else. And the world has plenty of resources to go solve these problems.

MOYERS: Let's say that everybody agreed with you. That they wanted to do the moral thing. What practically could we do? You've already admitted the market doesn't get there. It doesn't get to Uganda. It doesn't get to Nepal. It doesn't get to Mozambique. It doesn't get to places where people as you and I talk are dying from malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, all kinds of disease.

The market doesn't do it. How do we do it? Every, you know, $27 billion is a lot of money, I think. But it's a drop in the bucket compared to what you've been describing. So what do we do practically?

GATES: For the U.S. to do its fair share, we'd have to take the $6 per citizen that is spent on foreign health issues and we'd have to raise that to $30 to $40.

And if other rich countries did their part, then there would be the money to give the vaccines, to create the new vaccines. To give oral rehydration therapy. To have the education in the villages. You know then the whole picture of health would change quite dramatically.

You know public health doctors I know talk about the positive feedback loop in poor countries. If parents believe their children will get better, they save more and they reproduce less, therefore there's less money'... there's more money for other things. Do you accept that as a workable theory?

GATES: Absolutely. And that is the most amazing fact that should be widely known. You know essentially Malthus was wrong. If you raised wealth and you improve health, particularly if you educate women, then this virtuous cycle kicks in and a society not only becomes self-sustaining, but it can move up to a fully developed status.

The Club of Rome was writing about how we were basically headed towards a disaster. That the amount of food that the world would produce would be inadequate and you know that things would just get worse and worse and worse.

Well, now at least in the countries where health has taken hold, we're seeing literacy rates improve. We're seeing, you know, everything about life improve. Once you get this one thing right. And that was something that was quite a revelation to me. I, you know, I frankly thought that the Malthusian principles applied at least in the developing countries.

But because of computer technology now in medicine, advances will move at a incredible pace. The next 20 or 30 years will be the time to be in medicine. Many of the top problems, I'd say most of the top problems, we'll make huge advances against.

Just think about a kid who's curious, say, about malaria. They can go onto the Internet today and, you know, see what's going on. Try, you know, they can even see the genome if they want. They can see the papers that have been published by different labs.

So I get very excited about how the generation that's coming into health right now, the visibility, particularly of these poor world diseases, you know the information now is in their hands. And they ought to be able to do quite a bit with it.

BILL GATES' PLANNED-PARENTHOOD-PRESIDENT DAD INSPIRED PRO-ABORT FUNDING | LifeSiteNews.com

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NEW YORK, May 9, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a lengthy interview with Bill Moyers released today, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates reveals the inspiration for his funding of pro-abortion population control measures. Responding to a question by Moyers on how he came to fund ''reproductive issues'' Gates answered, ''When I was growing up, my parents were always involved in various volunteer things. My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that. And so it's fascinating. At the dinner table my parents are very good at sharing the things that they were doing. And almost treating us like adults, talking about that.''

In the interview Gates says he is moved by measurable progress and on ''safe birth reproductive family planning issues'' he says, ''There's a measurable impact when you can go in and educate families, but primarily women, about their different choices.

There's real impact that you can have in this area. Anything to do with reproductive health.''

Although prodded more than once by Moyers, Gates refused a direct attack on President Bush's pro-life measures such as promotion of abstinence prior to marriage.

He admits that he was at one time a convinced Malthusian.

''You know I thought it was.before I learned about it, I thought it was paradoxical. Well if you improve health, aren't you just dooming people to deal with such a lack of resources where they won't be educated or they won't have enough food? You know, sort of a Malthusian view of what would take place.''

However, he claims he has seen beyond Malthusian conceptions of useless eaters since, he says, he has seen that by improving health and education population decreases as parents decide to have less children. Despite all his distancing from Malthus, Gates remains steadfast to the unfounded Malthusian fear of overpopulation.

See the transcript of the interview with Gates here.

See The Quiz Gates Failed.

UN POPULATION FUND RECEIVES $57 MIL FROM GATES

GENETICS-DNA-American Eugenics Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Society for Biodemography and Social BiologyFormation1922LocationUnited StatesOfficial languages(official languages)PresidentHans-Peter KohlerWebsitehttp://www.biodemog.org

NOTE: There seems to have been much effort of this organization to distance itself from its old name, not mentioned anywhere on its current home page. The name was first changed in 1972.[1]

The society was also formerly named the Society for the Study of Social Biology.The American Eugenics Society (AES) was a society established in 1922 to promote eugenics in the United States.

It was the result of the Second International Conference on Eugenics (New York, 1921). The founders included Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Irving Fisher, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Henry Crampton. The organization started by promoting racial betterment, eugenic health, and genetic education through public lectures, exhibits at county fairs etc. Under the direction of Frederick Osborn the society started to place greater focus on issues of population control, genetics, and, later, medical genetics. Directly after Roe v. Wade was released (1972), the AES was reorganized and renamed "The Society for the Study of Social Biology." Osborn said, ''The name was changed because it became evident that changes of a eugenic nature would be made for reasons other than eugenics, and that tying a eugenic label on them would more often hinder than help their adoption. Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time." [2][3]

Prominent founders[edit]American Eugenics Society : Leon Whitney was the executive secretary

The prominent list of original founders of sponsors of The American Eugenics Society each had some direct relationship with either Wickliffe Draper of The Pioneer Fund or Andrew Preston founder of The Boston Fruit Company, later United Fruit in New Orleans, LA:

In 1930 many of the wealthiest people in the world were members of the American Eugenics Society.

It earliest members and sponsors included:

J. P. Morgan, Jr., chairman, U. S. Steel, who handled British contracts in the United States for food and munitions during World War I. Wickliffe Draper used his J. P. Morgan Trust Account to fund The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission and its activities.

Mrs. Mary Duke Biddle, tobacco fortune heiress whose family founded Duke University.

Cleveland H. and Cleveland E. Dodge and their wives, who used some of the huge fortune that Phelps Dodge & Company made on copper mines and other metals to support eugenics.

Robert Garrett, whose family had amassed a fortune through banking in Maryland and the B&O railroad, who helped finance two international eugenics congresses attended by Harry Laughlin and Wickliffe Draper.

Miss E. B. Scripps, whose wealth came the Scrips-Howard newspaper chain and from United Press (later UPI).

Dorothy H. Brush, Planned Parenthood activist, whose wealth came from Charles Francis Brush (1849''1929), who invented the arc lamp for street lights and founded the Brush Electric Company. Draper's version of Planned Parenthood was to pass the Involuntary Sterilization laws in 15 different U.S. States.

Margaret Sanger, also from Planned Parenthood, who used the wealth of one of one of her husbands, Noah Slee, to promote her work. Slee made his fortune from the familiar household product, 3-In-One Oil.

The other Finance Committee members included:

Leon F. Whitney was the Chairman. The Draper Looms in Hopedale, MA were used to spin the raw cotton harvested by the Eli Whitney cotton gins into fabrics, cloth and yarn.Frank L. Babbott, the well-known philanthropist and educator.Madison Grant, noted conservationist.Mrs. Helen Hartley Jenkins and John H. Kellogg who started the Kellogg's Cereal Company.John Kellogg and The Race Betterment FoundationKellogg was outspoken on his beliefs on race and segregation, in spite of the fact that he himself adopted a number of black children. In 1906, together with Irving Fisher and Charles Davenport, Kellogg founded the Race Betterment Foundation, which became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America. Kellogg was in favor of racial segregation and believed that immigrants and non-whites would damage the gene pool. He acted as a sort of mentor and advisor to Wickliffe Draper through his publications. Draper adopted Kellogg's recommendations and beliefs on subjects like racial segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, staunch anti-immigration attitudes and also the lifestyle choice of total sexual abstinence as a lifelong habit. Draper later died from prostate cancer. It is not known whether or not Draper was converted by Kellogg into one of the favorite Kellogg routines of taking regular yogurt enemas.

Robert Garrett was one of the primary financial sponsors of the American Eugenics Society the personal project of Wickliffe P. Draper who sponsored most of the research behind "The Bell Curve" published in 1994. Garrett also served on the Finance Committee of the International Congress of The American Eugenics Society along with Madison Grant, author of "The Passing of the Great Race." Margaret Sanger [founder of Planned Parenthood] was a member of the American Eugenics society. See documentary : MAAFA 21

The Rockefeller family embodied the body of thought of eugenics, and contributed significantly by financial contributions and by activities. Worth mentioning are involuntary sterilization programs in Puerto Rico, Brazil and California, development of contraceptive edible plants and including HCG into a widely distributed tetanus vaccine to silently create sterility for women of childbearing age in Mexico, Phillipines and Nicaragua (Engdahl, 2004).

List of presidents[edit]Irving Fisher 1922-26 (Political Economy, Yale University)Roswell H. Johnson 1926-27 (Cold Spring Harbor, Univ. of Pittsburgh)Harry H. Laughlin 1927-29 (Eugenics Record Office)C. C. Little 1929 (Pres., Michigan University)Henry Pratt Fairchild 1929-31 (Sociology, New York University)Henry Perkins 1931-34 (Zoology, University of Vermont)Ellsworth Huntington 1934-38 (Geography, Yale University)Samuel Jackson Holmes 1938-40 (Zoology, University of California)Maurice Bigelow 1940-45 (Columbia University)Frederick Osborn 1946-52 (Osborn-Dodge-Harriman RR connection)Harry L. Shapiro 1956-63 (American Museum of Natural History)Clyde V. Kiser 1964-68 (differential fertility, Milbank Memorial Fund)Dudley Kirk 1969-72 (Demographer, Stanford University)Bruce K. Eckland 1972-75 (Sociology, University of North Carolina)L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling 1976-78 (Genetic Psychiatry)Lindzey Gardner 1979-81 (Center for Advanced Study, Behavioral Sciences)John L. Fuller 1982-83 (Behavioral genetics)Michael Teitelbaum 1985-1990 (US Congress staff; US population policy)Robert Retherford 1991-1994 (East-West Institute, Hawaii; funded by AID)Joseph Lee Rodgers 1994, 1995 (family influences)Current: Hans-Peter KohlerReferences[edit]Messall, Rebecca (Fall 2004). "The Long Road of Eugenics: From Rockefeller to Roe v. Wade". The Human Life Review30 (4): 33''74. PMID 15856597. American Eugenics Society, Inc. (1931). Organized eugenics: January 1931. p. 65. Engdahl, William (November 20, 2007). Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation. See also[edit]

Alan Frank Guttmacher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Alan Frank Guttmacher, MD (1898-1974) was an Americanobstetrician/gynecologist. He served as president of Planned Parenthood and vice-president of the American Eugenics Society.[1] Dr. Guttmacher founded the American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians, now known as the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, as a forum for physicians to discuss the birth control pill and other advances in the field. He founded the Association for the Study of Abortion in 1964. He was a member of the Association for Voluntary Sterilization. The Guttmacher Institute is named after him.

in 1973 Guttmacher was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II.[2]

Alan Guttmacher was born in 1898 to Rabbi Adolf (Adolph) Guttmacher, and Laura (Oppenheimer) Guttmacher. His twin brother, Manfred Guttmacher, was an advisor to the Baltimore City's Supreme Bench as a psychiatrist. Their younger sister, Dorothy Emma Guttmacher, owned the Tudor Flower Shops at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Alan married Leonore Gidding in 1926 and together they raised three daughters, Ann (Loeb), Sally (Holtzman), and Susan (Green).

Professional history[edit]Dr. Guttmacher was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Hopkins Medical School. He served as Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was appointed Obstetrician and Gynecologist-In-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for approximately ten years. In 1962, ten years after moving to New York, he became president of the Planned Parenthood Federation. He extended this endeavor by founding the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians which included scientists and medical practitioners. From 1964-1968, he served as Chairman of the Medical Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Guttmacher was also a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Fertility Society, New York Academy of Medicine, and the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.[3]

References[edit]External links[edit]PersondataNameGuttmacher, AlanAlternative namesShort descriptionDate of birth1898Place of birthDate of death1974Place of death

The Money, the Power and Insanity of Bill Gates ~ The Planned Parenthood Depopulation Agenda | Sovereign Independent UK

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By Neil Foster '' Sovereign Independent UK ''

First posted on 31st January 2013, I thought this would make a good addition the article posted today on the attack on Pro-Life offices in Dublin with human excrement'...

It seems almost impossible these days to pick up a mainstream propaganda sheet without Bill Gates appearing somewhere in the ether of spin doctors.

He's doing God's work according to him.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/bill-gates/9812672/Bill-Gates-interview-I-have-no-use-for-money.-This-is-Gods-work.html

We've heard that megalomaniacal reasoning given behind some of the worst acts of genocide in recent history; Adolf Hitler being the most obvious.

Gates has now declared that he'll personally eradicate polio from the face of the earth with his commitment of billions of dollars through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation philanthropic 'charity'.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/bill-gates-on-a-mission-to-rid-the-world-of-polio-by-2018-8471803.html?origin=internalSearch

What we don't read within these articles are the same foundation's links and financial backing to the International Federation of Planned Parenthood; the premier abortion 'services' provider on the planet with the majority of those aborted being from ethnic minority groups, particularly in North and South America where Planned Parenthood's abortion clinics, under the guise of 'reproductive health centers', are located in poor minority group neighbourhoods.

Planned Parenthood was born in 1942, if you'll pardon the pun, from The Birth Control League in the US which was founded in 1921.

A brief history of the 'birth control' movement can be examined here:-

http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/birth-control-history-birth-control-movement.html

As shown in the article above, The Birth Control League was founded by Margaret Sanger who was also the co-founder of Planned Parenthood.

However, what it doesn't reveal is that her fellow co-founder was non-other than the father of Bill Gates, William H. Gates Snr.

That fact was admitted by Bill Gates back in May 2003 in an interview, with veteran broadcaster Bill Moyers, where Gates stated that:-

''My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that.''

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive//ldn/2003/may/03050902

To understand why this is significant we have to go back to the writings of Margaret Sanger in which she makes many startling statements with regard to, not only birth control or population control and abortion, but in particular her aversion to children in general and in particular her overt hatred of 'black' children.

''We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,'' she said, ''if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.''Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

'''...human weeds,'''... ''reckless breeders,'''... ''spawning'... human beings who never should have been born.'' Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people.

In a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble Sanger stated:-

''We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.''

She was also a regular speaker at meetings of the Ku Klux Klan.

http://www.redstate.com/wsullivan/2012/02/16/sanger-the-ku-klux-klan-and-planned-parenthood/

Margaret Sanger was also an avid supporter of Hitler and wrote to him personally on a number of occasions praising his work in exterminating those she deemed 'unfit' or 'feebleminded'. The following video touches on the link between Sanger and Hitler:-

For anyone to suggest that William H. Gates Snr. was unaware of Sanger's fanatical hatred of the 'negro' population is quite frankly absurd and for Bill Gates also to plead ignorance of the statements above is equally absurd.

Of course, if having read even a little of what's written above and followed the links, you'll come across the real agenda permeating the work of Sanger, Gates and his father; that being the pseudo-science of EUGENICS, which today is called by a number of different names such as Genetics and Bioethics.

People should not be fooled by the change in title. One only has to read through quotes from Sanger and others in her sphere of influence in her day to understand that the ideology they promoted, and actively pursued, was that in which only people whom they deemed 'fit' to be born would be allowed in their idea of utopia with the 'lesser types' to be sterilised and aborted to ensure more of the 'better types', such as Sanger no doubt thought of herself despite her drug and alcohol addiction combined with her sexual perversity with countless lovers, sometimes 3 in a single day. If this is the quality of the 'better types' then Sanger was obviously insanely delusional or had a very skewed view of what was moral and immoral in a respectable society. Of course, the so called 'elites' have always followed the maxim that they can do whatever they like regardless of the laws they lay down for the rest of society.

But I digress'...

Bill Gates has now put himself up as the God of polio eradication through his 'vaccination' programmes whereby he intends to have every child injected with what have been proven to be toxic substances and which include mercury derivatives, formaldehyde and even aborted foetal tissue.

http://vactruth.com/2010/09/20/aborted-human-fetal-cells-in-vaccines/

These are the same 'vaccines' which have paralysed and killed countless children already, yet Gates would have us believe that the recent murder and other attacks carried out on 'vaccine' workers are due to misinformation, which will no doubt be blamed on the internet, or labelled a 'conspiracy theory'. However the fact remains that evidence clearly shows that people have been paralysed and have died shortly after receiving these toxic chemicals.

http://experimentalvaccines.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/bill-gates-oral-polio-vaccine-cripples.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/035627_polio_vaccines_paralysis_India.html

http://therefusers.com/refusers-newsroom/government-inquiry-has-found-that-polio-vaccines-for-infants-funded-by-gates%E2%80%99-gavi-are-causing-deaths-and-disabilities-express-tribune/

Take note that the evidence above was posted in April and May 2012 but the cases of paralysis and deaths relate back to 2011, so Gates and his sycophantic worshipers cannot deny knowledge. Yet they continue to pursue programs to inject children with the same drugs.

Another facet of Gates' ideology is his firm belief, we're led to believe, in manmade global warming, with, in his mind, CO2 emissions being the most dangerous issue facing humanity today.

When we combine the manmade global warming theory with his firm advocacy of the overpopulation theory and attach this to his obsession with 'vaccine' theory, we can perhaps get a better idea of how he intends to solve his view on humanity's problems by combing all three elements of his personal belief system. He's also heavily promoting and funding the biotech industry by way of GM crops and his own brand of mutant mosquitoes which he says will deliver his 'vaccines' more effectively. The obvious lie here is that there's no way of knowing who has been stung by the GM mosquito, who hasn't or how many doses they've been given. This is simply a clear sign of Gates' insanity.

http://naturalsociety.com/bill-gates-foundation-funded-approval-of-genetically-modified-mosquitoes/

There's no need for me to explain here how he does this'... You can hear it from the horse's mouth in this short clip:-

Maybe it's just a coincidence that Gates' father was heavily involved in an organisation which was clearly set up with a eugenics agenda, particularly in terms of ''exterminating the black races'', but I doubt it. Margaret Sanger is still revered in elitist circles with Hilary Clinton accepting the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in 2009. She stated whilst accepting the award that it was a ''great privilege''. She followed that up with this extraordinary statement: '' ''I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity,her vision'.... I am really in awe of her.''

http://erlc.com/article/hillary-clinton-receives-award-named-for-famed-eugenicist/

Bill Gates no doubt feels the same about Sanger as he continues to give massive funding to the organisation his father co-founded with the overt racist and child hater Margaret Sanger and is carrying on that agenda through his so called 'philanthropic' activities.

Bill Gates, in my opinion, should be held in the same light as brutal mass murderers of the past who were clearly recognisable by their uniform and exposed by their actions.

Just because Gates wears a business suit or casual clothes and rounds the illusion off with a smile doesn't make him any less culpable than Hitler, Stalin or Mao.

In fact if Gates continues to be peddled as the 'saviour' of poor children in the Third World, he'll be responsible for more deaths than the three tyrants above combined.

SnowJob

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The Fifth Estate (2013) - IMDb

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EditStorylineThe story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Br¼hl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world's most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them? Written by DreamWorks Pictures

Plot Summary|Add SynopsisTaglines:You can't expose the world's secrets without exposing yourself.

EditDetailsRelease Date:18 October 2013 (USA) See more >>Also Known As:The Man Who Sold the World See more >>Company CreditsTechnical SpecsRuntime:128 min

Aspect Ratio:2.35 : 1

See full technical specs >>

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Glenn Greenwald, other top investigative reporter, team up for project on NSA.

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:29

RIO DE JANEIRO '-- Two American journalists known for their investigations of the United States' government said Saturday they've teamed up to report on the National Security Agency's role in what one called a "U.S. assassination program."

The journalists provided no evidence of the purported U.S. program at the news conference, nor details of who it targeted.

Jeremy Scahill, a contributor to The Nation magazine and the New York Times best-selling author of "Dirty Wars," said he will be working with Glenn Greenwald, the Rio-based journalist who has written stories about U.S. surveillance programs based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"The connections between war and surveillance are clear. I don't want to give too much away but Glenn and I are working on a project right now that has at its center how the National Security Agency plays a significant, central role in the U.S. assassination program," said Scahill, speaking to moviegoers in Rio de Janeiro, where the documentary based on his book made its Latin American debut at the Rio Film Festival.

"There are so many stories that are yet to be published that we hope will produce 'actionable intelligence,' or information that ordinary citizens across the world can use to try to fight for change, to try to confront those in power," said Scahill.

"Dirty Wars" the film, directed by Richard Rowley, traces Scahill's investigations into the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. The movie, which won a prize for cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival, follows Scahill as he hopscotches around the globe, from Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia, talking to the families of people killed in the U.S. strikes.

Neither Scahill nor Greenwald, who also appeared at the film festival's question and answer panel, provided many details about their joint project.

Greenwald has been making waves since the first in a series of stories on the NSA spying program appeared in Britain's Guardian newspaper in June. Last week, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a scheduled state dinner with Obama after television reports to which Greenwald had contributed revealed that American spy programs had aggressively targeted the Brazilian government and private citizens.

Rousseff railed against the U.S. surveillance during her address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.

Both Scahill and Greenwald applauded Rousseff's reactions to the revelations, but they warned that U.S. spying could be replaced espionage by another government if care isn't taken.

"The really important thing to realize is the desire for surveillance is not a uniquely American attribute," said Greenwald. "America has just devoted way more money and way more resources than anyone else to spying on the world.

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Greenwald Revelations on "U.S. Assassination Program" Coming

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Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill said Saturday they've teamed up to report on the National Security Agency's role in what one called a "U.S. assassination program," according to AP."The connections between war and surveillance are clear. I don't want to give too much away but Glenn and I are working on a project right now that has at its center how the National Security Agency plays a significant, central role in the U.S. assassination program," said Scahill.

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Sen. Feinstein: Press Must Stop Calling NSA Spying 'Surveillance'

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 02:58

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman and outspoken surveillance enthusiast Dianne Feinstein (D '' CA) has demanded today during the committee hearing that the American press stop referring to the NSA surveillance programs as ''surveillance programs.''

During the comments, Sen. Feinstein insisted that it was unfair of the media to the telephone surveillance scheme as a ''surveillance program'' because it ''just collects metadata.''

Hilariously enough, Sen. Feinstein has been referring to the surveillance programs as ''these surveillance programs'' in her own form letters sent to worried constituents defending them for months.

The change in rhetoric appears to reflect the NSA's own decision to stop talking so much about the program itself and instead angrily attack the media, claiming that American outrage over its privacy violations are simply a product of ''irresponsible'' media coverage of classified programs.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Sen Wyden Hints at Mass NSA Tracking of Americans' Locations

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 02:52

Sen. Ron Wyden (D '' OR) has been trying to push the NSA into further disclosures of its activities at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, and has regularly been at the center of the NSA's overt lies about the program, when he pressed for specifics they didn't feel like giving.

Today, Wyden's questions centered around the NSA's mass collection of cellphone GPS data to track the movements of ordinary Americans, pointedly asking NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander to provide details of past or future plans to do so.

Alexander initially insisted only that no such collection is being done under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, to which Sen. Wyden reiterated his question as asking whether the program has ever happened, and not just if it is currently happening under one specific legal section. Alexander refused to answer, saying the matter was ''classified.''

Wyden is privy to classified data, and often raises questions about programs he already knows are going on in open session in an attempt to get the matter out in the open. Though we don't have any confirmation yet, it is unlikely that Alexander would attempt to address the question with a non-answer then a cop-out if there wasn't something there.

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Remarks as delivered by General Keith Alexander, Director of the...

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Source: IC ON THE RECORD

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:22

Remarks as delivered by General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency

Open Hearing on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Authorities, U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Thursday,September 26, 2013

216 Hart Senate Office Building, Capitol, Washington DC

Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, distinguished members of the committee, I am privileged today to represent the work of the dedicated professionals at the National Security Agency, who employ the authorities provided by Congress, the courts and the executive branch to help defend this nation. If we are to have a serious debate about how NSA conducts its business, we need to step away from sensational headlines and focus on the facts.

Today, I'd like to present facts about four key areas: who we are in terms of both our mission and our people; what we do '-- adapt to technology and the threat, take direction from political leadership, use lawful programs, tools, and ensure compliance; I'd like to cover what we have accomplished for our country with the tools we have been authorized; and where do we go from here.

First, who we are and our mission: NSA is a foreign intelligence agency with two missions. We collect foreign intelligence of national security interests and we protect certain sensitive information in U.S. networks. NSA contributes to the security of our nations, its armed forces and our allies. NSA accomplishes this mission while protecting civil liberties and privacy. NSA operates squarely within the authorities granted by the president, Congress and the courts.

Who we are, our people: I am proud of what NSA does and even more proud of these great Americans and what they do for this nation. The National Security Agency employees take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They have devoted themselves to defending this nation. Just like you, they will never forget the moment terrorists killed 2,996 Americans in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. They witnessed the first responders, and I'll tell you, that's one of the things that has been in the front of the NSA lobby for the past 10 years, is a picture of those first responders holding the American flag and passing it off to our military, and the military and the intelligence community saying, we've got it; we'll take it from here. That's what we've done.

In fact, NSA employees deployed with our armed forces into areas of hostility. More than 6,000 NSA personnel have supported '-- have deployed in support of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 22 cryptologists paid the ultimate sacrifice. Theirs is a noble cause; they are the true heroes.

NSA prides itself on its highly skilled workforce. We are the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States. We have 1,013 mathematicians, 966 Ph.Ds and 4,374 computer scientists. We have linguists in more than 120 languages. We have more patents than any other intelligence committee agency and most businesses. They are also Americans and they take their privacy and civil liberties seriously.

What we do; how we adapt to technology: Today's telecommunications system is literally one of the most complex systems ever devised by mankind.

Terrorists and other foreign adversaries hide in the global networks, use the same communications networks as everyone else and take advantage of familiar services '-- Gmail, Facebook, Twitter. Technology has made it easy for them. We must develop and apply the best analytic tools to succeed at our mission.

What we do '-- we take guidance from our political leadership, the National Intelligence Priorities Framework. NSA's direction comes from national security needs, as defined by the nation's senior leaders. NSA does not decide what topics to collect and analyze. NSA's collection and analysis is driven by the National Intelligence Priorities Framework and received in formal tasking. We do understand that electronic surveillance capabilities are powerful tools in the hands of the state. That's why we have extensive mandatory internal training, automated checks and an extensive regime of both internal and external oversight.

What we do '-- we use lawful programs and tools to do our mission. The authorities we have been granted and the capabilities we have developed help keep our nation safe. Since 9/11 we have disrupted terrorists attacks at home and abroad using capabilities informed by the lessons of 9/11.

The business record FISA program, NSA's implementation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, focuses on defending the homeland by linking foreign and domestic threats. Section 702 of FISA focuses on acquiring foreign intelligence, including critical information concerning international terrorist organizations by targeting non-U.S. persons who are reasonably believed to be outside of the United States. NSA also operates under other sections of the FISA statute, in accordance with the law's provisions.

It is important to remember that in order to target a U.S. person anywhere in the world, under the FISA statute, we are required to obtain a court order based on a probable cause showing that the prospective target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.

NSA conducts the majority of its SIGINT authorities '-- activities solely pursuant to the authority provided by Executive Order 12333. As I have said before, these authorities and capabilities are powerful. We take our responsibly seriously.

What we do: We ensure compliance. We stood up a directorate of compliance in 2009 and repeatedly trained our entire workforce and privacy protections and the proper use of capabilities. We do make mistakes. The vast majority of incidents reflect the challenge, very specific rules in the context of ever-changing technology. Compliance incidents, with very rare exception, are unintentional and reflect the sorts of errors that will occur in any complex system of technical activity.

The press claimed evidence of thousands of privacy violations. This is false and misleading. According to NSA's independent inspector general, there have been only 12 substantiated cases of willful violation over 10 years '-- essentially one per year. Several of these cases were referred to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution, appropriate discipline action in other cases. We hold ourselves accountable very day.

Most of these cases involved improper tasking or querying regarding foreign persons in foreign places. To repeat, I am not aware of any intentional or willful violations of the FISA statute, which is designed to be most protective of the privacy interests of U.S. persons.

Of the 2,776 violations noted in the press, about 75 percent are not violations of court-approved procedures at all but rather NSA's detection of valid foreign targets to travel to the United States and a record that NSA stopped collecting in accordance with the rules. We call those roamers. I do mention them, chairman. Yes, I pronounced that '-- I had dental surgery; I pronounced that ''roamers''; it came out ''rumors.'' It's ''roamers'' '-- R-O-A-M-E-R.

And those are just as you stated. These are not compliance incidents.

The court asked us to track those and report those so that we can show when they do come in the country that we shut down the collection exactly as we're supposed to, right away. Two thousand sixty five of those 2,776 were, in fact, roamers.

Let me also start to clear to air on actual compliance incidents. The vast majority of the actual compliance incidents involve foreign locations and foreign activities as our activities are regulated by specific rules wherever they occur. And I think that's important to note, just as a sidebar, that we hold ourselves to the same standard overseas in terms of compliance.

This system can't be used willfully or incorrectly by anyone. We hold them accountable. So where it says we're sweeping up the communications of civilians overseas that aren't targets of collection systems, it is wrong. If our folks do that, we hold them accountable. NSA detects and corrects and, in many cases, does so before any information is even obtained, used or shared outside the United States.

And I want to go back and just hit a key point. For the small number that does include a U.S. person, a typical incident involves a person overseas involved with a foreign organization who is subsequently determined to be a U.S. person. The majority of our incidents that we report are U.S. persons that were overseas that we didn't know was a U.S. person. We still call that a compliance incident. We correct it. We delete the data.

Despite the difference between willful and not, we treat incidents the same. We detect, we address, we remediate, include removing information from our databases in accordance with the rules, and finally we report to Congress, to the courts and to the administration. We hold ourselves accountable and keep others informed so they can do the same.

Today NSA has a privacy compliance program any leader of a large, complex organization would be proud of. We welcome an ongoing discussion about how the public can, going forward, have increased information about NSA's compliance program and its compliance posture, much the same way all three branches of the government have today.

What we have accomplished in our country: NSA's existing authorities and programs have helped connect the dots, working with the broader intelligence community and homeland and domestic security organizations for the good of the nation and our people. NSA's programs have contributed to understanding and disrupting 54 terror- related events '-- 25 in Europe, 11 in Asia and five in Africa and 13 in the United States.

This was no accident. This was not coincidence. These are the direct results of a dedicated workforce, appropriate policy and well- sculpted authorities created in the wake of 9/11 to make sure 9/11 never happens again. In the week ending 23 September, there were 972 terror-related deaths in Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Another 1,030 people were injured in the same countries.

The programs that I've been talking about, we need these programs to protect this nation to ensure we don't have those same statistics here. NSA's global system is optimized for today's technology on a global network. Our analytic tools are effective at finding terrorist communication in time to make a difference. This global system and analytic tools are also what we need for cybersecurity. This is how we see in cyberspace, identify threats there and defend networks.

With respect to reforms, on 9 August the president laid out some specific steps to increase the confidence of the American people in our foreign intelligence collection programs. We are always looking for ways to better protect privacy and security. We have improved over time our ability to reconcile our technology with our operations and with the rules and authorities. We will continue to do so as we go forward and strive to improve how we protect the American people, their privacy and their security.

Regarding NSA's telephone metadata program, policymakers across the executive and legislative branches will ultimately decide whether we want to sustain or dispense with a tool designed to detect terrorist plots (across the scene ?) before foreign and domestic domains. Different implementations of the program can address the need, but each should be scored against several key attributes.

Privacy: Privacy and civil liberties much be protected. Agility: Queries can be made in a timely manner so that in the most urgent cases, results can support disruption of imminent terrorist attacks. Duration: Terrorist planning can extend for years, so the metadata repository must extend back for some period of time in order to discover terrorist plots and their plans. The breadth: The repository of metadata is comprehensive enough to ensure query responses can indicate with high confidence any connections a terrorist-associated number may have to other persons who are engaged in terrorist activities.

As you consider changes in metadata storage location, length of storage, who approves the query terms and the number of hops, we must preserve these foundational attributes of the BR FISA program. Similarly, as you entertain reforms to the FISA Court, operational and practical considerations must be weighed so that there are no inherent delays, emergency provisions are maintained, and any reform to the FISA structure is respectful to the nature of classified information.

In conclusion, NSA looks forward to supporting the discussion of reforms. Whatever changes are made, we will exercise our authorities dutifully, just as we have always done. The leaks of classified NSA and partner information will change how we operate and what people know about us; however, the leaks will not change the ethos of the NSA workforce, which is dedicated to finding and reporting the vital intelligence our customers need to keep the nation safe in a manner that is fully compliant with the laws and rules that authorize and limit NSA's activities and vindicate the privacy protections that we as a nation enjoy.

I look forward to answering your questions.

Remarks as delivered by Deputy Attorney General, James ColeOpen...

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Thu, 26 Sep 2013 23:21

Remarks as delivered by Deputy Attorney General, James Cole

Open Hearing on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Authorities, U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Thursday,September 26, 2013

216 Hart Senate Office Building, Capitol, Washington DC

Thank you, Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, distinguished members of the committee, for inviting us here today to talk about NSA's 215 business records program and Section 702 of FISA. I'm going to try and be brief and just focus my opening remarks on the 215 program.

NSA's 215 program involves the collection of metadata from telephone calls, including the number that was dialed, the date and time of the call and the length of the call.

The metadata collection does not include the content of any phone calls, any names, addresses or financial information of any party to a call or cell site location information. Moreover, the vast majority of the data obtained by NSA under this program is never reviewed.

The government can only search the data if it has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the phone number being searched is associated with certain terrorist organizations.

Only a small number of analysts can make that determination, and that determination must be documented so that it can be reviewed by a supervisor and later reviewed for compliance purposes.

This program is conducted pursuant to authorization by the FISA Court, which must reapprove the program every 90 days. Since the court originally authorized this program back in 2006, it has been reapproved on 34 separate occasions by 14 individual Article 3 judges of the FISA Court. Each reapproval indicates the court's conclusion that the collection was permissible under Section 215 and satisfied all constitutional requirements.

Oversight of the 215 program involves all three branches of government, including the FISA Court and the Intelligence and Judiciary committees of both houses of Congress. Within the executive branch, numerous entities are involved in assessing NSA's compliance. NSA's director of compliance, NSA's Office of General Counsel, the NSA inspector general and the Department of Justice as well as ODNI are all involved in this process.

Every 90 days, DOJ reviews a sample of NSA's queries to determine whether the reasonable, articulable suspicion has been met. DOJ lawyers also meet every 90 days with NSA operators and with the NSA IG to discuss the operation of the program and any compliance issues or concerns that may arise.

We also report extensively to the FISA court and to certain committees of Congress on matters regarding compliance. We report any compliance incidents to the court immediately. We also provide to the court with 30 days report '-- with 30-day reports that include a review of NSA's compliance with the reasonable, articulable suspicion standard, as well as other issues.

With respect to Congress, we have reported any significant compliance problems, such as those uncovered in 2009, to the intelligence and the judiciary committees in both houses. In 2009, the committees received the FISA court documents and the government submissions to the court related to those compliance problems. Those documents have since been declassified and released by the DNI to give the public a better understanding of how the government and the FISA court respond to compliance problems once they're identified.

Since I last appeared before you, we have also gone to great lengths to better explain publicly why the program is lawful. In particular, the Department of Justice released a 22-page white paper, providing the administration's legal views on the 215 program. Moreover, the FISA court has now posted on its own website the opinion that accompanied its most recent reauthorization of the 215 program.

Thus, the American public can see not just the administration's legal views, but the FISA courts reasoning and legal views as well. Our white paper and the FISA court opinion are in agreement on the legal underpinnings of the NSA 215 program.

Under Section 215, there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the records collected are relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism. As both the court's opinion and our white paper explain, relevant is a very broad term that was intended to establish a relatively low bar to the collection of business records. In its ordinary sense, information is relevant to an investigation if it '-- and I quote '-- bears upon or is pertinent to that investigation, close quote.

The meaning of relevance is similarly broad in other areas and contexts in the law. In civil discovery, for example, information can be relevant, not just where it bears directly on the case, but where it reasonably could lead to other material that could bear on an issue in the case. In fact, courts have held that large repositories of information can satisfy a relevant standard where the search of the whole repository is necessary to identify the critical documents.

That is precisely the rationale that underlies NSA's 215 collection program, and it was recognized by the FISA court. The court found that the entire collection of the bulk metadata is relevant to an international terrorism investigation, because it is necessary to allow NSA to identify telephone calls between terrorists and other persons.

This process of identifying previously unknown connections between telephone numbers associated with terrorists and other telephone numbers might not be feasible without access to the bulk metadata. For instance, identifying connections spanning back several years might not be feasible if the data were not retained and collected by NSA for a sufficient period of time, because telecommunication providers currently have no statutory obligation to retain that data.

In addition to complying with 215, NSA's program must also comply with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Here, the Supreme Court's decision in Smith v. Maryland is directly on point: In Smith, the court held that telephone users who convey information to phone companies for the purposes of routing their calls have no reasonable expectation of privacy in that information.

Now, some have questioned the applicability of Smith because it was issued over 30 years ago, and it did not concern a situation where the government collected and retained bulk metadata and aggregated it all in one place.

However, the recent opinion of the FISA court addressed that specific issue. It noted, and I quote, where one individual does not have a Fourth Amendment interests, grouping together a large number of similarly situated individuals cannot result in a Fourth Amendment interest springing into existence, close quote.

Now, I understand that there is some interest in legislating reforms to the 215 programs and to other aspects of FISA, including the nature of the FISA court process itself. We welcome having the public debate and discussion about whether the current version of 215 and other provisions of FISA strike the right balance between our national security and the privacy of our citizens, both of which are important.

We look forward to working with this committee to address those issues and find that correct balance.

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

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BBC News - UK to create new cyber defence force

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:59

29 September 2013Last updated at07:17 ETThe UK is to create a new cyber unit to help defend national security, the defence secretary has announced.

The Ministry of Defence is set to recruit hundreds of reservists as computer experts to work alongside regular forces in the creation of the new Joint Cyber Reserve Unit.

The new unit will also, if necessary, launch strikes in cyber space, Philip Hammond said.

Recruiting for reservists to join the unit will start next month.

The role of the unit is to protect computer networks and safeguard vital data.

'New frontier'In a statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the "creation of the "Joint Cyber Unit (Reserve) will allow it to draw on individuals' talent, skills and expertise gained from their civilian experience to meet these threats".

Continue reading the main storyOur commanders can use cyber weapons alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts''

End QuotePhilip HammondMr Hammond told the Mail on Sunday clinical "cyber strikes" could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware.

He told the newspaper: "People think of military as land, sea and air. We long ago recognised a fourth domain - space. Now there's a fifth - cyber.

"This is the new frontier of defence. For years, we have been building a defensive capability to protect ourselves against these cyber attacks. That is no longer enough.

"You deter people by having an offensive capability. We will build in Britain a cyber strike capability so we can strike back in cyber space against enemies who attack us, putting cyber alongside land, sea, air and space as a mainstream military activity.

"Our commanders can use cyber weapons alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts."

The MoD said the recruitment of reservists will target regular personnel leaving the armed forces, current and former reservists with the required skills and civilians with the appropriate technological skills and knowledge.

Cyber attacks and crime have become more common in recent years.

In July, British intelligence agency GCHQ told the BBC, the UK is seeing about 70 sophisticated cyber espionage operations a month against government or industry networks.

In a written statement in December last year, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in 2012.

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Amsterdam Internet Exchange News

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 13:30

As announced earlier, the Board of the AMS-IX Association proposed the set up of a US-based legal entity for possible expansion to the United States. In an extraordinary General Meeting (GM) held on 27 September 2013, AMS-IX members approved the set up of a US-based legal entity by a majority of votes.

Recently, an opportunity arose with the Open-IX initiative for AMS-IX to expand and build exchanges in the US. Representatives from US-based content providers and telecom operators - many of them current AMS-IX members or customers '' as well as other Internet industry parties, such as datacenters, founded this initiative. It aims to encourage the development of neutral and distributed Internet exchanges and reduce IP interconnection complexity and cost in the US. In the US this is more complicated and prices are higher than in Europe, where the neutral and distributed Internet exchange model is more common.

Our aim to grow AMS-IX's operational base abroad is in line with our Long Term Commercial Strategy (LTCS), which was approved in previous General Meetings by our members. However, to minimize the possible risk for our members and customers and to become Open-IX endorsed, the Board proposed the set up of a legal entity in the US. Risk mitigation is extremely important to us and we would never jeopardize the Dutch Association, the Dutch B.V and thus the members of AMS-IX.

With the approval of our members, the Board of the AMS-IX Association will now further investigate the formation of a US-based legal entity. The best possible structures for setting up this legal entity will be reviewed and shared with the members. The chosen structure will need to protect AMS-IX's current operation and the AMS-IX Association's customers and members from commercial, legal, financial and technical risks and, more specifically, from interception activities by US government agencies.

Note:Electronic voting opened on 27 September, 2013 at 12:00AM and closed on 28 September, 2013 at 12:00AM. AMS-IX member representatives were invited to vote individually. The electronic voting was handled by BigPulse, a notary approved environment for e-voting.

Nederlands internetknooppunt zet omstreden stap naar VS door | Internet | NU.nl - Voor het laatste nieuws

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 13:29

Het Nederlandse internetknooppunt AMS-IX gaat toch een vestiging in de Verenigde Staten opzetten. De stap is omstreden omdat er wordt gevreesd dat Amerikanen zo ook in Nederland gaan spioneren.

Het plan om een knooppunt in de Verenigde Staten op te zetten moet internetverbindingen eenvoudiger maker.

Maar juist de dreiging van een Amerikaanse overheid, die ook zeggenschap over de Nederlandse verbindingen zou krijgen, leidde tot felle debatten op interne mailinglijsten binnen de vereniging.

In een online stemming zijn de leden nu geraadpleegd en is het voorstel voor uitbreiding naar de VS nipt aangenomen. Uiteindelijk stemden 123 leden voor, 102 tegen en onthielden zich 14 van stem. De uitbreiding past binnen een al eerder vastgelegde Lange Termijn Commercile Strategie (LTCS).

AMS-IX weigert tegenover NUtech.nl te vertellen wie er voor het oprichten van een Amerikaans knooppunt is. Volgens een zegsvrouw is het aan de leden om te bepalen of zij voor of tegen het voorstel hebben gestemd.

OnderzoekNu de leden goedkeuring hebben gegeven zegt de organisatie toe een onderzoek te starten hoe de Nederlandse leden kunnen worden beschermd tegen allerhande juridische en financile risico's en tegen "interceptie-activiteiten door de overheidsinstanties in de VS." Eerder werd vanuit het bestuur al beloofd het opzetten van het Amerikaanse internetknooppunt risicoloos te doen.

Juist het afluisteren ligt bij veel leden en techneuten gevoelig. In de Tweede Kamer heeft PvdA-kamerlid Astrid Oosenbrug daarover kamervragen gesteld aan de ministers van Economische Zaken en Veiligheid en Justitie. Zij wil weten hoe de belangen van de burgers worden beschermd.

"Ziet u ook een verschil in bescherming van persoonsgegevens in Amerika, tussen de gegevens van Amerikaanse ingezetenen en anderen? Zo ja, ziet u daarin reden om het volledig ter beschikking stellen van gegevens aan de Amerikaanse overheden te beperken?"

Vitale infrastructuurIn de vragen wijst Oosenbrug er verder op dat het internetknooppunt vitale infrastructuur is, die moet worden beschermd. Zij wil daarom dat vanuit de ministeries contact wordt gezocht met de AMS-IX om de Nederlandse belangen veilig te stellen.

Door: NU.nl/Brenno de Winter

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N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens - NYTimes.com

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:11

WASHINGTON '-- Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans' social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans' networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

The policy shift was intended to help the agency ''discover and track'' connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct ''large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness'' of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such ''enrichment'' data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

This slide from an N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation shows one of the ways the agency uses e-mail and phone data to analyze the relationships of foreign intelligence targets.

N.S.A. officials declined to say how many Americans have been caught up in the effort, including people involved in no wrongdoing. The documents do not describe what has resulted from the scrutiny, which links phone numbers and e-mails in a ''contact chain'' tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest.

The new disclosures add to the growing body of knowledge in recent months about the N.S.A.'s access to and use of private information concerning Americans, prompting lawmakers in Washington to call for reining in the agency and President Obama to order an examination of its surveillance policies. Almost everything about the agency's operations is hidden, and the decision to revise the limits concerning Americans was made in secret, without review by the nation's intelligence court or any public debate. As far back as 2006, a Justice Department memo warned of the potential for the ''misuse'' of such information without adequate safeguards.

An agency spokeswoman, asked about the analyses of Americans' data, said, ''All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.''

''All of N.S.A.'s work has a foreign intelligence purpose,'' the spokeswoman added. ''Our activities are centered on counterterrorism, counterproliferation and cybersecurity.''

The legal underpinning of the policy change, she said, was a 1979 Supreme Court ruling that Americans could have no expectation of privacy about what numbers they had called. Based on that ruling, the Justice Department and the Pentagon decided that it was permissible to create contact chains using Americans' ''metadata,'' which includes the timing, location and other details of calls and e-mails, but not their content. The agency is not required to seek warrants for the analyses from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

N.S.A. officials declined to identify which phone and e-mail databases are used to create the social network diagrams, and the documents provided by Mr. Snowden do not specify them. The agency did say that the large database of Americans' domestic phone call records, which was revealed by Mr. Snowden in June and caused bipartisan alarm in Washington, was excluded. (N.S.A. officials have previously acknowledged that the agency has done limited analysis in that database, collected under provisions of the Patriot Act, exclusively for people who might be linked to terrorism suspects.)

But the agency has multiple collection programs and databases, the former officials said, adding that the social networking analyses relied on both domestic and international metadata. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity because the information was classified.

The concerns in the United States since Mr. Snowden's revelations have largely focused on the scope of the agency's collection of the private data of Americans and the potential for abuse. But the new documents provide a rare window into what the N.S.A. actually does with the information it gathers.

A series of agency PowerPoint presentations and memos describe how the N.S.A. has been able to develop software and other tools '-- one document cited a new generation of programs that ''revolutionize'' data collection and analysis '-- to unlock as many secrets about individuals as possible.

The spy agency, led by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, an unabashed advocate for more weapons in the hunt for information about the nation's adversaries, clearly views its collections of metadata as one of its most powerful resources. N.S.A. analysts can exploit that information to develop a portrait of an individual, one that is perhaps more complete and predictive of behavior than could be obtained by listening to phone conversations or reading e-mails, experts say.

Phone and e-mail logs, for example, allow analysts to identify people's friends and associates, detect where they were at a certain time, acquire clues to religious or political affiliations, and pick up sensitive information like regular calls to a psychiatrist's office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner or exchanges with a fellow plotter.

''Metadata can be very revealing,'' said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. ''Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person's cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It's the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.''

The N.S.A. had been pushing for more than a decade to obtain the rule change allowing the analysis of Americans' phone and e-mail data. Intelligence officials had been frustrated that they had to stop when a contact chain hit a telephone number or e-mail address believed to be used by an American, even though it might yield valuable intelligence primarily concerning a foreigner who was overseas, according to documents previously disclosed by Mr. Snowden. N.S.A. officials also wanted to employ the agency's advanced computer analysis tools to sift through its huge databases with much greater efficiency.

The agency had asked for the new power as early as 1999, the documents show, but had been initially rebuffed because it was not permitted under rules of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that were intended to protect the privacy of Americans.

A 2009 draft of an N.S.A. inspector general's report suggests that contact chaining and analysis may have been done on Americans' communications data under the Bush administration's program of wiretapping without warrants, which began after the Sept. 11 attacks to detect terrorist activities and skirted the existing laws governing electronic surveillance.

In 2006, months after the wiretapping program was disclosed by The New York Times, the N.S.A.'s acting general counsel wrote a letter to a senior Justice Department official, which was also leaked by Mr. Snowden, formally asking for permission to perform the analysis on American phone and e-mail data. A Justice Department memo to the attorney general noted that the ''misuse'' of such information ''could raise serious concerns,'' and said the N.S.A. promised to impose safeguards, including regular audits, on the metadata program. In 2008, the Bush administration gave its approval.

A new policy that year, detailed in ''Defense Supplemental Procedures Governing Communications Metadata Analysis,'' authorized by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, said that since the Supreme Court had ruled that metadata was not constitutionally protected, N.S.A. analysts could use such information ''without regard to the nationality or location of the communicants,'' according to an internal N.S.A. description of the policy.

After that decision, which was previously reported by The Guardian, the N.S.A. performed the social network graphing in a pilot project for 1 ½ years ''to great benefit,'' according to the 2011 memo. It was put in place in November 2010 in ''Sigint Management Directive 424'' (sigint refers to signals intelligence).

In the 2011 memo explaining the shift, N.S.A. analysts were told that they could trace the contacts of Americans as long as they cited a foreign intelligence justification. That could include anything from ties to terrorism, weapons proliferation or international drug smuggling to spying on conversations of foreign politicians, business figures or activists.

Analysts were warned to follow existing ''minimization rules,'' which prohibit the N.S.A. from sharing with other agencies names and other details of Americans whose communications are collected, unless they are necessary to understand foreign intelligence reports or there is evidence of a crime. The agency is required to obtain a warrant from the intelligence court to target a ''U.S. person'' '-- a citizen or legal resident '-- for actual eavesdropping.

The N.S.A. documents show that one of the main tools used for chaining phone numbers and e-mail addresses has the code name Mainway. It is a repository into which vast amounts of data flow daily from the agency's fiber-optic cables, corporate partners and foreign computer networks that have been hacked.

The documents show that significant amounts of information from the United States go into Mainway. An internal N.S.A. bulletin, for example, noted that in 2011 Mainway was taking in 700 million phone records per day. In August 2011, it began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which allows for the collection of the data of Americans if at least one end of the communication is believed to be foreign.

The overall volume of metadata collected by the N.S.A. is reflected in the agency's secret 2013 budget request to Congress. The budget document, disclosed by Mr. Snowden, shows that the agency is pouring money and manpower into creating a metadata repository capable of taking in 20 billion ''record events'' daily and making them available to N.S.A. analysts within 60 minutes.

The spending includes support for the ''Enterprise Knowledge System,'' which has a $394 million multiyear budget and is designed to ''rapidly discover and correlate complex relationships and patterns across diverse data sources on a massive scale,'' according to a 2008 document. The data is automatically computed to speed queries and discover new targets for surveillance.

A top-secret document titled ''Better Person Centric Analysis'' describes how the agency looks for 94 ''entity types,'' including phone numbers, e-mail addresses and IP addresses. In addition, the N.S.A. correlates 164 ''relationship types'' to build social networks and what the agency calls ''community of interest'' profiles, using queries like ''travelsWith, hasFather, sentForumMessage, employs.''

A 2009 PowerPoint presentation provided more examples of data sources available in the ''enrichment'' process, including location-based services like GPS and TomTom, online social networks, billing records and bank codes for transactions in the United States and overseas.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, General Alexander was asked if the agency ever collected or planned to collect bulk records about Americans' locations based on cellphone tower data. He replied that it was not doing so as part of the call log program authorized by the Patriot Act, but said a fuller response would be classified.

If the N.S.A. does not immediately use the phone and e-mail logging data of an American, it can be stored for later use, at least under certain circumstances, according to several documents.

One 2011 memo, for example, said that after a court ruling narrowed the scope of the agency's collection, the data in question was ''being buffered for possible ingest'' later. A year earlier, an internal briefing paper from the N.S.A. Office of Legal Counsel showed that the agency was allowed to collect and retain raw traffic, which includes both metadata and content, about ''U.S. persons'' for up to five years online and for an additional 10 years offline for ''historical searches.''

James Risen reported from Washington and New York. Laura Poitras, a freelance journalist, reported from Berlin.

Files reveal names of Americans targeted by NSA during Vietnam War.

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:28

September 26, 2013by Joseph Fitsanakis

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.orgThe names of several prominent Americans, who were targeted by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the height of the protests against the Vietnam War, have been revealed in declassified documents. The controversial communications interception operation, known as Project MINARET, was publicly acknowledged in the mind-1970s, during Congressional inquiries into the Watergate affair. We know that MINARET was conducted by the NSA between 1967 and 1973, and that it targeted over a thousand American citizens. Many believe that MINARET was in violation of the Agency's charter, which expressly prevents it from spying on Americans. But despite the media attention MINARET received during the Watergate investigations, the names of those targeted under the program were kept secret until Wednesday, when the project's target list was declassified by the US government. The declassification decision was sparked by a Freedom of Information Request filed by George Washington University's National Security Archive. The two Archive researchers who filed the declassification request, William Burr and Matthew Aid, said MINARET appears to have targeted many prominent Americans who openly criticized America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The reason for the surveillance was that US President Lyndon Johnson, who authorized the operation, was convinced that antiwar protests were promoted and/or supported by elements outside the US. The newly declassified documents show that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a major surveillance target of the government. This is not surprising, considering that the civil rights leader was heavily targeted by several Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance programs at the time. But the files declassified this week also show that the NSA tracked two prominent journalists: Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald, and Tom Wicker of The New York Times. The documents also show that the Agency intercepted the telephone calls of at least two US Senators: Republican Howard baker and Democrat Frank Chuch '--both of whom were vocal critics of the Vietnam War. Project MINARET was eventually terminated by US Attorney General Elliot Richardson in 1973, amidst the sensational revelations of the Watergate affair.

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Zegart joins scholars at NSA for rare briefing on spy agency's woes - CISAC

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 01:59

CISAC Co-Director Amy Zegart and nine other national security and intelligence scholars were recently invited to the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md., for unprecedented talks with high-ranking officials. They discussed cybersecurity, the plummeting public trust in the agency, its relationship with Congress and how to rebuild the agency's reputation and rethink its program operations. The academics were first taken to the black granite wall carved with the names of 171 military and civilian cryptologists who have died in service. ''I think they wanted us to know that this is an organization of people, not some robots trolling through your emails,'' said Zegart, author of the book, ''Spying Blind,'' which examines why U.S. intelligence agencies failed to adapt to the terrorist threat before the 9/11 attacks. The scholars were then taken to a windowless conference room for several hours of what Zegart called remarkably frank and free-ranging talks about the agency and its tactics. The NSA is one of the world's most secret intelligence gathering organizations. Its methods have come under intense scrutiny with a series of damaging leaks about its operations. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and national intelligence reporters have revealed tactics that have left many Americans cold and questioning the legality and necessity of the agency's methods. From monitoring emails and phone calls, to secretly cracking encryption codes that protect personal email as well as financial and medical records and Internet chats '' the revelations just keep coming. Civil liberty organizations and Internet privacy advocates here at Stanford are outraged, while some foreign governments are accusing Washington of Big Brother tactics run amok. Zegart answers questions about those perceptions and her Sept. 23 briefing at NSA headquarters. Are the accusations that the NSA is Big Brother squared fair? If you look at the reporting on the NSA so far, there is zero evidence of a widespread, deliberate and nefarious plan by the agency to violate the law and spy on American citizens. This is a policy debate, not a scandal. There's no question in my mind that the NSA has interpreted its legal authority to the maximum extent of the law possible. They've taken what Congress has granted them and they have pushed to the edge '' but that's a very big difference from running amok. How did this unprecedented meeting come about and why do you think the senior NSA officials '' who asked not to be identified '' called on social scientists? In our group, the last time someone went to the NSA was in 1975, which tells you how rare it is for them to invite academics in. The was a sense at senior levels that they need to think more systematically and long-term about education, about being more open to academics coming in and doing research about the NSA and hearing what academics have to say. In part, thought-leaders at universities can play a role in transmitting some of the complexities in which the NSA operates '' the tradeoffs the agency is confronting and the constrains under which they are operating.

The other academics invited to the NSA on Monday were William Inboden of the University of Texas, Austin; Michael Desch of Nortre Dame University; Jeffrey Engel and Joshua Rovner of Southern Methodist University; Thomas Mahnken of the U.S. Naval War College; Richard Betts of Columbia University; Benjamin Wittes of The Brookings Institution; Kori Schake of Stanford University; and Robert Chesney of the University of Texas, Austin. One thing this meeting highlighted for me is that the NSA is not free to respond to the criticism it gets in the press. It's intertwined with other organizations that have a say in how it responds: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI, the Justice Department and the White House. And they have never had to deal with the spotlight before. They gave me this statistic: Last summer, there were 167 legitimate questions from the press; in the summer of 2013 there were 1,900 media requests. That's a tenfold increase. This is a whole new world for this agency. And to go against secrecy is just totally counter to their culture. This was a bold step for them to have us come in. Did the NSA officials talk about whether they had broken any laws? They definitely wanted us to believe that what they are doing is lawful and effective. I believe the lawful part; I'm not so sure about the effective part. I think they haven't looked hard enough about what effective means. Do they know it when they see it? And who's to judge? They were quick to point out that they're under extensive oversight both by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The question is whether Americans are comfortable with the lines that have been drawn by their own government and if they're comfortable with the lack of transparency. The NSA is really bad at letting us know what the gains are (from surveillance) and they've struggled with how to deal with the public reaction to the Snowden revelations. This is an intelligence agency and they're supposed to be stealing information from other governments; that's what we pay them to do and other governments would use those capabilities in an instant if they had them. That has gotten lost in the debate. When I talk to my parents and friends, they think that the NSA is listening in on their phone calls. That's just not true. They're examining phone logs: who called whom and for how long. No one is listening to your conversation with grandma.The fundamental problem is that the NSA is highly regulated '' but nobody trusts the regulatory framework."

Did you discuss former NSA contractor Edward Snowden? Extensively. It's the biggest breach in the agency's history. They've been in crisis mode since June. They've been putting our fires every day and the arsonist is still out there. NSA officials told us that they know 125 documents have been compromised; they believe Snowden probably has already passed to the press another 50,000 documents and that the entire tranche that he may have taken is bigger than that. But there's a question about whether that tranche is accessible, that Snowden may have done things to make some of his data hard to read. They said Snowden didn't just download documents he himself had access to. He used social engineering, convincing someone else to give him access to additional information to breach security protocols. Meanwhile, Snowden had plenty of avenues for whistleblowing, including five inspectors-general and the members of the congressional intelligence committees, but he availed himself of none.Have Snowden's actions endangered national security or international relations? The standard lines about ''irreparable harm'' are not convincing to many people because they are so vague, we've heard them so often, and the government classifies boatloads of information that shouldn't be secret. But NSA officials got a little more specific. They said Snowden has hurt national security in three ways: The first is that he revealed government surveillance capabilities. Second, he's revealed politically embarrassing things that are harming relations with our allies '' and they believe there is more to come. (Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington, for example, following the release of evidence that the U.S. spied on Brazilian politicians and business leaders.) They said Snowden has a pattern of releasing embarrassing information around big international meetings, such as the G20 summit. The third damaging impact is that Snowden has hurt the NSA's ability to produce intelligence. What are some of the challenges and solutions moving forward? Intelligence is a political loser and so you see a lot of members of Congress who says they are shocked '' shocked! '' to find out what the NSA is doing when they had full opportunity to be briefed on these programs for a long time. So they're making political hay out of NSA's difficulties. Most members of Congress have zero incentive to actually learn anything about the complexities of intelligence because the voters don't hear about it and they don't reward them for it. The near-term challenge is to stop Congress from doing something stupid, such as the wholesale cancelling of NSA programs and capabilities. The medium-term challenge is to figure out what sensible options there are to restoring the public trust and make the NSA more transparent and more targeted in its collection approach. When NSA chief Keith Alexander steps down, we are going to see all of these issues come to a head in a very public way with the confirmation of the next director. The longer-term challenge is creating better mechanisms to assess whether NSA should do things just because it can technically '' to weigh the wisdom and efficacy of programs, not just their legality. The NSA also needs a sustainable education campaign so that when things break in the news, legislators and constituents have an understanding of what this agency does and can put these revelations into perspective.They definitely wanted us to believe that what they're doing is lawful and effective; I believe the lawful party, I'm just not so sure about the effective part."

What are the strengths of the NSA that the public doesn't get to see? The NSA is the organization that's responsible for information assurance, like if you're in government on a secure phone line. And most people don't know the NSA wrote the codes to protect our nuclear arsenal from day one. So the NSA has two, often conflicting missions. One is signals intelligence, which is offense, and the other is the information assurance that is defense. In an era of cyber vulnerabilities, information assurance is huge. They feel like they were doing what they were authorized to do and serving the mission and that they are being characterized as evil for doing what they think is right. What were your biggest takeaways from this meeting? I would say one of the things that I did walk away from the meeting hearing '' and I think that perhaps this is the big policy question '' is that the NSA orientation is to collect now, ask questions later. So the question is: Is that the right operating philosophy; are we comfortable as a democratic society with that collect-now-ask-later approach?

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War on Crazy

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VIDEO-WHERE IS ALL THE AMMO??? Video Footage of Shooter at Washington Navy Yard - YouTube

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:28

Producer Brian email on ELF:

John Carpenter's 'They Live'. Have you ever

considered that when something like this happens or when a news

broadcasters strokes out and starts talking gibberish, that it is not that

they are being activated but rather that the signal is getting interrupted?

Consider your own recent difficulties with connectivity for a moment. It

could be atmospheric interference, obstructed LOS w/ a cell tower, etc.,

but the mind control signal already being broadcast to these individuals

(or all of us) by one mechanism or another is interrupted or corrupted.

They drop some packets, everything jams up just like a pixelated TV, their

programming malfunctions and they either talk gibberish for a few moments

until their brain reboots (the minor case) or worse they completely crash,

realize they've been under someone's control and kill a bunch of people

(the blue screen of death case).

Trazadone

Trazodone is a very weak antidepressant that is mostly used to help people

+sleep. Has an unusual side effect of priapism- prolonged, painful erections

+that if untreated can cause your penis to clot off.

Itm

Baron sir dr Sharkey

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The Violence in Our Heads - NYTimes.com

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 03:18

STANFORD, Calif. '-- THE specter of violence caused by mental illness keeps raising its head. The Newtown, Conn., school killer may have suffered from the tormenting voices characteristic of schizophrenia; it's possible that he killed his mother after she was spooked by his strange behavior and tried to institutionalize him. We now know that Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, heard voices; many observers assume that he, too, struggled with schizophrenia.

To be clear: a vast majority of people with schizophrenia '-- a disease we popularly associate with violence '-- never commit violent acts. They are far more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators of it. But research shows us that the risk of violence from people with schizophrenia is real '-- significantly greater than it is in the broader population '-- and that the risk increases sharply when people have disturbing hallucinations and use street drugs. We also know that many people with schizophrenia hear voices only they can hear. Those voices feel real, spoken by an external, commanding authority. They are often mean and violent.

An unsettling question is whether the violent commands from these voices reflect our culture as much as they result from the disease process of the illness. In the past few years I have been working with some colleagues at the Schizophrenia Research Foundation in Chennai, India, to compare the voice-hearing experience of people with schizophrenia in the United States and India.

The two groups of patients have much in common. Neither particularly likes hearing voices. Both report hearing mean and sometimes violent commands. But in our sample of 20 comparable cases from each country, the voices heard by patients in Chennai are considerably less violent than those heard by patients in San Mateo, Calif.

Describing his own voices, an American matter-of-factly explained, ''Usually it's like torturing people to take their eyes out with a fork, or cut off someone's head and drink the blood, that kind of stuff.'' Other Americans spoke of ''war,'' as in, ''They want to take me to war with them,'' or their ''suicide voice'' asking, ''Why don't you end your life?''

In Chennai, the commanding voices often instructed people to do domestic chores '-- to cook, clean, eat, bathe, to ''go to the kitchen, prepare food.'' To be sure, some Chennai patients reported disgusting commands '-- in one case, a woman heard the god Hanuman insist that she drink out of a toilet bowl. But in Chennai, the horrible voices people reported seemed more focused on sex. Another woman said: ''Male voice, very vulgar words, and raw. I would cry.''

These observations suggest that local culture may shape the way people with schizophrenia pay attention to the complex auditory phenomena generated by the disorder and so shift what the voices say and how they say it. Indeed, that is the premise of a new patient-driven movement, more active in Europe than in the United States, which argues that if you treat unsettling voices with dignity and respect, you can change them.

The Hearing Voices movement encourages people who hear distressing voices to identify them, to learn about them, and then to negotiate with them. It is an approach that flies in the face of much clinical practice in the United States, where psychiatrists tend to assume that treating such voices as meaningful encourages those who hear them to give them more authority and to follow their commands.

Yet while there is no judgment from the scientific jury at this point, there is evidence that at least some people find that when they use the Hearing Voices approach, their voices diminish, become kinder and sometimes disappear altogether '-- independent of any use of drugs.

This evidence is strengthened by a recent study in London that taught people with schizophrenia to create a computer-animated avatar for their voices and to converse with it. Patients chose a face for a digitally produced voice similar to the one they were hearing. They then practiced speaking to the avatar '-- they were encouraged to challenge it '-- and their therapist responded, using the avatar's voice, in such a way that the avatar's voice shifted from persecuting to supporting them.

All of the 16 patients who received a six-week trial of that therapy found that their hallucinations became less frequent, less intense and less disturbing. Most remarkably, three patients stopped hearing hallucinated voices altogether, even three months after the trial. One of those three patients had heard voices incessantly for the prior 16 years.

The more we know about the auditory hallucinations of schizophrenia, the more complex voice-hearing seems and the more heterogeneous the voice-hearing population becomes. Not everyone will benefit from the new approaches. Still, they offer hope for those struggling with a grim disease.

Meanwhile, it is a sobering thought that the greater violence in the voices of Americans with schizophrenia may have something to do with those of us without schizophrenia. I suspect that the root of the differences may be related to the greater sense of assault that people who hear voices feel in a social world where minds are so private and (for the most part) spirits do not speak.

We Americans live in a society in which, when people feel threatened, they think about guns. The same cultural patterns that make it difficult to get gun violence under control may also be responsible for making these terrible auditory commands that much harsher.

T. M. Luhrmann is a professor of anthropology at Stanford University and a contributing opinion writer.

Judge tosses $650M lawsuit by man who claims to be victim of government 'voice-to-skull' mind control | PennLive.com

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:01

A U.S. judge has dismissed a $650 million lawsuit filed by a Pittsburgh man who claims the federal government has been using "voice-to-skull" electronic devices to manipulate his mind.

Frederick Banks filed his case last month against "an unknown number of federal judges and United States covert government agents" and other officials, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

In voiding Banks' lawsuit, U.S. Middle District President Judge Christopher C. Conner found his claims to be "wholly incredible and delusional." The judge exercised a policy that allows the prompt dismissal of lawsuits that are found to be patently frivolous. So Holder and the other defendants never had to reply to Banks' claims.

Banks' allegations do seem like something out of an episode of "The X-Files."

He claimed that for some time, federal authorities have been using voice-to-skull, or "V2K" devices, to place voices inside his head. The alleged harassment was prompted by his repeated filing of lawsuits against the government, Banks contended.

In his two-page lawsuit, he cited what he said was information from the Federation of American Scientists, which described V2K technology as non-lethal weaponry that uses microwaves to transmit sound into a person's, or an animal's, skull. The technology also is used as an "electronic scarecrow" to chase birds away from airports, he wrote.

Banks, who represented himself in the short-lived court case, claimed that he is among thousands of Americans who have been the targets of government-sponsored V2K attacks. Yet, he said that when he complained to numerous federal officials, one laughed at him and others denied knowledge of the technology.

The supposed V2K assault has violated his civil rights by denying him sleep and interfering with his general enjoyment of life, Banks argued. He sought not only monetary compensation, but also wanted Conner to issue an order to make the feds turn off their V2K weapons.

Banks is right in claiming that he's not alone in believing he is under some sort of government-run electronic mind control siege.

That much is evident from a simple Google search, which turns up entries on alleged V2K harassment plots and testimonies by other supposed victims, who sometimes refer to themselves as "targeted individuals." There are also online forums for people who believe they are subjected to V2K "synthetic telepathy" assaults and YouTube videos on the subject.

And there was at least one petition circulated via Facebook that called for a federal investigation into V2K harassment.

A review of court records shows that Banks, a former federal prison inmate, is indeed a frequent flier when it comes to filing federal lawsuits. He has lodged numerous such cases in Conner's court since 2006.

In another of his recent cases, he sued an array of officials, the U.S. Postal Service, the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons regarding what he claimed was a conspiracy to steal his Ferrari sports car and unjustly imprison him.

Banks mentioned his mind control conspiracy claims in that suit and in others as well.

Ministry of Truth

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media | Media | theguardian.com

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 19:32

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism '' close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist".

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" '' or the death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an "independent" Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. "The Pakistanis put out a report, don't get me going on it. Let's put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It's a bullshit report," he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

"It's pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]," he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

"It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn't happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.

He isn't even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillanceHe is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden "changed the whole nature of the debate" about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence '' although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government's policy.

"Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we've all written the notion there's constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it's real now," Hersh says.

"Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn't touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game," he adds, before qualifying his remarks.

"But I don't know if it's going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America '' the president can still say to voters 'al-Qaida, al-Qaida' and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic," he says.

Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London's summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemptionDespite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.

"I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever '... Not that journalism is always wonderful, it's not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity."

His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.

Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: "Sergeant, I want Calley out now."

Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. "I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [New York] Times were paying $5,000."

He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hoursFor students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been "despoiled".

"I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there's nothing there, it doesn't go anywhere."

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

"Do you think Obama's been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What's going on [with journalists]?" he asks.

He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.

"Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It's journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize," he adds. "It's a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like '' I don't mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard '' but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that's a serious issue but there are other issues too.

"Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren't we doing more? How does he justify it? What's the intelligence? Why don't we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don't we do our own work?

"Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say '' here's a debate' our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who's right and who's wrong about issues. That doesn't happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people '' the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would '... it's like you don't dare be an outsider any more."

He says in some ways President George Bush's administration was easier to write about. "The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era," he said.

Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.

"I'll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can't control," he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don't get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say 'I don't care what you say'.

Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.

If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn't stop with newspapers.

"I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let's start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won't like this '' just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that's what we're supposed to be doing," he says.

Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.

"The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple." And he implores journalists to do something about it.

Obama on the run. 'Bin Laden's assassination were a fabrication'. Top US journalist speaks out in UK media.

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Source: the tap

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:21

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says that raid which killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 is 'one big lie'He says the US media is too 'afraid' to pick on ObamaHersh, 76, says the solution is to shut down news networks like NBC and ABC He also suggested the firing of 90 per cent of mainstream editorsA Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says that the official account of the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 is 'one big lie'.Seymour Hersh, 76, said that 'not one word' of the Obama administration's narrative on what happened is true.In an interview with The Guardian published today, Hersh savages the US media for failing to challenge the White House on a whole host of issues, from NSA spying, to drone attacks, to aggression against Syria.He said the Navy Seal raid that supposedly resulted in the death of the Al-Qaeda terror leader, Hersh said, 'not one word of it is true'.According to Hersh - who first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting - the problem is that the US media is allowing the Obama administration to get away with lying.'It's pathetic. They are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama].'The White House has refused to publicly release images of Bin Laden's body, fuelling suspicion they are withholding information.Although the White House said the corpse was immediately 'buried at sea' within 24 hours of his death in line with Islamic tradition, it quickly emerged that this was not standard practice.It has also been suggested that the White House has changed its story multiple times, according to infowars.com.They initially claimed that pictures from the 'situation room' show Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Hilary Clinton and the rest of the security team watching the raid live, when in fact there was a blackout on the feed.Neighbours close to the Pakistani compound in Abbottabad also said they had never seen Bin Laden in the area.Hersh said the American press spends 'so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would'.In his opinion, the solution would be to shut down news networks like NBC and ABC and fire 90 per cent of mainstream editors and replace them with 'real' journalists who are not afraid to speak truth to power.'The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple,' he said.

MSNBC Host to Marry White House Chef, Head of Michelle's 'Let's Move!'

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 23:39

Mr. Kass is also the head of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" health and fitness program.

Politico, though, has pronounced that this isn't a conflict of interest; "Who doesn't love a man who can cook?" Hadas Gold writes. Gold also maintained that the "Let's Move!" program is "apolitical."

Breitbart News offers congratulations to the happy couple.

LNG

NBC Right Now: Cascade Natural Gas Files Rate Increase Request With Washington UTC

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 21:48

Emily Bowman, News/Web Producer

Updated: 41 minutes ago

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Cascade Natural Gas Corporation files a Purchased Gas Adjustment with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to increase pipeline capacity, reservation, and storage for natural gas.

The request, which includes the end of a year-long refund, would mean a 19 percent increase for Cascade customers in Washington.

Under the request, a residential customer using 54 therms a month can expect an increase of $8.43 an average per month, or approximately $101 for a 12-month period.

A commercial customer usingan average of 266 therms a month can expect an increase of $41.70 per month orapproximately $500 for a 12-month period.

A PGA is a mechanism designed to pass the actual costs of gas supplies tocustomers. It is very common for the company to either under or over collectthrough the year as the natural gas market changes throughout the year. Theactual purchase price usually differs from the projected price.

The proposed rate increase is expected to go into effect on Nov. 1, 2013,upon WUTC approval.

Slave Training

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BBC News - Spain considers time zone change to boost productivity

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 07:12

27 September 2013Last updated at10:30 ETSpanish MPs are to consider changing time zones by an hour after a report said this would improve eating, sleeping and working habits.

The document by a parliamentary commission said that "Spain for more than 71 years has not been in the correct time zone".

In 1942, the Spanish dictator General Franco moved Spain onto Central European Time to follow Nazi Germany.

The report says Spain should be in the same time zone as the UK and Portugal.

Spain - on the western edge of Europe - is currently one hour ahead of GMT during the winter and two hours ahead in the summer.

'Bringing into line'"We sleep almost an hour less than the World Health Organization recommends,'' the commission said.

"All this has a negative effect on productivity, absenteeism, stress, accidents and school drop-out rates.''

It said that following the "wrong clock" explained why Spaniards tended to eat, leave work and go to bed later than their European neighbours.

"Our timetable is determined more by the sun than by the clock. We eat at one o'clock in the afternoon and dine at eight, according to the sun, but the clock says it is three o'clock and 10 o'clock," the text said.

It added that jumping back an hour would bring Spain "into line with Europe in many respects in which we currently differ".

You can change the hours to Pacific Standard Time and it still won't matter. The Spanish will always find a way to work less, eat later, party harder. They have built a culture and a reputation around their ungodly hours. And I hardly doubt they will change their lifestyle, and the tourism it generates, because of a technicality. Javier Brias, Madrid

I am a Spaniard living in Catalonia, but my mother was born in the Canary Islands. In the Canary Islands the time zone is the same as in London or Lisbon, but despite that we cannot say there is a significant difference in the productivity, absenteeism or stress of Canary Islanders in comparison with people on the peninsula. I don't think a change in our time zone would make a difference in our lives or our productivity rates. Nayra Marchƒin, Barcelona

We live according to the sun, not the clock. Lola Hidalgo Calle, Seville

I live just south of Castellon, which has a roadside marker pointing out the exact spot where it aligns with Greenwich. So, if the east coast of Spain coincides with London it makes perfect sense that the time be in line with Britain, Ireland and Portugal. Kieran McGrath, Valencia

Spanish culture, like every other, is not governed by time zones. It is governed by tradition, their age-old normal way of doing things. This report is nonsense. People eat, sleep and work according to the clock on their wall or the watch on their wrist. They do not eat one hour earlier in winter. God save us from so-called "experts". Eric Jackson, Villar del Arzobispo

I lived much of my childhood in Franco's Spain and farmed in Mallorca in the 1980s - and I never noticed any problem with the time zone. John Bartram, Broadstairs, UK

Morocco's Daylight Saving Fiasco Government change of mind (Don't change your watch)

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Archived Version

Source: THE VIEW FROM FEZ

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:45

Within the last few hours before the end of daylight saving, someone in the government had a sudden moment of bizarrely strange logic and thought "Hey, lets put off the end of daylight saving".

Not mattter that it has been advertised for a year, and that airline schedules and ferry timetables have been adapted - what the hell, let's just extend for a month... And this is how the news was delivered....

Alerte : L'horaire d'(C)t(C) (GMT+1) maintenu jusqu'au 27 octobre 2013Chers abonn(C)s, un changement de derni¨re minute vient d'ªtre d(C)cid(C) concernant l'horaire d'(C)t(C). Le retour l'heure l(C)gale (GMT) au Maroc a (C)t(C) d(C)cal(C)e d'un mois et aura donc lieu dimanche 27 octobre prochain au lieu de demain comme pr(C)vu, vient d'annoncer le minist¨re de la Fonction publique et de la modernisation de l'administration dans un communiqu(C). L'heure sera ainsi retard(C)e de 60 minutes dimanche 27 octobre 2013 partir de 3 heures.

Alert: Summer hours (GMT +1) maintained until 27 October 2013Dear subscribers, a last minute change has been decided for the summer schedule. The return to standard time (GMT) in Morocco was offset by a month and will take place next Sunday, October 27th instead of tomorrow as planned, announced the Ministry of Public Service and the modernization of administration in a statement. The time will be delayed by 60 minutes and Sunday, October 2013 27 from 3:00.

A large number of tourism business managers have contacted The View from Fez and claim that such knee-jerk actions by a government department can cause havoc. Riad owners are suffering from confusion over pre-booked airport transfers. The last minute making of policy on the run, smacks of amateurism, they say ... we can only agree.So forget changing your clocks.... We will let you know when and if they change their minds again...

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Adding fluoride to water means fewer fillings for children - Telegraph

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Archived Version

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:01

"We recommend further research to clarify what role fluoride exposure levels may play in possible adverse effects on brain development so that future risk assessments can properly take into regard this possible hazard.''

It is thought adding fluoride could create mottled teeth as well as cause aluminium to move around the body from the stomach to the brain, increasing the risk of dementia. In England councils are allowed to choose to opt into the scheme to add fluoride to the water supply, but campaigners are calling for a measure where people have to give explicit consent for their water supply to be added to.

The NHS report records the number of fillings carried out on children per Primary Care Trust area, before they were abolished under the health reforms.

Of the areas in the top five for fewest number of fillings, three of these '' North Lincolnshire, Walsall and Warwickshire '' were areas where supplies had been treated with the enamel protecting chemical.

Areas where wholesale fluoridisation carried out had seven per cent less fillings compared with the rest of the country.

Susan Hodgkiss, from the British Fluoridation Society, said reviews of fluoridation had found dental health benefits. She added: ''Socially deprived children suffering the highest levels of decay may be among those who stand to benefit most."

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EXCLUSIVE: Laser horror as attempts to blind pilots put UK passengers at risk | UK | News | Daily Express

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Archived Version

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:48

These lasers could knock a passenger jet out of the sky

Britain's largest pilots' union is so concerned by a recent spate of incidents it has issued an emergency bulletin to members advising them how to avoid being blinded and losing control of their planes.

The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) now wants the law changed so anyone caught in possession of the higher powered lasers without a ''legitimate reason'' to be jailed.

''Slaps on wrists and £150 fines are not enough - custodial sentences should be the norm,'' a spokesman said yesterday.

Most of the attacks are on large commercial jets, but even military planes carrying injured troops home from Afghanistan to hospitals in the Midlands have been targeted.

Police helicopters chasing criminals over densely populated areas are also regularly hit.

In most cases the beams are being shone by mindless youths, but pilots and security experts worry terrorists could also use them.

The incidents are all contained in official reports logged with the Civil Aviation Authority and obtained by the Sunday Express.

Planes are being struck at the rate of five times a day by beams from high intensity laser pens that can be bought online from as little as £12.

The more powerful products emit bright green beams and cost about £400, with a range of up to 200 miles.

Operated by standard batteries, they are usually used as presentational aids by teachers and lecturers, but retailers also sell the more powerful devices to astronomers and construction site workers.

One online retailer, MegalaserUK, which sells ''hundreds a year'' warns ''they are not toys'' but boasts: ''The Hi-tec lasers are unreal.

''Its immense power of 500mW (milliwatt) or 800mW housed in a beautifully styled aircraft grade alloy has to be seen to be believed.

''They will light a match in a fraction of a second, melt plastics with ease and has the most incredibly bright beam you are ever likely to see.

''They are so powerful that they have to be sold with a safety system and has a unique built in cooling system.''

Videos are shown on its website to prove its claims.

Prospective buyers must tick a box agreeing not to shine the rays in the direction of aircraft or within two miles of an airport.

However, Balpa believes this is not nearly enough.

It and the Civil Aviation Authority warn that a jet could crash.

Last year, 1,570 laser attack incidents were logged with the CAA and in 2011 the figure was 1,911.

The beams have been spotted coming from moving cars, houses and hotels.

Each incident is reported to the police but arrests and prosecutions are rare.

It has been an issue with pilots for several years, but July and August saw an alarming spike in the number of attacks on commercial jets.

Entire pages of the CAA logs are littered with the phrase ''green laser attack''.

Airports at Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, the East Midlands, Bristol, Heathrow and Gatwick all feature prominently.

The airlines affected are not disclosed.

One Boeing 737 approaching Birmingham Airport on August 1 filed five separate reports.

British planes are also being targeted at foreign airports.

Cairo Airport in Egypt appears to be a particular problem, with one Boeing 767 carrying up to 250 Britons was hit ''in excess of 100 times'' by a green laser on July 28.

Several incidents have also been reported at the country's Red Sea tourist destination Sharm el Sheikh.

Even military aircraft are vulnerable.

On May 4, 2011, a transporter plane carrying injured British troops from Afghanistan was hit by a green laser as it made its final approach to Birmingham airport.

In September that year, two other military planes were targeted.

One flying at 4,000ft was struck near Birmingham, while a fortnight later a plane at 2,000ft was targeted as it came in to land.

This month, Balpa issued a new alert to pilots and explained what to do if hit.

It wrote: ''A recent spate of incidents in the UK involving lasers directed at landing aircraft is evidence that they continue to be a threat to aviation.

''In August several aircraft operating into Gatwick, Liverpool and East Midlands were illuminated with a strong laser by persons on the ground, whilst flying visual approaches.

''Although fortunately no direct eye contact with the beam was made, the potential for a temporary loss of vision was very real and the results could have been much worse.''

It added: ''It is possible that a laser successfully aimed at the flight deck will be presaged by unsuccessful attempts to do so; these will be seen as extremely bright flashes coming from the ground and/or visible in the sky near the aircraft.

''Treat these flashes as a warning you are about to be targeted and prepare to shield the eyes.

''Do not look in the direction of any suspicious light. Do not rub the eyes.

''If the other front seat pilot has not been affected, he or she should immediately assume or maintain control of the aircraft.

A bright green light from a £12 laser could temporarily 'blind' a pilot [ALAMY]

Slap on wrists and £150 fines are not enough - custodial sentences should be the norm

The British Airline Pilots' Association

''Manoeuvre to block the laser, if possible and subject to air traffic control.

''If on approach, consider a go-around.''

Balpa believes the law on the use of lasers needs strengthening.

While it has been a specific criminal offence to shine a laser at an aircraft since 2010, pilots argue they are too easily available.

In Australia use of the more powerful lasers is banned, but in Britain they are only removed from sale if the laser's wavelengths are considered unsafe.

Balpa spokesman Richard Toomer said: ''Laser attacks on aircraft are a growing problem.

''They are incredibly dangerous.

''We believe it is time for the Government to look seriously at the criminalisation of the possession of high powered lasers for those without a legitimate reason to have one.

''We believe the police need the power to confiscate these weapons, and the judiciary need to better realise the danger involved.

''Slaps on wrists and £150 fines are not enough; custodial sentences should be the norm.''

A CAA spokesman said: ''Being dazzled and temporarily blinded by an intense light could potentially lead to flight crew losing control of the aircraft.''

MegalasersUK boss Shane Michael said he had passed trading standards tests and sells a ''few hundred'' laser pens a year.

He said he he sold only to adults, but added: ''They could be banned at any time, especially if idiots keep shining them at planes.

''It's like anything. People who sell knives aren't responsible if they're then used as weapons.''

Related articles

High power laser pointers. Green laser pointers with 50 mile range.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:50

High quality pen style for 50mW, 125mW, 200mW & 300mWProfessional 300mW, 500mW and 800mW

............................................................................................................................................................................50mW Laser pointer

Budget priced laser pointer many times more powerful than conventional laser pointers. The laser comes complete with executive case, instructions and batteries. This laser is supplied in Silver.

Specification:Range: 20 milesContinuous output power: 50mW class 3BPower: 2 X AAA 1.5v batteries (included)Dimensions: 13 X 143mmBattery duration: 3 hoursLaser life: Up to 10000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 65gm

US$ 115.00 NOW: US$ 79UK£ 69.00 NOW: UK£ 49

............................................................................................................................................................................ 125mW Laser pointer

A powerful yet modestly priced laser complete with executive case and batteries. The beam of this laser is clearly visible as it stretches through the sky and can pop balloons easily.

Specification:Range: 50 milesContinuous output power: 125mW class 3BPower: 2 X AAA 1.5v batteries (included)Dimensions: 13 X 143mmBattery duration: 3 hoursLaser life: Up to 10000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 65gm

Click the picture above to seethe laser bursting the balloonvideo.

US$ 165.00 NOW: US$ 120UK£ 95.00 NOW: UK£ 69 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 200mW Laser pointer

200mW of pure power, this laser has to be seen to be believed! It can burst balloons in a fraction of a second, melt plastic and can light up an entire room!

Specification:Range: 75 milesContinuous output power: 200mW class 3BPower: 2 X AAA 1.5v batteries (included)Dimensions: 13 X 143mmBattery duration: 2.5 hoursLaser life: Up to 10000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 95gmUS$ 195.00 NOW: US$ 149UK£ 119.00 NOW: UK£ 89 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 300mW Laser pointer

This is the most powerful pen type laser pointer available. The sight of the beam from this model is absolutely incredible. It seems to reach the stars. This laser has an incredible output power of 300mW and can burst balloons in a fraction of a second, light matches and light up an entire room. Seeing is really believing with this model.

Specification:Range: 100 milesContinuous output power: 300mW class 3BPower: 2 X AAA 1.5v batteries (included)Dimensions: 15 X 143mmBattery duration: 2 hoursLaser life: Up to 10000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 95gm

Click the picture above to seethe laser lighting match video.

US$ 280.00 NOW: US$ 195UK£ 169.00 NOW: UK£ 119 ............................................................................................................................................................................

300mW & 500mW Professional laser pointer

Includes Rechargeable battery, mains charger and safety keyMade from aircraft grade aluminium and powder coated, this is a really beautifully styled laser that should last for years.

These are our high power professional 300mW and 500mW laser pointer, housed in a beautifully styled aircraft grade alloy, it has to be seen to be believed. It will light matches and pop balloons with ease and has an incredibly bright beam. It is so powerful that it has to be sold with a safety system. There is a moveable Colet around the on button that can be rotated so that the power button cannot be accidentally pressed. and a key is supplied to turn the laser in the off position when not in use and cannot be used again without the key. The focus is also fully adjustable This laser comes complete with rechargeable battery and battery charger.

Specification:Range: 100 miles or 150 milesContinuous output power: 300mW or 500mW class 3BPower: Rechargeable battery (included)Dimensions: 24 X 29 X 150mmBattery duration: 1.5 - 2 hoursLaser life: Up to 50000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 110gm

Click the picture above to seethe laser lighting match video.

300mW US$ 375.00 NOW: US$ 295300mW UK£ 220.00 NOW: UK£ 175500mW US$ 625.00 NOW: US$ 525500mW UK£ 380.00 NOW: UK£ 295

............................................................................................................................................................................

MEGA high power 500mW and 800mW hi tec green Professional laser pointer with special cooling system

comes complete with rechargeable battery, battery charger and luxury leather effect case.

The Hi tec lasers are unreal. It's immense power of 500mW or 800mW housed in a beautifully styled aircraft grade alloy, has to be seen to be believed. They will light a match in a fraction of a second (see the video below), melt plastics with ease and has the most incredibly bright beam you are ever likely to see. They are so powerful that they have to be sold with a safety system and has a unique built in cooling system. There is a small pin that must be inserted for the laser to operate and a key is supplied to turn the laser in the off position when not in use and cannot be used again without the key. The front lens cover can also be rotated to close the lens when not in use and the focus is fully adjustable. These lasers come complete with rechargeable battery, battery charger and luxury leather effect case.

Specification:Range: 500mW:150 miles800mW: 200 milesContinuous output power: 500mW or 800mW class 3BPower: 3.0v rechargeable battery (included)Dimensions: 33 X 38 X 225mmBattery duration: 1 - 1.5 hoursLaser life: Up to 100,000 hoursWave length: 532nmWeight: 1550gm

Click the picture above to seehow fast this laser can light a match.

500mW: US$ 920 NOW: US$ 660500mW: UK£ 565 NOW: UK£ 425800mW: US$ 1,100 NOW: US$ 895800mW: UK£ 695 NOW: UK£ 545

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NSLI for Youth | Scholarship to Study Language Abroad

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 22:01

About NSLI-YThe National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students and recent high school graduates to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.

NSLI-Y is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares American citizens to be leaders in a global world. Now more than ever, it is important that Americans have the necessary linguistic skills and cultural knowledge to promote international dialogue and support American engagement abroad. NSLI-Y aims to provide opportunities to American youth that will spark a lifetime interest in language learning.

Previous language study is not required, and language learners of all levels are encouraged to apply.

NSLI-Y ProgramsNSLI-Y programs offer intensive language immersion in a variety of locations around the world. Scholarships are available for students to learn the following languages:

ArabicChinese (Mandarin)HindiKoreanPersian (Tajiki)RussianTurkishPrograms may take place in the following locations:

ChinaIndiaJordanKoreaMoroccoOmanRussiaTaiwanTajikistanTurkeyOther locationsaround the worldApplyIf you have a passion for learning languages and want to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, this program may be for you!

The application deadline for 2014-2015 programs is November 5th, 2013. Find more information under the How to Apply tab above.

ContactQuestions? Need more info? Contact us at 866.790.2086 or nsliy@americancouncils.org

ConnectAlumniSpread the word about NSLI-Y! Click here to complete an interest form to gain access to the NSLI-Y Alumni Outreach Toolkit.

SafetyNet, Smart Cyber Choices

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 23:58

SafetyNet, Smart Cyber ChoicesYour kid is online at any given moment. So are more than 50,000 sexual predators. Be a parent again. Learn how to keep your child safe by clicking the button to view our interactive parent guide.

Learn how toProtect your kidsonline now.Apprenda a proteger a sus hijos cuando usan el computador.PresentationsTo Schedule a presentation, please call, (858) 453-5066, or send an email to:

New events are in development, check back soon!OCTOBER 9, 2013TIERRA DEL SOL MIDDLE SCHOOL9611 Petite LaneLakeside, CA 920406:00-7:00 p.m.NOVEMBER 7, 2013WILLOW GROVE ELEMENTARY14727 Via AzulSan Diego, CA 921276:30-7:30 p.m.NewsSeptember 2013Calling All Parents: Keep Your Kids Safe Online, launched on NBC San Diego this week. This is the second year we have been able to bring this important campaign to parents through the generous support of ESET, the Securing Our eCity Foundation, and NBC San Diego. The campaign is intended to raise awareness around the issues of cyberbullying, computer/Internet safety and online predators. Check out our new public service announcement--video on the right.

August 2013SafetyNet' featured on NBC News.

May 2013Teen arrested in La Mesa after police say he posed as girl asking for nude picturesWatch

September 2012Watch Calling All parents, Keep Your Kids Safe Online, a special report featuring the SafetyNet program that aired on NBC in August 2012.Segment 1Segment 2Segment 3

SafetyNet is a partnership of San Diego Police Foundation andSan Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Protect your computer from cyber threats and learn how to be safe online | Securing Our eCity

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Archived Version

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 23:59

VisionTo create a safe digital neighborhood that is both resistant to cyber-threats and resilient to man-made or natural disasters, where our citizens, businesses, organizations and government can effectively and securely navigate, collaborate and conduct business to remain economically competitive in today's fast-changing technological environment. The secure cyber city model we establish in San Diego will empower our citizens and serve as a beacon for cities across North America and the world.

MissionTo enable every San Diegan to live, work and play safely in the cyber world.

In the fast-paced world we live in where ''digital'' exchanges dominate our daily interactions, the Securing Our eCity Foundation (SOeC) provides awareness of potential issues and offers free cybersecurity information and education. We assist businesses, families, our aging population and youths to be better prepared for a safer cyber experience in rapidly changing technology driven environments.

In late 2011, ESET Foundation, Inc. (dba) Securing Our eCity Foundation was formed based upon an initiative started in mid-2008 by ESET North America, an Internet security company with their North American headquarters in San Diego, CA.The Foundation is now a viable non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization still guided by the vision, mission and principles established at the onset of the initiative.

Supported through generous donations from organizations like ESET North America and San Diego Gas & Electric, SOeC continues to help facilitate a safer cyber experience for digital citizens in the greater San Diego area.

Jessie J. Knight Jr.Chairman of the Board

Jessie J. Knight is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of San Diego Gas & Electric. Prior to assuming this role in April 2010, Knight served as Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Sempra Energy, overseeing all communications and community relations activities, government relations and regulatory and international affairs.

Before joining Sempra in 2006, Mr. Knight spent seven years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organization in California and the third largest chamber of commerce in the western United States.

From 1993 to 1999, Mr. Knight served as commissioner for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), after being appointed by then-Governor Pete Wilson. He previously served in executive management roles for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner newspapers and the Dole Food Company. Mr. Knight is a board member of the Seattle-based Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) and the San Diego Padres Baseball Club, and serves as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He holds a bachelor's degree from St. Louis University, was a fellow of the University of Madrid, and holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin.

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Anton ZajacPresident

Dr. Anton Zajac studied as a mathematical physicist at Comenius University in former Czechoslovakia. After graduation, he earned his doctorate in Natural Sciences in the field of Quantum Theory.

For over ten years, Dr. Zajac worked in the field of theoretical physics. He published the Unified Theory of Low and High Temperature Superconductivity. In the year 2000, Dr. Zajac received the Werner von Siemens Scientific Achievement Award. Fluent in five languages, Dr. Zajac lectures at several universities around the world, including UCSD, USD, and The Center for Graduate Studies of the Institute of Technology in Tijuana, and Iberoamerican University in Mexico.

Dr. Zajac founded two high tech companies; among them ESET, LLC in 1999 in San Diego. Dr. Anton Zajac is the President of ESET NA. Under his dynamic leadership, Dr. Zajac was honored as one of San Diego's Most Admired CEO's by the San Diego Business Journal. The company became the ''fastest growing'' in San Diego County in 2007 and has received a multitude of awards such as the Outstanding Emerging Business Award by the Regional Chamber of Commerce, Deloitte's Technology Rankings, as well as attended numerous Inc. 500 Ceremonies.

Dr. Zajac's vision and perseverance set the foundation for ESET global worldwide presence. Under his direction, ESET earned the San Diego ''Best Software Company'' title at the AeA High Tech Awards and its products are currently sold in more than 180 countries comprising over 100 million users. His thought leadership and ability to connect people and resources has perpetuated global representation and an extensive partner network.

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Randy FrischTreasurer

Randy Frisch is the Vice Chancellor, Business and Administration at National University System and National University, the second largest private, non-profit university in California. The position blends CFO and internal general counsel work for the 28-campus, seven-affiliate organization. National University has the first education program offered in Cyber education in the country.

Prior to joining National, Frisch was president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal for two and half years. Before joining the Business Journal, Frisch was an attorney practicing in contract and employment law. He is a member of the California, Nevada, and Idaho bars. Prior to establishing his law practice, Frisch was CFO of the San Diego Union-Tribune, and vice president of operations and Business Development.

He is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he earned several honors, holds an MBA from Washington State University and holds a Bachelor's degree from Lewis-Clark State College. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego/Imperial Counties American Red Cross, LEAD San Diego, Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl Committee, Downtown Rotary, and the San Diego Neighborhood House. He is on the Finance and Public Policy committees of the Greater San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Downtown Rotary Club 33.

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Pamela RichardsonSecretary

Pamela Richardson is the ESET Foundation Administrator and holds the office of Secretary. Prior to joining the Securing Our eCity initiative in early 2011, now the ESET Foundation signature program, she provided support for ESET Research and Cyber Threat Analysis Center at ESET North America since 2008. Pamela is an active member in the SOeC Education Workgroup and Speakers' Bureau.

Pamela has a range of experience from project management to accounting, and she is a valued team member. During her Bachelors of Business program at ITT Technical Institute she started the Delta Epsilon Chi Honor Society, San Diego ITT Chapter and held the position of President and Secretary for the honor society.

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Alexandra AlbroBoard of Directors

Fluent in three languages, Alexandra Albro's experience includes work and/or studies in several countries including UAE, France, Canada and Italy. As a current San Diego resident, Alexandra has applied her cross-cultural competencies for ESET's business and legal activities. For the last two years, she has skillfully provided thoughtful and meticulous direction as ESET's Legal support for the Office of the CEO and company- wide developments.

Alexandra Albro received her MA in Law from the University of Trnava, SVK. Since receiving her degree, she has worked for Dedak & Partners (SVK), and interned with Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch LLP in San Diego, CA. Alexandra is currently working toward her LLM degree in Law from the University of San Diego.

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Darin AndersenBoard of Directors

Darin Andersen is the President & CEO of CyberUnited, a cybersecurity company that applies science and informatics to interesting problems in cyber. Prior to this, Darin was General Manager, North America for Norman Data Defense Systems, a world leader and pioneer in proactive content security solutions and forensics malware tools. Prior to joining Norman, he served as the Chief Operating Officer at ESET North America.

While at ESET, Mr. Andersen created the vision for ''Securing Our eCity,'' which was brought to light by a team of industry leaders and later recognized by the Department of Homeland Security in 2010 as the nation's ''Best Local/Community Plan'' for cyber security preparedness and education.

Mr. Andersen holds two Masters Degrees from the USC Marshall School of Business: a MBA in Finance and Operations Management, and an MS in Information Technology and Operations Management. He was named ''Top Influential'' 2010 by San Diego Daily Transcript, and was honored with an Exemplary Performance Award by the San Diego Business Journal for the Securing Our eCity program at ESET in 2011.

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Mitchell DembinBoard of Directors

Mitch Dembin was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of California on March 18, 2011. Prior to his appointment, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Diego and served as the Cybercrime Coordinator for the office. Before that, he was the Chief Security Advisor for Microsoft Corporation, assisting Microsoft's business customers in creating and implementing strategic security plans.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Mitch was the president of EvidentData, Inc., a firm specializing in computer forensics, digital evidence and computer security. Mitch served three different terms as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, spanning more than 15 years in San Diego and in Boston, and including 6 years as a supervisor. As a federal prosecutor, Mitch has specialized in prosecuting a variety of white collar crimes and, beginning in 1991, in investigating and prosecuting high technology crimes. Before his first term as an AUSA, Mitch was a staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC.

Mitch is credited with having founded the San Diego Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, a national prototype, which provides assistance to the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies serving San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Mitch was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a New York City Police Officer, and received a Bachelor's Degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western New England Law School, where he also served as Managing Editor of the Law Review.

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Liz FraumannBoard of Directors

Liz Fraumann is the Executive Director of the Securing Our eCity Foundation which whose mission is to help create a cyber-safe environment in San Diego where we can all live, work and play. The foundation is focused on cybersecurity awareness, education and preparation for business and individuals alike.

Prior to this role, Ms. Fraumann was the Director of Marketing at ESET, North America where she helped the organization more than double its market awareness in North America. Ms. Fraumann is a seasoned veteran of the high-tech industry, with a broad background in marketing and marketing communications and spans years of experience with industry giants such as NCR and IBM, as well as smaller and starts up organizations.

Fraumann has received numerous company and community awards for her expertise and efforts. She is active member in San Diego CERT.

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Doug HolmanBoard of Directors

Doug Holman has served as Vice President of Membership & Corporate Relations for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2001. His shared duties include running the chamber's sales division, managing vendor relations, administration and development of value-added member benefits, as well as the overall branding of the Chamber.

Mr. Holman currently sits on the Board of Directors for both the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, and the Greensox Baseball Club. He formerly served on the boards of the Downtown (San Diego) YMCA and the San Diego Community Council for Child Development, and he is heavily involved as a volunteer with Eastlake Little League. Doug earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1989 from San Diego State University.

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Michael KaiserBoard of Directors

Since becoming Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance in 2008, Michael Kaiser has assumed responsibility for in NCSA's broad public education and outreach efforts to strengthen the nation's cyber infrastructure, including leadership of NCSA's premier outreach and awareness campaign, National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Prior to joining NCSA, Mr. Kaiser spent 25 years in the field of victim's services and rights at National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, DC, and at Safe Horizon in New York City, where he held a variety of senior staff positions.

Mr. Kaiser has developed training and other programs on the use of technology to combat crimes such as stalking and identity theft, and worked on programs exploring the use of technology to improve community policing. He has also been involved in developing new programs and expanding the capacities of communities to respond to victims of crime, as well as numerous public education and awareness efforts encouraging victims to seek help, while educating the public about the incidence and impact of victimization. He is currently the Chair and a founding Board Member of the national non-profit organization, SPINUSA.

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Andrew LeeBoard of Directors

Andrew Lee brings to ESET a unique blend of corporate and security expertise. Having served as Chief Research Officer at ESET from 2004 to 2008, Lee was responsible for building ESET's reputation as a world-class research organization. Prior to accepting the role of CEO at ESET in January of 2011, Lee served as Chief Technology Officer for K7 Computing, an antivirus software and Internet security company, where he was responsible for all aspects of K7'²s technology, leading acquisitions and bringing new products to the market.

Mr. Lee is a founding member of several of the most respected organizations, such as AVIEN and AMTSO, international non-profit associations that focus on addressing the global need for improvement in the objectivity, quality and relevance of anti-malware testing methodologies. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, ISC2 Seminars, AVAR, Virus Bulletin and EICAR, Mr. Lee is a widely published author of articles on antivirus and security and co-authored the ''AVIEN Malware Defense Guide'' with current ESET researcher David Harley. Andrew Lee holds an MSc degree in Computer Security from the University of Liverpool.

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Chris BakerBoard of Directors

Chris Baker is senior vice president of support services and chief information officer for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), Sempra Energy's regulated California utilities.

In his current position, Baker oversees information technology, supply management, diverse business enterprises, environmental services, safety and emergency services, fleet services, real estate, land management and facilities at SDG&E and SoCalGas.

He is also responsible for the design and implementation of new systems and procedures to improve the operating efficiency and customer experience at both utilities through the operational excellence and smart metering programs.

Baker served as Sempra Energy's director of software development from 1997 to 2000, and as information management and security administration manager from 1995 to 1997.

Prior to joining Sempra Energy in 1995, Baker was a senior systems consultant with Logicon 4GT, where he worked with defense finance and accounting services. He also worked on analysis for several government entities, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Finance and Management and the U.S. Postal Service's National Air and Surface System.

Previously, Baker held several positions in the banking industry, including serving as section manager of information management and executive information services at HomeFed Bank, a position he held from 1990 to 1993. Prior to 1990, he was employed with Home Savings of America, holding several different positions in their information technology division.

Baker serves as a board member on CommNexus. He is a cum laude graduate of California Polytechnic University at Pomona, where he earned bachelor's degrees in biology and business administration / computer information systems.

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Rita PertzbomBoard of Directors

Rita Pertzborn is a producer-partner for Mintcinema, a San Diego based digital motion picture company. Prior to Mintcinema, Rita served as Chief of Staff for ESET, NA. Rita was a major contributor and key member of ESET's Executive Team, responsible for delivering essential company communications and administrative management for the Office of the CEO and President. She assisted the organization through a multitude of company change initiatives, as well as provided executive oversight of policies and procedures during ESET's accelerated growth. Rita's people-focused and professional experience as an educational specialist and adjunct professor prepared her in creating successful business practices regarding ESET's human capital and the evolution of the corporate culture as a whole. Rita holds a Master of Arts in Education from SDSU.

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Chad NelleyBoard of Directors

As Vice President of Operations for ESET North America, Chad Nelley has been involved in the Securing our eCity effort since its inception, working diligently behind the scenes with ESET's Learning and Development group, other ESET executives and staff in an effort to develop the foundational curriculum upon which the current outreach program is built. In his time to date with SOeC, Mr. Nelley has also contributed to many of the subcommittees that make up the SOeC framework today. At ESET North America, Chad has general oversight of Operations to include: Organizational Development, Learning and Development, Knowledge Base Operations, Real Estate and Facilities, Manufacturing, Logistics and Inventory, Legal, Community Relations and Philanthropy as well as Corporate Project Management (PMO).

Prior to joining ESET in 2007, Mr. Nelley held the post of Vice President of Operations and IT at Total Training, Inc., a content development firm developing multi-media education products for consumers, pro-sumers and blue chip software partners such as Adobe, Apple and Microsoft along with other software OEM's. While there Mr. Nelley was instrumental in developing, managing and supporting double and triple digit revenue growth over 7 consecutive years, implementing Operational and IT/IS infrastructure systems and building an ERP, CRM, estore and cart solution that drove 60+% of revenues for the company. Mr. Nelley started his high technology career with Silicon Graphics Inc., as a Field Marketing Manager for the Southern California region covering San Diego, Imperial and portions of South Orange County. He has also taken on various entrepreneurial endeavors including starting a consultancy practice specializing in Organizational Development, IT/IS Systems and Project Management services.

Mr. Nelley was born and raised in San Diego and maintains a strong interest in the San Diego Community and the region's economic vitality having served on various technology committees and participating in programs like SOeC. Chad holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Telecommunications from California State University, Fresno and is a graduate of UCLA Anderson's School of Management Executive Program.

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Howard SchmidtBoard of Directors

Howard Schmidt serves as a partner in the strategic advisory firm, Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cybersecurity. He serves in this position with Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He also serves as executive director of The Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SAFECode).

Howard A. Schmidt brings together talents in business, defense, intelligence, law enforcement, privacy, academia and international relations, gained from a distinguished career spanning 40 years.He served as Special Assistant to the President and the Cybersecurity Coordinator for the federal government. In this role Mr. Schmidt was responsible for coordinating interagency cybersecurity policy development and implementation and for coordinating engagement with federal, state, local, international, and private sector cybersecurity partners.

Previously, Mr. Schmidt was the President and CEO of the Information Security Forum (ISF). Before ISF, he served as Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Security Strategist for eBay Inc., and formerly operated as the Chief Security Officer for Microsoft Corp. He also served as Chief Security Strategist for the US-CERT Partners Program for the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Schmidt holds a bachelor's degree in business administration (BSBA) and a master's degree in organizational management (MAOM) from the University of Phoenix. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters. Howard was an Adjunct Professor at GA Tech, GTISC, Professor of Research at Idaho State University and Adjunct Distinguished Fellow with Carnegie Mellon's CyLab and a Distinguished Fellow of the Ponemon Privacy Institute.

Howard is a Ham Radio operator (W7HAS), a private pilot, outdoorsman and an avid Harley-Davidson rider. He is married to Raemarie J. Schmidt, a forensic scientist and researcher and instructor in the field of computer forensics. Together, they are proud parents, and happy grandparents.

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Trains Good, Planes Bad (Whoo Hoo!)

Half of British pilots admit to sleeping in cockpit - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 13:19

A new survey of British airline pilots has revealed that more than half - 56 per cent - have admitted to falling asleep in the cockpit.

And nearly one in three pilots responding to the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) poll said they had woken up to find their co-pilot also asleep.

Pilot exhaustion grabbed the headlines this week when it emerged that both the captain and co-pilot of an Airbus A330 fell asleep at the same time during a long-haul flight.

That meant the packed jet operated by an unnamed British airline was left unsupervised in midflight for a period of time.

The BALPA survey of 500 pilots also comes ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on Monday on new rules that could replace British regulations.

BALPA, a trade union for pilots, has voiced concerns that these proposed changes would water down British safety standards and compromise flight safety.

The rule changes would mean that pilots could work a maximum of 110 hours in a two-week period, more than the 95-hour limit under British regulations, and at night could be expected to fly for up to 11 hours, against a current 10-hour limit.

"Tiredness is already a major challenge for pilots who are deeply concerned that unscientific new EU rules will cut UK standards and lead to increased levels of tiredness, which has been shown to be a major contributory factor in air accidents," BALPA general secretary Jim McAuslan said in a statement.

The proposals, devised by the European Aviation Safety Agency to harmonise the rules regarding pilots' hours across the European Union, would also mean they could be called to work at any time on their days off.

Currently, restrictions are in place to help them plan their rest on days off.

The survey of pilots, by pollster ComRes, found 84 per cent of respondents believed their abilities had been compromised over the last six months by tiredness with almost half saying pilot exhaustion was the biggest threat to flight safety.

British politicians, in a report published earlier this month, expressed concern that the new European rules set the limit for the flight duty period at night too high.

But the Association of European Airlines, which represents 31 European airlines, urged support for the proposals, saying they would ensure all airlines followed the same rules.

"[The new] rules would ensure that Europe will continue to have one of the strictest rules in the world, even stricter than today," the body's acting secretary-general Athar Husain Khan said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Agency, Britain's aviation regulator, dismissed worries about the new rules.

"We think the new European flight-time-limitation regulations maintain the UK's current high safety levels, and will actually increase safety for UK passengers travelling on some other European airlines," it said in a statement.

Reuters/AFP

Locomotive Runs Over Ukrainian Couple Having Sex on Railroad Tracks

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Archived Version

Source: RIA Novosti

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:17

MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) '' An attempt to spice up their sexual life went badly wrong for a middle-aged couple in central Ukraine, which was run over by a train when having sex on the railroad tracks, local police said.

The woman died on the spot, while the man lost both legs and was hospitalized, the country's Interior Ministry said on its website.

The man and his girlfriend ''failed to overcome their natural passion when walking home '... and wanted to experience an extreme sensation near the railroad tracks,'' the ministry cited the surviving victim as saying.

The duo were run over by a switcher locomotive, the report said, adding that the incident took place in the city of Zaporozhye on early Saturday morning. The ministry did not release the victims' names, saying only that the man was 41 and the woman appeared to be a thirtysomething.

EUROLand

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GREEK POLITICAL MURDER: Suspicions grow as police swoop on Golden Dawn | The Slog. 3-D bollocks deconstruction

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 13:24

Kasidiaris'...likely Athens winner in custody?

As support for Golden Dawn more than halved this week from 14% to 6.7%, many leading commentators here have growing doubts about the motives behind police actions since the murder of Leftist hip-hop rapper Pavlos Fissas ten days ago. Three hours ago Athens sources confirmed to me that GD leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and ten other Party members '' including prominent MPs '' have been arrested on charges of ''forming a criminal political Party''. It is notable that none of the accused, I'm told, have been arrested in direct connection with the murder of Fissas.

Unconfirmed reports further suggest that Elias Kasidiaris (the Golden Dawn Athens mayoral candidate hotly tipped to win that City election) has also been taken into custody. If true, this will further fuel the widespread belief that these events represent an attempt by the Samaras Government to guarantee themselves a clear victory in any future elections. Without Golden Dawn in the running, many traditional voters would switch to Samaras's Party New Democracy. This would leave Alexis Tsipras and Syriza once more neutered in opposition.

See the previous Slogposts about this here and here.

Earlier at The Slog: Why nationalism is scaling down towards tribalism

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Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos arrested

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Archived Version

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 13:24

Link to video: Greeks agree with arrest of Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos MichaloliakosGreek police have mounted an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, arresting its leader, three MPs, and more than a dozen other key members.

As the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, held emergency talks on Saturday with his public order and justice ministers, Nikos Michaloliakos, the extremist organisation's enigmatic founder, was being held by counter-terror officers after a carefully orchestrated operation that began in the early hours of the morning.

The arrested officials will appear in court over the weekend on charges of forming a criminal organization, police said.

Emerging from the talks with Samaras, the justice minister, Charalambos Athanasiou, said: "Justice has moved with decisiveness and transparency. I want to say for all those who have been arrested if they are sent to trial there will be just justice."

Authorities said some 25 counter-terrorism units were trying to track down two other MPs almost nine hours after Michaloliakos was arrested in his Athens home at 7am. Greek media quoted the politician as telling police "what you are doing is not right. The truth will shine," as he was taken away in handcuffs.

Hundreds of Golden Dawn supporters, many wearing the party's black T-shirts, gathered outside Athens' police headquarters, spurred on a text message reportedly sent by the party to "support our moral and just struggle against the corrupt system". Michaloliakos and his chief lieutenant, the party's spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, were inside the building.

Yesterday Kasidiaris, who became infamous with an assault on two female leftwing MPs during a live television debate last year, joked that "we are here to hand ourselves in" as the party launched a lawsuit against Pasok, the junior leftist party in Samaras' fragile coaltion.

Police said weapons had been discovered in the crackdown. Three guns allegedly found in Michaloliakos' home were to undergo ballistics tests, the media reported.

Greece's third-biggest party, Golden Dawn has seen its popularity soar amid desperation and despair over the country's economy, becoming Europe's most extreme rightwing political force in the process. Human rights groups hold the party responsible for hundreds of attacks on dark-skinned immigrants in the three years since the debt-stricken country plunged into crisis.

Since being elected to parliament for the first time in June last year with 7% of the vote, Golden Dawn has been linked to a wave of violence directed mostly against migrants, gays and leftists on Greece's increasingly fractious political scene.

The fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a hip hop star popular among anti-fascists earlier this month, prompted widespread outrage and finally galvanised the governing coalition into taking action. Amid revelations thatGolden Dawn had set up hit squads with the help of commandos in the special forces and openly colluded with the police, authorities launched a far-reaching inquiry into the group's activities. Two senior police generals resigned and several officers were suspended following allegations of links with the party. More than a dozen Golden Dawn members, including the 45-year-old man who confessed to murdering Fyssas, were rounded up.

It is the first time since 1974 that a party head and sitting MPs have been arrested. "This is without precedent in Greek political life," said professor of constitutional law Kostas Chrysogonos. "Authorities are acting within the law but I also think it would have been constitutionally more correct if they had asked parliament to lift their [MPs] political immunity first."

Even if the MPs are imprisoned pending trial, they will still retain their standing as deputies, experts say.

This week Kasidiaris told a TV show that "they can arrest us, they can put us in prison, but we will still be MPs. We are not going to go back even one step."

Although Samaras' shaky coalition has been applauded for its tough stance '' with opinion polls showing a drop in support for Golden Dawn and a slight rise for his own conservative New Democracy party '' there are fears that the crackdown could ultimately have a boomerang effect on the government.

The radical left main opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, gave voice to those fears this week saying the party should be confronted "within the law, not outside it".

Before the crackdown Golden Dawn was polling at around 15%, prompting it to boast it had "more than a million" supporters nationwide.

Earlier this week, Michaloliakos warned he might withdraw his 18-strong parliamentary group from Greece's 300-seat parliament '' a move that could unleash political instability in a country dependent on international rescue funds to survive.

The politician had also said that what he described as "mud-slinging and slander" against his party would also "open the gates of hell".

THE MEMORANDUM-Golden Dawn arrests take Greece into uncharted waters | World news | The Observer

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Archived Version

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:33

A supporter of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party holds a placard that reads: 'Listen chief, listen again, you have ridiculed the system one more time - Golden Dawn of the Greeks', outside the police headquarters in Athens. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/AP

Before his untimely death at the age of 34, Pavlos Fyssas was a hip-hop rapper popular on Greece's anti-fascist scene but little known beyond the frontiers of that music genre or the borders of the country itself. On the night of 17 September all that changed.

After becoming embroiled in a row over a soccer game being shown at a cafe in a working-class Athenian suburb, Fyssas and his friends were set upon by thugs dressed in the combat pants and black T-shirts worn by supporters of the country's far-right Golden Dawn party.

Cornered by the mob, the bearded singer was soon lying in a pool of his own blood, with stab wounds to the heart and chest. Within minutes he had died. And within hours the killer, a self-professed member of Golden Dawn, had been arrested.

Murkiness may still surround the circumstances of the murder, but what Fyssas's death revealed, in sharp relief, was the depth of division within Greece. In an atmosphere made toxic by record levels of poverty, unemployment, desperation and despair, Greeks were soon describing the killing as a "political assassination" '' the latest act in a string of attacks by a party bolstered by its seemingly runaway popularity in the polls.

Overnight, Fyssas had become a martyr '' with the far-rightists deemed to have crossed a red line, despite Golden Dawn's vehement protestations that it had no connection with the crime. Thousands took to the streets.

"Until then we had managed to be civilised about the differences between the left and the right that have run through our country since the [1946-49] civil war," said the political commentator Giorgos Kyrtsos. "With Fyssas's assassination, that line was crossed."

After months of tolerating a group that had brutalised society '' spawning a climate of fear among immigrants, attacking gays, holding "Greek only" food handouts and coarsening political exchange with rants about "subhuman foreigners" in the Athens parliament '' Antonis Samaras's fragile coalition finally took action.

And, when it did, it acted with an alacrity and determination that few might have envisaged. In the space of 10 days, Golden Dawn branches across the nation were raided and searched, members were arrested, weapons confiscated and sympathetic police officers removed from posts. In the early hours of Saturday came the next step: the arrest of five of the organisation's senior members, including its rabble-rousing leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, and 14 prominent cadres.

All 19 were due to appear late on Saturday before a public magistrate on charges of forming a criminal gang.

Not since the return of democracy after the collapse of military rule in 1974 has a party been so publicly hounded. The arrests will undoubtedly unleash new tensions on to a political scene already poisoned by profound disillusionment with an establishment widely blamed for the financial mess that has lead to the nation's economic and social meltdown.

Adding to the crippling sense of uncertainty hanging over Greeks, Michaloliakos himself pledged that the campaign against his party would "open the gates of hell" before his arrest at his home early on Saturday. As Golden Dawn supporters gathered outside the gargantuan central police headquarters in Athens '' blue and white Greek flags in hand underscoring their ultranationalist views '' it remained unclear how the extremist organisation would react.

In recent months Europe had looked on horrified as the group, whose emblem resembles the swastika and whose politicians have openly applauded the policies of Adolf Hitler, has gone from strength to strength. Three years ago the far-rightists won only 0.72% of the vote. In elections last year that support increased tenfold with the party winning just under 7% of the vote and 18 deputies in the 300-seat parliament on the back of deep disgruntlement over sweeping austerity measures.

The government, which had come under increasing pressure to clamp down on an organisation now viewed as the continent's most violent political force, has won plaudits for the decisiveness with which it has ultimately cracked down on the group. Polls have shown a sudden drop in support for Golden Dawn, with conservatives who had migrated to the far right in disgust with Samaras's own centre-right New Democracy party returning to the fold.

But the far-rightists have also managed to retain their core support with successive polls this week showing that the party still remained Greece's third biggest political force. If need be, Michaloliakos and his cadres have vowed to fight their corner from inside prison cells.

Many have voiced concerns that the crackdown could backfire. The government is wading into uncharted waters, constitutionally, with experts emphasising the impossibility of outlawing a party catapulted into parliament by democratic means.

Even if its MPs are found to be guilty they will still retain their political identity. Greeks are still haunted by the memory of the KKE communist party being outlawed for almost 30 years after the civil war.

"It may have been more correct constitutionally to have sought parliament's approval to lift their political immunity first," said the constitutional law professor Kostas Chrysogonos.

In a rare display of consensus on both the left and right, politicians have attributed Golden Dawn's meteoric rise to the relentless, internationally mandated cutbacks Greeks have been subjected to since their debt-stricken country descended into crisis in late 2009. Far from having ideological appeal in a country that suffered one of the most brutal occupations between 1941-44 under Nazi rule, the far-rightists have managed to capitalise on the deep sense of injustice and fury that has increasingly radicalised society.

"Golden Dawn's respirator is the memorandum," said Takis Pavlopoulos, a senior policymaker in the radical-left main opposition Syriza party, referring to the loan accord Athens has signed up to with its "troika" of creditors at the EU, ECB and IMF. "Its base is not ideological but one of desperate people. Once you abolish the memorandum, the party will wither away."

Without Greece being cut some slack by its foreign lenders '' not least Germany which has paid the lion's share of its '‚¬240bn in rescue loans since 2010 but has made austerity the price '' many fear the party will resurface under another name if it is ultimately banned.

Hopes abound that by exposing the inner workings of a group that has operated as a paramilitary force but until now has been shrouded in mystery, Greeks will gradually turn their backs on Golden Dawn.

"We are not saying to all those people who voted for them that they are Nazis or fascists," said Notis Marias, a senior figure in the rightwing opposition Independent Greeks party. "What we are saying is that they made a mistake and this is the time to correct it."

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | xaameriki GOLDEN DAWN news in english

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Archived Version

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 04:02

Golden Dawn Frequently Asked Questions

In recent years, Golden Dawn has been the subject of much controversy, both within Greece and more recently in the international media. Few, if any, media outlets have explained accurately the rise in popularity of the political party or even told the truth about who we are. Reports ranging from twisting facts to flat out blatant lies can be found everywhere. There has not been any response of actual Golden Dawn Nationalists in the English speaking world, until now.

The purpose of this FAQ section of the website, and one of the goals of Golden Dawn North America, is to correct this misinformation so that the Greek Community of the diaspora, and others can learn the truth about who we are, who we are not, and what we believe directly.

Golden Dawn began as a Greek Nationalist organization in the beginning of the 1980's. It was started by Nikolaos Michaloliakos, a native of the Mani region of Greece, a province with a strong cultural tradition of resistance to Turkish occupation.

As a former member of the Greek Special forces, Mr. Michaloliakos saw the start of the current political situation of Greece today being planned. He sought to form a true patriotic force against these elements. The organization of that time was comprised of a core group of Nationalists who based their beliefs on our ancestors ideology. The core ideals of Golden Dawn are based primarily on that of ancient Sparta, and to a lesser extent taking inspiration from more modern figures of our history such as (among many others) Theodoros Kolokotronis and Ioannis Metaxas.

From the start of the 1990's, up until the present, Golden Dawn has been the ONLY political group in Greece that has not compromised it's position. While other parties of Greece were saying patriotic things, only to betray the Greek people so that they could benefit their own political careers, Golden Dawn was taking action against all forces who have motivations other than the welfare of the Greek people in mind.

Today, the effects of this betrayal have become more clear, the Greek people suffer and are losing their homes and businesses, Greek youth face the reality of living in a country where they are not only in fear of the ever increasing theft, murders and rapes (once virtually unheard of), they also face the danger of becoming ethnically cleansed in their native homeland if current immigration trends continue.

The line between who is for the welfare of the Greek people and who has other motives is becoming very clear. The result of this is why Golden Dawn has 18 seats in the Greek Parliament and is now the third largest political party in Greece today.

I like what Golden Dawn is doing, what can I do to help from outside Greece?We get many letters asking this, nationalistic people all over the world have contacted us asking this question, in short please visit the donate section of this website and send non-perishable foods like pasta, cereal and canned items to the Astoria P.O. Box address:

XA AMERIKI38-11 Ditmars Blvd Box # 438Astoria, NY 11105

Our current campaign requests baby food and formula that has a reasonable shelf life. These are shipped to Greece and distributed to real Greek people who have been affected by the crisis. Golden Dawn in Athens makes sure it gets to the people who really need it.

Why is the support for Golden Dawn growing so quickly?Journalists with an agenda other than the welfare of Greeks, try very hard to answer this question ignoring the ''Elephant in the Room''. They usually claim that Golden Dawn has ''brainwashed'' a large portion of Greeks to blame illegal immigrants for the economic crisis and that this concern over the crisis is the only reason.

What they fail to mention, is that about 1/3 of the Greek population lives condensed in the metropolitan area of Athens and roughly around 4/5ths of Greece's 3 million illegal immigrants have also settled there in a period of about 15 years. The Greek population had very little experience with violent crime and rapes when the country was 98% Greek 2 decades ago.

The government and police were not prepared to deal with the skyrocketing increase in violent crime, rape, and diseases the last 5 years. When the indigenous Greek population cried for help, the state ignored them, as most wealthy state officials lived in areas where all illegal immigrants did was take care of their large gardens and houses as servants. The leftist political groups not only ignored them, but told them they should be ashamed for being concerned and frightened.

They had children in private schools and lived in protected suburbs, while working class Greek families dealt with the ''Elephant in the Room''.

What is the ''Elephant in the Room''? Watch the video below, and find out:

This is not the Greece our national heroes who fought for our independence in 1821 spilled their blood for!

Current projections estimate that by 2020, there will be 4 million of these illegal immigrants in Greece, with 10 million indigenous Greeks.

To put that in to perspective, that would be the equivalent to Japan, a relatively small country in land size that currently has 127,000,000 people, all of a sudden was forced to take in 50,000,000 illegal foreigners from a completely different part of the world in around 15 years. That would be 3.5 million people per year flooding in to their country.

Of course this is not happening to Japan, because they strictly enforce their immigration laws.

What Greece and Japan DO have in common however, is the exact same birth rate of 1.39% per woman which means that they are both going through a population decline. (2.1 children per woman is the minimum for a population to remain the same number.)

An article in the New York Times, the very same paper that slanders the Golden Dawn in Greece, is concerned about Japan's future and writes:

''Without Babies, Can Japan Survive?''

Interestingly, seeing as how Greece has the exact same birthrate as Japan, in addition to a massive flood of Immigrants the Greeks never asked or voted for, why are they not asking the same question for Greece? BECAUSE THEY DON'T CARE.

Golden Dawn does care, and the Greek people see that more and more every day, through our actions, be it giving food to our hungry, protecting our elderly from robbery and most importantly, fighting to keep Greece for Greeks.

Who does Golden Dawn consider to be Greek?The party line of the Golden Dawn is this: ''You are born a Greek, you do not become one.''

There was a time not so long ago, when this was the standard way of thinking in the western world, and is still the standard in many parts of the world. In Europe today, an African or Asian Immigrant can now be considered ''French'' or ''British'' if he obtains the correct legal documentation. There are many native western Europeans who have begun to believe in this fallacy of logic the government has promoted to them. These same people, for example, would laugh at and discredit the idea of a Norwegian born and raised in China, being a true Chinese, while at the same time could sincerely claim a person of Moroccan descent born in the Netherlands is ''Dutch''.

Greek people however have lived through periods without a national state, where our ethnic identity was both biological, cultural and religious without any state government. National identity to us is based on blood, not on the definition of any administrative government. A Greek to us is one who overwhelmingly carries the descent of the various ancient Greek tribes around the Mediterranean sea and the cultural legacy from them, through Orthodoxy up to the present day.

It is important to remind people that there are many nations who view national identity being linked with biological descent. This is not something unique to Greeks and it is still being practiced around the world today in nations that are not judged by ''politically correct'' standards of the western world.

Is the Golden Dawn ''Neo-Nazi'' ''Anti-Semitic'' ''Satanist'' ''Racist'' ''Free-Masons'' etc etc?Media figures use labels like this to get the general public to not listen to what we have to say or to try and understand who and what we are. Any rational person, who knows common Greek people, either in Greece or abroad knows that Greek nationalists fought the Axis Occupation in WWII and many of us have grandparents or relatives who died doing so. The strong resistance of our nation during that period was due to Ioannis Metaxas, a leader who by today's had an ideology that would be labeled ''Fascist'' or ''Neo-Nazi'' if it existed today. He was responsible for our preparation of that resistance, not tolerant ''Social Democrats''. Metaxas was a leader who believed Greece was for Greeks, and rejected the Axis, the Allies, and the Communists all at once.

One can easily find photographs of Metaxas doing the Roman salute, organizing marches and training youth in just the same way as you will see in Golden Dawn today. The fact that figures such as Hitler and Mussolini, based some of their of their ideologies on Greco-Roman ideals and certain Spartan principals does not make Golden Dawn ''Neo-Nazi''. Our deep rooted nationalistic ideology existed thousands of years before Adolf Hitler was even born. This is an indisputable historical fact.

Make no mistake, we are Greek Nationalists, and despite what the BBC or CNN has to say, as such we are going to have some basic similarities with other Nationalists around the world, be they Tibetan, German, Somali , Taiwanese or Indian nationalists. Of course, you won't hear a BBC reporter calling a Somali Nationalist a ''Neo-Nazi''.

The only reason they call us ''Neo-Nazi'' is because we are a country in Europe, the Occident, and they know if they use that term, they can get other Europeans to think we are crazed lunatics rather than normal people with families and a culture we want to protect. We stand in the way of the bankers plan to enslave us with their ''European Union'' and to destroy our national identity.

Is the Symbol you use a Swastika or a ''Nazi Symbol''?No. This is a complete Anti-Hellenic lie. This symbol is called the Meandros, and it is a classical symbol found in our ancestors art. It was used as a stamp for anything Hellenic. It has been used for centuries up until the present in all kinds of designs, from vases in Roman art, up until the present day. It symbolizes our culture, so anyone who has a problem with our symbol, obviously has a problem with our culture and what it represents.

''Greeks invented Democracy, so why are you ''Anti-Democratic'' is not that against the ''Greek Spirit''?A common statement parroted by many ignorant Greeks and non-Greeks alike, is that modern western democracy is an ingrained concept of the Greek culture or the ONLY Greek political idea.

For those who may not be educated, Ancient Greece consisted of various city states or kingdoms, the only one of which that practiced Democracy was Ancient Athens.

Despite what the ignorant may think, Athens was not representative of the whole of Greece or the Greek people.

Sparta for example, was ruled by a King, with elements of socialism and nationalism. Macedonia was also very far from being democratic, with Alexander the Great's empire being governed by military generals.

Plato who wrote ''The Republic'' spoke out against democracy as a political system, among others of the era.The point of the above is that Democracy was one of several political theories of Ancient Greece, It is an indisputable fact that the vast majority of political life in Greece as a whole was not related to democracy at all.

So why all the obsession with ''Democracy'' and the word ''Democratic''?

In the western world, the modern system that uses this name has its roots in the English Parliamentary system, not ancient Athens. The reason why the western media promotes this, as being the only form of government is because it is so easily corruptible for their own purposes. The combination of this with television, promotes an image of a candidate or politician that the media bosses want the masses to see, rather than the public seeing who that candidate really is.

In Ancient Athens (the democracy the propagandists constantly allude to) only full blooded Athenian men who had served in the military and fought for the city state were permitted to vote. No Immigrants, no slaves, nor even non-Athenian Greeks were permitted. If such a thing were proposed today, the television would be telling us all how ''Fascist'' such an idea is and perhaps even that it's not ''democratic''.

Golden Dawn today participates in this externally imposed and corrupt Anglo-parliamentary system because that is the current legal means of getting our voice out to our people.

Does the Golden Dawn blame Illegal Immigrants for the Greek Economic Crisis?NO, This has often been repeated in the International Press many times, phrases like ''Golden Dawn, who blames undocumented migrants for the debt crisis'' can be seen in various articles.

The vicious propaganda pushed against the Greek people says that the Greeks themselves caused the crisis and brought it on themselves simply by evading taxes, and being lazy. Now these ''lazy Greek parasites'' are ''looking for a scapegoat'' and that's why immigrants take the blame.

Simple explanations like these are made to distort the reality of the situation today, while Golden Dawn has stated that Illegal Immigration puts a drain on public services, illegal employment and illegal sales of goods hurt native Greek business owners, it has never stated the root cause being these immigrants themselves.

What really caused the Greek economic crisis?While this is a very complex issue, the main root cause of the current situation, can be traced back to 1974. From 1967 to 1974 Greece was ruled by a military regime known internationally as the ''Junta''. The leader of the regime George Papadopoulos, began developing the infrastructure of the country at a time when it was poor at the level of other Balkan countries. Roads to remote areas of the country, electricity, telephone systems, schools, and factories were built, and the country had its most prosperous period of NATURAL economic growth not seen since.

This is to say that the while the economy had grown, it was growing at a slower, steadier pace without huge loans and massive debt. It was still economically not at a level of western European countries, yet production was there and the country was on the right track economically. With its own factories and industries, its own currency and its own interests without the ''European Community'' dictating what it should do.

However, in 1974 this all changed, by 1980 the current system called ''Social Democracy'' was put into place, factories were closed down little by little, the country joined the ''European Commission'' and Massive Loans were taken under the son of George Papandreou Sr., Andreas Papandreou of the ''PASOK'' party, and later its twin ''Nea Dimokratia''.

Civil Servant Jobs, State Funded Jobs, State Funded Government Programs, appeared almost overnight, and within a decade a massive middle class was created. Greek people who had been poor almost all their lives suddenly had secure useless bureaucratic jobs all over the country. ''Vote for PASOK, they will give your son a Job'' was a common phrase heard in villages across Greece. This ''miracle'' was so widespread, that Greeks learned a bureaucratic state job was superior to any other . Useless positions were created to produce army of loyal voters, government jobs that may need 2 or 3 people were employing 10. Pensions, and the near impossibility of getting fired all sweetened the deal.

As the purchasing power increased, the once poor Greek working class was now able to live in a way never imagined before, they felt they had finally reached a level of prosperity only western Europeans once had. They never questioned how this ''miracle'' happened. An average person, who grows up in a small town in Greece, or anywhere for that matter probably is not going to understand how international loans and finance works. All the average Greek had to do was vote for PASOK or Nea Demokratia and the cars, houses and job security would keep rolling in.

While the average Greek did not understand the cause of this ''miracle'', The Papandreou and Karamanlis family certainly did, the western educated Greek politicians certainly did. This ''miracle'' came at a price, and the price was Greece's national autonomy. The price was international access to all of our homeland's resources natural, political and economic. This was a systematic plan.

Now we are told that the international banks who loaned Greece all this money, were ''tricked'' by Greek politicians into making Greece look like a lucrative economic investment and that now the Greek people must pay with harsh austerity measures to compensate for this supposed trickery.

Banks can approve or deny loans for private citizens based on things like debt to income ratio, credit history, assets etc and is virtually never ''tricked'' because the borrower always has some kind of collateral. Yet we are to believe the banks naively loaned billions of dollars to an entire country for decades without suspecting there would be a default? In this case, the collateral the banks want is our whole Nation, our people and our future.

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Help To Buy Scheme-UK's Cameron speeds up launch of controversial housing plan | Reuters

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 04:16

Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:53pm EDT

By William Schomberg and Estelle Shirbon

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Britain's prime minister launched a critical week for his party's run-up to the 2015 elections by unexpectedly bringing forward the launch of a mortgage guarantee programme that critics say risks stoking a housing bubble.

Conservative leader David Cameron said on Saturday that the plan would be up and running next week, three months earlier than previously planned.

The "Help to Buy" plan is aimed at people who have been frozen out of the property market by the soaring size of deposits required to get a mortgage.

"Young people who've got a decent job and have got decent earnings - they cannot buy a house or a flat, because they have to have a 30,000-pound ($48,400), 40,000-pound or 50,000-pound deposit," Cameron said in a statement.

"Now, if you haven't got rich parents, you can't get that sort of money. So we're going to launch the Help To Buy Scheme - it's not coming in next year, it's coming in next week, because I'm passionate about helping people who want to own their own flat or home."

The initiative involves the government providing 12 billion pounds in guarantees to encourage lenders to provide mortgages of up to 95 percent of the value of properties being bought.

It had been due to launch in January and key details such as the fees banks will pay to participate have yet to be announced.

Cameron's announcement comes on the eve of the start of the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester. Such occasions are used by British political parties to make eye-catching announcements and this year offer the chance for them to set out their programmes before a general election due in 2015.

Earlier this month, opposition leader Ed Miliband said a government run by his centre-left Labour Party would freeze energy bills for 20 months, a move aimed at winning over British voters, many of whom have seen their living standards fall during the slow economic recovery from the financial crisis.

Signs that Britain's economy is on the mend had boosted the Conservatives' standing among voters, but Labour's support has risen in opinion polls since the announcement by Miliband. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times puts Labour at 42 percent, with the Conservatives at 31 percent. Cameron's coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, languish at 9 percent.

CONCERNS IN THE COALITION

Seeking to give a boost to homeownership carries risks for the government. Since the mortgage guarantee component of Help to Buy was announced in March, house prices have picked up, raising questions about whether it is still needed.

Britain's business minister, Vince Cable, a Liberal Democrat, has expressed his concerns about the programme.

House prices rose at their fastest pace in more than three years in September, one set of housing data showed on Friday. In London, prices have jumped by nearly 10 percent over the past 12 months, although other regions have seen barely any increase

In a nod to the concerns about a new boom, Britain's finance minister, George Osborne, last week asked the Bank of England to keep a closer eye on the impact of Help to Buy.

Both Osborne and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney have pointed to activity in the housing market that is well below its pre-crisis peak as a sign that there is no new housing boom.

Ed Balls, Labour's would-be finance minister, responded to Cameron's announcement on Saturday by saying the government should bring forward investment to build more affordable homes, denouncing what he said was the lowest rate of house-building since the 1920s.

"Unless David Cameron acts now to build more affordable homes, as Labour has urged, then soaring prices risk making it even harder for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder, Balls said in a statement.

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Obama Nation

Second-in-command of the country's nuclear arsenal is suspended as he is investigated for GAMBLING | Mail Online

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:26

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 11:41 EST, 28 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:32 EST, 28 September 2013

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Suspended: Vice Admiral Tim Giardina has been suspended amid a gambling inquiry. He is second in command of America's nuclear arsenal

The No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces has been suspended and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Command for issues related to gambling, officials said Saturday.

The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at U.S. Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced.

Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, the commander of Strategic Command, suspended the deputy commander, Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, from his duties on Sept. 3.

He is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, she said.

Kehler has recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned, Kunze said. Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command since December 2011. He is a career submarine officer and prior to starting his assignment there was the deputy commander and chief of staff at U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Strategic Command oversees the military's nuclear fighter units, including the Navy's nuclear-armed submarines and the Air Force's nuclear bombers and nuclear land-based missiles. It is based at Omaha, Neb.

Arsenal: Strategic command, where Giardina is posted, controls all of America's nuclear weapons

Kunze said Strategic Command did not announce the Sept. 3 suspension because Giardina remains under investigation and action on Kehler's recommendation that Giardina be reassigned is pending. The suspension was first reported by the Omaha World-Herald.

The spokeswoman said a law enforcement agency, which she would not identify, began an investigation of Giardina on June 16. Kehler became aware of this on July 16, and the following day he asked the Naval Criminal Investigation Service to begin a probe.

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Tim Giardina Suspended: No. 2 U.S. Nuke Commander Under Investigation

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:27

WASHINGTON '-- The No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces is suspected in a case involving counterfeit gambling chips at a western Iowa casino and has been suspended from his duties, officials said.

Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina has not been arrested or charged, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent David Dales said Saturday. The state investigation is ongoing.

Giardina, deputy commander at U.S. Strategic Command, was suspended on Sept. 3 and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a Strategic Command spokeswoman said.

The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced at that time. The command is located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb.

Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, suspended Giardina, according to the command's top spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze. Giardina is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, she said.

Kehler has recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned, Kunze said. Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command since December 2011. He is a career submarine officer and prior to starting his assignment there was the deputy commander and chief of staff at U.S. Pacific Fleet.

DCI agents stationed at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, discovered the counterfeit chips, Dales said. He would not say when the discovery was made or how much in counterfeit chips was found, only that "it was a significant monetary amount."

Council Bluffs is located across the Missouri River from Omaha.

"We were able to detect this one pretty quickly and jump on it," Dales said. He declined to give specifics on how authorities determined that casino chips had been counterfeited or how Giardina might have been involved.

Strategic Command oversees the military's nuclear fighter units, including the Navy's nuclear-armed submarines and the Air Force's nuclear bombers and nuclear land-based missiles.

Kunze said Strategic Command did not announce the suspension because Giardina remains under investigation and action on Kehler's recommendation that Giardina be reassigned is pending. The suspension was first reported by the Omaha World-Herald.

Kunze said a law enforcement investigation of Giardina began June 16. Kehler became aware of this on July 16, and the following day he asked the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to begin a probe.

The suspension is yet another blow to the military's nuclear establishment. Last spring the nuclear missile unit at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., pulled 17 launch control officers off duty after a problematic inspection and later relieved of duty the officer in charge of training and proficiency.

In August a nuclear missile unit at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., failed a nuclear safety and security inspection; nine days later an officer in charge of the unit's security forces was relieved of duty.

___

Associated Press writer Margery A. Beck in Omaha, Neb., contributed to this report.

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Greenpeace activists aren't pirates, says Vladimir Putin

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 03:05

A Russian coastguard officer points a knife at a Greenpeace activist during the attempt to board the Prirazlomnaya oil platform. Photograph: Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace/EPA

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Greenpeace activists apprehended after trying to scale an offshore oil platform aren't pirates, but defended the detention saying Coast Guard officers had no way of knowing who they were.

Two members of the group were detained 18 September in their attempt to scale the Arctic platform. The coastguard seized Greenpeace's ship the next day and towed it with 30 activists aboard, to Murmansk, where they are being questioned by investigators considering piracy charges.

Putin, speaking at a forum on Arctic affairs, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying: "I don't know the details of what went on, but it's completely obvious they aren't pirates."

He added, however, that the officers "didn't know who was trying to seize the platform under the guise of Greenpeace. Especially in view of the events in Kenya, really, anything can happen."

It was unclear whether Putin's comments might foreshadow leniency for the activists, who could face 10-15 years in prison if convicted of piracy.

The detained activists are from 18 countries, including Russia, and a long detention or trials could draw unwelcome international attention to Russia's tough policy against protests.

The platform belongs to state natural gas company Gazprom. It was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011, but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom has said it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set.

Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy.

' This story's headline was amended on 25 September 2013.

Nederlandse activiste Greenpeace twee maanden langer vast in Rusland

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:07

Bewerkt door: redactie '' 29/09/13, 14:14 '' bron: ANP

(C) reuters. Faiza Oulahsen in de kooi voor verdachten in de rechtbank van Moermansk.

De twee Nederlandse opvarenden van het Greenpeaceschip Arctic Sunrise, campagneleidster Faiza Oulahsen en chef machinekamer Mannes Ubels, blijven nog zeker 2 maanden vastzitten. Hun voorarrest is verlengd tot 24 november. Dat heeft een rechter-commissaris in het Russische Moermansk zondag besloten, meldt Greenpeace. Ook de 28 andere opvarenden blijven in de cel.

De Greenpeace-activisten zijn nog niet officieel aangeklaagd, maar worden vooralsnog verdacht van piraterij. Daar staat tot 15 jaar gevangenisstraf op.

'We hadden het wel verwacht, maar het is zeer teleurstellend', laat een woordvoerder van Greenpeace in een reactie weten. De milieuorganisatie gaat hoogstwaarschijnlijk in beroep tegen het besluit.

Oulahsen, Ubels en 28 anderen waren ruim een week geleden opgepakt. Dat gebeurde een dag na een actie bij een boorplatform van Gazprom in de buurt van Nova Zembla. Gazprom en Shell willen in het poolgebied naar olie boren. Volgens Greenpeace is het platform in slechte staat.

De Arctic Sunrise vaart onder Nederlandse vlag. 'Ik ben 10 dagen geleden, op 19 september, illegaal gearresteerd op Nederlands grondgebied. Vanaf dat moment heb ik gevraagd waarom ik werd vastgehouden, maar ik kreeg geen uitleg', zei Oulahsen zondag.

Het Nederlandse kabinet had woensdag geist dat Rusland de bemanning van de Arctic Sunrise zou vrijlaten en het schip 'onmiddellijk' zou vrijgeven.

Obama speaks to Rohani by phone, says deal with Iran possible - Middle East Israel News | Haaretz

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:08

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rohani spoke by phone on Friday, the highest-level contact between the two countries since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and a sign that both sides are serious about reaching a pact on Iran's nuclear program.

Obama had hoped to meet with Rohani earlier this week while both men were in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, but Iran decided a meeting would be too complicated.

A senior administration official said late Friday that the U.S. had communicated with the Israeli government about the phone conversation, Reuters reported. The Israeli government has every right to be skeptical of Iran's government pledges to resolve international concerns over its nuclear program, the official said, and the administration intended to keep Israel informed as contacts with Iran continue.

"I reiterated to President Rohani what I said in New York. While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution," Obama said at the White House.

Obama said both men had directed their teams to work expeditiously toward an agreement on the nuclear issue.

Rohani said on a Twitter feed believed to be genuine that in his phone conversation he told Obama "Have a Nice Day!" and Obama responded with "Thank you. Khodahafez (goodbye)."

The two men "expressed their mutual political will to rapidly solve the nuclear issue," the Twitter account said.

As president, Rohani is the head of the government but has limited powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ultimate authority in Iran with final say on domestic and foreign policy, though Rohani says he has been given full authority to negotiate on the nuclear issue.

Obama made reference to that power structure in his remarks and suggested that an agreement could achieve what Iran's leaders desire: winding down of crippling economic sanctions.

"Iran's supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rohani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons," Obama said.

"I've made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations. So the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place."

Rohani said earlier Friday that Obama struck a new tone in his UN speech this week that left him optimistic about easing tensions between the two countries.

Rohani also said the recent elections that propelled him to the Iranian presidency created a "new environment" that could pave the way for better relations with the West.

Rohani said at a news conference in New York that he did not meet with Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week because there was not enough time to plan such a high-stakes meeting.

But he said Iran emerged hopeful from a lower-level meeting with the U.S. and its international partners aimed at restarting talks to settle their nuclear standoff.

Rohani also said that he wanted talks with major powers on Iran's nuclear program to yield results in a short period of time.

"The atmosphere (in Iran-U.S. ties) is quite different from the past," Rouhani told a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, a day after the highest-level talks between the United States and Iran in a generation.

"Our goal is the shared interest between the two nations. Our goal is resolving problems, our goal is step-by-step creating trust between the governments and peoples," Rohani said.

The Iranian president also said he hoped nuclear talks with the United States and other powers "will yield, in a short period of time, tangible results."

TWITTER IPO PromotionBBC News - US and Iranian presidents tweet 'same language'

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:23

28 September 2013Last updated at13:38 ETSuddenly a world which worries about an unpredictable nuclear state has been taken aback by a new kind of power.

Now it's Iran's "charm offensive" that's causing a stir.

A country whose image is often portrayed in black veils and clenched fists now has a smiling, twinkly-eyed, tweeting president reaching out to the West.

When news broke on Friday of a historic telephone call in New York between an American and an Iranian president, social media fizzed with excitement and euphoria.

"Given how painless that was, and how many millions of people it made happy, it's amazing it took 34 years to make that call," remarked leading Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Biggest tabooOne of the most extraordinary tweets from the @HassanRouhani twitter account was: "In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @hassanRouhani: "Have a Nice Day!"

@BarackObama: "Thank you. Khodahafez [Goodbye]."

''Start QuoteThe return to Tehran descended into a chaotic reminder of Iran's fractious politics''

End QuoteAfter three decades of talking past each other, the Iranian and American leaders seemed to be speaking the same language, at least for some of the words it takes to fill 140 characters on Twitter.

"The biggest taboo in Iranian politics has been broken," remarked Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.

While on his trip to New York during the United Nations General Assembly, President Rouhani even dropped one of the defining anti-American slogans of the Islamic Revolution. He referred to the United States as "the great nation", rather than "the Great Satan."

But like a late-night celebration which loses its sparkle in the bright light of day, so did a tantalising buzz lose some of its allure.

By the time the Iranian president and his entourage landed in Tehran, the stream of tweets describing his 15-minute conversation with President Obama had been removed from his account.

And after a New York visit which seemed carefully choreographed, the return to Tehran descended into a chaotic reminder of Iran's fractious politics.

"He returned to reality on the ground," observed my Iranian colleague Amir Paivar watching developments from London.

A reality check came from both sides of a political divide often defined by attitudes to opening up to the West. "Long live Rouhani, everlasting change," chanted one group while cries of "Death to America" rose loudly from another.

Even eggs and shoes were hurled.

Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times, one of the few Western journalists in Tehran, reported that "President Rouhani was trying to keep smiling but security people tried to shield him off with an umbrella, then pulled him into car and drove off."

Political protection was provided by the official who received him - Dr Ali Akbar Velayati, representative of Iran's most powerful player, the spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It sent a signal that the elected President Rouhani is the Ayatollah's man, empowered by him to achieve results, especially when it comes to easing the sanctions crippling Iran's economy.

"The excitement is outside, we still don't feel it here," a leading businessman in Tehran told me by telephone. "Nothing has happened yet when it comes to sanctions."

BeamingStill, social media in Iran was awash with the cautious hopes of those in a young generation with access to the internet, who are chafing at a life of rules and restrictions.

''Start QuoteIn the past one side was ready and the other was not''

End QuoteTrita ParsiOptimism of some kind was also evident in a tweet which wasn't removed from President Rouhani's account. A photograph showed the 64-year-old cleric beaming just after he finished his momentous telephone call and boarded the plane to take him home.

"President Rouhani is a pragmatic politican," explained Ali Vaez. "He had the courage to cultivate this historic moment for thawing relations with the US whilst having the prudence to do it in a way that would reduce risks for a domestic backlash."

Informed observers believe Ayatalloh Khamanei, known to be deeply suspicious of the West's intentions, has given the reformist president a window to show results.

That may explain why President Rouhani spoke, with surprising optimism, of a nuclear deal within three to six months.

Much will depend on how the international community responds to this outreach.

"In the past one side was ready and the other was not," commented Trita Parsi in a nod to years of missed opportunities for some kind of engagement.

"Now two sides are moving at the same time," said Parsi who heads the US-based National Iranian American Council.

President Obama has made clear that "while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution".

In New York, President Rouhani reiterated his country's key demand in years of protracted nuclear talks . "We will never forego our inherent right to benefit from peaceful nuclear technology, including enrichment."

But he also emphasised Iran would "leave no stone unturned" to reassure the world that its nuclear programme was entirely peaceful.

There's still some scepticism and cynicism over this new-look Iran. The loudest warning came from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who's described the Iranian president as "a wolf in sheep's clothing".

A change in tone will soon be put to the test in the next round of talks between Iran and world powers set to take place in Geneva in mid-October.

The first encounter in New York, where Iran's American-educated Foreign Minister Javad Zarif opened the meeting and sat next to the US Secretary of State John Kerry sent an even more substantial message of change than the presidential call.

In the end, it will come down to what will be many months of old fashioned face-to-face talks between two countries, with a history of enmity and fundamentally different world views, which now realise there are good reasons to engage.

There are also certain to be many more mundane telephone calls and, perhaps, a more restrained succession of tweets.

Suddenly a world which worries about an unpredictable nuclear state has been taken aback by a new kind of power.

Kerry's 'Shall we talk?' prompts rare private meeting between Iran and U.S.

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Source: Reuters: World News

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 04:57

1 of 2. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) are seated during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers representing the permanent five member countries of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Flesh-rotting 'krokodil' drug makes it to US, 'frightens' Arizona medics

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Source: RT - USA

Fri, 27 Sep 2013 19:55

Published time: September 27, 2013 17:41RIA Novosti / Oleg Zoloto

Arizona doctors and law enforcement officials are warning the public about a dangerous homemade narcotic that can cause human flesh to quickly decay and drastically reduce users' life expectancy after the drug surfaced in the US state.

Desomorphine, known in Russia as ''krokodil,'' or crocodile, is an extremely toxic drug made from codeine-based pills that are then mixed with iodine, paint thinner, gasoline, alcohol or oil. The concoction is injected, leading to a shorter but more powerful high that's often found with heroin or morphine use.

While krokodil's popularity quickly grew in Russia in the recent decade, as heroin is much more expensive and difficult to obtain, experts think it has made it to the southwestern United States.

''We've had two cases this past week that have occurred in Arizona,'' Dr. Frank LoVecchio, the co-medical director at Banner's Poison Control Center, told KLTV. ''As far as I know, these are the first cases in the United States that are reported. So we're extremely frightened.''

The drug is known for being heavily addictive, with just one or two injections needed to get someone hooked, as well as for its dire side effects.

With krokodil, users' skin rots from the inside out, and they develop what is known as alligator skin, complete with visible scaly contusions. Long-time krokodil users literally have their skin fall off the bone due to ruptured blood vessels and damage to the surrounding tissues.

Irreversible damage to a krokodil addict's health comes within a month of starting to use the drug, as the brain and liver also start to rot, and the limbs become paralyzed. A user's average life expectancy does not exceed two to three years.

According to Russian anti-drug activist Yevgeny Roizman, who was earlier this month elected mayor of Yekaterinburg, krokodil is now one of Russia's top homemade drugs.

A controversial public figure, Roizman has for years campaigned for a ban on the unlimited distribution in Russian drugstores of codeine-based pills, which he says are widely used by dealers and addicts to make krokodil. The founder of the City Without Drugs and Country Without Drugs NGOs, Roizman has described horrific cases of krokodil use in his blog, saying that for many young Russians it becomes ''the first and the last'' drug. (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

The director of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, has admitted that the surge in desomorphine use across Russia correlated with the sharp increase of drugs containing codeine in drugstores. A legal ban on the non-prescription sale of such drugs in Russia came into force in 2012.

According to figures from Russia's Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination, cited by Country Without Drugs, deaths in Russia from drug overdoses in 2012 rose by 20 percent. In total, some 150,000 Russians died from drug use last year, according to Ivanov, the Drug Control Service chief. Ivanov has estimated that in some regions of the country 90 percent of registered drug addicts use krokodil.

The use and preparation of krokodil has been spreading to countries neighboring Russia and farther into Europe, according to various media reports. In December 2011, Poland's Medical University of Silesia reported at least one death from krokodil use in Warsaw, and also said cases of the drug being used had been confirmed in Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, France, Belgium, Sweden and Norway.

Kenya

Kenya terrorists used new tactic to spare some Muslims

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Source: ynet - News

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:15

The turbaned gunmen who infiltrated Nairobi's Westgate mall arrived with a set of religious trivia questions: As terrified civilians hid in toilet stalls, behind mannequins, in ventilation shafts and underneath food court tables, the assailants began a high-stakes game of 20 Questions to separate Muslims from those they consider infidels.

A 14-year-old boy saved himself by jumping off the mall's roof, after learning from friends inside that they were quizzed on names of the Prophet Muhammad's relatives. A Jewish man scribbled a Quranic scripture on his hand to memorize, after hearing the terrorists were asking captives to recite specific verses. Numerous survivors described how the attackers from al-Shabab, a Somali cell which recently joined al-Qaeda, shot people who failed to provide the correct answers.

Related stories:

Their chilling accounts, combined with internal al-Shabab documents discovered earlier this year by The Associated Press, mark the final notch in a transformation within the global terror network, which began to rethink its approach after its setbacks in Iraq. Al-Qaeda has since realized that the indiscriminate killing of Muslims is a strategic liability, and hopes instead to create a schism between Muslims and everyone else, whom they consider "kuffar," or apostates.

"What this shows is al-Qaeda's acknowledgment that the huge masses of Muslims they have killed is an enormous PR problem within the audience they are trying to reach," said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization. "This is a problem they had documented and noticed going back to at least Iraq. And now we see al-Qaeda groups are really taking efforts to address it."

The evolution of al-Shabab is reflected in a set of three documents believed to be written by the terrorist group, and found by the AP in northern Mali earlier this year. They include the minutes of a conference of 85 Islamic scholars, held in December 2011 in Somalia, as well as a summary of fatwas they issued last year after acceptance into the al-Qaeda fold.

Baptized with the name al-Shabab, meaning The Youth, in 2006, the group began as an extremist militia, fighting the government of Somalia. As early as 2009, it began courting al-Qaeda, issuing recordings with titles like, "At Your Service Osama."

Until the Westgate attack, the group made no effort to spare Muslim civilians, hitting packed restaurants, bus stations and a government building where hundreds of students were awaiting test results. And until his death in 2011, Osama bin Laden refused to allow Shabab into the al-Qaeda network, according to letters retrieved from his safehouse in Pakistan. The letters show that the terror leader was increasingly troubled by regional jihadi operations killing Muslim civilians.

In a letter to Shabab in 2010, bin Laden politely advised the Somali-based fighters to review their operations "in order to minimize the toll to Muslims." Shabab did not get the green light to join al-Qaeda until February 2012, almost a year after bin Laden's death.

In an email exchange this week with The Associated Press, it made its intentions clear: "The Mujahideen carried out a meticulous vetting process at the mall and have taken every possible precaution to separate the Muslims from the Kuffar before carrying out their attack." However, even at Westgate, al-Shabab still killed Muslims, who were among the more than 60 civilians gunned down inside.

Their attack was timed to coincide with the highest traffic at the upscale mall after 12:30 pm on Sept. 21, a Saturday. More than 1,000 people, including diplomats, pregnant women with strollers and foreign couples, were inside when the fighters armed with grenades and AK-47s burst in and opened fire. At first the attack had the indiscriminate character of all of Shabab's previous assaults.

(Photo: AFP)

Rutvik Patel, 14, was in the aisles at Nakumatt, the mall's supermarket which sells everything from plasma TVs to imported kiwis, when he heard the first explosion. "They started shooting continuously, and whoever died, died," he said. "Then it became calm and they came up to people and began asking them some questions. If you knew the answer, they let you go," he said. "They asked the name of the Prophet's mom. They asked them to sing a religious verse."

Just across from the Nakumatt supermarket, a 31-year-old Jewish businessman was cashing a check inside the local Barclays branch when he, too, heard the shooting. The people there ran to the back and shut themselves in the room with the safe, switching off the lights. They learned, via text messages, that the extremists were asking people to recite an Arabic prayer called the Shahada.

"One of the women who was with us got a text from her husband saying, they're asking people to say the Islamic oath, and if you don't know it, they kill you," said the businessman, who insisted on anonymity out of fear for his safety.

He threw away his passport. Then he downloaded the Arabic prayer and wrote it on his palm.

Al-Shabab's attempts to identify Muslims are clear in the 16-page transcript from the conference of Islamic scholars held in the Somali town of Baidoa, an area known to be under Shabab control in 2011, according to Somalia specialist Kenneth Menkhaus, a political science professor at Davidson College in North Carolina. The scholars issued several fatwas defining exactly who was a Muslim and who was an apostate.

The document states it is halal, or lawful, to kill and rob those who commit crimes against Islam: "The French and the English are to be treated equally: Their blood and their money are halal wherever they may be. No Muslim in any part of the world may cooperate with them in any way. ... It leads to apostasy and expulsion from Islam," it says. Further on it adds: "Accordingly, Ethiopians, Kenyans, Ugandans and Burundians are just like the English and the French because they have invaded the Islamic country of Somalia."

Former FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who investigated the bombing of the United States embassies in East Africa as well as the attack on the USS Cole, said that the gathering of dozens of religious scholars in an area under Shabab control harkens back to an al-Qaeda conference in Afghanistan around 1997. That conference defined America as a target, Soufan said, leading to the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

"You see something very similar here," said Soufan. "It's the same playbook."

In a second document dated Feb. 29, 2012 - just two weeks after al-Shabab joins al-Qaeda - the organization warns Muslims to stay away from buildings occupied by non-Muslims, chillingly predicting and justifying the death of Muslims at Westgate.

"And so all Muslims must stay far away from the enemy and their installations so as not to become human shields for them, and so as not to be hurt by the blows of the mujahedeen directed at the Crusader enemies," it says. "There is no excuse for those who live or mingle with the enemies in their locations."

Yet at the same time it says: "The mujahideen are sincere in wanting to spare the blood of their brother Muslims, and they don't want a Muslim to die from the bullets directed at the enemies of God."

This is a concession for an organization that since its inception had killed people constantly, said Rudolph Atallah, who tracked Shabab as Africa counterterrorism director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2003 to 2007.

"They would just go and mow people down," Atallah said. "They are now sending a clear message that, 'Look, we're different ... We're no longer indiscriminately killing. We're protecting innocent Muslims and we are trying to kill quote-unquote 'infidels,' nonbelievers."

A similar tactic paid off in January after al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Moktar Belmoktar attacked a gas installation in Algeria, Atallah said. When his fighters freed hundreds of Muslim employees, a Facebook page dedicated to him exploded with "Likes."

Several hours after the gunshots at Westgate Mall, the people cowering inside the Barclays bank heard a commotion. As the attackers approached, the Jewish businessman spit on his hand to erase the words he had by then committed to memory.

The door opened.

He exhaled. It was the police.

Several floors above, 14-year-old Patel looked for a place to hide on the roof. When the jihadists came up the stairs and threw a grenade, he didn't hesitate. He jumped, crushing his ankle on the pavement below.

He said he would not have known how to answer their questions.

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aangirfan: FAKE PHOTO OF MALL SHOOTING; ISRAELIS IN MALL

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:04

PUBLISHED: 22:15, 28 September 2013 | UPDATED: 22:53, 28 September 2013This is the horrifying moment one of the terrorists in the Kenyan shopping centre attack levelled his gun at cowering hostages, ready to execute them.The attacker, wearing a camouflage jacket and facemask, points a handgun at customers in a bank as they lie under a counter with their hands around their heads. The CCTV pictures were taken inside the Diamond Trust Bank on the ground floor of the Westgate shopping mall in the early stages of the hostage crisis.John comments:The following is an 'unmoderated' comment on the Daily Mail story entitled: 'The executioner: Caught on CCTV, the horrific moment Al Shabaab gunman took deadly aim at hostages in Nairobi mall massacre'.

This is a bank robbery that took place years ago. Stop printing lies!

That first picture is over 3 years old and has been used countless times.

It has been traced back to the FBI website dated April 16 2010.

The FBI is releasing photographs from a bank robbery that took place on Monday, April 12, 2010, at Eastern Financial Federal Credit Union, 2500 S. University Drive, Miramar, Florida at around 10:30 a.m. If anyone has information as to the identity of these bank robbers, they are urged to call the FBI at (305) 944-9101.Hei Hu Quan comments:Alex Traitenberg owns a business at the Kenyan mall.

They're playing games with this Alex Traitenberg's name.

Yesterday it was reported his name is Alex Tachenberg, then today I discovered it is Alex Trajtenberg.

"Sony Holding Limited, a real estate company led by Israeli Alex Trajtenberg, insured Westgate Shopping Mall through UK's Lloyd's market for about Sh6.6 billion."

More on this and a blockbuster revelation here: Kenya's Westgate Mall False Flag

"Officials in the Israeli foreign ministry said that three Israeli citizens that were in the mall at the time of the attack were able to escape unharmed and were collected by the Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Yaki Lopez and the embassy security officer that were present on the scene."

Lawson

Dominic Lawson, a Jewish gentleman who is alleged to be one of MI6's top agents, has recently moved to the Daily Mail.aangirfan: Dominic Lawson, Con Coughlin and MI6

Hersh, who exposed the Mail Lai massacre, which was one of many massacres of civilians carried out by the US military.

Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, says that the official account of the raid which supposedly killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 is 'one big lie'.

Seymour Hersh, 76, said that 'not one word' of the Obama administration's story on what happened is true.

In an interview with The Guardian published today, Hersh attacks the US media for its lies.Hersh first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.

The White House has changed its Osama story many times, according to infowars.com.Hersh writes that the solution would be to shut down news networks like NBC and ABC and fire 90 per cent of mainstream editors and replace them with 'real' journalists who are not afraid to speak truth to power.'The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple,' he said.

DAILY POST: SHOCKING: AL SHABAAB may have escaped through an underground tunnel; KDF never killed any TERRORIST.

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 20:47

DAILY POST: SHOCKING: AL SHABAAB may have escaped through an underground tunnel; KDF never killed any TERRORIST.The Kenyan DAILY POSTNews17:09Friday September 27, 2013 -As Kenya and foreign detectives continue to comb the Westgate debris in searchof missing bodies and answers to the Westgate terror attack, shockingrevelations have emerged that may catch Kenyans unaware following the 4-dayhorror they went through.This is after detectives discovered ahuge underground tunnel, also used as sewerage tunnel, which runs severalmetres from the Westgate Mall to the neighboring Nakummatt Ukay Mall.The detectives noted that the Al-Shabaabterrorists are likely to have escaped through the tunnel, and left theirexplosives in the Westgate Mall, whose explosions have continued to be heardeven after the Kenya Defence Forces secured the Westgate Building.According to impeccable sources fromthe intelligence community, KDF did not kill any Westgate terrorist after all,because there is no sign of any of them in the debris even after combing therubble for days now.This comes as KDF through InteriorCabinet Secretary, Joseph Ole Lenku, insist they killed five terrorists, buthave since failed to prove their assertion. 2012 The Kenyan DAILY POST. All Rights Reserved. - Designed by Denno

MALL ATTACKER - 'CHRISTIAN SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIER'; FORMER PRESIDENT'S FAMILY CANCELLED VISIT TO MALL BEFORE ATTACK

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Source: aangirfan

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 20:11

President Kenyatta's nephew, who was killed in Westgate mall.In Kenya, the CIA prefers former president Odinga to current president Kenyatta.

The family of former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was scheduled to visit the Westgate mall on 21 September, the day of the attack.

But, "God delayed their visit and delivered them from the jaws of death."

RAILA says his family was to visit Westgate but God delayed them

Kenyan boy sniffing glue. Chris Lombardi

Kenya's National Intelligence Service officials told family members not to visit the shopping mall on 21 September.

NIS "did warn the police and officials inside the President's office before the Westgate siege, but its warnings went unheeded."

Some Got Warning To Avoid Westgate Before Bloody Siege

Kenyans. Ignacio HennigsThe first of the mall attackers to be identified is a former Kenyan special forces soldier.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and rival Raila Odinga

Bullying

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Sibling bullying: What's the big deal? | Clemson University, South Carolina

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:54

Published: September 23, 2013

Robin M. Kowalskiimage by: Clemson University

CLEMSON '-- Sibling bullying is a type of violence that is prevalent in the lives of most children, but little is known about it, researchers say.

Clemson University psychology professor Robin Kowalski said the phenomenon has been overlooked.

Kowalski and and co-author Jessica Skinner explored the extent to which sibling bullying is viewed to be normal and the perceived differences between victims and perpetrators. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

The purpose of the study was to profile sibling bullying by examining prevalence rates, the extent to which siblings perceive sibling bullying to be normative and victim''perpetrator differences in perceptions of sibling bullying.

Seventy-five percent of the participants in the study reported being bullied by a sibling and 85 percent reported bullying a sibling.

''Normally in bullying research, percentages are significantly lower for perpetration than victimization,'' said Kowalski. ''Notably, in this research on sibling bullying, percentages were higher for those willing to admit to perpetrating sibling bullying, suggesting that it wasn't all that big a deal.''

The findings were supported by additional data showing that, among most sibling pairs, there is a norm of acceptance about sibling bullying.

Victims and perpetrators did not evaluate instances of sibling bullying the same way. Victims evaluated instances of sibling bullying more negatively than perpetrators evaluated the same instances.

Kowalski uses these findings to increase awareness of an understudied phenomenon.

''People tend to think that siblings are going to tease and bully one another; just goes with the territory,'' Kowalski said. ''Minimizing the behavior in this way, however, fails to examine the consequences that sibling bullying can have for the relationship between the siblings involved, something that most definitely needs additional research.''

Kowalski suggests annual checkups at the pediatrician's office as a venue to increase awareness about bullying.

''Annual checkups with a pediatrician would certainly assist with increasing awareness about and preventing sibling bullying,'' said Kowalski. ''It's a great forum for professionals to educate and talk to parents about what is happening with their children regarding bullying.''

'-- Peyton Bullard

END

Clemson UniversityRanked No. 21 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

Robin Kowalski

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:55

I obtained my Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My research interests focus primarily on aversive interpersonal behaviors, most notably complaining, teasing, and bullying, with a particular focus on cyber bullying. I am the author or co-author of several books including Complaining, Teasing, and Other Annoying Behaviors, Social Anxiety, Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors, Behaving Badly, The Social Psychology of Emotional and Behavioral Problems, Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age, and two curriculum guides related to cyber bullying. I have received several awards including Clemson University's Award of Distinction, Clemson University's College of Business and Behavioral Science Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Phil Prince Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Classroom, Clemson University's College of Business and Behavioral Science Senior Research Award, Clemson University's Bradbury Award for contributions to the honor's college, and the Clemson Board of Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence.

Media Contact

Media Contacts are available to answer media inquiries about their research or other areas of expertise. If you are a reporter, writer, or producer who wishes to schedule an interview, please use the Contact form to send a request that includes: (1) the interview topic, (2) the media outlet or publication you work for, and (3) the date by which you hope to complete the interview.

Primary Interests:Applied Social PsychologyClose RelationshipsEmotion, Mood, AffectHealth PsychologyInternet and Virtual PsychologyInterpersonal ProcessesSelf and IdentityNote from the Network: The holder of this profile has certified having all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to post the files listed below. Visitors are welcome to copy or use any files for noncommercial or journalistic purposes provided they credit the profile holder and cite this page as the source.

Robin KowalskiDepartment of Psychology418 Brackett HallClemson UniversityClemson, SC 29634United States

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Cutting Controversy: German Court Sets New Circumcision Rules

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:27

The Higher Regional Court of Hamm, a city in western Germany, has concretized the law regulating culturally and religiously motivated circumcision, ruling that parents and doctors need to discuss any impending procedure with children.

Circumcision has become a highly fraught subject in Germany since 2012, when a Higher Regional Court in Cologne decided that religious circumcision of boys constituted "bodily harm." That case involved a 4-year-old boy who, two days after being circumcised according to the wishes of his Muslim parents, was brought to the emergency room due to profuse bleeding. The prosecutor then brought charges against the doctor who had performed the circumcision.

While the doctor was ultimately acquitted, the court decided that a child's right to self-determination superceded his parents' right to freedom of religion. The decision prompted widespread uproar, particularly among Jewish and Muslim groups and as far away as Turkey, Israel and the United States. Germany's Central Council of Jews called it "an unprecedented and dramatic intrusion on the right to self-determination of religious communities." Ali Demir, the chairman of the Islamic Religious Community, argued that circumcision is a "harmless procedure, a tradition that is thousands of years old and highly symbolic."

Ultimately, the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, passed a law allowing the religious procedure. According to the new rules, specially qualified members of religious communities can perform the operation in the first six months of a boy's life, after which it must be performed by a physician.

A New Set of Rules

Today's ruling from Hamm adds a new set of conditions to the circumcision process. In the specific case, the court had prohibited a mother from having her 6-year-old son circumcised. The woman, who comes from Kenya, wanted to have her son circumcised in accordance with the customs of her homeland, so that he would be accepted as a full-fledged man by visiting relatives. The divorced father of the son had gone to court to prevent this.

According to the judges, the mother has an inherent right to decide whether to have the procedure performed as long as the child cannot make that decision himself. However, they also ruled that the parents and doctors are obliged to inform the child "in a manner appropriate to his age and development" about the procedure and be mindful of his wishes. In the case of the 6-year-old, this did not occur. Parents must also be informed about the procedure ahead of time.

The court ultimately found the 31-year-old mother's justification for the procedure to be unsatisfactory. Since the family had Germany as its primary place of residence, visits to Kenya were rarely possible, and the child was baptized as a protestant. Moreover, they concluded, a procedure could cause psychological damage to the child, since the mother said she couldn't accompany her son to the circumcision.

In an editorial in the daily S¼ddeutsche Zeitung, respected political and legal commentator Heribert Prantl praised the decision because it "follows the wording and logic of the law: The older the child is who is to be circumcised, the more his own will should be determined and considered. It shows that the central idea of the overall new family law is and continues to be child's well-being."

(C) SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013All Rights ReservedReproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

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BTC

The Daily Dot - This is the world's first Bitcoin brothel

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Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:45

Birmingham, U.K., service VIP Passion'--touted as ''the ultimate midlands escort agency'''--may boast the typical assortment of partners-for-hire, but now they're offering something no rival, or indeed any other brothel on earth, really can: sex for bitcoins. (Or ''companionship'' for bitcoins, to borrow the company's euphemism.)

In some ways, it's surprising that the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency hadn't cropped up in the field of prostitution before. Other illicit economies, from the drug market to online gambling, were some of the first to adopt bitcoin, in part for its supposed untraceability.

VIP Passion did cite the anonymity factor in their move, noting how credit card charges have caused lots of headaches for escort services in the past. But even if using bitcoins doesn't make it harder for law enforcement to prove that sex was bought, there are other industry-specific advantages, as ZDNet's Violet Blue pointed out:

Once the client's payment is processed, Passion VIP calls the client back with a confirmation and the date is set - with no one worrying about payment, theft or counterfeit on either side of the transaction.

The workers also can't be forced to return the money even if under duress.

There's even a QR code on their NSFW website to save you some time. That convenience might mean overpaying, however: while a 90-minute session with a ''standard lady'' will run you $381, it costs 3.75 BTC, which at the moment comes out to $464.30. On the other hand, If the volatile currency were to crash or otherwise suffer drastic devaluation, you could be getting a discount.

In any case, we've come a long way from the whole leave-the-cash-on-the-bureau schtick: could VIP Passion's new payment model change the face of the industry? There will always be Johns getting arrested for soliciting on the street, but clients with money to burn may find it easy to cover their tracks if they're already buried in the Deep Web.

H/T: ZDNet | Photo via birminghamescorts.co.uk

AFRIKA

libya fragmenting - Google Search

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Fri, 27 Sep 2013 14:25

Tough times lie ahead for MaliMail & Guardian Online'Ž - 16 hours ago

... that were part of the occupation in Mali have fled to the south of Libya. ... also within the army and communities that are severely fragmented.

Southern Libya Awaits Another SpringInter Press Service'Ž - 2 days ago

SEBHA, Libya , Sep 25 2013 (IPS) - ''The government doesn't care about us because we are ... This situation is not uncommon in this highly fragmented region.

What Path Will Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Choose?Carnegie Endowment for International Peace'Ž - 3 days ago

To be a full player in a genuinely democratic Egyptian political system, the Brotherhood has to embark on an ideological, doctrinal, and ...

Gunmen kill at least 40 in attack on Nigerian college

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Source: The Daily Star >> Live News

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:10

DAMATURU, Nigeria: Gunmen killed at least 40 people on Sunday in an attack on a college in northeast Nigeria, a Reuters witness said, in a region where Islamist militants have targeted schools and universities.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has intensified attacks on civilian targets in recent weeks in reaction to a military offensive against its insurgency. Boko Haram and spin-off Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-linked Ansaru have become the biggest security threat in Africa's second largest economy and top oil exporter.

Gunmen stormed the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and shot students as they slept in the early hours of Sunday, state police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said.

A Reuters witness counted 40 bodies at the main hospital in Yobe state capital Damaturu, mostly of young men believed to be students. The bodies were brought from the college, which is in Gujba, a rural area about 30 miles (50km) south of Damaturu.

Suspected Boko Haram militants have targeted several schools in recent months, including a raid which killed 27 students and a teacher at a school in Potiskum, a town about 30 miles from the site of Sunday's attack.

Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched its uprising against the state in 2009, turning itself from a clerical movement opposed to Western culture into an armed militia with growing links to al Qaeda's West African wing.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern state in May, including Yobe, and ordered a military offensive aimed at crushing Boko Haram's insurgency.

There was an initial lull in the violence as Islamists fled bases in cities, forests and mountains across the northeast. Then the militants began revenge attacks on schools, seen as the focus of Western-style education and culture, then on the security forces and civilians believed to be helping them.

Islamist Boko Haram gunmen massacre 50 Nigerian students

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Source: DEBKAFile

Sun, 29 Sep 2013 13:37

Islamist Boko Haram gunmen massacre 50 Nigerian studentsDEBKAfileSeptember 29, 2013, 1:14 PM (GMT+02:00)

Molima Idi Mato of the Yobe state College of Agriculture in rural north-east Nigeria told AP that the gunmen had killed as many as 50 students in their sleep after midnight Saturday. They also torched classrooms. Security forces are still recovering bodies. Some 1,000 students fled. Similar school attacks in the region have kept it on a military state of emergency.

Syria/Sudan/Somalia

Text of Draft United Nations Resolution on Syrian Chemical Weapons - NYTimes.com

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013 07:46

The United States and Russia reached an agreement on Thursday on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ridding Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.

Following is the text of this draft resolution.

The Security Council, PP1. Recalling the Statements of its President of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012, 5 April 2012, and its resolutions 1540 (2004), 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), PP2. Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, PP3. Reaffirming that the proliferation of chemical weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security, PP4. Recalling that the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 November 1968 acceded to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, PP5. Noting that on 14 September 2013, Syria deposited with the Secretary-General its instrument of accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Convention) and declared that it shall comply with its stipulations and observe them faithfully and sincerely, applying the Convention provisionally pending its entry into force for the Syrian Arab Republic, PP6. Welcoming the establishment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic (''the Mission'') pursuant to General Assembly resolution 42/37 C (1987) of 30 November 1987, and reaffirmed by resolution 620 (1988) of 26 August 1988, and expressing appreciation for the work of the Mission, PP7. Acknowledging the report of 16 September 2013(S/2013/553) by the Mission, underscoring the need for the Mission to fulfill its mandate, and emphasizing that future credible allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic should be investigated, PP8.

Deeply outraged by the use of chemical weapons on 21 August 2013 in Rif Damascus, as concluded in the Mission's report, condemning the killing of civilians that resulted from it, affirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law, and stressing that those responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable, PP9. Recalling the obligation under resolution 1540 (2004)that all States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, posses