Weekly News Archive
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MONDAY JANUARY 27, 2014
- no news edition -
TUESDAY JANUARY 28, 2014
- no news edition -
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 29, 2014
Iran can now build and deliver nukes, U.S. intel reports
Tehran has capacity to break out to bomb if it wishes, intelligence chief James Clapper tells Senate, but would be detected if it tried to do so
Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.
In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.
“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas - including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles - from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”
In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.
“Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.
He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”
Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.
Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.
The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”
Source: timesofisrael.com MORE
Israeli officer: With 30,000 Al Qaeda fighters in Syria ... Israel re-evaluates its neutrality in civil war
In a special briefing to foreign correspondents Friday, January 24, a high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that more than 30,000 al-Qaeda-linked fighters are active in Syria, a huge increase over the 2,000 jihadis present there two years ago. With jihadis in control of Syrian territory on Israel's northern borders, the high-ranking officer said “many discussions are taking place behind closed doors about the possibility of rethinking its strategy” of neutrality in the Syrian civil war.
The inference drawn from this disclosure is that, for the first time in Syria’s three-year civil conflict, Israel is ready to embark on cross-border military action to stem this direct threat.
In his briefing, the Israeli officer stressed that the Islamic rebel groups massing in Syria have openly threatened to turn their sights on Israel after toppling Assad.
He went on to report that another 1,200 al Qaeda-affiliated fighters have taken up a presence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Furthermore, coordination has deepened among al Qaeda’s branches in Syria and Egyptian Sinai, where its local Salafist supporters have formed a jihadist coalition calling itself Ansar Beit al Maqdis (the Jerusalem Front) . . . .
The IDF has never before released figures on the scale of al Qaeda’s deployment in Syria, or revealed its concentration on the Israeli border. The policy overhaul the officer described offered the rationale for potential Israeli intervention in Syria in order to push the jihadist menace back from its northern towns and villages.
Israel targeted after Syria and Iraq
Thousands of foreign fighters from across the Muslim world, as well as Europe and North America, have flocked to Syria to bolster the al-Qaeda-linked groups operating in Syria. They have big plans to establish a big independent Islamic state at the heart of the Middle East. This is the conclusion of intelligence experts, according to DEBKAfile’s counter-terror and military sources. This state is intended in the first instance to devour large swathes of Iraq and Syria, before the founders turn their sights on Israel and Jordan.
However, if their first goal of toppling the Assad regime is frustrated by the Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah alliance, they are ready to reverse this order and go straight for Israel.
Four radical Islamist fighting groups are active in the Syrian civil war:
(1) Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, operates under direct orders from the top, the al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zuwahiri . . . .
(2) The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has captured large areas of eastern Syria, including some of its oil fields, and seized strategic districts of western Iraq, including the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi.
(3) Ahram al Sham (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant). Though less known in the West, this organization has raised a force of 15,000 combatants from Al Qaeda and various radical Salafist movements. It heads the newly-formed Islamist Front of seven anti-Assad terrorist groups.
While this front has separated itself from al Qaeda and is funded and armed by Saudi Arabia, it shares the same ideology and dedication to Israel’s destruction.
Ahram al Sham’s relations with al Qaeda have been the subject of speculation among US and Israeli intelligence specialists. The guessing was laid to rest in early January, when the group’s leader Abu Khalid al-Syria admitted for the first time that he is a member of al Qaeda.
(4) Jaish al-Islam (the Army of Islam). This is the largest Syrian rebel force present in the Damascus area, and Riyadh’s favored group for assistance, judging from the fact that, in addition to arms and funds, Saudi intelligence has sent Pakistani military instructors to train its members.
Israel’s military options
Although the IDF officer did not go into Israel’s military plans for tackling the burgeoning al Qaeda threat, DEBKAfile’s military sources project some options.
(a) Carving out secure buffer zones, permanent or temporary, on the Syrian side of the border. This would be contingent on the cooperation of local Syrian militias willing to rid their lands of al Qaeda incursions.
(b) Air and ground strikes against jihadist border concentrations.
(c) Deep thrusts inside Syria and Iraq to block al Qaeda forces’ advances to threaten the Kingdom of Jordan.
(d) Targeted assassinations of top al Qaeda commanders.
(e) Thwarting jihadist drives to extend their conquests of strategic areas of Syria for use as springboards against Israel. One example is Jebel Druze, whose population has preserved neutrality and stayed out of the Syrian civil war.
Israel’s recourse to military action against the jihadist threat from Syria would require learning US military tactics for combating terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IDF has no experience of this kind or scale of warfare. It would have to re-write its war doctrine and retrain substantial commando forces in preparation for long years of close-up combat against the jihadist enemy.
Israel would also need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a military campaign against al Qaeda’s Syrian deployment, taking into consideration that resorting to a campaign against al Qaeda would ease the pressure on the Assad regime and its allies, Iran and Hizballah. That is a hard call to make.
Source: debka.com MORE
News Alert: U.S. and Israeli buffer zones under Syrian rebel control designed to contain al Qaeda advances
The Obama administration announced Tuesday, January 28, that selected Syrian rebel militias would receive American light weapons including anti-tank - but not anti-air - rockets. And Friday, January 24, an Israeli intelligence officer disclosed that his government was “rethinking” its neutrality policy in the Syrian war owing to the massing of 30,000 al Qaeda fighters on its Syrian border.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources say these disclosures add up to a strong shift in the US and Israeli governments’ non-intervention policies on the Syria conflict. That shift appears already to be evolving into joint action for a limited military venture on Syrian soil - not by the deployment of their own troops, but through Syrian rebel militias unassociated with radical Islamist organizations.
These rebels are already taking delivery of American and Jordanian arms and training, and receiving logistical, medical and possibly intelligence assistance from Israel.
Mostly local militias, they are assigned with manning two security buffer zones taking shape in southern Syria and warding off attempts by al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) to reach Jordanian and Israeli borders.
The main thrust of this American plan is to create security zones for sealing those borders against both Bashar Assad’s army and the various Islamist militias including al Qaeda, by means of local anti-Islamist rebel groups provided with arms, funding and logistical aid allotted respectively by the US, Israeli and Jordan.
Israel for instance will carry on proffering medical aid and evacuating injured Syrians from the south - its most conspicuous form of support.
The plan has taken around 10 months to mature, starting from the deployment of 15,000 US special forces troops at the King Hussein Air Base at Mafraq in April 2013. The incoming units set about converting parts of the base into facilities for Jordanian military instructors to drill Syrian rebel fighters, before sending them back to Syria equipped with American weapons.
Two security sectors are taking form in South Syria.
One enclave, 45 km long and 75 km wide in the south west, is wedged between the Jordanian and Israeli borders. [see map at source website]
The difficulty is its situation on the edge of Druze country, where 180,000 tribesmen living in 120 scattered villages, have taken care to stay out of the Syrian civil conflict and held back from acting against the Assad regime - thus far. But initial al Qaeda encroachments on their territory may have persuaded Druze leaders to get off the fence.
If they do decide to throw in their lot with the US-backed rebels controlling this buffer zone, the enclave will acquire strategic depth and this part of southern Syria would grow into a powerful military entity capable of standing up to Assad’s and al Qaeda forces alike.
The second enclave is being rolled out further north [see map], to eventually give Syrian rebel militias control of a 30-km wide strip running the 60-km length of the Syrian-Israeli Golan border which, including Quneitra, has a population of around 300,000.
Eventually, US planners expect to connect the two buffer zones as a safe haven and stronghold in southern Syria for moderate Syrian opposition elements, safeguarded by US, Israel and Jordanian military support. [no further content]
Source: debka.com LINK
As Egypt's president, El-Sisi shoulders huge security challenges: Muslim Brothers, Sinai terror, Gaza, water
Egypt’s Defense Minister and virtual strongman General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had three options after the new constitutional referendum was out of the way. Should he run as president or pick a tame candidate, when to call an election and should it take place before or after the parliamentary poll: In fact, he rolled them all in a single package. Monday, January 27, the general promoted himself to the rank of field marshal and resigned as defense minister preparatory to announcing his run for the presidency in a vote (still unscheduled) to take place before parliamentary elections.
He opted for the presidency even through the new constitution approved two weeks ago by a 98 percent popular majority substantially reduced the powers of that post, by removing the army from the jurisdiction of the executive branch of presidency and government.
The new charter transformed the military into an independent entity, its policies, decisions and operations free of the oversight of - or intervention by - the president or prime minister. The generals' powers were thus enhanced to exceed those enjoyed by the authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, or indeed his successors in post-revolution Egypt, while elected political institutions' authority was attenuated.
Full democracy in Egypt has therefore been put on hold.
General El-Sisi had to choose between running as president, and then flouting the new constitution by choosing his own tame defense minister and generals – or retaining defense and engineering the election of a docile president.
According to our sources, the Egyptian strongman confided to his inner circle that the president was the head of state and respected as such both at home and in foreign relations. He therefore decided he wanted to be president after all, and would trust his popularity to place the job within his grasp and not make objections to his appointment of a dependably loyal defense chief and military elite.
That way El-Sisi, would stand at the head of the two national pinnacles of power – the army and the political executive.
As future president, Field Marshal El-Sisi will have to prove his mettle in four huge security tasks, over and above the job of feeding the proliferating Egyptian people:
(1) Although the Muslim Brotherhood has been kicked out of power and outlawed as a terrorist group, it is far from being wiped out. It is a troublesome threat to security on the streets of Egypt’s cities and engages in terrorist tactics to boot. El-Sisi has still to finish the job of eradicating or at least reducing the Brothers’ influence.
(2) The Sinai Peninsula is a hotbed of swarming al Qaeda and Salafist forces which continue to plague Egypt’s armed forces, often in league with the Brotherhood underground. The major offensive he embarked on last year to root out the jihadist networks still needs to be finished.
(3) One of the keys to this goal, the general believes, is the removal of Palestinian Hamas rule from the Gaza Strip. Hamas is the offspring of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It provides . . . Sinai jihadists with a support system. So long as Hamas rules the enclave, El-Sisi sees no prospect of the Egyptian military reasserting its authority in the Sinai Peninsula or containing the Muslim Brotherhood’s subversive activities.
(4) For Egypt, resolving the dispute with Ethiopia over the Nile waters is an existential imperative. The general hopes the dispute over Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, which draws off one-fourth of Egypt’s Nile waters, can be resolved peacefully. If not, he may consider going to war for control of the river’s sources.
Source: debka.com MORE
Note: see these related stories:
Egypt To Hold Presidential Elections Before Parliamentary Polls LINK
Egypt Military Backs Army Chief Sisi's Presidential Bid LINK
'Ice is breaking' in Syria talks
GENEVA -- The ice is slowly breaking in peace talks between Syria's warring sides, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday, warning though that no substantive results were expected during this round. "The ice is breaking, slowly, but it is breaking," Brahimi told reporters after a fifth day of talks in Geneva, which both sides described as "positive." He acknowledged he did not expect "anything substantive" to come out of the initial round, which is set to conclude Friday. But he stressed that simply getting the parties talking for the first time since the conflict erupted in March 2011 was an important step forward. "These people have not sat together for three years. They do not expect that there'll be a magic wand," Brahimi said, insisting he was "not disappointed." The delegations from President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the opposition National Coalition are set to determine Friday when they will return to Geneva, likely after a week, Brahimi said. "I hope that the second session will be more structured and hopefully more productive than the first session," he said . . . The discussions had finally focused on the Geneva I communique - the never-implemented roadmap to peace put out by global powers during talks here in 2012 - but the two sides disagree sharply on what part of the text the talks should focus on. MORE
Note: see also Geneva Talks In Jeopardy Over US Arms For Syria Rebels - Afternoon talks scrapped after reports on US arms shipments ... The State Department downplayed the problem, insisting they support the “moderate opposition,” but in a rebellion dominated by al-Qaeda, it isn’t even clear who that is anymore LINK
Obama Aide Predicts Another 'Interim' Deal With Iran
In comments that seem intended to dim hopes for an outright rapprochement with Iran, Obama aide Gary Samore has pushed the idea that instead of reaching a final settlement with Iran on its civilian nuclear program, “we’re in for a rolling series of extensions” of the interim deal. Samore’s comments drew immediate calls for more sanctions from Congressional hawks, who saw it as proof that the talks are just “stalling” for time, even though neither Iran nor seemingly anyone else involved in the talks has even suggested the interim deal was eligible for extension. MORE
U.S. warns Erdogan against violating sanctions in Tehran visit
Monday, the day before Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Tehran, he was warned by David Cohen, Undersecretary for Terrorism at the US Treasury Department, that “Iran is not open for business. Sanctions remain in place and… businesses that are interested in engaging with Iran really should hold off.” DEBKAfile: The Obama administration is concerned that the Turkish prime minister will undercut the sanctions mechanism against Iran for the sake of his acceptance as Iran’s partner for the Syrian conflict. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called off his trip to Ankara Monday. [no further content] LINK
Egypt announces early election a day after carnage
CAIRO -- Egypt on Sunday announced early presidential elections likely to anoint the general who overthrew Islamist President Mohammad Morsi, as the country reeled after a weekend that killed dozens of people. Interim president Adly Mansour declared the poll in a televised address, a day after 49 people died in clashes between Islamist protesters and police, and as thousands rallied in Cairo in support of military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi was expected to announce his candidacy for the election, scheduled before mid-April, after a show of support including the large rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square. But the weekend violence also highlighted the interim government's precarious grip seven months after Morsi's overthrow. It came as Egypt commemorated the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, leading to three years of tumult that many hope Sisi's election will end. Over Friday and Saturday, six bombs exploded in Cairo and the canal city of Suez, killing six people and wounding dozens in an escalation of a militant campaign Mansour has pledged to eradicate. MORE
Experts: China Boosts Space Warfare Capabilities
U.S. military and commercial satellites highly vulnerable to Beijing’s anti-satellite missiles, killer robot satellites
China is developing anti-satellite missiles and other exotic weapons that can destroy or disrupt vital U.S. military and commercial communications, space warfare experts told Congress on Tuesday. The current and evolving counterpace threat posed by China to U.S. military operations in the Asia Pacific theater and outside is extremely serious,” said Ashley Tellis, a former State Department and National Security Council strategic specialist. “And the threat ranks on par with the dangers posed by Chinese offensive cyber operations to the United States more generally,” said Tellis, now with the Carnegie Endowment. China’s growing space warfare capabilities were the subject of a hearing at the House Armed Services joint subcommittees on strategic forces and seapower. Robert Butterworth, a former chief of strategic planning at Air Force Space Command, said China’s growing space weapons include cyber weapons, electronic jammers, laser, both high- and low-earth orbit ASAT missiles, and recently the launch of small maneuvering satellites capable of attacking or grabbing U.S. satellites. China’s military is preparing for a future military conflict with the United States, and as a result its counterspace weaponry is being developed to limit U.S. joint warfighting that currently is very reliant on satellites for communications and the maneuvering forces over long distances, Butterworth said. “For the near term, at least, I think [China] will probably favor systems to achieve mission kill by attacking U.S. satellites directly, either from orbit or on the ground,” said Butterworth, now head of the consulting firm Aries Analytics. As part of preparations for future space warfare, China is seeking to determine what U.S. satellites to kill, and in the future may covertly place sensors in space near key U.S. strategic satellites to assist in targeting for future attacks, he added. MORE
U.S. official: North Korea nuclear reactor restarted
WASHINGTON (AP) -- North Korea has followed through on its threat to advance its nuclear weapons program, the top U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday, while a research institute pointed to signs the communist country is preparing to launch bigger rockets. Those developments will add to the international concern about the intentions of young leader Kim Jong Un, amid scant sign that negotiations to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions will resume any time soon. In written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said North Korea has expanded the size of the uranium enrichment facility at the Nyongbyon nuclear complex and restarted a reactor that was used for plutonium production before it was shut down in 2007. Those findings concur with assessments published last summer by think tanks that monitor North Korea's nuclear program using commercial satellite imagery. South Korean intelligence also has said the reactor has restarted. "North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs pose a serious threat to the United States and to the security environment in East Asia," Clapper said. He said the North is committed to developing a long-range missile that can threaten the U.S. MORE
'It's Not Just The NSA' Alert: Federal consumer bureau data-mining hundreds of millions of consumer credit card accounts, mortgages
Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are conducting a massive, NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts. It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998. The mortgage information is being compiled in a database that can be "reversed engineered" by hackers seeking information for identify theft, according to an expert cited during the hearing. The revelations came in a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, during which CFPB Director Richard Cordray was repeatedly pressed about federal officials rummaging around in the private financial affairs of millions of Americans. "We're collecting aggregated information," Cordray told the committee while defending the bureau's data-mining efforts . . . Bob Avery, project director for the national mortgage database at the FHFA, admitted during an Urban Institute meeting last year that the mortgage data is vulnerable to reverse engineering by hackers. "There are major challenges to this,” Avery said in a video of the November 11, 2013, meeting that has been posted on YouTube. “Privacy is number one,” Avery said. “It is easy to reverse engineer and identify the people in our database. We have the date the mortgage was taken out, the size of the mortgage and we have the Census tract [of the mortgage holder]. Ninety-five percent of these are unique.” Avery also said on the video that the mortgage database would be accessible to all federal employees, not just those at FHFA. [emphasis added] MORE
Note: see these related items:
If You Used This Secure Webmail Site, The FBI Has Your Inbox - While investigating a hosting company known for sheltering child porn last year the FBI incidentally seized the entire e-mail database of a popular anonymous webmail service called TorMail ... Now the FBI is tapping that vast trove of e-mail in unrelated investigations LINK
Nothing Is Safe: FBI Reportedly Bulk Collects Entire TorMail Database - TorMail bills itself as a secure e-mail service LINK
Davos 2014: Elite Are Launching Global Internet Governance - One [stated] purpose of the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) is to “create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet” ... Members of the GCIG include: Sir David Omand, former head of the UK’s GCHQ, and Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) LINK
Commentary: Common Core Creates Vast Dossier On Kids And Families - The data collected spans preschool through the work life of every American citizen and includes “the social and economic status of children, including their academic achievement,” meaning every aspect of their lives and the lives of their families LINK
Pentagon to launch blimps to guard against cruise missiles
PENTAGON -- The Pentagon has discovered a gap in the defenses of Washington, D.C., and it's about to test a solution. But depending on your point of view, the solution is either vital for national security or a threat to American privacy. Starting this fall, two blimps will float at 10,000 feet over the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in an attempt to develop a defense for the nation's capital against cruise missiles fired from ships offshore. Russia already has a large arsenal of cruise missiles - essentially low-flying unmanned aircraft - and other countries like Iran are developing them. "As it stands today, we have practically zero capability to detect it, much less defend against it," one military officer said of the cruise missile threat. The blimps carry radars that can search for hundreds of miles to detect the launch of a cruise missile and relay the data to interceptor missiles which have been positioned around Washington since September 11, 2001. But those same blimps can also be outfitted with radars capable of tracking vehicles on the ground and with cameras that can watch people, much like blimps already do at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and along the border with Mexico. That would give government the ability to follow American citizens as they go about their daily lives. Officials insist they have no plans to put cameras on the blimps, but Christopher Calabrese of the ACLU points out there's no law against it. "Right now there are no rules," he said. "There's nothing that bars us from having high-powered cameras monitoring our every public movement." Blimps are an old-fashioned technology, but this is a modern-day dilemma, much like the controversy over NSA eavesdropping. Government efforts to make Americans safer also have the potential to invade their privacy. [no further content] LINK
Monsanto's Bt-Toxins Found to Kill Human Embryo Cells
Many individuals have heard it a million times, but for the uninformed, or those just looking to fuel their 2014 fire to finally defeat Monsanto and their cronies, you’ll be interested to know that Monsanto’s Bt-toxin is far from ‘safe’ as the chemical company claimed it would be when filing their papers with the FDA. New research from Canada show that BT toxins are showing up in pregnant women, and low and behold – they are killing human embryo cells . . . It’s called reproductive toxicology, and just like their suicide seeds, these Bt toxins are starting to kill our own unborn children. This is no exaggeration . . . Bt toxins are prominent in genetically altered crops such as corn, soy, wheat, and others, called Cry1Ab - and they can be lethal. Not only do these cry-toxins target the kidney cells of developing human fetuses, but when Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac are combined with RoundUp, they can delay apoptosis of human cancer cells. What’s worse, glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, also causes necrosis - i.e. the death of human tissue, and this happens even when the substance is found in much smaller amounts than what is currently being used on our agricultural crops. The stuff is still carcinogenic in the parts per trillion range . . . More people need to file lawsuits against this company until they are without one red cent to continue poisoning the planet and killing our unborn babies. The Organic Seed Grower’s Association sued Monsanto in 2011, and Idaho wheat growers are suing Monsanto for cross-contamination, but what about parental groups? Mother’s Against Drunk Driving was formed when a mom lost her baby to a drunk driver. Perhaps the mothers who face reproductive failure due to Monsanto’s hand can sue them collectively. The FDA’s internal memos about their concerns surrounding GMO seed crops recently surfaced in one lawsuit, though the public was never meant to see them. GMO foods are not the foods we have always eaten. This is an outright lie. [emphasis added] MORE
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Report: Mississippi Is Tenth State To Consider Legislation To Ban Cooperation With NSA (Tenth Amendment Center)
With the introduction of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act this week, Mississippi became the tenth state in the country to consider legislation to make life difficult for the NSA’s ongoing mass surveillance programs.
Senate Bill 2438, introduced by Senator Chris McDaniel, would . . . primarily address the use of data and metadata in court and criminal proceedings, thwarting one practical effect of what the NSA does with all the data it collects.
A Reuters report last year revealed that the NSA shares data with state and local law enforcement through a formerly-secret outfit called the Special Operation Division (SOD). Reuters noted that a vast majority of this information is for use in non-terror criminal investigations, side-stepping warrant requirements under the state constitution and the 4th Amendment. The federal government also shares data mined by its agencies, including the NSA, through “fusion centers.”
The Mississippi Fourth Amendment Protection Act would ban the state from continuing [this] practice.
The legislation would also address the status of Mississippi State University as an NSA “Center for Academic Excellence.” (CAE) Currently, the spy agency has agreements with 166 schools across the U.S. These CAE’s act as critical research facilities which help the NSA expand their capabilities. They also serve as fertile recruiting grounds for future NSA analysts.
Finally, SB2438 would ban the state from entering into any agreements to provide water or electricity to a physical location within the state. And while there is no current facility in Mississippi, OffNow coalition representative Shane Trejo said he would like to see things stay that way.
“This legislation makes sure that the NSA doesn’t get any bright ideas while bills in places like Tennessee and Utah will consider turning off the power or water to their spy centers,” he said. “NSA advocates tell us that those bills won’t work because the NSA would just set up shop in another state. Well that’s not going to happen if the other states, like Mississippi, preemptively tell the NSA ‘You’re not welcome here!’”
Similar bills have already been introduced in other states without NSA facilities, including Arizona, California, Indiana, and Oklahoma. Washington State and Tennessee lawmakers are also considering Fourth Amendment Protection Acts, and NSA does have a physical NSA presence in those states.
Inside sources say that a bill will also be introduced soon in Utah, where the massive new “data center” has recently started coming on line. That bill would propose turning the water off to the facility, effectively crippling NSA’s ability to cool their supercomputers, which are reported to need up to 1.7 million gallons of water every single day to operate.
Bills that address just the data-sharing portion of the Mississippi bill have been introduced in Kansas, Missouri and New Hampshire.
Source: Tenth Amendment Center / activistpost.com MORE
Note: see also Turn It Off: Nullify NSA! - Track the status of similar legislation around the country LINK
Commentary: MARRIAGE AND FAMILY ARE OBSCENE, SAYS SCHOOL (Lee Duigon)
What will it take to convince America’s Christian parents to stop sending their children to the public schools?
Earlier this month, a girl at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, Rhode Island, had her artwork censored by “educators.” The student had painted a mural that was deemed objectionable because it depicted a boy growing up, marrying, and having a child. In fact, the “educators” found it so offensive that they ordered it blotted out by painting over it.
The girl’s parents called a local radio talk show to complain, and the fat was in the fire.
Responding to public outrage, the superintendent of schools overruled the high school censors and allowed the student to paint her mural as she pleased, and the school board chairwoman said “the order to paint over the traditional marriage portion of the artwork should never have happened.”
Had the parents not called the radio show, and had the school district not been dragged onto center stage as an example of political correctness run amok, the censorship order would have stood. Marriage and the family, at Pilgrim High School, would have remained, for all practical purposes, obscene.
The story is not that the censorship was overruled. The story is that public educators think that marriage and the family are obscene. Really - what if kids should have to pass by that mural on their way to a Gay-Straight Alliance meeting? They shouldn’t have to see something like that!
School officials didn’t actually use the word “obscene.” What they did say was, “[Some] of the members of the Pilgrim High School community suggested that the depiction of a young man’s development may not represent the life experiences of many of the students at Pilgrim High School,” and that therefore the assistant principle “asked” the student “to look at other ways to show the outcome of the subject’s progression to adulthood.” Need we ask what “other ways” would have been found acceptable?
What a load of hypocritical, oily, pusillanimous bunk. But actions speak louder than words; and their actions said, loud and clear, “We find marriage and family life obscene.”
We object to having to qualify marriage by calling it “traditional marriage” as if there were any other kind. There are only marriage and various relationships that are not marriage, no matter what you call them.
What do Christian fathers and mothers think they’re getting, by sending their children to be educated by persons who find marriage so offensive that they must paint over a picture of a family? Day after day, five days a week for thirteen years, kindergarten through twelfth grade, the children of Christians see and hear what their “teachers” think of Christian life and faith. Can the parents be so deluded as to think this has no effect? Has it never occurred to them that they themselves, merely by sending their children to those schools to hear those messages, are tacitly consenting to those messages?
A Christian father once told me it didn’t matter what his children were being taught in public school, “because I just de-program them every day.” What kind of thinking is that? How will he answer, if the child asks, “Gee, Dad, if what they’re teaching me in school is wrong, then why do you make me go there?” But of course very few children get de-programmed every day; so the kids are bound to take it for granted that Mom and Pop approve of the school’s teachings.
Everybody has his own rationalization for why his kids must go to public school. Homes-chooling? “We can’t do it, we both have to work - and anyhow, we don’t know anything about how to be teachers.” Christian school? “We can’t afford it! Besides, there isn’t a good Christian school anywhere around here.” Then there’s the whole potpourri of excuses. “It’s the only way my daughter can be in the band. They’ve got a real good chess program for my son. I once heard about a home-schooled kid who got eaten by an alligator. And all those problems that you hear about, they’re only in those other schools, in other towns, in other states. Our own schools don’t have anything like that going on.”
We dare anyone to say, “Hey, it gets the kids out of our hair all day, and it’s free! We have to pay the school tax whether we use the schools or not, so we might as well use them. If one of us had to stay home to teach the kids, or if we had to pay for Christian school tuition, we wouldn’t have the money for video games and cable TV and vacations.”
Besides which, not one bit of that anti-Christian, anti-family stuff goes on at our school!
Meanwhile, our highly-trained education professionals continue to dumb America down, lower the bar of deviancy, preach immoral lifestyles, and train Christian children not to be Christian anymore.
Is it any wonder God is angry with us? [no further content]
Source: newswithviews.com (4-19-12) LINK
ADDITIONAL NEWS & ANALYSIS
Supreme Court Extends Injunction for Catholic Nuns Against Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate LINK
Obamacare coverage enrollment hits three million mark LINK
NSA and GCHQ target 'leaky' phone apps like Angry Birds to scoop user data LINK
NSA and Britain's GCHQ Mapping 'Political Alignments' of Millions of Smartphone Users Worldwide LINK
[analysis]: The NSA Is Spying On Everything, On All Your Digital Communications LINK
“They’re collecting content word for word”
[analysis]: The NSA Fiasco: A Carefully Choreographed Stage Show (Video) LINK
With full cooperation from the corporate media
Republicans vote to end NSA bulk phone metadata surveillance program LINK
The Republican National Committee has passed a resolution
[analysis]: Cut Off the NSA's Juice LINK
Council of Europe Invites Snowden to Discuss U.S. Spying LINK
The statement did not address whether Snowden would be liable for detention by French authorities were he to accept the invitation to go to Strasbourg, but it suggested that his address could be done by video conference
Obama to Assert Unilateral Agenda LINK
[analysis]: Is Barack Obama an imperial president? LINK
[analysis]: Attorney General Eric Holder can't explain constitutional basis for Obama's executive orders (Video) LINK
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) asked him to explain the nature of Obama's constitutional power to delay Obamacare's employer mandate ... Lee had based his question on a standard legal test, first described by Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who said the president's authority to issue executive orders is strongest when he does so with the backing of Congress (category one), more dubious when he issues an order pertaining to a topic on which Congress has not passed a law (category two), and weakest when the executive order is "incompatible with a congressional command" (category three), to use Lee's paraphrase
Rep. Steve King: 'Never Had a President With That Level of Audacity' LINK
“This threat that the president's going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we've never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office,” King said ... “We have a minimum wage ... Congress has set it ... For the president to simply declare, ‘I'm going to change this law that Congress has passed’ is unconstitutional ... He's outside the bounds of his Article Two limitations”
South Carolina House passes legislation 100-0 to ban drones LINK
Swarms of drones could be the next frontier in emergency response LINK
More than 2,400 dead as Obama's drone campaign marks five years LINK
Report: Israeli Air Force resumes Lebanon over-flights LINK
Iran says nuclear talks to resume next month LINK
Foreign minister does not say where February meetings will take place
Iranian official confirms country sought to build nuclear weapons LINK
[Netanyahu]: Iran's stance on centrifuges means there can be no permanent accord LINK
Secret Iranian team in Beirut to counter suicide attacks and upgrade Hizballah intelligence LINK
Tunisia gets new constitution and caretaker cabinet LINK
Big Brother Alert: Ukraine texts citizens: Hey, we see you're in a mass disturbance LINK
During the protests in Kiev, the Ukrainian government uses phone technology to identify those anywhere near the anti-government marches
Note: see also Ukraine’s Opposition Says Government Stirs Violence - The government’s opponents said three recent actions had been intended to incite the more radical protesters and sow doubt in the minds of moderates: the passing of laws last week circumscribing the right of public assembly; the blocking of a protest march past the Parliament building on Sunday; and the sending of cellphone messages on Tuesday to people standing in the vicinity of the fighting that said, “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance” LINK
[analysis]: The Danger of War in Asia LINK
Time Is Running Out for Thailand's Embattled Government LINK
Homeland Security Secretary: Illegals Have 'Earned Right to be Citizens' [?!] LINK
[analysis]: The Next Phase of North American Integration: NAFTA to be Swallowed up by the Trans-Pacific Partnership? LINK
[analysis]: America's army of contractors hasn't gone anywhere ... they just work for Iraqi government LINK
Illinois proposes 'legalizing' medical marijuana as long as patients surrender Second Amendment rights LINK
U.N. Small Arms Treaty Calling for Micro Stamping Style Marking All Firearms and Ammunition LINK
[analysis]: Is Self-Reliance a Threat to Society? (Video) LINK
Arizona GOP censures McCain for ‘liberal’ record LINK
HSBC imposes restrictions on large cash withdrawals (UK) LINK
Some HSBC customers have been prevented from withdrawing large amounts of cash because they could not provide evidence of why they wanted it
[analysis]: Bank Run Fears: Customers Being Forced to Provide Evidence For Why They Need Cash LINK
Food in the sky? ... High-rise farming idea gains ground LINK
Breaking: New Climate Data Rigging Scandal Rocks U.S. Government LINK
Solar Lull Could Trigger Another 'Little Ice Age,' Sun Scientists Say LINK
Adware vendors buy Chrome Extensions to send ad- and malware-filled updates LINK
Rand Paul discusses cutting government help for unwed mothers who continue having kids LINK
Message decoded, again: 3,000-year-old text may prove biblical tale of King Solomon LINK
Mouthwashes 'can raise risk of heart attack and strokes' LINK
Antiseptic gargles kill good bacteria that help keep blood pressure down
New Concern About Testosterone and Heart Risks LINK
HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS: Join the Sound Body Yahoo group (part of the Christian Media ministry) to receive regular health eblasts LINK
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:28-32 (KJV)
THURSDAY JANUARY 30, 2014
- no news edition -
FRIDAY JANUARY 31, 2014
Frenemy Alert: Israeli Intel Chief: New Al Qaeda bases in Turkey provide easy jihadist access to Europe
Al Qaeda has set up its first bases in a NATO member-country. Wednesday, January 29, the day Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sat down in Tehran with President Hassan Rouhani, Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Avivi Kochavi revealed that al Qaeda adherents fighting in Syria had established their first training facilities in Turkey. “From there, these terrorists have acquired easy access to Europe if they wish,” he commented, clearly thinking of al Qaeda’s reach into Israel as well.
Kochavi showed his audience a map illustrating the proliferation of al Qaeda’s bases across the Middle East. The news was that the jihadists were now being trained at three Turkish facilities: Karaman, a town of 150,000 in central Anatolia, a short drive from Istanbul; Osmaniye, a particularly sensitive spot not far from the big US-Turkish base of Adana and the pipeline network carrying oil from Iraq and central Asia to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan; and the third location near Sanlilurfa-Urfa, a town of half a million in the southwest.
The intelligence chief did not say how the logistics of the three facilities were managed or where the arms and instructors came from. He remarked that week after week, al Qaeda fighters pour into Syria from all corners of the earth, “but they don’t stay,” he said. Some certainly cross over in to Turkey; others, according to DEBKAfile’s counter terror sources, head into Iraq to fight the Shiite government there.
The strong impression gained from Kochavi’s briefing was that Turkey is not just home to three al Qaeda training facilities and bases, but that its borders are left open for them to cross in from neighboring countries.
Al Qaeda has established itself in Turkey in locations roughly equivalent in area to the land grabbed by the al Qaeda-linked Ansar Bayt al-Magdis terrorist coalition in Egyptian Sinai.
According to our intelligence sources, the Israeli general was uncharacteristically loquacious with five objectives in mind:
(1) To point up the Turkish prime minister’s agenda in Tehran for linking the two non-Arab Muslim nations in a new strategic alliance for regional domination.
(2) As a reminder that Iran too has a history of quietly admitting al Qaeda terrorists and giving them a safe springboard for attacks around the Middle East – especially against Saudi Arabia and Gulf emirates, on which Tehran had subversive designs. Neither of the two new allies, Turkey and Iran, would have any qualms about using al Qaeda terrorism to promote their agendas.
(3) The need to alert European members of NATO to the creep of a terrorist menace closer than ever before to Western national borders, a movement facilitated by a fellow member.
(4) To bring to the Obama administration’s full attention the fallout from its détente with Iran and the ayatollahs' hidden designs for the Middle East. Tehran’s affinity for terrorist methods and partners underlies all its actions.
(5) The Israeli general brought out his big guns additionally in an effort to stem the mass-pilgrimage of prominent Middle East figures to Tehran which has been taking place since the signing of the interim nuclear accord in November. Even the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas sent a messenger to the Iranian capital to test the prospects of an understanding between Tehran and Ramallah.
The messenger, Fatah party high-up Jibril Rajoub, was received by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Wednesday. After the meeting, the Palestinian came out with an extraordinary comment: “Our cards are shown and we are speaking frankly, we aren’t trying to cheat or manipulate anyone.”
This sounded suspiciously as though the Iranians did not entirely trust the Palestinian messenger.
Two days later, Rajib went on record to demand a role for Iran in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations led by US Secretary of State John Kerry. [no further content]
Source: debka.com LINK
Note: see these related items:
Commentary: After Syria, al Qaeda expanding in Lebanon LINK
Iran Reveals Plan To 'Confront U.S. Naval Forces' Ahead Of War Games LINK
Missile, Cyber Threats Endanger Israel - Israel developing anti-missile systems to counter threat LINK
Syria talks end first round ... government uncommitted to return
GENEVA -- A contentious week-long first round of Syrian peace talks ended on Friday with no progress towards ending the civil war and the government delegation unable to say whether it will return for the next round in 10 days . . . .
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who has tirelessly pursued a peace deal that other diplomats consider "mission impossible", said the opposition delegation would be back on February 10, but President Bashar al-Assad's delegates had told him they would have to check with Damascus before agreeing to return.
"They didn't tell me that they are thinking of not coming. On the contrary, they said that they would come but they needed to check with their capital," Brahimi told a news conference.
Brahimi listed 10 simple points that he felt the two sides agreed on in the talks and said he thought there was more common ground than the sides recognised.
But neither side has budged an inch from their main positions: the opposition wants the talks to focus on a transitional administration it says will remove Assad from power; the government wants to talk about fighting "terrorism" - a word it uses to refer to all its armed foes.
"Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner," Brahimi said.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem blamed the lack of tangible results on what he called the immaturity of the opposition delegation and their "threats to implode" the talks, as well as blatant U.S. interference.
He said there was no pressure on his delegation from Russia, a key ally, but there was coordination between Damascus and Moscow.
Expectations had always been low for a breakthrough on political issues at the talks, the first between Assad's representatives and his foes in an almost three-year-old conflagration that has killed 130,000 Syrians and driven a third of the population from their homes.
The sides also failed to achieve more modest aims, such as an agreement to allow aid convoys into Homs, Syria's third largest city, where thousands of civilians are trapped with no access to food or medicine.
"Homs was extensively discussed, although unfortunately there has been no breakthrough yet," Brahimi said . . . .
With few achievements on substance, diplomats say the priority now is just to keep the talks process going in the hope that hardline positions can be modified over time . . . .
The talks began with hardline speeches at a conference last week and repeatedly seemed on the verge of collapse before the two sides even entered the same room. Just getting them there was deemed an achievement.
Still, the sides took a first tentative step forward on Wednesday by agreeing to use a 2012 document as a basis for discussions. Thursday's final negotiating session began with a rare gesture of harmony when all sides observed a minute's silence for the 130,000 people killed during the war.
Source: Reuters / dailystar.com.lb MORE
Syrian foreign minister: No 'tangible results' in peace talks
GENEVA -- A week of UN-brokered peace talks between Syria's opposition and government has failed to achieve any tangible results, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Friday.
"I regret to tell you that we have not reached tangible results during this week," he told reporters after the closed-door negotiations wrapped up in Geneva.
Muallem blamed a "lack of maturity and seriousness" on the part of the rival delegation, which he claimed had sought to "implode" the peace negotiations.
"They acted as if we had wanted to come here for one hour and hand over everything to them. It's indicative of the illusions that they are living under," he said.
Muallem spoke after UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said he aimed to bring the two sides back to the table for a new round of talks from February 10.
Brahimi had told reporters that while the opposition agreed, the government delegation had informed him that it wanted time to consult with Damascus first.
Muallem said President Bashar al-Assad and his government would first read the delegation's report, then make a decision on the next step, with the negotiators returning if the public demanded it.
Both the regime and opposition spar over who truly speaks in the name of Syrians, with the government claiming the rebels are the plaything of the United States, Turkey and Gulf monarchies.
"We represent the concerns and the interests of our people," Muallem insisted.
"We are a country. We have our government, our institutions. We are willing to discuss, but for that we have to know the identity of the other side: are they Syrians or are they not?"
Source: AFP / dailystar.com.lb MORE
Note: see also Opposition: Syria Regime 'Forced To Negotiate' - Syria's regime was forced to the negotiating table thanks to the actions of the country's rebels, who represent the true voice of the Syrian people, opposition spokesman Louay Safi said Friday ... "The fact that the regime has been forced come to Geneva - this is the result of the fighting of the Syrian people" LINK
Stem cells made quickly in acid in possible game-changing technique
NEW YORK -- Scientists are reporting a stem cell breakthrough using a simple lab technique that may create reprogrammed cells after dipping them in acid for under 30 minutes.
The technique turned ordinary cells from mice into stem cells, according to the surprising new study that hints at a possible new way to grow tissue for treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Researchers in Boston and Japan exposed cells from spleens of newborn mice to a more acidic environment [than] they're used to. In lab tests, that turned them into stem cells, showing enough versatility to produce the tissues of a mouse embryo, for example.
Cells from skin, muscle, fat and other tissue of newborn mice appeared to go through the same change, which could be triggered by exposing cells to any of a variety of stressful situations, researchers said.
“(This) approach in the mouse is the most simple, lowest cost and quickest method to generate pluripotent cells from mature cells,” professor Chris Mason, chair of regenerative medicine bioprocessing, at University College London who was not involved in the research, told The Telegraph. “If it works in man, this could be the game changer that ultimately makes a wide range of cell therapies available using the patient’s own cells as starting material – the age of personalized medicine would have finally arrived.
Scientists hope to harness stem cells to replace defective tissue in a wide variety of diseases. By making stem cells from the patient, they can get around the problem of transplant rejection.
Human cells are now routinely turned into so-called "iPS" stem cells. That involves reprogramming an ordinary cell by slipping genes or substances into its nucleus. The new method, in contrast, lets the cell change its own behavior after researchers have applied an external stress.
"It's very simple to do. I think you could do this actually in a college lab," said Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, an author of two papers published online Wednesday January 29 by the journal Nature.
Vacanti also acknowledged that if the technique works with human cells, it could conceivably provide a new potential route for cloning people. He has no interest in doing that, he said, but "it is a concern."
Another author, Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, said researchers are now studying whether the technique works with human cells. She also said it's premature to compare it to iPS technology in terms of potential medical uses.
Experts not connected to the study said the results are surprising, and that it's too soon to know their practical implications.
"Until you show it works in humans, it's hard to know what the application is going to be," said William Lowry, a developmental biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. "For now, the question of whether it's a lab curiosity or a big medical benefit, that's still up in the air." [no further content]
Source: cbsnews.com LINK
[OPCW]: Syria must accelerate chemical arms shipments
THE HAGUE -- The world's chemical watchdog called Friday for Syria to "pick up the pace" in shipping out its chemical weapons stockpile after a key deadline was missed. "The need for the process to pick up the pace is obvious," Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement after a meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' (OPCW) executive council on Thursday in The Hague. Just two small shipments of chemicals have so far left the Syrian port of Latakia, accounting for less than four percent of the country's declared arsenal of most dangerous chemicals, the United States said this week. Around 700 tonnes of chemicals were supposed to have left Syria by December 31, putting the ambitious disarmament project weeks behind schedule. Uzumcu earlier this month spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and "they both agreed that it was necessary for the removal process to pick up pace," said an OPCW document published earlier this week. Syria has told the OPCW that it is "making intensive efforts to prepare for, and accelerate, the transportation of chemicals, and that it is currently working on a tentative schedule for completing the transportation of chemicals." MORE
Note: see also Russia Defends Assad, Says Deadline For Chemical Arms Destruction Viable - Russian Foreign Ministry official Mikhail Ulyanov said the main reason for the delay was "the unfavourable security situation on the route for transporting chemical weapons components ... to Latakia", adding that there had been a rebel attack on a convoy this week ... "Also, the Syrians are complaining about insufficient material and technical support from the international community," he said LINK
New ammunition packs 3 shots into one bullet
LAS VEGAS (CNN) -- Todd Kuchman is an entrepreneur and elk hunter in Colorado who wanted a bullet that would boost his chances of hitting his target. So he invented the Multiple Impact Bullet, a unique new round that, upon firing, splits into several fragments connected by ballistic-strength fiber. The fiber holds the shrapnel together in a Y-shaped pattern, which makes for much better accuracy than a shotgun's blast of pellets. That minimizes the chances of hitting unintended people or things, said Kuchman. The bullets spread to a diameter of 14 inches for handguns and 24 inches for long guns. The fiber itself, which is spooled up inside the core of the slug, slices paper targets to ribbons, but does only "superficial" damage to flesh, Kuchman said. They're intended for self defense, says Kuchman. Multiple impact bullets improve the accuracy of nervous, would-be victims with unsteady hands by giving them several chances to hit their target with just one shot. The company uses slogans such as, "Because you can't afford to miss" and "First hit advantage is everything!" MORE
MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY
Note: Views expressed in the commentaries on this website are those of individual authors and not necessarily those of Christian Media Daily or our host - Christian Media Network. Quotes are obviously the opinion of the source. A quote is just a quote and these are offered without comment. Use of a news story or commentary is not an endorsement of the source website.
Report: Can a High-Tech Medicine Render Radiation Harmless? (Washington's Blog)
Will scientists figure out how to protect us from radiation?
We’ve spent countless hours researching and writing about ways to reduce the harmful effects from radiation.
But there may be high-tech breakthroughs on the horizon.
As [Dot Med] reported in 2009:
“Researchers might have found a way to protect cells from radiation damage.
“In a study published in the new AAAS journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute found that they could protect healthy cells from radiation injury by turning off an inhibitory pathway that regulates nitric oxide.
“ ‘[Nitric oxide] is a bio gas, produced by enzymes in cells, and flies around almost at light speed compared to other processes,’ Jeff Isenberg, M.D., a professor at Pitt’s school of medicine, tells Dot Med News.
“ While nitric oxide mostly works to prevent clotting of arteries, it also appears to help animals survive stress conditions.
“But Dr. Isenberg and his team made the discovery that by switching off a related inhibitory pathway that controls nitric oxide, they could give animals “near immunity to record levels of radiation,” he says.
“In mice, when Dr. Isenberg and his team introduced a drug that prevented a protein, thrombospondin-1, from binding to a surface cell receptor called CD47, the animals could endure almost unheard-of doses of radiation with virtually no ill effects.
“ In cellular studies, cells could withstand up to the tested amount: 60 Gy. And in whole animal studies, mice could endure the limit they were given: 40 Gy.”
40 Gy is a much higher level of radiation than is normally used in studies.
Interestingly, the study notes that mice that are naturally lacking in the nitric oxide-suppressing genes are “profoundly resistant to radiation injury“.
Dot Med continues:
“Shockingly, the irradiated rodents were almost completely unharmed. Other than some mild hair loss at the site of dosage, there was almost no cell death or damage when histological samples were checked.
“ ‘There was no skin laceration or muscle loss,’ Dr. Isenberg says. ‘When we stained for cell death, we didn’t even see significant loss of bone marrow, which is exquisitely sensitive … to radiation damage.’
“In comparison, control mice - who didn’t get the pathway-blocking treatment - were eaten away with tissue loss and ‘frank necrosis of the limbs.’
“… Currently, his lab is working toward getting funds for toxicology tests so at some point drugs could be developed for humans. He also plans studies to see how long an effective dose lasts - would someone get one-month, or one-year immunity following a dose?
“Also, a bigger mystery is figuring out how, by blocking this pathway, cells are able to fix the damaged DNA within. Dr. Isenberg says they know that following radiation exposure, the DNA is scrambled, but somehow, with this treatment, the cells are able to get themselves right.
“ ‘It’s not that we’re blocking radiation from hitting the tissue,’ he says. ‘Somehow … they repair themselves, and go about their business.’
This treatment is not a cure-all. Specifically, high doses of radiation would like cause damage through over-heating our cells:
“At some point radiation would damage tissue through thermal energy, which this process might not be able to stop.”
And scientists don’t yet know whether or not this treatment might have harmful long-term side effects ...
Source: Washington's Blog / globalresearch.ca MORE
ADDITIONAL NEWS & ANALYSIS
Terror suspect challenges NSA surveillance program LINK
A terror suspect is challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program, saying in a court document filed Wednesday that spying by the federal government has gone too far
Attention fliers: Canada's electronic spy agency is following you ... new Snowden leaks LINK
The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) used airport Wi-Fi to track passengers from around the world ... Travelers passing through a major Canadian airport were potentially caught up in a vast electronic surveillance net, which allowed the nation’s electronic spy agency to track the wireless devices of thousands of airline passengers - even for days after they had departed the terminal ... The document shows the spy agency was then able to track travelers for a week or more as the unwitting passengers, together with their wireless devices, visited other Wi-Fi "hot spots" in locations across Canada, and across the border at American airports
Top lawyer to [British] MPs: GCHQ mass surveillance largely illegal LINK
[analysis]: Spy Agencies Work On Psychologically Profiling Everyone ... Predicting Everyone's Thoughts and Actions LINK
TEPCO fears 3-cm hole in Fukushima reactor No.2 LINK
The suppression pool of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit No. 2 reactor may have a 3-centimeter hole in it, through which the highly radioactive water might be leaking out
Ukraine president approves amnesty ... repeals anti-protest laws LINK
TSA Harasses Police Chief – Placed On Administrative Leave – Told To Disband Entire Police Department (New Mexico) LINK
Shane Harger, Police Chief, Jemez Springs, New Mexico was ordered to disband village police department – because he attended the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) convention
Millions of Dollars in Phony $100 Bills Flooding [New York City] LINK
[analysis]: How Junk Economists Help The Rich Impoverish The Working Class LINK
Maryland Considers Allowing The Sale of Raw Milk Via Cow Shares LINK
Genetically modified monkeys created with cut-and-paste DNA LINK
Breakthrough could help battle diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's but ethical concerns remain over animal testing
Yahoo email account passwords stolen LINK
Abomination Alert: Maine's highest court: Transgender student's rights were violated LINK
Nicole Maines’ school was wrong to require the fifth-grader to use a unisex bathroom, justices rule in a historic gender-identity decision that could be a model for other states
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