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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Israel's Army launches YouTube channel...

IDF launches YouTube Gaza channel
By MAX SOCOL

In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet.

The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.

"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," said Foreign Press Branch head Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We have to be relevant there," she said.

Her sentiment reflects a growing awareness in the Israeli government that part of the failure of the 2006 Lebanon campaign was Israel's lack of readiness for the intense media debate surrounding its operations. Since the beginning of the Gaza air strikes, Israeli politicians have been appearing regularly on the largest international news networks to defend the IDF.

Leibovich's YouTube initiative at http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk is one more piece of the new media offensive.

Some of the footage might be considered disturbing, such as one video that allegedly depicts men loading rockets onto a pickup truck, to be driven to the border and launched into Israel. The grainy, silent, black-and-white video was transmitted from a plane flying overhead. Moments after the men finish loading their cargo, they are incinerated by an air strike.

Major Leibovich was not overly concerned. "The intelligent audience watching the footage will know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel," she said. "I don't believe they'll be disturbed."

"The important thing is to get the truth out there," she added, noting that in addition to curating the YouTube channel, her office had delivered multiple private briefings to bloggers around the world. She said that members of her department were also getting ready to start their own "vlogs," a new media term for regularly posting videos of oneself speaking one's mind in diary form.

Members of the IDF's various foreign desks intend to use these vlogs to discuss a number of aspects of the conflict, in both English and Arabic, in a personal setting that they hope will overcome the stiffness of television news.

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids...

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids
Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:04:16 GMT

Iran's Air Force is on alert after the country's president envisaged major regional developments in the wake of the Israeli raids on Gaza.

The chief Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi said on Wednesday that the ongoing critical situation in the Middle East has prompted the Iranian military to take necessary measures to ensure readiness in the event of the country becoming the target of an offensive.

"Iran's Air Force has of late carried out 120 successful sorties along with long-range flights of 2,000 kilometers, and has also conducted unprecedented aerial missions," Brig. Gen. Shah-Safi said.

The Air Force commander added that the enemy has been closely monitoring Iranian military planes. He went on to say that "unless Iran's military remains constantly vigilant the enemy will deliver a blow, even a minor one, to our forces".

The remarks come as Israeli strikes on Gaza entered a fifth day, without an end in sight to the largest assault on the beleaguered strip in decades.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the fierce Israeli air assault on Gaza, which "aims to root out Hamas and the Palestinians", would only lead to the "disintegration of the Israeli regime".

Facing growing international pressure, Israel's top leaders have so far rejected the idea of a temporary ceasefire.

Israel is also massing its gunboats near the Gaza port and its ground forces along the border with Gaza in preparation for a possible ground offensive.

Earlier on Monday, a senior Iranian commander floated the idea that the time has come for Muslims to militarily stop Israeli crimes in Gaza.

"Only the military option can save Gaza," said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.

National Guard to patrol Times Square in New York...

National Guard Soldiers to Usher in New Year at Times Square
Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
December 31, 2008

Later this evening as the newfangled Times Square Ball descends in Manhattan, you may see New York National Guard soldiers patrolling with the NYPD as you watch on television. “Under orders from New York Governor David Paterson, members of the New York Army and Air National Guard will conduct additional security missions and stand ready to respond to city authorities if a man-made or natural emergency occurs,” reports Jim Kouri, who is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Short of a hurricane, blizzard, or al-Qaeda bio attack — all extremely unlikely — the presence of armed soldiers on the streets during the celebration has an obvious purpose: to get you accustomed to soldiers working with the police.

Earlier this month, the U.S. military announced it will place 20,000 troops on the streets of America by 2011. “But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the Washington Post reported on December 1. “The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.”

The Pentagon plans to include the National Guard and reserve units in this effort. “All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.”

In October, the Department of Defense announced it was assigning a full-time Army unit to be “on call” to facilitate military cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security. On October 1, the Army Times reported Northern Command’s deployment of the Army’s battle-hardened 3rd Infantry Division 1st Brigade Combat Team, ostensibly to respond to a natural disaster or terror attack.

According to Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S. Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, the long standing Pentagon plan “breaks the mold” by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the Northern Command for the first time. Although Mr. Tussing did not mention it, this plan also breaks the Posse Comitatus Act that forbids the military working with law enforcement.

“The National Guard’s 2nd Civil Support Team, a full-time, rapid-response element that detects chemical, biological or radiological hazards, also will provide a detachment in Manhattan to support the New York Police Department,” Kouri continues. “The 22-man detachment, based at the Scotia Air National Guard Base near Schenectady, NY, has worked with New York City police for counterterrorism support operations since the unit’s formation in 2000, according to police officials.” In other words, the unconstitutional deployment was on the agenda well before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In addition to parading uniformed and armed soldiers on the streets, the New York National Guard will provide liaison officers to New York’s emergency management office and the New York City Police Department, according to Kouri, again a direct violation of Posse Comitatus.

Predictably, the New York Times and the rest of the corporate media are ignoring this report based on information obtained by the 14,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Don’t be surprised if you see soldiers toting carbines mingling with the revelers later this evening. It is all part of a psychological warfare campaign to get you acclimated to the incremental presence of troops on the streets and the implementation of a police state.

Addendum

United Press International is now reporting on the placement of troops on the streets of New York. “The National Guard’s 2nd Civil Support Team, a rapid-response squad that detects chemical, biological or radiological hazards, will send a detachment to New York to support the city’s police department, military officials said,” the news agency reports. “National Guard personnel were to conduct increased security operations at Penn Station, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson terminal, and LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, officials said.”

Spotlight turns to Madoff off-shore accounts...

Madoff Spotlight Turns to Role of Offshore Funds
By LYNNLEY BROWNING
Published: December 30, 2008

The investigations into Bernard L. Madoff are expanding into offshore tax havens.

Federal prosecutors are beginning to consider what role offshore fund operations may have played in the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Mr. Madoff is accused of orchestrating.

Of particular interest is whether Mr. Madoff and some of his investors used funds based in offshore tax havens to evade American taxes, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

Also under scrutiny is whether certain charities invested with Mr. Madoff had improperly allowed their donors to shift money offshore, and whether foreign banks had withheld American taxes on Madoff accounts, as required by the Internal Revenue Service, according to this person, who was given anonymity because of the delicate nature of the investigation.

Mr. Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 at his New York apartment and charged with securities fraud. The authorities have characterized the fraud as a worldwide Ponzi scheme — perhaps the largest ever.

On Tuesday, the trustee in charge of Mr. Madoff’s investment firm won court approval to use $28.1 million from the firm’s accounts to pay for its liquidation costs.

While the inquiries into the role of offshore funds in the scheme are at an early stage, it is hardly surprising that such funds are coming under scrutiny.

Offshore entities played key roles at Bayou Management, a Connecticut hedge fund that collapsed in scandal in 2005, as well as at Enron, which used nearly 900 offshore entities, mostly in the Cayman Islands, to conceal bogus trades and accounting fraud.

“You’re going to be trying to identify all the vehicles for the fraud, and drawing on past experience, the use of offshore accounts and entities would certainly be vehicles,” said David N. Kelley, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who is now a partner at the law firm Cahill, Gordon & Reindel.

Nearly all hedge funds, including funds of funds, operate affiliates and partnerships offshore. Such havens offer low tax rates and light regulation. Offshore havens also help fund managers to defer or avoid American taxes on their personal profits by channeling the earnings through offshore affiliates.

Fred L. Abrams, a lawyer and offshore fraud specialist based in New York, said large-scale investment swindles often involved the use of offshore nominees, or agents, with legal power over an investor’s foreign bank accounts. Another feature, he said, was the use of multiple jurisdictions to carry out trades. “With this, it’s possible to transfer enormous sums of money and perhaps do it under the radar,” he said.

At least a dozen offshore entities were involved with Mr. Madoff’s firm, according to several regulatory filings. They include funds linked to the Fairfield Greenwich Group, a fund of funds that lost $7.4 billion of its investors’ money after entrusting it to Mr. Madoff.

Other offshore entities involved are affiliated with Tremont Group Holdings, which had $3.3 billion invested, and several Swiss banks, including Union Bancaire Privée and Banc Benedict Hentsch & Cie.

Fairfield Greenwich operates affiliates in offshore havens like the Cayman Islands. At another affiliate, in Bermuda, Amit Vijayvergiya, Fairfield Greenwich’s chief risk officer, managed flows into Sentry, its largest fund that was a main recipient of money that had been invested with Mr. Madoff. It also runs Fairfield Sentry in Ireland, one of Europe’s largest offshore havens, and a joint venture in Singapore, a leading Asian haven, called Lion Fairfield Capital Management.

A spokesman for Fairfield Greenwich declined to comment about the offshore operations.

The right to food...

The Right To Food
By Cernig
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008
CrooksandLiars.com

Via my Newshoggers colleague Anderson comes this:

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)

The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day - children who could be fed if we weren't wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.

Just so you get that, here it is again:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: United States.

Merry Christmas to the World from Dubya and his chums - who are currently geeing up the notion that an increase in defense spending (say, to 4% of GDP) would be a great economic stimulus package! Actually, it wouldn't - defense spending "drains resources from the productive economy" and costs more jobs in other sectors than it creates.

How much better an economic stimulus - both for America and the world - it would be to mobilize American might for good instead of destruction, Dubya and his fellow travellers remain silent upon.

David Icke "What is money"?

Will the US break up?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Will the U.S. Break Up?

The larger and more complex a system, the more likely it is to break down. Something like a simple pendulum with few moving parts could last many years. But very large, complicated things like the Large Hadron Collider break down much more quickly.


America now has some 300 million people, 50 states, and more federal, state and local agencies than anyone can possibly list. It is hard to govern such a large, complex and populous system when anything goes seriously wrong.

And a lot is going wrong right now.

The U.S. military agrees that the chance of a break down in the system is real:


A new report from the U.S. Army War College [here is the report] discusses the use of American troops to quell civil unrest brought about by a worsening economic crisis.

The report from the War College’s Strategic Studies Institute warns that the U.S. military must prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States” that could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” [The report also warns of a possible "rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the US."]

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned last week of riots and unrest in global markets if the ongoing financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are beset with credit constraints and rising unemployment, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Brad Sherman of California disclosed that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson discussed a worst-case scenario as he pushed the Wall Street bailout in September, and said that scenario might even require a declaration of martial law.***

The Defense Department has made plans to deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 to help state and local officials respond to emergencies.

In other words, the government is predicting that systems will break down. But instead of doing anything to actually fix the underlying problems which are leading to the break down (like making sure that politicians follow the Constitution and making sure that America's manufacturing base is rebuilt, so that we can make something real, and our workers can make decent wages on a sustainable basis), the government is just planning on implementing police state measures to quell protests.

(Indeed, while most Americans don't realize it, this already started happening years ago).

Will that help keep the U.S. together?

Maybe in the short-run. But I believe that - especially now that the illusions that we're in an endless boom economy and that the U.S. is a true democracy following the wishes of its people have started to pop (see this and this) - within the next decade, America will break up, like the Soviet Union.

Note 1: One precipitating factor in the break up of the U.S. may be the bankruptcy of the states. California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin are all in really big trouble, and on the verge of defaulting. The rest of the states won't be that far behind as the financial crisis intensifies. If the federal government isn't helping them in their most dire crises since the founding of the country, and if the feds impose the heavy hand of martial law without any benefit to the states, they will have less incentive to remain a part of the union.


Note 2: What would the break up of America mean for the dollar and for gold? It would likely be very bad for the former and very good for the latter. But remember, the U.S. might not break up for some time.

Private firm to run UK communications super database...

Private firm to run communications super database
Plans for a private company to run a super database containing the identities and location of every person in Britain are being considered by the Government.
By Aislinn Simpson
Last Updated: 7:05AM GMT 31 Dec 2008

The Home Office claims the new database, which can track phone calls and emails, is necessary in an advancing digital world to allow it to tackle terrorism and serious crime.

But Sir Ken MacDonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, said the multibillion pound behemoth would prove a "hellhouse" of personal private information that would inevitably leak into the public domain regardless of the stringent safeguards promised by Government.

His warning follows a series of major leaks of personal information in the past year, including the loss of 25 million child benefit records by the HM Revenue and Customs.

At present, Internet Service Providers and telephone companies can provide police with the lion's share of information about the whereabouts and identities of suspects from their communications.

Under the new system, which will be outlined in the new year in a consultation paper on the interception modernisation programme, one or a number of organisations would proactively collect all communications data, including from broadband phone calls and chatrooms, instead of such information being retrieved at the behest of police or intelligence agencies.

The potential cost of such a database has been estimated to reach £12bn, but the consultation paper includes an option to put it out to private tender in a bid to cut costs.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who postponed legislation to set up the database in October, has been at pains to emphasise that the content of communications will not be disclosed.

She has also pointed out that such communications data has been used as important evidence in 95 per cent of serious crime cases and almost all security service investigations since 2004, including the Soham murders and the 21/7 bombings.

"We have been very clear that there are no plans for a database containing any content of emails, texts of conversations," a Home Office spokesman said.

But Sir Ken, who worked extensively with intelligence and law enforcement agencies before leaving the DPP in October, said that no matter what safeguards ministers proposed, the scheme would be a disaster.

"Authorisations for access might be written into statute. The most senior ministers and officials might be designated as scrutineers. But none of this means anything," he said.

"All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen."

Sir Ken, who has previously warned that the Government is in danger of "breaking the back of freedom" through its creation of a security state, added:

"The tendency of the state to seek ever more powers of surveillance over its citizens may be driven by protective zeal. But the notion of total security is a
paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile.

"This database would be an unimaginable hellhouse of personal private information. It would be a complete readout of every citizen's life in the most intimate
and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls."

Supersize my Aspartame...(Video)

Ring of Power...(Video)

Chavez: Capitalists have manipulated message of Christ to exploit the poor...

Chávez: Capitalists Have Manipulated the Message of Christ to Exploit the Poor
Monday, December 29th, 2008
By Venezolana de Televisión

“The Kingdom of Heaven is not a kingdom or life in the clouds. Either it exists here or else it exists nowhere,” President Chávez issued a wake-up call during the last Sunday program of 2008. “It’s on earth, and that is why Christ came here and was born among the poor, in the manger.”

The head of state in Venezuela noted that the capitalist system throughout its history has distorted Jesus’s message to the poor about the Kingdom of Heaven, with the sole purpose of exploiting the impoverished majorities in favor of the minorities who enjoy the wealth of the world.

The Christ child was born on earth, poor and human, to fight and make this planet truly the kingdom of heaven, of equality and justice, not to be poor in life and to win glory in the afterlife, Comandante Chávez said during the last Aló Presidente broadcast of the year, speaking from El Valle where he inaugurated a new People’s Clinic.

“The message of Christ, who said the Kingdom of Heaven is that of the poor, has been very often manipulated. In this way they have for centuries manipulated the poor of the world, to make them quietly accept exploitation.”

“Christ was born to call on us to create, here on earth, the Kingdom of Love,” Chávez explained, adding that this kingdom has no other name than socialism.

The president reminded the audience that socialism comes from what is social, as capitalism proceeds from capital.

“Socialism is the doctrine, science, of development of what is social. Capitalism is the immoral art, science, and technology of development of capital or growth of capital — (for capitalism) what matters is that even while people die of hunger capitalists accumulate capital.”

The president stressed that therein lies the key to understanding the confrontation that began again, in which Venezuela has become the center of the battle between socialists and capitalists, “between people becoming more politically conscious every day and those who exploited them forever.” He said that that is why the issue of the constitutional amendment is of vital importance as it will allow Venezuela to go farther on the socialist path, the truly human and democratic path, for the happiness of the Venezuelan people.

To conclude the last Aló Presidente of the year, the president wished the best for Venezuelan families, urging them to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve with love, moderation, and simplicity so they can continue in 2009 the work of making Venezuela a great nation of justice and equality.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Ponzi scheme within a Ponzi scheme...

A Ponzi Scheme Within A Ponzi Scheme
Bob Chapman
Infowars
December 30, 2008

Dwarfing the Madoff Ponzi scheme, which in the end may turn out to be, at least in part, a scam to feign investment losses for purposes of ripping off insurance companies with invalid claims for fraud while bilking taxpayers out their hard-earned money with deceitful requests for government bailouts and tax breaks, is the Social Security Ponzi scheme. While the Madoff Ponzi scheme, so-called, may be measured in the tens of billions, the Social Security Ponzi scheme can be measured in the tens of trillions, making it a thousand times worse. The Social Security system is truly a Ponzi scheme in the classic sense, where the first contributors to the fund are paid benefits mainly out of the funds received from the contributions of later participants.

The Social Security system we are familiar with was originally enacted in 1935 by an incredibly corrupt Congress (much like the current one), and signed into law by FDR, a corrupt and ardent Illuminist who did as he was told to do by his Illuminist Puppet Masters (principally John Rockefeller, Jr. and J P Morgan, Jr.). At that time, the Social Security system was known as the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. The OASDI was not implemented until 1937 due to Constitutional challenges, but suffice it to say, the Illuminist puppets in the Supreme Court of that day, who were every bit as corrupt as FDR and the Congress, made sure the Socialist agenda went forward.

The Ponzi aspects of this Social Security scam were enhanced by one of the main conspirators in this scheme, the Federal Reserve. Shortly after the Social Security system was implemented in 1937, our central bank inflated our currency by increasing the supply of money and credit in order to boost prices and incomes and take us out of depression. This process accelerated in 1941 in order to fund the war effort as WWII got underway following the 911 event of that time, namely, the attack on Pearl Harbor, which our government knew was coming way before it happened, but then turned a blind eye to the upcoming attack so we could be dragged kicking and screaming into the next Illuminist war for profit. Incomes and prices rose as Americans went to work to power the war effort, thus causing incoming Social Security contributions to burgeon, while simultaneously debasing the value of the benefits being distributed, thus further enabling the Ponzi scheme to be perpetuated.

Note how in 1933, just prior to the enactment of the OASDI in 1935, bankster-buddy FDR took us off the gold standard domestically, leaving only dollars and dollar-denominated accounts held by foreigners backed by gold. That meant we had a domestic fiat currency, which allowed the Fed to do as it pleased with the supply of money and credit in the US, and as you may have guessed, the Fed chose to increase the supply quite dramatically to fund WWII so the military-industrial complex could grow filthy rich. This tied in perfectly with the Social Security Ponzi scheme as we became an economic powerhouse in the aftermath of WWII, with a peak in the late 1960s, by filling the Social Security fund with fresh infusions of inflated cash to keep the Ponzi scheme going, while debasing the fixed benefits being paid out to retirees.

Next came the Vietnam War, and more debt, especially to foreign nations, and more inflation from an increase in the supply of money and credit to fund the latest war for profit. This brought about the final debasement of our currency after the London Gold Pool failed to cap the price of gold, resulting in a bank holiday in Britain during the Johnson Administration. President Nixon, also an ardent Illuminist, at the request of his Puppet Masters, in order to stop the outflow of our national gold to foreigners due to war debt and to enhance the Fed’s ability to increase money and credit to fund Johnson’s Great Society welfare programs, took us completely off the gold standard in 1971. As a result, inflation went out of control as our currency became purely fiat in nature, with double-digit inflation peaking in the early 1980s. Once again, the resulting inflation furthered the Social Security Ponzi scheme, which was an integral part of Johnson’s Great Society program.

In order to placate complaints about the effects of inflation on the purchasing power of benefits, which grew quite pronounced with the passage of time, an attempt was made to counteract the impact of inflation by providing for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) based on official inflation rates. Not to be daunted, the elitists made sure that the Bureau of Lying (Labor) Statistics (BLS), which they totally control with their puppets at the BLS, put out greatly understated official inflation statistics, usually at one half to one third of actual inflation, a process known as hedonics, which they use to screw Social Security recipients out of their proper COLA increases. As you can see, Inflation is the best tool available to perpetuate the Social Security Ponzi scheme, by burgeoning incoming money at the full rate of inflation while benefits are increased by only a fraction of the actual rate of inflation. This has changed recently, because wages have stagnated, and this has put stupendous pressure on our already bankrupt Social Security system, a huge, gargantuan Ponzi scheme that is about to unravel.

Make no mistake about it; this was an Illuminist scheme to impoverish the middle class, not to provide for people’s security. Ask Social Security recipients how many of them feel secure based on the miniscule benefits they are receiving. This was a Communistic spreading of wealth from the middle class to the poor, not from the wealthy to the poor, since FICA contributions have always been cut off at a level of income associated with the middle class, leaving the wealthy free of FICA liability on most of their income because Social Security benefits are capped, presumably making FICA deductions, above the designated maximum level of income, unfair. In the end, the poor are still poor, the middle class has now joined the ranks of the poor, and the wealthy are now fabulously wealthy, which results are characteristic of any Communistic or Fascistic form of governance. Between the Social Security system, the Income Tax system and the Federal Reserve System, they will spend, tax and inflate, respectively, the American sheople into oblivion.

Their Communistic, Fascistic mantra has been: Give us your money and we will take care of you from the cradle to the grave. They will take care of you all right — in a Halliburton-built, slave-labor internment camp, complete with disinformation centers where they will brainwash your children to make them into good, quiet, dumb, cooperative sheople-serfs. This mantra has in fact been used to help fund all their plans for world government by extorting a myriad of taxes out of you, and one of the main taxes which has been used to fund their plans has been the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), which funds their Social Security Ponzi scheme, which, as a result, has actually become a Ponzi scheme within a Ponzi scheme.

So how has our Social Security system become a Ponzi scheme within a Ponzi scheme? We’ll tell you how. Our reprobates and sociopaths in Congress have regularly, over many decades, overspent money to fund their pork projects and social welfare programs to win votes, and to grease the wheels of the Illuminist wars for profit which power the military-industrial complex. This has resulted in massive budgetary current account deficits.

Adding to our woes are the trade deficits, which we have to fund by borrowing from foreign nations, thus increasing our national debt. These trade deficits have been caused by the gutting of our manufacturing sector through free trade, globalization, off-shoring, outsourcing, and both legal and illegal immigration. Illegal currency manipulations by exporting nations like China, Japan, Russia and EU nations have also contributed to the trade imbalance by giving these nations unfair trade advantages via debasement of their currencies, which makes their exports cheaper in our country, and which makes our exports more expensive in their countries. These nations also provide subsidies to their domestic industries, thus decreasing their cost of goods and increasing their bottom lines. All these currency manipulations and subsidies make a mockery out of the concept of free trade. We need fair trade, not free trade.

And now we have trillions in bailout money being given to the so-called too-big-to-fail banks and transnational conglomerates to make sure that their executives keep getting their salaries, bonuses, dividends, stock options and golden parachutes while we get hyper-inflated into oblivion by throwing good money after bad.
Now mind you, these are the same executives who, on orders from their Illuminist masters, have burned their once prosperous companies to the ground to screw non-insider shareholders and bondholders, to bust unions, to ship our good-paying jobs and our once huge manufacturing infrastructure overseas where they can take advantage of slave labor, to repudiate their obligations under pension plans, to cut off employee benefits, to hamstring our economy, to consolidate with and to eliminate their competition and to ultimately become nationalized by our government to form a fascist police state while we undergo hyper-stagflation, recession and then depression from the deleterious effects of all the bailout money being bandied about like booze at a wild party.

What has happened to our once dynamic auto industry is a perfect example of this intentional waylaying of some of our major corporations in the manufacturing sector while the insolvency of our major investment banks, commercial banks and insurance companies are a perfect example of this procedure in the financial sector. The ultimate objective behind this intentional decimation of our leading companies and destruction of our economy is to bring us to our knees so we will accept a corporatist, fascist, feudal, Orwellian police state in lieu of our Constitutional republic.

Due to all these deficits and psychotic overspending on moronic bailouts, in order to help plug the gaps, our morons and village idiots in Congress invade the Social Security reserves, handing back a worthless IOU that will never be repaid. So they are using current Social Security benefits to fund both current and past deficits in the general budget, thus creating a Ponzi scheme within a Ponzi scheme. They have promised you security in return for the tax contributions they have extorted from you to help fund your retirement and the retirements of others in the system, and have then turned around and spent your hard-earned money on their projects to implement world government, leaving the Social Security fund totally bankrupt. So not only are they robbing Peter to pay Paul, they are using the funds robbed from Peter to pay Judas as well.

Now let’s examine why the Social Security Ponzi scheme is about to unravel. The first reason is the use of Social Security reserves to help fund the general budget, which by and large is used to fund the Illuminist scheme for world government. This money will never be repaid. Where could such gargantuan repayments possibly come from, the printing press? Well, if that’s the plan, get ready for a reenactment of the Weimar Republic, or if you prefer, put on your Mugabe costume and get ready to have a Zimbabwe experience you’ll never forget. This bankrupting of the system has been intentional. The old and poor are now at the mercy of the Illuminati, while the rest of us slave away to keep our heads above water and to keep the Social Security Ponzi system from collapsing and impoverishing our parents.

The next reason is that the Social Security system is not just a pension system; it is an insurance and social welfare system, meaning that benefits are often payable to those who have contributed little or nothing to the system. This is a thinly disguised form of Communism. You are supposed to reap what you sow. They should have had segregated accounts, and let voluntary contributions to charitable organizations, churches and hospitals take care of the poor and the sick as was done in the past. Without taxes dragging us down, we could all take care of the poor quite well, thank you. Instead, we now have an ingrained welfare mentality in a large cross section of our population. Fraud and abuse is out of control.

Another reason is the population control agenda, spearheaded by Planned Parenthood and people like Commie Comrade Obama. Thanks to their efforts, we now have a stagnant population that can no longer keep the Social Security Ponzi scheme going. Soon there will not be enough new participants to contribute sufficient funds to pay current entitlements of the soon-to-retire Baby-Boomers, much less to fund future entitlements as well.

Also, as you might expect, Big Pharma and Big Medicine have gotten their digs in on the huge pot of extorted taxpayer money in the Social Security fund. Doctor, hospital and prescription drug programs are spiraling out of control as healthcare costs push into the ozone. The government is too loose with our money, unlike private insurers, who try to contain costs. Our government is too busy flooding Big Pharma and Big Medicine with tons of cash as payola for the big campaign contributions they make via their powerful lobbies. Many in our government have sat on the boards of Big Pharma companies. And of course, our allopathic system of medicine is not meant to heal people but to treat their symptoms, keeping them alive and very sick so they continue to make office visits and buy tons of drugs which often hurt more than they help, necessitating the need for ever more drugs to fight the side effects. People need to lose weight, get exercise and take supplements. That would solve at least half of all the outstanding medical problems in society today and reduce Social Security medical, hospital and prescription pay-outs by hundreds of billions each year. But of course we couldn’t have that. That would be too easy and make too much sense, and it would drain money away from these allopathic parasites.

We already mentioned the fact that wages have stagnated, not even keeping up with official inflation, and that has put a crimp in the Ponzi scheme by preventing contributions from increasing at a rate faster than the rate at which benefit pay-outs are being increased by COLA adjustments. This is a huge problem.

Last, but not least is the destruction of our economy. Unemployed people contribute little in the way of FICA taxes. And as more and more become unemployed, FICA contributions will diminish at frightening rates. You are about to see one out of every three Americans recently unemployed, unemployed long term and no longer looking for work, or only partly employed in part-time positions. And as businesses go under and their employees hit the unemployment lines, their matching contributions to FICA will diminish as well, giving the Social Security Ponzi fund a double whammy. Just imagine FICA tax contributions being cut by a third from where they are now. The government does not even have enough money to keep Social Security going for more than a few years as it is. What will happen when contributions are cut by a third? We shudder to think.

Based on all the above, all we can say is don’t retire, and buy as much gold and silver as you can afford and lay your hands on after getting out of debt, buying freeze-dried food, purchasing a water filter and obtaining a weapon for self-defense. IS ANYONE AS OUTRAGED AS WE ARE ABOUT THIS SOCIAL SECURITY PONZI SCHEME?! Look at all the hubris about the Madoff scandal, and we have a Ponzi scheme greater by three orders of magnitude that is about to unravel while everyone goes ho-hum. It is nothing less than surreal.

You have to love some of life’s coincidences. It certainly looks like Mr. Madoff had the perfect name, as he “made-off” with everyone’s money. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Universal soldier...(Video)

Pentagon warns Bush climate change will destroy us...

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York guardian.co.uk, Sunday 22 February 2004

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

Israel spokesperson calls 30 children killed in Gaza legitimate targets...

At least 30 children killed in Gaza Strip, Israeli spokesperson says they are legitimate target
PNN
December 29, 2008

Gaza / PNN – Not only are children in the Gaza Strip losing their parents, missing food, medicines and school, they are being killed.

Israeli forces took the lives of at least 30 children in Gaza since air attacks began on Saturday. A statement issued by the Global Movement for the Defense of Children says its initial reports indicate that another 150 children are injured.

The first children hit en masse were during struck during the beginning of the attacks when they were leaving school. Dozens of school children were raced to area hospitals in Gaza City on Saturday. Among the children killed are the sisters in Jabaliya yesterday and the eight year old boy today in Khan Younis.

The British university movement to boycott Israel wrote in their petition, "'Children,' says an Israeli spokeswoman, 'are legitimate targets because if they inhabit a house allegedly being used to manufacture home-made rockets to fire into Israel, they are 'terrorists' themselves.'"

The international children’s agency Global Defense for Children called today on the United Nations Security Council to convene an emergency session. The UNSC has yet to take effective action to force Israel to stop its aggression or apply previous UN resolutions, which include an end to occupation.

Defense for Children asked that the European Union and its member states seek to for the application of the rules of international humanitarian law. The Israeli administration has a poor record internationally when it comes to Palestinian children with at least 300 in its prisons.

The EU is under heavy pressure by humanitarian organizations to impose sanctions on Israel and to cease all diplomatic relations.

At the same time the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions are obliged to respect and enforce the convention as stated in Article I. Those who violate it are subject to criminal charges of crimes against humanity. The Global Defense for Children noted today that the individual criminal responsibility does not become obsolete and that at some point all will be prosecuted.

Homeland Security's expanded use to operate within 100 miles of the border...

Homeland Security: Respect civil rights
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

Americans have a right to move about without fear of being groundlessly stopped by law enforcement. As far as we know, that constitutional right applies to all Americans, not just the minority who live far removed from the nation's borders.

In what is proving to be a sweeping Bush administration security initiative, the Department of Homeland Security has expanded use of its authority to operate within 100 miles of the border. That has come to include increasingly frequent use of roadblocks in Western Washington.

Much of the activity has occurred around Bellingham and Port Angeles. As the Seattle P-I's Paul Shukovsky reported, it has become routine to check an intercity bus on the Olympic Peninsula at least weekly, subjecting each passenger to questioning about his or her citizenship papers. The Border Patrol maintains it could exercise its authority in Seattle, as well.

Indeed, by American Civil Liberties Union calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly two-thirds of Americans live within 100 miles of either a land border or the coast. That alone ought to show why it's important that the ACLU plans to test the continuing expansion of border-related powers in court.

There's also the matter of priorities and effectiveness. Just last month, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan had to tell the Border Patrol his office didn't want to see any more small marijuana possession cases from the roadblocks.

A disabled veteran said that despite Sullivan's decision to drop charges related to his use of medical marijuana, he remained shaken. As with so many Bush administration security policies, this seems to be neither effective nor respectful of fundamental rights. If the Obama administration doesn't make changes, the courts must sort out the matter.

Gaza aid ship rammed into by Israeli Navy...

Free Gaza Movement's Aid Ship Rammed -- Israeli Navy attacks and wounds Dignity in International Waters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date : 12-30-2008

(Larnaca, Cyprus, 10:00 am) On Tuesday, December 30, at 5 a.m., several Israeli gunboats intercepted the Dignity as she was heading on a mission of mercy to Gaza. One gunboat rammed into the boat on the port bow side, heavily damaging her. The reports from the passengers and journalists on board is that she is taking on water and appears to have engine problems. When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza.

The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.

As the boat limps toward Lebanon, passengers have been in contact with the Lebanese government who have said the captain has permission to dock and are willing lend assistance if needed. Cyprus sea rescue has also been in touch, and has offered assistance as well. The Dignity clearly flies the flag of Gibraltar, is piloted by an English captain and has a passenger manifest that includes Representative Cynthia McKinney from the U.S. The attack was filmed by the journalists, and the crew and passengers will report on Israel's crime at sea once they arrive in Lebanon.

On board the boat are doctors traveling to this impoverished slice of the Mediterranean to provide badly-needed relief at the hospitals there. The crew and passengers were also hoping to take wounded out for treatment, since the hospitals are not coping. In addition, the Dignity was carrying 3 tons of medical supplies at the request of the doctors in Gaza.

The three physicans on board who were sailing to Gaza are: Dr. Halpin (UK), an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics. Dr. Mohamed Issa (Germany), a pediatric surgeon from Germany is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics. Dr. Elena Theoharous (Cyprus), MP Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

Yet Israel thumbs its nose in the face of maritime law by attacking a human rights boat in international waters and has put all of these human rights observers at risk. At no time was the Dignity ever close to Israeli waters. They clearly identified themselves and the Israeli attack was willful and criminal.

The Dignity is still in international waters, 40 miles off Haifa. Everybody on board is safe at the moment as the boat slowly makes its way to safety in Lebanon.

US seeks 147-year sentence in torture case...

BLENDZ NOTE: The hypocrisy is mind-boggling..

U.S. seeks 147-year sentence in torture case
Dec. 29, 2008
Associated Press

MIAMI - U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father's reign.

Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr., is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S. for acts of torture committed overseas.

A recent Justice Department court filing describes torture -- which the U.S. has been accused of in the war on terror -- as a "flagrant and pernicious abuse of power and authority" that warrants severe punishment of Taylor.

"It undermines respect for and trust in authority, government and a rule of law," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller in last week's filing. "The gravity of the offense of torture is beyond dispute."

Second cable cut in two weeks...

Cable Repairs Set Back by Second Undersea Break
James Niccolai, IDG News Service
December 29, 2008 5:00 AM PST

Efforts to restore normal communications between Europe and Asia have suffered a setback after an important undersea cable broke for a second time, this time at a much greater depth.

Engineers from France Télécom had just finished repairing the Sea Me We 4 cable on Dec. 25 when the same cable broke again in a different place, this time 388 kilometers (241 miles) off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt, a France Télécom spokesman said Monday.

The repair ship the "Raymond Croz," which had just finished repairing the first break, was on its way to Sicily on Monday to pick up more cable to repair the second break, which happened more than 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) under the sea, the spokesman said.

The ship is expected to arrive at the site of the latest incident on Dec. 31 and the repairs now won't be completed until Jan. 4 or 5, the spokesman said, which would be 10 days later than originally expected.

Sea Me We 4 is one of four undersea cables that were cut on Dec. 19, disrupting voice and Internet traffic between Europe and several countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including Egypt, India and Singapore.

Much of the traffic has been diverted across the Pacific and through North America, but this has slowed connection speeds from Europe and Asia and places an additional burden on the other cables used for rerouting.

France Télécom, which is part of a consortium that operates the Sea Me We cables, has made Sea Me We 4 its priority and is not saying now when it expects Sea Me We 3 to be repaired.

Reliance Globalcom, which operates the Flag Telecom Europe-Asia and Go-1 cables, which were also cut Dec. 19, said Sunday it expected those cables to be repaired Monday.

The first cable breaks were blamed on trawler fishing nets, a ship's anchor or an undersea earthquake. They occurred in a shallow part of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Tunisia, at a depth of only a few hundred meters.

The latest incident occurred 1,400 km away off the coast of Egypt. The cause was likely an undersea landslide or earthquake, the France Télécom spokesman said.

The incidents highlight the fragility of the submarine cables that carry voice and Internet traffic thousands of miles between continents. The Flag and Sea Me We cables were also cut in February this year.

Asked if it was common for the same cable to break twice in two weeks, the France Telecom spokesman said: "It is not lucky, but it can happen."

Sea Me We 4 runs from Marseilles in the south of France to Singapore, connecting Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and several other countries on the way. The Flag Europe-Asia cable stretches from the U.K. to Japan.

US TV networks leaving Iraq...

U.S. TV networks leaving Iraq
By Brian Stelter Published: December 29, 2008

NEW YORK: Quietly, as the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, three American broadcast networks - CBS, NBC and ABC - have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq.

At the same time, the major U.S. television networks have been trying to add newspeople in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with expectations that the administration of Barack Obama will focus on the conflict there.

In short, the story, certainly on television, is shifting to Afghanistan. CNN now has a reporter assigned to the country at all times.

Michael Yon, an independent reporter who relies on contributions from Internet users to report from both areas of conflict, has already perceived a shift in both media and reader attention from Iraq to Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan was the forgotten war; that's what they were calling it, actually," he said. "Now it's swapping places with Iraq."

The staff cuts appear to be the latest evidence of budget pressures at the networks. And those pressures are not unique to television: Many newspapers and magazines have also curtailed their presence in Baghdad. As a consequence, the war is gradually fading from television screens, newspapers and, some worry, the consciousness of the American public.

For Yon and others who continue to cover Iraq, the cutbacks are a disheartening reminder of the war's diminishing profile at a time when about 130,000 U.S. service members remain on duty there - as opposed to 30,000 in Afghanistan. More than 4,200 Americans and many more thousands of Iraqis have died in fighting there since 2003.

ABC, CBS and NBC declined to speak on the record about their news coverage decisions. But representatives for the networks emphasized that they would continue to cover the war and said the staff adjustments reflected the evolution of the conflict in Iraq from a story primarily about violence to one about reconstruction and politics.

In Baghdad, ABC, CBS and NBC still maintain skeleton bureaus in heavily fortified compounds. Correspondents rotate in and out when stories warrant.

But employees who are familiar with the staffing pressures of the networks say the bureaus are a shadow of what they used to be. Some of the offices have only one Western staff member.

The TV networks have talked about sharing some resources in Iraq, although similar discussions have stalled in the past because of concerns about editorial independence. Parisa Khosravi, CNN's senior vice president for international news gathering, said such talks among the networks were not currently under way.

But journalists in Iraq expect further cooperative agreements and other pooling of resources in the months ahead.

ABC and the British Broadcasting Corp, longtime partners on polling in Iraq, may consolidate some back office operations early in 2009, two people with knowledge of the talks said. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to talk about the plans.

As the war claims fewer American lives, Iraq is fading from TV screens. The three network evening newscasts devoted 423 minutes to Iraq this year as of Dec. 19, compared with 1,888 minutes in 2007, said Andrew Tyndall, a television news consultant.

"But clearly, viewers' appetite for stories from Iraq waned when it turned from all-out battle into something equally important but more difficult to describe and cover," said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor. She recalled hearing one of her TV editors say, "I don't want to see the same old pictures of soldiers kicking down doors."

"You can imagine how much more tedious it would be to watch soldiers running meetings on irrigation," she said.

It is an expensive and dangerous operation to run at a time of diminishing resources and audience interest.

"Some news organizations just cannot afford to be there," said Yon, the independent reporter. "And the ones who can are starting to shift resources over to Afghanistan."

CNN and the Fox News Channel, both cable news channels with 24 hours to fill, each keep one correspondent in Iraq. Among newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post continue to assign multiple reporters to the country. The Associated Press and Reuters also have significant operations in Iraq.

Stories from Iraq that are strongly visual - as when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at President George W. Bush this month - are still covered by the networks, though often with footage from freelance crews and video agencies.

"But these other stories - ones that require knowledge of Iraq, like the political struggles that are going on - are going uncovered," said Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News.

CLICK TITLE LINK FOR FULL ARTICLE

Israel seals off Gaza periphery to journalists...

Israel seals off Gaza periphery to journalists
Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:18am EST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel ordered journalists out of areas abutting the Gaza Strip border on Monday, declaring a "closed military zone" there as an offensive in the Hamas-ruled coastal territory entered its third day.

An Israeli military spokesman cited the risk of retaliatory Palestinian rocket fire for the measure, which was being enforced in a buffer zone of 2km to 4km (1-2 miles) from Gaza.

But keeping the international media away from vantage points could help Israel maintain an element of surprise should it mount a ground assault. Such Israeli closures generally apply to civilians who do not live in the area being sealed off.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The holographic transdimensional system you know as Life...

Anti-spy system revealed...

Anti-Spy System Revealed To Sky
11:04am UK, Monday December 29, 2008
Gerard Tubb, North of England correspondent
A secret anti-spying system that is helping to protect the 12,000 British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has been exclusively demonstrated to Sky News.

The RAF has revealed how it is using technology involved in America's Star Wars system to track surveillance satellites and warn commanders when their troops are being watched.

Sky's cameras were given unprecedented access to the system at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and the Space Operations Coordination Centre - Spocc - in the air command bunker at RAF High Wycombe, which has never been filmed before.

The satellite warning service, which relies on the radar field created by Fylingdales for the American missile warning and defence systems, knows where every surveillance satellite is, what it can see, and where it's going.

Fylingdales creates a dome of radar 6,000 miles wide and 3,000 miles high to spot any missiles launched into space and then track them as they move overhead.

"We can decide which satellites may be a threat to UK forces deployed overseas," says the base's Flight Lieutenant Andy Smith.

"Then we can say 'If you don't wish to be seen at this time then don't (do anything) and then at this time you can continue.'"

The anti-spy system uses the same radar to identify surveillance satellites and 'ping' them as they move overhead to check if they're being quietly moved to a different orbit.

If they are being moved, the system instantly plots the satellite's new course so that commanders on the ground can be warned that their troops are about to become less safe.

The warnings go through Spocc at RAF High Wycombe.

Group Captain Chris Knapman, the RAF's deputy chief of staff for command and control support, said Spocc was set up to help protect military activities and domestic services that rely on space including GPS and communications.

"If we don't understand that environment, there's the potential for that activity to be disrupted," he said. "We wouldn't want to be taken by surprise."

Commercial satellites can only take pictures of things roughly half a metre-square or bigger but they can pose a security risk if images are sold.

Surveillance satellite expert Pat Norris, author of Spies in the Sky, told Sky News Online that although military spy satellites are top secret, his research suggests that the best ones can identify individual objects smaller than mobile phones.

"Images of about one or two centimetres seem feasible," he said. "But they are limited by distortion caused by the earth's atmosphere."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Greek cops posing as anarchists...

Greek Cops Caught on Video Posing as Anarchists
Kurt Nimmo
Infowars
December 28, 2008

A Greek television show has revealed how Greek police posed as anarchists and destroyed property. Inciting violence and blaming it on legitimate activists is a favorite tactic of the state in order to crack down on protest and dismiss genuine grievances.

In 2007, agents provocateurs attempted to incite violence in Montebello, Canada, during a peaceful protest against a Prosperity Partnership summit. A video and photographs later revealed the so-called anarchists were wearing the same military boots as the police. “Neither the RCMP nor the Surete du Quebec would comment on the video or even discuss generally whether they ever use the tactic of employing agents provocateurs, however it has been common practice at previous protests for authorities to employ police or special forces to intentionally infiltrate peaceful protests and cause violence,” Steve Watson wrote on August 22, 2007.

Other documented instances of agents provocateurs used against peaceful protests occurred in Seattle in 1999 at the World Trade Organization meeting, at the WTO protests in Genoa, Italy, and during protests in Miami in late November 2003. The United Steelworkers of America called for a congressional investigation in the latter case and stated that the police intentionally caused violence and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protesters. Earlier this year, MP George Galloway accused the London Metropolitan Police of engaging in “a deliberate conspiracy to bring about scenes of violent disorder” during President George W. Bush’s visit to the UK.

Police have gone to great lengths to subvert antiwar organizations. In 2003, two Oakland police officers working undercover at an anti-war protest were elected to leadership positions in an effort to influence the demonstration, according to the San Franciso Chronicle. “The ACLU said the Oakland case was one of several instances in which police agencies had spied on legitimate political activity since 2001.”

From COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story:

Over the years, FBI provocateurs have repeatedly urged and initiated violent acts, including forceful disruptions of meetings and demonstrations, attacks on police, bombings, and so on, following an old strategy of Tsarist police director TC Zubatov: “We shall provoke you to acts of terror and then crush you.”

In October, former Italian President Francesco Cossiga suggested the police be used as agents provocateurs to start riots and then have the police “beat the shit out of the protesters”. Cossiga was one of the founders of Operation Gladio, the CIA and NATO “stay behind army” that engaged in terrorist bombings and assassinations that were subsequently blamed on leftist organizations.

“Cossiga is essentially describing the problem-reaction-solution dialectic that he exploited when he was in government. Under the banner of Operation GLADIO, which was unveiled after parliamentary investigations in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, NATO sponsored secret armies committed acts of violence and terrorism and blamed the attacks on left-wing political movements, allowing far-right governments to seize power in numerous European countries,” explains Paul Joseph Watson.

The Greek people now have evidence of a similar campaign as they attempt to mobilize against the neoliberal dominated Greek state and its bankster stooges who have brought economic misery to the country. As a matter of course, this vital information will not be brought out in the corporate media as it attempts to discredit peaceful political organizations.

India's new spy agency--the NTRO

Spies walk in from the cold
Man Mohan
Our Roving Editor

New Delhi, December 26
They are being taken out of the closets, ‘dusted’ and put on the job that they had been doing for long before retirement. Also, capable officers and men are being sourced from the police, armed forces and paramilitary organisations for human, electronic and technical surveillance.

India’s newest secret agency — the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) — operating under the Prime Minister’s Office has been given a massive assignment to tab Pakistan, Bangadesh and China’s imagery and communications intelligence, using various platforms, including satellites.

Yes, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (November 26-29) have shaken the Indian domestic and foreign intelligence gathering agencies so much that they are now trying to set their house in order.

Intelligence agencies have become conscious of their inadequacies and of the gaps in their knowledge. The ‘new terrorism’ is demanding a revamped intelligence apparatus at the national level and a reinforced co-operation mechanism at the regional and international levels.

Foreign spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and domestic espionage organisation, Intelligence Bureau, have realised that they lack enough ‘HUMINT’ — human intelligence — assets to prevent Mumbai like incidents.

Both RAW and IB are finding it difficult to develop ‘moles’ in the Pakistani system, especially the terrorist groups operating from across the border. “This is because we still do not play much the game of penetration in the enemy ranks,” a highly placed IB officer said, observing that “it is easier to penetrate the sensitive establishments of an adversary state than a terrorist organisation.”

The Mumbai episode has added urgency to the intelligence gathering agencies to develop human intelligence at a larger scale. Not only RAW and IB, economic and other espionage agencies have also been asked to enlarge their base.

Even those men who retired about a decade ago have been contacted with offer to rejoin ‘the company’ again at the rank and salary that they would have been having at this stage. Some of them have refused as they are well-placed in private jobs and it would be difficult for them to disappear again in the world of shadows.

But there are many who have happily given their consent to be back in the field. A senior officer, who retired recently, has been re-hired in one of the spy agencies. Then there are men who have been asked to operate under the cover of their private jobs. New stations are being opened in sensitive cities and border states.

In the NTRO, a preference is being given to those who have a flair for gathering technical intelligence. Many officers from the air force and army’s signal corps have been taken on deputation.

Operating as an ‘allied’ organisation of RAW, the NTRO is trying to develop itself on the lines of America’s National Security Agency (NSA), which is one of the most secretive members of the US intelligence community.

The NTRO’s mandate is not to affect the working of technical wings of various intelligence agencies, including those of armed forces. The NTRO has been instructed to emerge as a super-feeder agency for providing technical intelligence to other agencies on internal and external security.

America has the most sophisticated ‘SIGINT’ (signals intelligence) assets in the world. These assets include spy satellites and planes. These assets are also being used to detect terrorists by intercepting their phone, computer, e-mail and radio communications.

In the Mumbai attacks, the gunmen used technology to gain a tactical advantage. They reportedly carried Blackberries, CDs holding high-resolution satellite images like those used for Google Earth maps, and multiple cell phones with switchable SIM cards that would be hard to track.

Using satellite phones, the gunmen communicated with their leaders abroad, calling voice-over-Internet-protocol phone numbers, making them harder to trace. This was terrorism in digital age.

Like American, Indian intelligence experts are, however, realising that the technological assets still cannot replace the importance of human intelligence assets. Human operatives are still needed to infiltrate and uncover the plans of terrorist groups.

Spending on intelligence gathering through human resources has substantially declined in the militarily powerful western nations in past one decade. But more resources are now being directed toward to improve ‘human intelligence’ devoted to combat terrorists.

Indian agencies, especially RAW, are good in technical intelligence. But after realising that they now have to have ‘specific intelligence’ about terrorism activities -not vague as the country came to know after the Mumbai attacks - RAW and IB have gone for the ‘recruitment drive’ to enroll retired experienced men for field and desk jobs. Specialists are much in demand.

“The idea is to substantially increase the number of new sources reporting on terrorism as the job of tracking terrorists is not becoming easier,” a RAW source said.

Despite this, experts point out that failures there have been and failures there will be. No intelligence agency in the world, whatever are its human and material resources and its technical and technological capability, can claim or hope to be all-knowing. “What is required,” as an old guard put it, “There is need to reduce the gap between failures and success.”

RNC chairman defends use of "Barack the Magic Negro" song...

RNC chairman candidate defends 'Barack the Magic Negro' song
By Rebecca Sinderbrand
CNN

(CNN) -- A candidate for the Republican National Committee chairmanship said Friday the CD he sent committee members for Christmas -- which included a song titled "Barack the Magic Negro" -- was clearly intended as a joke.

"I think most people recognize political satire when they see it," Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman told CNN. "I think RNC members understand that."

The song, set to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," was first played on conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh's radio show in 2007.

Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested President-elect Barack Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation's history of mistreatment of African-Americans. Saltsman said the song, penned by his longtime friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.

The CD sent to RNC members, first reported by The Hill on Friday, is titled "We Hate the USA" and also includes songs referencing former presidential candidate John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

According to The Hill, other song titles, some of which were in bold font, were: "John Edwards' Poverty Tour," "Wright place, wrong pastor," "Love Client #9," "Ivory and Ebony" and "The Star Spanglish Banner."

Saltsman was national campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential bid in 2007 and 2008. Before that, he held a variety of posts, including a number of positions under former Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Republican House member to keep Toussie money...

Cantor to keep Toussie money
Published: December 27, 2008

Rep. Eric I. Cantor's congressional campaign will keep $2,300 in contributions it received from Robert I. Toussie, whose son had a presidential pardon granted and rescinded this week.

Ray Allen, a senior strategist, speaking for Cantor's campaign, said the congressman had "nothing to do with" the granting or rescinding of a pardon for Isaac R. Toussie.

Isaac Toussie, 36, a Brooklyn developer, was convicted on charges of falsifying documents and mail fraud in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

He was sentenced to five months in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years probation, which ended in 2006.

In an extraordinarily rare move, the White House on Wednesday reversed a pardon granted Tuesday for Isaac Toussie. The White House said it acted to avoid any appearance of impropriety after learning that his father contributed more than $30,000 to the Republican Party and its candidates.

On Oct. 30 Robert Toussie, the convicted man's father, gave Cantor $2,300 -- the maximum general election contribution.

"There's no connection between us and the pardon," Allen said in an interview. "I don't know why we would involve ourselves in the plenary powers of the presidency."

White House press secretary Dana Perino said neither President Bush nor the White House counsel's office had been aware of Toussie's father's political contributions until reading news reports after the pardon.

"Given that, this was the prudent thing to do," Perino said. Political contributions generally are not factored into reviews of pardons, Perino said, as that would be "highly inappropriate."

The power to pardon is one of the few unchecked powers of the president and can be wielded without input from the legislative or judicial branches of government.

With the Toussie reversal, Bush has granted a total of 189 pardons. That's less than half as many as Presidents Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan issued during their eight years in office.

Cantor, R-7th, a Henrico County resident and the No. 2 Republican in the House, had "no comment at all on the president's handling of the situation," Allen said.

The decision to return campaign funds is always a political calculation, said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money.

"[Cantor] could afford to give this money away, but it could set a precedent he may not want to set," he said. "Giving the money away also suggests the money itself is tainted."

Cantor's campaign raised $4.5 million this election cycle, Allen said, and it would not be returning Toussie's money or giving it to charity.

Cantor was the only member of the U.S. House to receive a contribution from Robert Toussie, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Scientists plan to ignite man-made star...

Scientists plan to ignite tiny man-made star
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 4:50PM GMT 27 Dec 2008

While it has seemed an impossible goal for nearly 100 years, scientists now believe that they are on brink of cracking one of the biggest problems in physics by harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the reaction that burns at the heart of the sun.

In the spring, a team will begin attempts to ignite a tiny man-made star inside a laboratory and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.

Its goal is to generate temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures billions of times higher than those found anywhere else on earth, from a speck of fuel little bigger than a pinhead. If successful, the experiment will mark the first step towards building a practical nuclear fusion power station and a source of almost limitless energy.

At a time when fossil fuel supplies are dwindling and fears about global warming are forcing governments to seek clean energy sources, fusion could provide the answer. Hydrogen, the fuel needed for fusion reactions, is among the most abundant in the universe. Building work on the £1.2 billion nuclear fusion experiment is due to be completed in spring.

Scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore, nestled among the wine-producing vineyards of central California, will use a laser that concentrates 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States into a billionth of a second.

The result should be an explosion in the 32ft-wide reaction chamber which will produce at least 10 times the amount of energy used to create it.

"We are creating the conditions that exist inside the sun," said Ed Moses, director of the facility. "It is like tapping into the real solar energy as fusion is the source of all energy in the world. It is really exciting physics, but beyond that there are huge social, economic and global problems that it can help to solve."

Inside a structure covering an area the size of three football pitches, a single infrared laser will be sent through almost a mile of lenses, mirrors and amplifiers to create a beam more than 10 billion times more powerful than a household light bulb.

Housed within a hanger-sized room that has to be pumped clear of dust to prevent impurities getting into the beam, the laser will then be split into 192 separate beams, converted into ultraviolet light and focused into a capsule at the centre of an aluminium and concrete-coated target chamber.

When the laser beams hit the inside of the capsule, they should generate high-energy X-rays that, within a few billionths of a second, compress the fuel pellet inside until its outer shell blows off.

This explosion of the fuel pellet shell produces an equal and opposite reaction that compresses the fuel itself together until nuclear fusion begins, releasing vast amounts of energy.

Scientists have been attempting to harness nuclear fusion since Albert Einstein’s equation E=mc², which he derived in 1905, raised the possibility that fusing atoms together could release tremendous amounts of energy.

Under Einstein’s theory, the amount of energy locked up in one gram of matter is enough to power 28,500 100-watt lightbulbs for a year.

Until now, such fusion has only been possible inside nuclear weapons and highly unstable plasmas created in incredibly strong magnetic fields. The work at Livermore could change all this.

The sense of excitement at the facility is clear. In the city itself, people on the street are speaking about the experiment and what it could bring them. Until now Livermore has had only the dubious honour of being home of the US government’s nuclear weapons research laboratories which are on the same site as the NIF.

Inside the facility, the scientists are impatient. After 11 years of development work, they want the last of the lenses and mirrors for the laser to be put in place and the tedious task of adjusting and aiming the laser to be over, a process they fear could take up to a year before they can successfully achieve fusion.

Jeff Wisoff, a former astronaut who is deputy principal associate director of science at the NIF, said: "Everyone is keen to get started, but we have to get the targeting right, otherwise it won’t work.

"We will be firing laser pulses that last just a few billionths of a second but we will be creating conditions that are found in the interior of stars or exploding nuclear weapons.

"I worked on the building of the International Space Station, but this is a far bigger challenge and the implications are huge. When we started the project, a lot of the technology we needed did not exist, so we have had to develop it ourselves.

"The next step is looking at how ignition can be used to deliver something of value to the world. It has the potential to be one of the biggest achievements mankind has made."

Although other experiments have attempted to create the conditions needed for nuclear fusion, lasers are seen as the most likely technique to be able to provide a viable electricity supply.

If all goes well, the NIF will be able to fire its laser and ignite a fusion reaction every five hours, but to create a reliable fusion power plant the laser would need to ignite fusion around 10 times a second.

The scientists are already working with British counterparts on the next step towards a fusion power station. A project known as the High Powered Laser Research facility aims to create a laser-powered fusion reactor that can fire once every couple of minutes.

Prof Mike Dunne, director of the central laser facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, said: "The National Ignition Facility is going to finally prove fusion can be achieved with a laser. It will start an exciting new period in physics as it will prove what we are trying to achieve is actually be possible."

Chemical castration offered to sex offenders in new treatment program...

Sex offenders volunteer for 'chemical castration' drug treatment
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:03PM GMT 27 Dec 2008

So far 11 men have put themselves forward for the pioneering project, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Those receiving the treatment, which has been dubbed “chemical castration”, include prison inmates and offenders who have been released from custody and are living in the community.

They are being given Prozac, which reduces their sex drive, or other categories of drugs known as anti-androgens.

Ministers are now being asked to set up a national clinic dedicated to handing out the medication to paedophiles and rapists who volunteer for the treatment.

The current project, which is being overseen by Professor Don Grubin, a forensic psychiatrist at Newcastle University's Institute of Neuroscience, could be the first step towards wider use of the technique.

However, experts have warned that it could prove impractical to impose the medication on sex offenders in a compulsory programme.

Earlier this year, Poland became the first European Union country to begin moves towards the compulsory chemical castration of convicted paedophiles, after public outrage over the case of a 45-year-old man accused of fathering two children by his young daughter.

Prof Grubin said: "I am suggesting that consideration should be given to a formal national clinic. We are in the early stages of that and have had preliminary discussions with ministers about it.

"I certainly think it would be a benefit. A national clinic would work on prescribing and monitoring protocols and allow psychiatrists to gain a second opinion from me."

Donald Findlater, director of research and development at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity, warned the scheme would probably not be relevant to the majority of sex offenders.

He said: "It certainly is a good idea but people need to be realistic about what we are talking about.

"It is going to be particularly targeted at those where an inability to control sexual urges is a major component in their offending, which is not typical for most sex offenders."

Anti-androgens block receptors in the body to inhibit or block the effects of the male sex hormones. The dosage used to treating sex offenders can reduce testosterone levels to those of a pre-pubescent boy.

The alternative drug used in the scheme, Prozac, stimulates the brain's production of the enzyme serotonin, which can cause loss of libido.

Professor David Wilson, a criminologist from Birmingham City University, warned that chemical castration should not be regarded as the solution to all types of sex offending.

"I would want to see this very carefully monitored in terms of whether it reduces the number of children who are attacked by predatory paedophiles," said the academic, who has worked with two British sex offenders who took part in similar schemes after being convicted overseas.

"Chemical castration is not a cure-all and it will not simply magic the problem of paedophiles away. It can deal with the physical part of the libido but not the psychological phenomenon.

"It is only part of the arsenal that should be used against these predatory offenders."

He said some offenders simply inflicted other kinds of deviant behaviour on their victims if they were unable to perform sexually due to the drugs.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Evidence suggests that certain types of medication can be useful in reducing the risk from certain sex offenders.

"Medication is not necessarily a solution for the majority of sex offenders. There are specific risk factors for sexual offending which medication may assist with, but these risk factors are not present in all cases.

"Although this is not the only solution to the problem of sexual offending, we believe, in conjunction with other ways of managing the risk from sex offenders, the use of medication has an important role to play.

"In the last 12 months, we have introduced a service to make medication available to more sex offenders who meet the criteria for those likely to benefit."

The spokeswoman refused to disclose further details of the offenders because of "medical confidentiality". Research based on the results of the programme is expected to be published after it comes to a close in 2010.

Sweden, Denmark and Canada have offered voluntary chemical castration for some years. Some US states have both voluntary and compulsory programmes.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of probation union Napo, said: "There will be public support for compulsory programmes but they would be extraordinarily difficult to administer if the offender refuses.

"You would have to physically restrain them to administer the chemicals, and that could lead to legal challenges. The medical profession would be in great difficulty administering the drugs by force and may refuse to do it."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the new project should be overseen by a judge.

"Whether consent has been given completely voluntarily should be monitored by a court because there should be no question of compulsory treatment in a civilised society," she said.

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "Any genuinely voluntary arrangement must be welcomed by every parent and everybody who cares about upholding decent standards in society.

"The danger if it topples over towards compulsory chemical castration is that it could be seen as a 'cruel and unnecessary punishment' which has been abhorred by successive statements of human rights going back to the English Bill of Rights in 1689."

WiFi responsible for spate of health problems?

Alternative health capital turns its 'negative energy' on pioneering wi-fi system
It is regarded as an oasis of calm and tranquility, and the nation's capital for alternative health therapies and spiritual healing remedies.

By Andrew Alderson and Simon Trump
Last Updated: 9:46PM GMT 27 Dec 2008

But now the residents of Glastonbury, which has long been a favoured destination for pilgrims, are at the centre of a bitter row in which many blame the town's new wireless computer network - known as wi-fi - for a spate of health problems.

Some healers even hold that electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) generated by the wi-fi system are responsible for upsetting positive energy fields of the body, which are known as chakras, and positive energy fields of the earth, which are known as ley lines.

There are now calls for the project, the first of its kind in Britain, to be "unplugged" and for wi-fi masts in the centre of the Somerset market town to be removed just seven months into its experimental run.

Meanwhile soothsayers, astrologers and other opponents of the wi-fi system have resorted to an alternative technology - known as "orgone" - to combat the alleged negative effects of the high-tech system.

In May, Glastonbury - which has a population of 9,000 and which lends its name to the country's largest rock festival, staged on a farm six miles outside the town - became the first place in the country to have a free wi-fi network installed in its town centre. The £34,000 project is financed by county council and regional development agency funding,

At a public meeting to discuss alleged health problems in the Somerset town, residents complained of numerous symptoms including headaches, dizziness, rashes and even pneumonia.

Protesters claim that radiation associated with the wi-fi network suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone which helps to control sleep patterns, regulates the body's metabolic rate and boosts the immune system.

One of those who claims to have been affected is Natalie Fee, a former yoga teacher, who has now moved home - from inside to outside the wi-fi zone - so that she can protect her son Elliot, five, from what she sees as the harmful effects of wi-fi.

"I would like to see the masts removed," she said. "Perhaps one day that will happen and hopefully it won't be too late.

"I had a radiation expert come round to take measurements at our old home which was within sight of one of the masts. The highest reading was in Elliot's room.

"I thought Glastonbury was a rural town. I don't want my son exposed to risk 24 hours a day, including at his primary school which is within the wi-fi zone. I would be failing in my duty as a parent if I did."

Matt Todd, who campaigns against EMFs, said that residents had complained that chakras and ley lines are being disrupted. "They believe positive energy flows are being disturbed," he said.

Mr Todd has started building small generators which he believes can neutralise the allegedly-harmful radiation using the principles of orgone science. The pyramid-like machines use quartz crystals, selenite (a clear form of the mineral gypsum), semi-precious lapis lazuli stones, gold leaf and copper coil to absorb and recycle the supposedly-negative energy.

"I have given a number of generators to shops in the High Street and hidden others in bushes in the immediate vicinity of the antennae. That way you can bring back the balance," said Mr Todd.

Orgone science was developed by the Austro-Hungarian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who claimed all living matter contains a biological energy. Mr Todd added: "The science hasn't really got into the mainstream because the Government won't make decisions which will affect big business, even if it concerns everyone's health.

"I think wi-fi has tipped things over the edge because a lot of people can feel it. It seems to have introduced this large blast of energy into the environment and that's what people are picking up on."

Jane Saunders, who runs the Glastonbury natural health clinic, felt so strongly she founded the Why Wi-Fi? protest campaign. "I am not a Luddite and I recognise there are benefits to new technology," she said.

"Initially wi-fi was a development I welcomed with open arms, especially with teenage children who need to be on-line almost all the time.

"But I had to take it out and go back to a conventional broadband cable network because it was affecting my health. I show symptoms when it's switched on that I don't when the network is off."

David Heathcoat Amory, the local Conservative MP, said: "I have detected no public support for this project and I have received many letters and emails from concerned residents who believe the siting of the emitting masts are causing health problems."

A spokesman for Powerwatch, an independent EMF pressure group, said: "Someone using a wi-fi laptop will be exposed to approximately twice the level of radiation as someone living 70 yards from a mobile phone mast. Unlike the food and drink industry whose products have to go through extensive pre-market trials and testing, there is no safety net for wireless devices."

However, Dr Eric de Silva, a physicist at Imperial College, London, disagreed. He said: "All the studies which have so far concluded show there is no evidence of a connection between exposure to wi-fi and ill health."

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: "The project was established to support the local economy and encourage tourist and business visitors to stay longer and use local services.

"It has the potential to be a real asset. It conforms to all UK and EU telecommunications health and safety standards, but we do take public concerns very seriously and a review of the system is due to be completed in the New Year."

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