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Report: Saudis, US sponsoring covert action against Iran The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States are working with other states in the Middle East to sponsor covert action against Iran, according to a report in this month's edition of The Atlantic. The report also suggests that covert attacks may occur against Iran's oil sector.
David Samuels, in a lengthy article on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, reports that the US is promoting a campaign against Iran that includes covert action.
Last fall, he writes, "Rice and her colleagues in the administration decided to embark on a daring and risky third course: a coordinated campaign, directed with the help of the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates....The bill for the covert part of this activity, which has involved funding sectarian political movements and paramilitary groups in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories, is said to amount to more than $300 million. It is being paid by Saudi Arabia and other concerned Gulf states, for whom the combination of a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq and a nuclear-armed Iran means trouble." (The Raw Story)
Network refuses to name clients of 'DC madam' There was an almost audible sigh of relief in parts of America's capital this weekend after a TV network said it would not reveal the identities of scores of clients of the alleged "DC madam" because they were not well enough known to be "newsworthy".
ABC News said that, having ploughed through 46lbs of phone records, it had discovered that among the clients of Deborah Palfrey's alleged prostitution ring were senior business executives, Nasa officials and at least five military officers. And among the women working for Ms Palfrey - who ran the network in Washington DC from her home in California - were an instructor at the US Naval Academy and a legal secretary at a prominent law firm
. The secretary was suspended after telling her bosses she worked for Ms Palfrey "for spa money".
Ms Palfrey, 51, faces federal charges of racketeering and money-laundering associated with prostitution. She claims she offered only "fantasy sex" and she was not breaking the law. (The Independent)
Gore sees 'spiritual crisis' in warming Playing equal parts visionary, cheerleader and comedian, Al Gore brought his message of how to fight global warming to a capacity crowd of receptive architects Saturday in San Antonio.
The former vice president referred continually to a "new way of thinking" that is emerging in the country and offered hope in the battle to control the effects global warming will have on the planet.
"It's in part a spiritual crisis," Gore told the crowd in the Convention Center at the American Institute of Architects national convention. "It's a crisis of our own self-definition — who we are. Are we creatures destined to destroy our own species? Clearly not."
Global warming is the heating of the Earth caused in large part by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Most scientists agree such warming and the changing climate that comes with it will likely cause a number of problems and crises this century, particularly in developing countries that have few resources to combat the effects. (San Antonio Express-News)
High-Traffic Colluding Tor Routers in Washington, D.C., and the Ugly Truth About Online Anonymity With the U.S. Government trying to shut down websites and stealing gold, I feel the need to discuss communications security, surveillance and anonymity as the U.S. collapses further into overt fascism.
I need to get this off my chest, once and for all, because people, who don’t know much about computers, are being bombarded with nonsense, and they’re bombarding me with nonsense as a result. I want a single post that goes all the way, and this is it.
“Have you heard about Tor?” I am routinely asked via clear text email.
Yes, I know about Tor, but we need to take a much closer look at what remaining anonymous online really requires.
First of all, since this is a long post, I don’t want to waste your time. If you’re a computer expert or network engineer, etc. you will already know this stuff. If, however, you’re a casual computer user who doesn’t know much about the underlying principles of information systems, this will be way over your head. If you’re a casual computer user who is thinking about anonymity online, this article might be useful for letting you know some more about what you don’t know. (Cyptogon)
'I Abhor Injustice,' Alleged Madam Says "Miz Julia" doled out a steady stream of advice, both practical and philosophical.
From her California home, she e-mailed tips to the 132 women who worked across the Washington area for the firm Pamela Martin & Associates. Her newsletters, now excerpted in court records, were a virtual how-to manual for avoiding all kinds of trouble in a business said to specialize in erotic fantasies.
"One never quite knows where evil, i.e., the vice squad is lurking in this business," read one arch entry from 1995. "The misogynists get a real kick out of surprising (shocking) you girls, when you give them the opportunity!!! . . . Therefore, you are to lock, double lock, triple lock all doors!!! . . . Figure it out, before they 'get cha'!!!"
Miz Julia was the pseudonym for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman at the center of a sex scandal that has caused a deputy secretary of state to resign and has lawyers calling around town trying to keep their clients' names out of public view. A one-time law student, Palfrey ran for 13 years what she insists was a legal escort service. Federal prosecutors allege she was providing $300-an-hour prostitutes, and a grand jury indicted her in February on federal racketeering charges. (Washington Post)
Climate change hits Mars Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period. (London Times)
Heroin is "Good for Your Health": Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade Multibillion dollar earnings for organized crime and Western financial Institutions - The UN estimates that for 2006, the contribution of the drug trade to the Afghan economy is of the order of 2.7 billion. What it fails to mention is the fact that more than 95 percent of the revenues generated by this lucrative contraband accrues to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions. A very small percentage accrues to farmers and traders in the producing country. (New York Times)
‘Ardent Sentry’ Tests U.S., Canadian Crisis Response Capabilities Thousands of active-duty and National Guard servicemembers will take part in a two-week, Defense Department-sponsored nationwide emergency preparedness and response exercise that kicks off April 30, a senior department official said here yesterday.
A major focus of Operation Ardent Sentry - Northern Edge 2007 will be to test crisis-response coordination between federally controlled military forces and National Guard units that come under the command of state governors, Peter F. Verga, acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service at the Pentagon.
The exercise, directed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is slated to end May 18. It is co-sponsored by U.S. Northern Command and also includes participation by the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian armed forces, according to NORTHCOM documents. (US Department of Defense)
Securing the Promise of the Western Hemisphere [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service] ANN M. FUDGE: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us on a Monday morning. I would again just like to welcome you to today's Council on Foreign Relations meeting. It's part of the C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics and is cosponsored with the council's corporate program and the Maurice Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.
Before we begin, please remember to turn off your cell phones and other wireless devices.
I would like to remind the audience today that this meeting is on the record. And what I would like to do is very briefly introduce our speaker this morning, Secretary Gutierrez. He will be talking about Latin America, which has been a topic that has been of interest to many of the council members. So without any further delay, I will bring Carlos up and begin the program, so we will have much time for question and answers. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists Go to work, come home. Go to work, come home. Go to work -- and vanish without a trace.
Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.
The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees also have been reported in Europe and Brazil.
Commercial beekeepers would set their bees near a crop field as usual and come back in two or three weeks to find the hives bereft of foraging worker bees, with only the queen and the immature insects remaining. Whatever worker bees survived were often too weak to perform their tasks. (Reuters)
Economic nationalism -- rest in peace It's hard to take seriously Stéphane Dion's belated championing of Canadian economic nationalism. The Liberal leader caused consternation in the financial press when he showed up at the corner of King and Bay this week to decry federal government policies that he said were eating away at the country's economic sovereignty. The financial press need not worry.
True, Dion did use a smattering of nationalist rhetoric. "Canada is not for sale," he said, in a speech that accused the Stephen Harper Conservatives of making it easier for foreigners to take over this country's companies. "I believe domestic ownership does matter ... I promise to ... protect our economic sovereignty."
All of this got The Globe and Mail in quite a lather. One editorial warned that the ghost of Walter Gordon – the one-time federal finance minister who, until his death, symbolized the nationalist wing within the Liberal party – was stalking the land. (Toronto Star)
Millions in Iraq to get MMR jab -- A major immunisation campaign is to take place in Iraq in a bid to prevent an outbreak of measles. The World Health Organization and Unicef are overseeing the work of 8,000 volunteers who aim to give up to 3.9 million children the MMR vaccine.
The children, aged one to five, have missed out on their routine jabs because of the instability in Iraq.
Health experts warn measles could kill up to 10% of infected children if an epidemic took hold.
While measles in countries like the UK is often perceived as a relatively harmless childhood illness, it kills more worldwide each year than any other disease which can be prevented by vaccination.
Iraq's Ministry of Health is organising the two-week MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation campaign, which is also being funded by the European Commission. (BBC)
Gardasil: the Cervical Cancer Vaccine? FDA Approval Not Based On Actual Cancer Prevention -
The FDA-approved cervical cancer vaccine "Gardasil," has been debated for a number of reasons including its cost of $360 (plus the cost of doctors visits to get the shots) and the fact that it is approved for young girls and the moral and sexual implications associated with this. Up until recently, however, no one challenged the vaccine on the grounds of its presumed safety and efficacy. The fact that it is FDA approved was considered prima facie evidence that the vaccine is both safe and effective. We must remember, however, that the FDA that approved Gardasil is an agency with countless conflicts of interest that has approved drugs and vaccines that were later found to be dangerous or deadly such as Vioxx and RotaShield.
When Cancer Monthly began looking at the research that enabled this "cervical cancer vaccine" to receive FDA approval we were astounded to find that this approval was not based on the vaccine's actual prevention of cervical cancer. Instead a surrogate was used - precancerous lesions. We were pleased to see a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that echoed these same issues - "Questions on Efficacy Cloud a Cancer Vaccine" April 16, 2007; Page A1. The WSJ stated, "The Food and Drug Administration didn't ask its panel of experts advising on Gardasil to rule on whether the vaccine specifically prevented the cancer itself."
- Cancer Not Measured -
How effective is Gardasil in decreasing the incidence of cervical cancer? 100%? 50%? No one really knows because this question has not yet been answered. As of today, the Gardasil vaccine has never been proven to decrease the actual incidence of cervical cancer. In the studies that led to the vaccine's approval, the incidence of cervical cancer was not measured. Instead CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) 2/3 and AIS (adenocarcinoma in situ) were used as the surrogate markers for prevention of cervical cancer because according to the vaccine's insert "CIN 2/3 and AIS are the immediate and necessary precursors of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the cervix, respectively." While this is true it is also true that CIN 2/3 and AIS usually do not lead to cancer. For example, according to published data, CIN2 only leads to invasive carcinoma 5% of the time and CIN3 only leads to invasive carcinoma 12% of the time.1
Big Brother and 1984 meet at Mount Holly The future, as the novelist William Gibson observed, 'is already here - it's just not evenly distributed'. One place where it might be found is Mount Holly, Berkeley County, South Carolina. I've just flown over it (courtesy of Google Earth), and you'd never think it was a place where our destiny lies. The terrain is flat and wooded and includes some magnolia plantations. There's a highway and what looks like a railway line (the image resolution isn't great). The nearest town is Goose Creek, a settlement of 30,000 souls.
So why is this obscure spot a pivot of the universe? Because Google is to locate one of its server farms there. The decision was announced at a pork barbecue held on 6 April for 300 dignitaries. Google executives gave a short presentation, announced a $407,000 donation to the community and invited questions. The idea that these might require answers did not occur to the Googlers, but that is the Company Way.
For example, one question concerned the plant's consumption of electricity and water. (Server farms require massive quantities of the former, and a good deal of the latter for cooling purposes.) 'No comment,' was the response, later expanded by Rhett Weiss, Google's head of strategic development to: 'We're in a highly competitive industry and, frankly, one or two little pieces of information like that in the hands of our competitors can do us considerable damage.' (London Guardian)
Researchers explore scrapping Internet: 'It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today' Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government's blessing want to scrap all that and start over.
The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on Sept. 2, 1969.
The Internet "works well in many situations but was designed for completely different assumptions," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, a Rutgers University professor overseeing three clean-slate projects. "It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today." - A new network could run parallel with the current Internet and eventually replace it, or perhaps aspects of the research could go into a major overhaul of the existing architecture.
These clean-slate efforts are still in their early stages, though, and aren't expected to bear fruit for another 10 or 15 years — assuming Congress comes through with funding.
Guru Parulkar, who will become executive director of Stanford's initiative after heading NSF's clean-slate programs, estimated that GENI alone could cost $350 million, while government, university and industry spending on the individual projects could collectively reach $300 million. Spending so far has been in the tens of millions of dollars. (Associated Press)
Fancy x-rays are no substitute for real security nudity is beside the point. Critics who focus on "my body, my body image" arguments are being diverted by false modesty from the real issues at hand: Are the machines are safe, and will they be more effective than our current system? (Dvice)
U.S. to Suffer Losses Upon Attacking Iran -- Russian General According to the head of Moscow’s air defenses, General Yuri Solovyov, Iran’s air defense system is strong and the United States will suffer losses if they attack this Middle Eastern country. Solovyev conceded that the U.S. military greatly outweighs the Iranian one and that eventually that would ensure America’s air supremacy.
“Iran’s weapons, among others, include our anti-aircraft systems which allow them to fight all types of flying objects currently in service in the U.S. army ... Besides, we all remember our specialists have trained them since Soviet times,” Solovyov was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. (MosNews)
Virtual strip searches for all? The output of the backscatter scanner is quite detailed, and graphically so. There's no doubt that a man is a man. You could probably determine his religion. The director of the TSA's security lab volunteered to have her image scanned, and you can tell what type of underwear she's wearing, just from where it pinches her belly. (Dvice)
ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News.
The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.
It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials. - The Iranian TV broadcast is interspersed with the logo of the CIA, which the broadcast blamed for the plot.
A CIA spokesperson said "the account of alleged CIA action is false" and reiterated that the U.S. provides no funding of the Jundullah group.
Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.
A senior U.S. government official said groups such as Jundullah have been helpful in tracking al Qaeda figures and that it was appropriate for the U.S. to deal with such groups in that context.
Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s. (ABC)
Airport x-ray searches — they'll see your panties in a wad As is usually the case, the truth is more complicated and, unfortunately, less spicy than the screaming tabloid headlines. To begin with, the scanner is simply an option to the even more invasive and embarrassing physical pat-down. Second, a specially trained screener is sequestered in a closed booth, away from the leering crowd, and images are immediately trashed. Third, x-ray radiation absorbed from the scanners is equal to the amount you'd get in 2 minutes at 30,000 feet. And finally, panties, wadded or not, wouldn't show up on the x-ray. "Privacy" software blurs curves and other revealing bulges, leaving only bones and illicit materials on view. (Dvice)
The War on Iran The US has completed major military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf within a short distance of Iranian territorial waters. This naval deployment is meant to "send a warning to Tehran" following the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which imposes major economic sanctions on Iran in retaliation for its non-compliance with US demands regarding its uranium enrichment program.
The US war games off the Iranian coastline involved the participation of two aircraft carriers, the USS John Stennis carrier group and the USS Eisenhower with some 10,000 navy personnel and more than 100 warplanes. The USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier group, which is part of the US Fifth Fleet, entered the Persian Gulf on March 27, escorted by guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54). (Global Research)
Latest security devices reveal much about air travellers In Phoenix, they haven't just put the monitors in a separate room. They're laying cables to put them in an entirely different terminal. Likewise, the officer who sees you in the flesh never sees you on the monitor. It's like the blind men and the elephant: Nobody has the whole picture. (The Record)
Globalists Gather in Brussels When the TC called on the United States to increase gas taxes by 10 cents at a meeting in Tokyo in 1991, The Washington Post, which is always represented at TC and Bilderberg meetings, called for such an increase in an editorial the following day (American Free Press)
9/11 remains possibly used on roads: court papers Debris that may have contained bits of bone from victims of the World Trade Center attacks was used to fill potholes and pave city roads, according to court papers filed on Friday. - Beck said he saw sanitation workers removing small pieces of debris containing possible bone fragments and loading them "onto tractors, and using it to pave roads and fill in potholes, dips and ruts." (Reuters)
New driver's license OK'd for border: Gregoire signs test program to allow non-passport travel The state's upcoming alternative "enhanced" driver's license -- which Washington residents will be able to use for crossing the Canadian border in lieu of a passport -- is necessary to boost security while preserving the cross-border flow of trade and tourism, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Friday.
The law, signed by Gregoire Friday, launches a pilot program agreed upon between the state and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, whose Secretary Michael Chertoff said that at least one other state has expressed interest in following Washington's lead.
Citing the $35 million in goods flowing both ways daily through the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Blaine, Gregoire said the law will help Washington keep the benefits expected to spill south from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. (Seattle PI)
Outrage over Japan nuclear reactor coverup A Japanese power company admitted on Thursday that it had covered up a 1999 incident in which mishandling of nuclear fuel rods led to an unintended self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction for 15 minutes.
Anti-nuclear activists expressed outrage over Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s failure to report the accident, although the company said the mishap was relatively minor.
The news of the 15-minute "criticality" -- an unintended self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction -- is likely to further dent public confidence in Japan's nuclear power industry, already undermined by safety scandals over the past decade.
An official with Hokuriku's nuclear team admitted the company had not reported the incident, which took place during a test while the unit was offline for a planned inspection. (Reuters)
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