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Russian journalists detained in Kiev as Ukraine steps up censorship

RT | February 26, 2015

Four Russian journalists were detained in Ukraine and ordered to return back to Moscow. Three of them were stopped when filming a Right Sector rally. The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed outrage at the incident, calling it a “provocation.”

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) detained Channel One journalists Elena Makarova and Sergey Korenev, and NTV’s Andrey Grigoryev, who were in Kiev at the time. The SBU indicated that they will all be deported back to Russia and banned from entering Ukraine for the next five years.

Grigoryev is already back in Moscow, NTV reported. “I got detained right in Kiev’s downtown area while filming the rally, which included ultra-nationalist Right Sector members, football fans, and others who disagree with the direction the current government is taking,” Grigoryev said. “A few of the rally participants approached me and asked for my ID. I told them I would show my identification only to police, which is where they escorted me to.”

“Nothing was recorded at the police station… It looked like the decision [to deport] was made ahead of time,” he said.

A video has emerged showing the moment the journalist was apprehended.

Makarova said that 10 people with Right Sector stickers approached her and the cameraman. The individuals showed her SBU identification. When she asked to see their badges again, she was told: “If we show you the IDs again, you will be liquidated.” When Makarova inquired as to what they meant by that, the group replied: “It is best you don’t know.” She was then separated from her cameraman Korenev.

During the interrogations, she was asked what channel she was with and then told that her station “posed a threat to [Ukraine]” and that she would be deported.

Also on Wednesday, another NTV reporter, Inna Osipova, was refused entry into Ukraine after arriving at Kiev’s airport. She was asked a lot of questions about the purpose of her trip during customs control and was eventually told “the reason for her trip could not be proven.” Her passport was confiscated and she is currently stuck inside the airport.

’Ukraine’s actions are a provocation’

The Russian Foreign Ministry described the detention as “a provocation towards Russian journalists, and a violation of Ukraine’s obligations to guarantee the safety of journalist.”

“We demand that our journalists be immediately released and the hunt for representatives of the Russian media be halted,” the ministry added. “We expect corresponding reaction from specialized international organizations, primarily OSCE Representative on the Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic, to new unlawful acts by the Ukrainian authorities.”

The incident comes after the SBU issued recommendations to strip more than 100 Russian media outlets of accreditation on February 21. Earlier in the month, 239 Ukrainian lawmakers voted in favor of suspending Russian journalists’ accreditation until the conflict in eastern Ukraine ends.

The list includes TASS, Rossiya Segodnya, and all Russian TV channels except Dozhd, according to government spokesperson Yelena Gitlyanskaya.

‘Silencing opposing voices’

Ukraine is justifying its actions by citing new legislation, professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island Nicolai Petro told RT. “It’s an attempt to achieve total information control – the ability to exclude all dissident voices, partly in Ukraine, from getting through to Ukrainian citizens.”

Ukraine is taking censorship to a whole new level, Petro explained. “In the West, the wartime precedent is that censorship can only occur in situations which directly involve military operations. The Ukrainian government is going far beyond that – to essentially silence opposition voices which are being silenced at home and use the Russian media to get back inside the country.”

The response in the West is likely to be “very muted,” the professor noted, “because this is an issue they would prefer not to deal with.”

But such attempts are usually not very successful. “The politicians tend to underestimate the ability of people to go around the restrictions to get information from a wide variety of sources. These attempts are ultimately bound to fail,” Petro said.

In addition to limiting freedom of expression inside Ukraine, Kiev announced this week that it is joining the information war by creating an ‘online army,’ according to the Information Policy Ministry.

Read more: Ukraine’s Security Service detains Russian journalists in Kiev, deny entry for 5 years

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Conflicts of interest in climate science

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | February 25, 2015

Once you tug on the thread of undisclosed financial interests in climate science, you’ll find it more a norm than exception. – Roger Pielke Jr (tweet)

Context

I started working on this post last week, in response to the Willie Soon imbroglio. This whole issue has now become personal.

In case you haven’t been following this, Justin Gillis broke the story on Willie Soon with this article Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher.  The Smithsonian issued the following statement on the issue of Soon’s funding and apparent failure to disclose this funding in journal publications.   Science Magazine has a summary [here] and Nature has a summary [here].

The ‘plot’ thickened yesterday, as Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (Democrat) Asks for Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures from GOP’s Go-To Climate Witnesses [link]. Excerpts:

The conflict-of-interest scandal involving a climate denier secretly funded by the fossil-fuel industry is spreading to other academics who oppose regulation of climate pollution. A top House Democrat has issued letters asking several researchers who have appeared as Republican witnesses before Congress questioning climate science to disclose their funding sources.

“I am hopeful that disclosure of a few key pieces of information will establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations published in your institution’s name and assist me and my colleagues in making better law,” Grijalva wrote. “Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science. These conflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions. My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships.”

The letters request the institutions’ disclosure policies, drafts and communications relating to Congressional testimony, and sources of external funding for the academics in question.

The disclosure requests are needed because Congressional “truth in testimony” rules require witnesses to disclose government funding sources, but not private or corporate funding. Under Republican control, the rules are unevenly implemented, with not-for-profit witnesses required to submit pages of additional disclosures, while corporate-sector witnesses are not.

The seven academics who dispute  the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming who have been asked to disclose their funding are:

David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr., Steven Hayward.

A copy of the letter from Grijalva that was sent to President Peterson of Georgia Tech is [here].

An article in ClimateWire provides additional context [link].

Skip to JC reflections for my punch line.

Conflict in scientific publication

Conflict of interest related to industry funding is a very big issue in biomedical research (related to drug and food safety) and also related to environmental contaminants.  It isn’t a big issue in other scientific fields.  Apart from expecting scientists to describe funding sources in the Acknowledgements, many journals don’t even have any conflict of interest disclosure requirements.

For those journals that do have such requirements, the requirements for disclosure are vastly different. As examples:

Nature :  In the interests of transparency and to help readers to form their own judgements of potential bias, Nature journals require authors to declare to the editors any competing financial interests in relation to the work described. The corresponding author is responsible for submitting a competing financial interests statement on behalf of all authors of the paper. Authors submitting their manuscripts using the journal’s online manuscript tracking system are required to make their declaration as part of this process and to specify the competing interests in cases where they exist. The definition of conflict of interest relates to funding sources, employment, and personal financial interests.

Science : Science goes further with this statement: Management/Advisory affiliations: Within the last 3 years, status as an officer, a member of the Board, or a member of an Advisory Committee of any entity engaged in activity related to the subject matter of this contribution. Please disclose the nature of these relationships and the financial arrangements. Within the last 3 years, receipt of consulting fees, honoraria, speaking fees, or expert testimony fees from entities that have a financial interest in the results and materials of this study.

Wow. I haven’t published anything in Science in recent years (and never as a first author). So, all those scientists serving on Boards of green advocacy groups [Climate Scientists Joining Green Advocacy Groups] who publish in Science on any environmental or climate change topic should be declaring a conflict of interest.

So, once an author of a climate change paper declares a conflict of interest, what is that supposed to mean?  An article in Science Magazine addresses this issue:

Conflict-of-interest controversies are rare in her field, she notes, and “they can be tricky.” Conflict is often in the eye of the beholder, she says, and researchers often accept all kinds of funding that doesn’t necessarily skew their peer-reviewed publications. “I’m for full disclosure,” she says, “but I’m not sure how we’re going to address this.” The journal, published by Elsevier, asks authors to fill out a conflict-of-interest disclosure. But Strangeway admits he’s never carefully examined one—and isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do if he sees a red flag.  “We wouldn’t be raising the journal issue if [Soon] had simply disclosed Southern’s support,” he says.

Scientific journals are being alerted by watchdog groups to fossil fuel funding of contrarian climate studies [link]. Are we not to be concerned by fossil fuel funding of consensus climate science (there is plenty of that, see below)? Are we not to be concerned by funding from green advocacy groups and scientists serving on the Boards of green advocacy groups?

DeSmog surprised me with this article:  How often were Willie Soon’s Industry-funded Deliverables Were Referenced by the IPCC?  I was surprised to find that published journal papers with ties to industry made it into the IPCC, to counter all those gray literature articles by Greenpeace et al.

So, in climate science, what is the point of conflict of interest disclosure?  Bishop Hill sums it up this way:

As far as I can see, the story is that Soon and three co-authors published a paper on climate sensitivity. At the same time (or perhaps in the past – this being a smear-job it’s hard to get at the facts) he was being funded  to do work on things like the solar influence on climate by people that greens feel are the baddies. They and the greens feel he should have disclosed that baddies were paying him to do stuff on a paper that was not funded by the baddies.

The issue is this. The intense politicization of climate science makes bias more likely to be coming from political and ideological perspectives than from funding sources.  Unlike research related to food and drug safety and environmental contaminants, most climate science is easily replicable using publicly available data sets and models.  So all this IMO is frankly a red herring in the field of climate science research.

Bottom line:  Scientists, pay attention to conflict of interest guidelines for journals to which you are submitting papers.  Select journals that have COI disclosure requirements that are consistent with your comfort level.

Conflict in Testimony

The HillHeat article provides links to the relevant testimony by the 7 individuals (see original article for actual links):

  • David Legates, Department of Agricultural Economics & Statistics, University of Delaware climatologist (6/3/14, 7/29/03, 3/13/02)
  • John Christy, University of Alabama atmospheric scientist (12/11/13, 9/20/12, 8/1/12, 3/31/11, 3/8/11, 2/25/09, 7/27/06 (video), 5/13/03, 5/2/01, 5/17/00, 7/10/97)
  • Judith Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology climatologist (1/16/14, 4/25/13, 11/17/10)
  • Richard Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology atmospheric physicist (11/17/10, 5/2/01, 7/10/97, 1991 (Senate), 10/8/91)
  • Robert C Balling Jr, Arizona State University geographer (3/6/96; North Carolina Legislature 3/20/06)
  • Roger Pielke Jr, University of Colorado political scientist (12/11/13, 7/18/13, 3/8/11, 5/16/07, 1/30/07 (video), 7/20/06, 3/13/02)
  • Steven Hayward, School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University historian (5/25/11, 10/7/09, 4/22/09, 3/12/09, 3/17/99)

HOLD ON.  The article ‘forgot’ to reference my earlier testimony for the Democrats in 2006, 2007:

  • House Committee on Govt Reform, “Hurricanes and Global Warming,” 7/20/06 [link]
  • House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, “Dangerous Climate Change,” 4/26/07 [link]

I can see that this earlier testimony is ‘inconvenient’ to their argument.

When you testify, you are required to include a financial disclosure related to your government funding. Presumably this is relevant if you are testifying with relation to performance by a government agency.  There is no disclosure requirement that is relevant to individuals from industry or advocacy groups, or for scientists receiving funding from industry or advocacy groups.

To clarify my own funding, I have included the following statement of financial interests at the end of my testimony:

Funding sources for Curry’s research have included NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOD and DOE. Recent contracts for CFAN include a DOE contract to develop extended range regional wind power forecasts and a DOD contract to predict extreme events associated with climate variability/change having implications for regional stability. CFAN contracts with private sector and other non-governmental organizations include energy and power companies, reinsurance companies, other weather service providers, NGOs and development banks. Specifically with regards to the energy and power companies, these contracts are for medium-range (days to weeks) forecasts of hurricane activity and landfall impacts. CFAN has one contract with an energy company that also includes medium-range forecasts of energy demand (temperature), hydropower generation, and wind power generation. CFAN has not received any funds from energy companies related to climate change or any topic related to this testimony.

I note that during congressional questioning, I was never asked anything about my funding sources.

Again, I think that biases in testimony related to climate change are more likely to be ideological and political than related to funding.

So what is the point of asking for detailed financial information (including travel) from these academic researchers?

Intimidation and harassment is certainly one reason that comes to mind. Roger Pielke Jr seems to think this is the case, as described in his blog post I am Under Investigation:

I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated “witch hunt” designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name.

The relevant issue to my mind is to expect non-normative testimony from academic researchers. I discussed this issue on a previous blog post Congressional testimony and normative science. Consensus climate scientists routinely present normative testimony, along the lines of ‘urgent mitigation action needed’.   On the other hand, I personally work to make my testimony non-normative, and I would judge Christy’s and Pielke Jr’s  testimony to be generally non-normative also (note Christy and Pielke Jr are the two on the list of 7 that I know best).

‘Dirty’ money?

The issue of concern of Congressman Grijalva is funding from the Koch brothers and fossil fuel companies somehow contaminating Congressional testimony from scientists invited by Republicans to testify.

The reality is that fossil fuel money is all over climate research, whether pro or con AGW.  Gifts of $100M+ have been made by oil companies to Stanford and Princeton.  Anthony Watts notes the prominence of oil companies in funding the American Geophysical Union [link]. The Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy take fossil fuel money [link]. The UKMetOffice has stated that energy companies are major customers.

NRO has an article Follow the Money, excerpt:

In truth, the overwhelming majority of climate-research funding comes from the federal government and left-wing foundations. And while the energy industry funds both sides of the climate debate, the government/foundation monies go only toward research that advances the warming regulatory agenda. With a clear public-policy outcome in mind, the government/foundation gravy train is a much greater threat to scientific integrity.

With federal research funding declining in many areas, academics at universities are being encouraged to obtain funding from industry.

I have to say I was pretty intrigued by Soon’s funding from the Southern Company. Southern Company (SoCo) provides power to Georgia.  Georgia Power (a SoCo subsidiary) has provided considerable funding to Georgia Tech (although I have never received any). For most of the time that I was Chair, the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences had an endowed Chair from Georgia Power. When the faculty member left Georgia Tech, I chose not to hire a replacement, since I felt that my faculty hiring funds would be more productively used on younger faculty members in different research areas.  I also note that one of my faculty members received funds from Georgia Power that was a ‘charitable donation’, without overhead and without deliverables. I also ‘heard’ that Southern Company/Georgia was very unhappy with the Webster et al. 2005 paper on hurricanes [link].   Note, I have received no funding from SoCo/GaPower.

JC reflections

My first reaction to this was to tweet:  Looks like I am next up in this ‘witch hunt’. My subsequent reactions have been slowed by a massive headache (literally; cause and effect?)

It looks like it is ‘open season’ on anyone who deviates even slightly from the consensus. The political motivations of all this are apparent from barackobama.com:  Call Out The Climate Deniers.

It is much easier for a scientist just to ‘go along’ with the consensus. In a recent interview, as yet unpublished, I was asked: I’ve seen some instances where you have been called a “denier” when it comes to climate change, I am just curious as to your opinion on that? My reply:

As a scientist, I am an independent thinker, and I draw my own conclusions about the evidence regarding climate change. My conclusions, particularly my assessments of high levels of uncertainty, differ from the ‘consensus’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Why does this difference in my own assessment relative to the IPCC result in my being labeled a ‘denier’? Well, the political approach to motivate action on climate change has been to ‘speak consensus to power’, which seems to require marginalizing and denigrating anyone who disagrees. The collapse of the consensus regarding cholesterol and heart disease reminds us that for scientific progress to occur, scientists need to continually challenge and reassess the evidence and the conclusions drawn from the evidence.

Well, the burden is on Georgia Tech to come up with all of the requested info. Georgia Tech has a very stringent conflict of interest policy, and I have worked  closely in the past with the COI office to manage any conflicts related to my company.  Apart from using up valuable resources at Georgia Tech to respond to this, there is no burden on me.

Other than an emotional burden. This is the first time I have been ‘attacked’ in a substantive way for doing my science honestly and speaking up about it. Sure, anonymous bloggers go after me, but I have received no death threats via email, no dead rats delivered to my door step, etc.

I think Grijalva has made a really big mistake in doing this.  I am wondering on what authority Grijalva is demanding this information? He is ranking minority member of a committee before which I have never testified. Do his colleagues in the Democratic Party support his actions? Are they worried about backlash from the Republicans, in going after Democrat witnesses?

I don’t think anything good will come of this. I anticipate that Grijalva will not find any kind of an undisclosed fossil fuel smoking gun from any of the 7 individuals under investigation. There is already one really bad thing that has come of this – Roger Pielke Jr has stated:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 4 Comments

Drug-Induced Dementia isn’t Alzheimer’s

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls | Global Research | February 26, 2015

“More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia.” and “Alzheimer’s (can only be) distinguished from other dementias at autopsy.” – from a Harvard University Health Publication entitled What’s Causing Your Memory Loss? It Isn’t Necessarily Alzheimer’s

“Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have statin medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others.” – Neustadt and  Pieczenik, authors of Medication-induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease

“Establishing mitochondrial toxicity is not an FDA requirement for drug approval, so there is no real way of knowing which agents are truly toxic.”  – Dr. Katherine Sims, Mass General Hospital –http://www.mitoaction.org

“It is difficult to get a man to understand  something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist American author who wrote in the early 20thcentury

“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable… for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIAof 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.

Over the past several decades there have been a number of well-financed campaigns, promoted by well-meaning laypersons, to raise public awareness to the plight of patients with dementia. Suspiciously, most of these campaigns that come from “patient support” groups lead the public to believe that every dementia patient has Alzheimer’s dementia (AD).

Not so curiously, it turns out that many – perhaps all – of these campaigns have been funded – usually secretly – by the very pharmaceutical companies that benefit economically by indirectly promoting the sale of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs. Such corporate-generated public relations “campaigns” are standard operating procedure for all of BigPharma drugs, especially its psychopharmaceutical drugs. BigPharma has found that the promotion and de-stigmatization of so-called “mental illnesses” (for which there are FDA-approved drugs) is a great tool for marketing their drugs.

Recently Alzheimer’s support groups all around the nation have been sponsoring the documentary about country singer Glen Campbell who has recently been diagnosed by his physicians with Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology) despite the obvious fact that Campbell was infamous for his chronic heavy use of brain-damaging, dementia-inducing, addicting, and very neurotoxic drugs like cocaine and alcohol. And, just like so many other hard-living celebrities like the recently suicidal Robin Williams, Campbell was known to have received prescriptions of legal drugs from their prescribing boutique psychiatrists and physicians, just adding to the burden that their failing livers, brains and psyches had to endure.

Since it is known that Alzheimer’s disease can only be truly diagnosed by a microscopic examination of the cerebral cortex (at autopsy), we have to question the very alive Glen Campbell’s diagnosis. And we also have to question the veracity and motivations of the sponsoring patient support groups and their BigPharma sponsors.

Is the Alzheimer’s Epidemic Actually a Drug-Induced Dementia Epidemic?

Synchronous with the huge increases (over the past generation or so) in

1) the incidence of childhood and adult vaccinations,

2) the widespread use of psychotropic and statin (cholesterol-lowering) drug use, and

3) the increased ingestion of a variety of neurotoxic substances – including food additives, there has been a large parallel increase in the incidence of

a) chronic illnesses of childhood, including autistic spectrum disorders,

b) “mental illnesses of unknown origin”, and also

c) dementia, a multifactorial reality which, via clever marketing and the studied ignorance of what is scientifically known about the actual causes – and diagnosis – of dementia, which has been primarily – and mistakenly – referred to as Alzheimer’s disease (of unknown etiology).

It is important to ask and then demand an honest answer to the question “could there be a connection between America’s increasingly common over-prescribing of immunotoxic, neurotoxic, synthetic prescription drugs and vaccines and some of the neurodegenerative disorders that supposedly “have no known cause”?

Could the economically disabling American epidemic of autoimmune disorders, psychiatric disorders, autism spectrum disorders, etc (all supposedly of unknown origin) that have erupted over the past several decades be found to have recognizable root causes and therefore be treatable and, most importantly, preventable?

These are extremely important questions, especially in the case of the current dementia epidemic, because the so-called Alzheimer’s patient support groups seem to be totally unaware of the powerful evidence that prescription drugs known to damage brain cells (especially by poisoning their mitochondria) would be expected to cause a variety of neurological and psychological disorders because of the brain cell death that eventually happens when enough of the mitochondria (the microscopic hearts and lungs of every cell) have been wounded irretrievably or killed off. (See more info on drugs and mitochondria below.)

One of the big problems in America’s corporate-controlled culture, corporate-controlled media and corporate-controlled medical industries is that the giant pharmaceutical corporations, who are in the business of developing, marketing and selling known mitochondrial toxins (in the form of their drugs and vaccine ingredients) have a special interest in pretending that there is no known cause for the disorders that their synthetic chemicals are causing (or they use the unprovable “it’s probably genetic” subterfuge).

It should be a concern of everybody who knows a demented patient, that some AD patient support groups are known to be front groups for the pharmaceutical companies that profit from the marketing to patients and their doctors the disappointingly ineffective drugs for Alzheimer’s like Aricept, Exelon, Namenda, Hexalon, and Razadyne.

Prescription Drug-Induced – and Vaccine-Induced – Mitochondrial Disorders

Acquired mitochondrial disorders (as opposed to the relatively rare primary mitochondrial disorders like muscular dystrophy) that can be caused by commonly prescribed drugs are difficult to diagnose and are generally poorly understood by most practitioners. When I went to med school, nobody knew anything about what synthetic drugs or vaccines did to the mitochondria.

A lot of mitochondrial research, especially since the 1990s, has proven the connections between a variety of commonly prescribed medications and mitochondrial disorders. That evidence seems to have been cunningly covered-up by the for-profit pharma groups (who control medical education and much of the media) and various other powers-that-be because of the serious economic consequences if the information was allowed in the popular press. The stake-holders in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, most of whom profit mightily from the routine and increasing usage of neurotoxic drugs and vaccines, supposedly operating in the name of Hippocrates, would be very displeased if this information got out. I submit that BigPharma’s cover-up of the connections is totally unethical and, in the opinion of many other whistleblowers, criminal.

An Honest Patient Guide for Dementia Patients from Harvard!

So I was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonably honest guide for dementia patients on a Harvard University website.

(The entire guide can be accessed at http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/whats-causing-your-memory-loss.htm#top.)

The information at that website stated that there were over 50 conditions that could cause or mimic early dementia symptoms. I hadn’t been taught anything about that reality when I went to med school, and I doubt that many of my physician colleagues were either. And besides, what medical practitioner in our double-booked clinic environment, even if he or she was aware, has the time to thoroughly rule out the 50 conditions when confronted with a patient with memory loss?

I have often said to my patients and my seminar participants: “it takes only 2 minutes to write a prescription, but it takes 20 minutes to not write a prescription”. And in the current for-profit clinic culture, time is money and few physicians are given the “luxury” of spending adequate time with their patients. (In defense of the physicians that I know, they are not happy about that reality but don’t know what to do about it.)

It is so tempting to use the popularized, but rather squishy label of AD (of unknown etiology) rather than to educate ourselves about the possibility of drug- or vaccine-induced dementia. But what is so important is that many of the 50+ conditions are preventable or reversible, which will be therapeutic only if the conditions are identified before permanent brain damage occurs.

The Harvard guide actually said that “medications are common culprits in mental decline. With aging, the liver becomes less efficient at metabolizing drugs, and the kidneys eliminate them from the body more slowly. As a result, drugs tend to accumulate in the body. Elderly people in poor health and those taking several different medications are especially vulnerable.”

The guide continued with a list of the possible classes of prescription drugs that number in the hundreds:

 “The list of drugs that can cause dementia-like symptoms is long. It includes antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-anxiety medications, cardiovascular drugs, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, narcotics, sedatives.”

The Harvard guide went on to emphasize that Alzheimer’s can only be accurately diagnosed on a post-mortem examination. The guide states that “Alzheimer’s is distinguished from other dementias at autopsy by the presence of sticky beta-amyloid plaques outside brain cells (neurons) and fibrillary tangles within neurons (all indicative of cellular death). Although such lesions may be present in any aging brain, in people with Alzheimer’s these lesions tend to be more numerous and accumulate in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory.”

“The leading theory is that the damage to the brain results from inflammation and other biological changes that cause synaptic loss and malfunction, disrupting communication between brain cells. Eventually the brain cells die, causing tissue loss In imaging scans, brain shrinkage is usually first noticeable in the hippocampus, which plays a central role in memory function.”

But even the Harvard guide inexplicably failed to mention known mitochondrial toxins such as statin drugs, metformin, Depakote, general anesthetics, fluoroquinolone antibiotics, fluorinated psychotropic drugs, NutraSweet (every molecule of aspartame, when it reaches 86 degrees F, releases one molecule of the excitotoxin aspartic acid and one molecule of methanol [wood alcohol] which metabolizes into the known mitochondrial poison formaldehyde [embalming fluid]), pesticides (including the chlorinated artificial sweetener Splenda, which was initially developed as a pesticide) or the mercury (thimerosal), aluminum and formaldehyde which are common ingredients in vaccines. These are only some of the synthetic drugs that are capable of causing mitochondrial damage in brain cells – with memory loss, confusion and cognitive dysfunction, all early symptoms of dementia.

It is tragic, but all–too-common, for reversible and preventable drug-induced dementias (therefore of known cause and thus not Alzheimer’s) to be mis-diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease “of unknown etiology” and to then be prescribed costly, essentially ineffective and potentially toxic drugs – whose mitochondrial toxicities have not been tested for.

(The pharmaceutical industry, it should be noted, is not required by the FDA to test its drugs for mitochondrial toxicity when it is doing its studies for marketing approval, again exhibiting the total disdain for the Precautionary Principle by both industry and the regulatory agencies such as the FDA, the CDC and WHO.)

There is much more in the basic neuroscience literature proving the connections, at least from authors who do not have conflicts of interest with BigPharma and BigMedicine. The authors of these articles have raised the questions and have published the proof that concerned families of patients and their physicians desperately need to know.

Don’t expect BigPharma to respond or to offer apologies or mea culpas. Do expect denials, dismissals, distractions, discrediting and then the delaying of real legitimate explorations of the real scientific evidence that exposes its subterfuge in the name of maintaining large profits for their stakeholders.

Here are the abstracts from just two of the many peer-reviewed articles from various science journals that support the thesis of this column.

Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease

Published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal ; 2008 Jul;52(7):780-8.

Authors: Neustadt, J,  Pieczenik SR.

Abstract

Since the first mitochondrial dysfunction was described in the 1960s, the medicine has advanced in its understanding the role mitochondria play in health and disease. Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have statin medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others. While targeted nutrient therapies using antioxidants or their precursors (e. g., N-acetylcysteine) hold promise for improving mitochondrial function, there are large gaps in our knowledge. The most rational approach is to understand the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial damage for specific medications and attempt to counteract their deleterious effects with nutritional therapies. This article reviews our basic understanding of how mitochondria function and how medications damage mitochondria to create their occasionally fatal adverse effects.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Psychiatric Disorders

From: The Journal of Neurochemical Research 2009 Jun;34(6):1021-9.

Abstract

Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is the major ATP-producing pathway, which supplies more than 95% of the total energy requirement in the cells. Damage to the mitochondrial electron transport chain has been suggested to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of a range of psychiatric disorders. Tissues with high energy demands, such as the brain, contain a large number of mitochondria, being therefore more susceptible to reduction of the aerobic metabolism. Mitochondrial dysfunction results from alterations in biochemical cascade and the damage to the mitochondrial electron transport chain has been suggested to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of a range of (so-called) neuropsychiatric disorders, such as (psychotropic drug-treated) bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia….Alterations of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in (anti-psychotic drug-treated) schizophrenia have been reported in several brain regions and also in platelets. Abnormal mitochondrial morphology, size and density have all been reported in the brains of (anti-psychotic drug-treated) schizophrenic individuals. Considering that several studies link energy impairment to neuronal death, neurodegeneration and disease, this review article discusses energy impairment as a mechanism underlying the pathophysiology of some psychiatric disorders, like (psychotropic drug-treated) bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career, and took seriously the Hippocratic Oath that he swore when he received his medical degree. He is also a peace and justice advocate and writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The last three years of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Deception | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Argentine judge rejects cover-up charges in AMIA case

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Press TV – February 26, 2015

An Argentine judge has dismissed cover-up charges against the country’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the 1994 AMIA case.

Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas said there were no elements to justify continuation of an investigation on an alleged political effort by President Kirchner to cover up the role claimed to have been played by Iran in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center.

The documents against Kirchner failed to meet “the minimal conditions needed to launch a formal court investigation,” the judge added.

Argentina’s Federal Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita is expected to appeal the ruling.

Pollicita replaced Alberto Nisman who was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment in the capital, Buenos Aires, on January 18.

The initial police report said Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Nisman’s death came hours before he was to testify in a congressional hearing about the AMIA attack.

The prosecutor had accused a number of high-ranking Argentine officials including President Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and lawmaker Andrés “Cuervo” Larroqu of trying to ‘protect Iranians’ in the case.

The Argentinean president has frequently dismissed the claim against Iran, saying the late prosecutor’s allegations were baseless and absurd.

The “real move against the government was the prosecutor’s death…. They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead. It is that sad and terrible,” the Buenos Aires Herald quoted Kirchner as saying on January 22.

In July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, also known as AMIA, in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people died and some 300 were injured.

The Israeli regime accuses Tehran of masterminding the terrorist attack. The Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly denied any involvement in the incident.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

French PM decries MPs for meeting Assad

Press TV – February 26, 2015

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls has slammed a move by three French lawmakers to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“I want to condemn this initiative with the greatest strength,” Valls said on Thursday.

“For parliamentarians to go without warning to meet a butcher…. I think it was a moral failing,” he said.

A French Parliamentary delegation headed by French Senator Jean-Pierre Vial, Chairman of the Syrian-French friendship Committee, met with Assad on Wednesday.

“We met Bashar al-Assad for a good hour. It went very well,” Jacques Myard, an MP from the opposition Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) party, also said.

The French lawmaker described the trip as “a personal mission to see what is going on, to hear [and] listen.”

According to the Syrian state television, the two sides had discussed “the state of Syrian-French relations, as well as the developments in the Arab world and Europe, especially with regard to terrorism.”

During the meeting, Assad said fighting terrorism demands real political will and belief in the fact that the outcome will be in the interest of all people while the dangers will threaten all countries.

“If this issue could be tackled based on this principle, surely we will soon witness tangible positive results,” added the president.

France cut diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012 and supports the militants in Syria, who seek the removal of Assad from power.

The US and its allies, including France, have been throwing their weight behind Takfiri ISIL militants, currently wreaking havoc on Syria and Iraq, in past years.

Reports say US military instructors trained the militants at a secret base in Jordan in 2012. According to reports, some 1,000 French nationals from a wide range of backgrounds are estimated to have left the European country to join the Takfiri militants in Iraq and Syria. Some 400 of them are thought to be currently operating on the ground, while almost 50 were killed.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Kerry warns Congress about Netanyahu’s Iran speech, says Bibi pushed US to attack Iraq

Press TV – February 26, 2015

benjamin-netanyahu-2_190_190US Secretary of State John Kerry has reminded American officials that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is against a nuclear deal with Iran, was also in the US in 2002 to push for the invasion of Iraq.

Netanyahu is set to use his next week’s address to a joint session of Congress to condemn a potential nuclear agreement with Iran.

During a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday, Kerry warned Congress about the controversial speech.

“The prime minister, as you will recall, was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision,” Kerry said.

The top US diplomat was referring to testimony on the Middle East that Netanyahu delivered to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002.

During his speech, Netanyahu expressed strong support for Washington to oust former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Six months later, the US military bombarded the country.

“I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice,” Netanyahu said in 2002. “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”

Kerry also said on Wednesday that Netanyahu was wrong about Iran too because he had been “extremely outspoken about how bad the interim agreement was, calling it the ‘deal of the century for Iran.’”

The March 3 speech by Netanyahu has made the Obama administration furious as it comes ahead of crucial nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany that are working hard to reach a comprehensive nuclear accord.

Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the speech has “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”

Netanyahu, who is trying to put pressure on US officials to stop a final deal, once again defended his trip to Washington on Tuesday, saying he would do everything to prevent the agreement.

“It is my obligation as prime minister to do everything that I can to prevent this agreement. Therefore, I will go to Washington… because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement,” he said.

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and John Kerry would not meet with the Israeli leader during his trip.

A number of Democrats announced that they would skip the speech.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hamas asks the international community to put Jewish State on terror list

Palestine Information Center – February 26, 2015

GAZA – Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, asked the international community to put Israel and its leaders on the terror list. The request was voiced after state-backed Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque and a church in the West Bank over two consecutive days.

On Thursday, Hamas leader and former Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Dr. Ismail Radwan, condemned the arson attack on both sacred sites, saying, “Torching the holy sites and writing anti-Islamic and anti-Christian slogans by Israeli settlers demonstrate that the Israeli occupation constitutes a danger to humanity and to holy places”.

Dr. Radwan called on the international community along with human rights organizations to work on putting Israel on the terror list for its crimes that show hatred and hostility to humanity and holy sites.

The extremist Jewish groups started a fire at dawn Wednesday in a mosque in Jaba town to the west of Bethlehem and did the same thing early Thursday in the Church of Dormition on Mt. Zion in Occupied Jerusalem.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Greek Orthodox Church decries attacks by Jewish settlers

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MEMO | February 26, 2015

The Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Theophilos III, denounced on Thursday what he called “repeated” attacks on Christian and Muslim places of worship in the Palestinian territories by extremist Jewish settlers.

“The targeting of churches and mosques is caused by pervasive racism and hatred,” he said in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, Jewish Settlers set fire to part of a religious school affiliated with Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Which they sprayed with anti-Christian graffiti. On Wednesday, settlers torched and sprayed graffiti on a West Bank mosque.

Theophilos III said Christians represented an “integral part” of the Holy Land, its history and its future, going on to assert that the Greek Orthodox Church was one of the world’s most important churches.

“Criminals will not intimidate this church or its flock,” he declared.

He called on government agencies to address repeated settler attacks on places of worship.

Earlier Thursday, The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on both the Vatican and the international community to protect Islamic and Christian places of worship from what it described as “Jewish extremism.”

“We strongly condemn these acts,” the ministry said in a statement. “Yesterday a mosque near Bethlehem was torched and today a church in Jerusalem [was attacked].”

Extremist Jews, the ministry asserted, continued to attack Muslim and Christian places of worship while the Israeli government did nothing to stop them.

The ministry went on to blame the Israeli government for the trend, calling on the Vatican, the international community and the UN to help protect local religious sites.

On Wednesday, Jewish Settlers set fire to a mosque near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Which Also they covered with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim graffiti.

Several instances of settler attacks on Muslim places of worship have been reported recently, both in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the self-proclaimed Jewish state itself.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cop Assaults Man for Filming Brutality, Stomps Phone to Destroy Evidence — Video Survived

By Cassandra Rules | The Free Thought Project | February 26, 2015

Amherst, MA–  University of Massachusetts Amherst student, Thomas Donovan, who is majoring in legal studies and had planned to become a Massachusetts State Trooper, has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated after he was pepper sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for filming police brutality.

The officer also repeatedly stomped on his cellphone in an attempt to destroy the evidence and cover up the crime- but the video survived.

The incident took place last March during his neighborhood’s Blarney Blowout parties, an annual tradition attended by thousands and held the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day where Amherst and neighboring towns are full of informal St. Patrick’s Day drinking and festivities.

Last year saw 58 people arrested, 21 of which were UMass students after police in riot gear violently moved in.

During the commotion, Donovan noticed an officer using excessive force while making an arrest, so the student pulled out his cell phone to exercise his First Amendment right to film the incident. Donovan was on the other side of a fence, a safe distance away, and was not interfering with the brutality at all. At this point. An officer wearing full riot gear and carrying a pepper-ball gun— believed to be Officer Andrew Hulse—approached Mr. Donovan to prevent him from filming, the lawsuit states.

Despite the police intimidation, Donovan did not stop filming.  He was then pepper-sprayed at close range by another officer. Donovan requested the officer’s name and badge number, but the officer would not identify himself.

Moments later, Officer Jesus Arocho knocked the phone out of his hand and threw him to the ground face first. The phone landed flat on the ground with the camera pointed up and continuing to film.

“Arocho, assisted by Defendant Andrew Hulse, placed Mr. Donovan under arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Donovan’s phone, which had landed on the ground with the camera facingup, continued to film. It captured the actions of another police officer, Defendant John Doe 3, who walked over to the phone, stood over it, then stomped on it with his boot, several times, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy it.” the lawsuit continued.

Thankfully, Donovan’s phone was inside a shock-resistant protective case and the phone was unharmed. The video, and evidence of this blatant misconduct, was preserved.

Arocho then arrested Donovan on bogus charges of “disorderly conduct” and for “riot, failure to disperse.” These charges were ultimately dropped.

Arocho lied in his police report, stating Donovan was pepper sprayed “as he began to close the distance between himself and the officers.” The complaint points out that this claim is blatantly false as the incident was captured on video.

Donovan ended up spending 5 to 6 hours in a cell, falsely imprisoned, and was denied any assistance removing the pepper spray from his eyes.

Due to the officer’s insane actions, Donovan was suspended from the university, until he contested and won after he was found not to have committed any wrong-doing.

“Defendants knew that it was wrong to stop a civilian from filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.

Defendants knew that it was wrong to use force against a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.

Defendants knew that it was wrong to arrest a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.

Defendants knew that it was wrong to try to destroy a civilian’s phone merely because it contained video of police officers performing their duties in public.” the complaint asserts.

This year’s Blarney Blowout parties are expected to begin on March 7, but students will be prohibited from hosting guests who are not UMass Amherst students. The University will also be offering “school sanctioned” events this year to monitor the amount of fun being had.

Perhaps a more reasonable course of action would have been to have the militarized police stand down and not bring violence and chaos to celebrations.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , | 1 Comment

US Aggression Against Venezuela: Fact, Not Fiction

The U.S. has a substantial history of aggression toward Venezuela

By Eva Golinger | teleSUR | February 25, 2015

Recently, several different spokespersons for the Obama administration have firmly claimed the United States government is not intervening in Venezuelan affairs. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki went so far as to declare, “The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false.” Psaki then reiterated a bizarrely erroneous statement she had made during a daily press briefing just a day before: “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.”

Anyone with minimal knowlege of Latin America and world history knows Psaki’s claim is false, and calls into question the veracity of any of her prior statements. The U.S. government has backed, encouraged and supported coup d’etats in Latin America and around the world for over a century. Some of the more notorious ones that have been openly acknowledged by former U.S. presidents and high level officials include coup d’etats against Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960, Joao Goulart of Brazil in 1964 and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. More recently, in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government openly supported the coups against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002, Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004 and Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009. Ample evidence of CIA and other U.S. agency involvement in all of these unconstitutional overthrows of democratically-elected governments abounds. What all of the overthrown leaders had in common was their unwillingness to bow to U.S. interests.

Despite bogus U.S. government claims, after Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela by an overwhelming majority in 1998, and subsequently refused to take orders from Washington, he became a fast target of U.S. aggression. Though a U.S.-supported coup d’etat briefly overthrew Chavez in 2002, his subsequent rescue by millions of Venezuelans and loyal armed forces, and his return to power, only increased U.S. hostility towards the oil-rich nation. After Chavez’s death in 2013 from cancer, his democratically-elected successor, Nicolas Maduro, became the brunt of these attacks.

What follows is a brief summary of U.S. aggression towards Venezuela that clearly shows a one-sided war. Venezuela has never threatened or taken any kind of action to harm the United States or its interests. Nonetheless, Venezuela, under both Chavez and Maduro – two presidents who have exerted Venezuela’s sovereignty and right to self-determination – has been the ongoing victim of continuous, hostile and increasingly aggressive actions from Washington.

2002-2004

A coup d’etat against Chávez was carried out on April 11, 2002. Documents obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) evidence a clear role of the U.S. government in the coup, as well as financial and political support for those Venezuelans involved.

A “lockout” and economic sabotage of Venezuela’s oil industry was imposed from December 2002 to February 2003. After the defeat of the coup against Chavez, the U.S. State Department issued a special fund via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to help the opposition continue efforts to overthrow Chavez. USAID set up an Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas, subcontracting U.S. defense contractor Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) to oversee Venezuela operations and distribute millions of dollars to anti-government groups. The result was the “national strike” launched in December 2002 that brought the oil industry to the ground and devastated the economy. It lasted 64 days and caused more than $20 billion in damages. Nonetheless, the efforts failed to destabilize the Chavez government.

The “guarimbas” of 2004: On February 27, 2004, extremist anti-government groups initiated violent protests in Caracas aimed at overthrowing Chavez. They lasted 4 days and caused multiple deaths. The leaders of these protests had received training from the U.S. Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), which specializes in regime change tactics and strategies.

The Recall Referendum of 2004: Both NED and USAID channeled millions of dollars into a campaign to recall President Chavez through a national recall referendum. With the funds, the group Sumate, led by multi-millionaire Maria Corina Machado, was formed to oversee the efforts. Chavez won the referendum in a landslide 60-40 victory.

2005

After the victory of President Chavez in the recall referendum of 2004, the US toughened its position towards Venezuela and increased its public hostility and aggression against the Venezuelan government. Here are a selection of statements made about Venezuela by U.S. officials:

January 2005: “Hugo Chavez is a negative force in the region.” – Condoleezza Rice.

March 2005: “Venezuela is one of the most unstable and dangerous ‘hot spots’ in Latin America.” – Porter Goss, ex-Director of the CIA.

“Venezuela is starting a dangerous arms race that threatens regional security.” – Donald Rumsfeld, ex-Secretary of Defense.

“I am concerned about Venezuela’s influence in the area of responsibility… SOUTHCOM supports the position of the Joint Chiefs to maintain ‘military to military’ contact with the Venezuelan military…we need an inter-agency focus to deal with Venezuela.” – General Bantz Craddock, ex-Commander of SOUTHCOM.

July 2005: “Cuba and Venezuela are promoting instability in Latin America… There is no doubt that President Chavez is funding radical forces in Bolivia.” -Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Assistant Sub-Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere.

“Venezuela and Cuba are promoting radicalism in the region…Venezuela is trying to undermine the democratic governments in the region to impede CAFTA.” – Donald Rumsfeld, ex-Secretary of Defense.

August 2005: “Venezuelan territory is a safe haven for Colombian terrorists.” – Tom Casey, State Department spokesman.

September 2005: “The problem of working with President Chavez is serious and continuous, as it is in other parts of the relationship.” – John Walters, Director of the National Policy Office for Drug Control.

November 2005: “The assault on democratic institutions in Venezuela continues and the system is in serious danger.” – Thomas Shannon, Sub-secretary of State.

2006

February 2006: “President Chavez continues to use his control to repress the opposition, reduce freedom of the press and restrict democracy…. it’s a threat.” – John Negroponte, ex-Director of National Intelligence.

“We have Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of money from oil. He is a person who was elected legally, just like Adolf Hitler…” – Donald Rumsfeld, ex-Secretary of Defense.

March 2006: “In Venezuela, a demagogue full of oil money is undermining democracy and trying to destabilize the region.” – George W. Bush.

U.S. officials try to link Venezuela to Terrorism:

June 2006: “Venezuela’s cooperation in the international campaign against terrorism continues to be insignificant… It’s not clear to what point the Venezuelan government offered material support to Colombian terrorists.” – Annual Report on Terrorism, Department of State.

June 2006: The U.S. government through the Commerce Department and U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions against Venezuela for its alleged role in terrorism and prohibits the sale of military equipment to the country.

July 2006: “Venezuela, under President Hugo Chavez, has tolerated terrorists in its territory…” – Subcommittee on International Terrorism, House of Representatives.

U.S. increases its Military Presence in Latin America:

March-July 2006: The US military engages in four major exercises off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, with support from NATO, and based at the US air force base in Curaçao. A permanent military presence is established in the Dominican Republic and the bases in Curaçao and Aruba are reinforced.

The U.S. Embassy in Caracas establishes the “American Corners” in 5 Venezuelan States (Lara, Monagas, Bolívar, Anzoátegui, Nueva Esparta), to act as centers of propaganda, subversion, espionage and infiltration.

U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield intensifies his public hostility towards the Venezuelan government, making frequent sarcastic and unfriendly comments in opposition-controlled media.

NED and USAID increase funding to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

2007

At the beginning of 2007, Venezuela is severely attacked in the international media & by U.S. government spokespersons for its decision to nationalize Cantv (the only national telephone company), the Electricity of Caracas and the Faja Orinoco oil fields.

In May 2007 the attack intensifies when the government decides not to renew the public broadcasting concession to popular opposition television station, RCTV.

A powerful international media campaign is initiated against Venezuela and President Chavez, referring to him as a dictator.

Private distributors and companies begin hoarding food and other essential consumer products in order to create shortages and panic amongst the population.

USAID, NED and the State Department via the Embassy in Caracas foment, fund and encourage the emergence of a right-wing youth movement and help to project its favorable image to the international community in order to distort the perception of President Chavez’s popularity amongst youth.

Groups such as Human Rights Watch, Inter-American Press Association and Reporters without Borders accuse Venezuela of violating human rights and freedom of expression.

September 2007: President George W. Bush classifies Venezuela as a nation “not cooperating” with the war against drug trafficking, for the third year in a row, imposing additional economic sanctions.

September 2007: Condoleezza Rice declares the U.S. is “concerned about the destructive populism” of Chavez.

2008

January 2008: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces meets with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, then Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos, U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield and the Commander General of the Colombian Armed Forces Freddy Padilla de Leon and declares during a press conference that he is “concerned about the arms purchases made by Chavez” and expresses that this could “destabilize the region.”

John Walters, the U.S. Anti-Drug Czar meets with Uribe in Colombia, together with 5 U.S. congresspersons and Ambassador Brownfield, and declares Venezuela a nation “complicit with drug trafficking” that presents “a threat to the US and the region”. He also expresses his wish that the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia be ratified by Congress soon.

Condoleezza Rice visits Colombia, together with Sub-Secretary of State Thomas Shannon and 10 congress members from the democratic party to push the FTA and back Colombia in its conflict with Venezuela.

President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address emphasizes the importance of the FTA with Colombia alerts to the threat of “populist” and “undemocratic” governments in the region.

February 2008: SOUTHCOM sends the Navy’s “4th fleet” to the Caribbean Sea (a group of war ships, submarines and aircraft carriers that haven’t been in those waters since the Cold War).

The Director of National Intelligence, General Mike McConnell, publishes the Annual Threat Report, which classifies Venezuela as the “principal threat against the US in the hemisphere.”

Exxon-Mobil tries to “freeze” $12 billion of Venezuelan assets in London, Holland and the Dutch Antilles.

A Report on Present Threats to National Security of the Defense Intelligence Agency classifies Venezuela as a “national security threat” to the U.S.

A Department of State report accuses Venezuela of being a country that permits “the transit of illegal drugs”, “money laundering” and being “complicit with drug trafficking.”

The U.S. Department of Treasury classifies three high level Venezuelan officials as “drug kingpins”, presenting no formal evidence. The head of Venezuela’s military intelligence, General Hugo Carvajal, the head of Venezuela’s civil intelligence force, General Henry Rangel Silva, and former Minister of Interior and Justice, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin are sanctioned by the U.S. government and placed on a terrorist list.

Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich, Director of the US Joint Interagency Task Force, meets in Bogota with the Commander General of the Colombian Armed Forces.

March 2008: The Colombian army invades Ecuadorian territory and assassinates Raul Reyes and a dozen others, including 4 Mexicans, at a FARC camp in the jungle near the border.

General Jorge Naranjo, Commander of Colombia’s National Police, declares that laptop computers rescued from the scene of the bombing that killed Reyes and others evidence that President Chavez gave more than $300 million to the FARC along with a quantity of uranium and weapons. No other evidence is produced or shown to the public. Ecuador is also accused of supporting the FARC.

Venezuela mobilizes troops to the border with Colombia.

The US Navy sends the Aircraft Carrier “Harry Truman” to the Caribbean Sea to engage in military exercises to prevent potential terrorist attacks and eventual conflicts in the region.

President Bush states the U.S. will defend Colombia against the “provocations” from Venezuela.

Uribe announces he will bring a claim before the International Criminal Court against President Chavez for “sponsoring genocide and terrorism”.

March: President Bush requests his team of lawyers and advisors review the possibility of placing Venezuela on the list of “STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM” together with Cuba, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

2009

May: A document from the U.S. Air Force shows the construction of a U.S. military base in Palanquero, Colombia, to combat the “anti-American” governments in the region. The Palanquero base is part of the 7 military bases that the U.S. planned to build in Colombia under an agreement with the Colombian government for a ten-year period.

2010

February: The U.S. Director of National Intelligence declares Venezuela the “anti-American leader” in the region in its annual report on worldwide threats.

February: The State Department authorizes more than $15 million via NED and USAID to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

June: A report from the FRIDE Institute in Spain, funded by NED, evidences that international agencies channel between $40-50 million a year to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

September: Washington ratifies sanctions against Venezuela for allegedly not cooperating with counter-narcotics efforts or the war on terror.

2011-2015

President Obama authorizes a special fund of $5 million in his annual budget to support anti-government groups in Venezuela. In 2015, Obama increases this amount to $5.5 million.

NED continues to fund anti-government groups in Venezuela with about $2 million annually.

Each year, the US government includes Venezuela on a list of countries that do not cooperate with counter-narcotics efforts or the war on terror. Also in its annual human rights report, the State Department classifies Venezuela as a “violator” of human rights.

Subsequent to President Chavez’s death from cancer on March 5, 2013, new elections are held and Nicolas Maduro wins the presidency. Opposition leaders hold violent demonstrations that result in the deaths of more than a dozen people.

In February 2014, the violent protests resume, led by Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, who openly call for the overthrow of President Maduro, and over 40 people are killed. Lopez turns himself in to authorities and faces charges for his role in the violence. The U.S. government calls for his immediate release.

In December 2014, President Obama imposed sanctions on more than 50 Venezuelan officials and their relatives, accusing them of violating human rights and engaging in corruption. No evidence has been presented to date to support these serious allegations. The Commerce Department also expanded sanctions against Venezuela, prohibiting the sale of “any products” that could be destined for “military use” due to alleged human rights violations committed by the Venezuelan Armed Forces.

January 2015: Vice President Joe Biden warns Caribbean countries that the government of President Nicolas Maduro will soon be “defeated” and therefore they should abandon their discounted oil program with Venezuela, PetroCaribe.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemns the alleged “criminalization of political dissent” in Venezuela.

February 2015: President Obama unveils his new National Security Strategy and names Venezuela as a threat and stresses support for Venezuelan “citizens” living in a country where “democracy is at risk.”

Anti-government leaders circulate a document for a “transitional government agreement” which warns President Maduro’s government is in its “final stage” and pledges to overhaul the entire government and socialist system in place, replacing it with a neoliberal, pro-business model. The document is signed by Maria Corina Machado, jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, mayor of Metropolitan Caracas.

Days later, a coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro is thwarted and 10 active Venezuelan military officers are detained. Antonio Ledezma is arrested and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government and the U.S. State Department issues a harsh condemnation of his detention, calling on regional governments to take action against the Maduro administration.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest denies any U.S. government role in the coup attempt against Maduro, calling such allegations “ludicrous”, but further reveals, “The Treasury Department and the State Department are considering tools that may be available that could better steer the Venezuelan government in the direction that we believe they should be headed.”

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Argentine Congress votes to scrap intelligence agency

Press TV – February 26, 2015

Argentine legislators have voted to disband the South American country’s intelligence agency and replace it with a new federal body that will be accountable to the Congress.

The lower house of Congress voted 131 to 71 in favor of the bill, which had already been approved by the Senate.

The measure came after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner drafted a proposal last month to dissolve the Secretariat of Intelligence (SI) and set up a new service to be called the Federal Intelligence Agency, after the government said a renegade spy was linked to the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Fernandez has said Antonio Stiuso, who for years was the powerful director of operations at the SI, pushed Nisman into filing a formal criminal complaint against her, and was involved in the prosecutor’s death.

On Tuesday, Oscar Parilli, who was appointed as the SI director in December last year, said Stiuso and others had illegally imported electronic goods and other equipment between 2013 and 2014.

Parrilli said the ring made use of a special law that allows the SI to import secret equipment, and illegally imported electronic goods as well as other equipment, without paying taxes or informing customs officials.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers have voiced their discontent with the decision to dissolve Argentina’s intelligence body, arguing that the General Attorney’s Office would now be in charge of overseeing all wiretaps.

“The most important issue is the lack of oversight,” opposition lawmaker Manuel Garrido said.

He added, “What worries us is that there has not been, nor will there be proper control.”

Garrido said he offered an alternative bill that incorporated stricter controls, but it was obstructed by the ruling coalition.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banksy in Gaza: Haunting images among ruins of war

RT | February 26, 2015

The English graffiti artist has taken his politically charged message to the bombed-out neighborhoods of Gaza, where a series of murals amid a backdrop of devastation attempts to give voice to the desperation felt by Palestinians.

The first mural, entitled “Bomb Damage,” appears to be inspired by Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Thinker.” In Banksy’s version, the viewer is struck with the realization that the only possible thing on the mind of the subject is the utter devastation that literally surrounds him.

Another piece, done in the artist’s trademark black, stenciled imagery, shows the silhouettes of children riding an amusement park swing that is shown circling around one of the looming guard stations that punctuate the length of the West Bank barrier, which, upon completion, will be approximately 700 kilometers (430 miles).

Photo from www.banksy.co.uk

Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk

The artist also provided his personal thoughts on the situation confronting the people of Gaza:

“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday,” Banksy said in a spray-painted statement.

In another painting, in which a huge white kitten appears to toy with a ball of coiled metal, the artist is hurling criticism at the popular Internet meme involving kittens, which attracts so much attention at the expense of more serious issues.

The street artist explained in yet another spray-painted bit of commentary the reaction of a local man to the work, and his response:

“A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

Photo from www.banksy.co.uk

Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk

In another place, Banksy offered some advice on a concrete wall: “If We Wash Our Hands Of The Conflict Between The Powerful And The Powerless We Side With The Powerful – We Don’t Remain Neutral”.

Finally, the street artist provides a poignant statement in a 2-minute video, where he invites the viewers to “discover a new destination” this year, while providing a brief, yet unforgettable stroll through Gaza.

Banksy, who is widely believed to be Robin Gunningham, an artist from Bristol’s underground art scene, has gone from the streets to the top of the art world. His first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, labeled as “the world’s first street art disaster movie”, made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.

Photo from www.banksy.co.uk

Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk

READ MORE: ‘Complicit in Gaza’s misery’: Pro-Palestine activists shut down UK arms factory

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Subjugation - Torture, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments