Brain Expert Warns Of Huge Rise In Tumours, Calls On Industry To Take Immediate Steps To Reduce Radiation
[By Geoffrey Lean, The Independent | Sunday, 30 March, 2008.]
Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation. The study, by Dr. Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks. It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.
Earlier this year, the French government warned against the use of mobile phones, especially by children. Germany also advises its people to minimise handset use, and the European Environment Agency has called for exposures to be reduced. Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal. He admits that mobiles can save lives in emergencies, but concludes that "there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours". He believes this will be "definitively proven" in the next decade. (Full story here.)
Monday, 31 March 2008
Brain Expert Warns Of Huge Rise In Tumours, Calls On Industry To Take Immediate Steps To Reduce Radiation
[By Tom Hayes, CTV | Tuesday, 25 March, 2008.]
American soldiers are seeking refugee status in Toronto to avoid fighting in, or being sent back to, the war in Iraq. It is estimated that about 150 U.S. army deserters are living in the city, hoping that they can stay in Canada. Phil McDowell enlisted in the American military after 9/11, hoping to defend his country against future terrorist attacks. He said he believed when his government claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein was plotting to attack his country, but later lost faith in the campaign. "I signed up to defend my country," McDowell told CTV Toronto on Tuesday. "I didn't sign up to take part in wars of aggression."
McDowell served a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, and was then discharged from the army. But not long after, he was told he would have to rejoin the army and be sent back to Iraq. This time, he didn't want to go. "I said 'this can't be right, I don't want to have anything to do with this,'" McDowell said. "They said, 'well, you don't have a choice, you're going back whether you like it or not.'" McDowell, and soldiers like him, bases his refugee claim on the argument that the United States is fighting an illegal war in Iraq. (Full story here.)
Little Green Suicide Machine Lets You Push The Final Button
[By Roger Boyes, TimesOnline | Saturday, 29 March, 2008.]
One press of a button and you can end your life with a swift injection of potassium chloride. That is the boast of Roger Kusch, once one of Germany's most promising conservative politicians and now the improbable promoter of a mercy-killing machine. If the “Perfusor”, designed to sidestep strict laws banning assisted suicide, goes into production then Germany rather than Switzerland could soon become the destination of choice for those seeking to kill themselves.
Some 700 patients, including several terminally ill Britons, have travelled to Zurich where the self-help organisation Dignitas arranges suicide. Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since 1942 providing a doctor has been consulted and the patient is aware of the consequences of his decision. But Dignitas has come under fire for experimenting with suicide techniques. According to video evidence presented to the Zurich state prosecutor, patients have been placing plastic bags over their heads and feeding in helium gas. In four cases being studied by the prosecutor, one patient died after nine minutes and three after between 25 and 50 minutes. “The bodies twitched for several minutes,” Andreas Brunner, the prosecutor, said. Swiss papers compared the gassing method to the techniques used in the Third Reich. Dignitas argued that gassing was faster than poisonous injection because helium did not require a prescription, eliminating the cost and the time involved in finding a sympathetic doctor.
These revelations have struck home in Germany, where direct assistance in mercy killing is illegal and where most Dignitas clients live. The theme is highly sensitive because of the systematic euthanasia practised by the Nazis on the physically and mentally disabled. “The machine is simply an option for fatally ill people,” said Dr Kusch, 53, presenting the green machine that looks like a cross between an electric transformer and a paint spraygun. “Nobody is forced to use it but I do believe that it will contribute to a debate that is moving thousands of people.” (Full story here.)
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Military Officials Deny Any Connection Between Change In Tact And New Insurgency
[By Stephen Fidler, Financial Times | Saturday, 29 March, 2008.]
Plans to reduce British troop numbers in Iraq to 2,500 this spring have been abandoned on the recommendation of military commanders, U.K. officials say. Gordon Brown, prime minister, announced in October that from Spring Britain would seek to cut the force to 2,500, but added the proviso that the final decision would be “guided as always by the advice of our military commanders”. An announcement is expected from Mr. Brown on Monday or Tuesday.
There are about 4,100 British troops in Iraq, with a further 500 personnel providing logistics and support from neighbouring Kuwait. Senior officers have now recommended that reducing numbers sharply would leave the force unable to protect itself adequately. Officials said the recommendation was made before the upsurge in violence this week in the southern city of Basra as Iraqi government forces seek to disarm Shia groups. Britain withdrew from Basra city in September and its forces are essentially confined to Basra airport.
The shift on cutting troop numbers raises questions about whether the U.K. will be able to lower troop levels in Iraq much below 4,000 unless it pulls out completely, which is unlikely before next year at the earliest. It means the strain on Britain’s hard-pressed army is likely to be maintained, as the U.K. is also expected to increase its deployment in Afghanistan from about 7,800 troops now to 8,500. (Full story here.)
Friday, 28 March 2008
[By Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet | Thursday, 27 March, 2008.]
Top comedian and actress Margaret Cho has joined Willie Nelson and Charlie Sheen in questioning the official 9/11 story, stating that the public were going to become very angry when they realized there was a conspiracy behind the terror attacks. Appearing on the nationally syndicated Alex Jones Show, Cho said her doubts about 9/11 were sparked by President Bush's non-reaction to the unfolding crisis. "I got concerned right after 9/11 where the plane had hit the World Trade Center and he was in that classroom with all those children and they told him what was going on and he did nothing," said Cho. "We were attacked for the first time on American soil and he did nothing - that's when I realized there was something very, very wrong," she added.
Cho questioned the official story of what happened at the Pentagon, asking why so much footage of the twin towers being attacked was available in comparison with not even a clear picture of what occurred at the Pentagon - a far more sensitive and symbolic target. "Why are they not focusing on that? What are they hiding?" asked Cho. "Of course it's going to be monitored from every angle at every second and yet we have no footage of it - it's very mysterious."
Cho said that there was usually a conspiracy behind every major event in American history and that when the conspiracy behind 9/11 was fully uncovered, people were going to be very angry. The actress said that many of her Arab-American friends doubted the organizational skills of al-Qaeda in being able to pull off the terror attacks and questioned the plausibility of the passengers on the plane not fighting back against the hijackers. (Link.)
New Drugs To Wipe Traumatic Events From Human Memory
[By Russell goldman, ABC News | Thursday, 20 March, 2008.]
"I'd take it in a second," said Sgt. Michael Walcott, an Iraq War veteran, referring to an experimental drug with the potential to target and erase traumatic memories. Walcott, who served in a Balad-based transportation unit that regularly took mortar fire, now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In their early efforts to understand the way in which short-term memories become long-term memories, researchers have discovered that certain drugs can interrupt that process. Those same drugs, they believe, can also be applied not just in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event - like a mortar attack, rape or car accident - but years later, when an individual is still haunted by memories of an event. (Full story here.)
Thursday, 27 March 2008
[By Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service | Tuesday, 25 March, 2008.]
The Harper government can declare victory after a United Nations meeting rejected calls for water to be recognized as a basic human right. Instead, a special resolution proposed by Germany and Spain at the U.N. human rights council was stripped of references that recognized access to water as a human right. The countries also chose to scrap the idea of creating an international watchdog to investigate the issue, choosing instead to appoint a new consultant that would make recommendations over the next three years.
Federal officials in Canada said last week that the government wanted to ensure the meeting's outcome reflected the fact that access to water is not formally recognized as a human right in international law. But a social advocacy group said that the position was designed to protect the right to sell water under the North American Free Trade Agreement. "Clearly (the Harper government is) happy with the status quo: They're not going to be an agent for change, and they're not going to support the right to water," said Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians. "About every eight seconds, a child somewhere in the world is dying from dirty water, and it's just shocking that our government has taken this position." (Full story here.)
[Deutsche Presse-Agentur | Saturday, 22 March, 2008.]
The Saudi Shura council will secretly discuss national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors, media reports said Saturday. The Saudi-based King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology has prepared a proposal that encapsulates the probabilities of leaking nuclear and radiation hazards in case of any unexpected nuclear attacks in Iran, the Okaz Saudi newspaper said. The Saudi Shura or consultative council plans to debate the proposal on Sunday. The power plants in the south-western Iranian port of Bushehr were built with German assistance in 1974 and resumed with Russian aid in 1992, after it had been stopped by the Islamic revolution. (Link.)
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Taser Bracelets For Airline Passengers?
This is one of the creepiest videos i have seen in a very long time. Perhaps most disturbing is the use of the harrowing images from September 11, clearly meant to cause a fear/panic reaction in the viewer, an overtly Pavlovian technique which sends a clear message: Accept strip-searching, naked x-ray scans and taser bracelets or face another 9/11. In my view this technology is not about security, it's about ordinary citizens now regarded as guilty until proven innocent. It's about every single person on this planet being officially classified as a pontential terrorist.
Video posted by lonelantern @ YouTube.
(Running time: 5m:26s)
[PressTV | Sunday, 23 March, 2008.]
An American nuclear submarine has crossed the Suez Canal to join the U.S. fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf, Egyptian sources say. Egyptian officials reported that the nuclear submarine crossed the canal along with a destroyer on Friday and Egyptian forces were put on high alert when the navy convoy was passing through the canal. An American destroyer recently left the Persian Gulf, heading towards the Mediterranean Sea; earlier Thursday, a U.S. Navy rescue ship crossed the canal to enter the Red Sea.
The deployment comes as recent reports allege that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is seeking to rally the support of Middle Eastern states for launching an attack on Iran. This is while U.S. officials deny that Cheney's Mideast tour is linked to a possible military attack on Iran. According to the latest reports, in recent months a major part of the U.S. Navy has been deployed in and around the Persian Gulf. The fleet is armed with nuclear weapons and cruise missiles and carries hundreds of aircraft and rapid reaction forces. (Link.)
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
U.S. Dept. Of Veteran Affairs Document Reveals True Number Of Gulf War Deaths
[By Peter Tremblay, The Canadian | Friday, 21 March, 2008.]
According to U.S. media reports, there are well below 5,000 U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. However, this data appears to be very misleading. Why? Because many tens of thousands of American soldiers have apparently been killed to-date, as a result of being exposed to radiation poisoning from the indiscriminate killing machines of U.S. military weaponry. Ironically, the only Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that Americans soldiers have found in Iraq are "Made in America".
Gulf War veteran deaths from 1990 to 2007: 74,871 (click to enlarge.) See the full report here.
U.S. investigative researchers have discovered an official U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs official, but not well publicized count, of 74,871 U.S. soldiers who have perished as an apparent result of Depleted Uranium based bio-chemical warfare exposure. This exceeds an estimate of 58,000 U.S. soldiers who had been killed in relation to the Vietnam War. Well over 200,000 American soldiers could be killed by 2010, as a result of the after effects of exposure to U.S. dirty bombs. Over one million U.S. soldiers have apparently been disabled from Depleted Uranium based biochemical exposure. Over one million Iraqis have also been documented to have been killed.
More than 1,820 tons (3-million, 640 thousand pounds) of radioactive nuclear waste uranium were exploded into Iraq alone in the form of armour piercing rounds and bunker busters, representing the world's worst man made ecological disaster ever. This is what the U.S. ruling elite including U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Republican Presidential candidate John McCain calls a "success". How many sons and daughters of the American ruling class have been sent in harms way of the apparent biological warfare that is being perpetrated in Iraq? Not to many, huh? (Full story here.)
[By Celia W. Dugger, New York Times | Tursday, 25 March, 2008.]
The Jose Pearson TB Hospital here is like a prison for the sick. It is encircled by three fences topped with coils of razor wire to keep patients infected with lethal strains of tuberculosis from escaping. But at Christmastime and again around Easter, dozens of them cut holes in the fences, slipped through electrified wires or pushed through the gates in a desperate bid to spend the holidays with their families. Patients have been tracked down and forced to return; the hospital has quadrupled the number of guards. Many patients fear they will get out of here only in a coffin. “We’re being held here like prisoners, but we didn’t commit a crime,” Siyasanga Lukas, 20, who has been here since 2006, said before escaping last week. “I’ve seen people die and die and die. The only discharge you get from this place is to the mortuary.”
Struggling to contain a dangerous epidemic of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, known as XDR-TB, the South African government’s policy is to hospitalize those unlucky enough to have the disease until they are no longer infectious. Hospitals in two of the three provinces with the most cases — here in the Eastern Cape, as well as in the Western Cape — have sought court orders to compel the return of runaways. The public health threat is grave. The disease spreads through the air when patients cough and sneeze. It is resistant to the most effective drugs. And in South Africa, where these resistant strains of tuberculosis have reached every province and prey on those whose immune systems are weakened by AIDS, it will kill many, if not most, of those who contract it.
As extensively drug-resistant TB rapidly emerges as a global threat to public health - one found in 45 countries - South Africa is grappling with a sticky ethical problem: how to balance the liberty of individual patients against the need to protect society. It is a quandary that has recurred over the past century, not least in New York City, where uncooperative TB patients were confined to North Brother Island in the East River in the early 1900s and to Rikers Island in the 1950s. In the early 1990s, when New York faced its own outbreak of drug-resistant TB, the city treated people as outpatients and locked them up in hospitals only as a last resort.
Most other countries are now treating drug-resistant TB on a voluntary basis, public health experts say. But health officials here contend that the best way to protect society is to isolate patients in TB hospitals. Infected people cannot be relied on to avoid public places, they say. And treating people in their homes has serious risks: Patients from rural areas often live in windowless shacks where families sleep jammed in a single room - ideal conditions for spreading the disease. “XDR is like biological warfare,” said Dr. Bongani Lujabe, the chief medical officer at Jose Pearson hospital. “If you let it loose, you decimate a population, especially in poor communities with a high prevalence of H.I.V./AIDS.”
But other public health experts say overcrowded, poorly ventilated hospitals have themselves been a driving force in spreading the disease in South Africa. The public would be safer if patients were treated at home, they say, with regular monitoring by health workers and contagion-control measures for the family. Locking up the sick until death will also discourage those with undiagnosed cases from coming forward, most likely driving the epidemic underground. “It’s much better to know where the patients are and treat them where they’re happy,” said Dr. Tony Moll, chief medical officer at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Tugela Ferry. It is running a pilot project to care for patients at home. (Full story here.)
[By David Lazarus. Los Angeles Times | Sunday, 16 March, 2008.]
You might not know it, but as of January it became illegal in California for companies to require workers to have devices implanted under their skin that would reveal their whereabouts at all times. State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) called his legislation a safeguard against "the ultimate invasion of privacy." Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in October. But your privacy may not be completely safe. The same chip-based technology that California won't allow to be forcibly placed under people's skin will soon be ubiquitous in cellphones, which the telecom industry believes will be increasingly used as electronic wallets to make purchases.
Virtually all leading cellphone makers are already introducing this technology to their handsets. Payments by cellphone are expected to explode over the next few years as more stores are equipped to handle such transactions. What the technology also means, though, is that all cellphone owners, which is nearly everyone, will be technologically "tagged." In theory, anyone - or any company or government agency - with a desire to do so would be able to identify you from as much as 300 feet away and track you as you go about your business. Your cellphone would be constantly broadcasting your location, along with, possibly, your name, address and other potentially sensitive information.
"The public has been slow to appreciate the privacy implications of this technology," said Simitian, who has a variety of other bills in the hopper to address various aspects of what's known as radio frequency identification, or RFID. "Most people don't realize that there's no law against who can read the information on an RFID tag, and no limit on what can be placed on the tag," Simitian said. (Full story here.)
Monday, 24 March 2008
Some don't know why they were arrested, and many are held for months without seeing a judge. Justice officials deny the accusations, but evidence points to deep-rooted problems.
[By Kimi Yoshino, Los Angeles Times | Saturday, 22 March, 2008.]
Sad, tired eyes peer out from behind the bars of Kadhimiya Prison. The pleas are desperate: "I swear I am innocent." "The criminal investigators raped us." "I have been here eight months and I have not seen a judge." Nearly 200 women, some with their toddlers and infants living with them in their cells, are imprisoned in Baghdad's only detention facility for women. Suspected killers bunk with women charged with petty crimes. Some don't know why they were arrested.
"We consider all of them innocent - innocent until proven guilty," said Abdul Qadir, legal advisor to Iraqi Vice President Tariq Hashimi. "They have constitutional rights that should uphold their treatment." But in a country mired in corruption, the protection of constitutional rights is elusive. Some women report that their lawyers have been shot and killed en route to the prison. Others say judges have been bribed.
A Times review of nearly three hours of video - shot inside the prison and provided by Hashimi, who is leading a call for protecting prisoners' rights and establishing a credible justice system - suggests the problems are deep-rooted and systemic. The ministries of Justice, Information and Human Rights denied repeated requests by a reporter to visit the prison. "It will cause contradiction and controversy," said Busho Ibrahim, deputy minister of Justice, who oversees prisons. "People will start questioning the human rights and whether they're guilty or not... I can guarantee you there are no human rights violations. We had four or five accusations, but after investigating they turned out not to be true."
But tales of injustice and inhumane treatment are plentiful in letters from female inmates, and evidence gathered by members of parliament and human rights activists indicates that the problems begin from the moment a woman is detained. The women's allegations are rarely investigated, said Farah Saraj, Hashimi's head of women's issues, who is heading reform efforts at the prison. Wijdan Salim, minister of human rights, said the women often come forward after too much time has passed. In other cases, their injuries are not documented properly - a problem she is trying to remedy by hiring a female doctor to work at the prison. "We are pushing the judicial council; we are pushing the Ministry of Information," Salim said. "We are trying to have crime documents to work in a better way. Everything will be better step by step." (Full story here.)
[By Richard Shears, Daily Mail | Saturday, 22 March, 2008.]
A 15-year-old boy has been crucified in the Philipines today in a gory ritual to mark the death of Jesus Christ. Dozens of Filipinos, including the boy and an 18-year-old girl, were nailed to crosses and scores more whipped their backs into a bloody pulp as the country's devout Roman Catholics marked Good Friday. The voluntary crucifixions in the northern Philippines were the most extreme displays of religious devotion in this mainly Catholic country, where millions are praying and fasting ahead of the Easter weekend.
Thousands watched the spectacle in Cutud, which has grown from a village production started in 1962 to a media and tourist attraction copied in other parts of the country. For hours before the crucifixions lines of men, hooded and half naked, flayed their backs with bamboo whips and paddles tipped with broken glass. Blood splattered over the road. The atmosphere was festive, with hawkers selling beer, ice-cream and souvenir whips. VIPs watched from a specially elevated "viewing platform". (Full story here.)
Sunday, 23 March 2008
[By Henry Lamb, World Net Daily | Saturday, 15 March, 2008.]
The Revolutionary War was all about establishing the independence of, and bestowing national sovereignty upon, the United States of America. The U.S. Constitution created a system of limited government that championed individual freedom, which produced the most prosperous and productive civilization the world has ever known. This unique position in the world is rapidly waning. The next presidential election will surely accelerate the rate of descent into global mediocrity.
Barack Obama, the current Democrat front-runner, is a globalist of the first sort. His recent legislative proposal (S. 2433) is ample evidence. The legislation would comply with the U.N.'s recommendation that the U.S. commit 0.7 percent of GDP to the U.N. for relief of global poverty. The United States already gives far more aid to other nations than any country on earth. The U.N., however, thinks this is not enough, and that the U.S. should nearly triple its giving. Obama agrees. And he agrees that the U.N. is the mechanism through which U.S. tax dollars should flow.
Hillary Clinton, author of "It Takes a Village," has a clear history of promoting the U.N. and even world government. She went out of her way to congratulate Walter Cronkite upon his receipt of the 1999 Norman Cousins Global Governance Award from the World Federalist Association. Cronkite told the group:
"It seems to many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict, we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government. … To do that, of course, we Americans will have to yield up some of our sovereignty."Hillary appeared at this gathering by remote TV to applaud Cronkite for not only "telling it like it is," but for "telling us how it could be."
John McCain is reaching out for the green vote by promising to impose some sort of U.N.- approved, Kyoto-type global warming remedy, despite the growing evidence that manmade carbon dioxide has little or nothing to do with climate change. He is also a proud promoter of NAFTA and other so-called "free-trade" agreements that trade only American prosperity for mounting deficits. He was an open-borders advocate, until he realized his position was a brick wall between him and the presidency. Now he says border security must be first, before granting amnesty to more than 12 million illegal aliens.
Regardless of which of the three candidates the voters choose, the next president will take the nation into the global village, not as a sovereign nation in pursuit of national excellence, but as a nation seduced by the U.N.'s idea of sovereign equality under its supreme authority. (Full editorial here.)
During the festival of Purim, illegal Israeli settlers roam the streets of Hebron, West Bank drunken and unrestricted - adults and children alike. They aggressively hurl insults and/or stones at any non-Jew they may encounter. Meanwhile the entire Palestinian population is kept on lockdown during the celebrations, herded like cattle through an endless matrix of checkpoints and humiliating body searches.
(Video running time: 2m:49s)
Friday, 21 March 2008
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
[By Joanna Partridge, Reuters | Tuesday, 18 March, 2008.]
American tourists in Amsterdam say it's getting harder to exchange U.S. dollars for euros. With the dollar continuing to hit record lows against the euro and other currencies, small currency exchange outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists wanting to change their dollars into local currency.
"Nobody has the right to unfettered liberty. The parents in this case do not have any rights." -Professor John Harris, University of Manchester, England
[By Maria Cheng, Associated Press | Wednesday, 12 March, 2008.]
As doctors struggle to eradicate polio worldwide, one of their biggest problems is persuading parents to vaccinate their children. In Belgium, authorities are resorting to an extreme measure: prison sentences. Two sets of parents in Belgium were recently handed five month prison terms for failing to vaccinate their children against polio. Each parent was also fined 4,100 euros ($8,000). "It's a pretty extraordinary case," said Dr. Ross Upshur, director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. "The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?"
The parents can still avoid prison — their sentences were delayed to give them a chance to vaccinate their children. But if that deadline also passes without their children receiving the injections, the parents could be put behind bars. Because of privacy laws, Belgian officials would not talk specifically about the case, such as why the parents refused the vaccine or how much longer they have to vaccinate their children. The polio vaccine is the only one required by Belgian law. Exceptions are granted only if parents can prove their children might have a bad physical reaction to the vaccine.
"Polio is a very serious disease and has caused great suffering in the past," said Dr. Victor Lusayu, head of Belgium's international vaccine centre. "The discovery of the vaccine has eliminated polio from Europe and it is simply the law in Belgium that you have to be vaccinated. At the end of the day, the law must be respected." Some ethicists back the hardline Belgian stance. "Nobody has the right to unfettered liberty, and people do not have a right to endanger their kids," said John Harris, a professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester. "The parents in this case do not have any rights they can appeal to. They have obligations they are not fulfilling." (Full story here.)
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
[By Martin Croucher, Epoch Times | Monday, 17 March, 2008.]
The killing of persecuted groups in Chinese military hospitals so that their organs can be harvested for sale may still be continuing, a former politician who investigated the issue said. Last year a report exposed that China was not only harvesting organs from prisoners on death row but also adherents of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, many of whom were detained without trial. The investigation caused international outrage and prompted assurances from China's transplant industry that foreign visitors would not be sold organs that had come from an executed person.
However report author and former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour told a conference at Cambridge University last Tuesday that he believed the tainted organs were still being sold to rich Chinese. He said: "The party-state in China and its agencies have killed thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, without any form of prior trial, and then sold their vital organs for large sums of money, often to 'organ tourists' from wealthy countries.
"The Chinese Medical Association recently agreed with the World Medical Association that 'organ tourists' can no longer obtain transplants in China. Whether this is anything more than public relations, intended to benefit the Olympics, remains to be seen. Another concern is that organs seized from Falun Gong practitioners will now go to wealthy Chinese patients instead, with the hideous commerce thus continuing in the same volumes." (Full story here.)
[By Leigh Phillips, EUobserver | Monday, 10 March, 2008.]
The European Union should boost its civil and military capacities to respond to "serious security risks" resulting from catastrophic climate change expected this century, according to a joint report from the E.U.'s two top foreign policy officials. The E.U. and member states should further build up their capabilities with regards to civil protection, and civil and military crisis management and disaster response instruments to react to the security risks posed by climate change, reads a paper by E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana and external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
The document notes that the U.N. has predicted that there will be millions of environmental migrants by 2020, and warns that the pressure will not only come from beyond Europe's borders, but that climate change "is also likely to exacerbate internal migration with significant security consequences." Other worries include water shortages and the consequent food price increases that result from lower crop yields, all of which could lead to civil unrest, particularly in the Middle East. This in turn puts pressure on energy security.
For the most part, much of the climate-change-based security risks mentioned in the report have been listed elsewhere. What is new is the proposal of the incorporation of risks resulting from climate change into European defence policy thinking. The report also proposes an intensification of the E.U.'s research, monitoring and early warning capacity regarding climate-change-based security risks and an improvement of the bloc's early response capacity to disasters and conflicts.
But some are worried about the direction proposed in the document. "Some of these recommendations may well be sensible, but there's no way of knowing until they're fleshed out. The devil is in the detail. It's important to know what powers the E.U. will assume in the event," said Tony Bunyan, head of civil liberties group Statewatch. He referred to a "nexus of powers" that may at some point be assumed by either the E.U. or member states. (Full story here.)
[By Simon Johnson, Telegraph.co.uk | Monday, 17 March, 2008.]
Primary school children should be put on the national D.N.A. database if their behaviour suggests they will become criminals, a senior Scotland Yard expert said yesterday. Gary Pugh, the director of forensic science and the new D.N.A. spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, called for a debate on the measures required to identify future offenders. He said: "If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society."
But critics said this was a step towards a police state that would risk stigmatising youngsters who had yet to commit a criminal act. The details of more than 4.5 million people, including about 150,000 children under the age of 16, are held on the Government's database, making it the largest system of its kind in the world. Last week it emerged that the number of 10 to 18-year-olds placed on the database after being arrested will have reached about 1.5 million this time next year.
Police in England and Wales need parental consent to take a DNA sample from children under 10, the age of criminal responsibility. Children in Scotland can be charged with an offence at eight, but police cannot take DNA if they are younger. Julia Margo, from the Institute for Public Policy Research who wrote a recent report on the issue, agreed that it was possible to identify risk factors in children aged five to seven. But she said that placing young children on a database risked stigmatising them.
Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers' Association, said Mr Pugh's suggestion could be viewed "as a step towards a police state." He added: "It is condemning them at a very young age to something they have not yet done. To label children at that stage and put them on a register is going too far." (Link.)
Sunday, 16 March 2008
On March 19, 2008, we will set up a nonviolent blockade of the national Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. as part of the day of actions against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just as military recruiters supply the bodies for the war, the I.R.S. supplies the funding. Just as some soldiers have the courage to resist the war, we - as taxpayers - should have the courage to resist paying the taxes that send soldiers to war. We call on all war opponents to help dramatize our opposition and to disrupt business as usual by joining this nonviolent blockade.
For at least this one day - March 19, 2008 - we need to create a disturbance in the smug complacency of the I.R.S./Pentagon money-axis.
We will gather in our affinity groups at 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, March 19, at McPherson Sq., 15th & K Sts. NW. From these areas we will march - with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra - to the I.R.S. main entrance at 1111 Constitution Ave. (at 12th Street) NW, and across from the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Once at the entrance, some of us will sit down to prevent the I.R.S. from opening as usual, while others will hold signs and banners, pass out flyers, talk with passersby, and generally call attention to the cost of the war and our collective responsibility to stop funding it.
Read this summary of legal information for Washington, D.C. - particularly for those risking arrest.
Also, be sure to look at these other legal resources:
Dealing with the Police by the Midnight Special Law Collective
Demonstration Manual - Know Your Rights! by the D.C. Justice & Solidarity Collective
More information and resources including downloadable call-to-action flyers here.
What Do Iraqis Say?
According to the U.S. State Department, over 70% of the Iraqi people want coalition forces to leave now. Many say that since the occupation of their country and the subsequent collapse of their society, security and infrastructure life for them has become "meaningless."
News report from NEW TV - Beirut, Lebanon
(Video running time: 4m:21s)
"The traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological and demographic developments." -Professor Peter Singer, 2005
[By Avi Shafran, Jerusalem Post | Tuesday, 4 March, 2008.]
Asked by The New York Times in 2005 which today-taken-for-granted idea or value he thinks may disappear in the next 35 years, Professor Peter Singer, the Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, responded: "The traditional view of the sanctity of human life." It will, he explained, "collapse under pressure from scientific, technological and demographic developments." This past January 30, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, Canada issued a policy statement that may come to permit the professor to add "prophet" to his curriculum vitae.
In that document, the governing body of the Canadian province's medical profession directs that doctors have the final say with regard to ending life - sustaining treatment of patients - regardless of the wishes or religious beliefs of the patients or their families. It also establishes a baseline for justifying life-sustaining treatment - including a patient's ability to "experience his/her own existence" - below which a doctor is directed to end life-sustaining treatment, regardless of the wishes of the patient's family. The new policy paper has garnered much attention, and may well have ramifications throughout Canada and, conceivably, elsewhere.
Underlying the document - saturating it, actually - is the premise that ending a human life is a medical decision, not a moral one. Or, alternately, that medical training somehow confers the ultimate moral authority to pass judgments on the worthiness of human lives. Either contention is offensive. A foundation of what has come to be called civilization is that people are not mere things or even animals, that human life has a special, sacred, nature. Historically, the right to take steps to end a life has been regarded first and foremost as an ethical issue, not a medical one. And doctors, for all their training, are no more inherently qualified to address ethical issues than C.E.O.s or plumbers.
As it happens, the Manitoba policy goes beyond the ethical dumbing down of life and death decision-making. It actually betrays a preference for ending patients' lives. For while it gives physicians the final say (even against the family's wishes) for terminating life support, it puts the final decision (literally) in the family's hand when the family feels the patient should die and it is the doctor who feels otherwise. In Manitoba medicine, it seems, death is the desideratum. That contention is further evident in the Manitoba policy statement's self-awareness baseline, which exemplifies the pitfalls of what might be called iatro-arrogance - or, put more prosaically, medical hutzpa. Making things worse still is the great and increasing demand for transplantable organs. A doctor in California currently stands charged with injecting an incapacitated patient with inappropriate medications in order to harvest his organs more quickly. No one knows how often similar things happen - or will happen if society becomes accustomed to allowing doctors to decide when a life is no longer worth living. (Full editorial here.)
Saturday, 15 March 2008
Ignoramus-In-Chief Says He Envies Soldiers On The Front Line
[By Tabassum Zakaria, News.com.au | Friday, 14 March, 2008.]
President Bush suggested fighting on the frontline was "romantic" during a video conference with U.S. military and civilian personnel in the war-torn country. "I must say, I'm a little envious," he said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks." (Full story here.)
I would like to take a moment to remind Mr. Bush just how romantic a soldier's life really is:
John Coleman Says Proponents Of Man-Made Climate Change Theory Would Lose Landmark Court Case
[By Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet | Friday, 14 March, 2008.]
A landmark court case that would destroy the so-called "consensus" behind man-made global warming could be in the works after Weather Channel founder John Coleman expressed his intention to sue Al Gore for fraud. Companies that sell "carbon credits" on the basis that they offset carbon emissions could also be in the firing line as Coleman stated his conviction that man-made advocates would lose the case if a fair debate, something that the establishment is loathe to allow, was allowed to take place. "Since we can't get a debate, I thought perhaps if we had a legal challenge and went into a court of law, where it was our scientists and their scientists, and all the legal proceedings with the discovery and all their documents from both sides and scientific testimony from both sides, we could finally get a good solid debate on the issue," Coleman said. "I'm confident that the advocates of 'no significant effect from carbon dioxide' would win the case."
Coleman said that any degree of warming that has taken place over the last 25 years is beginning to be offset by a recent cooling trend. China, the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has just experienced its coldest winter for 100 years. "I think if we continue the cooling trend a couple of more years, the general public will at last begin to realize that they've been scammed on this global warming thing," said Coleman. Coleman questioned whether carbon dioxide caused temperature increase, a point borne out by ice core samples that show increases in carbon dioxide in the environment are a result and not a cause of higher temperatures, lagging behind by as much as 800 years. (Full story here.)
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
WHAT IS SICK OF IT DAY?
Sick Of It Day is a day for everybody who is SICK OF THE LIES, SICK OF THE CORRUPTION, SICK OF THE WAR to make their statement in a way it will really count—CALL IN SICK on March 19, the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion!
In our own Declaration of Independence, it says, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Calling in sick on March 19, “Sick Of It Day” is a powerful way for every one of us to withdraw our consent from a government that continues an immoral, illegal and SICK war.
Join us! Call in sick! Withdraw your consent! Stop the war!
Sick Of It Day.org
Posted by Marco at 12:23
[By Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press | Monday, 10 March, 2008.]
The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book. Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion - or more - by 2017. Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they say. (Full story here.)
San Francisco Chronicle Article Outlines Homeland Security ENDGAME
[By Steve Watson, Infowars.net | Thursday, 21 February, 2008.]
An article co-written by a former Congressman and carried by the San Francisco Chronicle has gained much attention recently as it shines light on a coordinated federal government program to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. "Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs," write Lewis Seiler and former Congressman Dan Hamburg of the watchdog group Voice Of The Environment, Inc., whose mission is to educate the public regarding the transfer of public trust assets into private, mostly corporate, hands. The article continues:
Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.Seiler and Hamburg also warn of the alarming and numerous freedom-killing pieces of legislation that have been passed recently, dovetailing with the build up of an infrastructure of tyranny inside the US. (Full story here.)
According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."
Monday, 10 March 2008
(Five-month-old Muhammad Nasser Al-Bur'i was asleep in his parent's bed in the family's home when the Israeli missile aimed at the ministry of interior building in Gaza City struck on Wednesday evening. His mother had only just left the room when the tin roof collapsed and Muhammad was suffocated by the dust which filled the house as the Israeli planes shelled the nearby ministry.)
[By Faisal Tehrani, Israel's Atrocities | Monday, 3 March, 2008.]
Israel pressed its genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with a series of strikes on Saturday, killing 35 people, including five children. According to medical sources, the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli army incursion into the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza has reached 72 since Wednesday including 17 children and newborns, 3 women and 28 civilians. The sources added that at least 185 people have been injured including 78 on Saturday alone adding that 25 of them are in intensive care units. Speaking to Al-Jazeera satellite channel a senior medical official from the Palestinian Health Ministry said that no medical aids can reach Palestinian hospitals in Gaza because of the Israeli imposed blockade.
Isreal has threatened the besieged Gaza strip with a "holocaust." Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier Israel was considering the possibility of launching a wide-scale ground operation in Gaza.
Demonstrators poured into the streets on Friday throughout the impoverished and isolated territory to denounce the air strikes. "They've killed my right to childhood," read a sign held by a child, clad in a red-stained white funeral shroud, who attended a large rally in Jabaliya.
"Gaza today faces a real war, a crazy war led by the enemy against our people," said Ismail Haniya, the premier in the Hamas-led government. Haniya lashed out at the U.S. administration, which he claimed backs the Israeli attacks by portraying them as "self-defense." He also accused the Arab world of "encouraging the Israeli aggression" through its silence. (Link.)