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Daily Archives: February 15, 2014

Ellsberg: “I Am Grateful to Snowden for Having Given Us a Constitutional Crisis … a Crisis Instead of a Silent Coup” Washington’s Blog

Ellsberg: “I Am Grateful to Snowden for Having Given Us a Constitutional Crisis … a Crisis Instead of a Silent Coup” Washington’s Blog.

What Snowden Has Revealed … Is a Broken System of Our Constitution, And He’s Given Us the Opportunity To Get It Back

Daniel Ellsberg told Amy Goodman:

[Snowden] came to believe, as I did, having made those oaths initially and the promises of nondisclosure, which were not oaths, but they are contractual agreements not to do that, which he later violated, as I did—he made those in good faith, by everything known to me, and came to realize, I think, eventually, as he said, that a nondisclosure agreement in this case and the secrecy conflicted with his oath, so help me God, to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, and it was a supervening—a superseding authority there that it was his responsibility really to inform the public, because, as he said, he could see that no one else would do it.

***

Congress knew [that Clapper’s statements that the NSA doesn’t spy on the American people] hey were false, the people he was talking to, the dozen, even the man who had asked the question, Senator Wyden. What we saw, what Snowden saw and what we all saw, was that we couldn’t rely on the so-called Oversight Committee of Congress to reveal, even when they knew that they were being lied to, and that’s because they were bound by secrecy, NSA secrecy and their own rule. The secrecy system here, in other words, has totally corrupted the checks and balances on which our democracy depends.

And I think the—I am grateful to Snowden for having given us a constitutional crisis, a crisis instead of a silent coup, as after 9/11 an executive coup, or a creeping usurpation of authority. He has confronted us. He has revealed documents now that prove that the oversight process, both in the judiciary, in the FISC, the secret court, and the secret committees in Congress who keep their secrets from them, even when two of them, Wyden and Udall, felt that these were outrageous, were shocking, were probably unconstitutional, and yet did not feel that they could inform even their fellow colleagues or their staff of thisWhat Snowden has revealed, in other words, is a broken system of our Constitution, and he’s given us the opportunity to get it back, to retrieve our civil liberties, but more than that, to retrieve the separation of powers here on which our democracy depends.

19 Statistics About The Drugging Of America That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

19 Statistics About The Drugging Of America That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe.

By Michael Snyder, on February 10th, 2014 

Pills - Photo by Tibor KadekThe American people are the most drugged people in the history of the planet.  Illegal drugs get most of the headlines, but the truth is that the number of Americans that are addicted to legal drugs is far greater than the number of Americans that are addicted to illegal drugs.  As you will see below, close to 70 percent of all Americans are currently on at least one prescription drug.  In addition, there are 60 million Americans that “abuse alcohol” and 22 million Americans that use illegal drugs.  What that means is that almost everyone that you meet is going to be on something.  That sounds absolutely crazy but it is true.  We are literally being drugged out of our minds.  In fact, as you will read about below, there are70 million Americans that are taking “mind-altering drugs” right now.  If it seems like most people cannot think clearly these days, it is because they can’t.  We love our legal drugs and it is getting worse with each passing year.  And considering the fact that big corporations are making tens of billions of dollars peddling their drugs to the rest of us, don’t expect things to change any time soon.  The following are 19 statistics about the drugging of America that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 An astounding 70 million Americans are taking legal mind-altering drugs right now.

#2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors wrotemore than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants during 2010.

#3 According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug.  An astounding 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs.

#4 Americans spent more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs during 2013.

#5 According to the CDC, approximately 9 out of every 10 Americans that are at least 60 years old say that they have taken at least one prescription drug within the last month.

#6 There are 60 million Americans that “abuse alcohol”.

#7 According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 22 million Americans use illegal drugs.

#8 Incredibly, more than 11 percent of all Americans that are 12 years of age or older admit that they have driven home under the influence of alcohol at least once during the past year.

#9 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is an unintentional drug overdose death in the United States every 19 minutes.

#10 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

#11 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#12 According to Alternet, “11 of the 12 new-to-market drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration were priced above $100,000 per-patient per-year” in 2012.

#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higherthan in any other country in the world.

#14 Many of these antidepressants contain warnings that “suicidal thoughts” are one of the side effects that should be expected.  The suicide rate for Americans between the ages of 35 and 64 rose by close to 30 percent between 1999 and 2010.  The number of Americans that are killed by suicide now exceeds the number of Americans that die as a result of car accidents every year.

#15 In 2010, the average teen in the United States was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs.  Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

#16 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

#17 A shocking Government Accountability Office report discovered thatapproximately one-third of all foster children in the United States are on at least one psychiatric drug.

#18 A survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that more than 15 percent of all U.S. high school seniors abuse prescription drugs.

#19 It turns out that dealing drugs is extremely profitable.  The 11 largest pharmaceutical companies combined to rake in approximately $85,000,000,000 in profits in 2012.

In America today, doctors are trained that there are just two potential solutions to any problem.  Either you prescribe a pill or you cut someone open.  Surgery and drugs are pretty much the only alternatives they offer us.

And an endless barrage of television commercials have trained all of us to think that there is a “pill for every problem”.

Are you in pain?

Just take a pill.

Are you feeling blue?

Just take a pill.

Do you need a spark in your marriage?

Just take a pill.

And most Americans assume that all of these pills are perfectly safe.

After all, the government would never approve something that wasn’t safe, right?

Sadly, what most Americans don’t realize is that there is a revolving door between big pharmaceutical corporations and the government agencies that supposedly “regulate” them.  Many of those that are now in charge of our “safety” have spent their entire careers peddling legal drugs to all of us.

We have become a nation of drugged out zombies, and it is all perfectly legal.  The funny thing is that many of these “legal drugs” have just slightly different formulations from their “illegal” counterparts.

If more Americans understood what they were actually taking, would that cause them to stop?

Perhaps some would, but for the most part Americans are totally in love with their drugs and giving them up would not be easy.

Just ask anyone that has tried.

So what do you think about the drugging of America?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

 

NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns | Global Research

NSA Spying Poses “Direct Threat to Journalism,” Watchdog Group Warns | Global Research.

Global Research, February 14, 2014
Spying on Americans:  A Multibillion Bonanza for the Telecoms

Massive spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) poses a “direct threat to journalism,” according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released Wednesday. The CPJ is warning, in particular, that the agency’s dragnet of communications data threatens to make it “next to impossible for journalists to keep sources confidential.”

New York-based CPJ devotes the first two chapters of its annual report, entitled “Attacks on the Press,” to an assessment of the impact of the NSA’s vast data sweep, which has been exposed by Edward Snowden and reported by numerous media outlets. The report notes that by storing massive amounts of data for long periods, the spy agency could develop the capability to recreate a reporter’s research and retrace a source’s movements by listening in on past communications.

The report points to the threat to press freedom in the context of the revelations of illegal government spying and the Obama administration’s unprecedented campaign against whistle-blowers. It quotes William Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 in protest over privacy violations the agency committed post-9/11. Binney believes that the government keeps tabs on all journalists and notes that they are “a much easier, smaller target set” to spy on than the general population.

Alex Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, one of a team of lawyers who have litigated against the NSA for violating constitutional protections, told the CPJ that “all reporters should be worried” about the NSA’s vast collection and storage of data. “Reporters who work for the largest media organizations should be worried probably primarily because their sources will dry up as those sources recognize that there is not a way to cover their trail,” he said. He added that independent journalists should be concerned that “they themselves will be swept up in the course of their reporting.”

The watchdog group chillingly notes that the NSA’s storage of metadata creates a “deep breeding ground for artificial intelligence systems, which may in the future lead to more efficient, even predictive, spying machines.” As capabilities evolve, CPJ warns, such systems could be utilized to identify patterns of journalistic activity, targeting reporters for surveillance, intimidation and potential prosecution long before they actually engage in any suspect reporting.

President Barack Obama has absurdly asserted that despite the exposure of programs to collect data on millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails and Internet activity, there is no evidence that the US intelligence complex “has sought to violate the law.”

Meanwhile, top NSA officials have indicated that the token reforms announced by the president last month will do little to curb the agency’s spying activities. “They’re not putting us out business,” commented NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett on the measures in a recent interview with the Washington Post. He added, “They’re not putting an unbearable burden on us.”

Obama has tasked Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper to develop options by March 28 for ending the NSA’s storage of data on Americans’ phone calls. So far, no such plan has been drawn up, and Congress must approve any changes to the agency’s operations.

The president’s measures also include a requirement that the NSA obtain pro forma court approval before it can run a suspect’s phone number against the agency’s database. However, even this largely cosmetic restriction is vitiated by a provision allowing the NSA to query the data without prior court approval by invoking an “emergency” exception.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the government is implementing measures to prevent similar exposures in the future. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, DNI Director Clapper said Snowden had taken advantage of a “perfect storm” of security lapses to sweep up a trove of government documents with the use of a web crawler, a readily available piece of software.

Clapper said the government’s 16 intelligence agencies have in place a long-term plan to tag every piece of information in their databases and then tag the individual who accesses each one. The NSA is also implementing a “two-man rule,” based on the model of nuclear weapons handling, which requires two systems administrators to work simultaneously when accessing highly classified material.

In earlier testimony before Congress, the DNI director claimed that Snowden’s revelations had resulted in “profound damage” and were “putting the lives of members, or assets of, the intelligence community at risk.” Clapper demanded that “Snowden and his accomplices” return any documents they had taken to the NSA. In the view of the intelligence community, these “accomplices” include journalists who have gone public with these documents in press reports.

The Obama administration has filed charges against Snowden under the Espionage Act of 1917. It has prosecuted more cases under this act that all of its predecessors combined, criminalizing whistle-blowers as well as journalists who reveal state secrets.

Bradley Manning, the young Army private, is now serving 35 years for revealing US military war crimes. The US is seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face charges over the release of diplomatic cables exposing the US government’s intrigues. Snowden was forced to obtain asylum in Russia and faces death threats from current and former US intelligence personnel.

Last May, the Justice Department admitted to spying on at least 20 telephone lines used by the Associated Press to communicate with sources, in violation of First Amendment protections of freedom of the press.

The same month, it was revealed that the Justice Department had subpoenaed personal telephone and email records of Fox News Washington Bureau Chief James Rosen in connection with an investigation into the leaking of information about North Korea. The subpoenaed records included phone numbers registered to Rosen’s coworkers and parents, and even the White House’s own switchboard number.

The affidavit supporting the subpoena request for Rosen’s email and phone records specifically alleged that “there is probable cause to believe that the reporter has committed or is committing a violation [of the law] at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.”

There is no section of the political establishment that seriously challenges the supposed “right” of the government to prosecute whistle-blowers and collect data from the phones and computers of virtually every American. The prosecution of individuals such as Manning, Assange and Snowden is justified by politicians of both big business parties in the name of combating terrorism and maintaining “national security”—a blanket pretext for destroying democratic rights and establishing dictatorial rule.

Senator Rand Paul (Republican of Kentucky) announced Wednesday that he is filing a class-action lawsuit against the NSA’s phone surveillance operations, saying he hoped to “protect the Fourth Amendment,” which bars unreasonable searches and seizures. Announcing the suit, however, the right-wing Republican made clear that he is not opposed to government spying.

He told a press conference, “I’m not against the NSA. I’m not against spying. I’m not against looking at phone records.” Shortly after his announcement of the lawsuit, Paul had a private lunch with Attorney General Holder at the Justice Department.

Don’t Be Fooled: North Korea Is Getting Ready to Provoke | The Diplomat

Don’t Be Fooled: North Korea Is Getting Ready to Provoke | The Diplomat.

All signs suggest that North Korea is laying the groundwork to begin a new round of provocations.

zachary-keck_q
February 13, 2014

North Korea appears to be laying the groundwork to begin a new round of provocations, which could very well take the form of a missile and/or nuclear test.

Despite its deliberate (and successful, in the U.S. at least) attempts to portray itself as an irrational actor, North Korea’s provocations usually follow a well-worn playbook. This begins with North Korea mounting a charm offensive that is aimed primarily at South Korean audiences. The purpose of this charm offensive is to create hope that Pyongyang could be turning over a new leaf. Amid this charm offensive, North Korea quietly demands that South Korea and/or the United States do something that Pyongyang knows full well they won’t do. When they predictably fail to meet the demand, Pyongyang insists that it is being provoked, and uses this supposed provocation to justify its brazen actions. This allows North Korea to blame its own actions on South Korea and the U.S., which can be convincing to some audiences in China, South Korea, and even the West.

North Korea has carefully put all these pieces into place over the past few weeks. First, it has launched a huge charm offensive containing more carrots than usual. For example, it has agreed to hold the first family reunions in years between Koreans living on opposite sides of the 38th Parallel. The reunions are scheduled to occur for five days starting on February 20. Important constituent groups in South Korea place a great deal of importance on these reunions, and would be extremely disappointed if they were called off.

Secondly, earlier this month an inter-Korean committee discussing the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC)reached an agreement to allow some internet connectivity in the business park in North Korea. It will be the first time any internet has been allowed at KIC in a decade. In announcing the agreement, a Ministry of Unification spokesperson said, “Officials and employees in the North’s border city will be able to use most of the online services now available in South Korea.” The prospect of having the internet at KIC is attractive to the many South Korean businesses that operate there, as well as to those hoping that North Korea will gradually open up to the outside world.

Thirdly, as my colleague Ankit reported, North and South Korean officials held two rounds of talks at the border town of Panmunjom on Wednesday. The talks were held at North Korea’s request. South Korean officials said they were “pleasantly surprised” (in the words of the BBC) to receive the North’s invitation. South Korea’s delegation was led by Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Kyou-hyun, making these the most senior-level talks the two Koreas have held since 2007. Before the meeting began, NSA Kim declared, “This is an opportunity to open a new era of the Korean peninsula. I would like to attend the meeting with ‘open attitude and mind’ to study the opportunity.”

There have also been some less noticed overtures made to Japan and the United States. For example, Kyodo News Agency has reported that Japan and North Korea held talks last month in Vietnam. Tokyo immediately denied the reports, with a Shinzo Abe spokesperson saying that Japan cut off official talks with North Korea after it launched a missile over Japan in 2012. That being said, last May North Korea’s state media announced what was supposed to be a secret trip to Pyongyang by a close Shinzo Abe aide. There have also been reports that the same aide met with North Korean officials last October in northwest China. Thus, the Abe administration’s denial of the meeting in Vietnam last month cannot be taken at face value.

North Korea has been stingier toward the U.S. during this current charm offensive. That being said, it did raise expectations that it might be amenable to releasing the American-Korean prisoner Kenneth Bae, before once again shooting down that possibility. Moreover, Donald Gregg, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, iscurrently leading a delegation to North Korea for talks with government officials. Gregg’s trip came at the invitation of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

If all this seems too good to be true, that’s because it almost certainly is. Since at least as far back as the middle of January, North Korea has been quietly demanding that South Korea and the U.S. cancel their annual military exercise, Foal Eagle, which will begin on February 24 and run through April. This demand has grown progressively louder as the exercise’s start date nears, and North Korea has threatened to withdraw from the planned family reunions if the military exercise takes place.

As North Korea well knows, there is virtually no possibility that the U.S. and the ROK will agree to call off the exercise, which is precisely the reason it has made the demand. At most, the allies might agree to forgo some parts of the drill that the North sees as most provocative. Even then, they would only do so quietly with no formal announcement.

Pyongyang and Seoul plan to continue discussions ostensibly aimed at finding a compromise that allows for the family reunions to move forward. These are likely to be futile as North Korea almost certainly doesn’t want to find common ground, but rather wants to use the Foal Eagle exercise to blame Seoul for a breakdown in relations.

It’s possible that it may be content with stopping there. However, given how much effort it has put into the charm offensive in recent weeks, North Korea likely has a larger goal in mind. The best case scenario is that the charm offensive has been a ruse to woo China. Chinese-North Korean relations have continued to deteriorate in recent months, with some of the discord playing itself out in public. Beijing consistently urges all parties on the Peninsula to take measures that improve peace and stability, and North Korea may hope its charm offensive — along with blaming the breakdown on South Korea and the U.S. — will put it back in China’s good graces.

The more troubling scenario is that the charm offensive has been laying the groundwork for another round of provocations. If so, there have been a number of signs that suggest that it will take the form of a missile test, likely to be followed closely by the country’s fourth nuclear test. Last week Johns Hopkins University’s 38 North said satellite imagery showed that upgrades to a launching pad were nearing completion, and when finished would enable the site to launch larger rockets.

Then, on Monday, ROK Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told the National Assembly that North Korea had finished preparations for a fourth nuclear test, while adding that there were no signs that one was imminent. Still, North Korea’s nuclear tests are almost always preceded by a missile test, which North Korea disingenuously portrays as part of a peaceful space program. It then uses the international community’s “hostile” response to its space exploration to justify a nuclear test.

The Chart That Really Has The Fed Worried | Zero Hedge

The Chart That Really Has The Fed Worried | Zero Hedge.

While complaining (just this morning once again) that its fiscal policy that is dragging growth, we suspect The Fed knows full well just how screwed the US is. The following chart comparing GDP growth to the elder demographic of the population offers some serious doubts that the Fed will ever be able to step away. With the Boomers retiring en masse, 65-or-overs will represent over 20% of the population within a decade and thus no economic growth. Japanization here we come… and no end to QE or the entire status quo is over.

 

GDP growth correlates strongly with the percent of population over 65 (with Greece, depression and Japan, hyper-QE the stand-outs)

 

It doesn’t look good for the US…

 

You can’t print more young people to change this percentage… so they’ll have to keep printing money to prop up asset markets to maintain the bumpy illusion of growth.

 

Chart: @M_McDonough

The risk of reporting US drone strikes – Features – Al Jazeera English

The risk of reporting US drone strikes – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Yemen researcher says he received a death threat after investigating deadly wedding-convoy attack.

 Last updated: 12 Feb 2014 14:17

A photo of alleged victims killed in a December 12, 2013 drone strike in central Yemen [Reprieve]
The disturbing phone call came after Baraa Shiban investigated a drone strike on a wedding party that killed 12 people in central Yemen in December. A clear message was delivered to the human rights researcher over the phone after a major news network reported the story based on his research.

“The caller refused to identify himself and threatened my life if I continued my investigation of the strike,” Shiban told Al Jazeera, noting he conducted similar studies of US drone operations in the past, but had never before received death threats.

Shiban works for the UK-based human rights group Reprieve and interviewed survivors two days after the attack. His investigation ascertained that 12 people were killed after four missiles were fired at the convoy. There were also 14 victims with severe wounds; some lost limbs, others their eyes.

Along with the eyewitness testimony, Shiban gained access to video and still images of the alleged victims of the drone strike. Photos of the aftermath of drone attacks – whether in the tribal regions of Pakistan, or in the deserts of Yemen – are rarely captured. Most occur in obscure regions with hostile terrain, making access difficult for journalists and activists.

I was in the front car and I heard a huge explosion. I went out to see what happened and suddenly another two missiles hit the place. Everyone in the car behind us got killed.

– Mohammed Abdullah al-Taisi,drone victim

 

On December 12, 2013 , about 60 people were traveling in a convoy to attend the wedding near the city of Radda, in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda. At about 4:30pm, the drivers halted the vehicles when they heard an aircraft approach.

“I was in the front car and I heard a huge explosion,” recalled victim Mohammed Abdullah al-Taisi. “I went out to see what happened and suddenly another two missiles hit the place. Everyone in the car behind us got killed.”

Equipped with the evidence Shiban went to the media, and a day later he received the call threatening his life.

“Just because the people were in a convoy of trucks, they were assumed to be militants and the decision was made to target them,” he said. “The people who died were shepherds and farmers. There was clearly a wedding party.”

Fear and anger

Drones piloted by the CIA and the Pentagon have operated in Yemen since 2002, killing hundreds of people – mostly members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but also dozens of civilians.

Peter Schaapveld is psychologist who traveled to Yemen to study the programme’s effects. He told British members of parliament in March 2013 that the constant presence of drones in the skies was causing a “psychological emergency” in the country.

“What I saw in Yemen was deeply disturbing,” Schaapveld said . “Entire communities – including young children who are the next generation of Yemenis – are being traumatised and re-traumatised by drones. Not only is this having truly awful immediate effects, but the psychological damage done will outlast any counter programme and surely outweigh any possible benefits.”

Reports of the missile strike, on a seemingly innocent wedding party, have infuriated nearly every sphere of Yemeni society, including many of the country’s top politicians.

Family members of drone strike victim Aref al-Shafee [Abubakr al-Shamahi/Reprieve] 

“The fact that the Yemeni parliament has just passed a resolution banning drones in Yemeni airspace, and that the National Dialogue has criminalised the use of drones for extrajudicial killing, demonstrates that a national consensus has been reached that these brutal and unlawful attacks are unacceptable,” Shiban said.

Reprieve said the US government is now investigating the strike in Radda following Shiban’s work. The human rights group said the Defense Department was targeting Shawqi Ali Ahmed al-Badani , whom the White House accused of organising a bomb plot that led to 19 US embassies being closed last year.

‘US values and policy’

Caitlan Hayden, a spokeswoman for the US National Security Council, noted that Yemen’s government had stated the targets of the operation were “dangerous” senior al-Qaeda figures. She said she couldn’t comment on this specific attack.

“We take extraordinary care to make sure that our counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable domestic and international law and that they are consistent with US values and policy … And when we believe that civilians may have been killed, we investigate thoroughly,” Hayden told Al Jazeera .

But one survivor of the December drone attack, Salam al-Taisi, insisted no one from the wedding party was involved in terrorism. “None of the victims had anything to do with al-Qaeda or any other group. They were all from the area and all were poor villagers,” he said.

The deaths in Baydah have more resonance considering President Barrack Obama’s announcement upholding the “highest standard” when conducting operations using unmanned aerial vehicles.

“Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” Obama said in a speech at the National Defense University on May 23, 2013.

Yemen’s security forces have also scrutinised Shiban’s work on the US drone programme. But it’s not just the Yemeni police that have shown interest in him.

Baraa Shiban from human rights group Reprieve [Al Jazeera]

On September 23 last year, he arrived in the United Kingdom with the intention of speaking at a conference at Chatham House . But at Gatwick Airport he was stopped by police and questioned under Schedule 7 of the British government’s Terrorism Act 2000.

“I was asked about my investigation of the covert US drone attacks in Yemen. When I asked why the question was relevant, I was threatened with further detention,” Shiban said.

Drone-reporting dangers

Apparent attempts to suppress any kind of criticism of US covert operations are not new.

In Pakistan, an anti-drone campaigner set to testify before European parliaments has gone missing in the city of Rawalpindi. Kareem Khan , whose brother and teenage son were killed in a drone attack in December 2009, was picked up at his home by security forces in the early hours of February 5, his lawyer said. He hasn’t been heard from since.

Shiban said he is also well aware that the path he’s on now could lead to the same fate of Yemen-based journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye .

On December 17, 2009, the Yemeni military announced it had successfully destroyed an al-Qaeda camp in al-Majala in Abyan province. But after travelling to the town, Shaye discovered it wasn’t at all an operation carried out by his government, but in fact a US cruise missile strike. And he discovered the people who died weren’t al-Qaeda fighters but innocent civilians. Among the 41 people killed, more than two-thirds were women and children.

Shaye was arrested on August 6, 2010 by Yemeni security forces and charged that October with aiding al-Qaeda by recruiting new operatives for the group. By January 2011, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

International human rights groups condemned his trial as a sham , which couldn’t provide any credible evidence of his alleged al-Qaeda associations. Shaye was being punished for exposing a US covert operation that resulted in a massacre.

After being incarcerated for nearly three years, Shaye was pardoned in July 2013 but one of the conditions of his release is he must not leave the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, for two years.

Asked about Shaye’s case, and the threats he’s received to his own life, Shiban said he’s determined to carry on highlighting the impact of drone strikes.

“This is an issue of vital importance to Yemen’s future, and I and other human rights activists will continue to defend the basic rights and democratic wishes of the Yemeni people,” he said.

Activist Post: Half-Prepping Equals NO Prepping: Lessons From The Icepocalypse

Activist Post: Half-Prepping Equals NO Prepping: Lessons From The Icepocalypse.

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

As a survivor of the Icepocalypse that recently gripped much of the South in crippling power outages and freezing temperatures, at least three lessons can be deduced from the experience.

  1. A very small minority of people are equipped to deal with an emergency in a competent fashion.
  2. A slightly larger number of people attempt to be prepared but fall short if the emergency persists.
  3. The vast majority of people are wholly unprepared for even a slight disturbance in their usual routine or living conditions.

While this statement may come as basic common sense to the majority of my usual readers, such observations do bear repeating. Indeed, it is important to remind ourselves of just how unprepared we may be, even though we may be more prepared than most of the rest of the population.

Many of those who are aware of the possibility of an economic collapse, general war, electrical grid failure, or simple natural disasters are aware through available literature of how human behavior will adjust to the new circumstances if a crisis takes place. Although much of what “preppers” are confronted with in terms of information often borders on the state of panic and fear, it is true that what is at first a tranquil community of friends and neighbors can very quickly turn into a violent mob and dangerous enemies fighting over finite resources.

While the recent winter storm did not turn out to be the Apocalypse, the days without power for many was a very important learning experience on just how prepared they were for an emergency as well as how their neighbors will react in the same situation.

As I already mentioned, there were a small minority of individuals who were prepared all along, because they had previously learned to stock up on essential items and tools for personal survival to begin with. These individuals are often called “preppers” by media outlets (mainstream and alternative alike) but, in reality, they are simply people who exercise a level of basic forethought in the manner that was once common behavior and not notable in any sense.

These individuals were able to weather the storm in conditions ranging from basic temporary self-reliance to minor discomfort and inconvenience. They had a source of food, water, and heat. They had a means to defend themselves if necessary. They did not require supplies after the fact. 

They were also a distinct minority. 

Others still believed they were prepared . . . until the storm hit. They had generators but no gas. They had extra food but no way to cook it. They had a well but no way to pump the water. Some had fireplaces with no logs or firewood with nowhere to burn it. The list of half-preparedness is endless but the resulting sum of that half-work is the same – they were not prepared at all.

In short, being prepared half-way is not being prepared at all.

The vast majority of people, however, did not even have the basic material needed to last through a four-hour disturbance in their normal routine. Most had not purchased extra food and water or made plans to heat themselves in some way other than electricity. Nor had they even bothered to fill up their gas tanks the day before the storm. In fact, with the exception of the usual rush to buy milk and eggs (food that will spoil as soon as the power goes out)when a storm approaches, there was not even the shockwave of panicked buyers looking to prepare. Most of the important items like canned goods were still on the shelves the day before the storm.

After the storm, however, panicked masses brought out by sudden discomfort and disruption were lining up for warm food (or any food they could find) while others lined up for a mile to purchase gas for their vehicles or generators. Any stations and restaurants with a generator were able to make a killing in one day, but the number of stores with that capability were few and far between. People congregated anywhere with signs of heat and commerce. It should also be noted that most open stores were unable to process credit and debit cards.

This was the morning after the power went out.

On the second day without power, the lines of people at the pump were noticeably more irritated, with some breaking in line by parking across the street with their gas containers and jumping in front of motorists to pump their fuel. Others simply tried to use their vehicles to push their way ahead. Thankfully, gas trucks were able to reach most areas, keeping the supply flowing, and food trucks were also able to resupply corporate fast food chains which also faced a number of line jumpers.

While power was gradually restored after the second day, the tension and panic began to subside. However, one can only wonder as to what might have taken place had the power continued to be shut off for another day or even a week. What would the city have looked like if food and gas trucks had not been able to reach the stations and restaurants freshly out of food? What if the outage continued indefinitely?

Clearly, one answer is that a great many people – particularly those who are incapable of even the slightest forethought to prepare for an oncoming storm, much less an undefined disaster which may or may not happen in the future – will be looking for food and warmth. If the crisis persists, they will not be able to find either.

With this in mind, the recent winter storm and its corresponding power outages should serve as a reminder that a little preparation is never a bad idea. However, your preparation should cover the most essential items, as well as cover a longer-than-expected length of time. Indeed, whatever preparation done now in the correct manner will be worth so much more when an actual event takes place.

Thus, a short list of basic necessities to consider in the case of a winter storm is included below. It is by no means comprehensive – but, from my experience, it will definitely keep you well ahead of even the half-prepared. Readers are encouraged to add useful tips in the comments section.

Remember, purchasing goods for the winter in the summer is usually a cheaper route than waiting until the cold has arrived.

1. Storable food and water – This does not necessarily have to be hundreds of dollars of worth freeze-dried food. It could mean something as simple as canned goods, Raemen noodles, and other foods that last a long time without requiring electricity to prepare. Bottled water or storable water jugs are always a good idea as well.

2. Guns and Ammunition – Let’s face it. If the crisis continues, you will need to defend yourself as others reap the fruits of years of television watching when they should have been preparing.

3. Generator – Although a good generator is out of the price range for many and possibly even a liability in a prolonged crisis for everyday use (it can signal who has power when everything else is silent), in a short-lived winter emergency a generator is life saver.

4. Propane and Propane Accessories – A propane cooker, for short-term outages, can provide an avenue to cook all of the food that may be in danger of going to waste if the power stays out. Similarly, having iron cookware that can be used in tandem with a traditional grill or even over an open fire might eventually become useful.

5. Heat Source – This heat source can come from a generator, but only so long as the gasoline lasts. Likewise, almost all heat sources rely on finite sources of energy – gas, oil, wood, etc. Not relying solely on one source is paramount. Wood stoves, kerosene heaters, propane, generators and more are all welcome additions for those of us who need to take heat into a consideration. Also, look into innovative means of heating your home in an emergency such as using tea light candles and other useful mechanisms.

6. Winter Wear/Extra Blankets – Eventually, if the crisis persists, the heat will run out. You need extra sets of warm clothes and several sets of extra blankets if you are to survive. Water-resistant boots can make the difference between comfort and frostbite. The same applies to gloves, jackets, and hats.

7. Flashlights – You will need light inside and outside of the house. Darkness falls quickly and one needs light by which to locate tools, find your way around, or even to travel if need be.

8. Batteries – Lots of them. And not just for flashlights. However, batteries have incredibly short lives when they are being utilized regularly, so the more the better.

9. Candles – Eventually, batteries run out. Candles can provide steady light in the dark so flashlights can be saved for travel or emergencies.

10. Lighters – Fire is extremely important in winter, and for only a few dollars you can make sure that fire is always at your fingertips. Magnesium fire starters are also a good idea.

11. Medicines – If you or a loved one rely on prescription or non-prescription medications, always do your best to save up and keep an extra supply of medication just in case. In a real crisis, medical centers may not be open and family practitioners/pharmacists will be in short supply.

12. Fuel! – If you know a winter storm is coming, fill up your gas tanks and your gas cans beforehand. After the storm, to do anything is always too late.

Recently by Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.  

Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research

Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research.

Why isn’t GE being held accountable?

Global Research, February 15, 2014
Activist Post 21 January 2014
Region: 
Theme: 
radiation5

 by Chris Carrington

We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide. We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on.

You have to ask yourself why the government won’t admit this. It’s not like a disaster half a world away is their fault, is it?

Or is it? Could the United States government have done something to prevent the situation getting to this point?

Nothing in this article is a state secret, everything is in the public domain, but the information is so disseminated that it appears disconnected.

  • the US government knows only too well that the West Coast is polluted with radiation and that the situation is getting worse by the day.
  • the US government and General Electric knew that Fukushima was a disaster waiting to happen, and they did nothing to prevent it.
  • they also know that the many nuclear reactors in the United States are also prone to catastrophic meltdown, and they are doing nothing about it.
  • research by doctors and scientists is being suppressed, and research by private citizens is being written off purely because they have no scientific background.

 All the warnings were ignored

The narrative that leads us to the state we are in today starts in 1972.

Stephen Hanauer, an official at the atomic Energy Commission recommended that General Electric’s Mark 1 design be discontinued as it presented unacceptable safety risks.

The New York Times reported:

In 1972, Stephen H. Hanauer, then a safety official with the Atomic Energy Commission, recommended that the Mark 1 system be discontinued because it presented unacceptable safety risks. Among the concerns cited was the smaller containment design, which was more susceptible to explosion and rupture from a buildup in hydrogen — a situation that may have unfolded at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Later that same year, Joseph Hendrie, who would later become chairman of theNuclear Regulatory Commission, a successor agency to the atomic commission,said the idea of a ban on such systems was attractive. But the technology had been so widely accepted by the industry and regulatory officials, he said, that “reversal of this hallowed policy, particularly at this time, could well be the end of nuclear power.” (source)

Then, three years later in 1975, Dale Bridenbaugh and two colleagues were asked to review the GE Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor (BWR). They were convinced that the reactor was inherently unsafe and so flawed in its design that it could catastrophically fail under certain circumstances. There were two main issues. First was the possible failure of the Mark 1 to deal with the huge pressures created if the unit lost cooling power. Secondly, the spent fuel ponds were situated 100 feet in the air near the top of the reactor.

They voiced their opinions, which were promptly pushed aside, and after realizing that they were not going to be allowed to make their opinions public all three resigned.

Over the years numerous other experts voiced concerns over the GE Mark 1 BWR. All have gone unheeded.

Five of the six reactors at Fukushima were GE Mark 1 BWR. The first reactor, unit one, was commissioned in 1971, prior to the first concerns about the design being raised. The other reactors came on line in 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1979 respectively. Although all six reactors were the GE Mark 1 design only three were built and supplied by GE. Units 1, 2 and 6 were supplied by GE, 3 and 5 by Toshiba and unit 4 by Hitachi. (Now Hitachi-GE)

Why isn’t GE being held accountable?

Why wouldn’t GE be held accountable? Here’s one possibility: Jeffery Immelt is the head of GE. He is also the head of the United States Economic Advisory Board. He was invited to join the board personally by President Obama in 2009 and took over as head in 2011 when Paul Volcker stepped down in February 2011, just a month before the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Fukushima.

Paul Volcker was often seen as being at odds with the administration, and many of his ideas were not embraced by the government. The appointment of Immelt, a self-described Republican, was seen as a move to give Obama a leg up when dealing with the Republican majority in the House.

There have been calls from many organizations for GE to be held accountable for the design faults in the reactors that powered the Fukushima plant. The fact that they had been known for so long does seem to indicate that the company ignored and over-ruled advice from nuclear experts.

GE ran Fukushima alongside TEPCO, but it isn’t liable for the clean-up costs.

A year after the disaster, Tepco was taken over by the Japanese government because it couldn’t afford the costs to get the damaged reactors under control. By June of 2012, Tepco had received nearly 50 billion dollars from the government.

The six reactors were designed by the U.S. company General Electric (GE). GE supplied the actual reactors for units one, two and six, while two Japanese companies Toshiba provided units three and five, and Hitachi unit four. These companies as well as other suppliers are exempted from liability or costs under Japanese law.

Many of them, including GE, Toshiba and Hitachi, are actually making money on the disaster by being involved in the decontamination and decommissioning, according to a report by Greenpeace International.

“The nuclear industry and governments have designed a nuclear liability system that protects the industry, and forces people to pick up the bill for its mistakes and disasters,” says the report, “Fukushima Fallout.”

“If nuclear power is as safe as the industry always claims, then why do they insist on liability limits and exemptions?” asked Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear analyst with Greenpeace Canada.

Nuclear plant owner/operators in many countries have liability caps on how much they would be forced to pay in case of an accident. In Canada, this liability cap is only 75 million dollars. In the United Kingdom, it is 220 million dollars. In the U.S., each reactor owner puts around 100 million dollars into a no-fault insurance pool. This pool is worth about 10 billion dollars.

“Suppliers are indemnified even if they are negligent,” Stensil told IPS. (source)

GE will not have put anything into this ‘pot’ to cover Fukushima, as it is not in the United States. They have walked away, even though they knew their reactors have design faults.

Wait! There’s more!

It’s not that simple, though; and here’s where keeping quiet and denying what’s happening comes into its own.

So far I have not explained why Obama is keeping quiet about the radiation contamination. Well, that’s the easy part.

There are 23 nuclear plants in the United States that use the GE Mark 1 BWR.23.

There are 23 nuclear plants in the United States where the used fuel rods are suspended, in a pond, 100 feet above the ground. (source)

Any admission that radiation has spread across the Pacific Ocean and contaminated American soil is an admission that the technology was flawed, and that same flawed technology is being used in the United States. The government does not want anyone looking closer at the situation. They don’t want people poking around asking questions about why the radiation got out in the first place…it’s too close to home.

Better to say that the radiation is within safe levels, and then if such a disaster happens here they can mourn those in the immediate fallout zone and maintain that the rest of the country is okay, just as it was after Fukushima.

The fact that the CEO of GE works for Obama just highlights the facts. There is no way that Immelt doesn’t know about all the warning his company was given about the design flaws of the Mark 1; and if he knows, the government knows.

Ask yourself this, why after such a monumental event are all the scientific papers regarding the disaster singing the same song?

It is impossible to have so many scientists and doctors agreeing to this level. Nothing has been published regarding the increased rates of miscarriage and childhood thyroid cancers. Why is that?

After Chernobyl there was a plethora of papers announcing to the world the increased cancer risks, the risks to pregnant women and young children. I suggest that because Chernobyl was in Russia, a place where no American technology was used, that there was no suppression of the facts.

GE cannot afford a corporate law suit, and neither can the Obama administration. It wouldn’t be pretty if a senior advisor to the president was hauled through the courts. There’s a chance it would not just be GE that went down in the wake of such a case.

The President of the United States knows that the radiation from Fukushima is worse than it would have been had the reactors used at the plant been of a different design.

Know to the US government, the delicate and hazardous task of removing and storing the spent fuel rods is going to take years, and that one mistake can exacerbate the problems ten-fold.

23 sites in America are using the same flawed reactors and the government is doing nothing about it.

The President of the United States is holding the lives of tens of millions of Americans in his hands and he refuses to even admit there is a problem. He needs to understand that the people of the West Coast are not just pawns in his political game. Moreover he should be explaining what is causing all the fish die-offs if it is unconnected to radiation.

Obama knows that millions of American citizens are being poisoned due, in part, to a failure of American technology. I recognize that the earthquake and tsunami were forces of nature, but the damage sustained could have been reduced considerably by not using the Mark 1.

I understand that these reactors were not installed on his watch, but he’s there now. He’s the one that can make the difference now. It is he who can look into the nuclear power stations on American soil in the hope of preventing a meltdown here.

Our nuclear power stations are old, past their sell by date in some cases. It’s not just the reactors that are the problem either. Hanford, right on the Columbia River in Washington state, as one example, constantly leaks radioactive liquid into the ground, and possibly the groundwater.

The situation at Fukushima is still far from stable, and it will be years before stability is even on the horizon.

Something has to be done before one of our aging power stations starts Fukushima Part ll.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. Wake the flock up!

 http://www.activistpost.com/2014/01/why-obama-wont-admit-fukushima.html

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