Archive for December, 2012

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

 vlcsnap-2012-12-27-09h27m25s237[1]

PRESS RELEASE
Operation Dove | Dec 29, 2012

Negligence of the Israeli soldiers exposes Palestinian children at risk on the way to school,
South Hebron Hills

At-Tuwani – December 26, Today the Israeli military escort left thirteen Palestinian children of Tuba and Magayir Al-Abeed alone along the way to school near the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on. This path is dangerous because the children were repeatedly attacked by the settler of the outpost. The army was over an hour late on the way to school and on the way back didn’t arrive at all, without explanation. After two hours of waiting between At-Tuwani and Havat Ma’on, some international accompanied the children at home through a longer way (more than one hour instead of 20 minutes) in which the children were however often attacked by settlers.

This military escort was established in November 2004 by “Children Rights Committee of the…

View original post 212 more words

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين


Related: CHILD ARRESTS & DETENTION BY ISRAEL ▶ OVERVIEW


Saturday December 29, 2012 07:03 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

The Palestinian Detainees Studies Center reported that the Israeli Salem military court sentenced three Palestinian children from Azzoun town near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, to four months imprisonment each.

child[1]
File – Arabs48

The court also delayed deliberations in the case of another child from Jenin, and released his brother.

Lawyer Mustafa Azmouti told the Center that that Salem court sentenced Qais Waddah Shbeita, 16, Mohammad Adel Shbeita, 16, and Mohammad Abdul-Fattah Radwan, 15, to four months each. They were all kidnapped after the army broke into their homes in Azzoun on December 7, and are currently held at the Majeddo prison.

In related news, the Salem court postponed deliberations in the case of a detained child identified as Ihsaan Ayman Aabed, 14, until December 30 after…

View original post 439 more words

http://jima.imana.org/article/view/6491 Effects of Terrorism on Children: Psychosocial Biological Understanding M. Basheer Ahmed Abstract Terrorism, politically motivated violence directed against noncombatants, is a common occurrence globally. Thousands of children are exposed to trauma and life-threatening situations, and no child is immune to the traumatic effects of terrorism, whether they live in Oklahoma, Bosnia, Iraq, New York, Lebanon, Rwanda, Israel, Palestine, or Dar Fur. They suffer long-term psychological consequences of the trauma. Few research studies have been published addressing the short-term and long-term effect of terrorism on children. Of the studies done, most are on children exposed to trauma in Western countries. Unfortunately, research studies reflecting the experiences of severe trauma and long-term consequences of atrocities on children in the non-Western part of the world are rarely reported in scientific journals or even in media, as if the children who did not die during the terrorist acts do not exist. This article will summarize the research work on diagnoses and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is often present in children exposed to trauma and severe life-threatening situations. Special attention is paid to the effects of terrorism on children in Bosnia, Israel, and Palestine. http://dx.doi.org/10.5915/39-2-6491

http://jima.imana.org/article/view/10463 Pilot study of congenital anomaly rates at birth in Fallujah, Iraq, 2010 Samira Telfah Alaani, Mohannad A.R. Al-Fallouji, Christopher Busby, Malak Hamdan Abstract DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5915/44-1-10463 Objectives: To examine numbers of congenital anomaly (CA) at birth overall and by class in one clinic in Fallujah General Hospital, Fallujah, Iraq. Study Design: All congenital anomaly birth referrals to one pediatric clinician at Fallujah General Hospital for an eleven month period beginning November 1, 2009 were recorded. This clinic was one of three clinics to which cases would be referred. Results: There were 291 CA cases registered at birth in the period at the study’s clinic. The total number of births recorded in the hospital over the period was 6049. The CAs included 113 heart and circulatory system cases, 72 nervous system cases, 40 digestive system cases, 9 genitourinary cases, 6 ear, face and neck cases, 7 respiratory cases and 30 Down syndrome cases. Conclusion: Owing to difficulties establishing the exact number of births from which these cases were drawn, the exact rates cannot be precisely determined. Nevertheless, on the basis of reasonable assumptions relating to the activity of the clinic involved, these results support earlier epidemiological findings. On the basis of work reported elsewhere, the higher rates of congenital anomalies are believed to be caused by exposure to some genotoxic agent, possibly uranium. Download report here Read original report here

The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information

Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre.

Global Research, December 25, 2012
school

“[My staff] and I hope the people of Newtown don’t have it crash on their head later.” –Connecticut Medical Examiner D. Wayne Carver II, MD, December 15, 2012

Inconsistencies and anomalies abound when one turns an analytical eye to news of the Newtown school massacre. The public’s general acceptance of the event’s validity and faith in its resolution suggests a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled. The condition is reinforced through the corporate media’s unwillingness to push hard questions vis-à-vis Connecticut and federal authorities who together bottlenecked information while invoking prior restraint through threats of prosecutorial action against journalists and the broader citizenry seeking to interpret the event on social media.

Along these lines on December 19 the Connecticut State Police assigned individual personnel to each of the 26 families who lost a loved one at Sandy Hook Elementary. “The families have requested no press interviews,” State Police assert on their behalf, “and we are asking that this request be honored.[1] The de facto gag order will be in effect until the investigation concludes—now forecast to be “several months away” even though lone gunman Adam Lanza has been confirmed as the sole culprit.[2]

With the exception of an unusual and apparently contrived appearance by Emilie Parker’s alleged father, victims’ family members have been almost wholly absent from public scrutiny.[3] What can be gleaned from this and similar coverage raises many more questions and glaring inconsistencies than answers. While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place—at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.

The Accidental Medical Examiner

An especially important yet greatly undereported feature of the Sandy Hook affair is the wholly bizarre performance of Connecticut’s top medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II at a December 15 press conference. Carver’s unusual remarks and behavior warrant close consideration because in light of his professional notoriety they appear remarkably amateurish and out of character.

H. Wayne Carver II has an extremely self-assured, almost swaggering presence in Connecticut state administration. In early 2012 Carver threatened to vacate his position because of state budget cuts and streamlining measures that threatened his professional autonomy over the projects and personnel he oversaw.

Along these lines the pathologist has gone to excessive lengths to demonstrate his findings and expert opinion in court proceedings. For example, in a famous criminal case Carver “put a euthanized pig through a wood chipper so jurors could match striations on the bone fragments with the few ounces of evidence that prosecutors said were on the remains of the victim.”[4] One would therefore expect Carver to be in his element while identifying and verifying the exact ways in which Sandy Hook’s children and teachers met their violent demise.

Yet the H. Wayne Carver who showed up to the December 15 press conference is an almost entirely different man, appearing apprehensive and uncertain, as if he is at a significant remove from the postmortem operation he had overseen. The multiple gaffes, discrepancies, and hedges in response to reporters’ astute questions suggest that he is either under coercion or an imposter. While the latter sounds untenable it would go a long way in explaining his sub-pedestrian grasp of medical procedures and terminology.

With this in mind extended excerpts from this exchange are worthy of recounting here in print. Carver is accompanied by Connecticut State Police Lieutenant H. Paul Vance and additional Connecticut State Police personnel. The reporters are off-screen and thus unidentified so I have assigned them simple numerical identification based on what can be discerned of their voices.

Reporter #1: So the rifle was the primary weapon?

H. Wayne Carver: Yes.

Reporter #1: [Inaudible]

Carver: Uh (pause). Question was what caliber were these bullets. And I know—I probably know more about firearms than most pathologists but if I say it in court they yell at me and don’t make me answer [sic]—so [nervous laughter]. I’ll let the police do that for you.

Reporter #2: Doctor can you tell us about the nature of the wounds. Were they at very close range? Were the children shot at from across the room?

Carver: Uhm, I only did seven of the autopsies. The victims I had ranged from three to eleven wounds apiece and I only saw two of them with close range shooting. Uh, but that’s, uh y’know, a sample. Uh, I really don’t have detailed information on the rest of the injuries.

[Given that Carver is Connecticut’s top coroner and in charge of the entire postmortem this is a startling admission.-JT]

Reporter #3: But you said that the long rifle was used?

Carver: Yes.

Reporter #3: But the long rifle was discovered in the car.

State Police Lieutenant Vance: That’s not correct, sir.

Unidentified reporter #4: How many bullets or bullet fragments did you find in the autopsy. Can you tell us that?

Carver: Oh. I’m lucky I can tell you how many I found. I don’t know. There were lots of them, OK? This type of weapon is not, uh … the bullets are designed in such a fashion that the energy—this is very clinical. I shouldn’t be saying this. But the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in [the tissue].

[In fact, the Bushmaster .223 Connecticut police finally claimed was used in the shooting is designed for long range field use and utilizes high velocity bullets averaging 3,000 feet-per-second, the energy of which even at considerable distance would penetrate several bodies before finally coming to rest in tissue.]

Reporter #5: How close were the injuries?

Carver: Uh, all the ones (pause). I believe say, yes [sic].

Reporter #6: In what shape were the bodies when the families were brought to check [inaudible].

Carver: Uh, we did not bring the bodies and the families into contact. We took pictures of them, uhm, of their facial features. We have, uh, uh—it’s easier on the families when you do that. Un, there is, uh, a time and place for the up close and personal in the grieving process, but to accomplish this we thought it would be best to do it this way and, uh, you can sort of, uh … You can control a situation depending on the photographer, and I have very good photographers. Uh, but uh—

Reporter #7: Do you know the difference of the time of death between the mother in the house and the bodies recovered [in the school].

Carver: Uh, no, I don’t. Sorry [shakes head excitedly] I don’t! [embarrassed laugh]

Reporter #8: Did the gunman kill himself with the rifle?

Carver: No. I—I don’t know yet. I’ll-I’ll examine him tomorrow morning. But, but I don’t think so.

[Why has Carver left arguably the most important specimen for last? And why doesn’t he think Lanza didn’t commit suicide with the rifle?]

Reporter #9: In terms of the children, were they all found in one classroom or—

Carver: Uhm … [inaudible] [Turns to Lieutenant Vance] Paul and company will deal with that.

Reporter #9: What?

Carver: Paul and company will deal with that. Lieutenant Vance is going to handle that one.

Reporter #10: Was there any evidence of a struggle? Any bruises?

Carver: No.

Reporter #11: The nature of the shooting; is there any sense that there was a lot of care taken with precision [inaudible] or randomly?

Carver: [Exhales while glancing upward, as if frustrated] Both. It’s a very difficult question to answer … You’d think after thousands of people I’ve seen shot but I … It’s … If I attempted to answer it in court there’d be an objection and then they’d win—[nervous laughter].

[Who would win? Why does an expert whose routine job as a public employee is to provide impartial medical opinion concerned with winning and losing in court? Further, Carver is not in court but rather at a press conference.]

Reporter #12: Doctor, can you discuss the fatal injuries to the adults?

Carver: Ah, they were similar to those of the children.

Reporter #13: Doctor, the children you had autopsied, where in the bodies were they hit?

Carver: Uhm [pause]. All over. All over.

Reporter #14: Were [the students] sitting at their desks or were they running away when this happened?

Carver: I’ll let the guys who—the scene guys talk—address that issue. I, uh, obviously I was at the scene. Obviously I’m very experienced in that. But there are people who are, uh, the number one professionals in that. I’ll let them—let that [voice trails off].

Reporter [#15]: How many boys and how many girls [were killed]?

Carver: [Slowly shaking his head] I don’t know.

More Unanswered Questions and Inconsistencies

In addition to Carver’s remarks several additional chronological and evidentiary contradictions in the official version of the Sandy Hook shooting are cause for serious consideration and leave doubt in terms of how the event transpired vis-à-vis the way authorities and major media outlets have presented it. It is now well known that early on journalists reported that Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan Lanza was reported to be the gunman, and that pistols were used in the shooting rather than a rifle. Yet these are merely the tip of the iceberg.

  • When Did the Gunman Arrive?

After Adam Lanza fatally shot and killed his mother at his residence, he drove himself to the elementary school campus, arriving one half hour after classes had commenced. Dressed in black, Lanza proceeds completely unnoticed through an oddly vacant parking lot with a military style rifle and shoots his way through double glass doors and a brand new yet apparently poorly engineered security system.

Further, initial press accounts suggest how no school personnel or students heard gunshots and no 911 calls are made until after Lanza begins firing inside the facility. “It was a lovely day,” Sandy Hook fourth grade teacher Theodore Varga said. And then, suddenly and unfathomably, gunshots rang out. “I can’t even remember how many,” Varga said.[5]

The recollection contrasts sharply with an updated version of Lanza’s arrival where at 9:30AM he

walked up to the front entrance and fired at least a half dozen rounds into the glass doors. The thunderous sound of Lanza blowing an opening big enough to walk through the locked school door caused Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Scherlach to bolt from a nearby meeting room to investigate. He shot and killed them both as they ran toward him.

Breaching the school’s security system in such a way would have likely triggered some automatic alert of school personnel. Further, why would the school’s administrators run toward an armed man who has just noisily blasted his way into the building?

Two other staff members attending the meeting with Hocksprung and Scherlach sustained injuries “in the hail of bullets” but returned to the aforementioned meeting room and managed a call to 911.[6] This contrasted with earlier reports where the first 911 call claimed students “were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns.”[7] Recordings of the first police dispatch following the 911 call at 9:35:50 indicate that someone “thinks there’s someone shooting in the building.”[8] There is a clear distinction between potentially hearing shots somewhere in the building and being almost mortally caught in a “hail of bullets.”

  • How did the gunman fire so many shots in such little time?

According to Dr. Carver and State Police, Lanza shot each victim between 3 and 11 times during a 5 to 7 minute span. If one is to average this out to 7 bullets per individual—excluding misses—Lanza shot 182 times, or once every two seconds. Yet according to the official story Lanza was the sole assassin and armed with only one weapon. Thus if misses and changing the gun’s 30-shot magazine at least 6 times are added to the equation Lanza must have been averaging about one shot per second—extremely skilled use of a single firearm for a young man with absolutely no military training and who was on the verge of being institutionalized. Still, an accurate rendering of the event is even more difficult to arrive at because the chief medical examiner admittedly has no idea exactly how the children were shot or whether a struggle ensued.

  • Where is the Photo and Video Evidence?

Photographic and video evidence is at once profuse yet lacking in terms of its capacity to demonstrate that a mass shooting took place on the scale described by authorities. For example, in an era of ubiquitous video surveillance of public buildings especially no visual evidence of Lanza’s violent entry has emerged. And while studio snapshots of the Sandy Hook victims abound there is little if any eyewitness testimony of anyone who’s observed the corpses except for Carver and his staff, and they appear almost as confused about the conditions of the deceased as any layperson watching televised coverage of the event. Nor are there any routine eyewitness, photo or video evidence of the crime scene’s aftermath—broken glass, blasted security locks and doors, bullet casings and holes, bloodied walls and floors—all of which are common in such investigations and reportage.

  • Why Were Medical Personnel Turned Away From the Crime Scene?

Oddly enough medical personnel are forced to set up their operation not at the school where the dead and injured lay, but rather at the fire station several hundred feet away. This flies in the face of standard medical operating procedure where personnel are situated as close to the scene as possible. There is no doubt that the school had ample room to accommodate such personnel. Yet medical responders who rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary upon receiving word of the tragedy were denied entry to the school and forced to set up primary and secondary triages off school grounds and wait for the injured to be brought to them.

Shortly after the shooting “as other ambulances from neighboring communities rolled up, sirens blaring, the first responders slowly realized that their training would be tragically underutilized on this horrible day. ‘You may not be able to save everybody, but you damn well try,’” 44 year old emergency medical technician James Wolff told NBC News. “’And when (we) didn’t have the opportunity to put our skills into action, it’s difficult.’”[9]

In light of this, who were the qualified medical practitioners pronounced the 20 children and 7 adults dead? Who decided that none could be revived? Carver and his staff are apparently the only medical personnel to have attended to the victims—yet this was in the postmortem conducted several hours later. Such slipshod handling of the crime scene leaves the State of Connecticut open to a potential array of hefty civil claims by families of the slain.

  • Did a mass evacuation of the school take place?

Sandy Hook Elementary is attended by 600 students. Yet there is no photographic or video evidence of an evacuation on this scale. Instead, limited video and photographic imagery suggest that a limited evacuation of perhaps at most several dozen students occurred.

A highly circulated photo depicts students walking in a single file formation with their hands on each others’ shoulders and eyes shut. Yet this was the image of a drill that took place prior to the event itself.[10] Most other photos are portraits of individual children. Despite aerial video footage of the event documenting law enforcement scouring the scene and apprehending one or more suspects in the wooded area nearby the school,[11] there is no such evidence that a mass exodus of children from the school transpired once law enforcement pronounced Sandy Hook secure. Nor are there videos or photos of several hundred students and their parents at the oft-referenced fire station nearby where students were routed for parent pick up.

Sound Bite Prism and the Will to Believe

Outside of a handful of citizen journalists and alternative media commentators Sandy Hook’s  dramatically shifting factual and circumstantial terrain has escaped serious critique because it is presented through major media’s carefully constructed prism of select sound bites alongside a widespread and longstanding cultural impulse to accept the pronouncements of experts, be they bemused physicians, high ranking law enforcement officers, or political leaders demonstrating emotionally-grounded concern.

Political scientist W. Lance Bennett calls this the news media’s “authority-disorder bias.” “Whether the world is returned to a safe, normal place,” Bennett writes, “or whether the very idea of a normal world is called into question, the news is preoccupied with order, along with related questions of whether authorities are capable of establishing or restoring it.”[12]

Despite Carver’s bizarre performance and law enforcement authorities’ inability to settle on and relay simple facts, media management’s impulse to assure audiences and readerships of the Newtown community’s inevitable adjustment to its trauma and loss with the aid of the government’s protective oversight—however incompetent that may be—far surpasses a willingness to undermine this now almost universal news media narrative with messy questions and suggestions of intrigue. This well-worn script is one the public has been conditioned to accept. If few people relied on such media to develop their world view this would hardly be a concern. Yet this is regrettably not the case.

The Sandy Hook tragedy was on a far larger scale than the past year’s numerous slaughters, including the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and the Batman theater shooting in Colorado. It also included glaringly illogical exercises and pronouncements by authorities alongside remarkably unusual evidentiary fissures indistinguishable by an American political imagination cultivated to believe that the corporate, government and military’s sophisticated system of organized crime is largely confined to Hollywood-style storylines while really existing malfeasance and crises are without exception returned to normalcy.

If recent history is a prelude the likelihood of citizens collectively assessing and questioning Sandy Hook is limited even given the event’s overtly superficial trappings. While the incident is ostensibly being handled by Connecticut law enforcement, early reports indicate how federal authorities were on the scene as the 911 call was received. Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic—and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’s political platform.

The move to railroad this program through with the aid of major media and an irrefutable barrage of children’s portraits, “heartfelt” platitudes and ostensible tears neutralizes a quest for genuine evidence, reasoned observation and in the case of Newtown honest and responsible law enforcement. Moreover, to suggest that Obama is not capable of deploying such techniques to achieve political ends is to similarly place ones faith in image and interpretation above substance and established fact, the exact inclination that in sum has brought America to such an impasse.

Notes


[1] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, ”State Police Investigate Newtown School Shooting” [Press Release] December 15, 2012.

[2] State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, “Update: Newtown School Shooting” [Press Release], December 19, 2012.

[3] CNN, “Family of 6 Year Old Victim,” December 14, 2012, “Sandy Hook School Shooting Hoax Fraud,” Youtube, December 17, 2012.

[4] Hartford Courant, “Finally ‘Enough’ For Chief Medical Examiner” [Editorial], January 30, 2012.

[5] John Christofferson and Jocelyn Noveck, “Sandy Hook School Shooting: Adam Lanza Kills 26 and Himself at Connecticut School,” Huffington Post, December 15, 2012.

[6] Edmund H. Mahoney, Dave Altmari, and Jon Lender, “Sandy Hook Shooter’s Pause May Have Aided Escape,” Hartford Courant, December 23, 2012.

[8] RadioMan911TV, “Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Newtown Police / Fire and CT State Police,” Youtube, December 14, 2012. At several points in this recording audio is scrambled, particularly following apprehension of a second shooting suspect outside the school, suggesting a purposeful attempt to withhold vital information.

[9] Miranda Leitsinger, “You Feel Helpless: First Responders Rushed to School After Shooting, Only to Wait,” US News on NBC, December 20.

[10] http://thenetng.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sandy-Hook-Elementary-School-600×400.jpg. 12/25/12
Update/Correction
: Note that this photo of approximately fifteen children allegedly being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary
was reportedly produced on December 14. See Connor Simpson, Alexander Abad-Santos et al, “Newtown School Shooting: Live Updates,” The Atlantic Wire, December 19, 2012. Still, the paltry number of children confirms the claim that little photographic evidence exists of Sandy Hook’s 600 students being moved from the facility on December 14. This photo was purportedly from a Tweet of a Sandy Hook drill published by the school’s slain principal Dawn Hochsprung titled, “Safety First.” Re: Source of  photo, see  Julia La Rouche, “Principal Killed in Sandy Hook Tweeted Picture of Students Practicing an Evacuation Drill,” Business Insider, December 16, 2012.

[11] Rob Dew, “Evidence of 2nd and 3rd Shooter at Sandy Hook,” Infowars Nightly News, December 18, 2012,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nCFHImNeRw. A more detailed yet less polished analysis was developed by citizen journalist Idahopicker, “Sandy Hook Elem: 3 Shooters,” December 16, 2012. See also James F. Tracy, “Analyzing the Newtown Narrative: Sandy Hook’s Disappearing Shooter Suspects,” Memoryholeblog.com, December 20, 2012.

[12] W. Lance Bennett, News: The Politics of Illusion 9th Edition, Boston: Longman, 2012, 47.

Andrew Whooley provided suggestions and research for this article.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Occupy protests targeted by FBI counterterror units

Global Research, December 27, 2012
occupywallstreet

Internal Federal Bureau of Investigation documents released last Saturday by a civil liberties organization show that FBI anti-terror units across the US targeted and spied on the Occupy Wall Street protests even before they got underway in September 2011.

The secret documents, obtained by the Partnership for Public Justice Fund (PCJF) through Freedom of Information requests and published on the organization’s web site, show that the FBI used police informants and infiltrators to systematically monitor the activities of anti-Wall Street groups and share information about them with other federal, state and local police agencies as well as with private corporations.

The documents are heavily redacted. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that the so-called “war on terror” and the police-state laws and agencies established in its name are being employed to disrupt and suppress political dissent and protect the American corporate-financial elite against the growth of social opposition.

This direct attack on Constitutionally protected free-speech rights, begun under the Bush administration, has been expanded by the Obama administration, which treats virtually all forms of social and political protest as a potential criminal and terrorist threat. This confirms that the central target of the Homeland Security Department, the USA PATRIOT ACT, the Guantanamo gulag, the military tribunals, the gutting of habeas corpus rights and due process, and the policy of extra-judicial assassinations and torture is not Islamist terrorists, but the democratic rights of the American working class.

The documents show that FBI offices and agents across the country were conducting intensive surveillance against the Occupy movement in August 2011, a month prior to the first anti-Wall Street protests in New York City and the occupation of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the impending protests.

In Indiana, the FBI released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though it acknowledged that no specific date for a protest had been scheduled in the state. The Indiana FBI coordinated with “all Indiana state and local law enforcement agencies” as well as the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, the FBI Directorate of Intelligence and other national FBI bodies.

The FBI Campus Liaison Program enlisted both campus police and university officials in New York State to spy on Occupy protests carried out by students and professors.

Documents show that the FBI, the Homeland Security Department and private corporations coordinated their response to the protests via that Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector.” The DSAC discussed Occupy protests at West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.”

Naval Criminal Investigative Services reported to the DSAC on links between Occupy Wall Street and trade unions in the organization of the port protests.

The FBI in Anchorage, Alaska reported on a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011 concerning Occupy activities in Anchorage. A port security officer arranged with the FBI to attend a planning meeting of the protesters and report back to the FBI.

The Jacksonville, Florida FBI in October 2011 issued a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.” The briefing linked protests in Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories with “some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia contacted the FBI in the city “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies” as well as information received from “the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”

Similar memos from FBI anti-terror units in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham and Jackson, Mississippi; and Denver, Colorado speak of coordinated spying on Occupy protesters by federal, state and local police agencies, working in tandem with private financial institutions.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said: “[W]e believe this is just the tip of the iceberg… These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The intervention of the FBI and other federal agencies against the Occupy protests did not stop at surveillance. The massive scope and systematic nature of the spying exposed by the documents posted by the PCJF make it clear that the Obama administration coordinated the police attacks and court actions taken at the state and local level to suppress the protests and end the occupations. Mass arrests, tear gas and constant harassment were all employed in the course of the months-long protests.

This state repression was aided and abetted by the non-stop efforts of the anarchist and pseudo-left organizations in the leadership of the movement to channel it behind the trade union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party.

The Obama administration has increasingly utilized the anti-democratic methods employed to entrap Muslims in the US and prosecute them as terrorists—police infiltrators and provocateurs, fake terror plots concocted by police agents—to ensnare and frame up activists involved in protest actions against US wars abroad and attacks on living standards at home. Recent examples include:

* The arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges of five young men involved in protests last May against the NATO summit in Chicago. All five were implicated by undercover agents.

* The entrapment that same month of five young men in Cleveland by undercover agents, who lured the alleged “anarchists” into a phony plot to blow up a bridge.

* A series of FBI raids last summer on the homes of anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Olympia, Washington. Scores of heavily armed domestic terrorism agents used stun grenades and battering rams to smash through doors and threaten their victims with automatic weapons.

* The September 2010 raids ordered by the Obama administration on the homes of leaders of the Anti-War Committee and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis and Chicgao, justified under the “material support for terrorism” provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

PCJF Executive Director Verheyden-Hilliard pointed to one aspect of the utilization of the FBI as a political police force against social opposition. “The collection of information on people’s free-speech actions,” she told the New York Times, “is being entered into unregulated databases, a vast storehouse of information widely disseminated to a range of law enforcement and, apparently, private entities.”

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration in March approved a vast expansion of the power of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to copy government databases on ordinary Americans, even if there is no reason to suspect them of criminal or terrorist activities. “Under the new rules issued in March,” the Journal wrote, “the National Counterterrorism Center… can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is ‘reasonably believed’ to contain ‘terrorism information.’ The list could potentially include almost any government database, from financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages to the health records of people who sought treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals.”

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Hidden US-Israeli Military Agenda: “Break Syria into Pieces”

Global Research, December 28, 2012
Hidden US-Israeli Military Agenda: "Break Syria into Pieces"

A timely article in the Jerusalem Post in June brings to the forefront the unspoken objective of US foreign policy, namely the breaking up of Syria as a sovereign nation state –along ethnic and religious lines– into several separate and “independent” political entities. The article also confirms the role of Israel in the process of political destabilization of  Syria.  The JP article is titled: “Veteran Kurdish politician calls on Israel to support the break-up of Syria‘ (by Jonathan Spyer) (The Jerusalem Post (May 16, 2012)

The objective of the US sponsored armed insurgency is –with the help of Israel– to “Break Syria into Pieces”.

The “balkanisation of the Syrian Arab Republic” is to be carried out by fostering sectarian divisions, which will eventually lead to a “civil war” modelled on the former Yugoslavia. Last month, Syrian “opposition militants” were dispatched to Kosovo to organize training sessions using the “terrorist expertise” of the US sponsored Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in fighting the Yugoslav armed forces.

Sherkoh Abbas, President of the US based Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNA)  has “called on Israel  to support the break-up of Syria into a series of federal structures based on the country’s various ethnicities.” (Ibid)

One possible ”break-up scenario” pertaining to Syria, which constitutes a secular multi-ethnic society, would be the formation of separate and  “independent” Sunni, Alawite-Shiite, Kurdish and Druze states:   “We need to break Syria into pieces,” Abbas said. (Quoted in JP, op. cit., emphasis added).

“The Syrian Kurdish dissident argued that a federal Syria, separated into four or five regions on an ethnic basis, would also serve as a natural “buffer” for Israel against both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist forces.” (Ibid.).

Ironically, while Islamist forces are said to constitute the main threat to the Jewish State, Tel Aviv is providing covert support to the Islamist Free Syrian Army (FSA).


Map 1

Meeting behind Closed Doors at the US State Department

A top level US State Department meeting was held in May with members of the Syrian Kurdish opposition. In attendance were representatives of the Kurdish National Council (KNC),  Robert Stephen Ford, the outgoing US ambassador to Syria (who has played a key role in channelling support to the rebels) as well as Frederic C. Hof, a former business partner of Richard Armitage, who currently serves as the administration’s “special coordinator on Syria”. (Ibid). The delegation also met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Frederic C. Hof, Robert Stephen Ford and Jeffrey Feltman are the State Department’s key Syria policy-makers, with close links to the Syrian Free Army (SFA) and the Syrian National Council (SNC).


Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman


Frederic C. Hof, The Administration’s “special coordinator on Syria”


Robert S. Ford, outgoing US Ambassador to Syria

The public statements of KNA leader Sherkoh Abbas in the wake of the State Department meeting suggest that the political fracturing of the Syrian Arab Republic along ethnic and religious lines as well as the creation of an “independent Kurdistan” were discussed. “State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner described [the meeting’s] purpose as part of ‘ongoing efforts… to help the Syrian [Kurdish] opposition build a more cohesive opposition to Assad.’”  (Ibid).

The KNA leader called upon Washington to support the creation of a separate Kurdish State consisting of  “an autonomous region in Syria; joining the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq – which borders the Kurdish region in Syria; or perhaps an even larger Kurdish state” [Greater Kurdistan].

“The Kurdish people, in all parts of Kurdistan, seek the right to form an independent Kurdish state. We can only achieve this cherished goal with the help of the western democracies, and first and foremost the U.S.” said Sherkoh Abbas. (Syria: An Alternative, Choice, Ekurd.net, May 22, 2012)

It is worth noting, in this regard, that the creation of a “Greater Kurdistan” has been envisaged for several years by the Pentagon as part of a broader “Plan for Redrawing the Middle East”.(See map 2 below)

This option, which appears unlikely in the near future, would go against the interests of Turkey, a staunch ally of both the US and Israel. Another scenario, which is contemplated by Ankara would consist in the annexation to Turkey of parts of Syrian Kurdistan. (See map above).

“Greater Kurdistan” would include portions of Iran, Syria, Iraq and Turkey as conveyed in Coronel  Ralph Peters (ret) celebrated map of “The New Middle East” (see below). (For Further details see Mahdi Nazemroaya’s November 2006 Global Research article).

Colonel Peters taught at the US Military Academy.

Detailed analysis on Syria.

Over 30 chapters, available from Global Research at no charge

SYRIA: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War?
ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK
– by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-07-15
Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2006-11-18

Towards the balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification) of the Middle East

Map 2. The New Middle East

The following map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006,
Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers.
This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Author’s Note
This article first published five years ago in December 2007 focuses on the historical process of collapse of Pakistan as a nation state following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Washington’s intent goes beyond the narrow objective of “regime change”. The thrust of US foreign policy consists in weakening the central government and fracturing the country.
The ongoing US drone attacks under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” are part of that process.
Washington had already envisaged a scenario of disintegration and civil war. According to a 2005 report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”.
What is not mentioned in this report is that the destabilization process (including the drone attacks) is part of a longstanding US led intelligence operation.
Michel Chossudovsky, December 27, 2012
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.
The process of US sponsored “regime change”, which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the “international community” scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.
There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:
“It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.
Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan’s military…
The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)
Political Impasse
“Regime change” with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.
A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of “decentralization”, to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan’s fragile federal structure.
The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.
This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington’s ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.
The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country’s air space. According to a recent report: “U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units” (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).
The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the “war on terrorism”. Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the “terrorists.”
The Balkanization of Pakistan
Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”. (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):
“Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi,” the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.
Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, “are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?” (Ibid)
Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.
According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: “Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction,” (Ibid) .
The US course consists in fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.
This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.
The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Oil and Gas reserves
Pakistan’s extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.
Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan’s land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.
The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world’s daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia News.it, 29 December 2007)
Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy’s ENI, Austria’s OMV, and Australia’s BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan’s State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.
According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .
Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists
Balochistan’s strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.
The Baloch national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.
British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan’s military). In June 2006, Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of “abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran” [Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain’s Secret Service to Baloch separatists (Ibid). Also of relevance are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.
It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to the Pakistani military, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support to the separatist movement (according to the Pakistani Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.
The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to “Liberation Armies” ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.
The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany’s Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).
The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.
Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan
Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

“The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province. The ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy” (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).

Read the full report here via Opinion Maker

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

PN

Friends of Syria
December 27, 2012

Click on the CC to get the English Sub titles

read on

[hat tip: #OpSyria V2.0]

View original post

Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk

Antibiotics can be lifesavers, but misuse has increased the number of drug-resistant germs. See how this affects you and what you can do to help prevent antibiotic resistance.

By Mayo Clinic staff

If you think antibiotic resistance isn’t a problem or doesn’t affect you, think again. A prominent example of the dangers of antibiotic resistance is the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA was once a concern only for people in the hospital, but a newer form of MRSA is causing infections in healthy people in the community.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when antibiotics no longer work against disease-causing bacteria. These infections are difficult to treat and can mean longer lasting illnesses, more doctor visits or extended hospital stays, and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can even cause death.

Although experts are working to develop new antibiotics and other treatments to keep pace with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, infectious organisms can adapt quickly. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria will continue to be a global health concern — and using antibiotics wisely is important for preventing their spread.

When is it appropriate to use antibiotics?

Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. The chart shows common illnesses and whether they’re caused by bacteria or viruses. Taking an antibiotic when you have a viral infection won’t make you feel better — and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Bacterial infections Viral infections
  • Bladder infections
  • Many wound and skin infections, such as staph infections
  • Severe sinus infections that last longer than 2 weeks
  • Some ear infections
  • Strep throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Most coughs
  • Most ear infections
  • Most sore throats
  • Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)

Consequences of antibiotic misuse

If antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treat — like colds, flu or other viral infections — not only are they of no benefit, they become less effective against the bacteria they’re intended to treat.

Not taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed also leads to problems. For example, if you take an antibiotic for only a few days — instead of the full course — the antibiotic may wipe out some, but not all, of the bacteria. The surviving bacteria become more resistant and can be spread to other people. When bacteria become resistant to first line treatments, the risk of complications and death is increased.

The failure of first line antibiotics also means that doctors have to resort to less conventional medications, many of which are more costly and associated with more-serious side effects. For instance, the drugs needed to treat drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB) are much more expensive than are the drugs used to treat nonresistant TB. The course of treatment is long — up to two years — and the side effects can be severe.

Other consequences are the increased costs associated with prolonged illnesses, including expenses for additional tests, treatments and hospitalization, and indirect costs, such as lost income.

Read the full report via the MayoClinic.com

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Rise of the Superbugs

By Geoff Thompson and Mary Ann Jolley

Antibiotics are the wonder drugs of modern medicine. They’ve allowed doctors to save and extend life by killing infection and enabling ground breaking surgery. But imagine a world where antibiotics don’t work – that would be a place dominated by superbugs, bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics. Scientists say this would end many modern medical procedures and they claim the threat is greater than we realise.

Four Corners reporter Geoff Thompson looks at the rise of superbugs, visiting the hot spots around the world where the misuse of antibiotics is creating a breeding ground for these bacteria and he tells the horrific stories of those who’ve contracted infections that can’t be controlled. He also reveals that Australian health officials are making decisions that could open the way for a deadly superbug to infect Australians living in the far north of the country.

“…Every time we take an antibiotic we’re giving the bug a chance to become a superbug … the more of us that take antibiotics inappropriately, the greater the chance in the community a superbug will come.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening in India, where antibiotics are not restricted in their use. As a result a new superbug, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase or NDM-1, has evolved. Not only is it deadly in its own right, it’s also capable of genetically modifying other bacteria to make them superbugs.

Superbugs like this have infected people who’ve been injured in accidents while travelling overseas. In other cases, apparently healthy people return from abroad only to discover that a simple medical procedure effectively unleashes the bug. In one instance, a healthy middle-aged man went for a prostate biopsy. The procedure was done successfully but one day later he became desperately ill. A superbug, possibly contracted while travelling overseas, had moved from his bowel into his bloodstream making him critically ill.

In the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, close to the Australian border, the misuse of antibiotics has contributed to the rise of a superbug form of Tuberculosis. For seven years the Queensland and Federal Governments funded TB clinics for PNG nationals in the Torres Strait. These clinics were the last line of defence that could stop the superbug coming to the Australian mainland. But the closure of these clinics in June this year has left the job of treating TB patients with the PNG Government , funded by AusAID. This could increase the risk of superbug TB coming to Australia.

Watch Rise of the Superbugs HERE

“Rise of the Superbugs”, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Kerry O’Brien, aired on Monday 29th October on ABC 1 at 8.30 pm.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

Biocides, drug resistance and microbial evolution

Volume 4, Issue 3, 1 June 2001, Pages 313–317

  • David G White
  • Patrick F McDermott
  • Office of Research, Center for Veterinary Medicine, US Food and Drug Administration, 8401 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA

Antimicrobial biocides are widely used in critical human health situations in which rigorous infection control is needed. Increasingly, biocidal agents are being marketed for home use, although there is little evidence that they significantly improve home hygiene. Biocide resistance mechanisms share many themes with antibiotic resistance mechanisms.

Read the Scientific Journal Full Text Here

David G White, Patrick F McDermott, Biocides, drug resistance and microbial evolution, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Volume 4, Issue 3, 1 June 2001, Pages 313-317, ISSN 1369-5274, 10.1016/S1369-5274(00)00209-5.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369527400002095)
Keywords: biocide; efflux; antibiotic resistance; disinfectant; triclosan; evolution; dissemination

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Alfonso J. Alanis, Resistance to Antibiotics: Are We in the Post-Antibiotic Era?, Archives of Medical Research, Volume 36, Issue 6, November–December 2005, Pages 697-705, ISSN 0188-4409, 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.06.009.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0188440905002730)
Abstract: Serious infections caused by bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics have become a major global healthcare problem in the 21st century. They not only are more severe and require longer and more complex treatments, but they are also significantly more expensive to diagnose and to treat. Antibiotic resistance, initially a problem of the hospital setting associated with an increased number of hospital-acquired infections usually in critically ill and immunosuppressed patients, has now extended into the community causing severe infections difficult to diagnose and treat. The molecular mechanisms by which bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics are diverse and complex. Bacteria have developed resistance to all different classes of antibiotics discovered to date. The most frequent type of resistance is acquired and transmitted horizontally via the conjugation of a plasmid. In recent times new mechanisms of resistance have resulted in the simultaneous development of resistance to several antibiotic classes creating very dangerous multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial strains, some also known as “superbugs”. The indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in outpatient clinics, hospitalized patients and in the food industry is the single largest factor leading to antibiotic resistance. In recent years, the number of new antibiotics licensed for human use in different parts of the world has been lower than in the recent past. In addition, there has been less innovation in the field of antimicrobial discovery research and development. The pharmaceutical industry, large academic institutions or the government are not investing the necessary resources to produce the next generation of newer safe and effective antimicrobial drugs. In many cases, large pharmaceutical companies have terminated their anti-infective research programs altogether due to economic reasons. The potential negative consequences of all these events are relevant because they put society at risk for the spread of potentially serious MDR bacterial infections.
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Bacterial resistance; New antibiotics; Antibiotic research

Resistance to Antibiotics: Are We in the Post-Antibiotic Era?

Serious infections caused by bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics have become a major global healthcare problem in the 21st century. They not only are more severe and require longer and more complex treatments, but they are also significantly more expensive to diagnose and to treat. Antibiotic resistance, initially a problem of the hospital setting associated with an increased number of hospital-acquired infections usually in critically ill and immunosuppressed patients, has now extended into the community causing severe infections difficult to diagnose and treat. The molecular mechanisms by which bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics are diverse and complex. Bacteria have developed resistance to all different classes of antibiotics discovered to date. The most frequent type of resistance is acquired and transmitted horizontally via the conjugation of a plasmid. In recent times new mechanisms of resistance have resulted in the simultaneous development of resistance to several antibiotic classes creating very dangerous multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial strains, some also known as “superbugs”. The indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in outpatient clinics, hospitalized patients and in the food industry is the single largest factor leading to antibiotic resistance. In recent years, the number of new antibiotics licensed for human use in different parts of the world has been lower than in the recent past. In addition, there has been less innovation in the field of antimicrobial discovery research and development. The pharmaceutical industry, large academic institutions or the government are not investing the necessary resources to produce the next generation of newer safe and effective antimicrobial drugs. In many cases, large pharmaceutical companies have terminated their anti-infective research programs altogether due to economic reasons. The potential negative consequences of all these events are relevant because they put society at risk for the spread of potentially serious MDR bacterial infections.

Read the Full Text Journal Here

NOTE TO COPYRIGHT HOLDER, READERS AND PUBLISHERS:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

THE IMPACT OF MERCURY ON HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Hyman, MarkView Profile. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine10. 6 (Nov/Dec 2004): 70-5.


Headnote

This material was presented at the meeting of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, which was held in New Orleans on September 23-24, 2004

The city of New Orleans was spared the wrath of hurricane Ivan. Yet, a week later, the eye of a different kind of storm stirred at the edge of the Mississippi, a muddy and polluted river, emblematic of our self-inflicted health crisis affecting children and the elderly, from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. A unique international group of policymakers, environmental scientists, toxicologists, biochemists, journalists, academic physicians, practicing pediatricians, neurologists, and dentists gathered to make sense of the environmental impact, toxicology, basic science, public policy, and health implications of one of the least studied and perhaps greatest potential threats to our long-term health-mercury.

In this issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Woody McGinnis, MD, puts forth a theory of autism based on oxidative stress. In the conference it was proposed that mercury might be a key part to understanding autism and the toxininduced oxidative stress that results from the interaction of mercury exposure with a child’s unique genetic susceptibilities.

A few highlights will provide a flavor of the discussions that attempted to sift through the policy and scientific quagmire surrounding mercury. The presentations ranged from an analysis of the global cycle of mercury to the methylation cycles impaired by mercury.

THE GLOBAL CYCLE/PATE OP MERCURY

Barry Kohl, PIiD, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Tulane University, provided a unique overview of the impact of industrialization on environmental mercury levels through a description of the levels of mercury in the ice core extracted from the pristine Freemont Glacier in Wyoming. Dr. Kohl explained that there were small peaks in mercury concentration in the ice core from the Tambora volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1815; from the use of mercury in smelting during the California gold rush from 18501884; the eruption in 1883 of the Sumatran volcano Krakatau 10,000 miles away; and the more recent Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. However, over the past 100 years, there has been a 30-fold increase in mercury deposition, 70% of which is from anthropogenic sources. An exponential peak has occurred in the last 40 years due to major industrialization. Much of the mercury comes from coal-fired plants and from chlor-alkali plants that use mercury in the process of making chlorine used in plastics, pesticides, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, and more.

METHYIMERCURY, FISH INGESTION, AND HEALTH EFFECTS

Harvey Clewell from the ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute, Ruston, I,a, reviewed the epidemiologic studies from the Seychelles and Faroe islands. He presented a continuum of risk model for mercury exposures. Nearly all human exposures to methyl mercury derive from fish. In the Seychelles Islands, there seemed be little effect from mercury on the population; however, the islander’s fish consumption was predominately from low-risk, small reef fish. Maternal-fetal transmission was analyzed in the Faroe Islands. Elevated levels of mercury in umbilical cord blood correlated with decrements in neurologic studies in 5/17 tests in 917 mother-infant pairs. The mean umbilical cord blood level contained 22.9 micrograms per liter. A major source of their fish consumption was whale blubber, which contains over 3 parts per million of mercury.

The health effects from methylmercury upon infants and children depend on the dose, with severe symptoms presenting with exposure to doses of 100 mcg/kg/day, mild symptoms with greater than 10 mcg/kg/day, and sub-clinical symptoms with less than 1 mcg/kg/day. Symptoms include late development in walking and talking, and decreased performance on neurological tests.

Dr. Clewell reviewed the limitations of various forms of testing for mercury. Methylmercury is found predominately in red blood cells. Inorganic mercury from amalgams is found in plasma but is rapidly cleared. Methylmercury is converted to inorganic mercury in the body and is the main form of mercury in brain.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF MERCURY

Raoult Ratard, MD1 MS, MPII, State Fipidemiologist, Louisiana Department of Health, and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, reviewed the health effects of mercury upon infants and newborns.

Sources of exposure are widespread and include mercury vapors in ambient air, ingestion via drinking water, fish, vaccines, occupational exposures, home exposures including fluorescent light bulbs, thermostats, batteries, red tattoo dye, skin lightening creams, and over-the-counter products such as contact lens fluid and neosynephrine, dental amalgams, and more. Amalgam exposure is estimated to be from 3 to 17 micrograms per day from slow corrosion, chewing, brushing and grinding.

The toxicokinetics of mercury were reviewed. Absorption is about 80% for mercury vapor and nearly 100% for oral absorption. It is primarily distributed in the kidneys and brain and readily transferred to the fetus via the placenta. It is eliminated via the urine, feces, expired air, and breast milk.

Dr. Ratard reported that the major toxicity is from mercury’s ability to covalently bind to sulfhydryl groups of enzymes in microsomes and mitochondria and other enzyme binding sites including carboxyl, amide, amine, and phosphoryl groups.

Clinical manifestations were reviewed, including the historical context of mercury poisoning epidemics such as the Minamata Bay exposures in Japan, acrodynia or pink disease in children from calomel (Hg Cl) used in teething powder, mad hatter syndrome or erethism, and methylmercury fungicide grain seed exposures in Iraq and Pakistan.

The clinical manifestations are varied and mimic many other conditions. Central Nervous System (CNS) toxicity includes erethism with symptoms of shyness, emotional lability, nervousness, insomnia, memory impairment, and inability to concentrate. Other CNS symptoms may include encephalopathy, peripheral neuropathy, Parkinsonian symptoms, tremor, ataxia, impaired hearing, tunnel vision, dysarthria, headache, fatigue, impaired sexual function, and depression. Renal toxicity includes proteinuria, renal syndrome, and acute renal failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and colitis. Dermal toxicity includes allergic dermatitis, chelitis, gingivitis, stomatitis, and excessive salivation.

Assessment and management were discussed including the use of Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA) and Dimercaptopropane Sulfonate (DMPS).

RISK ASSESSMENT OF MERCURY-CONTAMINATED FISH, AND RESPONSE TO MERCURY EXPOSURE

William Hartley, ScD, Angela R. Machen, MS, Fred Kopfler, PhD, Dianne Dugas, Shannon Soileau, and Chris Piehler discussed public health implications of mercury.

Public health concerns were addressed in depth by various speakers who focused on research on the health effects and exposures of populations to methylmercury through fish consumption from recreational fishing. The difficulties of assessment methods, and the determination of long-term risks, safe limits, toxic doses, and acceptable public health recommendations were clear from the presentations. One note of hope was the reduction in industrial mercury emissions from 220 million pounds to 120 million pounds a year over the last 10 years.

DENTISTRY AND MERCURY

Mike Robichaux, DDS, a practicing dentist, reviewed his experience with removal of amalgams fillings, lie showed a remarkable video of mercury vapor being released from a 25year-old tooth. It is available for viewing on the website of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (www.iaomt.org).

THE SWEDISH AND EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE

Anders Lindvall, MD, from the Foundation for Metal Biology in Sweden, reported on his work on the health effects of dental amalgams and presented a review of the controversial literature on dental amalgams and human health.

Many patients reported a symptom complex consistent with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome/EpsteinBarr Virus they believed were related to dental amalgams. In 1990, Dr. Lindvall began a study at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden to diagnose and treat patients with suspected amalgam-related illness and to develop and evaluate diagnostic tools to assess toxicity from dental amalgams. Beside conventional measures of quality of life and symptoms, unique laboratory assessments were used to determine the presence and immunological toxicity of metals. These were 1) Particle-Induced X-ray Emission (PlXE), an accelerator-based test on single blood cells that assesses intracellular levels of trace elements, which showed that, in lymphocytes, mercury is found in the nucleus, particularly in places where zinc is low; and 2) Memory Lymphocyte Immunostimulation Assay (MELISA), a test of lymphocyte reactivity to metal compounds. Information about the MELISA test is available at http://www.melisa.org.

The management of patients included supportive antioxidants (B complex C, E, Se), treatment of infection and jaw dysfunction, selective removal of any incompatible dental material, low-emission amalgam removal techniques, use of bio-compatible materials substituting amalgams, and laboratory follow up at one year. The cost was covered by national health insurance. It was a retrospective study of 796 patients with chronic symptoms. Over 70% of patients reported significant improvement in symptoms after amalgam removal. This correlated with improvement in the PIXE and MELISA testing. The study was limited by the lack of an adequate control group. The clinic was closed after the study was published and there was no further access allowed to the records, which contained over 1,000 untreated patients who could have served as a control. As of 1999, amalgam dental restorations in Sweden are no longer covered by insurance.

Dr. Lindvall discussed a review paper that was published on amalgam toxicily in February 2004 in the lnlennuional journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Some of the findings from European investigators may be both unfamiliar and surprising to many, but are worth further attention. Mercury vapor is continually emitted and absorbed from amalgams and accumulates in organ tissues. Humans with amalgam fillings have significantly elevated blood mercury levels, 3-5 times more mercury in the urine and 2-12 times more mercury in their tissues than those without amalgam fillings. However, blood and urine mercury levels are not necessarily indicative of mercury load in body tissues or severity of clinical symptoms. Research on sheep and monkeys with dental amalgams has shown that blood mercury levels remained low, whereas tissue mercury levels were raised. The half-life of metallic mercury in the blood is quite short (about 3 days) because it quickly penetrates other tissues. Urine mercury levels mainly reflect the cumulative dose of inorganic mercury in the kidneys and only a weak to no correlation with levels in other target tissues exists. When exposure to mercury ceases, a half-life of 1-18 years can be expected in the brain and bone structures.

Patients suffering from symptoms like fatigue, irritability, mood disorders, poor concentration, headaches, and insomnia due to their amalgam fillings exhibit the presence of apolipoprotein Ii 4 allele (ApoE 4) significantly more frequently than healthy controls. ApoE 4 lacks thiols groups and thus has reduced detoxifying activity. Apolipoprotein E2 and Apolipoprotein E3 can bind and detoxify heavy metals such as mercury. Patients with self-related amalgam complaints have lower selenium levels and deficiencies of trace elements than controls with amalgams that have no symptoms. The total anti-oxidant plasma activity is significantly reduced in individuals with dental amalgams. Studies cited by many authors and institutions as proof of the putative harmlessness of amalgams do not use proper non-amalgam control groups. As noted, findvall reported a 70% improvement in most chronic health complaints after amalgam removal. Other studies showed that patients with chronic fatigue and autoimmune thyroiditis showed improvement in their health status after the replacement of amalgam fillings with composites. In another study, 71% of patients with autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, improved after amalgam removal. Eow-dose exposure to inorganic mercury may be a co-factor in the development of autoimmune diseases. Animal and in vitro studies confirm that exposure to inorganic and metallic mercury causes neuronal damage and that biochemical alterations including the induction of beta amyloid is found in Alzheimer’s disease even at very low concentrations. These effects were not seen with other metals such as lead, aluminum, cadmium, manganese, zinc, iron, chromium, and copper.

Mercury levels in the human placenta correlate with the number of maternal amalgam fillings, and a substantial amount of mercury from amalgams reach the fetus. Mercury from dental amalgams in pregnant women may also contribute to development of autism in their children. Mothers of 94 autistic children had statistically more amalgam fillings during pregnancy than 49 mothers of normal controls. In contrast to their higher mercury exposure during pregnancy, these autistic children had reduced mercury levels in their first haircut. This may reflect a reduced capacity to excrete mercury from!.heir body, which in turn may lead to elevated brain mercury levels.

In a recent risk analysis it was suggested that the frequency of pathological side effects from amalgams due to genetically determined high sensitivity is about 1%. The German Commission on Human Biological Monitoring states that genetically susceptible persons may develop immunological reactions to amalgams. The portion of susceptible persons in the general public is about l%-4%. Approximately 20% of the general public may experience sub-clinical central nervous system and/or kidney function impairment due to amalgam fillings. Taken collectively, Lindvall suggests, these data question the safety of dental amalgams.

THE SCIENCE EFFECTS OF MERCUKY-THK DIO EFFECTS ARE REAL

Boyd Haley, PhD, from the University of Kentucky Medical Center, is a vociferous opponent of dental amalgams. A prodigious reading ol the toxicology literature and decades of his own research fuel his fervor. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded his research for 25 years until he began to seriously call into question safety of dental amalgams, the use of thimerosal in vaccines and their correlation with autism. The private Wallace Foundation, run by the son of President Truman’s vice-president Henry Wallace who died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and who had been frequently exposed to mercury-containing fungicide on grain, now funds his work.

Hr. Haley believes thnt fish is not as big n contributor to mercury toxicity in humans as amalgams because methylmercury is generally excreted quickly while mercury vapor lrom amalgams is not. He reported on the dramatic rise in autism rates, over 900% in less than a generation in California and 714% nationwide. The use ol drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) of all ages has increased 49% in the past 3 years, while their use has increased 369% in children under five years old. He reported on the dramatic increase in autism rates in California since the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine in 1990 and an increase in the overall vaccination schedule. In 1999, thimerosal was removed from vaccines as parents gained increased awareness of the issue. In the first three quarters of 2004 the data showed a decline in the incidence of autism in California for the first time.

Dr. Haley reported on the toxicity of thimerosal. It is quickly converted to ethylmercury in the body where it moves rapidly from blood to brain. Mercury is lipophilic and concentrates in the brain; therefore, blood levels are not an accurate measurement of total body burden of mercury. Genetic polymorphisms of glutathione disulfide (GSST) prevent excretion of mercury. Mercury can only be excreted when complexed with glutathione (GSH). If it cannot be eliminated because GSH or GSST is lacking, then the mercury stays in tissues and does damage. Thimersol inhibits methionine synthease and methylene reductase and thus has significant effects on the body’s ability to methylate and to produce glutathione.

Dr. Haley has observed that the lowest level of Hg is found in the birth hair of the most severely affected autistic children. The 4:1 ratio of autism in males:females may be in part due to the effects of testosterone on mercury excretion. Antibiotics also prevent excretion of mercury, and antibiotic use is higher among autistic children. Dr. Haley reported on striking data showing a synergistic effects of heavy metals: a (no response level) LD-I and LD-I lead and mercury = lethal dose (LD) 100!

Dr. Llaley’s website is http://www.testfoundation.org.

MERCURY AND AUTISM

Jane El Dahr, MD, is the Chief of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, Rheumatology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center. She reported on the increase in autism in the last decade, its correlation with the change in the vaccine schedule and explored in detail the autism-mercury hypothesis. Dr. El Dahr discussed the immunological parallels with autism and reviewed the epidemiological and toxicological research on thimerosal.

In California, rigorous standards for reporting of autism were in place because social benefits were tied to the accurate diagnosis, so the increases are very likely to be real. During the first 25 years, 6,527 cases of autism were reported; but it took only three years during the 1990s to add 6,596 additional cases. Erom 1987 to 1998 there was a 273% increase in autism cases in California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Autism released an “Autism Alarm” stating that one in 166 children in the U.S. have autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Currently, one-sixth of all children under the age of 18 have a developmental disability. That is nearly 20% of the population who may not be able to be productive members of society.

Much of the data she presented is available on http://www.safeminds.org.

The mercury-autism hypothesis was proposed in part due to the analysis of the actual doses of thimerosal received by children after the change in the vaccination schedule. In individuals with a genetic susceptibility, such as a defect in the enzymes responsible for detoxifying heavy metals, prenatal and early postnatal exposure to mercury leads to neurologic damage resulting in autistic symptoms. Acrodynia or pink baby syndrome from exposure to calomel or mercury in teething powder presented similarly to autism. Other potential sources of early exposure in the fetus or infant include maternal amalgams, fish consumption, eardrops, and nasal drops. Vaccines present a significant source of exposure in RhoGam, influenza vaccines during pregnancy, and childhood immunizations. The maximum exposure in the first six months of life is 187.5 micrograms of mercury, far exceeding limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These limits are set for methylmercury primarily from fish, not for ethylmercury from vaccines. Questions remain about the relative toxicity of each. According to the EPA, the “safe” daily level of mercury exposure for a 5 kg, 2-month-old infant is 0.5 micrograms or 0.1 micrograms per kg. The typical 2-month vaccination schedule includes diphtheria and tetanus (DtaP), Haemophilus infliicmac tybe B (Hib), and hepatitis B vaccines. Combined, these vaccines contain 62.5 micrograms of mercury or 125 times the EPA limits for a single-day exposure. It should be remembered that, like lead, there may be no safe level and children are more susceptible to toxic effects than adults.

Dr. El Dahr advises us that there may be large variations in genetic susceptibility to exposures. She also argues that there is a strong biologic plausibility to the mercury-autism hypothesis. Symptoms of mercury toxicity parallel autism. Beside the neurotoxic effects, there appears to be correlation between the immunopathology of both autism and mercury toxicity. She defines immunopathology to include immune deficiency and dysfunction with defective or ineffective responses, hypersensitivity with an overactive response out of proportion to potential damage and autoimmunity or inappropriate reaction to self. These specific immune abnormalities have been found in 30%-70% of autistic children.

She also reviewed the problematic Institute of Medicine recommendations and analysis of the thimerosal issue. Further information can be found at http://www.iom.edu.

HYPERBARIC OXYGEN TREATMENT

Paul Harch, MD, is Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Louisiana State University Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship and Hyperbaric Department at Medicine Center of Louisiana, New Orleans. He pioneered the application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for cerebral palsy and autism. He presented his data using Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) scan imaging pre and post HBOT for children from the autistic spectrum disorder. His results show both clinical and radiological improvement in brain function. He commented on the “oxygen paradox.” Contrary to expectation, he reported, highdose oxygen reduces oxidative stress. Mechanisms explored include the potential for LlBOT to influence DNA expression. Dr. Harch’s website is http://www.hyperbarics.org.

MERCURY IN CHILDREN: ASSESSMENT, DIAGNOSIS, AND TREATMENT

Stephanie Cave, MD, is on the Clinical Faculty of Louisiana State University Medical School, and since 1996 has treated over 2,300 children with autistic spectrum disorder. Her recent book, What Your Doctor May Not TcII You About Children’s Vaccinations, outlines the data and debate in this highly charged field.

Dr. Cave also reported on the increased incidence of autism in the last 30 years from 1/10,000 children to 1/150 children and 1/30 males in the United States.

The major toxicity from mercury, she reports, is its ability to tightly bind to the sulfhydryl groups enzymatic or structural proteins, severely inhibiting enzyme function and structural integrity. Ethylmercury from vaccines exceeds Wl 10, EPA, PDA, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) limits for exposure. The limits for an average 5 kg child range from 0.5 meg/day for the EPA and PDA, to 1.5 meg/day for ATSDR and 16.5 meg/week for WHO. The administration of the 2-month schedule for the average child as DTaP, 1 lib, Hep B is 62.5 meg, or 125 times the safe limits set by government agencies.

Dr. Case quoted Dr Boyd’s research on the paradoxically low levels of mercury (0.47 ppm in 94 cases vs 3.63 ppm in controls) in the first haircut of autistic children despite higher prenatal mercury exposure than controls from amalgams, fish consumption, and Rho D immunoglobulin. This implies an impaired detoxification and excretion capacity in autistic cases. Dr. Cave analyzed conflicting recommendations and reports from the CDC, and from epidemiologic reports concluding that there is a causal relationship between childhood vaccines containing thimerosal and nrurodevelopmental disorders in children. She critiqued the Lancet Study, which concluded no toxic effect from thimerosal for numerous reasons including small sample size (33), blood drawn on day 7, not true peak level on day 3, variability in amounts of thimerosal exposure, and reduced exposure compared to current vaccine schedules. The population-based cohort study from Denmark published in JAMA reported no increased risk of autism with thimerosal. The authors of the study were affiliated with the state-run Statcns Serum Institut. Eighty percent of its profits on $120 million in annual revenue is from vaccines. The methodology was also called into question because of inconsistencies in the reporting system.

A case control study of 221 children with autism and 18 controls found that after a DMSA challenge test, vaccinated autistic children had three times the level of mercury in their urine compared to controls.

Dr. Cave reviewed her clinical approach to dealing with ASD children. Besides a thorough developmental history, she does a laboratory evaluation including a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Metabolic panel 7 (SMA7), liver functions, cellular trace minerals and toxic metals, hair metals, pre- and postprovocation urinary metals, urine organic acids, stool analysis, amino acid and fatty acids panels, serum copper, plasma zinc (often finding an elevated copper:zinc ratio), serum ceruloplasmin, glutathione and sulfate levels, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) food allergies, myelin basic protein antibodies, and viral studies (Human Herpes virus 6 [HHV6], EBV, etc.).

Her common findings include low cellular minerals, elevated cellular metals, elevated auto antibodies, positive viral titers, low plasma sulfate and glutathione, impaired detoxification chemistry, low plasma amino acids and abnormal organic acids, low unsaturated fatty acids, low vitamin A, elevated coppenzinc ratio, elevated CD4 cells, low CD8 cells and elevated CD4/CD8 ratio, low natural killer (NK) cells, unbalanced gut flora, multiple Candida species, and parasites. Hair metals are often elevated except for mercury due to impaired detoxification and excretion.

Dr. Cave’s treatment protocols include casein, gluten, allergy- and seafood-free diets, removal of amalgam fillings, and detoxification support. Key to the treatment is careful detoxification of heavy metals after repletion of cellular nutrients, repair of gut dysfunction and enhancement of liver detoxification chemistry. Supplements and treatments may include multivitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA/GLA), antioxidants, selenium, xinc, magnesium, digestive enzymes, vitamins C, E, A, and CoQlO. Kowel ecology restoration may include antifungals, antibiotics, herbs, probiotics, and glutamine. Enhancement of liver detoxification is facilitated by Epsom salt baths (MgSO^sub 4^, magnesium sulfate creams, and oral, intravenous, or topical glutathione.

Mercury and other heavy metal detoxification is achieved after a DMSA provocation challenge of 20 mg/kg with a 10-hour urine collection. DMSA is given at a dose of 10 mg/kg every 8 hours for 3 days with 11 days off. The cycle is repeated 4 times, followed by another provocation challenge test.

Another critical aspect of autistic spectrum disorder is impaired methylation chemistry, which affects methylation of proteins, repair of DNA, as well as the synthesis of glutathione affecting detoxification, synthesis of membrane phospholipids and dopamine binding to CNS receptors. Collectively, these effects can explain much of the clinical manifestations of ASD. Multiple polymorphisms of the methionine cycle pathway affect methylation capacity including MTl IFR 667 C to T (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), combined MTHKK 677 C to T and 1298 A to C, and MTRR 66A to G (methionine synthase reductase). These are found at increased frequency in the autistic population. Mercury binds to methionine synthase causing severe downstream metabolic dysfunction, Because of these polymorphisms and the toxic effects on 1 Ig on these enzymes, the production of methylcobalamin impaired the entire methylation cycle leading to reduced levels of homocysteine, methylmalonic acid, glutathione, and more. Methylcobalamin (B12) has multiple neuroprotective functions including enhanced methylation facilitating phosphatidyl choline formation in membrane phospholipids, and prevention of nitric oxide toxicity, which protects neurons against NMDA receptor-mediated glutamate toxicity.

Mercury further exacerbates impairment in glutathione synthesis by depleting glutathione in lymphocytes and monocytes leading to increased risk of the immuno and cytotoxic effects of mercury. The impairment in glutathione synthesis through the inhibition of the methionine cycle and the depletion of intracellular glutathione is compounded further by the increased frequency of polymorphisms affecting glutathione antioxidant capacity such as glutathione-S-transferase Ml null (GSTMl null), glutathione-S-transferasc Tl null (GSTTl null), and a double null GST Ml and GST Tl polymorphism.

Dr. Cave presented a number of cases where these principles were applied with significant benefit and reductions in autistic symptoms.

MERCURY AND ADULT ILLNESS: FROM ALZHEIMER’S TO CARDIOMYOPATHY

Robert Nash, MD, is a practicing neurologist and the Chairman of the American Board of Metal Toxicology. After an overview, he reviewed mercury-associated diseases, mechanisms, controversies, and therapeutic options.

Major sources of mercury exposure include dental amalgams (vapor), fish (methylmercury), and vaccines (ethylmercury). Toxic effects, he suggests, spread across a broad spectrum of diseases including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neurodevelopmental diseases, nephrotoxicity, and cancer. Reporting on the review in the New England Journal of Medicine, he reports that the fetal brain is more susceptible than the adult brain to mercury-induced damage including the division and migration of neuronal cells and disruption of the cytoarchitecture of the developing brain.

The mechanism of mercury toxicity in the adult brain may be related to proteins involved in mercury excretion including glutathione, glutathione transferase, metallothionine, and Apo E. Glutathione carries Hg through biliary transport for excretion. Ug2+ rapidly oxidizes glutathione. Glutathione transferase is an enzyme that may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. However, most interesting were recent findings that Apo E 4 may increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease because it has an impaired ability to bind mercury and transport it from the brain. Apo E 4 has no binding sites for mercury because it contains arginine at both positions 112 and 158 of the lipoprotein. Apo E 2 has cysteine at both those sites enabling it to bind and transport mercury from the brain. Dr. Nash suggests that most if not all aberrant biochemistry in the Alzheimer’s brain can be mimicked by mercury. The diagnostic hallmarks of the Alzheimer’s brain can be produced by Hg concentrations lower than reported in human brain tissues. He further concludes that the biological plausibility of Hg as a causal factor in Alzheimer’s disease is more complete than thimerosal causation of autism.

Regarding amalgam fillings, Dr. Nash concludes that due to the enhancement of mercury toxicity and retention by factors found in the diet, antibiotics, other toxicants such as cadmium and lead, and genetic susceptibilities, no level of mercury exposure from amalgams can be considered without risk.

He also reviewed the literature linking mercury and cardiovascular disease. Two studies have reported increased risk of myocardial infarction while another has showed no risk. However, the data presented on idiopathic cardiomyopathy was among the most compelling. Biopsy samples found 12,000 times the level of antimony and 22,000 times the level of mercury in idiopathic cardiomyopathy compared to controls with viral, ischemic or hypertensive cardiomyopathy.

Mechanisms of toxicity include damage to DNA, RNA, mitochondria, enzymes, immunopathology and autoimmunity, and generation of oxidative stress. Mercury can act as a metabolic uncoupler, hapten or immune sensitizing small molecule, enzyme inhibitor. It also depletes glutathione and ascorbate, and inhibits thiamine (Bl) and pyridoxine (B6). Mercury can also affect the CNS by concentrating in the CSF and the kidney by reducing concentrating capacity. It can also inhibit GTP binding affecting brain tubulin microtubules reducing nerve function and communication, which can lead to the development of neurofibrillary tangles. Mercury also inhibits nerve growth, and passes easily through the placental barrier. Dopamineric activity in the brain is reduced with mercury.

Dr. Nash concluded on an optimistic note. First he suggests that there appears to be a subset of the population that cannot effectively excrete mercury and is at greater risk than the general population, and that this susceptibility is likely due to genetic differences, diet, exposure to other toxicants, antibiotics, etc. Given that susceptibility, he argues that mercury is a risk factor in many diseases, but can be safely measured, and the body detoxified, mitigating some of its toxic effects. He calls for a more research and improved detoxification agents.

References

Works Cited

1. Lindh U. Removal of dental amalgam and other metal alloys supported by aniioxidant therapy alleviates symptoms and improves quality of” life in patients with amalgamassociated ill health. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 2002; 23(5/6):459-482.

2. Stejskal V. Metal-specific lymphocytes: biomarkers of sensitivity in man. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 1999;20:289-298.

3. Mutter J. Amalgam studies: disregarding basic principles of mercury toxicity. In! J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 (27); 391-397.

4. Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE. Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children. MJ Toxicol. 2003 Jul-Aug;22(4):277-85.

5. S Bernard. Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning. Medical Hypothesis. 2001:56 (4): 462-471.

6. Holmes. Reduced Levels of Mercury in First Baby Haircuts of Autistic Children. In! J Toxicology. 22:277-285, 2003.

7. Geier M. Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines. Neurodevelopment Disorders and Heart Disease in the United States. J Amer Physic Surg 8(1), Spring 2003,6-11.

8. Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J. Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thimerosal: a descriptive study. Lancet. 2002 Nov 30;360(9347):1737-41.

9. Hviid A. Association between thimerosal containing vaccine and autism. JAMA. 2003; 290:1763-1766,

10. Rimland B, Bernard S. Letters. JAMA. 2004;291:180-181.

11. Bradstreet J. A case-control study of mercury burden in children with autistic spectrum disorders. J Amer Physic Surg. Volume 8, Numbers, Summer 2003,

12. Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ. The toxicology of mercury-current exposures and clinical manifestations. NEnglJMed. 2003 Oct 30;349(18): 1731-7.

13. Godfrey ME, Wojcik DP, Krone CA. Apolipoprotein F, genotyping as a potential biomarker for mercury neurotoxicity. J Alzheimers Dis. 2003 Jun;5(3):189-95.

14. Frustaci A, Magnavita N, Chimenti C, Caldarulo M, Sabbioni E, Pietra R, Cellini C, Possati GF, Maseri A. Marked elevation of myocardial trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy compared with secondary cardiac dysfunction. J Am Coll Cardiol 1999;33(6):1578-83.

AuthorAffiliation

Mark Hyman, MD

Mark H. Hyman, MD, is the Editor in Chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and Medical Director at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires.

Copyright InnoVision Communications Nov/Dec 2004

NOTE TO COPYRIGHT HOLDER, READERS AND PUBLISHERS:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Society for General Microbiology; Running out of treatments: the problem superbugs resistant to everything

NewsRx Health (Apr 14, 2008): 148.

Doctors are running out of treatments for today’s trauma victims and critically ill patients because of infections due to drug resistant microbes — even after resorting to using medicines thrown out 20 years ago because of severe side effects, scientists heard today (Tuesday 1 April 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

“Doctors in many countries have gone back to using old antibiotics that were abandoned 20 years ago because their toxic side effects were so frequent and so bad”, says Professor Matthew Falagas from the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts. “But superbugs like Acinetobacter have challenged doctors all over the world by now becoming resistant to these older and considered more dangerous medicines”.

“Even colistin, a polymyxin type antibiotic discovered 60 years ago, has recently been used as a salvage remedy to treat patients with Acinetobacter infections”, says Professor Falagas. “And it was successful for a while, but now it occasionally fails due to recent extensive use that has caused the bacteria to become resistant, leading to problem superbugs which are pan-drug resistant, in other words resistant to all available antibiotics”.

The Greek researchers have also shown in new data analyses that Acinetobacter is a more serious threat than previously thought — it doesn’t just cause severe infections, it kills many more patients than doctors had realised. Acinetobacter can cause pneumonia, skin and wound infections and in some cases meningitis.

The scientists have also identified a whole range of drug resistant strategies being used by the bacteria, including the production of compounds which can inactivate the drug treatments, cell pumps that can bail out the drug molecules from inside bacterial cells making them ineffective, and mutating the drug target sites making the drug molecules miss or fail to latch onto the specific regions of the bacterial cells that they were aiming for.

“There have already been severe problems with critically ill patients due to Acinetobacter baumannii infections in various countries”, says Matthew Falagas. “In some cases we have simply run out of treatments and we could be facing a pandemic with important public health implications”.

Keywords: Acinetobacter Infections, Antibiotics, Antimicrobial Resistance, Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedicine, Colistin, Drug Development, Drug Resistance, Therapy, Treatment, Society for General Microbiology.

This article was prepared by NewsRx Health editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2008, NewsRx Health via NewsRx.com.

(c)Copyright 2008, NewsRx Health via VerticalNews.com

NOTE TO COPYRIGHT HOLDER, READERS AND PUBLISHERS:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Boston University College of Engineering; Low levels of antibiotics cause multidrug resistance in ‘superbugs’

Anonymous. NewsRx Health (Mar 7, 2010): 108.

2010 MAR 7 – (VerticalNews.com) — For years, doctors have warned patients to finish their antibiotic prescriptions or risk a renewed infection by a “superbug” that can mount a more powerful defense against the same drug. But a new study by Boston University biomedical engineers indicates that treating bacteria with levels of antibiotics insufficient to kill them produces germs that are cross-resistant to a wide range of antibiotics.

In the Feb. 12 issue of Molecular Cell, research led by Boston University Professor James J. Collins details for the first time the biomolecular process that produces superbugs. When administered in lethal levels, antibiotics trigger a fatal chain reaction within the bacteria that shreds the cell’s DNA. But, when the level of antibiotic is less than lethal the same reaction causes DNA mutations that are not only survivable, but actually protect the bacteria from numerous antibiotics beyond the one it was exposed to.

“In effect, what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger,” said Collins, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “These findings drive home the need for tighter regulations on the use of antibiotics, especially in agriculture; for doctors to be more disciplined in their prescription of antibiotics; and for patients to be more disciplined in following their prescriptions.”

Two years ago, Collins – together with graduate student Michael Kohanski and post-doctoral fellow Mark DePristo — proved that when applied in lethal doses, antibiotics stimulate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules, or free radicals that damage DNA, protein and lipids in bacterial cells, contributing to their demise. In the new study, the same co-authors demonstrated that the free radicals produced by a sub-lethal dose of an antibiotic accelerate mutations that protect against a variety of antibiotics other than the administered drug.

“We know free radicals damage DNA, and when that happens, DNA repair systems get called into play that are known to introduce mistakes, or mutations,” said Collins. “We arrived at the hypothesis that sub-lethal levels of antibiotics could bump up the mutation rate via the production of free radicals, and lead to the dramatic emergence of multi-drug resistance.”

Testing their hypothesis on strains of E. coli and Staphylococcus, the researchers administered sub-lethal levels of five kinds of antibiotics and showed that each boosted levels of ROS and mutations in the bacterial DNA. They next conducted a series of experiments to show that bacteria initially subjected to a sub-lethal dose of one of the antibiotics exhibited cross-resistance to a number of the other antibiotics. Finally, they sequenced the genes known to cause resistance to each antibiotic and pinpointed the mutations that protected the bacteria. Ironically, the researchers discovered that in some cases the bacteria were still be susceptible to the original antibiotic.

“The sub-lethal levels dramatically drove up the mutation levels, and produced a wide array of mutations,” Collins observed. “Because you’re not killing with the antibiotics, you’re allowing many different types of mutants to survive. We discovered that in this zoo of mutants, you can actually have a mutant that could be killed by the antibiotic that produced the mutation but, as a result of its mutation, be resistant to other antibiotics.”

The group’s findings underscore the potentially serious consequences to public health of administering antibiotics in low or incomplete doses. This is common practice among farmers who apply low levels of antibiotics to livestock feed; doctors who prescribe low levels of antibiotics as placebos for people with viral infections; and patients who don’t follow the full course of antibiotic treatment.

The study’s findings may ultimately lead to the development of new antibiotic treatments enhanced with compounds designed to prevent the emergence of multi-drug resistance. For example, one potential treatment might inhibit the DNA damage repair systems that lead to the problematic mutations, while another might boost production of cell-destroying free radicals so that a low dose of antibiotic is sufficient to kill targeted bacterial cells.

Keywords: Agricultural, Agriculture, Antibacterial, Antibiotic, Antimicrobial Resistance, Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedicine, Drug Development, Drug Resistance, Engineering, Livestock, Therapy, Treatment, Boston University College of Engineering.

This article was prepared by NewsRx Health editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2010, NewsRx Health via NewsRx.com.

(c)Copyright 2010, NewsRx Health via NewsRx.com

NOTE TO COPYRIGHT HOLDER, READERS AND PUBLISHERS:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Posted: December 29, 2012 in News

PN

108morris108
December 28, 2012

The West Is Creating And Supporting Extremism

The West needs an enemy so it can enslave its own people

This is the second part (in the order I am uploading) of a three part interview

View original post

PN

108morris108
December 27, 2012

Intellectuals are targeted by sophisticated snipers – using computers and cameras

Travelling from Homs is difficult – it is not known who is manning the road blocks

This is the first part of a multi part interview by Professor Mohammad Al-Ahmad

View original post

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/12/2012122925119331765.html?utm_content=automate&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=NewSocialFlow&utm_term=plustweets&utm_medium=MasterAccount President Barack Obama has signed a law to counter Iran’s alleged influence in Latin America, through a new diplomatic and political strategy to be designed by the State Department, the AFP news agency reported. Enacted on Friday, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, calls for the State Department to develop a plan within 180 days to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity”. Although the strategy is confidential and only accessible to lawmakers, it must contain a public summary. The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at US borders with Canada and Mexico to “prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps], its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the Untied States.” And within Latin American countries, the text provides for a multi-agency action plan to provide security in those countries, along with a “counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation plan” to isolate Iran and its allies. Washington has repeatedly stated it is closely monitoring Tehran’s activities in Latin America, though senior State Department and intelligence officials have indicated there is no apparent indication of illicit activities by Iran. Iran, placed under a series of international sanctions because of its suspected nuclear weapons programme, has opened six new embassies in the region since 2005 – bringing the total to 11 – and 17 cultural centers. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made regular visits to Latin America, though he only toured the region twice this year. Read the full report here

http://wlcentral.org/node/1418 The following brief was submitted to the meeting outlined here by WL Central: On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter. Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members. Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp solicitor from NSW, the latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians reprinted here with their permission. The following brief was submitted to the meeting by Jennifer Robinson of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent. She is part of the legal team representing Julian Assange in the extradition proceedings requested by Sweden. Jennifer Robinson’s biography. 1. I am writing to you to provide a briefing for the meeting of members of Federal Parliament on Wednesday 2 March 2011 regarding the case against Julian Assange. This briefing note sets out the timeline of events and the human rights concerns that we have raised in relation to Julian’s case in Sweden. 2. Julian is facing extradition to Sweden pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). He is currently electronically tagged and held under virtual house arrest, having spent nine days in solitary confinement in a London prison for a crime that he has not been charged with and in relation to allegations that he emphatically denies. 3. It is mutually concerning that an Australian citizen like Julian has been treated in ways which would not accord with the standards of Australian law or indeed international law. As I set out in this note, if he is extradited to Sweden, he will be held incommunicado, in solitary confinement, and without bail for several months and then tried in secret on allegations which are weak and which would not constitute a crime in Australia or in the UK. In such event, it can be predicted that Australians will be outraged and that considerable damage will eventuate in respect of relations between Australia and Sweden. 4. It is hoped that this briefing note will act as a resource for concerned Australian MPs to raise questions and to take action on Julian’s behalf. Read the full report here

http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/205-wikileaks/16189-bradley-manning-the-small-man-who-wrote-big Bradley Manning’s crime is of revealing the truth about how the US carries on its business around the world, committing crimes against humanity on a gross scale. For a crime such as his there must be no mercy. He is charged by the US military with sending hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and videos and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, while working as an intelligence analyst in the US army in Baghdad in 2008 and 2009. If he is found guilty, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. He was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and then, in July that year, he was transferred to the US Marine Brig in Quantico, Virginia, where he was put in maximum security, designated a suicide risk, and kept in solitary confinement whilst forced to sleep naked, without covers. A military court was told about the harsh conditions in which Private Manning was held after his arrest at pre-trial hearings in Ft. Meade, Maryland. He had been tortured and held incommunicado illegally and in terrible conditions by the US government, for more than 900 days. Such was the international concern that 295 academics, including prominent American legal scholars, signed a letter arguing that the detention conditions violated the US Constitution; as a result, later that month the Pentagon transferred him to Fort Leavenworth, where he was allowed to interact with other detainees. He is still waiting for his court-martial, which is due to take place in March 2013. Collateral Murder It isn’t just embarrassment that has led to the determination of the US government to punish and destroy Manning (and Julian Assange and the whole Wikileaks machine). After the video Collateral Murder was made public – documented in the Iraq War Logs, which exposes the sheer brutality and hypocrisy of the US government in its so-called ‘War on Terror’ – the Iraqis refused to exempt US forces from prosecution for future crimes. Writing on the Foreign Policy Journal website in March this year, William Blum asserted that: “The insistence of the Iraqi government on legal jurisdiction over American soldiers for violations of Iraqi law — something the United States rarely, if ever, accepts in any of the many countries where its military is stationed — forced the Obama administration to pull the remaining American troops from the country… Besides playing a role in writing finis to the awful Iraq war, the Wikileaks disclosures helped to spark the Arab Spring, beginning in Tunisia.” Whatever the actual relationship between the leaks and the Arab Spring, it’s no wonder the US government is annoyed, having the truth revealed has given them lots of extra problems. For former establishment economist and critic of the ‘War on Terror’, Paul Craig Roberts, Bradley Manning is a problem, because he “complied with his oath of office, with the US Military Code, with the Nuremberg standards set by the US government, with the strictures expressed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George W. Bush administration, and with his own conscience.” But messing up plans for an imperialist nation to achieve world domination is a really big no-no. On Nov 9 Manning testified in federal court about his treatment, which was not covered by the US media (although it has been extensively covered elsewhere). It is apparent that the American public must be shielded from the truth, that a soldier’s oath of office, that the US Military Code, that the Nuremberg standards set by the US government – in fact the Constitution of the United States – have now become meaningless verbiage. William Blum sums up the lesson and message for American soldiers: “If Manning had committed war crimes in Iraq instead of exposing them, he would be a free man today, as are the many hundreds/thousands of American soldiers guilty of truly loathsome crimes in cities like Haditha, Fallujah, and other places whose names will live in infamy in the land of ancient Mesopotamia.” “I want people to see the truth” Ironically, the US military unwittingly allowed the situation to develop in which the obscene practices it was using in the ‘War on Terror’ could be disclosed to the whole world. Early in his basic training in the US army Manning was sent to the discharge unit because of the opinion of another soldier that he, Manning, was having a breakdown – he was being badly bullied, and was fighting back by screaming back at the drill sergeants when they screamed at him (he became known as ‘General Manning’). The army was aware from the start that he had emotional problems (he was an openly gay man and had been bullied throughout his life, at school, at work as well as in the army, for being effeminate and very small – only 5′ 2″ tall – and suffered from what is called gender identity disorder). The decision to discharge him was revoked because there was a shortage of intelligence analysts in the army. He was subsequently promoted to a high level status in the military intelligence sector, which gave him access to extremely sensitive data. According to Associated Press: “Defense lawyers say Manning was clearly a troubled young soldier whom the Army should never have deployed to Iraq or given access to classified material while he was stationed there … They say he was in emotional turmoil, partly because he was a gay soldier at a time when homosexuals were barred from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces,” But from Manning’s own words from an on-line chat: “If you had free reign over classified networks … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? … God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. … I want people to see the truth … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Read the full report here

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-29/jakarta-sinks-as-water-supplies-dry-up/4447022

Related Story: Indonesia climate efforts surpass Australia
Map: Indonesia

Experts in Indonesia are preparing to build a huge wall to stop the ocean from swamping parts of Jakarta.

Some suburbs in the capital already go underwater when there is a big tide but the problem is expected to get even worse.

Jakarta is sinking by up to 10 centimetres a year and Indonesia’s national disaster centre says with oceans rising, large parts of the city, including the airport, will be inundated by 2030.

Flooding and high tides are already causing problems for some residents in the city of 10 million people.

Kartoyo’s roadside food stall is swimming in about 30 centimetres of water.

“It has been easier,” he said.

“This kind of flood is manageable but hopefully it won’t get higher.”

“The people here before, they couldn’t even go to the market because of the flood and the children couldn’t go to school.”

In 2009 the council built a small sea wall, but the ocean still pushes its way up through the drains and into homes.

But while some suburbs still go under and the roads are rivers, residents across town have the opposite problem.
Audio: Listen to George Roberts’ report (AM)

Juriah lives next to a new development, one of the many pushing skywards as Indonesia’s economy booms, but the water supply to her suburb has disappeared.

“Because the development project next door sucks up all the water, the water stopped since the project started – about three months ago. That’s what caused it I think,” she said.

“I use a small water pump, and no water flows.

“In the beginning there was a little water but in the end it just stopped.”
‘Extensive flooding’

As developers suck up the watertable it dries out and the city slumps into the empty cavity.

“From our observations, since the 1960s the ground water has declined around 30 metres,” the head of water resources at Indonesia’s energy and mineral resources ministry, Dodid Murdohardono, said.

“The decline of ground water causes pressure in the groundwater lining and that’s why Jakarta is sinking.”

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, an expert hydrologist with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, says if the problem is not remedied, it could have massive consequences.

“If this continues, the area will have permanent flooding will increase especially with the additional increase of sea level in Jakarta Bay or the Java Sea, which is around seven millimetres per year,” he said.

Read the full report here