Archive | July, 2012

Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria | The Guardian

31 Jul

From TheGuardian.com “Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria”

“In his latest exclusive dispatch from Deir el-Zour province, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets fighters who have left the Free Syrian Army for the discipline and ideology of global jihad.”

a man sprays an Arabic slogan - No Islam without Jihad - on a wall

A member of a jihadist group sprays the slogan ‘No Islam without Jihad’ in Arabic on the wall at a border crossing with Turkey. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

“As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder’s men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.

They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs.

According to Abu Khuder, his men are working closely with the military council that commands the Free Syrian Army brigades in the region. “We meet almost every day,” he said. “We have clear instructions from our [al-Qaida] leadership that if the FSA need our help we should give it. We help them with IEDs and car bombs. Our main talent is in the bombing operations.” Abu Khuder’s men had a lot of experience in bomb-making from Iraq and elsewhere, he added.

Abu Khuder spoke later at length. He reclined on a pile of cushions in a house in Mohassen, resting his left arm which had been hit by a sniper’s bullet and was wrapped in plaster and bandages. Four teenage boys kneeled in a tight crescent in front of him, craning their necks and listening with awe. Other villagers in the room looked uneasy.”

Read the rest of the article at The Guardian

 

Syrian Rebels Fly Al Qaeda Flag  (YouTube & thetimetimes.com)

U.S. Aiding Syrian Rebels, Al Qaeda Aiding Syrian Rebels, Syria Says US Allied to Terrorists (thetimetimes.com)

BBC Busted for Anti-Syrian Gov Propaganda, U.S. Warns of Military Intervention, Narrative Changing (thetimetimes.com)

Human Atrocities in Syria Reach A New Level of Brutality, Who Is Really Responsible? (thetimetimes.com)

Iran-Contra Documentaries and Seymour Hersh 2007 Video: Iran-Contra Has Returned, U.S. Funds Al Qaeda (thetimetimes.com)

Reuters: Russia Condemns Syria Attacks, Sees Foreign Hand (thetimetimes.com)

U.N. monitors say 13 killed in cold blood in Syria & Other Syria News | Reuters (thetimetimes.com)

IMPORTANT! Al Qaeda Bomb Plot: Would-Be Bomber Was CIA Informant; Break Down of US Terrorist Involvement (thetimetimes.com)

U.S. Aiding Syrian Rebels, Al Qaeda Aiding Syrian Rebels, Syria Says US Allied to Terrorists (thetimetimes.com)

Leading Cause of Unnatural Human Death in 20th Century is Democide – You Have No Right To Health or Government & Police Protection (thetimetimes.com)

Infectious Disease Expert Gives Insight on Flu Vaccine in New Novel, We Should Pay Attention

26 Jul

Ebola virus. From wikipedia.

When I read this article about Dr. Tim Kuberski’s new book “The Trembling Flu” based on his experiences in the field as an infectious disease expert and clinician, I immediately thought of a book I am currently reading called “The Final Jihad.” Four years prior to the OKC bombing, it was written by Martin Keating, brother of Frank Keating, the Oklahoma City Mayor at the time of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Under Reagan, Frank Keating was appointedto serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and later was elevated to United States Associate Attorney General, making Keating the third ranking official in the justice and treasury departments, and highest ranking Oklahoman during the Reagan administration, overseeing many agencies, such as United States Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, all 94 United States Attorneys, the United States role in Interpol and the United States Secret Service. Keating was also the highest ranking Oklahoman in the federal government under President George H.W. Bush. Apparently, because of Keating’s connections, his brother Martin was privy to confidential documents that he then used to write his prophetic story.

In The Final Jihad, Martin Keating writes about a key terrorist in his fictional novel named Tom McVey, and at one point in the story McVey is pulled over for a broken tail light by an Oklahoma highway patrolman.  Coincidentally, on the morning of the OKC bombing, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by a state trooper for a missing license plate.

From goodread.com

The Final Jihad is a prophetic blueprint, a warning of horrifying upcoming acts of terrorism targeted against the United States. It’s a wake-up call no one should ignore.

The Final Jihad brings readers, for the first time, actual intelligence gathered by espionage operatives worldwide. It has been fashioned into a blockbuster novel by Martin Keating, who employs “predictive analysis” of classified information-the same technique used by government security agencies to anticipate terrorist assaults. The plans, strategies, and assassination techniques of the terror masters in this book are real. Their chemical and biological tools of destruction are real. And their ever-increasing threat to our survival is real.

If Keating was able to formulate accurate predictions just by viewing documents, think what a specialist that has worked in the infectious disease field could bring to light. I have seen some interesting news articles regarding disease and outbreaks. Besides the various news reports on infectious disease, there was also the 2010 Rockefeller paper predictions of pandemic. I suppose we’ll just have to watch and see if Dr. Kuberski’s novel becomes a reality.

“Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development

In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain — originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains…”
“The pandemic blanketed the planet — though disproportionate numbers died in Africa,
Southeast Asia, and Central America, where the virus spread like wildfire in the absence
of official containment protocols. But even in developed countries, containment was a challenge. The United States’s initial policy of “strongly discouraging” citizens from flying
proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the U.S. but across borders. However, a few countries did fare better — China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter postpandemic recovery.”

“China’s government was not the only one that took extreme measures to protect its citizens from risk and exposure. During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems — from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty — leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power.”

“Criminal networks also grew highly skilled at counterfeiting licit goods through reverse engineering. Many of these “rip-offs” and copycats were of poor quality or downright dangerous. In the context of weak health systems, corruption, and inattention to standards — either within countries or from global bodies like the World Health Organization — tainted vaccines entered the public health systems of several African countries. In 2021, 600 children in Cote d’Ivoire died from a bogus Hepatitis B vaccine, which paled in comparison to the scandal sparked by mass deaths from a tainted anti-malarial drug years later. The deaths and resulting scandals sharply affected public confidence in vaccine delivery…”

Mutant bird flu would be airborne, scientists say (cnn.com)

Here’s what it takes to make a deadly virus transmissible through the air: as few as five genetic mutations, according to a new study.

This research, published in the journal Science, is the second of two controversial studies to finally be released that examines how the H5N1 bird flu virus can be genetically altered and transmitted in mammals. Publication of both studies had been delayed many months due to fears that the research could be misused and become a bio-security threat.

Bird Flu: Flown the Coop (economist.com)

“SOME said Ron Fouchier’s work would help fend off a pandemic. Others called it a terrorist’s cookbook. Authorities on either side of the Atlantic spent months examining the research. Now the rest of the world can read it, too. In a paper just published in Science, Dr Fouchier explains how bird flu might adapt to spread easily from person to person. The publication caps a long fight over whether the paper’s benefits outweighed its risks. But this controversy will not be the last.”

MRSA Outbreak Hits Cheerleader at New Mexico High School (abc.com)

“One female cheerleader was sickened with the antibiotic-resistant infection MRSA and 12 others tested positive for staph and were treated with antibiotics at Belen High School in New Mexico.

The sometimes lethal bacteria was probably spread on mats in the wrestling and weight room, which is also used for the cheerleaders.”

Video Laurie Garrett on studying pandemics: Dual uses for avian flu research (economist.com)

Congress investigates air leak, possible safety lapses at CDC lab (cnn.com)

“Washington (CNN) — It’s a highly secured, sophisticated research lab studying deadly diseases such as bird flu, monkeypox, tuberculosis and rabies.

It’s in a facility called Building 18, which cost taxpayers $214 million.

And now, the Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is also the subject of a congressional investigation after a potentially dangerous airflow leak at that lab, CNN has learned.”

Families Fighting Flu (vaccinews.net)

Flesh-Eating Bacteria No Cause for Panic, Experts Say (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news)

California Researcher Dies From Infection He Studied (abcnews.com)

“The death of a 25-year-old researcher studying a sinister strain of bacteria has highlighted the hazards of infectious disease research.

The man, whose name has not been released, died Saturday at the San Francisco VA Medical Center from a meningococcal infection he may have acquired while working at the hospital the day before.”

ANAHEIM POLICE SHOOT AT WOMEN AND CHILDREN, UNLEASH K-9 ATTACK DOG

24 Jul

Everyone is focused on the joker nut ball, who is strangely not as spry and nimble as he was the day he wielded three guns, wounding 58 and killing 12. Meanwhile, US police officers ARE SHOOTING at WOMEN AND CHILDREN …in AMERICA…in 2012.

ANAHEIM POLICE SHOOT AT WOMEN AND CHILDREN, UNLEASH K-9 ATTACK DOG – YouTube.

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Deadly police shooting in Anaheim sparks violent protests – NBC News

23 Jul

Photo: Mindy Schauer/Orange County Register

“The deadly police shooting of an unarmed man in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday sparked a series of violent protests over the weekend, aggravating already high tensions between police and citizens.

More than a hundred residents of northeastern Anaheim reacted to the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Manuel Diaz by police by setting fire to garbage dumpsters in the street and throwing bottles at police officers Saturday night.

Police fired pepper balls and bean bags to control the crowd. The unrest escalated when a police dog escaped a squad car through an open window and bit at least two people. Five people were arrested.

The protests continued on Sunday, with dozens of people lining the streets outside police headquarters and then storming into the lobby chanting “shame,” “no justice, no peace,” and “cops, pigs and murderers,” as officials went into a press conference regarding the controversial shooting.

Protesters said they wanted to know what threat Diaz posed to officers.

The protest at the Anaheim Police Department was the latest in a series of actions by families of shooting victims, some of whom have been holding weekly protests for nearly two years at police headquarters in Orange County, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said two officers were placed on paid leave after one of them shot Diaz around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Welter said officers were patrolling a neighborhood in northeastern Anaheim when they approached three men allegedly acting suspiciously in an alley, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.

As police started questioning Diaz, who was standing outside a car talking to the two men inside, the car drove off and Diaz started running. Police chased him down and shot him.

“He was shot first in the back, but he was down,” Diaz’s mother, Genevieve Huizar, told NBCLosAngeles.com through tears Sunday, “then they shot him a second time. They shot him in the head.”

Welter said he can’t say why police shot Diaz during the chase, but he did confirm no weapon was found at the crime scene.

“At this time, there’s no information that he was armed when he was shot,” Welter said at a press conference, “but we don’t know what was thrown away as he was running away from the officers, and that was not found, according to the district attorney’s office.”

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait called for an independent probe into a fatal police shooting, asking the state attorney general’s office to get involved.

“Transparency is essential,” Tait said during a press conference at the Anaheim Police Department. “The investigation will seek the truth, and whatever the truth is, we will own it.”

Anaheim was one of six California cities with populations greater than 100,000 that saw a big spike in violent crime last year, according to an analysis of FBI crime data released in June.”
Watch the video here

Read the rest of the article here at nbcnews.com

Twitter Campaign Turns London Eye Into Olympic-Sized Mood Ring | Slate.com

23 Jul

Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images

From slate.com

If you want to know how people are feeling about the 2012 Olympic Games, just watch that giant Ferris wheel that looms over the River Thames in London. Once a night, the London Eye will light up in a pattern that reflects the prevailing sentiment about the games among Twitter users that day. Positive tweets will turn the thing yellow, negative ones purple.

If it sounds like an epic MIT student prank crossed with a bizarre corporate social media campaign, that’s because that’s pretty much what it is. EDF Energy, a major UK energy company and sponsor of the London Eye, hired a team of MIT engineers to develop an algorithm that scans Olympics-related tweets and assigns them points based on the intensity of positive or negative sentiment expressed therein. If the tweets are, say, 75 percent positive, the London Eye will turn 75 percent yellow.

How does it know what tweets are positive? According to the Telegraph, the algorithm checks the tweets against a library of some 2,750 words and phrases, including emoticons and non-standard English expressions like “omg” and, uh, “totes amazeballs.” Punctuation marks and intensifiers like “very” get factored in as well.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/five_ring_circus/2012/07/23/london_eye_twitter_a_social_media_campaign_has_transformed_the_english_landmark_into_an_olympic_sized_mood_ring_.html

Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions -The Associated Press

23 Jul

Marine Corps creates law enforcement battalions

By JULIE WATSON

Associated Press

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — The Marine Corps has created its first law enforcement battalions – a lean, specialized force of military police officers that it hopes can quickly deploy worldwide to help investigate crimes from terrorism to drug trafficking and train fledgling security forces in allied nations.

 

The Corps activated three such battalions last month. Each is made up of roughly 500 military police officers and dozens of dogs. The Marine Corps has had police battalions off and on since World War II but they were primarily focused on providing security, such as accompanying fuel convoys or guarding generals on visits to dangerous areas, said Maj. Jan Durham, commander of the 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

 

The idea behind the law enforcement battalions is to consolidate the military police and capitalize on their investigative skills and police training, he said. The new additions come as every branch in the military is trying to show its flexibility and resourcefulness amid defense cuts.

 

Marines have been increasingly taking on the role of a street cop along with their combat duties over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they have been in charge of training both countries’ security forces. Those skills now can be used as a permanent part of the Marine Corps, Durham said.

 

The war on terror has also taught troops the importance of learning how to gather intelligence, secure evidence and assist local authorities in building cases to take down criminal networks. Troops have gotten better at combing raid sites for clues to help them track insurgents.

They also have changed their approach, realizing that marching into towns to show force alienates communities. Instead, they are being taught to fan out with interpreters to strike up conversations with truck drivers, money exchangers, cellphone sellers and others. The rapport building can net valuable information that could even alert troops about potential attacks.

Read the rest: News from The Associated Press.

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