GEICO Cancels Customer’s Insurance Because Of Firearms Connection


(Silver Doctors) A reader has sent us his notification of cancellation of auto insurance from GEICO effective 1/22/13 due to the fact that ”the vehicle does not meet our underwriting guidelines because it is used in conjunction with a company that deals in the weapons industry”.

First Bank of America began confiscating the funds of firearms dealers, now GEICO believes it can cancel service for anyone working in the firearms industry.

Who needs gun bans when the banksters are more than willing to do the dirty work and pull strong armed corruption Chicago style stunts?

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Gov’t Doles Out $10.3 Billion in Improper Unemployment Payments – In 1Year


(CNSNews.com) – The Federal-State Unemployment Insurance program paid out $10.3 billion in benefits in 2012 to people who should not have received the money, according to the Department of Labor (DOL).

The data provided on the government website, paymentaccuracy.gov, shows those payments amount to 11.42 percent of all the unemployment insurance checks handed out – an increase from 11.36 percent in 2011 and in excess of the government’s “target” for overpayments of 9.66 percent.

The DOL states that most of the data reported on its paymentaccuracy website was for the federal government’s fiscal year, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, but that some data may have come from calendar year tabulations, which is why the department “used the term fiscal reporting year to best describe the time period in which the most current information was reported.”

The data also show that improper unemployment insurance payments increased steadily between 2009 and 2012, from 10.3 percent to 12 percent, respectively.

That percentage dropped 0.6 percent between 2011 (12 percent) and 2012 (11.4 percent), according to the DOL, which consequently forecasts that improper payments will fall below 10 percent in 2013 and 2014.

As reported by CNSNews.com, statistics released by DOL show that of the $10.3 billion in improper payments, the states improperly paid more than $5 billion for the period July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. (See DOL spread sheet on states payments.xls )

The “program contents” portion of the website states that 70 percent of the $10.3 billion that was paid out in 2012 was done so through one of three scenarios: “individuals did not meet their active work search requirements, continued to claim UI benefits after they had returned to work, or were ineligible for benefits because they voluntarily quit their jobs or were discharged for misconduct.”

An estimated 2.85 percent of state and federal improper unemployment payments were the result of fraud, according to the DOL.

The government website states that unemployment “helps cushion the impact of economic downturns and brings economic stability to communities, states, and the nation by providing temporary income support for laid off workers.”

 

unemployment(AP Photo)

 

The website also promotes the government’s efforts to end this trend.

“The reduction of improper payments in the UI program is a top priority of the Department of Labor,” the website states.

And the government is spending more money to that end.

“In fiscal year 2012 the Department awarded $169.9 million in supplemental funding to 33 states for the prevention, detection, and recovery of improper UI benefit payments; improve state performance; address outdated Information Technology (IT) system infrastructures necessary to improve UI program integrity; and enable states to expand or implement Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) programs,” the website states.

Warning: Many Childhood Vaccines Contain Aborted Human Fetal Protein, DNA


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(Ethan A. Huff) The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit vaccine safety group, recently conducted an independent review of the contents of childhood vaccines and found that many of them are tainted with ingredients that would shock most parents. Continue reading

Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings


 

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(Economic Collapse) -Does a shadowy group of obscenely wealthy elitists control the world? Do men and women with enormous amounts of money really run the world from behind the scenes? The answer might surprise you. Most of us tend to think of money as a convenient way to conduct transactions, but the truth is that it also represents power and control. And today we live in a neo-feudalist system in which the super rich pull all the strings. When I am talking about the ultra-wealthy, I am not just talking about people that have a few million dollars. As you will see later in this article, the ultra-wealthy have enough money sitting in offshore banks to buy all of the goods and services produced in the United States during the course of an entire year and still be able to pay off the entire U.S. national debt. That is an amount of money so large that it is almost incomprehensible. Under this ne0-feudalist system, all the rest of us are debt slaves, including our own governments. Just look around – everyone is drowning in debt, and all of that debt is making the ultra-wealthy even wealthier. But the ultra-wealthy don’t just sit on all of that wealth. They use some of it to dominate the affairs of the nations. The ultra-wealthy own virtually every major bank and every major corporation on the planet. They use a vast network of secret societies, think tanks and charitable organizations to advance their agendas and to keep their members in line. They control how we view the world through their ownership of the media and their dominance over our education system. They fund the campaigns of most of our politicians and they exert a tremendous amount of influence over international organizations such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. When you step back and take a look at the big picture, there is little doubt about who runs the world. It is just that most people don’t want to admit the truth.

The ultra-wealthy don’t run down and put their money in the local bank like you and I do. Instead, they tend to stash their assets in places where they won’t be taxed such as the Cayman Islands. According to a report that was released last summer, the global elite have up to 32 TRILLION dollars stashed in offshore banks around the globe.

U.S. GDP for 2011 was about 15 trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is sitting at about 16 trillion dollars, so you could add them both together and you still wouldn’t hit 32 trillion dollars.

And of course that does not even count the money that is stashed in other locations that the study did not account for, and it does not count all of the wealth that the global elite have in hard assets such as real estate, precious metals, art, yachts, etc.

The global elite have really hoarded an incredible amount of wealth in these troubled times. The following is from an article on the Huffington Post website

Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.

The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts – excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.

The research was carried out for pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.

He used data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and central banks.

But as I mentioned previously, the global elite just don’t have a lot of money. They also basically own just about every major bank and every major corporation on the entire planet.

According to an outstanding NewScientist article, a study of more than 40,000 transnational corporations conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich discovered that a very small core group of huge banks and giant predator corporations dominate the entire global economic system…

An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The researchers found that this core group consists of just 147 very tightly knit companies…

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

The following are the top 25 banks and corporations at the heart of this “super-entity”. You will recognize many of the names on the list…

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation

The ultra-wealthy elite often hide behind layers and layers of ownership, but the truth is that thanks to interlocking corporate relationships, the elite basically control almost every Fortune 500 corporation.

The amount of power and control that this gives them is hard to describe.

Unfortunately, this same group of people have been running things for a very long time. For example, New York City Mayor John F. Hylan said the following during a speech all the way back in 1922

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation. To depart from mere generalizations, let me say that at the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as the international bankers. The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.

They practically control both parties, write political platforms, make catspaws of party leaders, use the leading men of private organizations, and resort to every device to place in nomination for high public office only such candidates as will be amenable to the dictates of corrupt big business.

These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.

These international bankers created the central banks of the world (including the Federal Reserve), and they use those central banks to get the governments of the world ensnared in endless cycles of debtfrom which there is no escape. Government debt is a way to “legitimately” take money from all of us, transfer it to the government, and then transfer it into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy.

Today, Barack Obama and almost all members of Congress absolutely refuse to criticize the Fed, but in the past there have been some brave members of Congress that have been willing to take a stand. For example, the following quote is from a speech that Congressman Louis T. McFadden delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives on June 10, 1932

Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board has cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of the United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the maladministration of that law by the Federal Reserve Board, and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.

Sadly, most Americans still believe that the Federal Reserve is a “federal agency”, but that is simply not correct. The following comes from factcheck.org

The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks.

According to researchers that have looked into the ownership of the big Wall Street banks that dominate the Fed, the same names keep coming up over and over: the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Warburgs, the Lazards, the Schiffs and the royal families of Europe.

But ultra-wealthy international bankers have not just done this kind of thing in the United States. Their goal was to create a global financial system that they would dominate and control. Just check out what Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley once wrote

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

Sadly, most Americans have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is at the very heart of the global financial system. The following is from Wikipedia

As an organization of central banks, the BIS seeks to make monetary policy more predictable and transparent among its 58 member central banks. While monetary policy is determined by each sovereign nation, it is subject to central and private banking scrutiny and potentially to speculation that affects foreign exchange rates and especially the fate of export economies. Failures to keep monetary policy in line with reality and make monetary reforms in time, preferably as a simultaneous policy among all 58 member banks and also involving the International Monetary Fund, have historically led to losses in the billions as banks try to maintain a policy using open market methods that have proven to be based on unrealistic assumptions.

The ultra-wealthy have also played a major role in establishing other important international institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. In fact, the land for the United Nations headquarters in New York City was purchased and donated by John D. Rockefeller.

The international bankers are “internationalists” and they are very proud of that fact.

The elite also dominate the education system in the United States. Over the years, the Rockefeller Foundation and other elitist organizations have poured massive amounts of money into Ivy League schools. Today, Ivy League schools are considered to be the standard against which all other colleges and universities in America are measured, and the last four U.S. presidents were educated at Ivy League schools.

The elite also exert a tremendous amount of influence through various secret societies (Skull and Bones, the Freemasons, etc.), through some very powerful think tanks and social clubs (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the Bohemian Grove, Chatham House, etc.), and through a vast network of charities and non-governmental organizations (the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, etc.).

But for a moment, I want to focus on the power the elite have over the media. In a previous article, I detailed how just six monolithic corporate giants control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. These giant corporations own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.

Considering the fact that the average American watches 153 hours of television a month, the influence of these six giant corporations should not be underestimated. The following are just some of the media companies that these corporate giants own…

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

And of course the elite own most of our politicians as well. The following is a quote from journalist Lewis Lapham

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”

Have you ever wondered why things never seem to change in Washington D.C. no matter who we vote for?

Well, it is because both parties are owned by the establishment.

It would be nice to think that the American people are in control of who runs things in the U.S., but that is not how it works in the real world.

In the real world, the politician that raises more money wins more than 80 percent of the time in national races.

Our politicians are not stupid – they are going to be very good to the people that can give them the giant piles of money that they need for their campaigns. And the people that can do that are the ultra-wealthy and the giant corporations that the ultra-wealthy control.

Are you starting to get the picture?

There is a reason why the ultra-wealthy are referred to as “the establishment”. They have set up a system that greatly benefits them and that allows them to pull the strings.

So who runs the world?

They do. In fact, they even admit as much.

David Rockefeller wrote the following in his 2003 book entitled “Memoirs”

“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

There is so much more that could be said about all of this. In fact, an entire library of books could be written about the power and the influence of the ultra-wealthy international bankers that run the world.

But hopefully this is enough to at least get some conversations started.

So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

The Great Seal Of The United States

Government Gave 4,317 Aliens 2 Social Security Numbers a Piece


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(CNSNews.com) – A report from the Social Security Administration Inspector General (IG) found 4,317 instances where a non-citizen was able to obtain two Social Security numbers, including 542 instances that happened since 2001.

“We identified 4,317 instances where the Numident record of 2 SSNs assigned to noncitizens contained matching first, middle, and last names; dates and places of birth; gender; and fathers’ and mothers’ names,” the IG reported on Dec. 10, 2012.

Numident – which stands for Numerical Identification System – is the master file of applications for social security numbers. The IG found that SSA had issued multiple numbers to 4,317 non-citizens from 1981-2011.

The IG found that the errors occurred because SSA did not cross-check the names of the people applying for an additional Social Security number.

“In each case, SSA had not cross-referred the records, indicating that SSA either was not aware it assigned two SSNs to the same noncitizen or it believed the number-holders were not actually the same person.”

The review was initiated after a non-citizen was convicted of defrauding the government out of $55,000 in Social Security and federal housing payments by using two Social Security numbers, the report said. While no further fraud was found, the IG acknowledged that the potential for fraud still existed.

“We did not identify any instances where SSA issued benefit payments under both SSNs [social security numbers]. However, we identified other activity on these records that indicated potential abuse or fraud.”

The IG found 514 cases where a non-citizen had reported work under both numbers, making them appear eligible to receive double the federal benefits. In 80 of those cases, at least 10 years of earnings had been reported under both numbers.

Surprisingly, most multiples were issued by the same office, meaning that a non-citizen obtained a Social Security number from a Social Security office and then returned to that same office and obtained a second number, despite using duplicate information.

A total of 3,320 multiples were given by the same office, with nearly half of those being issued within a week. The report said 1,252 multiples were issued by the same office within a week’s time – 251 multiples were issued by the same office in the same day – and 216 of those same office, same day multiples were issued prior to 2000.

In all, the IG found that SSA has gotten much better since 2001 at preventing the issuance of multiple Social Security numbers to non-citizens but was not successful at preventing it entirely.

“SSA controls designed to prevent issuance of multiple SSNs to noncitizens have been effective at preventing these occurrences, and the number of such cases has declined significantly over the past 30 years. However, SSA’s records indicated that, on occasion, the controls did not prevent the unauthorized issuance of multiple SSNs to noncitizens,” the report concluded.

“Noncitizens who obtain multiple SSNs have used, or could use, the SSNs to defraud Federal benefit programs or to conceal work activity.”

Suicide numbers rise sharply, especially among middle-aged men


A phone link to the Samaritans(guardian.co.uk) Significant rises in the overall UK suicide rate and in the proportion of men aged between 45 and 59 killing themselves have been reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Male suicides are now at their highest rate for nearly a decade, although they are still proportionally fewer than they were 30 years ago. The rate among men aged 45-59, which has gone up sharply in recent years, is at its worst since 1986.

In Wales, the overall suicide rate for men and women rose by 30% between 2009 and 2011.

The Department of Health in England last year identified middle-aged men as being at high risk of killing themselves, in its suicide prevention strategy, while a report for the Samaritans suggested men from low socioeconomic backgrounds living in deprived areas were 10 times more likely to die by suicide than were men from high socioeconomic backgrounds living in the most affluent areas.

Norman Lamb, the care services minister, said the figures caused very real concern, and they needed to be tackled “head on”.

In all, 6,045 suicides were recorded among people aged 15 and over in 2011, the ONS said. That is up 437, or 8%, on the previous year, the rise being the same in percentage terms for men and women. The UK suicide rate is now 11.8 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 11.1 in 2010, and the highest since 2004.

The number of male suicides increased to 4,552, which at a rate of 18.2 per 100,000 was the highest level since 2002. The worst suicide rate remains among men aged 30 to 44, at 23.5 per 100,000; for 45 to 59-year-old men, the figure now stands at 22.2 per 100,000.

Female suicides rose to 1,493, a rate of 5.6 per 100,000. Although suicide among 15- to 29-year-old females is rare, the rate in this age group has also risen significantly, from 2.9 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.2 per 100,000 in the latest statistics. Big gender differences have been recorded for a generation.

The ONS accepts that some of the increases could be down to changes in statistical recording. Coroners in England and Wales are now giving more “narrative” verdicts, where causes of death are difficult to identify. The ONS advised them to describe the circumstances of deaths in a way that could make clearer the intentions of those who died: for example, whether there was deliberate self-harm rather than an accident.

In England, the overall suicide rate is 10.4 deaths per 100,000, with the rate highest in the north-east, at 12.9, and lowest in London, at 8.9. In Wales, the suicide rate has leaped up sharply, from 10.7 in 2009 to 13.9 in 2011.

Changes in death registration rules and the way in which deaths are recorded in Scotland appear to have had a more dramatic effect on figures there, making statisticians cautious about comparing previous figures. In 2011, there were 889 suicides under the new rules and 772 under the old ones. But the General Register Office for Scotland says the “moving average” over recent years has consistently been “around 800 or so”.

In Northern Ireland, there were 289 suicides in 2011, 216 men and 73 women. That figure is down from the 313 (240 men, 73 women) the previous year.

Luxembourg Court Backs Iceland’s Decision Not to Pay Banker-created Debt


 

iceland-flag

(TheRealAgenda) -Who has to pay the bankers in Iceland’s banking crash? Not the Icelanders. Different from countries such as Spain and Ireland, Iceland decided that taxpayers should not pay for the excesses of an industry that had grown disproportionately, but most importantly, that had ramped up the country’s debt to a point where upwards of 90 % of the debt written under the country’s name was actually bank debt.

Iceland will compensate the British and Dutch two of the countries that had bet more heavily in the fictitious financial products offered by banks out of Iceland. The citizens said no twice through referendums, and now, five years after the collapse of its banking system, a Luxembourg court just gave the northern nation the reassurance that they did what needed to be done to get rid of the bankers’ tentacles.

The Court of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) believes that the country did not violate any law when it refused to return to 300,000 savers money deposited in foreign entities offering some interests that then seemed to good to pass. “It is a victory for democracy. It sends the message that banks can not reap the benefits and send the bill to taxpayers when things go wrong, “says Magnus Skúlasson, an Icelandic economist.

The court, which also represented Norway and Liechtenstein, provides a very interesting nuance: Iceland is not obligated to pay as “the deposit insurance fund was unable to meet its obligations in the event of a systemic crisis “. The decision by the court would be equal to the FDIC fund not having enough cash to ensure the banking entities in the United States, with bankers demanding that U.S. taxpayers assumed the responsibility of a carefully crafted collapse of the American banking system. Just as in the case of Iceland, U.S. taxpayers would not be liable for the banks’ misconduct and therefore they wouldn’t have to pick up the tab.

A community spokesman was quick to answer that Brussels clings to the obligations of the deposit insurance funds that remain “valid also if there is a systemic crisis.” Nevertheless, the European Commission says it needs time to study the ruling. “The ruling is also good for the Netherlands and the UK. If they had won, it would mean that the nation-state is responsible for all bank deposits, something no country wants, “adds Jon Danielsson of the London School of Economics.

After the bankruptcy, the governments in London and Amsterdam used their coffers to compensate customers of the Icelandic bank. Shortly after they began the legal process that came to an end yesterday, as the ruling that Reykjavik considered “satisfactory”, does not admit any appeals.

Despite the support of the courts, Iceland has ended up paying some of the money. Reykjavik has already repaid about 3,300 million euros, about half of the total paid in Icesave, that corresponds to debt that the government itself was actually responsible for. The money corresponds to the debt from Landsbanki, one of three banks that failed in 2008 and led the entire country’s banking system to bankruptcy. The amount paid is more than 90% of the guaranteed minimum that the State was obliged to return.

Police state gone wild: Couple facing 60 days in jail for rescuing injured baby deer


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(NaturalNews) An Indiana couple saved a wounded baby deer and nursed it back to  life, saving its life and giving it a home. They named it “Little Orphan Dani.”  When Indiana state officials got word of this courageous act of compassion, they ordered the deer euthanized. (Because government wants to kill  everything you love.)
When the deer “escaped” right before it was  schedule to be killed — and yes, I think the couple probably set it free rather  than have it killed — the man and woman were charged with unlawful  possession of a deer.
They now face $2,000 in fines and 60 days in  jail.
This is yet another example of the government police state  gone wild, and it’s on top of seemingly countless other stories of similar  police state insanity such as armed government raids on raw milk  distributors.
Click  here for more details on this story from ABC News.
Click  here for the Facebook support page calling for charges to be dropped against  the couple.
Click  here for the Change.org petition.

Who wants to kill the deer and imprison the couple? The DNR

The bastard  a@#holes behind this action are, predictably, the Indiana Department of  Natural Resources (DNR). This is the same name as the department in Michigan  that forced small farmers in that state to  murder their own baby pigs.
What we are seeing today across America,  both at the state and federal levels, is big government gone BAD,  ignoring the real criminals at the top while threatening, fining and imprisoning  the “little people” who are only trying to do the right thing.
Recent  examples:
Michigan gardener Julie Bass was threatened  with jail time for teaching her young son gardening skills in a home garden  planted in her front yard.
A woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma had  her medicinal garden destroyed by thuggish government “officials” who waited  until she was gone before gutting her entire plot of edible herbs.
James  Stewart, the California “raw milk man,” was subjected to unbelievable jail  torture in LA county for the “crime” of distributing fresh farm milk to happy  customers. His “Rawesome Foods” was hit with an armed multi-agency  government raid during which $50,000 in fresh eggs, milk, fruit and meat was  confiscated and then destroyed. As he was held in jail in LA county, he was  subjected to starvation, hypothermia and having his jail cell intentionally  flooded with raw human feces as punishment.
These are just a few of  the many examples of the government police state gone mad in America.  There are many more for anyone who dares to look.

Government has become too large, too powerful, too arrogant and too  dangerous

The big picture in all this? America’s current government is a  grave danger to America herself. We are living under increasing tyranny, total  government surveillance of our emails, texts and phone calls, and selective  enforcement of laws in order to punish the little people while the powerful  elite run free.
As an example of that, New York Mayor Bloomberg insists  that everyone in New York should be stripped of all their firearms, but he walks  around with five  armed goons who intimidate journalists for daring to ask questions about  Bloomberg’s outrageous hypocrisy.
America is being divided into the  “privileged” class versus the working class. The privileged elite are immune to  virtually all prosecution of existing laws while the working class are subjected  to every nit-picking technical violation of every law imaginable. Nearly every  person alive today commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.  In fact, that’s the title of an  eye-opening book by Harvey Silverglate.
As the book’s description  states:
The average professional in this country wakes up in the  morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware  that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The  answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have  exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies  a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become  dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how  prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most  seemingly innocuous behavior.
That’s why this couple is being  terrorized by their government for saving a little Bambi. The government wants  to remind them who’s in charge, and the way to do that is to abandon all  common sense and compassion and engage in the raw exercise of brute force  power.

All government operates with the threat of violence against us  all

Remember: All government operates at the end of a gun. Government  achieves compliance solely by the threat of violence against the People.  This is what is brilliantly revealed by Lew  Rockwell and other intelligent critics of big government.
The reason  government wants all Americans disarmed right now is because it wants a  monopoly of violence that can be used against people to destroy their home  gardens, criminalize saving animals, mandate forced vaccines, shut down  medicinal herb companies and routinely terrorize the people. Even while the  government wants us all to be disarmed, it is buying up thousands  of full-auto assault rifles as well as over  a billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the  USA.
Have you figured it out yet? There is no Al-Quaeda. There is no Bin  Laden. The real terrorists are power-hungry government berserkers within  our own government, and they will stop at nothing to usurp power and enslave the  masses.
I’ve been shouting this for years, and with each astonishing  transgression of this liberty-crushing government, more and more people are  waking up. Every time the government threatens another innocent gardener, parent  or animal rescue person with imprisonment, tens of thousands of people hear  about it and wake up to the reality that government in America has gone  rogue. It no longer serves the People. Instead, it considers the People to  be its enemy, and it is dedicated to crushing the People.
It’s time we  put government in its place. It’s time we took a stand for all the innocent  victims of the terrorist government currently running things in this country.  It’s time we stopped the government bailouts to rich, wealthy banksters and the  criminalization of routine human activities like saving wounded animals or  growing home gardens.
I’ve had enough. Have you? Are you ready yet to  call for the end of tyrannical government and the restoration of justice,  liberty and the Bill of Rights? Keep reading Natural  News because this story has only just begun.
Learn more:

Father of Oregon terror suspect says teen suffered identity crisis when brainwashed by FBI


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PORTLAND, Ore. (Associated Press) –The father of an Oregon terrorism suspect testified Monday that his then-teenage son was suffering from an identity crisis and enduring a troubled home life when the FBI brainwashed him.

Osman Barre, the father of Somali-American terrorism suspect Mohamed Mohamud, said he was concerned for his son’s safety when he contacted the FBI in 2009.

Barre said Mohamud told him he was planning to fly to Yemen to learn Arabic at a time when Barre was frightened by news accounts of Somali-American teenagers joining the mujahedeen in Somalia.

The stories led him to contact the FBI and say he feared his son was being brainwashed by al-Qaida recruiters.

But Barre testified Monday that he now thinks it was an elaborate FBI sting that brainwashed his son.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday. Barre was the first defense witness.

Mohamud is accused of attempting to detonate a bomb at a Portland Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in November 2010. The bomb was a fake supplied by undercover FBI agents whom Mohamud thought were al-Qaida recruiters.

During cross-examination by prosecutors, Barre was asked why he used the word “brainwashed” when speaking about his son to FBI agents. Barre interrupted Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight to say, “Can I tell you, the FBI brainwashed my son.”

“That’s not the question I asked,” Knight responded.

Authorities say the FBI was tracking Mohamud’s online contacts with Islamic radicals in early 2009. By the time Barre contacted the bureau, agents had been watching Mohamud for months, from the time he was 17.

Defense attorneys have argued that the bureau could have informed Barre and Mohamud’s mother about the contacts with radicals. FBI agents have testified that providing such information could have compromised ongoing investigations into the jihadi contacts with whom Mohamud was involved.

Barre said he did not hear anything further from FBI agents until his son was arrested.

Barre described Mohamud’s life in the strict Muslim home as troubled by the time he came to the FBI’s attention. Barre and his wife, Miriam Hassan, had split up, and the couple’s daughter _ Mohamud’s younger sister _ kept running away.

Mohamud was a sweet-natured kid, Barre testified, but impressionable and immature. The family believed Barre’s contact with the FBI led to Mohamud being placed on the no-fly list.

Mohamud turned from an engaged, sociable freshman at Oregon State University into a withdrawn sophomore who slept during the day, Mohamud’s friend Mohammad Mohamed testified.

Barre, under cross-examination, told Knight he drilled into his children that they should be grateful to live in America. He said he told them not to make waves, to make their parents proud.

“Did you do everything you could to help your son?” Knight asked. “Did you give him every chance to succeed?”

With his wife sitting 20 feet away in the gallery, her chin cradled in her right hand, Barre paused.

“I wish I did more.”

Mainstream Leaders Say Blogs Are Valuable News Sources


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(Washington’s Blog) -The President of the United States, Head of the Federal Reserve and Others Say Blogs Are Good Sources of News

President Obama said:

Blogs are best at debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke noted (according to Matt O’Brien, business and economics editor at the Atlantic):

I read blogs. Blogs have become pretty important source of intellectual exchange.

David Steele – former 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer – says  that blogging is crucial for saving our country.

Many of the top economists and financial experts have their own blogs.

The same is true in every other field: politics, law, science, history, international relations, etc.

So next time someone tells you that blogs aren’t credible, tell ‘em that mainstream leaders disagree …

Postscript: Because mainstream media and even social media tend to censor, many people are turning to blogs for unfiltered news and opinions from top experts.

China Just Threatened a Currency War If the Fed Doesn’t Stop Printing


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(Gains Pains and Capital) -The tension between Central Banks that we noted yesterday continues to worsen. This time it was China and the EU, not just Germany, that fired warning shots at the US Fed.

A senior Chinese official said on Friday that the United States should cut back on printing money to stimulate its economy if the world is to have confidence in the dollar.

Asked whether he was worried about the dollar, the chairman of China’s sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, Jin Liqun, told the World Economic Forum in Davos: “I am a little bit worried.”

“There will be no winners in currency wars. But it is important for a central bank that the money goes to the right place,” Li said.

Speaking at the same session, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici voiced concern that the euro was becoming overvalued as a result of quantitative easing and other stimulus actions taken by other nations’ central banks.

“Certainly, the level of the euro is high and creates some problem,” he said, attributing the single currency’s recent gains partly to the return of confidence created by the European Central Bank and euro zone governments in starting to overcome Europe’s debt crisis.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/25/us-davos-currencies-idUSBRE90O10620130125

So first Germany begins pulling its Gold reserves from the US, and now China and the EU are saying publicly that the Fed’s policies are damaging confidence in the US Dollar.

This does not bode well for the financial system. The primary role of Central Banks is to maintain confidence in the system. If the Central Banks begin to turn on one another it is only a matter of time before the system breaks down.

Remember, every time the Fed debases the US Dollar it forces the Euro and other currencies higher, hurting those countries’ exports. The Fed has recently announced it will be printing $85 billion every month until employment reaches 6.5% (obviously the Fed is ignoring the mountains of data that indicate QE doesn’t create jobs).

How long will the other Central Banks tolerate this before they initiate a currency war? Both Germany and China have fired warning shots at the Fed. And we all know that just beneath the veneer of goodwill, tensions are building between the primary players of the global financial system. More importantly, how can investors profit from this? Remember, entire fortunes can be made during times of crises.

This is precisely the sort of “unquantifiable” investment analysis we specialize in with our Private Wealth Advisory newsletter.

With most of the markets dominated by computer programs and Wall Street sharks, the only way to make serious money is by focusing on the opportunities and risks that no computer or group-think Wall Streeter can come up with. If you can do this, you can still making a killing in the markets.

We’re speaking from experience here.

By focusing on investment ideas and portfolio risks that are “unquantifiable” we’ve shown  Private Wealth Advisory a success rate of OVER 80% on our investments.

Put another way, we’ve made money on more than eight out of ten investments. This includes a 74 trade-winning streak (from July 2011-July 2012 we didn’t close a single losing trade).

And this is not some flash in the pan either… Private Wealth Advisory has a history of beating the market and locking in serious gains when others are losing their shirts (we saw a 7% gain in 2008 when the markets fell over 30%)

Indeed, I’m so confident in this newsletter that it comes with a 30-day refund period. If you’re not totally satisfied with Private Wealth Advisory in the first month, simply drop us a line and we’ll refund every cent of your subscription.

You’ll have full access to the Private Wealth Advisory archives in that time. You’ll also receive two new hot off the press issues and very likely several trade signals (it’s getting close to time to close out our 7th and 8th straight winners).

To find out more about Private Wealth Advisory and how it can help you beat Wall Street and the market…

Italian Prosecutor Implicates Bilderberg Group and CIA for Massacres in Italy During the Seventies and Eighties


(Activist Post) The Bilderberg Group has now been directly implicated for the murder of Italian activists during the seventies and eighties.

According to Ferdinando Imposimato, a former prosecutor that investigated the Italian Mafia who is also an honorary president of the Italian Supreme Court, during a speech he delivered at a book launch revealed for the first time that the Bilderberg Group were responsible for massacres of political activists during the seventies and eighties in Italy.

Ferdinando Imposimato not only implicates the Bilderberg Group, he also reveals that the CIA and Bilderberg Group were working in partnership to destabilize the Italian political framework during the seventies and eighties.

While discussing how the Bilderberg Group and CIA tried to infiltrate Italy, Mr. Imposimato was quoted as saying:

The strategy (used by the CIA) was used to shift the political balance from right to center-left and then to left. This was orchestrated by the CIA.

Unknown to many, the Bilderberg Group has a long history of manipulating political frameworks around the world.
Within the last 12 months, prominent members of the Bilderberg Group have been appointed to the upper echelons of the United States and United Kingdom governments.

Interestingly, Italy has been represented at many Bilderberg Group meetings. In fact, at the last three Bilderberg Group meetings, 17 participants were Italian. On average, Italians make up 5% of the participants list at all Bilderberg Group meetings.

The following is a list of Italian Bilderberg Group participants:

Franco Bernabe, John Elkann, Mario Monti, Tommaso Padoa Schioppa, Paolo Scaroni, Giulio Tremonti, Gianni Agnelli, Umberto Agnelli, Alfredo Ambrosetti, Emma Bonino, Giampiero Cantoni, Lucio Caracciolo, Louis G. Cavalchini, Adriana Ceretelli, Innocent Cipolletta, Gian C. Citizens Cesi, Rodolfo De Benedetti, Ferruccio De Bortoli, Paolo Zannoni, Antonio Vittorino, Ignazio Visco, Walter Veltroni, Marco Tronchetti Provera, Ugo Stille, Barbara Spinelli, Domenico Siniscalco, Stefano Silvestri, Renato Ruggiero, Carlo Rossella, Virginio Rognoni, Sergio Romano Gianni Riotta, Alessandro Profumo, Romano Prodi, Corrado Passera, Cesare Merlini, S. Rainer Masera, Claudio Martelli, Giorgio La Malfa, Francesco Giavazzi, Gabriele Galateri, Paolo Fresco, John Elkann, Mario Draghi, Gianni De Michelis.

To learn more about the Bilderberg Group, click here.

Israel boycotts UN forum, first state in history to ignore human rights review


(RT) Israel has boycotted the UN human rights forum over fears of scrutiny of its treatment of residents of the occupied territories. Israel is now the first state in history to win a deferment of the periodical review of its human rights record.

Tel Aviv has refused to send a delegation on Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review procedure where UN member states have their human rights record evaluated every four years.

Israel’s cooperation with the council stopped last March after the UN set up a committee to inspect the effects of the Israeli settlements on Palestinians.

Israel which earlier accused the United Nations of anti-Israel bias reiterated its stance, recalling that the council has passed more resolutions against Israel than all other countries combined.

“After a series of votes and statements and incidents we have decided to suspend our working relations with that body,” Yigal Palmor, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told the Financial Times. “I can confirm that there is no change in that policy.”

“There have been more resolutions condemning Israel than the rest of the world put together,” an Israeli government official said on Tuesday. “It’s not a fair game – it’s not even a game.”

Following the Israeli decision, the council has decided to postpone its review until no later than November.

The Council president has also called on the body to adopt a draft response to an unprecedented move by Israel.

Egypt’s representative meanwhile has warned that a “soft” approach would create a dangerous precedent and leave“a wide-open door for more cases of non-cooperation,” the AFP quoted.

Activist groups lash out against Israel’s disregard for international law.

“By not participating in its own review, Israel is setting a dangerous precedent,” Eilis Ni Chaithnia, an advocacy officer with al-Haq, a human rights organisation based in Ramallah has told the FT. “This is the first time any country has made a determined effort not to attend.”

Others thought that the council’s decision to delay gives Tel Aviv the opportunity to make amends. Eight Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement saying, “Israel now has a golden opportunity to reverse its decision not to participate,” adding “it is legitimate for Israel to express criticism of the work of the Council and its recommendations, but Israel should do so through engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, as it has done in previous sessions,”JTA quotes.

The investigation into Israel’s Human Rights record began in 2007, but last year the UN started to pay particular attention to Israel’s activities in the West Bank.

The probe at the time prompted an angry response from the country’s leader.

“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Senior Israeli officials announced last month that Israel does not intend to cancel plans to accelerate settlement construction.

Netanyahu himself said in an interview with Israeli Channel 2 last month that the disputed area “is not occupied territory” and that he “does not care” what the UN thinks about it.

Around 500,000 Israelis and 2.4 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, areas that, along with Gaza, the Palestinians want for a future state.

The United Nations regards all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Tel Aviv last attended the human rights review in 2008. Israel is not a member of the Council, which is comprised of 47 UN member states.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It


 Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Chicago School Prinicipal: Students and Teachers need to be familiar with the sound of gunfire


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(CAV News) – Here’s a story to get your head pounding. Cary- Grove High School in the suburbs of Chicago, will run a drill that will have someone shooting  blanks in the hallways to better familiarize students and teachers with the sounds of gunfire.

I’m pretty sure most students and teachers have heard gun fire in either a movie, a song, or a recording of a violent act on the news.

““in an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire.”

That was part of what Jay Sargeant, who is the school principal at Cary- Grove High School wrote to parents in his letter.

So what’s next? A real live fire? Perhaps barrels of water to prevent death of flooding?  Maybe we could throw in some mood changing prescription pills for the unlucky but different type of student to see how they react when they aren’t on them?

As suspected or expected not all parents are on board for this drill.

Parent Sharon Miller told a local radio station:

“If you need to run a drill, you run a drill,” she told WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya. “They run fire drills all the time, but they don’t run up and down the hallway with a flamethrower.”

Here is the letter that Jay Sargeant and the Cary-Grove High School sent home.

Dear parents:

At Cary-Grove and across District 155, we make your child’s safety our number one priority each day.  As a parent, I can assure you that we understand our responsibility to return your child safely at the end of each day.  While we take many preventative steps to keep our building secure, we also practice our response should a crisis arise.  Some examples include meetings with first responders, a comprehensive crisis response plan, and simulations.  We are planning a code red simulation on Wednesday, January 30.  We feel it is important to explain the simulation to you in advance so that you and your child might be able to better understand what will take place on Wednesday.

The simulation will take approximately 15-20 minutes, during which time teachers will secure their rooms, draw curtains, and keep their students from traveling throughout the building.  Please note that we will be firing blanks in the hallway in an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire.  Our school resource officer and other members of the Cary Police Department will assist us in sweeping the building to ensure that all students are in a secure location during the drill.  At the conclusion of the drill, we will take some time to process what occurred and then we will return to our normal classroom routine.

I encourage you to discuss the drill with your student both before it happens and after.  These drills help our students and staff to be prepared should a crisis occur, but it may cause some students to have an emotional reaction.  In those cases, your voice may provide reassurances of the drill’s importance.  Additionally, we have trained social workers on staff who can speak directly with your child should he or she need added support.

Should you have any questions, please contact me or any member of the Cary-Grove’s administrative team.  Together, we can keep our school a safe place for your child to learn and grow.

Sincerely,

Jay Sargeant Principal

 

Written By: Derek Wood

Source:CBS Chicago

Are you Shocked?Op-Ed: Obama closes office devoted to closing Guantanamo


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(Digital Journal) -The Obama administration has decided to close the office  devoted to closing the Guantanamo prison in Cuba. The special envoy associated  with the office has been reassigned and not replaced.

A report in the New  York Times claims:

“The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s  second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues  aimed at repatriating or resettling detainees ,appeared to signal that the  administration does not currently see the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison  as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do  so.”

Fried’s former  responsibilities will be taken over by the office of the department’s legal  adviser with no senior official replacing him.

Even back in May 2009, Obama  shelved a plan to bring a number of innocent and wrongly detained prisoners to  the US who could not safely be repatriated. Worthington also points out :

“In January 2010,” he imposed a ban on releasing any cleared Yemeni  prisoners, after it was revealed that the failed underwear bomb plot of  Christmas 2009 was hatched in Yemen, even though the deeply insulting rationale  for the ban is that Yemenis, although cleared for release, can instead be  imprisoned for life on the basis of ‘guilt by nationality.’”

To be fair, Congress has done all it  can to block Obama from closing Guantanamo or giving innocent detainees refuge  in the US. In some cases courts have blocked Obama as well. The announcement  happens just as 5 detainees at Guantanamo are facing death penalty charges  before a military tribunal over the 9/11 attacks. The detainees were informed  they had the right not to attend future sessions of the hearings. All five said  they understood their right but one detainee said that there was no motivation  to attend anyway since  “the prosecution does not want us to hear or understand  or say anything.”

Daniel Fried’s post of special envoy  was created in 2009, not long after Obama assumed the presidency and had  promised to close the prison within a year. Fried worked hard, traveling the  world trying to repatriate detainees cleared for release. He repatriated 31  detainees and also persuaded third-party countries to resettle another 40  detainees.

However, as the US Congress imposed  more and more restrictions on any further transfers, Fried had less to do. In  fact, Fried was given the task of resettling Iranian exiles from the M.E.K,.  designated a terrorist group by the US, who had been living in a refugee camp in  Iraq.

A  spokesperson for Fried’s office said:

“We remain committed to closing Guantánamo, and doing so in a  responsible fashion. The administration continues to express its opposition to  Congressional restrictions that impede our ability to implement transfers.”

The most recent defense authorization  act restricts Obama’s ability to transfer detainees even further. While Obama  threatened to veto the bill, he signed it instead. He did, however, issue a  statement saying that as commander in chief he had the power to override the  restrictions since they involve wartime prisoners.

Recently, a federal appeals court  in Washington vacated  guilty verdicts against two detainees because the crimes of which they were  convicted were not internationally recognized war crimes. Attorney General Eric  Holder Jr., nevertheless, continues to argue that it is permissible to bring  such conspiracy charges before a military commission.

President Obama, as well as the US  Congress, has made it clear that the rule of law in the US includes indefinite  detention with no charges and without any real due process. Since holding too  many people is an embarrassment and an expense, Obama also carries out a  targeted killing program on suspects that avoids the cost of keeping prisoners  indefinitely.

It would seem that Obama also believes  in indefinite closing of Guantanamo.

 

Must read and share: Prescription sleeping pills lead to a 4x increase in premature death


pillssleeping 265x165 Prescription Sleeping Pills Lead to 4x Increase in Premature Death Risk

(Natural Society) -As a nation, our dependence on prescription drugs continues to climb. Even kids are heavily medicated, with over 25% of children being on some type of prescription drug, wheather it be antidepressants, antipsychotics, or ADHD pills. Prescription sleep aids, called hypnotics, are also being tossed back at an alarming rate and with little thought to their negative effects. One recent study revealed that these pills may do more than help you get some zzz’s; they may kill you.

Increasing Risk of Premature Death

According to the Alliance for Natural Health, 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled in 2011, that’s compared with 47 million in 2006. That’s due, in part, to the millions of people who have trouble sleeping. An estimated 70 million Americans struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders. So, like every other modern ailment, the modern American visits their doctor for a “fix”.

In this case, the “fix” is a class of drugs known as hypnotics. They help you sleep, but can also lead to nausea, dizziness, headaches, and addiction. But what many people don’t realize, is that they can also lead to premature death.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, if you take a prescription sleep aid, even as little as 18 pills throughout the year, you increase your risk of premature death by four times. And if that isn’t bad enough—you increase your risk of cancer by 35%.

It’s worth noting that the study didn’t find a cause and effect relationship here. In other words, scientists aren’t 100% sure that the pills lead to the problems. It could be that people who are more likely to take these prescription drugs are more likely to have other health problems overall. And that wouldn’t be a surprise. After all, sleep disorders like insomnia are directly tied to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.

But, the link cannot be ignored. If you turn to prescription sleep drugs, this should serve as a wake-up call.

You can’t run to a prescription when your body shows symptoms of discord. Insomnia could be a symptom of stress, depression, or brought on by obesity. Determining the cause of the insomnia will help you better treat it without adding all of the risks that go with a hypnotic-drug regimen.

In the mean time, try turning to herbal sleep remedies or natural sleep apnea treatments if you suffer from sleep apnea.

 

Woman gets $250,000 settlement after being thrown to the ground, hogtied by police while pregnant


 

(Image credit: screenshot of YouTube video originally captured by attorney Howard Price)

(Image credit: screenshot of YouTube  video originally captured by attorney Howard Price)

(End The Lie)- Tamara Gaglione was recently paid $250,000 in damages for being pulled over  for talking on her cellphone, after which she was thrown to the ground and  hogtied by California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers on the shoulder of a busy  freeway.

This type of behavior, while indeed disgusting, is far from surprising given  that police hogtying women isn’t all that rare and a woman died of suffocation last year in the back of a Los  Angeles Police Department patrol car after being kicked in the genitals and  forced into the vehicle.

In this case, it seems that the dashboard camera is what ultimately held the  officers accountable, just as a similar camera did in the case of a 66-year-old man who was beaten for no apparent  reason.

The incident occurred in August of 2011 and resulted in charges of evading  and resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license, all of which were  dropped after a judge saw video footage  of the incident captured from a dashboard camera of a CHP cruiser.

30-year-old Gaglione, 2 months pregnant at the time, was pushed face-first  into the asphalt after an officer swept her legs with a kick. Another officer  used his knee to pin her to the ground, all while she was pregnant.

Howard Price, Gaglione’s attorney, told the Huffington Post that Gaglione could hear officers  talking about the video of the encounter on the way to the station.

Yet when Price requested the video in order to present it as evidence in  Gaglione’s criminal trial, he was told no footage of the incident existed.

“I went back to them, and I said, ‘Look, am I stupid? This involved a chase.  There must be a videotape,’” Price said.

Eventually, the prosecutor finally handed over the footage from the dashboard  camera of a backup officer, although that footage showed nothing.

Once Price was told the footage did, in fact, exist, he was told that no one  could transfer the video to another medium.

Price was then forced to go to the CHP station himself in order to record the  footage for posterity.

The video Price took of the original CHP footage being played was then  uploaded to YouTube and can be seen below.

“The conduct here is outrageous. What these officers did here was bewildering  to me. They knew she was pregnant,” Price told the Los Angeles Times. “She never resisted arrest.”

“After first stopping on the right shoulder, she was ordered to not stop  there, to go forward and get off freeway [sic],” Price explains on his website. “Because of rush hour traffic noise, she did not  hear clearly what she was directed to do.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the officers ordered her to toss her car keys out of her window, exit her  vehicle and put her hands on the car.

Instead, Gaglione simply stands outside of her vehicle staring at the CHP  officers, “appearing confused,” as the Los Angeles Times puts it.

When the officers are yelling, “Turn around,” it appears that Gaglione says  something, although it is inaudible.

In the official report, the CHP officers claimed that she appeared to raise  her arms in a menacing manner, although it is quite hard to detect if there are  any menacing arm movements from the footage.

The officers then approach Gaglione with their guns drawn, sweep her legs  with a kick and push her face-first into the ground.

Another officer pins Gaglione to the ground with a knee in her back, although  Price contends that it was actually placed on her neck.

“At another point, it appears the woman is kicked in her left ribs,” the Los  Angeles Times notes. “Eventually she is hogtied and placed in a squad car.”

“I’d never seen a gun for real before,” Gaglione said. “I just froze. I was  scared they’d shoot me.”

While Gaglione maintains that she told the officers she was pregnant when  they first approached her, one of the officers, Officer Daniel Hernandez, said  that she did not mention that she was pregnant until she was on the ground.

In Hernandez’s report, he said that he kneed Gaglione in an effort to  distract her so that Officer Roberto Martinez, his partner, could handcuff  her.

The officers wrote in their report that the incident escalated because  Gaglione ignored their orders and “appeared to raise her arms in an aggressive  manner after hopping out of the van,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Gaglione later sued both the CHP, the sergeant and five officers involved in  the incident, “alleging that her civil rights had been violated and that she had  been subjected to excessive force and malicious prosecution,” according to the  Los Angeles Times.

While CHP officials would not discuss the incident itself, they said that  both sides concluded that the $250,000 settlement was in everyone’s best interest.

“The CHP conducted a review of the tactics and, as necessary, took  appropriate action,” stated Fran Clader, department spokeswoman.

Both of the officers involved in the incident with Gaglione remain CHP  officers.

After the misdemeanor charges were dropped, Gaglione pleaded no contest to  the infraction for using a cellphone while driving.

Gaglione is now the mother of a 9-month old son and moved to Pennsylvania  from Los Angeles after the 2011 encounter, according to Price, who added that  her son was not apparently affected by the incident.

“I will always be scared of police officers because of these knuckleheads,” Gaglione said.

 

Is That Kid Normal? Teachers Trained to Notice When Students May Not Be; Training Sponsored by Drug Companies


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(CNSNews.com) – If parents can’t or won’t admit their child has a mental problem, a teacher with rudimentary training may spot the warning signs for them.

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth-largest school district, says it will start training hundreds of school psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors, teachers and school staffers to identify possible mental health problems in junior- and high-school students.

“Teachers, coaches and other school personnel who interact with students every day, are in an excellent position to notice when students may be showing signs of mental health problems,” says the American Psychiatric Foundation, the philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association.

The American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) offers schools a training program called “Typical or Troubled.” It says the trademarked program – sponsored by three pharmaceutical companies that make psychotropic drugs — has been used in 420 schools nationwide, the latest being the Miami-Dade system, as The Miami Herald reported on Monday.

“If we are going to seriously address the problem of mental illness, it will take the whole community linking hands and focusing on the teen years, when so many mental disorders first emerge,” said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho in a news release announcing the training. “The ‘Typical or Troubled?’ program is the best way we know of to do that.”

As part of the training, school officials will get tips on how to approach parents whose child may need professional help.

“Parents can miss the signs of early mental illness during the teenage years, when young people can be moody or rebellious,” said Paul T. Burke, APF’s executive director. “How do you tell when a teenager’s behavior is cause for concern? This program, by educating parents, helps inoculate them against denial when their child is truly troubled, and gives them strategies for how to respond.”

Nationwide, says APF, approximately 15 million children between the ages of 9 and 17 have diagnosable psychiatric disorders, with about 90 percent of those children exhibiting early warning signs by age 15.  More than 60 percent of young people with mental health disorders are not getting adequate treatment, the APF says.

But with schools acting as a mental health referral service, calls for treatment may increase. And starting in 2014, Obamacare requires most health care plans to cover “essential benefits,” including mental health services.

APF says its “Typical or Troubled” program is sponsored by drug-makers Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Shire, and it teaches that effective treatments for mental problems include therapy and medication or a combination of both.

Signs of trouble

Even “typical” teens may have mood swings, distressing thoughts, anxiety, and impulsive behavior, the experts say. APF’s training program is intended to help school personnel understand the warning signs that indicate something more serious than growing pains.

Mental health disorders that can affect teenagers include depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders.

APF lists the following as some of the warning signs that may require intervention:

— Marked change in school performance, sleeping or eating habits

— Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of the rights of others– Opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism

— Abuse of alcohol or drugs

— Self-injury or self-destructive behavior

— Sexual acting out

— Threats to run away

— Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression

— Strange thoughts and feelings and unusual behaviors

— Inability to cope with problems and daily activities

Judge Steven Leifman, who sits on the APF board of directors, says school is the “perfect place to bring students, parents, teachers and other school personnel together and ultimately to connect troubled youth to the help they need.”

The Miami-Dade school system says the training of school guidance personnel will begin in late February, after which the counselors will share with teachers and other school staffers what they’ve learned.

The school system also plans to hold parent education workshops and a public awareness campaign.

Colleen Reilly, director of “Typical or Troubled?“ told The Miami Herald that after what happened in Newtown, “This needs to be a national curriculum and a part of every school.”

The newspaper quoted Reilly as saying the goal of the program is not to have teachers diagnosing students: “We’re asking them to learn about and notice the warning signs, and if they see a problem to refer them to someone who has a better grasp.”

And what about normal children who are flagged as “troubled?” Judge Leifman told The Miami Herald, “The worst that would happen is they’ll get evaluated.”

Ron Paul calls US involvement in Mali ‘undeclared war’


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(RT)Ron Paul said US assistance to the French intervention in Mali is a sign that the Obama administration is creeping into another war – especially since questions about the extent of US involvement remain largely unanswered.

­The recently retired congressman outlined his fears in his weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk”. Paul said that while the US has only announced its transport and intelligence assistance to the French initiative, “this is clearly developing into another war”. “President Obama last week began his second term by promising that ‘a decade of war is now ending,’” Paul wrote. “As he spoke, the US military was rapidly working its way into another war, this time in the impoverished African country of Mali.”

Paul believes that unanswered questions about possible US involvement on African soil further indicates that Obama has been more active in the conflict than he admits, and that Congress has been kept out of the loop.

“Media questions as to whether the US has Special Operations forces, drones, or CIA paramilitary units active in Mali are unanswered by the Administration,” Paul said. “Congress has asked few questions and demanded few answers from the president. As usual, it was not even consulted. But where does the president get the authority to become a co-combatant in French operations in Mali, even if US troops are not yet overtly involved in the attack?”

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that US assistance in Mali is a good example of future military assistance it might provide to its allies and that the US would not bring its own troops into the conflict. The US first became involved by airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali with its C-17 transport planes, but gradually expanded its roles in Africa.

In response to a French request, the US on Saturday agreed to fly tankers to refuel French jet fighters and bombers who are located primarily in the conflict zone in northern Mali. An unnamed US defense official told The Guardian that the KC-135 tankers would be involved in the operation for months, or as long as needed.

The US on Monday signed an agreement with the West African country of Niger that would allow it to increase its US military presence and create a hub near the Malian border from which American drones could monitor al-Qaeda militants in northern Mali. The hub could be used as a launching pad for strikes and intelligence gathering, but the government has still remained mute about the extent of its contributions to the French military campaign.

Although the Obama administration has hesitated at the thought of entering another war, officials have no ruled out the use of armed drones or special-operations units to go after al-Qaeda militants in Mali.

The US involvement in Mali has sparked concern among war-weary Americans.

France “doesn’t have the military resources to sustain its fight against Mali’s jihadists without help from the US military. For now, that amounts to the use of giant transport planes to ferry French troops into Mali, and planes to refuel French combat aircrafts that are pummeling the militants’ positions,” writes USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham. “But that might now be enough. As recent events have shown, Northern Africa has become an expanding battleground for jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda.”

Wickham believes that as other al-Qaeda-linked groups begin to support their comrades in Mali, the US “will not be able to avoid a bigger military involvement.”

Army drill scares residents on Houston’s south side


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HOUSTON (KTRK) — The sight of Army helicopters and the sound of gunfire created a lot of concern Monday afternoon in one Houston neighborhood.

 

We received a lot of phones calls, Tweets and Facebook posts from worried neighbors, wondering what was going on.

SkyEye 13 HD was over the south side where at first look, it appeared there was a massive SWAT scene happening.

With military helicopters flying above her southeast Houston neighborhood, Frances Jerrals didn’t know what to think.

“When you see this, you think the worst. When you hear this, you think the worst,” Jerrals said.

And so, she passed along her concern.

“She told me ‘don’t come home it sounds like we’re in a war zone. Guns, shooting, helicopters flying around the house,'” Isaac Robertson Jr. said.

The U.S. Army along with other agencies took over the old Carnegie Vanguard High School near Scott and Airport. There were armed men in fatigues, plenty of weapons and what many thought were real live rounds

“I felt like I was in a warzone.” Jerrals said. “It was nonstop. I was terrified.”

Turns out, it was a multi-agency training drill that Jerrals wished would have come with warning.

“They could have done a better job in notifying the neighborhood,” Jerrals said.

The Army did not give any details of what the training is for. Some people we spoke to needed no explanation.

“If it’s to protect our kids, I’m all for it,” neighbor Glenn DeWitt said.

BACKFIRE: Seattle Gun Buyback Turns Into Gun Show


 

Guns For Cash - Texas

(SHTF Plan) -Leave it to enterprising Americans to always find a loophole in the midst of ever-expanding government regulation.

While thousands of Seattle residents lined up for hours to trade their handguns, rifles and family heirlooms away in exchange for up to $200 in gift cards as part of the city’s latest gun buyback program, gun collectors who have seen prices for assault rifles and firearms accessories almost triple since November took advantage of a huge opportunity.

Police stood in awe as gun enthusiasts and collectors waved wads of cash for the guns being held by those standing in line for the buyback program.

Police officers in Seattle, Washington held their first gun buyback program in 20 years this weekend, underneath interstate 5,  and soon found that private gun collectors were working the large crowd as little makeshift gun shows began dotting the parking lot and sidewalks.

Some even had “cash for guns” signs prominently displayed.

People that had arrived to trade in their weapons for $100 or $200 BuyBack gift cards($100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons) soon realized that gun collectors were there and paying top dollar for collectible firearms. So, as the line for the chump cards got longer and longer people began to jump ship and head over to the dealers.

John Diaz, Seattles Police Chief,  wasn’t pleased with the turn of events stating “I’d prefer they wouldn’t sell them,” but admitted it’s perfectly legal for private individuals to buy and sell guns, FOR NOW. Mayor Mike McGinn said at a news conference the private transactions are a loophole that needs to be closed. “There’s no background checks, and some (guns) could be exchanged on the streets that shouldn’t be in circulation.”

But Schuyler Taylor, a previous gun retailer attending the event in hopes of buying weapons, asked Why not offer them cash versus a gift card? I’m still taking the guns off the streets; they’re just going in my safe.

Pictures from the Gun buyback turned gun show in Seattle:

Will Buy Guns for Cash

Gun Buyback Line

Cash For Assault Rifles

Cash For Guns

As lawmakers and gun control advocates further press the issue of disarmament, law abiding American gun owners who see those very same politicians refusing to disarm their own armed security details and exempting themselves from gun control legislation they mandate upon the rest of us, are starting to push back.

New York gun owners are organizing and resisting the new registration requirement recently forced down their throats by the State legislature.

Calls for defiance are taking hold across the entire spectrum of gun owners, with even elected law enforcement officials now rejecting any forced Federal or State mandates that they deem unconstitutional.

In Milwaukee, and to the fury of Mayor Tom Barrett, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. launched a media ad campaign promoting a new partnership with residents of his city :

I’m Sheriff David Clarke and I want to talk to you about something personal: your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport; I need you in the game.

But are you ready?

With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.

You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.

 

Law abiding gun owners in America minded their own business and simply asked to be left alone. Now, because of the actions of criminals and psychopaths who will not disarm despite any legislative action, we have government officials on all levels and even the private sector attempting to limit how we can protect ourselves and our families from the very people who are out there committing the violence.

Sides are being taken.

And while there may be an effort to weaken certain Constitutional protections and even repeal them altogether, there are tens of millions of Americans uniting behind a single cause. They come from all walks of life, different political ideologies, and many are members of our armed forces and local police departments.

Every attempt that gun grabbers have made in an effort to disarm Americans and limit our access to firearms has been vehemently rejected, and in the case of the Seattle impromptu gun show, used for the benefit of expanding gun ownership.

If certain government officials really believed in our right to bear arms and wanted to keep guns in the hands of responsible, law abiding people, they wouldn’t be trying to take them away from us. Instead, they’d be giving us a tax break for gun safes.

Gunships Over Miami: “Machine Gun Fire, Strafing Runs, Troops Rappelling From Choppers, and Road Blockades”


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(SHTFPlan) -Gun control advocates say deadly assault weapons have no business being on the streets of America.

But, apparently, those same people who would restrict you of your ability to defend yourself have no objections to fully loaded military gunships flying over American population centers.

That’s exactly what happened in Miami, Florida recently when the U.S. military, in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, staged an “urban training exercise,” justifying the action as as preparation of our troops for deployment overseas.

If we’re supposedly pulling our military out of Afghanistan and Iraq, which urban environment is it that the military and local police are training for?

Military “exercises” in populated urban environments are now so routine, so commonplace, they are no longer reported by the national media and are left as “human interest” stories for local news stations.

 

For instance, in Miami last Thursday, units of the military industrial complex staged yet another training exercise.

“Diving Blackhawks, blank rounds of machine gun fire, strafing runs, troops rappelling from choppers, and road blockades,” writes Karen De Coster. “All over the skies of Miami at night, just a few days ago. According to this local TV clown in the video, this event was for the purposes of ‘meeting requirements,’ preparing for overseas military drills, and making sure the equipment is in check.”

In the above video, we hear the staccato of door guns pounding away as “military-style choppers” swooped a couple hundred feet above traffic on I-395 in downtown Miami.

From the local CBS disinfo ministry:

The training is designed to ensure that military personnel are able to operate in urban areas and to focus on preparations for overseas deployment. It also serves as a mandatory training certification requirement.

Source: Kurt Nimmo at Infowars.com

The U.S. military has remote training installations all over the world. Why, then, would it be necessary for them to be engaging in exercises over a major U.S. city?

We are being systematically desensitized to a domestic police state. From being violated by security agents at our nation’s airports, to heavily armed hybrid security teams being deployed in martial red zones around the country, the government is reshaping our perceptions of what  ”normal” means.

In this context it’s important to note that Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano recently said that we no longer need to worry about Al Queda as a threat to America. Rather, DHS security and intelligence resources are shifting to the domestic front:

“There’s been a lot of evolution over the past three years,” she said. “The thing that’s most noticeable to me is the growth of the lone wolf,” the single attacker who lives in the United States or elsewhere who is not part of a larger global conspiracy or network, she said.

She named no examples, but it’s a phenomenon that is increasingly the focus of international anti-terror operations.

As has been previously noted, the US military, including the National Guard, have been training for domestic policing actions for many years, and have been actively war gaming large scale economic collapse and civil unrest scenarios.

Make no mistake. The goal of this live environment exercise is not to stop a terrorist threat from Al Queda or some other rogue foreign element.

It’s to stop you.

Drones: 13 things you need to know from Congress’s new report


Congress drones report privacy spying technology

A new Congressional report lays out in vivid detail  the danger drones could pose for personal privacy. Here’s everything you need to  know.

 

(Digital Trends) -Starting in 2015, the skies above the United States will become infiltrated  by a rare creature: drones. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),  drones are currently forbidden from flying in U.S. airspace above 400 feet,  unless the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides a license. But thanks  to a bill  passed by Congress early this year to make these licenses easier to get,  drones will likely become a part of everyday life for Americans.

While fun and futuristic, this coming reality unearths serious questions  about privacy and personal liberty in the 21st century. A report published last  week by the Congressional Research  Service (CRS) shows that our laws are currently unprepared to deal with the  privacy implications posed by the use of drones. The report (pdf)  is an excellent read — at least if you’re a wonk like me. But if you don’t have  time to peruse a 20-page CRS report, here are the 13 things you must know about  the looming drone privacy apocalypse.

1. There will be 30,000 drones in the sky in less than 20 years

drone swarm

The FAA estimates (pdf)  that within the next 15 years, more than 20,000 drones will take to the skies in  the U.S., including drones operated by police, military, public health and  safety agencies, corporations, and the public in general. That number is  expected to jump to 30,000 within 20 years from today — a number the FAA refers  to as “relatively small.” Currently, the FAA has only given out about 300  licenses to fly drones capable of cruising at more than 400 feet in the air.

2. Matters of privacy are all about “reasonableness”

reasonable

The Fourth  Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees our right against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The key word here is “unreasonable” — and  thanks to our rapidly changing technologies, its definition is in near-constant  flux.

CRS researcher and legislative attorney Richard M. Thompson II, who authored  the report on drones, explains in the report that “the reasonableness of drone  surveillance [as considered by the courts] would likely be informed by location  of the search, the sophistication of the technology used, and society’s  conception of privacy in an age of rapid technological advancement.”

It’s this last part — “society’s conception of privacy” — that you should  worry about on a daily basis, as it applies to the use of information gathered  by everything from drones flying over our back yards to GPS capabilities in our  smartphones to our Facebook profiles. Once society becomes generally “OK” with  certain information becoming public, or becoming public in a certain way — once  we think of these things as “reasonable — the Fourth Amendment protects us  less.

3. The Fourth Amendment: It depends what the definition of “search” is

surveillance-camera-shutterstock

As with what can be considered “reasonable,” the definition of what  constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment is a slippery beast. The  Fourth Amendment provides for little wiggle room when it comes to activities  performed in your home, behind closed doors and curtained windows. (No searches  without a warrant there — most of the time, anyway.) But as soon as you leave  the confines of your house, things start getting more complicated — and things  get even worse when you consider surveillance that uses planes and helicopters.  Throw drones in the mix and, well, the fine line across which surveillance by  the state becomes “search” gets downright knotty.

Thompson’s CRS report explains that a court reviewing the use of drones under  the Fourth Amendment will have to consider past cases that involved “privacy in  the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial  surveillance, those involving the national border,” and instances when warrants  aren’t needed to perform a “routine” search (like searching a car at a U.S.  border), to determine the definition of a “search.”

4. Drones will have the ability to see through walls and ceilings

x-ray vision

Thanks to technology like the Xaver  800 from Camero, which uses electromagnetic radar to construct 3D images of  hidden objects, law enforcement and military personnel can now “see” through  walls. Combine this with laser radar and thermal imaging techniques, and our  homes practically have glass walls, as far as the police are concerned. Thompson  estimates that similar technology will eventually be outfitted on drones,  allowing them to see through ceilings and walls. The question before  the courts will be: Without a warrant, is that reasonable?

5. Drones could be outfitted with face recognition technology

face recognition

In addition to seeing through our walls, Thompson writes that law enforcement  organizations “might seek to outfit drones with facial recognition or soft  biometric recognition, which can recognize and track individuals based on  attributes such as height, age, gender, and skin color.”

Considering that the FBI is currently undertaking a  $1 billion project to build out its face recognition capabilities, this one  seems all but inevitable. However, as Thompson explains, the sophisticated  nature of such technology may determine whether the use of face recognition  technology on drones “is lawful under the Fourth Amendment.”

6. Aerial searches in manned aircraft are not against the Fourth Amendment — but drone surveillance may be different

helicopter

While the Fourth Amendment provides strict protections for privacy inside the  home, anywhere outside the home falls into other categories of protection. The  first is “curtilage,” which is defined as the area surrounding a home (like a  front or back yard). Areas outside of that are referred to as “open fields.” The  Fourth Amendment protections apply differently for each of these categories;  curtilage is often nearly as highly protected as inside the home, while open  fields may not be protected at all.

That said, existing case law (precedent) determines that police may use  airplanes and helicopters that fly within federal aviation guidelines to look in  on citizens’ curtilage — even if it’s fenced in or otherwise hidden from public  view — without a warrant. It is not yet clear whether drones would fall into the  same category as planes and ‘copters, according to Thompson.

7. Long-term tracking is different from short-term tracking

Real_Time_GPS_Tracking_Device

In the recent Supreme Court case United States vs Jones, the Court  ruled that the tracking of an individual using GPS for a long period of time  (say, a month) constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment due to how much  information can be gathered about a person over an extended period, thus  requiring a warrant to perform the tracking. But previous case law upheld law  enforcement’s ability to track users outside their homes for a shorter period of  time without the need for a warrant.

Now, because drones can stay in the sky for long periods of time — and, in  the case of Lockheed Martin’s Stalker drone, possibly forever — they could be used to track people’s movements for  extremely long periods of time. Because of this, the courts will have to decide  whether the use of long-duration flight drones for surveillance purposes  constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

8. U.S. borders are a search free-for-all

US-border-drone

As you may have gathered, reasonable expectations of privacy have a lot to do  with where a person is. But the one place you should have zero expectation of privacy is near a U.S. border. Border agents  already have the ability to search things like your car, without a warrant,  within 25 miles of a U.S. border.

Because of the looser restrictions near U.S. borders, the use of drones is,  and will be, extremely prevalent. And since the surveillance using drones “may  be considered more passive” than surveillance agents on the ground, or in planes  and helicopters, by the courts, explains Thompson, drones “may be even less  likely to run afoul of Fourth Amendment requirements.” (Emphasis mine.)

9. Technology sophistication matters

thermal-imaging-camera

Under the Fourth Amendment, all technology is not created equal. The use of  gadgets that anyone can get their hands on (like binoculars) for surveillance  purposes are more permissible by the courts than technology that is extremely  sophisticated (like radar that can see through walls).

With this in mind, the courts will likely have to decide what types of  technology can be attached to drones for surveillance use. Is a low-powered  camera allowed while a high-powered camera isn’t? Should drones be outfitted  with face recognition systems? It’s not yet clear — and it’s something that the  courts (or Congress) must establish.

10. The more common drones become, the less privacy protections you may  have

privacy

As with the public definition of “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment, the  public’s expectations of privacy with regards to certain technology changes with  time. The more a technology is used, the more acceptable (read: reasonable) it  is. Thompson points out that as drones become increasingly commonplace, the more  the public will accept the use of drones for surveillance purposes, potentially  changing which types of surveillance practices are and are not protected under  the Fourth Amendment.

11. Americans are worried about drones

drone camera

According to a study released in June by Monmouth University (pdf),  80 percent of Americans approve of using drones for search and rescue missions,  while 67 percent believe drones should be used to “track down runaway  criminals.”

And yet, 42 percent of respondents said they would be “very concerned” about  their own privacy if drones were used by law enforcement. Twenty two percent  would be “somewhat concerned,” and 16 percent would be “just a little  concerned.” A full 15 percent said they would not be concerned at all.

Oh, and only 23 percent said they would feel comfortable with using drones to  catch speeding motorists.

12. There are ways to fight back against drone privacy invasion now

S 3287

The courts are not the only government body that can decide what is and is  not allowed by drones. Congress can also take action, and it’s already begun to  do that. Rep Austin Scott (R-GA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced  the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 (H.R.  5925, S.  3287), which would require the federal government to gain a warrant based on  probable cause before drones could be used for surveillance purposes. And Rep.  Ted Poe’s (R-TX) Preserving American Privacy Act of 2012 (H.R.  6199) would also require law enforcement to obtain a warrant for drone  surveillance, among other restrictions.

Thompson suggests that “Congress could also limit the admissibility of  evidence in a criminal prosecution to situations where its acquisition was the  purpose of the drone search.”

If you’re afraid of waiting to let the courts decide how drones can be used  for surveillance — a decision that will come after the drones are  already being used for that purpose — I suggest you look into vocally supporting  some of these bills.

13. We’re just making this up as we go along

winging it

Valuable tidbits about the Fourth Amendment aside, the key takeaway from all  this is that laws are nothing more than a man-made creation. In other words,  they are made up. And as technology advances faster than our government can  respond, those in charge of crafting the rules are forced to figure out all the  implications on the fly — not just for drones, but for all emerging  technologies. More important, our view of drone surveillance (or GPS tracking or  Facebook data scraping) plays a major role in how the government will decide  these issues for us. We would do well for ourselves to pay close  attention.

 

Father whose son died at Sandy Hook says no more gun laws


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(CAV News) – The  Sandy Hook massacre took the life of 26 people, including 20 children, one being James Matiolli.

Today at the legislative office building, in Hartford Connecticut, thousands attended the hearing to voice their opinions.

Mark Matiolli, the father of James, who died at Sandy Hook, was one of those people that attended and said more gun laws aren’t the answer.

“Is one more law… I don’t care if you call it James’ Law. I don’t want it,” he said. “There’s common sense laws out there. There are breakdowns in how they’re being enforced.” Matiolli spoke.

The hearing was the chance for both sides of the debate to voice their concerns and share thoughts on the heated issue.

                          Hartford Courant:

“Gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment” that has allowed citizens to purchase “killing machines” that can allow shooters to mow down citizens in massacres in schools, movie theatres, and shopping malls.” Nancy Lefkowitz of Fairfield, one of the co-founders of the March for Change

Then there were some who support the 2nd amendment, that felt more gun laws will do nothing of the sort to prevent violent crimes like this in the future.

“The term ‘assault weapon’ is a political term, not a gun term,” “An assault weapon is a made-up term.” Tim Rockefeller told lawmakers.

The task force will hear the public again this week on Wednesday because of the amount of attention it’s getting as well as the 90 proposed bills being introduced. The next hearing will be at the Newtown High School.

By: Derek Wood

Source: Hartford Courant

 

(Update) -Massachusetts Attorney General and Other law officials push to expand wiretapping to reduce gun violence


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(CAV News) – Martha Coakley, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, and a group of law enforcement officials, met today at a press conference about the need to update wiretapping laws, so the police can compete with what the “criminals are using.”

 The group claims that organized crime networks, simple street thugs, human trafficking networks, have the upper hand over law enforcement.

The wiretapping laws in Massachusetts haven’t been updated since 1968, which some think is a beautiful thing, considering big brother and the federal government holding company, have been expanding surveillance among Americans, and destroying the once great idea of… privacy!

“Inevitably, once you wiretap more and more phones you start to listen in on the phone consversations of good, law-abiding citizens,” said Peter Elikann, a former chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s criminal justice committee.

Which is true where does it begin and where does it stop? 

Martha Coakley claims that police are riding on horses while criminals get away in automobiles.

“It’s really like saying, `We’re going to ask our local police to still ride on horses while criminals have taken over automobiles,”‘ Coakley said at a briefing on the legislation.

 So wait, it’s okay for the criminals to have the upper hand over law-abiding citizens in Massachusetts when it comes to owning guns, but not okay for the same criminals to have the upper hand on the police?

Here’s why we need less laws, allow Americans their basic rights, so you don’t have laws that provoke spying, and this: “New Proposal Will Force Gun Owners to Store Assault Weapons At Government Authorized Storage Depots.”

The good news is… there must be a reason these updates haven’t been made, because people in the state of Massachusetts refuse to buy into police state or political salesmanship.

“We’ve always had greater rights in this state,” says Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Martin Weinberg.

“There’s never been a reduction of the powers to surveillance, only attempts to expand. And even if in an isolated case or two, there may be advantages to additional electronic surveillance, what about the deep and profound harm to the public by having a universal diminishing of everybody’s right to privacy.” Martin said.

The bad news of course is that the Daivd Linsky’s, Feinsteins, Coakley’s, Bloombergs, are out there and  still trying to impose their agenda and will on law-abiding Americans.

By: Derek Wood

Sources: Intellectual Oddities, NECN, WBUR. org

Feinstein: ‘NRA Is Venal, They Come After You’


 

 

Congress Gun Control(CNSNews) -Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, to introduce legislation on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

 

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), appearing on CNN”s “State of the Union” Sunday, conceded that passing her gun ban bill will be an “uphill fight,” even in the Senate, because some Democrats as well as most Republicans oppose it.

“I concede, because the NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you. They did this in ’93 and they intend to continue it,” Feinstein said.

CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Feinstein if the NRA is really venal (which means corruptible or open to bribery) — “or do they disagree with you on a matter of policy?”

 

 

“The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers,” Feinstein responded. “This morning, on the front page of The New York Times, I was reading about their program now to provide weapons and training for youngsters, from 8-years-old to 15-years-old. And this is supported by the gun manufacturers. In other words, here is a whole new group of people that we can get these weapons to, they just don’t happen to be adults, they’re children.”

Crowley noted that “children with guns, certainly in terms of sport and hunting, is not a new phenomenon in a lot of places. The NRA would say, listen, we train them, we want to make sure that people who have guns know how to use them.” Then she changed the subject.

Feinstein refused to say what questions she’ll ask NRA head Wayne LaPierre when he testifies before the Judiciary Committee — “but you can be sure I will have some questions for him,” she said. “I know his position. It has never changed.”

Feinstein said what has changed is “the continued use of these (military-style) weapons” in more and more mass shootings. She said the gun used by Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was “a very powerful weapon” that “had the velocity” to rip young children apart. “That should not be able to happen,” she said.

“Here’s a question,” Feinstein told Crowley: “Does government have an obligation to protect those children? I believe we do. I believe we do.”

Asked about beefed-up school security, Feinstein said one third of U.S. schools already have school guards. “There were two at Columbine. They couldn’t get to the shooter, and that’s the problem with this thing, having school guards really isn’t the whole answer. The more you have these weapons, these military-style weapons that with a single-slide stock on the AR-15 can be made fully automatic, the minute you have that in, like, the Sandy Hook killer’s hands, you have a devastating weapon.”

Feinstein said she’s been assured by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that she’ll be allowed to offer her gun control package as a floor amendment, the same way she did it in 1993.

EXCLUSIVE: Journalist Accosted by Security over Mayor Bloomberg Gun Control Question


 

 

(Breitbart) -In an explosive exchange outside the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C., security guards for billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg accosted senior Talk Radio Network investigative reporter Jason Mattera when he asked the mayor about his strong support for gun control.

In the video, Bloomberg is seen surrounded by security. Mattera approaches Bloomberg and asks, “In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?”

 Bloomberg’s reply: “Uh, you, we’ll get right back to you.”

 

“Why can you defend yourself but not the majority of Americans?” Mattera asks as the mayor walks away. “Look at the team of security you’ve got. And you’re an advocate for gun control?”

 

The video then cuts to Mattera walking further down the street when one of the men guarding Bloomberg, identified as Officer Stockton NYPD, stops Mattera and asks to see his photo ID.

 

Mattera complies before asking, “Is this standard procedure for the press? Wait, wait, wait, it’s standard procedure to be questioning members of the press?

 

The officer reaches inside his jacket and grabs a pen, as if to write down the journalist’s name. “You’re going to write it down now?” asks Mattera. “Oh, no, sorry,” says Officer Stockton.

 

The video then cuts to a scene further down the street where Officer Stockton, trailing Mattera once again, can be heard saying, “Mr. Mattera, sir? Do you have a date of birth?”

 

“It’s none of your business what my date of birth is,” Mattera replies.

 

Mattera’s Jan. 18th on-the-street interview, done in conjunction with Talk Radio Network’s “The Andrea Tantaros Show,” is not the first time Mattera has received brusque treatment for asking liberal politicians tough questions.

 

The two-time New York Times bestselling author’s past on-the-street interviews have created viral video Internet sensations. In 2011, Vice President Joe Biden warned Mattera “Let’s get it straight, guy–don’t screw around with me” when he confronted Biden about his use of a rape reference when discussing Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s “jobs” bill.

 

The Washington Post calls Bloomberg “America’s most prominent and deep-pocketed advocate for gun control.”

“Illegal Immigrants” can now apply for driver’s licenses in Illinois


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(CAV News) – The governor of Illinois just signed into law a bill that will allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver’s license.

The law will go into effect later this year.

The state is hoping roughly 40 percent will comply with the new law out of roughly 250,000 illegals driving now.

What the bill will do:  In October: those applying for it will get a temporary license that will be good for up to three years.

Illinois will join the ranks of three other states, who allow others, who are here illegally, to drive legally. Those states are : Washington, New Mexico and Utah.

Well looks like the politicians in Illinois are finding creative ways to gain new votes by way of driver’s licenses. Welfare benefits aren’t enough.

Last year, End Of The American Dream blog, reported a government site called “Welcome To The USA.” The site encourages those here illegally to apply for welfare benefits: http://theintelhub.com/2012/11/20/government-website-for-immigrants-come-to-america-and-take-advantage-of-our-free-stuff/

The cost of each license card will be $30.

Here’s some requirements according to Channel 14 News:

- Submit to facial recognition software, but no fingerprinting.
 
- Provide proof of written signature, proof of date of birth and a letter of ineligibility for a Social Security number.
 
- Show valid passport from a home country or a consular identification card, and two documents that show a minimum one-year residency in the state.
 
- Receive drivers training and undergo vision screening, written and driving tests.
 
- Purchase insurance.
 
The purple-bordered card will be different from regular licenses, and valid only for driving purposes. It cannot be used as a form of identification, meaning licenses can’t be used to buy a firearm, register to vote or board a plane.
 
By: Derek Wood
Sources: Channel 14, Intel Hub, End of The American Dream, riverbender.com
Thanks to: Rick Liljenberg!

Israel admits to giving ethiopian jews birth control without their consent


 

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(Independent) -Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.

One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.

The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.

Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

Credit card ‘checkout fees’ for consumers permitted as of Jan. 27


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(Digital Journal) -This week a new rule comes into effect that may impact how often you use your credit card. As of Sunday, stores in most U.S. states are permitted to charge customers a “checkout fee” when paying by credit.
 
As of Sun., Jan. 27, 2013, consumers may find they receive an extra surcharge when they make purchases by credit card. This fee stems from a multi-billion dollar settlement announced last July that concluded a case initiated in 2005. The settlement was between credit card issuers and millions of merchants.

 

Why the charge?

 

Merchants are now allowed to charge consumers this “checkout fee” to offset the interchange fees (often referred to as “swipe fees”) charged by credit card issuers to merchants. Essentially, this charge allows merchants to cover the cost of the so-called “swipe fees” required to pay credit card issuers, such as MasterCard and VISA, passing the burden onto the consumer.

 

What you need to know:

 

• The amount allowed to be charged to consumers is limited, and can be anywhere between 1.5 and 4 percent of the total purchase; it cannot exceed 4 percent. What determines the amount is how much it costs the retailer to accept the credit card.

 

• It is illegal for stores to charge the new fee in the states of New York, California, Texas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. The fee is permitted in all other states and U.S. Territories.

 

• Merchants have a choice in whether or not they charge the fee; it is not mandatory.

 

• The fee is not applicable to debit cards and prepaid cards.

 

• Retailers must post notice on entrances if they charge the credit card fee and the exact amount of the fee has to be provided at the point of service during checkout.

 

• Surcharge fees must be included on every receipt, for purchases made at brick and mortar and online shops, notes VISA.

 

Other consumer considerations

 

In addition, another factor to consider is the security in using debit vs. credit. If not credit, consumers have the choice to use cash, prepaid or debit cards to avoid the fee. However, often using debit cards is discouraged because of the increased risk of identity and financial theft. One of the benefits of credit cards is the fact consumers can better protect themselves in the event fraud occurs.

 

TIME reported earlier in the week that many retailers are likely not going to want to alienate customers in highly competitive environments by charging the fees, so it is probable consumers may see few of these “checkout fees” when they use credit. Although, industries that see less competition may feel more comfortable applying the surcharge.

 

Impact on the retailers

 

While the fee is not mandatory, it does put retailers at a disadvantage because the problem is shifted onto them; they either must pay the fees themselves to credit card issuers or pass the burden onto consumers.

 

This settlement has been a controversial one, and many major retailers, including Target and Walmart, have spoken out against the decision, saying it will impact ability to keep lower prices and will put a dent in the consumers’ pocketbook.

 

According to a CNN Money report, Target said last summer it wasn’t interested in charging credit card using customers more, “in order to allow Visa and MasterCard to continue charging unfair fees.”

 

Perhaps the big question is though, will the cost instead be absorbed into the costs of goods and services? Either way, the consumer loses and credit card issuers win.

 

Swipe fees became a prominent issue after the passing of the Durbin Amendment, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2011 and put caps on the interchange fees charged by banks. At that time, several banks tried to sneak in fees in various other ways, causing consumer backlash.

 

Is it the time to move away from credit to more cash transactions? What do you think?

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/342280#ixzz2JHocJJIl

FBI is increasing pressure on suspects in Stuxnet inquiry


(Washington Post) Federal investigators looking into disclosures of classified information about a cyberoperation that targeted Iran’s nuclear program have increased pressure on current and former senior government officials suspected of involvement, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry, which was started by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last June, is examining leaks about a computer virus developed jointly by the United States and Israel that damaged nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s primary uranium enrichment plant. The U.S. code name for the operation was Olympic Games, but the wider world knew the mysterious computer worm as Stuxnet.

Prosecutors are pursuing “everybody — at pretty high levels, too,” said one person familiar with the investigation. “There are many people who’ve been contacted from different agencies.”

The FBI and prosecutors have interviewed several current and former senior government officials in connection with the disclosures, sometimes confronting them with evidence of contact with journalists, according to people familiar with the probe. Investigators, they said, have conducted extensive analysis of the e-mail accounts and phone records of current and former government officials in a search for links to journalists.

The people familiar with the investigation would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The Justice Department declined to comment.

The Obama administration has prosecuted six officials for disclosing classified information, more than all previous administrations combined. But the Stuxnet investigation is arguably the highest-profile probe yet, and it could implicate senior-level officials. Knowledge of the virus was likely to have been highly compartmentalized and limited to a small set of Americans and Israelis.

The proliferation of e-mail and the advent of sophisticated software capable of sifting through huge volumes of it have significantly improved the ability of the FBI to find evidence. A trail of e-mail has eased the FBI’s search for a number of suspects recently, including John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who was sentenced Friday to 30 months in prison for disclosing to a journalist the identity of a CIA officer who had spent 20 years under cover.

Late last year, retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned as CIA director after the FBI discovered e-mails in one of his private accounts showing that he had an extramarital affair with his biographer.

Holder appointed Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, to lead the Stuxnet inquiry after a New York Times article about President Obama ordering cyberattacks against Iran using a computer virus developed in conjunction with Israel. Other publications, including The Washington Post, followed with similar reports about Stuxnet and a related virus called Flame.

At the same time, Holder named Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to head a criminal investigation into leaks concerning thedisruption of a bomb plot by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Holder’s action followed complaints from members of Congress, including the heads of the intelligence

Machen is examining a leak to the Associated Press that a double agent inside al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen allowed the United States and Saudi Arabia to disrupt the plot to bomb an airliner using explosives and a detonation system that could evade airport security checks.

“People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick,” said a person with knowledge of Machen’s inquiry. “There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.”

Since the probes were announced, there has been little publicity about the ongoing inquiries.

The Justice Department declined to provide statistics on how many leak investigations were launched during Obama’s first term. Between 2005 and 2009, according to an April 2010 Justice Department letter that was sent to a Senate committee, intelligence agencies notified the department 183 times about leaks. The FBI opened 26 investigations and identified 14 suspects.

Lisa Monaco, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division who was named Friday as the president’s new counterterrorism adviser, told the Senate in 2011 that there has been “a stepped-up effort, and indeed a priority placed on the prosecution of leak matters.” Monaco said that leaks “do tremendous damage” and that unauthorized disclosures should be “prosecuted and pursued, either by criminal means or the use of administrative sanctions.”

Former prosecutors said these investigations typically begin by compiling a list of people with access to the classified information. When government officials attend classified briefings or examine classified documents in secure facilities, they must sign a log, and these records can provide an initial road map for investigators.

Former prosecutors said investigators run sophisticated software to identify names, key words and phrases embedded in e-mails and other communications, including text messages, which could lead them to suspects.

The FBI also looks at officials’ phone records — who called whom, when, for how long. Once they have evidence of contact between officials and a particular journalist, investigators can seek a warrant to examine private e-mail accounts and phone records, including text messages, former prosecutors said.

Prosecutors and the FBI can examine government e-mail accounts and government-issued devices, including cellphones, without a warrant. They can also look at private e-mail accounts without a warrant if those accounts were accessed on government computers.

The investigation of Kiriakou grew out of an inquiry by the Justice Department into how high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay came to have photographs of some intelligence officials in their cells. E-mails eventually led the FBI to exchanges between Kiriakou and a journalist that revealed the name of a covert officer. That name was passed to an investigator working for the American Civil Liberties Union and finally made its way into a classified filing by the ACLU.

In the case of Petraeus, the FBI started with five threatening, anonymous e-mails sent to a Florida woman. After several weeks of following the trail, the bureau found itself confronting explicit exchanges between Petraeus and his mistress. They also found what have been described as flirtatious e-mails between Gen. John Allen and the Florida woman. Petraeus was not charged with a crime, and Allen was cleared of wrongdoing last week.

Uncovered, the ‘toxic’ gene hiding in GM crops: Revelation throws new doubt over safety of foods


(dailymail.co.uk) A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.

GM crops such as corn and soya, which are being grown around the world for both human and farm animal consumption, include the gene.

A new study by the EU’s official food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene.

A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard test for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard tests for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans

As a result, watchdogs have not investigated its impact on human health and the plants themselves when assessing whether they were safe.

The findings are particularly powerful because the work was carried out by independent experts, rather than GM critics.

It was led by Nancy Podevin, who was employed by EFSA, and Patrick du Jardin, of the Plant Biology Unit at the University of Liege in Belgium.

They discovered that 54 of the 86 GM plants approved for commercial growing and food in the US, including corn and soya, contain the viral gene, which is known as ‘Gene VI’.

In this country, these crops are typically fed to farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs.

Significantly, the EFSA researchers concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI ‘might result in unintended phenotypic changes’.

Such changes include the creation of proteins that are toxic to humans. They could also trigger changes in the plants themselves, making them more vulnerable to pests.

Critics say the revelations make clear that the GM approvals process, which has been in place for 20 years, is fatally flawed.

They argue the only correct response is to recall all of the crops and food products involved. Director of the campaigning group, GM Freeze, Pete Riley, said the discovery of the gene, ‘totally undermines claims that GM technology is safe, precise and predictable’.

He said: ‘This is a clear warning the GM is not sufficiently understood to be considered safe.’Authorisation for these crops must be suspended immediately, and they should be withdrawn from sale, until a full and extended review of their safety has been carried out.’

Typically, GM crops are modified in the laboratory to give them resistance to being sprayed with powerful weed killers such as Monsanto’s Round-up.

This means that, in theory, fields can be doused with the chemical, so wiping out the weeds and allowing the food plants to thrive.

It was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the caseIt was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case

The modification process involves inserting genes into the plants using a technique that allows them to piggyback on viruses that are commonly found in the soil and plants.

It has been assumed that virus genes are not present in the plant once it is grown in the field and reaches consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case.

A review of the EFSA research in Independent Science News said the presence of the viral gene appears to have been missed by biotech companies, universities and government regulators.

‘This situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure,’ it said. ‘There are clear indications that this viral gene might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

‘A reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.’

Biotech supporters argue that there is no evidence from countries such as the USA that eating GM food causes any harm.

However, the reality is that no health monitoring has taken place to establish this. The findings will embarrass the government and the food and farming Secretary, Owen Patterson, who has embarked on a pro-GM propaganda exercise designed to win over sceptical consumers.

Mr Patterson recently rejected public concerns as ‘humbug’ and ‘complete nonsense’. Policy director at the Soil Association, Peter Melchett said: ‘For years, GM companies have made a deliberate and chilling effort to stop independent scientists from looking at their products.

‘This is what happens when there is a complete absence of independent scrutiny of their GM crops.’Biotech firms are represented by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council(ABC).

Its chairman, Dr Julian Little, said the EFSA study was one small part of a strict and complex scrutiny process.

He said: ‘Over the past 25 years, the European Commission has funded more than 130 research projects involving 500 independent research groups which have found no higher risks to the environment or food chain from GM crops than from conventional plants and organisms.

‘Furthermore, nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health. The combination of these two facts can give consumers a huge amount of confidence in the safety of GM crops.’

GM critics and EFSA are at odds over the implications of the research paper, which was written by the deputy chairman of the organisation’s advisory panel on the issue and a former senior member of staff.

EFSA insists that the research highlighting the presence of Gene VI does not represent a new discovery of a viral gene and does not indicate a safety concern about GM crops already approved.

It said the viral gene ‘cannot infect animals or humans and therefore presents no threat to human or animal health’. This is challenged by GM critics who say there is no research evidence to justify this statement.

Russia’s Forces Are Ready for War – Army Chief


(RIA Novosti) – Russia’s armed forces are ready for a major war, Chief of the military’s General Staff Col. Gen. Valery Gerasimov said on Saturday.

“No one rules out the possibility of a major war, and it cannot be said that we are unprepared,” Gerasimov said, speaking at an Academy of Military Sciences meeting.

Russia’s Forces Are Ready for War - Army ChiefHis address covered key issues the armed forces face today – including outsourcing. Col.Gen Gerasimov conceded that outsourcing was necessary, in order to relieve soldiers of certain functions, but added that “outsourcing is only needed in peacetime and only at permanent bases.” He also stressed that these activities would be carried out by troops during combat or training.

President of the Academy of Military Sciences, Army General Makhmut Gareev said that the Russian Army’s approach to outsourcing needed to be completely reviewed.

“We think that the outsourcing system needs to be given a root-and-branch review: laws should be passed covering combat scenarios, their transfer to a war footing, and their full subordination to unit commanders,” Gareev explained. He also warned that unless this was done, then logistics and technical support systems would collapse.

Turning his attention to the issue of military education, Gareev slammed the current baccalaureate system involving a basic training component delivered in colleges which is supplemented by additional training in the armed forces’ academies, as entirely unsuited to military service.

He said that officers’ training is the most important challenge the high command currently faces. “Only the high command, with its highly qualified specialists, is in a position to ensure that higher educational institutions have the most sophisticated teaching and material resources, curricula and academic literature,” Gareev said.

North Korean cannibalism: claims starving people are eating children


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(Independent) -Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state, North Korea, claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food.

Shocking reports claim North Koreans are turning to cannibalism including details of one man who dug up his grandchild’s corpse to eat and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh.

Details of the incidents were reported by the Asia Press, and published in the Sunday Times.

They claim a ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people, and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.

The reports come as sanctions against the country are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing.

The litany of horrors were documented by Asia Press, a specialist news agency based in Osaka, Japan, which claims to have recruited a network of “citizen journalists” inside North Korea.

The reports are considered credible.

Interviews have led Asia Press to conclude that probably more than 10,000 people have died in North and South Hwanghae provinces, south of Pyongyang, the capital.

North Korea has not confirmed or denied any reports of the deaths.

One informant, based in South Hwanghae, said: “In my village in May, a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.

“While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: ‘We have meat.’

“But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children’s bodies under the eaves.”

Jiro Ishimaru, from Asia Press said: ‘Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism.’

Another of the citizen journalists, Gu Gwang-ho, said: “There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains.”

A middle ranking official of the ruling Korean Workers Party said: “In a village in Chongdan county, a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child, ate his flesh and was arrested”

A new UN agreement, passed on Tuesday, extended sanctions already imposed on North Korea after it held nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

The current rise in tensions and extension of sanctions follows Pyonyang’s defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 – insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.

Despite the insistence of the regime that the test was peaceful the rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test.

The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the new UN resolution.

This week North Korea once again raised the level of rhetoric over sanctions, threatening war with its neighbours in the south saying: “If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN ‘sanctions’, strong physical countermeasures would be taken,” the North’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said.

Milk police in Louisiana stop sale of cheaper milk


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(Advocate) -For Lafayette stockbroker Kenneth Daigle, buying a gallon of milk is no longer the bargain it used to be on Tuesdays at Fresh Market.

The upscale supermarket chain yanked milk from its $2.99 once-a-week promotion after a state auditor objected to the low price. A gallon of whole milk was priced at $5.69 Thursday at the Fresh Market in Perkins Rowe.

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Fresh Market violated state regulations by selling milk below cost as part of a promotion.

The supermarket routinely sells a gallon of skim, 1 percent, 2 percent or whole milk for $2.99 on Tuesdays, limiting the quantity to four per customer.

State law requires retailers’ markups to be no less than 6 percent of the invoice cost after adding freight charges.

The Dairy Stabilization Board oversees milk prices in Louisiana. The board was established after Schwegmann, a New Orleans-area grocery chain, launched a legal battle in the 1970s with the Louisiana Milk Commission to buy milk from out-of-state suppliers because it was cheaper.

The issue over Fresh Market’s milk involves the cost of milk to consumers rather than the price paid to farmers.

“They can sell it 6 percent over cost all day long. It’s when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem,” Strain said.

During the second week of January, the price for a gallon of whole milk in Baton Rouge ranged from $4 to $6.89.

Strain said his office dispatched an auditor to the Fresh Market in Mandeville after receiving a complaint about the Tuesday promotion. His press office declined to identify the complainant.

During the visit, the auditor explained the regulations to store officials, Strain said.

Daigle learned about the change in price when he plunked down a gallon of milk at the cash register Tuesday at the Fresh Market two blocks from his office.

He routinely buys two gallons of milk at the sale price. He puts one gallon in the refrigerator and freezes the other.

This time, the milk rang up at the nonsale price. When Daigle questioned the price tag, the cashier told him the state had come down on the store.

Fresh Market’s corporate headquarters referred media questions to the Atlanta-based BRAVE Public Relations.

BRAVE released a prepared statement from Drewry Sackett, Fresh Market’s marketing, public relations and community relations manager.

Sackett said the promotion applied to the store’s private label, rBST-free milk.

“Because milk is a commodity product with regulated costs that are subject to change, at the current cost, due to Louisiana state law, we are unable to honor the $2.99 Tuesday deal for (Fresh Market) milk … Because the cost of milk fluctuates, it is possible that we will be able to offer the $2.99 deal on milk again in the future,” Sackett said.

Daigle said he is outraged that the state would intervene in order to control a retail store’s prices.

“Should we do the same thing with bread? Should we do the same thing with soft drinks?” he asked.

Strain said the regulations exist to keep the price of milk as low as possible.

Allowing a supermarket to sell milk below cost could drive competitors out of business, allowing the store to then increase the price of milk, he said.

Daigle disagrees with Strain’s approach.

He said it is understandable for states to regulate the wholesale price, ensuring that farmers receive fair compensation for their labor.

Controlling the price on the grocery store shelf is heavy-handed, Daigle said.

“If retailers want to take a loss, so be it,” he said.