Last September President Obama cited his drone program in Yemen as a successful model of US anti-terrorism strategy. He said that he would employ the Yemen model in his effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
But just a week ago, the government in Yemen fell to a Shite militia movement thought to be friendly to Iran. The US embassy in Yemen’s capitol was forced to evacuate personnel and shut down operations.
If Yemen is any kind of model, it is a model of how badly US interventionism has failed.
In 2011 the US turned against Yemen’s long-time dictator, Saleh, and supported a coup that resulted in another, even more US-friendly leader taking over in a “color revolution.” The new leader, Hadi, took over in 2012 and soon became a strong supporter of the US drone program in his country against al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.
But last week Hadi was forced to flee from office in the coup. The media reports that the US has lost some of its intelligence capability in Yemen, which is making it more difficult to continue the drone strikes. Nevertheless, the White House said last week that its drone program would continue as before, despite the disintegration of the Yemeni government.
And the drone strikes have continued. Last Monday, in the first US strike after the coup, a 12 year old boy was killed in what is sickeningly called “collateral damage.” Two alleged “al-Qaeda militants” were also killed. On Saturday yet another drone strike killed three more suspected militants.
The US government has killed at least dozens of civilian non-combatants in Yemen, but even those it counts as “militants” may actually be civilians. That is because the Obama administration counts any military-aged male in the area around a drone attack as a combatant.
It was al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that claimed responsibility for the brutal shooting at an anti-religious magazine in Paris last month. At least one of the accused shooters cited his anger over US policy in the Middle East as a motivation for him to attack.
Does anyone wonder why, after 14 years of drone strikes killing more than 800 al-Qaeda militants, it seems there are still so many of them? As a Slate Magazine article this week asked, “what if the drones themselves are part of the problem?” That is an excellent question and one that goes to the heart of US anti-terrorist strategy. What if it is US interventionism in general and drone strikes in particular that are motivating so many people to join anti-US militant movements? What if it is interventionist and militarist western foreign policy that is motivating people to shoot up magazines and seek to bring terrorism back to the countries they see as aggressors?
That is the question that the interventionists fear most. If blowback is real, if they do not hate us because we are so rich and free but because of what our governments are doing to them, then US interventionism is making us less safe and less free.
The disintegration of Yemen is directly related to US drone policy. The disintegration of Libya is directly related to US military intervention. The chaos and killing in Syria is directly related to US support for regime change. Is there not a pattern here?
The lesson from Yemen is not to stay the course that has failed so miserably. It is to end a failed foreign policy that is killing civilians, creating radicals, and making us less safe.
(Ron Paul, Infowars.com, feb 2nd)
Former Republican congressman provided details of his efforts in 2011 to negotiate with Moammar Gadhafi an offer to step down as president of Libya in an effort to prevent the Libyan war.
“There was no doubt Gadhafi wanted to abdicate,” said Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania in a WND interview.
Weldon, who served as vice-chairman of the Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee, told of his private trip to Tripoli in April 2011.
“Was Gadhafi prepared to leave office?” Weldon asked rhetorically. “Absolutely, unequivocally, without any doubt in my mind, Gadhafi was ready to leave office. There were no other conditions except he wanted to leave Libya with what he called ‘dignity.’”
Instead of negotiating Gadhafi’s removal, however, the U.S. decided to arm al-Qaida-affiliated Libyan militia in a NATO-backed “rebellion” to oust Gadhafi by military force. Some critics of Obama’s policy have charged the administration “switched sides in the war on terror,” as WND reported.
(WND, feb 3rd)
NUCLEAR IRAN WAR PROPAGANDA ESCALATES
On Jan. 22, The Jerusalem Post reported that Iran deployed a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.” It was also shown on Israeli television.
Iran’s development of an ICBM at this time would be consistent with unclassified U.S. intelligence community reports that in 2013 warned Iran could test an ICBM by 2015.
Iran and others claim the missile is not a military ICBM for delivering nuclear warheads but a peaceful Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) for orbiting satellites
This is a distinction without a difference.
Iran has a demonstrated capability to orbit satellites weighing over a ton, which means it could also deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S. or any nation on Earth.
(Newsmax, feb 2nd)
UKRAINE CRISIS SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL
Today’s triple whammy of ‘escalation’ appears more focused on the non-Russian side as first, France begins sending tanks into Poland; second, Ukraine shifts its tanks to the front-line; and third – and potentially most inflammatory for Putin – NATO has confirmed plans to create permanent command centers in Eastern Europe. Putin has not responded yet but reports of ‘nuclear bombers’ flying above the English Channel “with transponders turned off,” suggests the sabre rattling continues.
(Zero hedge, feb 2nd)
Ukraine: “We Target Civilians.”
Separatists: “Their Targeting Maps Prove It.”
The pro-regime Ukrainian TV station Hromandske TV — which is funded by the U.S. Government, the Dutch Government , and George Soros (via his International Renaissance Foundation or ‘Fund’ ) — has reported that the Ukrainian Government is specifically targeting civilians to die in the Donbass region in the former Ukraine’s southeast. It’s being done in order “to clean the cities.”
This is open acknowledgement that the operation, which the U.S. is financing ( and Ukraine is bankrupt so it can never reimburse its donors ), is actually an ethnic-cleansing campaign .
Previously, on Hromadske TV, a proponent of doing just that (ethnic cleansing) was interviewed. He said : “If we take, for example, just the Donetsk oblast, there are approximately 4 million inhabitants, at least 1.5 million of which are superfluous. … Donbass must be exploited as a resource, which it is. … The most important thing that must be done — no matter how cruel it may sound — is that there is a certain category of people that must be exterminated.”
Retired Col. General Vladimir Ruban, interviewed on the pro-Ukrainian-Government Hromadske TV, then says: “I want to offer the Ukrainian artillerists medals, to those who shell the city [Donetsk], the houses and the civilian population, … for they [artillerists] have deserved it [medals], both because of the accuracy and inaccuracy. … It’s one thing if attack groups or any mobile mortar troops drive through the city and shoot, … but if the artillery units fired from the airport [i.e., from the distance], then no one can claim that the separatists shoot themselves [i.e., that the people who are being killed in the city are victims of separatist troops mistakenly hitting passers-by when aiming at Government troops. He is saying that artillerists will clearly get the blame, whereas street-fighters can always blame the ‘terrorists.’]. … The shelling there is done as intimidation, … not just object destruction, but intimidation [to get the population to flee to nearby Russia]. The civilian population is intimidated by a chaotic bombardment of different objects. There are many shells that plug directly into the streets or vegetable gardens [and so make the very ground on which these people live terrifying to them].
The journalists of Ren TV [a major Russian network, privately owned by Russian aristocrats] today received the first documentary evidence that residential areas of Donbass [the rebelling region of the former Ukraine; the farthest-east part of Ukraine, shown here in the darkest purple] are being targeted. Although Kiev may claim that ‘stray shells’ hit a hospital or a kindergarten, we have found on the front line that is being left behind by departing Ukrainian soldiers, artillery maps, where the targets were restaurants, cafeterias and shops. Here is an exclusive report by our correspondent Valentin Trushin from the former UAF’s [Ukrainian Armed Forces} trenches:
This is a field near the village of Ozeryanovka, from which recently was a Ukrainian battery firing at Gorlovka: … [The rebel soldier says that many of these abandoned tanks and other weapons are undamaged, and ‘They will say tomorrow that Russia supplied them to us, but it’s actually their equipment that will be repaired if necessary but will be used at war against them.’ Views of Government-destroyed Gorlovka are shown.] … In the [rebel-]destroyed dugouts were found … notebooks of cannon commanders, maps. The documents show that shelling of the city [by the Government] was not random, but deliberate.The coordinates of the targets are shown. For examples, one is a restaurant, another a cafeteria or a market where no militiamen were stationed. … Here are their target-maps, … irrefutable evidence of war crimes.
(Infowars, feb 2nd)
INTERACTIVE MAP: How the world violates human rights, country by country
Human Rights Watch identifies the threats facing citizens in more than 90 countries including torture, detention and censorship. Click on each shaded country (colour-coded by continent) for a snapshot of the situation there, according to HRW.
This map provides a snapshot of the human rights violations identified by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in their 25th annual review.
(Telegraph, feb 2nd)
A top official in Saudi Arabia has claimed executions and beheadings it carries out are not comparable with those committed by Isis, insisting they are different because their death penalty is carried out based on a court decision.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said the killings committed by Isis, who most recently beheaded Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto, are “arbitrary” during an interview with NBC News.
The ultra-conservative Kingdom executed at least 68 people between January and November in 2014, according to Human Rights Watch, although this number is as high as 87 in some reports. In August, the United Nations expressed concern when its execution rate went up to a rate of one per day. Eight of those killed during that month were beheaded.
(Independent, feb 3rd)
China launched a secret 100-year modernization program that deceived successive U.S. administrations into unknowingly promoting Beijing’s strategy of replacing the U.S.-led world order with a Chinese communist-dominated economic and political system, according to a new book by a longtime Pentagon China specialist.
For more than four decades, Chinese leaders lulled presidents, cabinet secretaries, and other government analysts and policymakers into falsely assessing China as a benign power deserving of U.S. support, says Michael Pillsbury, the Mandarin-speaking analyst who has worked on China policy and intelligence issues for every U.S. administration since Richard Nixon.
The secret strategy, based on ancient Chinese statecraft, produced a large-scale transfer of cash, technology, and expertise that bolstered military and Communist Party “superhawks” in China who are now taking steps to catch up to and ultimately surpass the United States, Pillsbury concludes in a book published this week.
The Chinese strategic deception program was launched by Mao Zedong in 1955 and put forth the widespread misbelief that China is a poor, backward, inward-looking country. “And therefore the United States has to help them, and give away things to them, to make sure they stay friendly,” Pillsbury said in an interview. “This is totally wrong.”
(Free beacon, feb 2nd)
US AND WORLD ECONOMY_______________
GALLUP CEO SPEAKS OUT
The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment
Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.
Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.
None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.
(Gallup, feb 3rd)
Beneath President Barack Obama's plan to fight income inequality lies a gloomy view of an economy that is growing slower and creating fewer rewards for its workers than it did in much of the last century.
In a budget proposal unveiled on Monday, the White House cut forecasts for an array of economic variables, depicting less growth, weaker inflation and lower interest rates than officials expected only a year ago.
This comes despite an unemployment rate that the Obama administration expects to hit the 5.2 percent level considered to be roughly in line with full employment sometime this year.
The administration's take on the economy moves it closer to the growing view among economists that the United States could be stuck in a prolonged period of stagnation.
(Reuters, feb 2nd)
Here Are Seven Things in Obama's Budget That Are Never Going to Happen
$1 Billion to Stop the Root Causes of Illegal Immigration
Ending Veteran Homelessness
Obama Assuming Funds From Immigration Reform
Increasing the Capital-Gains Tax
Free Community College
More Money for the IRS
(National Journal, feb 2nd)
The Obama budget calls for a stealth increase in the death tax rate from 40% to nearly 60%. Here's how it works:
Under current law, when you inherit an asset your basis in the asset is the higher of the fair market value at the time of death or the decedent's original basis. Almost always, the fair market value is higher.
Under the Obama proposal, when you inherit an asset your basis will simply be the decedent's original basis.
Example: Dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step up in basis of $100,000). Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000).
There are exemptions for most households, but this misses the larger point: the whole reason we have step up in basis is because we have a death tax. If you are going to hold an estate liable for tax, you can't then hold the estate liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.
(ATR, feb 2nd)
Did you know that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low? Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade? For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better. Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the homeownership rate keep going down? Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving. This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart that I am about to share with you. If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes. But instead, the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”. I think that this chart speaks for itself…
(Economic Collapse Blog, feb 2nd)
The sewage being treated by your city could be a veritable gold mine. That’s because all kinds of metals end up in sewage sludge, which is the leftovers from treated sewage, Science reports.
Researchers in Arizona recently found that a city of a million people could generate up to $13 million a year in such metals, with $2.6 million of that coming in the form of gold and silver.
They studied the samples, which came from 32 states, with a mass spectrometer, Discover reports; the tool uses extreme heat to reveal elements. On a global scale, they found, sludge probably contains about 360 tons of gold each year.
(Fox news, feb 2nd)
Because of a wrinkle in the Affordable Care Act, Ms. Ramos made too little money to receive federal aid for buying private insurance — and too much to qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor. But she found a solution.
Encouraged by counselors at a storefront enrollment center here, she took on more work, busing tables at night and, more recently, cooking tamales to sell out of her tiny apartment. By raising her annual income to about $24,000, Ms. Ramos, 39, qualified for a subsidy that enabled her to buy insurance for just $20 a month.
“I want to be covered for my kids,” she said. “I’ll do whatever I need to do.”
Ms. Ramos is one of many low-income, working adults who are caught in what experts call the coverage gap, eligible for neither federal subsidies nor Medicaid because they live in states that have declined to expand Medicaid under the health care law. And like Ms. Ramos, many of those people are taking second jobs or working extra hours to increase their incomes, hoping to become eligible for assistance that will enable them to afford marketplace plans.
(NYT, feb 2nd)
January was an unusual and exciting month for financial markets.
Volatility returned to the equity markets. To use a rather unsophisticated measure, almost three-quarters of the trading days showed moves of more than 100 points in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Yields on higher quality government bonds plummeted; 10-year Treasuries ended the month at 1.64 percent and Germany's 10-year rate touched a record low of 0.298 percent. Meanwhile, the foreign exchange markets were marked not only by notable fluctuations in currency values but also by changes in exchange rate systems for stability-obsessed countries such as Singapore and Switzerland.
Many of these developments reflect the effect of “divergence” -- that is, large and persistent deviations among systemically important countries when it comes to economic performance and monetary policy prospects. In the absence of comprehensive policy responses and limits on interest-rate differentials, this variance continued to place an enormous burden on currencies, forcing them to essentially become the major shock absorbers. And, as history has shown us, movements in the foreign exchange markets -- especially large ones -- have consequences for other markets.
Developments in the foreign exchange markets have already spilled over. In the latest earnings season, several companies cited currency movements as powerful negative forces. Meanwhile, as many international stock market investors left their currency exposures unhedged, it was inevitable that foreign exchange losses would translate into negative developments in equity funds.
Adverse contagion was also generated by the sharp movement in oil prices, as the market continued to adjust to a fundamental change in supply conditions (namely, the de facto withdrawal of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- and Saudi Arabia in particular -- as the swing producer). The falling prices forced energy companies to rush to cut capital expenditures. Poorly managed oil producing countries, such as Russia and Venezuela, experienced deteriorating credit quality and a concurrent sharp rise in risk spreads.
This heightened sense of instability was compounded by political and geopolitical events.
(bloomberg, feb 2nd)
Venezuela's economic failings are turning it into the "laughing-stock" of Latin America, according to late president Hugo Chavez's top economic planner.
Former Finance and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani, who was sacked in mid-2014 by Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, said in an interview this week that reforms in the South American OPEC nation are years overdue.
"We should have taken measures from Oct. 7, 2012," Giordani told local website notitimes.com, referring to the date of Chavez's last presidential election victory. Chavez, who was president for 14 years, died of cancer in 2013.
"In truth, we are almost the laughing stock of Latin America," Giordani, 75, said. "If the situation is bad, if the thermometer is at 40 degrees, there are those who blame the thermometer ... We need to acknowledge the crisis, comrades."
Venezuela's ailing economy is Maduro's No. 1 problem. The economy is in recession, inflation is the highest in the Americas, revenues have been cut by half due to the fall in oil prices, and there are shortages of basic products.
(Reuters, feb 3rd)
Companies and government officials are illegally moving as much as $60 billion out of Africa each year, according to a report released Sunday, depriving the world’s poorest continent of capital and tax revenue that could spur faster economic growth.
(wsj, feb 1st)
Matt Drudge more powerful than ever?
'A decidedly relevant player in the political world'
Matt Drudge is currently running a “poll” on his website — it’s the Drudge Report if you have paid no attention to politics for the last 17 years — that asks readers to choose their preferred 2016 Republican presidential candidate. As of 3:15 pm eastern time, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was dominating with 47 percent (more than 84,000 votes) followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14 percent and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 13 percent. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has been anointed by the party establishment as the frontrunner in the race, takes 5 percent.
(Washington post, feb 2nd)
Facebook doesn’t keep any of your data safe or anonymous, no matter how much you lock down your privacy settings. Those are all a decoy. There are very serious privacy breaches, like selling your product endorsement to advertisers and politicians, tracking everything you read on the internet, or using data from your friends to learn private things about you – they have no off switch.
As I dug in, I discovered all the spying Facebook does — which I double-checked with articles from big reputable news sources and academic studies that were heavily scrutenised. It sounds nuts when you put it all together!
They have and continue to create false endorsements for products from you to your friends – and they never reveal this to you.
When you see a like button on the web, Facebook is tracking that you’re reading that page. It scans the keywords on that page and associates them to you. It knows much time you spend on different sites and topics.
They read your private messages and the contents of the links you send privately.
They’ve introduced features that turn your phone’s mic on — based on their track-record changing privacy settings, audio surveillance is likely to start happening without your knowledge.
They can use face recognition to track your location through pictures , even those that aren’t on Facebook. (Pictures taken with mobile phones have time, date and GPS data built into them.)
They’ve used snitching campaigns to trick people’s friends into revealing information about them that they chose to keep private.
They use the vast amount of data they have on you, from your likes, things you read, things you type but don’t post, to make highly accurate models about who you are — even if you make it a point of keeping these things secret. There are statistical techniques, which have been used in marketing for decades, that find correlating patterns between someone’s behaviour and their attributes. Even if you never posted anything, they can easily work out your age, gender, sexual orientation and political views. When you post, they work out much more. Then they reveal it to banks, insurance companies, governments, and of course, advertisers.
Commercial data brokers
And as I’ll explain later, most of this information finds its way into the public anyway. No need for NSA programmes because of marketing data companies who de-anonymise all your data to sell it again and again. This is done systematically and automatically. There’s an industry around this. There are marketplaces to buy and sell consumer data, orginally started around credit agencies and direct mail companies, then growing with the browser toolbar industry when Internet Explorer was big – now they’re filled with more information than ever before
Intercepting your communication
The thing is that you don’t need a conspiracy theory to be concerned. Mark Zuckerburg himself has been public and consistent to his investors about his intentions:
1) To be the middle-man in all personal communication.
2) To make all personal communication public over time.
“I have something to share”
Even if you have nothing to hide, you have to worry about the opposite, what Facebook chooses to hide that you want to be shared. They filter you.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you why you’re getting off” usually comes after something like, “didn’t you see my post last week?”
If you’ve ever had that conversation, you’ve noticed that there’s a big disconnect between your expectations when you communicate on Facebook and what really happens. Basically, Facebook filters out your posts based on whether or not people will use Facebook more if they don’t see it.
It feels like Facebook is the only way to stay in touch. Through pictures and comments. It feels like everyone’s on there and you’re getting a good feed on their life.
In reality, lots of your posts are never seen by anyone! And you miss out on their stuff too. Even if your friends’ stuff gets to you fine, it doesn’t mean your stuff gets to them.
Facebook’s blocks posts based on political content it doesn’t like. They blocked posts about Fergusson and other political protests. When Zuckerberg alledgedly went a bit nuts and banned the word “privacy” from meetings at Facebook, it was also blocked from any Facebook post. You just got an error message about “inappropriate content”. Yeah, uh huh. Inappropriate for who?
We shouldn’t be surprised though. Facebook isn’t a neutral platform – we need be aware of the agendas of the people behind it. Zuckerberg’s been public about his intentions.
CONTINUED IN THE ARTICLE
(Saintsal, feb 2nd)
The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.
The 77th Brigade, to be based in Hermitage, near Newbury, in Berkshire, will be about 1,500-strong and formed of units drawn from across the army. It will formally come into being in April.
The brigade will be responsible for what is described as non-lethal warfare. Both the Israeli and US army already engage heavily in psychological operations.
Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative.
The 77th will include regulars and reservists and recruitment will begin in the spring. Soldiers with journalism skills and familiarity with social media are among those being sought.
An army spokesman said: “77th Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare. It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent.”
(Guardian, jan 31st)
ISIS is coaching its Twitter army to hijack dormant Western Twitter accounts to evade the microblogging service’s cull of jihadi accounts. Twitter suspended more than 1,400 ISIS accounts since the group released the first video of Kenji Goto, the late Japanese hostage, two weeks ago. Over the past month, Twitter has also purged tens of thousands of ISIS-related accounts. ISIS supporters are circulating a new social media guide with instructions for acquiring accounts undetected.
(Vocativ, feb 3rd)
GOP Leaders Minimize Immigration Fight While Obama Pushes For Amnesty Funding
(Daily caller, feb 2nd)
ICE: Transgender Illegals Guaranteed ‘Right to Hormone Therapy’ in Detention
(CNS news, jan 30th)
On first day back, Harry Reid blasts GOP immigration stance
(Politico, feb 2nd)
Officials overseeing a federal program that offers an immigration short-cut to wealthy foreign investors have ignored pointed warnings from federal agents and approved visas for some immigrants suspected of having committed fraud, money laundering, and even one applicant with alleged ties to a child porn website, an ABC News investigation has found.
(ABC news, feb 3rd)
Last week North Dakota's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) released a report that finds no wrongdoing in the way an anti-drug task force handled a young confidential informant who turned up dead last June. Andrew Sadek, a 20-year-old student at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, agreed to work as an informant for the Southeast Multi-County Agency Drug Task Force (SEMCA) after he was arrested for selling pot on campus in 2013. His death calls to mind similar cases in which young drug offenders facing draconian penalties were forced into dangerous undercover work, including Rachel Hoffman, a Florida college student who was murdered in 2008 after agreeing to arrange the purchase of MDMA, cocaine, and a gun for $10,000.
Sadek himself was entrapped by a C.I. who bought marijuana from him on two occasions. Although the total value of the sales was just $80, Sadek faced up to 20 years in prison because the sales occurred in a "school zone." He agreed to do to others what had been done to him, buying marijuana at SEMCA's direction from two dealers at his school on three occasions from November 2013 to January 2014. Each time Sadek bought an eighth of an ounce for $60. According to the BCI report, he had to buy from two more dealers "to fulfill his obligation in resolving the charges he had been facing." But at that point Sadek stopped communicating with his handler at SEMCA, which therefore charged him with two felonies and a misdemeanor on May 9.
That was a week after Sadek was reported missing. On June 27 his body was found in the Red River near Breckenridge, Minnesota, with a gunshot wound to the head. His mother, Tammy Sadek, requested the investigation that led to the BCI report, which was the work of a review board appointed by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. "SEMCA conducts themselves appropriately," Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson told the Grand Forks Herald after the report was released. "I was gratified to see an independent review indicate exactly that." Thorsteinson conceded that police informants work in "a dangerous subculture" but said cops usually "bend over backwards to protect their C.I."
In an interview with KVLY, the NBC station in Fargo, Thorsteinson said Sadek's death is no cause for reflection on the methods used by drug warriors in North Dakota. "These types of investigations are conducted the same way pretty much everywhere where people breathe in and out," he said. "They never did anything wrong that needed to be changed." Thorsteinson, who acknowledged that Sadek's mother "had to go through a difficult ordeal," explained that busting drug offenders is a thankless but necessary job. "Law enforcement...we're generally not popular," he told KVLY. "The sheep dog is not loved by the flock, and they're hated by the wolf, but we do it anyway." In Thorsteinson's view, the citizens he serves are sheep, while harmless pot dealers like Sadek are wolves.
"He was murdered," Tammy Sadek told KFGO, a radio station in Fargo, "and this [report] actually reinforces that in our minds. We know that, and we know they're not even looking at anything....Did somebody he was trying to get for them do it? Or somebody he already got?" However Andrew died, Sadek warned, others are at risk. "SEMCA is alive and well on campus," she warned. "They're still using kids....They're not protecting these kids."
(Reason, feb 2nd)
Appearing in a documentary about how the FBI entraps and provocateurs terror suspects, former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes admits that the federal agency needs to “keep fear alive” in order to justify budget increases.
(Infowars, feb 2nd)
A giant security gap at U.S. airports? Most workers not screened daily
The vast majority of airport employees with direct access to the tarmac and airplanes do not go through any daily security screening, and only two of the country's major airports have systems in place that require all employees with secure access to pass through metal detectors, a CNN investigation has found.
CNN was given exclusive access to one of those, Miami International Airport, and on a recent afternoon, employees lined up at a checkpoint where they passed through a metal detector as they reported to work.
They gathered their belongings, swiped their badges and opened a door that leads down to the airport's secure ramp area.
"One of the greatest vulnerabilities for this airport and probably any other major airport like MIA is the insider threat," Lauren Stover, the airport's security director told CNN.
(CNN, feb 3rd)
Mother-of-six with learning disabilities could be sterilised after authorities ask court for permission to force entry into her home. The woman, who is in her 30s, has had her children removed from her care and authorities say she has physical health problems which could put her life in danger if she became pregnant again.
(Indepedent, feb 2nd)
Bomb squad detonates student art project: Device that stopped traffic for over 2 hours found to be student camera
A suspicious device that shut down the Downtown Connector for more than two hours Monday, which resembled a soda can wrapped in duct tape, was a student camera, Georgia State University officials said Tuesday.
“Georgia State University sincerely apologizes for the traffic problems resulting yesterday from the mounting of a student camera at the 14th Street Bridge,” the university said in a statement. “The camera was one of 18 used by students in an art project and deployed at various locations in the city.”
(WSBTV, feb 3rd)
10TH AMENDMENT STATES RIGHTS_____
Less than one month into the 2015 state legislative season and the Tenth Amendment Center counts more than 200 bills seeking to block or limit federal power.
Sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans, these bills range from narrowly focused legislation that would allow terminally-ill people access to experimental drugs and medical treatments despite FDA regulations, to bills that would deny resources and assistance from states to the NSA. Other legislation addresses the Second Amendment, the federal prohibition of hemp and marijuana, common core, the use of drones for surveillance, the Affordable Care Act, and even federal grant programs that arm local police with battlefield-ready military equipment.
Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said the sheer number of bills indicates just how mainstream state action to block federal power has become.
“This is unprecedented,” he said. “From mass spying, to gun control, property rights, militarized police, the drug war and everything in between, we’ve never seen so much activity to push back on a state level.”
(10th amendment center, feb 1st)
FCC chief prepares to overrule state Web laws
(the hill, feb 2nd)
GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens accused of selling adulterated ‘herbals’
A warning to herbal supplement users: Those store-brand ginkgo biloba tablets you bought may contain mustard, wheat, radish and other substances decidedly non-herbal in nature, but they’re not likely to contain any actual ginkgo biloba.
That’s according to an investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office into store-brand supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart. All four have received cease-and-desist letters demanding that they stop selling a number of their dietary supplements, few of which were found to contain the herbs shown on their labels and many of which included potential allergens not identified in the ingredients list.
“Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers,” said the letters, first reported today by the New York Times.
The tests were conducted using a process called DNA barcoding, which identifies individual ingredients through a kind of “genetic fingerprinting.” The investigators tested 24 products claiming to be seven different types of herb — echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian root. All but five of the products contained DNA that was either unrecognizable or from a plant other than what the product claimed to be.
Additionally, five of the 24 contained wheat and two contained beans without identifying them on the labels — both substances are known to cause allergic reactions in some people.
Of the four retailers, Wal-Mart was the worst offender: None of its six supplements that were tested was found to contain purely the ingredient advertised. Target’s supplements were the least misleading of the lot — though that isn’t saying much, since tests on six of the brand’s products resulted in only one unqualified positive. Two of Target’s other supplements contained DNA from other plants alongside their purported ingredients, while the remaining three tested negative.
Harvard Medical School assistant professor Pieter Cohen, who is an expert on supplement safety, told the New York Times that the test results were so extreme he found them hard to accept. He suggested that the manufacturing process may have destroyed some of the ingredients’ DNA, rendering the DNA barcode test ineffective.
On the other hand, he said, “if this data is accurate, then it is an unbelievably devastating indictment of the industry.”
(washington post, feb 3rd)
STUDY: Smartphones, iPads hurt toddlers’ ability to learn, socialize
The use of interactive screen media such as smartphones and tablets by young children is increasing rapidly.
However, research regarding the impact of this portable and instantly accessible source of screen time on learning, behavior, and family dynamics has lagged considerably behind its rate of adoption.
Pediatric guidelines specifically regarding mobile device use by young children have not yet been formulated, other than recent suggestions that a limited amount of educational interactive media use may be acceptable for children aged <2 years.
(APP Publications, feb 2nd)
Maggie Lieu, 24, has applied to be part of the first human colony on the red planet through the £3.9 billion Mars One Project.
It aims to create a permanent settlement for our race on Mars and will start by sending 40 people in 2024 after 10 years of extensive training.
She has been shortlisted to make the 140 million one-way journey to Mars and she believes she could be the first woman to give birth on Mars.
Miss Lieu said: “It would be incredible to be the Adam and Eve of another planet.
“Because it is a colonisation programme, it’s inevitable that eventually someone will procreate and it would be incredible to be the first mother on Mars.”
(Express, feb 2nd)
Robots provide a personal touch at Japanese bank
Humanoid can communicate in 19 languages, determine customers' feelings from their facial expressions
(Telegraph, feb 2nd)