Saturday, May 29, 2010

Radical plan to privatise motorway network which could pave the way for toll system

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:39 PM on 23rd May 2010

The battered public finances could be boosted by a radical plan to raise £100billion by privatising Britain's motorway network.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has signalled that he is open to the idea, which would dwarf the rail privatisations of the 1990s.

Mr Cable said he had 'no ideological opposition' to major asset sales, which could also see Channel 4 and the Met Office disposed of to raise cash.

Last year, Gordon Brown began the process of a fresh round of privatisations, announcing asset sales of £16billion, including the Tote, the Dartford Crossing and the student loan book.

M40 Motorway near Uxbridge which has lights on during the day.

Under the privatised road scheme, toll companies and infrastructure funds would compete to operate and maintain stretches of the road network currently in the hands of the Highways Agency

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat

Business Secretary Vince Cable has signalled that he is open to the idea, which would dwarf the rail privatisations of the 1990s

Under the privatised road scheme, toll companies and infrastructure funds would compete to operate and maintain stretches of the road network currently in the hands of the Highways Agency.

They would take them over on behalf of the government under long-term contracts.

Motorists would not pay tolls to use existing roads that are privatised. Instead the government would be committed to paying the contractor based on a formula linked to the number of vehicles using the route.

The scheme would be similar to the private finance initiative schemes used to build schools and hospitals and the rail infrastructure.

The RAC Foundation, a motorists' group, has advocated privatisation.

Details proposals for the sell-off were drawn up before the election by NM Rothschild, the influential investment bank, which was the architect of several previous privatisations, and handed to all three main political parties.

Mr Cable, speaking about the Rothschild plan, said: 'I thought the principle was right. I think the principle in that report, which is using assets more creatively, is something we have to look at across government.

'There is no ideological opposition to asset sales. If we can get good value for money for something, then we will look at it. There is undoubtedly potential for releasing an income stream from government assets. There are no inhibitions; we want value for money and we want income.'

Don’t fall for super tax phony “debate”—

Nationalise Australia’s resources

The resource super tax debate sparked by the Henry tax review is completely phony, because only fully nationalising our resources will stop Australia being looted by the British Crown’s global raw materials cartel, declared Citizens Electoral Council leader, and candidate for Wills, Craig Isherwood today.

“This is a phony debate, because both sides look at our national resources from a purely monetarist standpoint, i.e. how much money can be extracted from them, rather than how those raw materials are deployed in the productive process, here in Australia and overseas,” Mr Isherwood said.

“Australia lets Rio Tinto and BHP use their global duopoly status in iron ore to charge as much money as they can, which drives up the cost of steel—the commodity which is essential to the function of practically every aspect of human life.

“All resources are looked at the same way—making paper money out of them through monopoly, extortion or speculation is more important than what those resources are essential to do.”

He said the Rudd government is doing the same thing with its resource super tax:

“Rudd has bankrupted Australia to bail out the banks, and he’s looking at extracting money out of the resource sector to fill the hole.

“He actually wants Rio and BHP and the rest to keep screwing the world for using these essential raw materials, because he wants them to make the ridiculous super profits so he can tax them.”

The CEC National Secretary reiterated his longstanding call for Australia’s resources to be nationalised:

“The only way for Australia to assert its sovereignty over its own resources, is to kick out the Queen’s Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and the other members of the Anglo-Dutch raw materials cartel, and nationalise the industry,” he said.

“We must develop and deploy those resources where they are needed in a reindustrialised Australian economy, and into our Asian-region neighbours through long-term, government-to-government contracts.

“Let’s go back to ‘old’ Labor’s patriotic fight for sovereignty, not seen since Whitlam’s Minerals and Energy Minister Rex Connor’s vow to ‘buy back the farm’.”

Exporting raw materials steals from Australia

Just one of the important reasons for nationalising the resource sector, Mr Isherwood insisted, is that when the industry exports mainly raw materials, with no value-adding, it robs Australia of wealth in the form of jobs and industries.

He cited then Prime Minister John Gorton’s 23rd January, 1970 Federal Cabinet submission for the establishment of the Australian Industry Development Corporation (AIDC), which proposed to use the Federal Government’s credit rating to borrow funds for capital investment in processing raw materials in Australia. Using the example of one million tons of bauxite, the submission* showed that:

exporting the primary product earned: $5 million
exporting after converting into alumina: $27 million
exporting after converting into aluminium: $120 million
exporting aluminium products earned: $600 million!

“These figures show that our current so-called mining ‘boom’ is actually looting Australia to death,” Mr Isherwood said.

He concluded, “Only nationalising the sector, will ensure the mining and processing of our raw materials is conducted in the national interest, and in the interest of future generations.”

* John Gorton: he did it his way, by Ian Hancock, p. 267.

IBM Patent Application Describes "Intelligent" Stop Lights That Turn Off Cars
Shane McGlaun (Blog) - May 26, 2010 10:13 AM

(Source: Damjan Stankovic via Relogik.com)

IBM patent goes Big Brother

Running red lights and failure to stop leads to untold numbers of traffic accidents around the world. Sitting at a red light with cars idling also burns fuel that really isn’t needed.

IBM has filed a patent application that outlines a system that would turn the motors of a car off at a traffic light to conserve fuel. Few will take issue with green technology that conserves fuel, saves them money, and reduces pollution. However, there is a dark side to the patent application that privacy advocates will not like.

The system IBM is proposing has to have access to the engine of the vehicles at the light to stop the engine. With access to the engine, the traffic lights can not only stop the engine of a driver's car, but it can also determine the duration that the engine is stopped and then when the light is over it can start the motors of the cars up in sequential order so the first cars at the light get to go first. The system would use GPS data to know where vehicles were located at the light.

The patent application reads:

Vehicle fuel consumption is a major component of global energy consumption. With increasing vehicle usage, there may be more traffic and longer wait times at traffic signals (e.g., at a traffic intersection or a railway crossing). Fuel may be wasted when drivers keep their vehicles running while waiting for the traffic signal to turn "green" or waiting for a train to pass at a railway crossing. Most drivers may not switch off their engines in these situations. Drivers who do switch off their engines may do so inefficiently. For example, a driver may switch off the engine, only to start it up a short time later. In such cases, more fuel may be consumed in restarting the engine. Some traffic signals may have clocks that indicate remaining durations before the signals change. However, drivers in vehicles waiting at the back of the queue may not be able to view the clock.

There are other aspects of this technology that the patent application doesn't spell out. For instance, this system would make it impossible for a driver to run a red light. There could also be safety issues to a system such as this. For instance, what if a driver had a medical emergency and the light turned off the car making it impossible to reach a hospital. The system would require software and hardware be installed on vehicles at an unknown cost.

Energy companies can disconnect power to hard-up families under new laws

power lines electricity

Welfare groups are pushing for tough laws which prevent electricity companies from disconnecting power to people who can't pay their bills / AP Source: AP

  • Welfare groups want rules toughened
  • Electricity is "an essential service"
  • Number of complaints surge across country

POWER companies will be permitted to disconnect customers too poor to pay their bills, under the first national consumer energy law to be signed off by the states and territories next month.

Welfare and consumer groups want the legislation toughened to ban companies from cutting off electricity purely on the grounds of a customer's incapacity to pay.

The Australian Council of Social Service regards electricity as an essential service, The Australian reported.

"Anyone can end up in hardship even temporarily -- you lose your job, you get sick, your partner dies," ACOSS senior policy officer Tony Westmore said yesterday.

"Rather than be disconnected, you should have some assistance to help you pay it off."

Victoria's Energy and Water Ombudsman, Fiona McLeod, is also lobbying for change, to prohibit power companies from cutting off supply until they have resolved any complaints lodged by the customer.

The draft legislation, to go before the Ministerial Council on Energy in Melbourne on June 11, states that power companies "must give effect to the general principle that . . . disconnection of premises of a hardship customer due to inability to pay energy bills should be a last-resort option".

It says "hardship customers" cannot be disconnected unless the power company has offered the customer two payment plans in the previous 12 months, and the customer has either rejected them or failed to pay instalments.

But the Consumer Action Law Centre's energy policy officer, Janine Rayner, said yesterday the legislation must do more to protect people who genuinely cannot pay their bills.

Complaints surge

Complaints against power utilities have surged in the past year, with state energy ombudsmen reporting a jump in the number of disputed bills and disconnections.

In Victoria -- where power companies are required by law to provide alternative payment arrangements and hardship programs -- the Ombudsman received complaints from 618 households disconnected because of non-payment, and another 866 who had faced disconnection.

In Queensland, the number of consumers contacting the Ombudsman over "account payment difficulties" almost quadrupled to 1103 in 2008-09.

In South Australia, complaints to the Energy Ombudsman leapt 63 per cent over the same period -- including a doubling in billing complaints to 4141 -- while the number of disconnections jumped from 297 to 464.

Tasmania's Ombudsman dealt with 21 disputes over disconnection and 35 related to payment difficulties, while Western Australia recorded 173 disputes over disconnections and 112 over impending disconnections.

Massive child porn ring smashed after paedophile left his phone on the bus

By Paul Sims
Last updated at 4:29 AM on 28th May 2010

A child porn ring was smashed by police when a paedophile accidentally left his phone on a bus, a court heard yesterday.

Officers identified more than 70 suspects from across the country after 50-year-old Michael Fraser left his handset behind.

Dozens of investigations are under way and there have so far been up to 21 arrests as a result.

Enlarge A nationwide child pornography ring was smashed after paedophile  Michael Fraser accidentally left his mobile phone on a bus

Paedophile Michael Fraser accidentally left his mobile phone on a bus, which led to a child porn ring being uncovered

Wheelchair-bound Fraser yesterday became the fifth person sentenced for his role in the sick network.

The child porn ring traded in pictures and videos of children being sexually abused.

Wheelchair-bound Fraser yesterday became the fifth person sentenced for his role in the sick network.

The child porn ring traded in pictures and videos of children being sexually abused.

Many of those arrested were already known paedophiles.

Among them was serial pervert David Walton, who received an indefinite sentence for his involvement. Two other members of the ring have also been jailed.

Their details emerged after Fraser left his Sony Ericsson W580i phone on the number 100 bus between Newcastle's Metrocentre shopping mall and the city centre in February last year.

A passenger handed the phone to the driver, who looked through it in an attempt to find the owner.

Instead he discovered in the phone's memory scores of sickening images of children being abused.

It was immediately handed to police, who found Fraser had topped it up with credit using his Tesco Clubcard in the Newcastle suburb of Jesmond. A search of his nearby home uncovered 14 phones, six of which were filled with child porn pictures.

The handset was found on a local bus service in Newcastle, Tyne  and Wear by a passenger and was handed to the driver, who checked the  phone in an attempt to identify the owner

The handset, which contained indecent images of children, was found on a bus in Newcastle by a passenger


Fraser was traced after leaving his phone on the number 100 bus travelling from the Metrocentre to Newcastle in 2009

An analysis of messages received by the handsets led detectives to others, who in turn had their phones seized. The investigation grew rapidly as more suspects were identified by the pictures and videos they sent between each other, often in exchange for mobile phone credit.

Newcastle Crown Court heard there were 371 child porn images on the phones found in Fraser's home, more than 80 of which were categorised as level four, the second most revolting.

Brian Hegarty, defending, said his client accepted he had 'an unhealthy interest in children'.

Fraser, now of Seaham, County Durham, admitted nine counts of being in possession of indecent images of children and five of making indecent images of children. He asked for a further 89 offences to be taken into consideration.

David Walton the serial pervert

Judge John Evans told him that his offences could have attracted a prison sentence. But after probation reports said he was eligible for sex offenders' treatment, the judge decided not to lock him up.

Instead, Fraser was given a three-year community order and ordered to sign the sex offenders' register.

He was also barred from using computers or phones to send images and from taking pictures in public of anyone under 16.

Other members of the porn ring included Callum Livingstone, of Chester, jailed for 18 months, and Paul Johnson, of Scarborough, jailed for 15 months. Christopher Marshall, of Humberside, was given a three-year community order.



July 8, 2009

Pope Urges Forming New World Economic Order to Work for the ‘Common Good’

VATICAN CITYPope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

He criticized the current economic system, “where the pernicious effects of sin are evident,” and urged financiers in particular to “rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity.”

He also called for “greater social responsibility” on the part of business. “Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty,” Benedict wrote in his new encyclical, which the Vatican released on Tuesday.

More than two years in the making, “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. Filled with terms like “globalization,” “market economy,” “outsourcing,” “labor unions” and “alternative energy,” it is not surprising that the Italian media reported that the Vatican was having difficulty translating the 144-page document into Latin.

Reportedly delayed to take into consideration the financial crisis, it was released by the Vatican on the eve of the Group of 8 industrialized nations summit meeting, which opens in Italy on Wednesday, and before Benedict is expected to receive President Obama at the Vatican on Friday.

“It’s not an encyclical done for the crisis,” Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Still, he added, “if the encyclical had come out before the crisis, you would have said it was prophetic.”

In the encyclical, Benedict wrote that “financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers.”

In many ways, the document is a puzzling cross between an anti-globalization tract and a government white paper, another signal that the Vatican does not comfortably fit into traditional political categories of right and left.

“There are paragraphs that sound like Ayn Rand, next to paragraphs that sound like ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ That’s quite intentional,” Vincent J. Miller, a theologian at the University of Dayton, a Catholic institution in Ohio, said by telephone.

“He’ll wax poetically about the virtuous capitalist, but then he’ll give you this very clear analysis of the ways in which global capital and the shareholder system cause managers to focus on short-term good at the expense of the community, of workers, of the environment.”

Indeed, sometimes Benedict sounds like an old-school European socialist, lamenting the decline of the social welfare state and praising the “importance” of labor unions to protect workers. Without stable work, he noted, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children.

But he also wrote, “The so-called outsourcing of production can weaken the company’s sense of responsibility towards the stakeholders — namely the workers, the suppliers, the consumers, the natural environment and broader society — in favor of the shareholders.” And he argued that it was “erroneous to hold that the market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best.”

Benedict also called for a reform of the United Nations so there could be a unified “global political body” that allowed the less powerful of the earth to have a voice, and he called on rich nations to help less fortunate ones.

“In the search for solutions to the current economic crisis, development aid for poor countries must be considered a valid means of creating wealth for all,” he wrote.

John Sniegocki, a professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, said one of the most controversial elements of the encyclical, at least for some Americans, would be the call for international institutions to play a role in regulating the economy.

“One of the things he’s saying is that the global economy is escaping the power of individual states to regulate it,” Mr. Sniegocki said. He said the encyclical also contained elements “very critical” of how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank “have required cuts in social spending in the third world.”

Michael Novak, a philosopher and theologian at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, a conservative research organization, said he thought that the encyclical was stronger on principles than policy suggestions. He said he was particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a strong international institution to regulate the global economy.

“I like limited government. I would much prefer to have many limited governments than one overriding authority,” Mr. Novak said by telephone.

Benedict, arguably the most environmentally conscious pope in history, wrote, “One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of ‘efficiency’ is not value-free.”

Rachel Donadio reported from Vatican City, and Laurie Goodstein from New York.


Operation Falcon and the Looming Police State
Original article posted @; http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17190.htm
By Mike Whitney

02/26/07 "
ICH" --- - On 29th June, 1934, Chancellor Adolph Hitler, accompanied by the Schutzstaffel (SS), arrived at Wiesse, where he personally arrested the leader of the Strum Abteilung (SA), Ernnst Roehm. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to Wiesse. Many were shot as soon as they were captured but Hitler decided to pardon Roehm because of his past service to the movement. However, after much pressure from Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler agreed that Roehm should die. At first Hitler insisted that Roehm should be allowed to commit suicide but, when he refused, Roehm was shot by two SS men. (Spartacus.schoolnet.co)

Later, Hitler delivered a speech at the Reichstag in which he justified the murders of his rivals saying:

"If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people. It was no secret that this time the revolution would have to be bloody; when we spoke of it we called it 'The Night of the Long Knives.' Everyone must know for all future time that if he raises his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot."

The Night of the Long Knives is seen by many as the turning point where Hitler made it clear that he was above the law and the supreme leader of the German people.

Operation Falcon: Blueprint for removing dissidents and political rivals

The Bush administration has carried out three massive sweeps in the last two years, rolling up more than 30,000 minor crooks and criminals, without as much as a whimper of protest from the public.

Operation Falcon is the clearest indication yet that the Bush administration is fine-tuning its shock-troops so it can roll up tens of thousands of people at a moment’s notice and toss them into the newly-built Halliburton detention centers. This should be a red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights, civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin.

Operation Falcon was allegedly the brainchild of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his counterpart in the US Marshal's office, (Director) Ben Reyna. But its roots go much deeper into the nexus of right-wing Washington think tanks where fantasies of autocratic government have a long history. The name, Falcon, is an acronym for “Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally.” It relates to the more than 960 state, local and federal agencies which are directly involved in the administration’s expansive criminal dragnets.

Typically, law enforcement agencies are protective of their own turf and wary of outside intervention. The Falcon program overrides these concerns by streamlining the information-sharing processes and setting up a chain-of-command structure that radiates from the Justice Department. This removes many of the traditional obstacles to agency interface. It also relocates the levers of power in Washington where thy can be manned by members of the Bush administration.

Dictatorships require strong centralized authority and the Falcon program is a logical corollary of that ambition. It creates new inroads for Bush to assume greater control over the nationwide police-state apparatus. That alone should be sufficient reason for alarm.

The first Operation Falcon took place during the week of April 4 to April 10, 2005. According to the US Marshal’s official website, “The emphasis centered on gang related crimes, homicides, crimes involving use of a weapon, crimes against children and the elderly, crimes involving sexual assaults, organized crime and drug related fugitives, and other crimes of violence.” More than 10,000 criminal suspects were arrested in a matter of days. It was the largest criminal sweep in the nation’s history and, according to U.S. Marshall chief Ben Reyna, “produced the largest number of arrests ever recorded during a single initiative.” The Washington Times noted, “The sweep was a virtual clearinghouse for warrants on drug, gang, gun and sex-offender suspects nationwide.”

The emphasis was clearly on quantity not quality.

Still, this doesn’t explain why state and federal agencies had to be integrated with local law enforcement simply to carry out routine police work.

More importantly, it doesn’t explain why local police ignored their duty to protect the public just so they could coordinate with outside agencies. According to one report “162 accused or convicted of murder” were picked up in the first sweep. That means that the police knowingly left murderers on the street and put the public at risk while they orchestrated their raids with federal agencies.

That’s irresponsible. It also suggests that there may be a more sinister motive behind the program than just ensuring public safety. The plan appears to have been devised to enhance the powers of the “unitary” executive by putting state and local law enforcement under federal supervision. Once again, it’s an attempt by the administration to extend its grip to the state and local level. We saw a similar strategy unfold after Hurricane Katrina when the Bush administration used the tragedy to seize control of local police and National Guard units so they could establish de facto martial law. Troops, armored vehicles and mercenaries were deployed to New Orleans to fight lawlessness and looting even though desperate people were still stranded on their rooftops waiting for food, water and medical attention.

Operation FALCON II was another massive dragnet which covered the western half of the country and focused primarily on “violent sex offenders”. The raids took place from April 17-23, and succeeded in apprehending 9,037 alleged fugitives. The US Marshals web site boasts that the operation “took some of the country's most dangerous wanted criminals off the streets and made America's communities safer”.

Nonsense. Despite the claims of success, only 462 “violent sex crime” suspects were arrested, along with 1,094 “unregistered sex offenders” and other minor “sex crime” suspects. That leaves 7,481 suspects who were rounded up for other unrelated reasons.

Who are they and what crime did they commit? Were these drug violations, dads who were delinquent on child-support payments, traffic tickets, jay-walking?!?

7,481 people who were incarcerated are unaccounted by the government’s estimate. This means that the bulk of them were probably undocumented workers who were shunted off to the INS (Immigration and Naturalization) or dispatched to Cheney’s tent-city gulags in western Texas. (See: Democracy Now “Human Rights Groups Call for Closure of Texas Jail Holding Undocumented Immigrants” 2-23-07)

Similar inconsistencies appear in “Operation FALCON III, which covered the eastern half of the country from October 22 - 28, 2006.” State, local and federal police-units arrested 10,773 fugitives; including 1,659 sex offenders, 971 unregistered sex offenders, 364 gang members, 140 homicide suspects, and 3,609 drug violations. Once again, the US Marshal’s official tally doesn’t pencil out. This time, 4,030 extra people were rounded up without any further explanation.

Who are they and have they been charged with a crime?

Furthermore, sex offenders, drug users and gang-bangers are not what we normally consider “some of the country's most dangerous wanted criminals”. In fact, there are indications that the great majority of these people are not violent at all. For example, of the 30,110 total fugitives who were apprehended in all three Falcon sweeps, a measly 586 firearms were seized.

Clearly, the people who were arrested for the most part were not “armed and dangerous” nor were they a serious threat to public safety. They were probably just the unwitting victims of an overzealous US Marshals office and an ideologically-driven Justice Department.

So, what was the real impetus for the Falcon raids? Was it just a bean-counting exercise to see how many people would fit in the back of a Paddy-wagon or are they a dress rehearsal for future crackdowns on potential enemies of the state?

Bogus News Reports

The Falcon operation illustrates the incestuous relationship between the media and the state. They are two wings on the same plane. The Justice Department provided the TV networks with official footage of policemen and government agents raiding homes and handcuffing suspects; and the media dutifully aired the video on stations across the country. The scenes were accompanied by a reassuring commentary lauding the administration’s new crime fighting strategies and linking homeland security with the nebulous war on terror.

Attorney General Gonzales told reporters, “Operation FALCON is an excellent example of President Bush’s direction and the Justice Department’s dedication to deal both with the terrorist threat and traditional violent crime.” He added, “This joint effort shows the commitment of our federal, state, and local partners to make our neighborhoods safer, and it has led to the highest number of arrests ever recorded for a single initiative of its kind.”

So far, not one of the more than 30,000 victims has been charged with a terror-related crime.

The media-hype surrounding the raids has been celebratory and uniform; cookie-cutter articles appeared throughout the US press (most of them unsourced) highlighting the cooperation between the divers agencies while providing an upbeat account of what amounts to police repression. Thousands of nearly identical articles appeared in the nation’s newspapers which seem to have been authored by high-ranking officials at Homeland Security and protégés of George Orwell; although the difference between the two is far from certain.

Even stranger, most of the articles in the mainstream media can no longer be retrieved via a Google search. They seem to have vanished into the black-hole of Homeland propaganda.

No matter. If the media was supposed to make Gestapo-like crackdowns look like normal police operations; they succeeded admirably. Mission accomplished.

Former Governor of Louisiana, Huey Long once opined, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag.” Indeed, he could have added that the corporate media will gladly provide the flag and the public relations campaign as they have with Falcon.

Falcon; new drills for a new world order

The Falcon operations can only be understood in the broader context of the ongoing assault on the constitutional system of checks and balances; including the repeal of habeas corpus, warrantless wiretaps and searches, and the use of torture.

For the last 6 years, the Bush administration has been busy dismantling the legal safeguards which protect the citizen from the arbitrary and, oftentimes, ruthless actions of the state. To that end, detention camps are being prepared by Halliburton within the U.S., secret courts have been established which deny due process of law, American citizens are arrested without charge, law enforcement is increasingly militarized, and the media has strengthened its alliance with the central government.

Additionally, in October 2006, George Bush quietly changed the Insurrection Act, which prevented the President from deploying troops inside the United States. Bush’s revision effectively overturns the Posse Comitatus Act which put strict limits on the executive’s power to use US troops in domestic situations. Just days earlier Bush signed a similar bill, "The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" which gives Bush the power to take command of National Guard units across the country which are traditionally under the control of the state governors.

Without fanfare, Bush has taken control of all armed forces and militias inside and outside of the country and now has a monopoly on all the state-sanctioned tools of organized violence. It’s a coup that could never have succeeded without the tacit cooperation of the media.

Bush is now free to declare martial law in response to a natural disaster, a pandemic or a terrorist attack. The congress is powerless to stop him.

Also, Bush recently signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which allows the president to arbitrarily declare citizens and non citizens “enemy combatants” and imprison them indefinitely without charge. The new law gives Bush the authority to disregard the Geneva Conventions and the 8th amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment and apply “harsh interrogation” which may include torture. The act effectively repeals habeas corpus, the cornerstone of American jurisprudence and the Bill of Rights.

The Military Commissions Act cannot coexist with the US Constitution; the two are mutually exclusive.

The Military Commissions Act, The John Warner Defense Authorization Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Patriot Act, and the myriad presidential signing statements have conferred absolute power on George Bush. The question is whether or not some incident will arise that will persuade Bush to use his extraordinary new powers.

General Tommy Franks predicted that a “massive, casualty producing event” might cause “our population to question our own Constitution and begin to militarize our country;” a scenario that many see as likely now.

Is that it? Will another terrorist attack provide the rationale for overturning republican government and declaring martial law?

If so, then we should know what to expect.

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) it would mean “the suspension of the normal functions of civilian government, implying the cancellation or postponement of state and federal elections.” (Global Research) It would also “close public and government facilities not critical for continuity of essential operations.” (FEMA)

Northern Command would assume control and under “the classified 'Continuity of Government” (COG) Operations Plan' a secret 'shadow government' would become functional, redeploying key staff to secret locations.” (Global Research)

Also, “all forms of public gatherings or citizen's protests which question the legitimacy of the emergency procedures and the installation of a police state” would be banned. The military would be deployed to carry out “police and judicial” functions.

Martial law in the US would be applied with the utmost attention to public sensibilities and perceptions, avoiding the garish display of force we see in Iraq. It would be a “kinder and gentler” martial law with a limited number of military personnel on the streets (just enough to remind us that things have changed) and an emphasis on “preemptive” policing operations. (Expect Falcons’ 4, 5 and 6 etc) It would probably be disguised by a carefully crafted public relations campaign and a predictably cheery moniker, such as, “The Security Enhancement and Homeland Fortification Act”. The possibilities are limitless.

The Bush administration is also prepared if some unforeseen tragedy befalls congress, like another anthrax attack.

In fact, the American Enterprise Institute, to which the Bush team is closely aligned, has already "issued proposals for the operation of Congress following a catastrophic terrorist attack". They advocate the "APPOINTING" of individuals to the House of Representatives "to fill the seats of dead or incapacitated members, a first in American history" "The Continuity of Government Commission is self-commissioned', its members being neither elected nor appointed by any government body and mostly made up of professional lobbyists". (Read the whole article: http://www.conservativeusa.org/cog-ronpaul.htm) (Coincidentally, Newsweek article “White House Rehearses for Domestic Attack” 2-23-07; “The White House is staging a high-level exercise Saturday to test responses to the prospect of a massive domestic terrorist attack.” These drills are a critical part of the C.O.G. regimen dating back to the Reagan administration)

According to the AEI’s plan, the future United States congress will be comprised of lobbyists and industry representatives. What else would one expect from an organization that believes that corporate interests should determine policy?

These are the chilling precedents which have paved the way for further government lawlessness and abuse. They foreshadow the ominous transition from representative government to autocratic rule; from inalienable rights to martial law.

The Falcon operations are just a small part of this larger paradigm. The program is not designed for rounding up minor crooks and drug dealers, (which no one really cares about anyway) but for removing leftists, dissidents and political rivals. These are the real targets. The power of the state is measured in terms of how effectively it defeats or eliminates its enemies. And, the Bush administration has shown a remarkable aptitude for crushing its rivals.

The Crawford Fuehrer

One day, after a particularly savage domestic purge; we can expect President Bush to stride to the presidential podium and reiterate the same words that were uttered by his German predecessor 60 years ago:

"If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the American people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the American people….Everyone must know for all future time that if he raises his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Unkindest cut for girls - by doctors

FORMER sex discrimination commissioner Pru Goward says genital mutilation of girls is widespread as doctors here consider the practice.

Ms Goward said she young girls were being taken to emergency departments with ruptured bladders and other serious injuries as a result of mutilations being carried out in private homes.

“If doctors are concerned about it they should start reporting to police what they suspect to be incidents of it,” Ms Goward said today.

She said any consideration of allowing doctors to carry out the procedure here was an "appalling cop out".

“When I was commissioner there were some reports of girls with ruptured bladders and urethras. I would say you must report this to the police. They would say the family would lie and say she fell on a piece of glass.

“There’s not been one prosecution. People coming here as a refugee or a migrant need to have it explained to them it attracts a jail sentence, we will prosecute you and if they don’t like that they should apply to go to another country.”

The Daily Telegraph revealed today the practice involving cutting a girl's genitals, sometimes with razors or pieces of glass, could be allowed in a clinical setting to stem illegal backyard procedures which are leaving young girls scarred for life.

The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians will next month discuss backing "ritual nicks", a modified form of genital mutilation.

But experts are divided on whether to allow the practice, given that in some cultures it is used to remove the sexual feelings of women.

Female genital mutilation has been outlawed in Australia since the 1990s but is common among African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities.

With the rise in Somali and Sudanese living in Australia, doctors are seeing more cases of young girls, and women, needing surgery after illegal operations. Backers of "ritual nick" said it was a superficial procedure leaving no long-term damage.

RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro said the policy would be discussed at next month's Women's Health Committee meeting.

"We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia," Dr Pecoraro said.

"If a nick could meet the cultural needs of a particular woman, then it might save her from going through what can really be drastic surgery.

"But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming of children."

But many are outraged, some saying a "ritual nick" is still child abuse and legitimises female mutilation.

But University of Newcastle's professor of perinatal and infant psychiatry Dr Louise Newman said some doctors were being approached to perform the procedure.

"We know it is happening here ... but [the] majority are done in the home in a traditional way," she said.

Reasons given by practising populations include religion, despite the Koran not requiring it, and that it can help maintain cleanliness and health.

"The problem is some people see it similar to male circumcision but the reasons for both are very different as well as the impact," Dr Newman said.

"The actual procedure can be pretty devastating."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Police find explosives in raid on cult

16:20 AEST Thu May 20 2010
6 days 22 hours 20 minutes ago

Members of a doomsday cult in Adelaide were preparing to move overseas and planned to take with them a stockpile of explosives, guns and ammunition, police believe.

Police raided 12 properties in and around Adelaide on Wednesday and Thursday, including the headquarters of the Agape Ministries, a group whose leader preaches that the world will end in 2012.

The raids involved 90 officers and netted 15 weapons, slow-burning fuses, detonators, extendable batons and 35,000 rounds of ammunition, some of it high-powered.

Much of the cache of weapons and explosives was found in shipping containers, confirming to police the cult was headed overseas, possibly to a south Pacific island.

The religious cult had hundreds of members at one stage but its number of followers has dwindled to about 40 to 60.

Two men, aged 46 and 49, were arrested and charged with firearms offences, while two others, aged 38 and 48, could face similar offences.

But, Superintendent Jim Jeffery said the leader of the Agape Ministries, a man identified in media reports as Rocco Leo, was still missing along with his two main offsiders.

He said investigations suggested the trio had collected a significant amount of money from followers ahead of the group's exit from Australia, although he declined to confirm reports it was up to $6 million.

"It is believed the Ministry was making arrangements to relocate offshore and that the ministry had built up significant funds through the pledges provided by followers," Supt Jeffery said.

"We don't know the reason for the stockpile of weapons or why they have been secreting ammunition in those containers.

"We've been talking to members of the congregation and past members of the congregation."

Supt Jeffery said there was evidence of high-powered weapons being fired at one of the properties searched at Mt Magnificent, south of Adelaide, although the weapons involved had not yet been found.

He said police inquiries would now focus on the group's financial dealings.

"Our understanding is that people have given a substantial amount of money to, basically, relocate offshore, to go and live with their church members," Supt Jeffery.

"At this point in time, we haven't discovered anything out of the ordinary with that, but we are very keen to hear from anyone who has got concerns about how their money has been used."

He said there was nothing to suggest the leaders of Agape Ministries posed a threat to the community.

The two men arrested have been granted police bail to appear in court in June.

Top cop was pressured to ignore faulty speed cameras to protect revenue

UPDATE 12.40pm: PREMIER John Brumby denies police were pressured to issue dodgy speed camera fines and protect revenue.

Speaking this morning at Melbourne Airport, Mr Brumby said: "It's never, ever been about revenue."

"In relation to the Western Ring Road, that was never about revenue either," he said.

"It was about different legal advice about whether it was appropriate in all the circumstances to refund the money, and what signal that might send to the community."

His comments come after one of Victoria's most senior police officers accused the State Government of using speed cameras to raise revenue.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius claimed the Government tried to pressure him into fining motorists even though they were caught by faulty speed cameras.

In an affidavit seen by the Herald Sun, Mr Cornelius said the Government argued against dropping the fines because it feared losing revenue.

Do you feel you've been unfairly booked by a speed camera?
Contact our newsdesk in confidence on 03 9292 1226 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 03 9292 1226 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email news@heraldsun.com.au

Mr Brumby said in the big picture, the questionable batch of speeding fines mattered little.

"In a sense that was a drop in the ocean," he said.

"It was always about what was the right thing to do, legally.

"At the end of the day the Government made the decision, and that was to refund everyone's fines."

Deputy Commissioner (traffic) Ken Lay says he has never been pressured by the government to fine speeding motorists.

Mr Lay said in his two and a half years in his current role he had never once discussed speed camera revenue with the government.

"The Government would not speak to me about revenue, the Department of Justice would not speak to me about revenue," he told 3AW.

"They are very very clear in their understanding that my view of speed camers is that there's many thousands of people still alive today because of speed cameras."

Mr Lay said it was appropriate for senior members of police to speak to government about measures that affected road safety, but discussions about whether or not motorists should be fined were off limits.

"It is not appropriate to discuss operations issues about who should be prosecuted and who should not be prosecuted," he said.

"I am confident they (the government) would not (speak to me about that), if they did I would make it very very clear to them where the line in the sand is."

The Brumby Government aims to collect $437 million from speed cameras this year.

"The minister's office was not happy with my advice and they put pressure on me to adopt a different view," Mr Cornelius claimed in his affidavit.

Former Victoria Police assistant commissioner (traffic) Noel Ashby said Mr Cornelius's claim of being pressured to ensure a steady flow of cash went into Government coffers was similar to his own years of experience of dealing with politicians and public servants over speed and red light camera fines.

"As far as the Government was concerned it was always as much about revenue raising as it was about road safety,'' Mr Ashby said.

"I strongly suspect nothing has changed and ministers today are continuing to put inappropriate pressure on senior police, right up to the chief commissioner, over traffic camera revenue and other issues.''

Mr Ashby, who was acquitted of perjury charges in February, yesterday said when the decision was made to change the management of traffic cameras from Tennix to Serco in 2007 the Government's main concern was "whether revenue would reduce following the changeover.''

He also claimed that when Victoria Police decided in 2006 that motorists snapped by cameras more than once in the same day would only get one fine the Government lobbied very heavily to try to get the force to go back to issuing multiple fines in those circumstances.

"But we stood our ground,'' Mr Ashby said.

The revelation comes just weeks after Premier John Brumby was forced to defend new traffic camera measures in this month's State Budget.

Budget papers revealed the Government intends installing more fixed speed cameras, expanding enforcement of speed restrictions and greatly increasing use of new radar technology.

The State Government estimated the increased use of technology will see its coffers boosted by $476 million in speed and red light camera fines in the next financial year.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said Mr Cornelius's affidavit showed the Government saw traffic cameras as revenue raisers.

"The Brumby Government has been caught out trying to bully police into fining drivers nabbed by cameras it knows are faulty so it can raise record revenue," he said.

A State Government spokesman denied traffic cameras were treated as revenue raisers.

"In 2006, the Auditor-General rejected the notion that cameras were aimed at revenue raising, citing the dramatic drop in the road toll since introduction," he said.

"It is a decision solely for Victoria Police whether to prosecute any traffic infringements. The Government would gladly collect no revenue from cameras if it meant that motorists were driving within the speed limit and reducing the risk of crashes."

Mr Cornelius's damaging claim that the Government wanted to profit from potentially inaccurate traffic camera fines is revealed in a previously secret affidavit sworn by him in 2007.

In the affidavit, which has been seen by the Herald Sun, Mr Cornelius accused the police minister's office of attempting to influence his decision-making on the faulty traffic camera issue.

He said when he was in charge of the police legal services department he had regular contact with then Police Minister Mr Haermeyer's office over camera issues. "I had discussions with the Solicitor-General in relation to the legal position, on how I should exercise my prosecutorial discretion in relation to traffic cameras, which was one of the matters that was raised as a result of concerns about camera accuracy," his affidavit said.

"The minister's office was not happy with my advice and they put pressure on me to adopt a different view.

"I did have some telephone contact with minister Haermeyer's chief of staff during the traffic camera issues, because obviously he was seeking a particular outcome and I was holding the line."

Off-duty cop caught doing 163km/h in a 110km/h zone on motorbike

UPDATE 11.35am: AN off-duty cop caught hooning at speeds exceeding 160km/h undermines the force's road safety message, Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay admitted this morning.

The 46-year-old Benalla man was nabbed travelling at 163km/h in a 110km/h zone on the Hume Fwy, Euroa yesterday afternoon.

But he did not have his motorbike impounded - despite tough anti-hoon laws which say that anyone nabbed doing more than 145km/h on a highway should have their vehicle seized.

Mr Lay is investigating why the off-duty cop was not forced to surrender his bike on the spot.

“It may well be he has been served with a paper to surrender the bike in due course, which is a normal process in certain situations,” he said.

He also pointed out the offence took place in country Victoria and it can be difficult to track down a tow truck in these regions.

He expressed his disappointment at the offence.

“It’s very disappointing that we’ve had a rider making these sorts of decisions.”

The matter is now before the courts.

“That person, if found guilty, will be held accountable for his actions.“

It’s a matter that’s close to home for the Deputy Commissioner.

The Herald Sun revealed that Mr Lay was caught doing 10km/h over the 70km/h limit by a covert speed camera as he drove through Tooborac on the Northern Highway last year.

Mr Lay's comments comments come after one of Victoria's most senior police officers accused the State Government of using speed cameras to raise revenue.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius claimed the Government tried to pressure him into fining motorists even though they were caught by faulty speed cameras.

- by Anthony Dowsley, Lucie van den Berg

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The Most Dangerous Game

Excerpt from Trance-Formation of America by Cathy O'Brien and Mark Phillips

During Christmas vacation of 1974, my father flew us all to Disney World by route of Tampa, Florida. Ignorant of geography, it did not occur to me that Tampa was out of the way to Disney World until my father drove the rented van to the gates of MacDill Air Force Base. Military personnel met me there and escorted me into the base TOP SECRET high tech mind control conditioning facility for "behavioral modification" programming. This was the first in what became a routine series of mind control testing and/or programming sessions on government installations that I would endure throughout my Project Monarch victimization.

Whether I was in a military, NASA, or government building, the procedure for maintaining me under total mind control remained consistent with Project Monarch requirements. This included prior physical and/or psychological trauma; sleep, food, and water deprivation; high voltage electric shock; and hypnotic and/or harmonic programming of specific memory compartments/ personalities. The high tech equipment and methodisms I endured from that time on gave the U.S. government absolute control of my mind and life. I had been literally driven out of my conscious mind and existed only through my programmed subconscious. I lost my free will, ability to reason, and could not think to question anything that was happening to me. I could only do as I was told.

In the summer of 1975, my family drove all the way from Michigan to the Teton Mountains of Wyoming. I was ordered to ride in the back storage area of the family Chevy Suburban since I was forbidden to associate or communicate with my brothers and sister. So I dissociated into books, or into the metaphorical, hypnotic suggestions from my father and tranced deeper as I watched the prairie's seemingly endless sea of "amber waves of grain" streak past my window. Once when we stopped at a gas station, my father took me inside to show me a stuffed "jackalope" mounted on the wall. Due to my tranced, dissociative state and high suggestibility level, I believed it was indeed a cross between a jack rabbit and antelope. It was 100+ degrees in the Badlands when it cooled down at night. The intense heat of the day accentuated my ever increasing thirst. My father was physically preparing me though water deprivation for the intense tortures and programming I would endure in Wyoming.

Dick Cheney, then White House Chief of Staff to President Ford, later Secretary of Defense to President George Bush, documented member of the Council on Foreign relations (CFR), and Presidential hopeful for 1996, was originally Wyoming's only Congressman. Dick Cheney was the reason my family had traveled to Wyoming where I endured yet another form of brutality -- his version of "A Most Dangerous Game," or human hunting.

It is my understanding now that A Most Dangerous Game was devised to condition military personnel in survival and combat maneuvers. Yet it was used on me and other slaves known to me as a means of further conditioning the mind to the realization there was "no place to hide," as well as traumatize the victim for ensuing programming. It was my experience over the years that A Most Dangerous Game had numerous variations on the primary theme of being stripped naked and turned loose in the wilderness while being hunted by men and dogs. In reality, all "wilderness" areas were enclosed in secure military fencing whereby it was only a matter of time until I was caught, repeatedly raped, and tortured.

Dick Cheney had an apparent addiction to the "thrill of the sport." He appeared obsessed with playing A Most Dangerous Game as a means of traumatizing mind control victims, as well as to satisfy his own perverse sexual kinks. My introduction to the game occurred upon arrival at the hunting lodge near Greybull, Wyoming, and it physically and psychologically devastated me. I was sufficiently traumatized for Cheney's programming, as I stood naked in his hunting lodge office after being hunted down and caught. Cheney was talking as he paced around me, "I could stuff you and mount you like a jackalope and call you a two legged dear. Or I could stuff you with this (he unzipped his pants to reveal his oversized penis) right down your throat, and then mount you. Which do you prefer?"

Blood and sweat became mixed with the dirt on my body and slid like mud down my legs and shoulder. I throbbed with exhaustion and pain as I stood unable to think to answer such a question. "Make up your mind," Cheney coaxed. Unable to speak, I remained silent. "You don't get a choice, anyway. I make up your mind for you. That's why you're here. For me to make you a mind, and make you mine/mind. You lost your mind a long time ago. Now I'm going to give you one. Just like the Wizard (of Oz) gave Scarecrow a brain, the Yellow Brick Road led you here to me. You've 'come such a long, long way' for your brain, and I will give you one."

The blood reached my shoes and caught my attention. Had I been further along in my programming, I perhaps would never have noticed such a thing or had the capability to think to wipe it away. But so far, I had only been to MacDill and Disney World for government/military programming. At last, when I could speak, I begged, "If you don't mind, can I please use your bathroom?"

Cheney's face turned red with rage. He was on me in an instant, slamming my back into the wall with one arm across my chest and his hand on my throat, choking me while applying pressure to the carotid artery in my neck with his thumb. His eyes bulged and he spit as he growled, "If you don't mind me, I will kill you. I could kill you -- Kill you -- with my bare hands. You're not the first and you won't be the last. I'll kill you any time I goddamn well please." He flung me on the cot-type bed that as behind me. There he finished taking his rage out on me sexually.

On the long trip back to Michigan, I lay in a heap behind the seats of the Suburban, nauseated and hurting from Cheney's brutality and high voltage tortures, plus the whole Wyoming experience. My father stopped by the waterfalls flowing through the Tetons to "wash my brain" of the memory of Cheney. I could barely walk through the woods to the falls for the process as instructed, despite having learned my lessons well from Cheney on following orders.

The next year when our "annual" trip to Disney World rolled around, my father drove, pulling his new Holiday Rambler Royale International trailer. My father dropped me off en route at the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida where I was subjected to my first NASA programming. From then on, I was "obsessed" with following the "Yellow Brick Road" to Nashville, Tennessee. Moving to Nashville was all I could talk about. If anyone asked me the question I could not think to ask myself "Why?", I would respond by reiterating it was something "I had to do."


May 24, 2010

Afghan Spy Agency Accuses Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency on Monday accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of involvement in the suicide bombing here last week that killed six NATO soldiers, including four colonels.

While Saeed Ansari, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s spy agency, did not mention the PakistaniInter-Services Intelligence agency by name, he left no doubt of what he meant.

The remarks came in a news conference announcing the arrest of seven people suspected of organizing the attack last Tuesday, in which a suicide bomber drove a minivan full of explosives into a convoy of armored S.U.V.’s. The blast killed 18 people, including a Canadian and an American colonel, 2 American lieutenant colonels and their 2 American drivers, as well as 12 Afghan civilians.

The seven were also charged with involvement in other suicide attacks in Kabul that killed another 25 people.

“All the explosions and terrorist attacks by these people were plotted from the other side of the border and most of the explosives and materials used for the attacks were brought from the other side to Afghanistan,” Mr. Ansari said.

“Of course, when we say that those attacks were plotted from the other side of the border, the intelligence service of our neighboring country has definitely had its role in equipping and training of this group,” Mr. Ansari said.

Afghan officials have frequently accused the Pakistani intelligence agency of supporting the Afghan Taliban and have voiced suspicions about the agency’s role in Taliban suicide attacks on Indian targets in Kabul. In February, suicide bombers attacked two guesthouses popular with Indians, killing 16 people, and in 2008 a suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy killed 41 people.

The seven suspects, all Afghans ranging in age from 21 to 45, lived in Kabul, and included a schoolteacher, a taxi driver and a trading company employee. One was identified as the second in command of the Taliban suicide bombing cell. Mr. Ansari said they had been arrested in the past week but did not say how the authorities managed to arrest them so quickly. Their commander, he said, was a man known as Dawood, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul.

In addition to the attack on the NATO convoy, the suspects were involved in the attack on the guesthouses in February, he said. Mr. Ansari released names and photos of the suspects as well as videotaped confessions.

In the confessions, each a few minutes long, the men admitted having various roles in the attacks, from providing vehicles to storing explosives. They said the attacks had been organized while they were in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. They did not explicitly implicate the Pakistani I.S.I. or Pakistani officials in their plot, but said they belonged to the Taliban, and had organized their attack from the group’s clandestine offices in Peshawar.

Mr. Ansari did not explain what evidence the Afghan spy agency had of Pakistani involvement in the suicide bombings.

On Monday an Afghan court convicted the former treasurer of the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Muhammad Noor, of taking bribes and putting more than half a million dollars into his private bank accounts, allegedly to transfer it to his boss, the acting minister, Sediq Chakari.

Mr. Chakari was dismissed from his ministerial post in December and is believed to be in exile in Britain; he has dual British-Afghan citizenship.

The court sentenced Mr. Noor to 15 years in jail and ordered him to repay 41 million afghanis, about $900,000, to the government.

During the proceedings, Mr. Noor claimed the money in his accounts was his personal property, but the prosecutor noted that civil servants of his rank earn $200 a month.

The ministry helps finance those going on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Sharifullah Sahak contributed reporting.