The Most Feared Syrian Rebel Group Is Once Again Undermining The Revolution


 

 
 
 

 

(Business Insider) -When members of Jabhat al-Nusra — the Syrian opposition’s best fighting force — took control of the town of Mayadin in eastern Syria, they immediately commandeered the grain silos and the nearby al-Ward oil and gas field. 

Now, according the Reuters, the band of al-Qaeda in Iraq-affiliated rebels give children free loaves of bread if they attend hardline Islamic teachings and sell oil to local Syrian government authorities.

Residents of Mayadin, a town of 54,000 close to the Iraqi border, said Nusra has been transporting crude oil in large tankers 28 miles north to Deir al-Zor, where the government still has a presence.

And local authorities in Deir al-Zor are so strapped that they’ll buy oil off the group that their president considers terrorists.

The contradictory reality in Mayadin exemplifies Nusra as a whole:

• They are allied with the secular Free Syrian Army but want to establish a seventh-century style Islamic Caliphate.

• They execute highly effective suicide attacks against the regime but also battle other rebel groups.

• Some of its more than 5,000 members are leading on the front lines while others are hoarding resources (read: power) in remote places like Mayadin.

It’s clear at this point that the opposition needs Nusra if they’re going to topple the regime. The rub is that the group may be hijacking a rebellion initially driven by “the love of a freedom [and] the love of a country” to “establish a crueler regime than the tyranny under Assad.”

Neverthless, the bottom line is that al-Nusra becomes stronger as the 22-month conflict drags on and will be a force to reckoned with when it ends.

“The civil war in Syria is a gift from the sky for al-Nusra; they are coasting off its energy,”Noman Benotman, the lead author of a report analyzing their rise, told CNN.

Israel Using Deadly ‘Less-Lethal’ Crowd Control Weapons ‘Unlawfully’


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JERUSALEM, Jan 31 2013 (IPS) – The Israeli army is systematically using crowd control weapons and live ammunition unlawfully against Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling a widespread breach of military regulations and an alarming culture of impunity, a leading Israeli human rights group has warned.

At least ten Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army’s use of crowd control weapons in so-called “disturbance of the peace” situations in the West Bank since 2005, Israeli group Btselem stated in a new report, titled ‘Israel’s Use of Crowd Control Weapons in the West Bank’.

Additionally, Israeli soldiers killed 46 Palestinians with live ammunition in the same time period.

“Members of the security forces make almost routine use of these weapons in unlawful, dangerous ways, and the relevant Israeli authorities do too little to prevent the recurrence of this conduct,” the report found.

When used properly, Israel’s crowd-control weapons – which include tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, water cannons, foul-smelling liquid called ‘The Skunk’, and more – are meant to disperse crowds. The way the Israeli army uses these weapons today, however, can make them deadly, Btselem said.

“The authorities must ensure that the troops on the ground obey the open-fire regulations and use crowd control weapons within the parameters that keep them non-lethal. It follows that every soldier, officer, or police officer violating these rules must be prosecuted,” the report stated.

In an e-mail to IPS, the Israeli army spokesperson’s office disputed Btselem’s findings as “biased”, and stated that the incidents outlined in the report “are exceptions to IDF policy, rather than the rule.”

“The IDF does everything in its power to ensure that the use of riot dispersal means is done in accordance with the Rules of Engagement, minimising collateral damage and maintaining stability and security in the region,” the spokesperson’s unit stated.

Still, since the beginning of 2013 alone, at least five Palestinian youths were killed by live ammunition fired by the Israeli military in the West Bank.

Seventeen-year-old Samir Awad was killed after sustaining four bullet shots near the separation fence in Budrus village on Jan. 15. The Israeli army said Awad was trying to enter Israel illegally when he was shot.

On Jan. 23, 22-year-old Palestinian student Lubna al-Hanash was shot and killed on a main road near Al Aroub refugee camp, in the southern West Bank. The Israeli army said soldiers only fired after Molotov cocktails and rocks were thrown at them.

United Nations humanitarian coordinator James Rawley released a statement on Jan. 30 highlighting his concern at the Israeli army’s use of live fire in the West Bank, which has killed eight Palestinians since mid-November, and urged “maximum restraint in order to avoid further civilian casualties.

“Using live ammunition against civilians may constitute excessive use of force and any such occurrences should be investigated in a timely, thorough, independent and impartial manner. Individuals found responsible must be held accountable,” Rawley stated.

Palestinians have engaged in non-violent civil disobedience against Israel’s policies of occupation and colonisation for decades. Weekly, non-violent demonstrations have taken place in several West Bank villages since 2005.

A handful of Palestinians have been killed, and dozens more have been seriously injured by Israeli soldiers attempting to quell these protests and through the army’s inappropriate use of crowd control weapons.

In April 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmah was killed in the Palestinian village of Bil’in after being hit in the chest by an Israeli army-fired extended range tear gas grenade. Abu Rahmah’s sister, Jawaher, was killed in January 2011 after inhaling massive amounts of tear gas during another protest in the village.

Twenty-eight-year-old Mustafa Tamimi, from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, was also killed in December 2011, when a tear gas canister struck his head. The Btselem report stated that despite photographic evidence proving a soldier fired the tear gas canister directly at Tamimi, the Israeli army continues to deny this direct-firing practice.

“The IDF carefully investigates complaints that are tendered, instigating military police investigations when necessary, as per the policy determined by the Supreme Court and in line with the IDF’s ethical code,” the army spokesperson’s unit told IPS.

According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, however, only 3.5 percent of complaints received by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Unit of crimes committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank lead to indictments.

“The State of Israel is not meeting its obligation to protect the civilian population living in the area it occupied through the proper and effective investigation of suspicions of criminal offences committed by soldiers,” Yesh Din found. (END)

Wal Mart limits sales of ammunition to three boxes per person, per day.


Wal-Mart Ammunition Limit: Terms To Limit Sales Of Ammunition To Three Boxes Per Customer Per Day [PHOTO]
 

(IBITimes) -The Bentonville, Ark., retailer is limiting sales of ammunition to three boxes per customer, per day, due to limited supplies, a local news outlet said.

“In order to take care of as many customers as possible, starting Thursday, Jan. 24, all ammunition sales were limited to three boxes per customer, per day as supply is limited at this time,” spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told the City Wire.

 

Reports indicated that sales of guns and ammunition have risen across the United States since the Dec. 14 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. The incident has also fueled a heated debate over gun ownership, in which a senate hearing has been held to discuss to issue.

Data released on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System showed that nine of the top 10 days for firearms checks from Nov. 30, 1998, to Jan. 27, 2013, including Dec. 14, 2012, occurred since Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then shot and killed himself. Lanza also killed his mother before the school massacre.

Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. gun seller, suggested to the Arkansas news outlet that the retailer is seeking to strike the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that it sells firearms responsibly.

“Over the years we have been very purposeful about striking the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that we sell firearms responsibly. In fact, we became a charter member of Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition against illegal guns and adopted the 10-point code established by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership that goes beyond what the law requires,” Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said ahead of the meeting in Washington. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a strong gun control advocate.

Hardie said that the purchase limit will stay in place until the retailer is able to resolve the shortage.

In 2011, Wal-Mart brought guns back to many of its U.S. stores after pulling them in 2006 from all but 1,300 locations as the retailer reduced products and store clutter. Hand guns and rifles like the ones used in Newtown are available for purchase at most Walmart locations that sell guns and ammunition.

Colorado students Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic sparks outrage


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(Digital Journal) -Members of a student club at a Colorado high school have sparked widespread outrage after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.
 
Members of the Cultural Arms Club (CAC) at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, whose motto is “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures,” decided to recite the pledge in Arabic, replacing the words “one nation under God” with “one nation under Allah.”

 

That didn’t sit very well with many Americans, especially once Fox News caught wind of the story. Principal Tom Lopez told Fox he’s received a barrage of angry e-mails and phone calls from upset parents. Lopez said he’s getting “worn down” by the outrage and “hate” from the naysayers. He’s even been called a traitor and accused of “pushing a Muslim Brotherhood agenda to push Islam into the school,” he said.

 

“I’ve been shocked with prejudicial statements that have been made,” Lopez continued. “I’ve been shocked with the lack of seeking understanding. There’s definitely fear and suspicion expressed in these people’s minds. There’s some hate.”

 

“They claim they are outraged that this is blaspheming a real major tenet of our patriotism– which in their mind the Pledge of Allegiance is only in English,” he said of his critics.

 

But the students who recited the pledge in Arabic strongly deny there’s anything un-American about what they did.

 

“No matter what language it’s said in, pledging your allegiance to the United States is the same in every language,” sophomore CAC member Skyler Bowden told 9 News.

 

Supporters point out that Arab Christians use the word “Allah” when speaking of the same God that any other Christian worships.

 

“[Allah] is not necessarily specific to Islam and Muslims,” Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Fox News.

 

“How on earth is it un-American to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in another language,” Hooper asked. “It doesn’t make sense unless the people complaining are anti-Muslim or anti-Middle Eastern bigots.”

 

Still, some locals openly expressed their disapproval of the students’ translation.

 

“As a veteran and a friend of a man killed defending these children in their little games they like to play with our pledge, I’m offended,” Chris Wells told the Daily Coloradoan. “There are things that we don’t mess with– among them are the pledge and our anthem.”

 

But the Pledge of Allegiance has been “messed with”– the words “under God” were only added in 1954.

 

The Rocky Mountain High CAC is no stranger to controversy. The club raised eyebrows and ire last year when it recited the Pledge of Allegiance over the school’s public address system in Spanish and French. They also plan on doing the same in sign language, Korean and possibly even Chinese.

 

“When they pledge allegiance to the United States, that’s exactly what they’re saying,” Principal Lopez told CAIR TV. “They’re just using another language as their vehicle.”

Paul Krugman Answers Paul Ryan on Debt Crisis: We Can Print Money


Paul KrugmanLiberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Responding to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s warning that if the federal government continues to run annual $1 trillion deficits we will eventually face a debt crisis, liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said Wednesday that that is not a legitimate worry because the U.S. government can always print money and weaken the buying power of the dollar.

Weakening the dollar, Krugman said, would be a good thing.

“The United States is a country that has its own currency–can’t run out of cash because we print the money. If you even try to think what would happen–suppose that investors get down on the United States. Even so, that would weaken the dollar, not send interest rates soaring, and that would be good. That would help our exports,” Krugman said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

Krugman was asked whether he thought the U.S. was “in danger of a collapse, a stall, a crisis.”

“No, there’s a whole bunch of reasons why that’s not true. First of all … that trillion dollar deficit is overwhelmingly the result of a depressed economy, and when the economy’s depressed, it’s good to run a deficit. You don’t want the government to try and balance its budget right now,” Krugman said.

C-SPAN showed a video of former GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speaking at the National Review Institute in Washington, D.C., on dangers of debt.

“We spend a trillion dollars more than we take in each year. We can’t keep that up. If we stay on this path, we will run the risk of a debt crisis. What is that? That’s a moment where our finances collapse, our economy stalls. We will have to convince the country to change course,” Ryan said.

“The story Ryan is trying to tell just doesn’t actually make sense. There are no historical counterparts to the story he claims we’re at risk of, and of course, Ryan himself desperately, desperately is concerned about the deficit but won’t accept one penny in additional revenue to deal with it,” said Krugman, winner of the Nobel prize in economics and author of “End This Depression Now.”

“All he really wants is to cut spending. If it comes to making any sacrifice on what he cares about, which is taxes, he’s not willing to make that sacrifice,” added Krugman.

U.S. Spent $424,062 on Project Working With Muslim Scholars to Stop HIV Among Prostitutes, Gays, Drug Users in Syria


 

muslim(AP Photo)

 

(CNSNews.com) — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave $424,062 in tax dollars to researchers who worked with Muslim scholars to develop strategies to prevent HIV infection among prostitutes, homosexuals, and IV-drug users in Aleppo, Syria. The project was not completed because of the outbreak of the rebellion in Syria.

“I’m very disappointed we weren’t able to carry out this project as far as we had hoped, but sometimes things happen and that’s the way it is,” Professor David Seal of Tulane University, the principal researcher, told CNSNews.com. “It’s unfortunate, but human safety comes first.”

The NIH disbursed the $424,062 for the project in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

According to the description of the project posted online by the NIH, the first aim of the project was: “To identify HIV/STI risk and preventive behaviors, mediators, and moderators that will need to be addressed in a subsequent prevention intervention aimed at groups at high-risk for HIV/STI infection and transmission, including people living with HIV, people seeking STI-related services, female commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users.”

Professor Seal told CNSNews.com, “Phase one was the provider interviews, with practitioners, people that provided HIV and sexually transmitted infection service. And then phase two was actually interviewing people who were seeking treatment or services related to sexually transmitted infections and/or who were HIV positive.”

Phase three, he said, “would’ve been the interviews with the sex workers, [men who have sex with men], injection drug users, as well as the pilot team of the quantitative survey.”

 

needleHypodermic needle. (AP)

 

Researchers worked with a “Community Advisory Board” comprised of Syrian health providers and Islamic scholars to assess interview questions, obtain community feedback and recruit individuals to participate in the study, according to the description.

“The support of local Religious Scholars and health care delivery systems will enhance our capacity to successfully implement evidence-based public health HIV/STI risk reduction intervention programs,” according to the project’s description.

However, research on the project had to stop in June 2012 because of the civil unrest and ongoing violence that has been taking place in Syria since early 2011. The research team left Aleppo for safety reasons.

Since March 2011, Syria has been enveloped in an uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The researchers never received the opportunity to interview persons of at-risk groups, but were able to interview Syrian health providers who dealt with HIV patients, as well as those seeking treatment for HIV.

Seal said it was “really exciting” to work on a project that focused on HIV prevention in an area where there was not an outbreak, making it possible to “preemptively” implement prevention strategies.

“For me, it was really exciting to try do something preemptively instead of so much of our work where it’s already too late, the epidemic is already occurring,” he said.

The project’s funding was administered by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), but the majority of funds ($412,201) came from the NIH Office of the Director (OD.) During FY 2010, the NIH gave $230,332 from the OD and $1 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

According to the CIA World Factbook, seventy-four percent of the Syrian population are Sunni Muslims; 16 belong to other Islamic sects such as Alawite and Druze, and 10 percent are Christians.

US taxpayers are set to lose $27 billion from financial bailout: Report


American taxpayers are expected to lose USD 27 billion from the 2008 financial bailout.

 
American taxpayers are expected to lose USD 27 billion from the 2008 financial bailout.
 
 
 
(PressTV)American taxpayers are expected to lose USD 27 billion from the 2008 financial bailout, as a report reveals further losses attributed to the US Treasury Department.

US taxpayers can expect to lose even more than the estimated USD 22 billion made in the fall last year, due to increased losses for the Treasury Department on sales of shares in bailed-out companies, according to a report released on Wednesday by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The report said taxpayers could lose USD 5.5 billion specifically on Ally Financial – formerly called GMAC under a partnership with General Motors – in losses based on unsafe mortgages given right before the financial crisis. Ally owes USD 14.6 billion of the USD 17.2 billion in assistance it received.

The US government would also need to sell all General Motors shares it holds at USD 71.86 per share, more than double the current price of USD 28. GM still owes USD 21.6 billion of the USD 49.5 billion bailout it received.

“Taxpayers saved GMAC, and they should not be put in the position of needing to save the company again,” said Special Inspector General Christy Romero, adding that both Ally and General Motors owe more than half of the USD 67.3 billion still owed to taxpayers by companies that were bailed out during the financial crisis.

The government watchdog went on to reveal fraud related to TARP during investigations that subsequently led to criminal charges against 119 people, including 82 senior company executives.

This comes as Romero accused the Treasury Department for providing “excessive” pay for executives tied to the bailed-out corporations rescued from the financial crisis including General Motors, Ally Financial and AIG – the largest bailout recipient at USD 182 billion.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Congress authorized USD 700 billion for the bailout of some of America’s largest companies. About USD 413 billion was eventually issued.

US Establishes Drone Base in Niger, Targets Regional Militia


 

1803F02.Barack-Obama.jpg - 1803F02.Barack-Obama.jpg

President Barack Obama

 
(GhannaMMA) -The United States of America is planning to establish a drone base in Niger, a country sandwiched between Nigeria and Mali, two nations that have been under attack from Islamic militants.

The drone base, according to a report in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, will give the US military command increased unmanned surveillance missions on the activities of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in West Africa that are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other sectarian groups.

With the establishment of the drone base, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which has proved successful in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the goal is to limit risks involved with the use of humans and as well improve intelligence gathering around the desert belt connecting North and West African.
The report of the planned establishment of the drone base in Niger came on the heels of international efforts to rout out Islamic insurgents from Mali.

Nigeria, which is part of the international military coalition in Mali, has so far expended $32 million on its military expedition in the Sahelian nation, just as it has so far deployed 776 troops in the war-torn country.

More troops, to make up the 1,200 contingent Nigeria is contributing to the peace efforts, are expected to leave for Mali next week, THISDAY has learnt.

In order to sustain the peace efforts in Mali, a donors’ conference was held yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to raise funds for the military expedition during which global donors pledged the donation of $455.53 million.

When THISDAY made enquiries Tuesday from the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada, how the plan by the US to establish the drone base in Niger would affect Nigeria’s security, especially the fight against Boko Haram terror, she said on the phone that government was reviewing the situation.

“I will make consultations and get across to you,” she added.
When contacted some hours later, she directed all enquiries to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Defence Headquarters for more information on the issue.

According to some military sources, who spoke with THISDAY on the issue, the plan has “been in the pipeline by the US African Command (USAFRICOM), especially to monitor the activities of Boko Haram and their growing links with international terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM).

“However, it is like they are taking the decision seriously owing to the ongoing development in Mali, with Niger already providing a base for both Nigeria and other foreign troops.”

Another military source, who disclosed that the US already has a base in Niger, added that the drone base is also expected to provide intelligence and assist the French mission and war efforts in Northern Mali.

“It is part of the war efforts in Mali, which provides for both short and long-term measures as you are aware that the US already had some existing secret base in Niger,” the source said.

When he visited Nigeria last month, the Commander, USAFRICOM, Gen Carter Ham, had at the Nigerian Defence College (NDC) expressed concern over the increasing connectivity and collaboration between the network of Al-Qaeda affiliates and adherents in Africa, including the Boko Haram sect.

Ham while speaking on areas of common interests and challenges between Nigeria and US, explained that since the Al-Qaeda core has been significantly weakened, the group has simply mutated into various affiliate organisations, especially in the Middle East and Africa that are increasingly coordinating resources and intelligence to carry out their terrorist acts.

He had explained that the Al-Qaeda networks and affiliates, including Boko Haram, were changing in ways that increase threats to individual African states and regional stability, as well as to the US and international security interests.

THISDAY was also informed that Niger is strategic for the US, Nigeria and Africa’s fight against terrorism as it is a gateway between the North, West, East and Central Africa, with Nigeria’s porous northern border being of great concern.

In Addis Ababa Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan at a fundraiser for the military expedition in Mali, restated Nigeria’s commitment to the success of the exercise, stressing that this had informed the Federal Government’s commitment of human and material resources in the bid to recapture the country from the Islamic militants.

Jonathan, speaking at the end of the 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Nigeria has so far expended $32 million on its military expedition in Mali.
The money, he added, was spent on troops’ deployment and logistics support for the contingent.

At the fundraiser, global donors pledged the donation of $455.53 million, exceeding by far the previous target of $50 million set by the AU.

Jonathan explained that besides the $32 million that Nigeria had spent on troops deployment and logistics, the Federal Government would spend an additional $5 million to assist the war-torn country.

He added that the extra $5 million was in response to demands for more donations.

Expressing Nigeria’s commitment to the international effort to restore normalcy in Mali, the president also stated that his administration had
re-constructed and refurbished some health facilities in Malian defence barracks, a project which he said cost Nigeria $5.5 million under the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention.

He said Nigeria as part of the international initiative being undertaken by the AU, ECOWAS, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), aimed at mobilising adequate financial resources in support of the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF) as well as AFISMA, would not shirk its responsibility towards the global efforts to rout out the Islamic insurgents from Mali.
He said: “The collaboration between these four organisations on this initiative is a clear demonstration of international solidarity, sympathy and cooperation required for a definitive resolution of the Malian crisis which has serious international consequences.

“Specifically, Nigeria has commenced the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and 300 air force personnel to Mali as part of AFISMA. Nigeria has so far provided about $32 million for the immediate deployment and logistic support for the troops.

“Prior to this, Nigeria dispatched relief and humanitarian relief and supplies amounting to US$2 million and Nigeria has undertaken the re-construction and refurbishment of a number of clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces, as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention to the tune of US$5.5 million.”

Recalling his efforts as a co-mediator in the crisis since October 2012, he said that the antidote to the crisis is the implementation of the ECOWAS road map for the resolution of the crisis.

“For this reason, the pledge (of $5million) I make today (yesterday) is a further expression of our commitment to a worthy international effort,” he said.

He urged the conference to use the funds so raised not only for defence and security matters, but also for the provision of necessary humanitarian support.

The president pointed out that the situation in Mali called for cooperation, sacrifice and action on the part of strategic partners, the countries of the sub-region, Africa and indeed the entire international community.

Chairman of the AU and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, said in his remarks that the funds pledged at the conference could assist to mobilise the necessary resources to maintain the gains of the military expedition and re-energise the political process in Mali.

So far, Nigeria has deployed 776 troops in Mali and more members of the contingent that will make up the 1,200 troops Nigeria has pledged are expected to leave for Mali next week.

The first batch of the Nigerian contingent, comprising members of the Nigerian Air Force and Army, left Nigeria on January 17 via Port Harcourt and Kaduna under the aegis of the Africa-led International Mission in Mali (AFISMA) spearheaded by ECOWAS.

However, THISDAY learnt that Nigerian troops have not been embedded with the French troops that were already in the country fighting with Malian soldiers to chase away the insurgents.

A defence ministry source further revealed that not all members of ECOWAS had deployed their troops in Mali.

‘US can spy on Cloud documents’


 


iol scitech dec 31 cloud computing pic(IOL) – All personal information stored by British internet users on major “cloud” computing services including Google Drive can be spied upon routinely without their knowledge by US authorities under newly-approved legislation, it can be disclosed.

Cloud computing has exploded in recent years as a flexible, cheap way for individuals, companies and government bodies to remotely store documents and data. According to some estimates, 35 per cent of UK firms use some sort of cloud system – with Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive the major players.

But it has now emerged that all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analysed without a warrant by American security agencies.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, allows US government agencies open access to any electronic information stored by non-American citizens by US-based companies. Quietly introduced during the dying days of President George W Bush’s administration in 2008, it was renewed over Christmas 2012.

But only now are privacy campaigners and legal experts waking up to the extent of the intrustion. Caspar Bowden, who was chief privacy adviser to Microsoft Europe for nine years until 2011, said: “What this legislation means is that the US has been able to mine any foreign data in US Clouds since 2008, and nobody noticed.”

Significantly, bodies such as the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA can gain access to any information that potentially concerns US foreign policy for purely political reasons – with no need for any suspicion that national security is at stake – meaning that religious groups, campaigning organisations and journalists could be targeted.

The information can be intercepted and stored in bulk as it enters the US via undersea cables crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Bowden, who now works as an independent advocate for privacy rights and co-authored a report for the European Parliament warning of the threat to clouds posed by FISA, criticised the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for giving free rein to the US authorities.

The body which polices data protection laws in the UK effectively ruled that companies were right to pass information over to foreign government requests as the disclosure was made “in accordance with a legal requirement”, such as FISA.

Mr Bowden said: “Every time we make a bridge of trust, or commit an indiscretion, using a social network or webmail, think how a foreign country could use that information for its own purposes to influence policy and politics. Drafts of documents prepared online, who is in contact with each other, all of this can be captured and analysed using data-mining algorithms much more advanced than those offered by public search engines.”

His report, being considered by the EU in a review of its electronic privacy directive, cautioned that the threat of “heavy-calibre mass-surveillance fire-power aimed at the cloud” was greater than that posed by cyber-crime.

Gordon Nardell QC, a British barrister who specialises in data protection, said he was “shocked” by the powers outlined in the highly-controversial amendments to FISA. He said: “What’s different about this is that it’s a power in the US authorities to insist on real-time collection of information by any data processer within US jurisdiction. The US authorities basically grab everything that is going in and out.”

Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch MEP who serves as vice chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, warned that European authorities must act as soon as possible.

She said:”Let’s turn this around and imagine this is not the United States having unlimited access to our data but the government of Mr Putin or the Chinese government – would we still wonder if it’s an urgent issue? Nobody would ask that question.”

Eric King of pressure group Privacy International, said: “Allowing mass surveillance, unwarranted and unaccountable, is terrifying.”

Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, said: “US surveillance ambitions know no bounds. The chilling US Foreign Intelligence Service Act treats all non-US citizens as enemy suspects.”

Last night, Google said: “It is possible for the US government (and European governments) to access certain types of data via their law enforcement agencies. We think this kind of access to data merits serious discussion and more transparency.”

Amazon and Apple were yet to comment last night. – The Independent

THE CLOUD: HOW IT WORKS

1 Individuals create their own files, such as written documents, contact lists or spreadsheets on a computer or smartphone

2 These files are uploaded via the internet to a Cloud service, storing the file remotely on computer servers – often thousands of miles away

3 Users are then able to access or download their files anywhere in the world on any device connected to the internet

All non-American nationals are vulnerable to having their files legally tapped into or monitored by US authorities without a warrant under the FISA legislation

STUDY: Husbands Who Do the Household Chores Have Less Sex


 
A man lights a gas stove on January 6, 2009. Husbands who spend more time doing traditionally female chores -- such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping -- reported having less sex than those who do more masculine tasks, according to a study in the American Sociological Review.

A man lights a gas stove on January 6, 2009. Husbands who spend more time doing traditionally female chores — such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping — reported having less sex than those who do more masculine tasks, according to a study in the American Sociological Review.

AFP – The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say: the more housework married men do, the less sex they have, according to a new study published Wednesday.

Husbands who spend more time doing traditionally female chores — such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping — reported having less sex than those who do more masculine tasks, said the study in the American Sociological Review.

“Our findings suggest the importance of socialized gender roles for sexual frequency in heterosexual marriage,” said lead author Sabino Kornrich, of the Center for Advanced Studies at the Juan March Institute in Madrid.

“Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently. Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks — such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance — report higher sexual frequency.”

His study, “Egalitarianism, Housework, and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” looks at straight married couples in the United States, and was based on data from the National Survey of Families and Households.

The study was co-authored by University of Washington sociologist Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Katrina Leupp.

Men in the study reported having had sex an average of 5.2 times in the month prior to the survey, while women reported 5.6.

But both men and women in couples with more traditional household labor divisions said they had more sex.

US could attack Syria with chemical weapons, reveals an E-mail leak


 

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(Dailybhaskar)- Through an e-mail which has now surfaced in the public domain, White House’s plans of attacking Syria with chemical weapons has come to light. A report that came out Monday highlighted the exchange of e-mails where two senior officials talked about future plan against Syria.
 
Washington had approved the policy discussed according to which Qatar would financially aid the rebellious army.
 
US President Barack Obama had made it clear to Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad that it would not tolerate Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.
 
 
According to reports, the e-mail was hacked by a hacker in Malaysia. US has refused a comment on this matter.

NYPD cops handcuff and interrogate boy, 7, over missing $5, family claims


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(Fox) -This kid was no killer — but some callous Bronx cops sure treated him like one.

Instead of earning himself a simple trip to the principal’s office, a terrified 7-year-old boy was hauled out of class, handcuffed like a hardened criminal and “interrogated” by police for a grueling 10 hours — all over a playground dispute involving $5, his family is charging.

“My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized,” Wilson Reyes’ distraught mom, Frances Mendez told The Post last night.

“Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs!’’ she said. “It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

The bizarre overreaction by cops came after the child had been accused of swiping $5 from another student after school.

The money, which was supposed to be used for a school trip that never happened, had fallen on the ground in front of Wilson and two other boys, and one of them scooped it up.

Wilson was falsely accused of taking it, and he scuffled with one of the kids.

Officers showed up at PS X114 on Dec. 4 at about 10:20 a.m., and handcuffed and held Wilson in a room there for four hours. They then hauled him off to the 44th Precinct station house for another six hours of interrogation and verbal abuse, according to a $250 million claim against the city and the NYPD.

The boy protested his innocence, to no avail.

Fumbling feds say wrong man may have been nabbed


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(Boston Herald) -In the latest setback for Boston’s beleaguered U.S. attorney, red-faced feds admit they may have arrested the wrong man during a massive gang and drug takedown two weeks ago because he looked like someone they wanted, after they were forced to tell a judge there was “sufficient doubt” that he was the suspect.

O’Neil Taylor, 30, of Norwood, who was arrested Jan. 17 and freed the next day, “looks very much like” an associate of the Hendry Street gang in Dorchester who cooks crack and goes by the street name of ‘Chew,’ prosecutors wrote in court papers. But they now say they’re not sure Taylor is “Chew.”

“Although Mr. Taylor or his vehicle was regularly in the Hendry Street area and he may in fact be the person involved in the drug conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote, “there is sufficient doubt right now that the government believes it is in the interest of justice to release Mr. O’Neil (sic) pending further investigation regarding the identity of ‘Chew.’ ”

 

Federal Magistrate Robert B. Collings granted the motion to release him while the feds sort out the matter.

However, the drug conspiracy charges against Taylor have not yet been dropped.

Taylor’s attorney declined to comment.

Prosecutors are expected to go before a judge today to detail their progress in determining whether they can say Taylor is “Chew” or not.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined to say how worried authorities are that they may have arrested an innocent man.

“We think we addressed that concern in the motion. There will be further detail in the hearing,” office spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.

Ortiz has been criticized for her heavy prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide while facing up to 35 years and $1 million in fines for hacking academic documents. And last week, a judge tossed her effort to seize a family-owned motel in Tewksbury because people had been arrested there on drug charges.

Taylor, one of 30 people arrested in the FBI-led bust, “protested that he was not the person named,” from the outset, prosecutors wrote in a motion requesting his release. “Further investigation has indicated that there is a person in the neighborhood and who is known to associate with the defendants who looks very much like Mr. Taylor (same physical build) and who allegedly goes by the name of ‘CHEW.’”

Media Falsely Claims Gun Activists Heckled Father of Murdered Newtown Boy


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(Breitbart) Tuesday morning, many in the media went all in with a sanctimonious attack against gun-rights supporters, whom they accused of heckling Neil Heslin, the parent of a six-year-old boy murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre. The only problem is that it was all a lie. Mr. Heslin was not heckled.

If you look at the full, unedited tape (which was first obtained by Twitchy), you’ll see that after 15 minutes of the audience remaining respectfully silent as Mr. Heslin spoke out against assault weapons, he then turns to ask the audience a direct question:

I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question … why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips.

Mr. Heslin then pauses waiting for someone in the audience to answer. His question is respectfully asked but no one says a word.

Then Mr. Heslin says:

Not one person can answer that question.

And it’s only then that a few people do answer the question, and do so respectfully.

The full, unedited video proves the media is lying. This is not heckling, this is someone respectfully asking a question and receiving a respectful answer.

 

 

 

How Unlocking Your Phone May Now Be A Crime: $500,000 Fines And 5 Years In Prison For First Offense


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(TechDirt) -Last week, we warned about the impending deadline if you wanted to unlock your phone “legally.” That’s because the Librarian of Congress took away the DMCA anti-circumvention exemption that allowed phone unlocking. If you’re wondering why we even have the Librarian of Congress deciding such things, that’s a much longer discussion. In the meantime, though, Derek Khanna has written an interesting piece of at The Atlantic, in which he points out that, not only is it illegal now to unlock your phone, it’s possibly criminal thanks to some broad and ridiculous readings of today’s copyright law. Until now, most people had been regarding this as purely a civil matter — and one where it seemed (mostly) unlikely that companies would take too many people to court.

However, given how we’ve seen prosecutorial overreach on a variety of cases lately, including in the copyright realm, Khanna presents compelling evidence that unlocking a phone could trigger criminal charges. Specifically, he points to 17 USC 1204, which establishes what qualifies for criminal offenses for circumventing technical protection measures:

Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain…

In case you don’t know, 1201 is the anti-circumvention part of the DMCA/Copyright Act.

Now, I can already hear people complaining that unlocking your phone for personal use isn’t “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” Except, well, it is. Khanna explains how easy it would be for a prosecutor on a mission to “send a message” to make this argument:

Given copyright laws broad interpretation by the courts, it could be argued that merely unlocking your own smartphone takes a device of one value and converts it into a device of double that value (the resale market for unlocked phones is significantly higher) and therefore unlocking is inherently providing a commercial advantage or a private financial gain – even if the gain hasn’t been realized. In other words, unlocking doubles or triples the resale value of your own device and replaces the need to procure the unlocked device from the carrier at steep costs, which may be by definition a private financial gain. Alternatively, one can argue that a customer buying a cheaper version of a product, the locked version vs. the unlocked version, and then unlocking it themselves in violation of the DMCA, is denying the provider of revenue which also qualifies. There are several cases that have established similar precedents where stealing coaxial cable for personal use has been held to be for “purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” (See Cablevision Sys. New York City Corp. v. Lokshin, 980 F. Supp. 107, 109 (E.D.N.Y. 1997)); (Cablevision Sys. Dev. Co. v. Cherrywood Pizza, 133 Misc. 2d 879, 881, 508 N.Y.S.2d 382, 383 (Sup. Ct. 1986)).

Oh, so given all that, what kind of punishment could you get? It’s a lot worse than the statutory maximum of $150,000 for willful infringement of a copyright work. No, now that we’re talking circumvention and criminal penalties, a single offense can basically destroy your life:

(1) shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense; and

(2) shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.

Khanna is right that it’s unlikely that a prosecutor would choose to go this far, but just the fact that it’s possible is absurd:

If people see this and respond, well no one is really going to get those types of penalties, my response is: Why is that acceptable? While people’s worst fears may be a bit unfounded, why do we accept a system where we allow such discretionary authority? If you or your child were arrested for this, would it comfort you to know that the prosecutor and judge could technically throw the book at you? Would you relax assuming that they probably wouldn’t make an example out of you or your kid? When as a society did we learn to accept the federal government having such Orwellian power?

And, while I doubt that prosecutors would straight up charge someone for merely unlocking their phone, if they’re looking to pile on (or threaten to pile on) more charges against some “hacker” for a variety of other actions, it’s not hard to see scenarios where this would be lumped in with other threats or charges.

Cuomo: Gun Control Would Have Never Happened If Public Was Allowed To Review It


(menrec.com) In order to pass the New York SAFE Act, which substantially erodes a citizens Constitutionally granted Second Amendment right to bear arms, Governor Cuomo had to circumvent his own state Constitution.  That document has an amendment requiring a three-day public review of all laws.  By issuing a “Message of Necessity”, Cuomo was able to pass the law without public scrutiny, with the Senate actually voting on the bill a mere 30 minutes after receiving it.

The process led to State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin to say that, “Moscow would be proud of our state Legislature and Executive Chamber, but every New Yorker should be outraged.”

Now Cuomo is admitting that allowing a three-day public review would have killed the momentum behind his gun control bill.

“Nothing like that will ever happen without a message of necessity,” he said.

Via the Times Union:

“I think we did a great thing,” Cuomo told the Times Union Editorial Board on Monday. “Nothing like that will ever happen without a message of necessity.”

It’s not a revelation that Cumo is a results-over-process guy. But he seems clearly ruffled by criticisms that he’s heavy-handed, like the Times Union’s editorial knocking his use of a message of necessity, to have the bill immediately enacted.

Cuomo began by noting the gun bill was a special circumstance, because now-banned assault weapons would fly off the shelves in any waiting period. Then he began to share blame with legislative leaders who, he said, could have taken his message and still waited to act.

But then he moved into a direct defense of the message of necessity:

“Any pressing piece of legislation, whether it’s the fiscal cliff, any big deal in Washington — it is an evolving situation and you take the vote when you have the vote. It never gets static for three days. That’s not the nature of the beast, because it’s constantly changing,” he said. “Unless you call the vote when you actually have the vote, it’s shifting sands … It will never happen if you put it on the desk for three days. Well, from a process standpoint, wouldn’t it be better if you could do it and put it on the desk for three days? Yes! Yes, I believe that, and that’s why I’ve done fewer than anyone. But if say we’re going to be salve to a process requirement and not get really big things done, then I disagree with you.”

Indeed, Moscow would have been proud.  Perhaps more importantly, bypassing the three day waiting period allowed the bill to be passed without a now publicized Democrat wish list of gun control measures to ever be discussed; a wish list that includes confiscation of guns and ammo, and practically eliminates all semi-automatic weapons on top of so-called “assault weapons”.

Moscow would be proud of Governor Cuomo, indeed.

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


 

Who-Runs-The-World-Solid-Proof-That-A-Core-Group-Of-Wealthy-Elitists-Are-Pulling-The-Strings-294x300

(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


 

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(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.