As posted on Information Clearing House:
Video - Noam Chomsky Lecture University Of Tennessee - January 25, 2011
Chomsky discussed the United States' support of dictatorships in Egypt, Tunisia, Georgia, Jordan and Colombia.
"The guiding principle (for American government) is that as long as the public is under control, everything is fine," he said. "(The traditional argument is) the powerful should gain ends by any possible means. As long as the public is kept under control, public will doesn't matter."
"Throughout American history, there has been a constant struggle over who should control and who should obey," he said. "The Founding Fathers were ambivalent about democracy."
"The United States has a violent labor history," he said. "The rallying cry of the late 19th-century labor movement was, 'Those who work in mills should own them,'" he said.
Chomsky said this holds significance today, specifically with the automobile industry.
"Obama took over the auto industry, so the government owns it," he said. "The government is closing plants when they could turn them over to the workers and let them run it for profit."
"By World War I, the business class realized that because of new freedoms, it was impossible to control the public by force, so they need new means," he said. "They tried to control of opinion and attitude to divert people from the public arena. This is why the public relations industry was started."
Chomsky called elections today "public relations extravaganzas."
Monday, January 31, 2011
As posted on Information Clearing House:
By Barbara Ehrenreich, In These Times
#1 Don't talk, write or argue about Obama, who has proved himself irrelevant to the progressive project, no matter how narrowly that project is defined. Similarly, don't conflate progressives with Democrats, since the latter category prominently includes Obama.
#2 Organize the unemployed of all collar colors—white, pink and blue. The unions aren't doing it, or at least not very much of it, for the simple reason that the unemployed can't pay dues. You can either support existing organizing efforts like the Unemployed and Anxiously Employed Workers Initiative, which can be found on Facebook, or you can start your own by getting together with other economically challenged folks for purposes of mutual support and advocacy.
#3 Do not "mount an unapologetic defense of government." It doesn't deserve it. What we need is a progressive attack on government in its various armed and coercive functions– including the criminal justice system, the war on drugs, ICE, and the TSA. The faux libertarianism of the right should also be challenged with a militant defense of abortion and gay rights.
#4 Organize for a collective defense against foreclosures and evictions. Every time a bank swoops down to snatch up a home, it should be met with a crowd of jeering, obstructive neighbors. And although this may be point 4.5, how about organizing a mass refusal to pay back student loans?
#5 Don't talk about the need for a "narrative." Outside of literary theory, that word has become synonymous with "lie." We know what's going on here, a no-holds-barred class war of the top 1 percent—augmented by what Tom Frank calls the snake-flag crowd—against the rest of us. That's not a "story" or a clever new "framing." It's what's happening. We either fight back or get pummeled into the dust.
~ via smygo ~
Homicide victim John P. Wheeler III, a former Pentagon official and presidential aide whose body was discovered Dec. 31 in a Wilmington landfill, was beaten to death in an assault, the Delaware medical examiner’s office announced today.
The official cause of Wheeler’s slaying was “blunt force trauma,’’ agency spokesman Karl Kanefsky said about a case that has drawn worldwide media coverage.
Police reiterated today that the case remains under investigation but acknowledge they cannot fill in critical gaps in the murder mystery.
Within hours of the grisly New Year’s Eve discovery, state pathologists had ruled that the 66-year-old New Castle resident was a homicide victim, but until today authorities had been mum on the cause of his death — an unusual posture in Delaware, where such information is usually released promptly.
The four-week delay has helped fuel rampant speculation that Wheeler, a defense consultant and expert on chemical and biological weapons, was poisoned by enemies – a theory that persisted in part because he was seen stumbling around Wilmington in the days before he died and officials said they were awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
Hal G. Brown, deputy director of the medical examiner’s office, said he did not know what medications or chemicals, if any, were in Wheeler’s system, but said the death certificate makes it clear that toxicology “didn’t play a role’’ in Wheeler’s death.
Brown said blunt force trauma describes the result of being struck with an object or a body part such as a fist. Brown added that Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Adrienne Sekula-Perlman, who handled Wheeler’s autopsy, met with police and prosecutors today about her conclusions.
Newark police are the lead agency on a multi-force investigation because the garbage truck that dumped Wheeler’s body at Wilmington’s Cherry Island Landfill was emptying debris it had collected at trash bins in Newark. The FBI is also assisting the probe.
Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall was mum Friday on the official word that Wheeler was killed in an assault. “I can’t comment on his injuries,’’ Farrall said.
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Friday, January 28, 2011
On Jan. 15th, 2011, "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" was released theatrically to sold out crowds in 60 countries; 31 languages; 295 cities and 341 Venues. It has been noted as the largest non-profit independent film release in history.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
By Rosa Prince, The Telegraph
Lord Wilson of Dinton and Lord Turnbull both rejected the former prime minister's claim that cabinet ministers "knew the score" and had been aware that he had agreed to invade Iraq soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Appearing before the Iraq Inquiry, the two men painted a picture of the "sofa government" in operation under New Labour, and told of their futile attempts to persuade Mr Blair to resume the "classical" structures of cabinet committees.
In some of most damning evidence heard by the inquiry to date, the respected former mandarins rejected claims made by Mr Blair to the committee last week in which he insisted that cabinet ministers were kept informed of the progress to war.
Lord Turnbull said that the cabinet was not asked for their approval until the eve of the invasion in March 2003, by which time they were "imprisoned" and had little choice but to consent – or bring the prime minister down.
His predecessor, Lord Wilson, who retired in September 2002, disclosed that at no point during his time as the country's top civil service was the cabinet aware that a decision had been taken to invade Iraq.
Their evidence contradicts that of Mr Blair who claimed last Friday that he first discussed the likelihood of toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with United States President George W Bush in November 2001, and that the prospect of war was well known from that point.
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By Teri Buhl, The Atlantic
Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit's supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a "sack of shit."
News of internal whistleblowers coming forward from Bear's mortgage servicing division, EMC, was first reported by The Atlantic in May of last year. Ex-EMC analysts admitted they were sometimes told to falsify loan-level performance data provided to the ratings agencies who blessed Bear's billion-dollar deals. But according to depositions and documents in the Ambac lawsuit, Bear's misdeeds went even deeper. They say senior traders under Tom Marano, who was a Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Mortgages for Bear and is now CEO of Ally's mortgage operations, were pocketing cash that should have gone to securities holders after Bear had already sold them bonds and moved the loans off its books.
Mike Nierenberg, who ran the adjustable-rate mortgage trading desk at Bear and is now the head of mortgages and securitization for Bank of America, was a key player ensuring the defaulting loans Bear was buying would move off their books right after they bought them, with little concern for the firm's due diligence standards. He was joined in this scheme by Jeff Verschleiser, his peer and Senior Managing Director on the mortgage and asset-backed securities trading desk and head of whole loan trading. He is now an executive in Goldman Sachs' mortgage division.
According to the lawsuit, the Bear traders would sell toxic mortgage securities to investors and then sell back the bad loans with early payment defaults to the banks that originated them at a discount. The traders would pocket the refund, and would not pass it on to the mortgage trust, which was where it should have gone to be distributed to the investors who owned the bonds. The Marano-led traders also cut the time allowed for early payment defaults, without telling the bond investors. That way, Bear could quickly securitize defective loans, without leaving enough time for investors to do their own due diligence after the bonds were sold and put-back any bad loans to Bear.
The traders were essentially double-dipping -- getting paid twice on the deal. How was this possible? Once the security was sold, they didn't have a legal claim to get cash back from the bad loans -- that claim belonged to bond investors -- but they did so anyway and kept the money. Thus, Bear was cheating the investors they promised to have sold a safe product out of their cash. According to former Bear Stearns and EMC traders and analysts who spoke with The Atlantic, Nierenberg and Verschleiser were the decision-makers for the double dipping scheme, and thus, are named as individual defendants in the suit.
Bear deal manager Nicolas Smith wrote an e-mail on August 11th, 2006 to Keith Lind, a Managing Director on the trading desk, referring to a particular bond, SACO 2006-8, as "SACK OF SHIT [2006-]8" and said, "I hope your [sic] making a lot of money off this trade."
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Performed by MODERN e QUARTET,
Album: voluntary electrocution,
Label: ekfrasis production.
Mark Townsend and Tony Thompson report for the Guardian:
Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.
The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.
Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.
The one stipulation, according to the officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, was that falling in love was considered highly unprofessional because it might compromise an investigation. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job".
"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."
The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.
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Friday, January 21, 2011
Posted on The Burning Platform:
The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II. - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997
The mass murder in Tucson is another brick in the wall of this Fourth Turning Crisis. The importance of this tragic event is not what happened in that Safeway parking lot, but the reaction in the aftermath of the shooting. Turnings are not about specific events, but how generations react to the events based on their stages of life. A turning is an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people feel about themselves and their nation. It results from the aging of the generational constellation. A society enters a turning once every twenty years or so, when all living generations begin to enter their next phases of life. We entered this Fourth Turning between 2005 and 2008, with the collapse of the housing market and subsequent financial system implosion.
We have crossed the threshold into a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime will propel the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. The Silent Generation (1925-1942) is dying off, Baby Boomers (1943-1960) are entering elder hood, Generation X is entering midlife, Millenials are entering young adulthood—and a new generation of child Artists are being born. Strauss & Howe have documented that a long human life of 80 to 100 years makes up a social cycle of growth, maturation, entropy, and death (and rebirth) known as a Saeculum. Within each cycle, four generations proceed through their four stages of life. Every 15 to 25 years a new Turning surprises those who only think of history in a linear way. Strauss & Howe are historians who have been able to document this generational cycle going back to the 1400s.
The Anglo-American saeculum dates back to the waning of the Middle Ages in the middle of the fifteenth century. In this lineage, there have been seven saecula:
Late Medieval (1435-1487)
New World (1594-1704)
Civil War (1794-1865)
Great Power (1866-1946)
The Turnings of history are like the seasons of nature. Seasons cannot be rearranged, seasons cannot be avoided, but humans and nations can prepare for the challenges presented by each season. Winter has descended upon our nation.
We are still in the early stages of this Fourth Turning and the mood of the country continues to darken like the sky before an approaching blizzard. Generational theory does not predict the specific events that will happen during a Turning. The events, personalities, and policies that become the chapters in history books are not what drive a Turning, it is how each generation reacts to the events, personalities and policies. Someone who is 60 years old will react differently to an event than they would have reacted at 20 years old. The issues that are driving this Fourth Turning (un-payable entitlement obligations, Wall Street greed & power, globalization gutting the middle class, increasing government control, wealth distribution) were all known and understood in 1997. It took the spark of a housing market collapse and the generations being in proper alignment to catalyze the mood of the country.
Chapter one of this Fourth Turning is approaching its end. Chapter two guarantees to be more intense, with more violence, and periods of great danger. Strauss & Howe envisioned this chapter based upon their analysis of the issues looming back in 1997:
The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind's willingness to use it. Thus, might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension. - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997
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Colin Freeze reports for the Globe and Mail:
A Canadian special-forces soldier approached military overseers two years ago with complaints about "war crimes" in Afghanistan – a state of affairs he suggested could only be corrected if the ultra-secret JTF2 unit were pulled from the conflict.
These allegations, never proved, lay the basis for the so-called Sand Trap investigation that is now probing accountability within Canada's most secretive military unit.
Reports of the probe have been circulating for months, but the specifics have always been swathed in official secrecy.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Directors: Stathis Katsaros - Giorgos Sifianos
According to (an anti-Catholic tirade by) Barry Chamish:
Unlike the "experts" who say the conviction of ex-Pres. Katsav was a "victory" for Israeli justice, I actually looked at the notes from his trial. It is what is missing that stands out:
There are no rape kits.
There is no semen or DNA proof.
There are no professionals like doctors or police sex crimes experts.
There are no rape victims testifying in open court. Those prosecution witnesses testifying in closed court are not identified.
There is no physical evidence such as Katsav's hair or clothing.
There was no lie detector test of Katsav.
No victim went to the police after being raped. The police opened an investigation years after the alleged crimes allegedly took place.
All, I mean all, that convicted Katsav were the testimonies of the victims and they were full of holes, often, in fact, not believable. One "victim" claims to have been raped in Katsav's office. Having, apparently, enjoyed the experience, she was raped long after, in Katsav's hotel room.
Katsav claimed he was being framed and turned down a simple way out of jail. He would resign the Presidency after confessing to some minor charges. He rejected the deal and chose to be exonerated in court. No one guilty would take this route.
All signs point to Katsav being railroaded because the Israeli justice system is "victoriously" handpicked to be a rigged joke.
If you accept any or even, all, of my observations, then you must ask, who wanted Katsav out of the Presidency?
AND if you are reluctant to change your point of view, stop here and delete the rest. If you want, at least, to see the background of Katsav's railroading, keep reading even if you won't believe it.
Katsav was the second President in a row to resign in scandal. Recall that before the last Presidential election, the President, Ezer Weizmann, was forced to resign because of gift-taking from the Geneva millionaire, Edouard Seroussi. I noted that Shimon Peres was about the only politician who knew European shenanigans. And I added, Peres WOULD run for President. I was right about that. Where I blew it is that Peres would lose the vote to Moshe Katzav. In any SECRET vote, Peres' enemies will express themselves. A third of his Labor Party allies voted against him. And thus, Katzav became the secret and sworn enemy of Shimon Peres. He doomed himself.
But Peres first concentrated on a new challenge, becoming the Labor Party leader. In November '05, Peres lost again when Amir Peretz defeated him to become the Labor leader. Peres was again rejected by his own party. Peres now had two enemies to bring down to further his ambitions. And he got them both when the Lebanon War of '06 broke out on July 12.
Incredibly, the next day's first headlines were not of the new war, they were of rumors concerning Katsav's alleged rapes. For 33 days, Defense Minister Amir Peretz's unspeakable mishandling of the war pushed Katsav off the front page. This is not the place to discuss IDF C-O-S Dan Halutuz working with Peretz to keep infantry out of the war and thus prevent any chance of victory. Someday we'll discuss who Halutz was really taking his orders from.
On August 25, Israel agreed to ceasefire talks in Rome which led to an 85% Catholic force called UNIFIL, keeping the peace between Israel and Hizbullah. On the same day, Israel Police opened its investigation of Moshe Katsav for serious sexual crimes.
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By Ben Austen, Popsci
Last August, U.S. Navy operators on the ground lost all contact with a Fire Scout helicopter flying over Maryland. They had programmed the unmanned aerial vehicle to return to its launch point if ground communications failed, but instead the machine took off on a north-by-northwest route toward the nation's capital. Over the next 30 minutes, military officials alerted the Federal Aviation Administration and North American Aerospace Defense Command and readied F-16 fighters to intercept the pilotless craft. Finally, with the Fire Scout just miles shy of the White House, the Navy regained control and commanded it to come home. "Renegade Unmanned Drone Wandered Skies Near Nation's Capital," warned one news headline in the following days. "UAV Resists Its Human Oppressors, Joyrides over Washington, D.C.," declared another.
The Fire Scout was unarmed, and in any case hardly a machine with the degree of intelligence or autonomy necessary to wise up and rise up, as science fiction tells us the robots inevitably will do. But the world's biggest military is rapidly remaking itself into a fighting force consisting largely of machines, and it is working hard to make those machines much smarter and much more independent. In March, noting that "unprecedented, perhaps unimagined, degrees of autonomy can be introduced into current and future military systems," Ashton Carter, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, called for the formation of a task force on autonomy to ensure that the service branches take "maximum practical advantage of advances in this area."
In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. troops have been joined on the ground and in the air by some 20,000 robots and remotely operated vehicles. The CIA regularly slips drones into Pakistan to blast suspected Al Qaeda operatives and other targets. Congress has called for at least a third of all military ground vehicles to be unmanned by 2015, and the Air Force is already training more UAV operators every year than fighter and bomber pilots combined. According to "Technology Horizons," a recent Air Force report detailing the branch's science aims, military machines will attain "levels of autonomous functionality far greater than is possible today" and "reliably make wide- ranging autonomous decisions at cyber speeds." One senior Air Force engineer told me, "You can envision unmanned systems doing just about any mission we do today." Or as Colonel Christopher Carlile, the former director of the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence, has said, "The difference between science fiction and science is timing."
We are surprisingly far along in this radical reordering of the military's ranks, yet neither the U.S. nor any other country has fashioned anything like a robot doctrine or even a clear policy on military machines. As quickly as countries build these systems, they want to deploy them, says Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield in England: "There's been absolutely no international discussion. It's all going forward without anyone talking to one another." In his recent book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, Brookings Institution fellow P.W. Singer argues that robots and remotely operated weapons are transforming wars and the wider world in much the way gunpowder, mechanization and the atomic bomb did in previous generations. But Singer sees significant differences as well. "We're experiencing Moore's Law," he told me, citing the axiom that computer processing power will double every two years, "but we haven't got past Murphy's Law." Robots will come to possess far greater intelligence, with more ability to reason and self- adapt, and they will also of course acquire ever greater destructive power. So what does it mean when whatever can go wrong with these military machines, just might?
I asked that question of Werner Dahm, the chief scientist of the Air Force and the lead author on "Technology Horizons." He dismissed as fanciful the kind of Hollywood-bred fears that informed news stories about the Navy Fire Scout incident. "The biggest danger is not the Terminator scenario everyone imagines, the machines taking over—that's not how things fail," Dahm said. His real fear was that we would build powerful military systems that would "take over the large key functions that are done exclusively by humans" and then discover too late that the machines simply aren't up to the task. "We blink," he said, "and 10 years later we find out the technology wasn't far enough along."
Dahm's vision, however, suggests another "Terminator scenario," one more plausible and not without menace. Over the course of dozens of interviews with military officials, robot designers and technology ethicists, I came to understand that we are at work on not one but two major projects, the first to give machines ever greater intelligence and autonomy, and the second to maintain control of those machines. Dahm was worried about the success of the former, but we should be at least as concerned about the failure of the latter. If we make smart machines without equally smart control systems, we face a scenario in which some day, by way of a thousand well-intentioned decisions, each one seemingly sound, the machines do in fact take over all the "key functions" that once were our domain. Then "we blink" and find that the world is one we no longer are able to comprehend or control.
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Monday, January 10, 2011
By Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO
At the beginning of the century, while the United States was still embroiled in military interventions in the Balkans and had launched what would become the longest war in its history in Afghanistan with the invasion of Iraq to follow, it was also laying the groundwork for subordinating the African continent to a new military command.
With 4.5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for approximately 30 percent of crude oil consumption. Although the world’s third largest producer of crude, it imports over 60 percent of what it consumes (12.4 of 20.7 million barrels it uses daily). A decade ago 15 percent of those imports came from the Gulf of Guinea region on Africa’s Atlantic Ocean coast, mainly from Nigeria, and it is projected that the proportion will increase to 25 percent in the next four years.
The National Energy Policy Report issued by the Office of Vice President Richard Cheney on May 16, 2001 stated: “West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur…giving it a growing market share for refining centers on the East Coast of the U.S.”
The following year, the Washington, D.C.-based African Oil Policy Initiative Group conducted a symposium entitled “African Oil: A Priority for U. S. National Security and African Development,” with the participation of American legislators, policy advisers, the private sector and representatives of the State Department and Defense Department, at which Congressman William Jefferson said:
“African oil should be treated as a priority for U.S. national security post 9-11. I think that…post 9-11 it’s occurred to all of us that our traditional sources of oil are not as secure as we thought they were.”
As is customary in regards to American foreign policy objectives, the Pentagon was charged with taking responsibility. It immediately went to work on undertaking three initiatives to implement U.S. energy strategy in the Gulf of Guinea: U.S. Africa Command, the first overseas military command inaugurated since 1983. The U.S. Navy’s Africa Partnership Station as what has developed into the major component of the Global Fleet Station, linked with worldwide maritime operations like the 1,000-ship navy and the Proliferation Security Initiative and piloted in the area of responsibility of U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Fourth Fleet reactivated in 2008: The Caribbean Sea and Central and South America. The NATO Response Force designed for rapid multi-service (army, air force, navy and marine) deployments outside of the bloc’s North American-European area of responsibility.
In recent weeks Ghana joined the ranks of African oil producers, pumping crude oil for the first time from an offshore field in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The Jubilee oil field, discovered three years ago, holds an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil, and will begin producing around 55,000 barrels per day in the coming weeks. Oil production is expected, however, to rise to about 120,000 barrels over the next six months, making the country Africa’s seventh largest oil producer.” 
The Ghanaian oil exploitation is run by a consortium led by Tullow Oil plc, which is based in London and has 85 contracts in 22 countries.
The same source quoted above added:
“The Gulf of Guinea increasingly represents an important source of oil, with the US estimating that it will supply over a quarter of American oil by 2015. It has already sent US military trainers to the region to help local navies to secure shipping.
“Nearby Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo Republic are already exporting oil from the Gulf, while Liberia and Sierra Leone remain hopeful of joining the club.”
In March of 2010 95 U.S. Marines led by General Paul Brier, commander of U.S. Marine Forces Africa, deployed to the Bundase Training Camp in the Ghanaian capital of Accra for a three-week exercise with the armed forces of the host country, “part of the Africa Partnership Station,” which also included the participation of the USS Gunston Hall dock landing ship and “embarked international staff” in the Gulf of Guinea.
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Saturday, January 8, 2011
The show covers the takeover plan and what they don’t want you to see – how martial law is being implemented in America. Get these videos now and share them before they disappear forever.
During his last appearance on the Alex Jones Show, Jesse Ventura confirmed that TruTV was forced to pull the show from their schedule due to government threats.
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This powerful episode is the largest and most in-depth investigation into FEMA camps to date-- and it is scheduled to air on television. Radio host and filmmaker Alex Jones returns to the series yet again, as the team takes you to confirmed on-the-ground facilities, confronts the legislators who authorized FEMA camps and breaks down the full-scale technologically-integrated police state that includes Fusion Centers, FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and more.
At one of many real and verified FEMA locations, Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones approach a "Residential Center" run by Homeland Security in central Texas where they find locked doors, double-fences and escape warnings around the entire perimeter. Further inside the facility, they witness a playground complex, swings and slides for children. The crew walks up to the front door and attempts to get some answers. But the officials refuse to either confirm or deny the facility's purpose, including whether or not American citizens are being held inside. However, our past investigations into this facility reveal that it has confined both children and adults, including immigrants, refugee seekers and American citizens.
The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole.
The closure of the west parallel runway will result in more activity on the east parallel runway and more noise for residential areas of South Tampa.
The busiest runway will be re-designated 19R/1L on aviation charts. It's been 18R/36L, indicating its alignment along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south.
Later this month, the airport's east parallel runway and the seldom used east-west runway will be closed to change signage to their new designations.
The Federal Aviation Administration required the runway designation change to account for what a National Geographic News report described as a gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic pole at nearly 40 miles a year toward Russia because of magnetic changes in the core of the planet.
By Amanda Gefter, New Scientist
Neurologist Kevin Nelson explains how the brain slips into a strange state of hybrid consciousness during a near-death experience
How common are near-death experiences (NDEs)?
A 1997 survey reported that 18 million Americans had had one. When my team surveyed people who have had them, we found that some occurred during cardiac arrest but the vast majority were during fainting. Thirty-seven per cent of all Americans will have fainted at one point in their life, so I suspect NDEs are common.
In your book The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain you talk about borderlands of consciousness. What are they and how do they relate to NDEs?
We have three states of consciousness: awake, non-REM sleep and REM sleep. But there aren't absolute dividing lines between them - they can blend with one another, most commonly REM and waking. Twenty to 25 per cent of people at some point experience some kind of blending, a borderland of consciousness. What I have discovered is that the switch in the brainstem that regulates these three states functions differently in people who have had NDEs. These people are more likely to get stuck between the REM state and waking. So it looks like some people are prone to having these kinds of experiences. Interestingly, it tends to run in families.
Does that mean NDEs are a kind of lucid dream?
Lucid dreams are among the closest things we know of to an NDE. They are very similar. Brainwave measurements show that lucid dreaming is a conscious state between REM and waking. During REM consciousness, the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex is turned off. As that's the executive, rational part of the brain, this explains why dreams are so bizarre. But if the dorso-lateral cortex turns on inside a dream, you become aware that you are dreaming. It is like waking up in your dream. When the body is in crisis during an NDE and the brain is slipping from consciousness to unconsciousness, it can get momentarily stuck in a borderland between REM and waking, just like a lucid dream.
But unlike dreams, NDEs tend to feature some specific images, such as seeing a tunnel with a light at the end.
The tunnel actually has nothing to do with the NDE - it's to do with what's happening to your vision. During fainting, for instance, there's a blackout because the eye isn't getting enough blood, so the eye begins to shut down even though the brain is still going. As it shuts down first from the sides and then into the centre, it's like looking through a tunnel.
The light that people tend to see has a few sources. To start with, the eye might only be capable of seeing smudges of light because of the tunnelling and lack of blood flow. Then, as the brain enters REM consciousness, the visual system becomes strongly activated - that's the rapid eye movement that defines REM consciousness. When the visual system is activated, you get light.
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Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
September 30, 2010
Good morning, I am Lou CdeBaca. I am the Ambassador charged with directing the U.S. Department of State's efforts to combat human trafficking and coordinating the Obama Administration's interagency response to this global phenomenon. I would like to thank Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, and the Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for convening this critical hearing on human trafficking. Thank you for inviting me to speak on our efforts to address modern slavery over the last decade, and particularly in the last year.
As we all know, modern slavery comes in many forms. People are held in involuntary servitude in factories, farms, and homes; bought and sold in prostitution; and captured to serve as child soldiers. This is a crime that impairs human rights, degrades public health, corrupts government officials, and weakens rule of law. Modern slavery is a fluid phenomenon that responds to market demand and operates in zones of impunity that are created by vulnerabilities in laws, weak penalties, natural disasters, and economic instability. It is a crime that is not limited to one gender, faith, or geographic area but impacts individuals and societies across the globe. And the universality of this crime is reflected in the bipartisan consensus around this issue.
This is not a new crime. What is new is our ability to recognize it, and our determination to wage a sustained fight against it. Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 a decade ago, we have seen both appreciable progress and new trends. For instance, we have come to understand that men comprise a significant number of trafficking victims. Yet, we have also seen the feminization of modern slavery, with women making up a majority of those trapped in commercial sex as well as in forced labor situations.
We have found women held in modern slavery through deceit and force, picking cotton, mining conflict minerals, harvesting rice, toiling as domestic workers, dancing in nightclubs, exploited for pornography, and offered for commercial sex. We have come to understand the unique vulnerabilities of those who work in the home, with many countries not offering adequate legal protection to domestic workers. This feminization of modern slavery has been aided by growing numbers of women migrating for work and the increasingly unscrupulous and coercive nature of recruiting.
Such fraudulent recruitment practices affect both female and male workers. These practices include: work offers that misrepresent conditions, excessive recruitment fees, written contracts that workers cannot understand, and the switching of terms of employment after the original contract has been signed. In the so-called sex industry, recruiters do not merely make promises of a better life; they weave a tale of love and glamour that is quickly replaced by dependency and the abuse of what has been called "seasoning" – a term that is itself as offensive as the practice it describes. Traffickers are also changing their methods of control: they are using more female recruiters, more subtle forms of exploitation, and greater psychological abuse. And these techniques demonstrate how interconnected sex and labor trafficking are, as more and more cases are being brought around the world involving the sexual abuse – both in prostitution and by their bosses – of women who migrated on domestic worker visas. These migrant women have been raped and threatened with harm by supervisors who control their work environment.
At the same time as these insights have been gained, much progress has been made since the passage of the TVPA and promulgation of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the "Palermo Protocol"). Such progress has been stimulated and promoted through the U.S. Government's leadership and active engagement, where we have partnered with foreign governments and international and civil society to develop and implement strategies, policies, and programs to confront modern slavery. Indeed, there is now a global consensus that all acts of trafficking in persons and all its component parts should be criminalized, including forced labor, slavery, and certain slavery-like practices, even if the crime happened wholly within the country's borders. The three "P" paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution is recognized worldwide.
One hundred and forty countries have become parties to the Palermo Protocol and 116 countries have enacted legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons. In the last year alone, 33 countries have enacted or updated anti-trafficking legislation. As a result, there has been a global increase in rescues and perpetrators brought to justice, with convictions for sex and labor trafficking up from 2,983 in 2008 to 4,166 in 2009 with labor trafficking convictions increasing significantly. New analysis of victim identification data also shows a 59 percent increase over the 30,961 victims indentified in 2008.
Since 2001, the number of countries ranked in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has more than doubled to include 177 countries, including – for the first time in the 2010 TIP Report – the United States. The advent of the Report's ranking of the United States, supported by a frank analysis of our strengths and weaknesses at home, has been welcomed by anti-trafficking advocates and foreign governments alike. The TIP Report remains the U.S. Government's principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking and the world's most comprehensive resource on governmental anti-trafficking efforts. It has inspired and prompted legislation, national action plans, and implementation of policies and programs.
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From The Truth Wears Off by Jonah Lehrer, New Yorker
On September 18, 2007, a few dozen neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and drug-company executives gathered in a hotel conference room in Brussels to hear some startling news. It had to do with a class of drugs known as atypical or second-generation antipsychotics, which came on the market in the early nineties. The drugs, sold under brand names such as Abilify, Seroquel, and Zyprexa, had been tested on schizophrenics in several large clinical trials, all of which had demonstrated a dramatic decrease in the subjects' psychiatric symptoms. As a result, second-generation antipsychotics had become one of the fastest-growing and most profitable pharmaceutical classes. By 2001, Eli Lilly's Zyprexa was generating more revenue than Prozac. It remains the company's top-selling drug.
But the data presented at the Brussels meeting made it clear that something strange was happening: the therapeutic power of the drugs appeared to be steadily waning. A recent study showed an effect that was less than half of that documented in the first trials, in the early nineteen-nineties. Many researchers began to argue that the expensive pharmaceuticals weren't any better than first-generation antipsychotics, which have been in use since the fifties. "In fact, sometimes they now look even worse," John Davis, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me.
Before the effectiveness of a drug can be confirmed, it must be tested and tested again. Different scientists in different labs need to repeat the protocols and publish their results. The test of replicability, as it's known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It's a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.
But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It's as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn't yet have an official name, but it's occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. In the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only antipsychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants: Davis has a forthcoming analysis demonstrating that the efficacy of antidepressants has gone down as much as threefold in recent decades.
For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved? Which results should we believe? Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to "put nature to the question." But it appears that nature often gives us different answers.
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Exclusive by Dan Feidt for Twin Cities Indymedia:
Digital presentations posted on an Army Corps of Engineers server, about military operations in a giant FEMA-simulated earthquake drill called National Level Exercise 2011, inadvertently reveal crucial new info about another 'Secret' Pentagon plan, Northcom CONPLAN 3502, including the "trigger" for domestic military 'Civil Disturbance Operations.' CONPLAN 3502 and CONPLAN 3501, 'Defense Support of Civil Authorities,' are the two main military plans used to design the Pentagon's 'footprint' at National Special Security Events like the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Exactly as the Pennsylvania National Guard took over the G20 protester jail operation, other docs show 'Secret' CONPLAN 3502 specifically plans for military-operated detention and search operations within our country. In context, the new material is the most troubling I have ever discovered, and proves anew that underneath Constitutional limited government, a more brutal martial framework is secretly, constantly, extending its reach. DHS/FEMA doesn't like it at all when NLEs get publicized so check it out right away. Full URLs below.
New Video explanation! Below the fold: CONPLAN 3502 & Garden Plot - 40 years of domestic military plans in context - G20 Pennsylvania Military Operations - Real structure of National Special Security Events - CONPLAN 3501 Designs Gulf Oil Spill Response & Media Spin -
The Big Break: FEMA NLE Regional Readiness Workshop files (indexed on Google)
The NLE2011 presentations & material show a domestic military command system that's accelerated quite a bit since the 1960s.
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By Declan McCullagh, CNET
The U.S. Justice Department has obtained a court order directing Twitter to turn over information about the accounts of activists with ties to Wikileaks, including an Icelandic politician, a legendary Dutch hacker, and a U.S. computer programmer.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of 63 members of Iceland's national parliament, said this afternoon that Twitter notified her of the order's existence and told her she has 10 days to oppose the request for information about her account since November 1, 2009.
"I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone," Jónsdóttir said in a Twitter message.
The order (PDF) also covers "subscriber account information" for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private charged with leaking classified information; Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum; Dutch hacker and XS4ALL Internet provider co-founder Rop Gonggrijp; and Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.
Appelbaum, who gave a keynote speech at a hacker conference last summer on behalf of the document-leaking organization and is currently in Iceland, said he plans to fight the request in a U.S. court. Appelbaum, a U.S. citizen who's a developer for the Tor Project, has been briefly detained at the border and people in his address book have been hassled at airports.
The U.S. government began an criminal investigation of Wikileaks and Assange last July after the Web site began releasing what would become a deluge of confidential military and State Department files. In November, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the probe is "ongoing," and a few weeks later an attorney for Assange said he had been told that a grand jury had been empaneled in Alexandria, Va.
The order sent to Twitter initially was signed under seal by U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan in Alexandria, Va. on December 14, and gave the social networking site three days to comply. But on Wednesday, she decided (PDF) that it should be unsealed and said that Twitter is now authorized to "disclose that order to its subscribers and customers," presumably so they could choose to oppose it. (Salon.com posted a copy of the documents on Friday.)
Buchanan's order isn't a traditional subpoena. Rather, it's what's known as a 2703(d) order, which allows police to obtain certain records from a Web site or Internet provider if they are "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."
The 2703(d) order is broad. It requests any "contact information" associated with the accounts from November 1, 2009 to the present, "connection records, or records of session times and durations," and "records of user activity for any connections made to or from the account," including Internet addresses used.
It requests "all records" and "correspondence" relating to those accounts, which appears to be broad enough to sweep in the content of messages such as direct messages sent through Twitter or tweets from a non-public account. That could allow the account holders to claim that the 2703(d) order is unconstitutional. (One federal appeals court recently ruled that under the Fourth Amendment, a 2703(d) order is insufficient for the contents of communications and search warrant is needed, although that decision is not binding in Virginia or San Francisco.)
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Michael Ratner comments in the Guardian:
Today, the Centre for Constitutional Rights filed papers encouraging Judge Eloy Velasco and the Spanish national court to do what the United States will not: prosecute the "Bush Six". These are the former senior administration legal advisors, headed by then US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who violated international law by creating a legal framework that materially contributed to the torture of suspected terrorists at US-run facilities at Guantánamo and other overseas locations.
Friday's filing provides Judge Velasco with the legal framework for the prosecution of government lawyers – a prosecution that last took place during the Nuremberg trials, when Nazi lawyers who provided cover for the Third Reich's war crimes and crimes against humanity were held accountable for their complicity.
CCR would prefer to see American cases tried in American courts. But we have joined the effort to pursue the Bush Six overseas because two successive American presidents have made it clear that there will be no justice for the architects of the US torture programme, or any of their accomplices, on American soil.
Thanks to the US diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks, we now know why seeking justice abroad has also been fraught with difficulty – why there have been so many delays and even dismissals. The same US government that will not pursue justice at home, not even when the CIA destroys 92 videotapes that show detainees being tortured, has put a heavy thumb on the scales of justice in other countries as well.
During the Bush presidency, the US intervened to derail the case of German citizen Khaled el-Masri, who was abducted by the CIA in 2003 and flown to Afghanistan for interrogation as part of the U.S. "extraordinary rendition" program—until they realized they had kidnapped the wrong man and dumped el-Masri on the side of an Albanian road. A leaked 2007 cable reveals the extent both of U.S. pressure and German collusion. In public, Munich prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA operatives while Angela Merkel's office called for an investigation. In private, the German justice ministry and foreign ministry both made it clear to the US that they were not interested in pursuing the case. Later that year, then Justice Minster Brigitte Zypries went public with her decision against attempting extradition, citing US refusal to arrest or hand over the agents.
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By Josh Tron, NYT
The laboratories of Uganda's Ministry of Agriculture, Animals, Industry and Fisheries sit on the top of a quiet hill on a turnoff near the airport, behind an eroded fence. At the end of a hallway is a room with an unlocked refrigerator.
That is where the anthrax is kept.
Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, and a delegation of Pentagon officials visited the laboratories on Wednesday for the first stop on a three-country tour of East Africa to assess the next generation of American security concerns.
The team also visited the Uganda Virus Research Institute, where the Ebola and Marburg viruses are taken to study and kept in a spare room in a regular refrigerator near the bottom of the compound. Warning signs say "restricted access," but the doctors there say that hardly means the area is secure.
The laboratories here in Entebbe, a warm and sleepy city on the shores of Lake Victoria, are part of what the delegation called the front lines of the struggle to counter terrorist threats around the world.
"We need to tighten the security of vulnerable public health laboratories in East Africa," said Andrew C. Weber, assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs. "Preventing terrorist acquisition of dangerous pathogens, the seed material for biological weapons, is a security imperative."
The rise of the Shabab, the powerful Islamist insurgent group that claimed responsibility for deadly suicide bombings in Uganda as crowds gathered to watch the final match of the World Cup, has refocused attention on East Africa as a frontier in American security interests.
In 2004, Congress expanded the mandate of the Nunn-Lugar program, which originally focused on dismantling warheads in former Soviet states, to include geographic regions like this one. Now, Mr. Lugar's trip will take the delegation to Uganda, Burundi and then Kenya.
Uganda, a longtime military ally of the United States, may be the most vivid illustration of the concerns. Warm, wet and on the equator, Uganda is a biological petri dish. Anthrax has killed hundreds of hippopotamuses in recent years. In 2008, a Dutch tourist died from Marburg disease after visiting a cave in a national park. In 2007, an Ebola outbreak killed more than 20 people.
This is the stuff of "Hot Zone" and "Outbreak" novels that have dramatized the dangers of viral outbreaks. But the underlying threat, American officials contend, is that lax security at the poorly financed labs that collect and study these diseases pose a bioterrorism risk.
Ugandan officials also say the country's push to create new federal districts, part of what the government calls an effort to decentralize the country, has spread the bureaucracy so thin that disease samples can take weeks to make it to a laboratory, or never arrive at all.
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