Like Captain Kirk would say, weird or what? I say it’s alien juvenile delinquents.
Like Captain Kirk would say, weird or what? I say it’s alien juvenile delinquents.
July 17, 2017
Following today’s breaking news about U.S. and international authorities taking down the competing Dark Web drug bazaars AlphaBay and Hansa Market, KrebsOnSecurity caught up with the Dutch investigators who took over Hansa on June 20, 2017. When U.S. authorities shuttered AlphaBay on July 5, police in The Netherlands saw a massive influx of AlphaBay refugees who were unwittingly fleeing directly into the arms of investigators. What follows are snippets from an exclusive interview with Petra Haandrikman, team leader of the Dutch police unit that infiltrated Hansa.
Vendors on both AlphaBay and Hansa sold a range of black market items — most especially controlled substances like heroin. According to the U.S. Justice Department, AlphaBay alone had some 40,000 vendors who marketed a quarter-million sales listings for illegal drugs to more than 200,000 customers. The DOJ said that as of earlier this year, AlphaBay had 238 vendors selling heroin. Another 122 vendors advertised Fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid that has been linked to countless overdoses and deaths.
In our interview, Haandrikman detailed the dual challenges of simultaneously dealing with the exodus of AlphaBay users to Hansa and keeping tabs on the giant increase in new illicit drug orders that were coming in daily as a result.
KrebsOnSecurity (K): Talk a bit about how your team was able to seize control over Hansa.
Haandrikman (H): When we knew the FBI was working on AlphaBay, we thought ‘What’s better than if they come to us?’ The FBI wanted [the AlphaBay takedown] to look like an exit scam [where the proprietors of a dark web marketplace suddenly abscond with everyone’s money]. And we knew a lot of vendors on AlphaBay would probably come over to Hansa when AlphaBay was closed.
K: Where was Hansa physically based?
H: We knew the Hansa servers were in Lithuania, so we sent an MLAT (mutual legal assistance treaty) request to Lithuania and requested if we could proceed with our planned actions in their country. They were very willing to help us in our investigations.
K: So you made a copy of the Hansa servers?
H: We gained physical access to the machines in Lithuania, and were able to set up some clustering between the [Hansa] database servers in Lithuania and servers we were running in our country. With that, we were able to get a real time copy of the Hansa database, and then copy over the Web site code itself.
K: Did you have to take Hansa offline for a while during this process?
H: No, it didn’t really go offline. We were able to create our own copy of the site that was running on servers in the Netherlands. So there were two copies of the site running simultaneously.
Germany and Austria better do something about this or risk being labelled nations of pedophiles. You know how gossip exaggerates everything. But 90,000 offenders in two countries is significant of a wider problem methinks. What’s going on?
The number of recent pedophilia cases is enough to make you cringe, including the FBI/Europol case, in which 350 pedophiles were busted soon after the arrest of Playpen creator, Stephen Chase; the prominent Vatican official Cardinal George Pell, who was found to be connected to child pornography and pedophilia; and the 70,000-member pedophilia ring uncovered in Norway.
The CIA recruited the Muslim Brotherhood to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which led to the withdrawal of the Soviets from the Hindu Kush. Since then, the CIA used the mercenaries to fight more proxy wars in the Balkans, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan. Due to the wars of aggression against Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen the US and its vassal states created sectarian violence that led to civil wars. Right now, the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood are present in the form of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
No one has studied this triad more intensively than F. William Engdahl who is a renowned geopolitical analyst, risk consultant, author, and lecturer. Engdahl was born in Minneapolis, MN, and grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative journalist in the US and Europe. He was named Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with the focus on geopolitical events. For the last 30 years, Engdahl has been living in Germany.
He has written numerous best-selling books on oil and geopolitics, The Lost hegemon: Whom The Gods Would Destroy, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, and not to forget: Target China to name only a few. His books are translated into 14 foreign languages.
His latest book on the role of the NGOs focuses on their involvement in US regime change operations and in steering up fabricated mass protests to facilitate the efforts of the US Empire and the CIA to replace resilient national oriented governments by obedient ones that will execute the Washington agenda. All this happens under the pretext of democracy à la US-American style.
The following interview focuses on Engdahl’s latest book in German Secret files NGOs (Geheimakte NGOs). It’s conducted by Dr. Ludwig Watzal, journalist and editor, who lives in Bonn, Germany, and runs the bilingual blog.
Watzal: I guess we could agree upon the fact that the CIA is the world’s worst terror organization. After WW II, hardly any coup d’état or organized uprising happened without the helping hand of the CIA. As I understood your book, in the last 25 years, the CIA got quite a few so-called little helpers in the form of NGOs. Please, could you elaborate on that?
Engdahl: During the Reagan Presidency very damaging scandals were becoming public about CIA dirty operations around the world. Chile, Iran, Guatemala, the top secret MK-Ultra project the student movement during the Vietnam War to name just a few. To take the spotlight away from them, CIA Director Bill Casey proposed to Reagan creating a “private” NGO, a kind of cut-out that would pose as private, but in reality, as one of its founders the late Allen Weinstein said in a later interview to the Washington Post, “doing what the CIA did, but privately.” This was the creation of the NGO named National Endowment for Democracy in 1983. Soon other Washington-steered NGOs were added like the Freedom House or the Soros Open Society Foundations, the United States Institute of Peace and so forth.
The money was often channeled via USAID of the State Department to hide its origin. Every major regime attack by the US Government since then including the Solidarnosc in Poland, the Yeltsin CIA-backed Russia coup, the 2004 Ukraine Orange Revolution, the 2008 Tibet riots, the Arab Spring of 2011 to today – all have been done by this group of very select “democracy” NGOs. Little wonder that countries like Russia and China or Hungary act to ban them as “undesirable NGOs.”
Watzal: You quote Allen Weinstein, co-author of the founding act of the NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED), saying; “Much of what we do today was done 25 years ago by the CIA.” Are the US NGOs such as NED, CIPE, USAID, NDI not to speak of the Soros network the fifth column of the CIA?
Engdahl: As I indicated above, I would say so in my opinion. Invariably their NGO agenda fits the given agenda of Washington foreign policy. Coincidence? I don’t believe so.
Watzal: Your critic focused mainly on a few US NGOs or would you include all non-governmental organizations in general? Aren’t all these NGOs driven by a good mind and noble deeds to spread democracy and freedom around the world?
Engdahl: This is the devil in the concept of Bill Casey. Hiding very black dirty anti-democratic CIA operations behind private political NGOs waving the banner of “Human Rights” has been very effective for Washington’s global agenda of toppling un-cooperative regimes around the world. In effect the CIA has weaponized human rights. Curiously useful regimes for Washington such as Saudi Arabia go unbothered by calls for democracy. Their oil billions finance Washington’s global terrorism agenda.
Take the recent case of the fake democracy White Helmets NGO in Syria doing propaganda in intimate cooperation with ISIS, to justify the US-led war against the duly elected Assad regime. White Helmets get money reportedly from Soros Foundations, from the US and UK governments and were created by a former British Army Intelligence officer James Le Mesurier. Their atrocity videos have repeatedly been exposed as fake, staged by actors. Their alleged Sarin gas video showing unprotected White Helmets “first responders” handling alleged Sarin gas victims with no protective HAZMAT protection is a joke, a fake as was exposed widely after by a number of HAZMAT Sarin gas experts.
The Washington – or EU in some cases – political NGOs are effective because they can attract many innocent good-willed people. I recently received a very touching personal letter from a European Medical Doctor who had been 18 months working with the best humanitarian intention with Doctors without Borders in South Sudan before their US-backed independence. She was so grateful after reading my NGO book as she could understand all the seeming irrational directions their American Doctors Without Borders leader gave the staff. She quit because of burnout and now said she understands why. Honest doctors were being used by Washington for secret political agendas. South Sudan was target because China was receiving a major share of her oil from there via Khartoum.
Of course not all NGOs are doing the work of the CIA. I focus on the ones with a hidden political agenda, who, as I describe in the book, have weaponized human rights and the word democracy for devious ends.
Watzal: In 1984, the hedge fund-Billionaire George Soros, established in Budapest the Soros Foundation. His first target was Poland. Pope John Paul II and US President Ronald Reagan met in 1982 at the Vatican to discuss the destabilization of the Communist Bloc. In this endeavor, has there also been an involvement of the Soros Foundation?
Engdahl: The Soros Foundation established the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw in 1988 to train activists to ultimately topple the Communist regime. They played a major role “building democracy” and immediately after the collapse in Poland of the government of General Czesław Kiszczak in August, 1989. Soros brought Harvard University “Shock Therapy” economist Jeffrey Sachs into Poland to push privatization of state enterprises, create a hyperinflation and open choice Polish state assets for auction to western investors like friends of Soros for pennies or then, for pfennig.
Watzal: The two chapters on the plundering of the former Soviet Union by the CIA, Soros and his Harvard Boys in cooperation with the Yeltsin clan and former KGB official is quite shocking. Please, elaborate on this Mafia-like undertaking?
Engdahl: I have to refer readers to the book as the treatment has been cross-checked and is exhaustive. In brief, the CIA under the direction of then-President George H.W. Bush managed to corrupt several very high-ranking KGB generals who recruited a network of young Komsomol or Communist Union of Youth proteges such as Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky to become their hand-picked “oligarchs” to plunder the State assets for pennies compared to their true worth. This was the infamous “voucher” scandal that valued the entire state assets including oil and gas, machine-making companies, high-tech, all at a little under $16 billion. They literally raped Russia for personal gain. And the CIA and its network of Western banks such as Riggs Bank in Washington allowed them to launder the money out of Russia. Even I was shocked to verify the details. It was criminal. Yeltsin was their boy. Some said so long as his supply of good Vodka was guaranteed he would do anything Soros and his Harvard economists demanded.
The interesting point to note is that President G.H. W Bush, former director of the CIA, ordered three simultaneous NGO destabilizations in the same year, 1989. The three were Russia, China in Tiananmen Square and Yugoslavia. The book documents this in great detail.
Watzal: After Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s President, he immediately stopped the robbing of Russia. Do you think that could be one cause why the political class in Washington hates and demonizes him to such an extent, which is irrational?
Engdahl: Putin came from a Russian nationalist faction (as opposed to what were called cosmopolitan or internationalist faction) of the KGB and its successor. They knew they had to act with stealth until their grip was secure in 2000 when Yeltsin was forced to quietly “retire” or face revelations and Yeltsin was convinced to name Putin acting President.
There has been an undeclared war against a stable nation-state in Russia since well before 1917. The founder of Stratfor, George Friedman, one of the better informed American analysts of geopolitics and former consultant to the Pentagon and CIA among others, recently gave an interview after the CIA Ukraine “coup d’ etat” which Friedman called “the most blatant coup in US history.” That if you recall was the one where Viktoria Nuland as US Assistant Secretary of State went to Kiev and handed out candy bars to the protesters in Maidan Square and telephoned her contempt for the EU to the US Ambassador in Kiev.
Friedman noted what I have documented in my various other books such as Mit der Ölwaffe zur Weltmacht, that the foreign policy of the United States of America for at least the past century as the USA emerged on the decline of the British Empire, the US foreign policy priority has been to prevent at all costs the merging of economic interests and cooperation between especially Germany and Russia. The world has undergone two world wars because of this unfortunate geopolitical dogma of US foreign policy, a dogma taken over from the British and from the father of British geopolitics, Sir Halford Mackinder.
Washington hates and demonizes Putin for the reason he has moved deliberately to stabilize Russia as a great nation, which it truly is as I can attest from almost 25 years of personal experience. And as a result of Washington’s demonization, Putin’s influence in the world seems only to grow stronger – first with China, then Eurasia nations, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, even the Philippines and Latin America. The world is becoming fed up with the endless agenda of overt and covert USA wars everywhere. We need to look closely behind the Trump words and very soon we find the same old, degenerate oligarchs and their so-called deep-state of unelected bureaucrats at work.
Watzal: The dismantling of Yugoslavia was a catastrophe. The Germans under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroeder and his infamous foreign minister Joschka Fischer joined forces with Clinton to overthrow the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In this coup-like operation, were there also NGOs involved? And what was their strategy?
Engdahl: Yes. Follow the subsequent career of Mr. Fischer. A street thug from the 1968 Frankfurt protests becomes crowned by the USA and its mainstream media as a statesman, apparently the reward for delivering the Green Party vote for bombing Yugoslavia in 1999. After office, Fischer got an honorary teaching post at my Alma Mater, Princeton. Later George Soros invites Mr. Fischer on to his new European council on Foreign Relations think tank.
In terms of the toppling of Slobodan Milosevic, the US government and its select NGOs including NED and Soros foundations, organized, financed, and trained key student leaders and others in a successful coup, under the name Otpor! (Resistance!), with the now -ubiquitous logo of the threatening clenched fist. Serbian translations of Gene Sharp’s writings on nonviolent action were used and the key leaders were personally trained by Sharp’s associate US Army colonel Robert Helvey in secret meeting places to avoid police. Otpor! got by some estimates as much as $30 million from U.S. government-linked organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). The destruction of Yugoslavia was orchestrated since the 1980’s by Washington, first Bush Sr. then Clinton. The aim was to create a war in Europe to justify the continued presence of a NATO whose raison d’être after the collapse of the Soviet Union was hard to justify to American taxpayers or to the Europeans who were planning an independent European Defense Pillar apart from NATO. For Washington and the influential US military industrial complex such independence was tabu!. The second aim was to establish a huge US military presence later in Kosovo called Camp Bond Steel.
Watzal: When the Arab masses went into the streets of Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli, the Western media, and political class were thrilled. Finally, democracy, freedom, and human rights found their way into the Arab world. Were these uprisings spontaneous or were they organized and orchestrated from outside forces?
Engdahl: The entire Arab Spring was secretly planned and financed by Washington and US-financed NGOs. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a key figure along with her bizarre Muslim Brotherhood assistant Huma Abedin. The RAND Corporation, which is a Pentagon think tank responsible for developing the technique of mob “swarming” like bees, as a way using Facebook and social media to steer protests, played a key role.
The protest student groups in Egypt were US-trained, again using translations of Gene Sharp, they were brought to Europe to be secretly trained by the leaders of Otpor!.
In the case of Libya’s Qaddafi, a more urgent regime change was deemed necessary as the now-famous DCLeaks and Wikileaks emails of Hillary to her private adviser Sidney Blumenthal reveal. Qaddafi, who contrary to his demonized image had built up Libya with the highest living standard in all Africa, was about to unveil creation of an alliance of Muslim central banks and introduction of a Gold Dinar currency for oil sales not in US dollars. He was doing so together with Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt. As Hillary wrote to Blumenthal, that had to be blocked by whatever means. The means to “block” were the illegal bombing of Libya and the assassination of Qaddafi and turning Libya into a field of rubble. The original Pentagon-CIA-State Department plan called for the immediate toppling of another thorn in Washington’s side immediately after Qaddafi, that was Bashar al Assad in Syria. That has not worked out well for the Washington planners and a great human tragedy unnecessarily has grown out of 6 years of what essentially is a US-led war there.
Watzal: In the old days, the conquerors brought in its wake the missionaries. Today, the Western neo-colonial powers come with hundreds of NGOs who teach the indigenous population how Western democracy is supposed to function. Do you think the NGOs serve the interest of these people? What about the German NGOs who especially carry a lot of ideological ballast, for example, in the form of gender mainstreaming with them? What do you make of that?
Engdahl: I think your analogy with the “Christian” missionaries of the past and the “Human Rights” or “democracy” NGOs today is very fitting. I am not competent to comment on the activities of various German NGOs. My main focus is Washington, the hegemonic power today and source of so much that is destructive, unfortunately.
Watzal: At the beginning and at the end of your book you refer to George Orwell’s doublethink that means “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” Do we live in times where the original meanings of words become different contents? Do the US Empire and its vassal states wage war in the name of democracy and destroy the nation states with the same democratic rhetoric?
Engdahl: This is why I found the Orwell quote so appropriate. His book 1984 in many ways is a description of what has been allowed to happen to our western democracies, especially in Britain and the USA.
Watzal: If you could give the NGOs a piece of advice, what would you tell them?
Engdahl: For the honest persons who may have got caught up in nice rhetoric about values, human rights and such, I would suggest looking more closely at the money trail feeding your given NGO. For the NED or Soros foundations I would suggest they would all do mankind a favor by shutting their doors permanently. That you allow nations and individuals to decide their own sovereign future without your unwanted meddling. I would say, to paraphrase Cromwell to the British Long Parliament, “You human rights NGOs, Go! You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”
Mr. Engdahl, thanks for the interview.
Thank you for your interest and excellent questions.
Ramzan Kadyrov also made a troubling comment about his country’s nuclear arsenal and a Russian doomsday device.
July 20th, 2017
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, gave a rare interview to a smaller media outlet in the United States that aired Tuesday, and what he said is taking many aback.
While speaking to HBO’s Real Sports, Kadyrov denied that gay people are humans, that they exist in his region, and that his government regularly detains or tortures them, despite ample reports to the contrary. But that isn’t the news that’s riling up the masses, even though it is concerning that Kadyrov is more than likely committing human rights violations. He also made a troubling comment about his country’s nuclear arsenal and a Russian doomsday device.
Kadyrov said, “America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia. We have a strong government and are a nuclear state. Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed. We will put the whole world on its knees and screw it from behind.” That comment certainly puts the left’s insistence on a war with Russia in perspective. And Kadyrov is probably being more accurate than not in that statement.
According to The New York Times, Russia built a system in the 1980s that could do what Kadyrov described, known as the Perimeter System. Bruce Blair, the former US nuclear officer who broke the story of the Perimeter System for The New York Times in 1993, told Business Insider that the system works when it detects nuclear explosions. Only a small crew, deep in a bunker, has a hand in the otherwise automated system, according to Blair.
Essentially, if another country conducted a nuclear attack that would destroy the government of Russia or anything a 1980s-era system would perceive as a nuclear attack, an automated system would empty Russia’s missile silos in an immediate counterattack. Blaire’s concern is the automation of such a system. “One concern is that it’s highly automated, and cyber attacks, for example, or other phenomena, natural or man-made, could set it off,” Blair said. “It poses a risk of accidental nuclear attack by Russia.”
But there has yet to be an accidental nuclear attack and it’s been over 30 years since the system was first activated. But could the 1980’s technology pose a problem and cause an all out nuclear war? It’s hard to say, and experts are not sure either. “This was designed to retaliate massively against the US. What the specific targets are in this plan no one really knows, but it can be safely assumed it’s large-scale,” Blair said, adding that it would destroy most Americans and most large US cities.
This is troublesome to many Americans, considering the US president is supposed to sign off on any nuclear attack to prevent accidental strikes, and the left is continuing to push the former Soviet Union increasing tensions with Russia. If Washington were incapacitated by a nuclear strike, it’s unclear whether it could respond at all. The US’s nuclear weapons are code-locked and absent the president and a backup in the Pentagon, the US may not be able to respond. Moscow code-locks its weapons as well, but this system would allow it to retaliate even after a nuclear decapitation.
Exposing the climate geoengineering cover-up
Though the halls of governments are filled with elected officials who have long since sold their honor, there are outstanding exceptions. Bill Vander Zalm, the former Canadian Premier for British Columbia, is one such exception. Vander Zalm recently visited Redding, California, where we met and discussed the subject of global climate intervention programs. In the interview below the former Canadian Premier speaks candidly about global climate engineering and his efforts to uncover information from the Canadian government about it. Our once thriving biosphere is imploding, converging catastrophes are closing in from every direction, and even now the majority of the masses are completely unaware. Does this fact mean the efforts to sound the alarm are futile? Absolutely not. Denial of reality will not be an option for much longer, and in the meantime, it is essential for us all to do everything in our power to pass on critical and verifiable information.
The battle to expose and halt climate engineering has been very long and arduous, but we must not lose our stride in this most critical fight. Each and every one of us is needed to help to move the fight forward, each and every one of us must play our part.
Once you see it you can’t un-see it and you’ll think, “how did I miss that?”.
July 20, 2017
Studies show, if you belong to the group of people who can see what lies hidden in this image, you are a highly creative person. And if you’re like me, once you see what it is, it can never be “unseen.”
99% of participants guessed incorrectly when asked to describe what they saw in the picture. That’s right- only 1 in 100 got the answer right.
If you’re still struggling to see what that one person saw, try again. A trick that some used to help them, was to block the darker side of the image with a piece of paper, or their hand.
According to the researchers of this latest study, people who use marijuana more than five times per month have a lower Body Mass Index
July 20, 2017
A new study by a group of scientists from Oregon Health and Science University in the United States has revealed that regular users of marijuana are fit and active than non-users of the plant.
Marijuana has long suffered image assassination. The plant has previously been portrayed as a gateway drug as well as a substance that contributes to crime. It has also been associated with laziness and failure. Consumers of the plant are therefore scorned and ridiculed. But thanks to the recent studies, these negative stereotypes are fast changing. Marijuana is increasingly becoming popular, especially in the U.S.
According to the latest study, people who use marijuana more than five times per month have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than people who do not use marijuana.
“Heavy users of cannabis had a lower mean BMI compared to that of never users, with a mean BMI being 26.7 kg/m in heavy users and 28.4 kg/m in never users”, the researchers wrote in the study.
The study also suggested that people who consume marijuana on a regular basis are more physically active than people who use it sporadically or not at all.
This is not the first time a scientific study has found that users of marijuana are more likely to be fit and active than non-users:
1.A 2016 study published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics found that regular consumers of cannabis have a lower BMI than those who do not use the drug.
2. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that cannabis consumers have 16 percent lower levels of fasting insulin and 17 percent lower insulin resistance levels than non-users. The research found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.
3. Data published in British Medical Journal in 2012 revealed that cannabis consumers had a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and a lower risk of contracting the disease than those with no history of cannabis consumption.
Isabelle C. Beulaygue, a researcher from the University of Miami, noted: “There is a popular belief that people who consume marijuana have the munchies, and so [they] are going to eat a lot and gain weight, and we found that it is not necessarily the case.”
Researchers have not delved deep into why marijuana users appear to be active than non-users, but some preliminary probes suggest that regular users of marijuana may be able to more easily break down blood sugar, which may help prevent weight gain.
With permission from
July 20, 2017
We were expecting that the Deep Swamp in DC will be cleansed through the filing of pedophilia cases. However, not one of the already identified pedophiles ended up in jail. It turns out that these high profile criminals will remain, and will stay for the rest of their privileged life, as untouchables due to the statute of limitations.
At least, that’s what their masters are getting out from our ever tolerant, and conniving, public servant authorities.
The nightmare of those who suffered in their filthy hands will continue on.
Published time: 18 Jul, 2017 15:30
Hundreds of school pupils in the Bavarian town of Regensburg, home to the famous German cathedral choir, suffered from physical and sexual abuse for decades, an investigator says, adding that no abusers will be prosecuted due to a lapse in the claims.
Some 500 instances of alleged physical abuse and 67 instances of alleged sexual abuse that took place over almost five decades were uncovered during an investigation against the famous Regensburger Domspatzen (Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows) choir, the special investigator, attorney Ulrich Weber, told journalists during a press conference, where he presented his 450-page report on the issue.
The abuse practices continued in the school for almost 50 years from 1945, with the most recent cases dating back to 1992, Weber said.
He went on to say that some victims were subjected both to physical and sexual abuse and put the total number of victims at 549. At the same time, he said that the real number of those who suffered from various forms of abuse at the Catholic school could be even higher, and cited unofficial data that suggest the number of victims could amount to at least 700 people, as reported by the German Die Zeit daily.
In some years, violence at the school took place almost on a daily basis, Weber said, adding that the victims described their experience at the school and choir as “like a prison, hell and a concentration camp,” and called those years “the worst time of their lives, characterized by fear, violence and hopelessness.”
Most instances of abuse occurred in the pre-school institution, Die Welt reports, citing Weber.
The investigator said that the pupils were mostly abused by their teachers as well as the heads of the choir, adding that the total number of those involved in various forms of abuse amounted to 49. Nine people of those perpetrators were involved in sexual abuse, he said.
According to Weber, at least one director of the pre-school institution, several boarding school directors as well as “numerous members of the school staff” were among the abusers.
Pupils at the school were abused not only physically but also psychologically, Weber said, adding that educational and disciplinary standards at the facility were “extremely high.” The teachers “particularly used violence” against pupils to force them to achieve high results, he added.
The abusers did not only act out of “personal propensity” to violence but were also guided by vanity and pursuit of success, the investigator said. In most cases, violence against pupils was a result of arbitrary interpretation of the school’s internal rules.
The investigator also said “almost all officials” in the school were at least “partially aware” of abuse, but preferred to “close their eyes” to the matter. The fates of the victims were ignored to protect the reputation of the school, Weber said, adding that the crimes of the abusers were covered up in several instances.
“Dereliction of duty” by the victims’ parents and “negligence” of the church and state supervisory authorities also contributed to the situation in which the abusers got away with their crimes for decades as the school developed a “culture of silence.”
Weber also accused Georg Ratzinger, the elder brother of the former Pope Benedict XVI, of playing a role in covering up the abuses for years as he was the head of the choir between 1964 and 1994, when most instances of abuse took place.
The investigator particularly accused the 93-year-old of a “deliberate lack of attention” to the instances of physical violence against the pupils and “lack of action at a time when [he] knew” about the real situation at the school.
At the same time, Weber said that the former Pope’s brother “knew nothing” about the sexual violence in the facility. He also did not accuse Ratzinger of potential involvement in any instances of abuse.
The statute of limitations in almost all abuse cases has already expired as they occurred mostly more than 30 years ago, in the 1960s and ‘70s, Weber said, adding that the abusers cannot be now subjected to legal action, even though all the cases of abuse technically qualified as acts punishable under criminal law.
Under German law, the longest limitations period amounts to 30 years, and applies to crimes for which an offender can be sentenced to life imprisonment. In cases in which an offender can be jailed for more than 10 years, the limitations period is 20 years.
The most recent recorded instance of abuse dates back to 1992.
In 2016, the Diocese of Regensburg offered financial compensation to the victims of abuse at the school amounting to between €5,000 and € 20,000 ($5,800 and $23,000). Some 300 requests for compensation have been filed with the relevant church body so far, German Die Welt daily reports, adding that €450,000 ($521,000) has so far been paid out to the victims.
Following Weber’s report, the amount of compensation would be reviewed by an independent committee, Die Welt reported.
The first reports about widespread abuse in the school emerged in 2010, which were brought forth by former choir members. By 2013, some 400 people had come forward with accounts of abuse they said they had suffered at the hands of teachers at the school.
However, the Regensburg episcopate initiated an official inquiry into the matter only in 2015. The results of the investigation, which ran for about two years, were presented by Weber on Tuesday.
It wouldn’t surprise us to know that the High Priests of Babylon were the ones who concocted the idea of the Statute of Limitations, even in cases involving their own morals.
For those who fall into their sweet tongue and believe that there is justice in the afterlife, well, I hate to burst your bubble, but everyone’s body will ultimately be burned in that endless cycle of nuclear fusion and fission in that thing we called the sun.
All that Mother Nature could do is continue remixing and reconstituting our atoms and molecules, hoping that one day we could hit a jackpot and come up with every living soul upright. That’s not going to happen without a physical effort towards that direction.
We, too, are expected to use that gray matter that she provides in order for us to establish a saner society, free of scoundrels and filth. That situation could only be made possible if we, here and now, establish new rules and a new paradigm, which de-establish all forms of priesthoods and entitlements.
Each individual must experience respect by first giving it; and earn the public’s adulation not for what type of fancy paper he holds, but in the true beating of his heart and the beauty and depth of his mind.
All those who misused their borrowed, or acquired, authority must suffer the consequence of their actions. No exception, no limitation, no postponement, no bullshit.
How can we change the outcome of the whole ballgame by being true to the rules that these criminals themselves have stipulated?
More and more people in work in Europe are being forced into poverty. This is demonstrated by a new study by the Hans Böckler Foundation which was made public last Thursday. The study, titled “Activation policies and poverty,” notes that a growing proportion of the population of Europe live in poverty, although they are working.
The researchers from the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Böckler Foundation examined the effects of labor market and social policy measures in 18 EU countries from 2004 to 2014. All of the measures were aimed at forcing unemployed people into low-wage labor.
According to their research, an average of about 10 percent of the workforce aged between 18 and 64 in the countries studied were “working poor.” This means they earn less than 60 percent of the average income in their country. The proportion of working poor was highest in Romania at 18.6 percent, followed by Greece, 13.4 percent, and Spain, 13.2 percent.
In Germany, the number of working poor doubled from almost 1.9 million, or 4.8 percent, in 2004 to almost 4.1 million, or 9.6 percent, in 2014. The increase is even higher in absolute figures, because the total number of employed in Germany increased during this period from 39.3 million to 42.6 million. In Germany in 2014, a single person with less than €986 net per month was considered poor. For a household with two adults and two children under 14 years, the threshold was €2,072.
“In most countries, poverty for those in work had already begun to increase before the crisis in the euro area,” the study states. In the wake of the crisis, however, the situation in many countries worsened. “The measures taken to combat high unemployment have seen a further deregulation of the labor markets and a reduction in social benefits.”
The social counterrevolution in Europe finds its sharpest expression in Greece under the Syriza government. High levels of unemployment due to the destruction of regular paying jobs is combined with savage cuts to unemployment benefits and pensions. Due to the already existing level of social decline, however, the statistical increase in the numbers of working poor in Greece is relatively low.
The example of Germany, where the number of those employed increased was “particularly remarkable,” the Böckler report concludes. “Evidently the link between employment growth and poverty is more complicated than commonly assumed.” This is a deliberately vague understatement of the social counterrevolution that has taken place in the past two decades.
The increase in precarious, temporary, low-paid, part-time employment for millions is an international phenomenon implemented by the ruling elites.
“The positive development in the German labor market is to a large extent due to an increase in atypical employment, especially part-time, often in the service and low-wage sector,” the study notes. The growth of the low-wage sector has been accelerated by extensive deregulation of the labor market, the reduction of benefits and increased pressure on workers to take any form of work. This increased pressure on the unemployed forces them to find a job as quickly as possible.
The trade unions in all countries played a major role in this development. They rushed to the side of capitalism in the crisis of 2008/2009, and helped transfer benefits for workers won over the course of decades into fresh reserves for bankrupt banks and their respective governments. The Böckler Foundation is the official think tank of the German trade union movement (DGB), and this explains the diplomatic tact of the WSI researchers in their report, although their statistics on poverty among workers are an indictment of the system.
The explosive growth of the low-wage sector in Germany was inaugurated in 2005 by the Hartz IV anti-social laws and Agenda 2010 program introduced by the SPD-Green coalition government led by Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer. In 2004 the trade unions actively opposed those seeking to protest against the Hartz IV laws. The priority for unions was to enforce the new measures.
The concrete effects of the increasingly severe and far-reaching sanctions used by job centers is clear in the city of Duisburg, situated in the former industrial hub (Ruhr area) of Germany. With a population of almost half a million inhabitants, 77,000 people in Duisburg are dependent on measly Hartz IV benefits. The number of those employed in jobs with social security protection rose between 2006 to 2016 by about 15,000 to just under 166,000. However, the number of full-time employed fell by 700 during the same period, while the number of part-time employees rose by around 14,000 to over 38,000.
The number of temporary contract workers (most of them working full-time) has tripled during the past 10 years to 9,986. Some 37,000 workers in Duisburg have a so-called mini-job and 10,000 of these workers have more than one job in order to earn enough money to survive. This means that more than a third of all workers in Duisburg are employed part-time, on a temporary basis or/and in a mini-job.
A study drawn up by the DGB, reported by the Berliner Zeitung at the beginning of July, notes that this trend is taking place nationwide. More than 1 million people are hired out by agencies, 8.5 million in part-time work, while 2.53 million have temporary employment. Nearly 2 million are registered as self-employed.
The DGB study also notes that the one-fifth of the workforce with the lowest hourly wages between 1995 and 2015 experienced a real wage loss of 7 percent. The next fifth of the workforce lost 5 percent. This is a direct consequence of the policy of the trade unions themselves.
While the WSI researchers seek to conceal the reasons for widespread poverty, referring to the “complex links” between employment growth and poverty, it is clear who profits.
The Global Wealth Report drawn up by the Swiss bank Crédit Suisse (November 2016) reveals a significant growth in the fortunes of the rich and super-rich. The report notes that the number of dollar millionaires in Germany increased by 44,000 to around 1.6 million between mid-2015 and mid-2016. The club of super-rich, with a fortune of at least $50 million, increased by 500 to a total of 6,100. This put Germany in third place behind the US and China. According to Forbes, 114 billionaires live in Germany. The richest 36 of them have as much wealth (€276 billion) as the poorer half of the population.
This growing social inequality can only be halted by a policy directed against all of the political parties at the beck and call of the major banks and corporations.
In its election statement for this autumn’s federal election, the Socialist Equality Party declares:
“The SGP fights for a society in which the needs of the many stand higher than the profit interests of big business. The super-rich, the banks and the corporations must be expropriated and placed under the democratic control of the population. Only in this way can the social rights of all be secured. These include the right to an adequately paid job, a first-class education, affordable housing, a secure pension, high quality old-age provisions and access to culture.”
The only words that come to mind: Self-serving, self-centered, greedy, self-entitled psychopathic snowflakes that are destroying the fabric of society.
Photo Credit: (Wikimedia Commons / Jericho)
The following is an excerpt from the new book The CEO Pay Machine: How It Trashes America and How to Stop It by Steven Clifford (Blue Rider Press, May 2017), available from Amazon and IndieBound:
In the long term, the indirect effect of the Pay Machine—the increase in income inequality—is economically more injurious than the erosion of company earnings or a stock market downturn.
Income inequality in America has risen sharply since 1976. Economists and pundits point to multiple causes—globalization and competition from low-wage countries; growing educational disparities that particularly affect men and minorities; technological changes that reward the highly skilled; decline of labor unions; changes in corporate culture that place stock price and earnings above employees; free market philosophy and the rise of winner-take-all economics; households with high-income couples; lower rates of marriage and of intact families; high incarceration levels; immigration of low-skilled individuals; income tax and capital gains tax cuts and other conservative economic and tax policies; deregulation; and decreased welfare and antipoverty spending coupled with redistribution programs that disproportionately benefit the elderly.
All of the above may contribute to inequality. However, the proximate cause is quite simple. The jump in inequality is due to a small number of people, mostly business executives, who make huge amounts of money. They are the Mega Rich, the top .1 percent in income, who averaged $6.1 million in income in 2014. The Merely Rich are the rest of the 1 percent. It’s the Mega Rich, not the Merely Rich, who drive inequality. (I’m a member of the Merely Rich, so don’t blame me.)
As shown in the graph [that follows]… between 1980 and 2014 the average real income of the Mega Rich has nearly quadrupled, increasing by 381 percent. Over the same period, the Merely Rich doubled their income while the bottom 90 percent lost ground, suffering a 3 percent decline.
Data from Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Pikkety, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, The World Wealth and Income Database, April 5, 2016.
The Mega Rich captured most of the national income gains during the last four decades as their share of income increased from 3.4 percent in 1980 to 10.3 percent in 2014. The share of the Merely Rich rose from 6.6 percent to 11.0 percent over the same period. Thus the Mega Rich snared over three-fifths of the income growth of the 1 percent and nearly 40 percent of all income growth. In the tepid recovery from 2010 to 2012, the 1 percent took virtually all of the income gains. The Mega Rich again got the lion’s share: their average income increased 49 percent in this three-year period.
The Mega Rich are getting mega richer. Their average household made 113 times as much as the typical American household in 2014. In 1980, this number was 47. In 2014, the 115,000 Mega Rich households had as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. They now hold 22 percent of the nation’s wealth, nearly double their 1995 share.
Since Fortune 500 CEOs can account for only 500 of the 115,000 Mega Rich, you might be surprised to learn that the majority of the Mega Rich are business executives. CEOs and other business executives constitute the largest high-income group in America. Not the old families with their inherited wealth. Not the sports heroes with their jaw-dropping contracts. Not the movie stars at $20 million per blockbuster movie. Executives, managers, supervisors, and financial professionals constitute three-fifths of the top 0.1 percent. Moreover, they accounted for about 70 percent of the increase in income going to the top 0.1 percent from 1979 to 2005. As Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman puts it, “Basically, the top 0.1 percent is the corporate suits, with a few token sports and film stars thrown in.”
In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty, after analyzing enormous amounts of data, wrote:
The vast majority (60 to 70%, depending on what definitions one chooses) of the top 0.1% of the income hierarchy in 2000–2010 consists of top managers. By comparison, athletes, actors, and artists of all kinds make up less than 5% of this group. In this sense, the new US inequality has much more to do with the advent of “supermanagers” than with “superstars.”
Piketty asserts that increasing income inequality is caused not by investment income but by high wages driven by “the emergence of extremely high remunerations at the summit of the wage hierarchy, particularly among top managers of large firms.”
Furthermore, “CEOs use their own power not only to increase their own salaries, but also those of their subordinates,” one study determined. As a result, the majority of “supermanagers” are either CEOs or executives whose compensation is heavily influenced by their pay—private company CEOs, other senior corporate executives, and the professionals who advise them. There are more than 5,000 publicly traded companies and 5.7 million private companies with employees.
The graph… [that follows] shows that the annual income of the Mega Rich and the ratio of CEO to average worker pay are highly correlated—the two lines look almost identical. While correlation does not prove causation, I find it easier to believe that runaway CEO pay caused the income of the Mega Rich to skyrocket rather than the other way around.
Average Income Data from Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Pikkety, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, The World Wealth and Income Database, April 5, 2016. Compensation Ratio Data from Mishel, Lawrence, and Alyssa Davis. “Top CEOs Make 300 Times More than Typical Workers: Pay Growth Surpasses Stock Gains and Wage Growth of Top 0.1 Percent.” Economic Policy Institute. June 21, 2015. Accessed May 16, 2016.
Keep this graph in mind as we analyze how growing inequality curbs economic growth. Every time you see the phrase “increasing inequality” or “income inequality,” you could substitute “rising CEO pay.”
“There’s been class warfare going on for the last twenty years,” said Warren Buffett, “and my class has won.” Some celebrate this result in the belief that free markets have justly rewarded talent, hard work, and initiative. Others bemoan the division of America into the Mega Rich who pluck the fruits of economic growth and the 99 percent who stagnate.
I side with the bemoaners, but others have examined the moral and social reasons why income inequality is bad far better than I can. I will examine the economic damage. Americans may differ about politics, religion, and sports teams, but all applaud economic growth. They may argue how to best divide the pie, but they agree that a bigger pie beats a smaller one and that economic growth is preferable to its alternative—a recession. Whether increasing inequality helps or hurts the economy is the wrong question. The right question (and an easier one) is, “Given where America is today, will greater or lesser income inequality spur economic growth?”
From 1949 to 1979, while the ratio of CEO‑to‑average-worker pay was relatively constant, the US economy grew 2.56 percent annually. When this ratio surged from 1981 to 2014, economic growth dropped to 1.71 percent a year. The difference may sound small, but over half a century, the higher growth rate results in an economy that is 50 percent larger. That’s a big difference.
This correlation doesn’t prove that income inequality slowed economic growth, but it suggests that overpaying CEOs has not done much to help. Economist Richard Freeman draws an inequality curve in the form of an inverted U as shown [below]… The vertical axis shows the level of inequality. The horizontal axis depicts total economic output or GDP. At Point A on the left, there is perfect equality; everyone gets the same amount of money regardless of talent and effort. Therefore, no one has a financial incentive to work and economic output is zero. From this point, increases in inequality are good for the economy, for a while. At some point, more inequality begins to stifle growth. At the right end of the curve, one person gets all the money, and again, no one has an incentive to work. At the top of this curve, between total equality and total inequality, economic output is maximized at Point I.
Plotting the curve from evidence is difficult, but we were almost certainly nearer the optimum output point (I) between 1949 and 1979 than we are today.
Leading economists who argue that increasing income inequality hampers economic growth include Nobel laureates Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, Piketty, Alan Krueger (former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers), and Raghuram Rajan (former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund).
In a 2014 report, the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says that current inequality levels are hindering US economic growth and the firm has cut its growth forecast. Its report states, “We’ve reduced our 10‑year U.S. growth forecast to a 2.5 percent rate. We expected 2.8 percent five years ago.”
Excerpted from the new book The CEO Pay Machine: How It Trashes America and How to Stop It by Steven Clifford (Blue Rider Press, May 2017), available from Amazon and IndieBound.
End of the Inquisition? Cognitive liberty, adult sovereignty, and the legalization of cannabis
Cannabis Hemp Conference and Expo
The NEST, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
May 6-7th, 2017
Watch more conference videos and stay informed by signing up at:
Graham Hancock is the author of the major international non-fiction bestsellers The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, The Message of the Sphinx, Heaven’s Mirror, Underworld and Supernatural, and of the epic adventure novels Entangled and War God. His books have sold more than seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty languages. His public lectures, radio and TV appearances, including two major TV series, Quest For The Lost Civilization and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, as well as his censored TEDx talk The War on Consciousness and his strong presence on the internet, have put his ideas before audiences of tens of millions. He has become recognized as an unconventional thinker who raises resonant questions about humanity’s past and about our present predicament. Hancock’s new book, the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, is Magicians of the Gods, but he is perhaps best-known amongst the plant medicine community for his 2005 book Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind.
by: Rhonda Johansson
July 19, 2017
(Natural News) It’s time to go green — and spread all that loving goodness on your skin. A new study conducted by the University of Manchester found that cream infused with green tea extract significantly reduced the appearance and thickness of newly formed scars. The topical agent, which contained the tea compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), was already shown to be effective for old, keloid scars. This new study suggests that a cream infused with EGCG can be used to treat recent injuries. These results, while still in their initial stages, could have profound implications with how medical treatment and management plans are designed.
Scars are formed when the skin is injured and there is an overproduction of collagen which forms scar tissues. As these tissues heal, they release histamin which causes the injured area to become red and itchy. Most everyone knows not to scratch the inflamed area, as further damage to the area can deepen the scar. However, researchers of this study indicated that EGCG disrupted the skin’s natural response, effectively soothing the area and making the scar appear less red and thick and making the area less itchy.
This small study is just one of the numerous studies which prove the health benefits of green tea — especially its efficacy in skin cell rejuvenation. A 2003 study by the Medical College of Georgia found that polyphenols found in green tea eliminated free radicals in the body while safeguarding healthy cells. The most abundant polyphenol in green tea — the same EGCG mentioned earlier — was noted to reactivate dying cells. Dr. Stephen Hsu, the lead author of this study wrote that, “cells that migrate toward the surface of the skin normally live about 28 days, and by day 20, they basically sit on the upper layer of the skin getting ready to die. But EGCG reactivates them. I was so surprised.”
Dr. Hsu and his team also noted that EGCG somehow manipulated basic cell behavior, so that instead of cells dying normally, they reverted back to the dividing stage. Somehow — their team was unable to establish the exact mechanisms involved — EGCG reacted with cell DNA to make them produce more energy. The most obvious result of this interaction is an improved skin condition. This not only has aesthetic value, but practical purposes as well. Dr. Hsu reasoned that if skin healed faster, the injured area would be less at risk of getting infected.
“If skin cells surrounding wounds or infections don’t heal in time, fibroblasts in the connective tissue may rush in to fill the void and cause scar tissue formation,” Dr. Hsu said. “If we can spur the skin cells to differentiate and proliferate, we can potentially accelerate the wound-healing process and prevent scarring.”
Likewise, another study in 2013, published in the International Journal of Surgery concluded that green tea extract dramatically improved the healing process of surgical wounds in rats. Green tea extract was compared to other plant-based derivatives such as grape seed, lemon, rosemary, and jojoba. While all of these extracts improved wound healing, green tea extract, with its high concentrations of EGCG, proved to be the most effective.
Green tea extract is not limited to severe skin lesions, however. The alternative treatment can be used to reduce the appearance of pimples, nodules, and cysts found in body. Dermatologists are now recommending EGCG-infused products to their patients to reduce the swelling and scarring of acne. Accordingly, these natural treatments are more easily accepted by the body, producing fewer side effects. For the best results, medical professionals recommend both ingesting the compound and topically applying a green tea-infused cream to the affected area. (Related: A Homemade Green Tea and Aloe Skin Toner.)
In addition to MA and Pennsylvania, laws have also been passed in Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota to protect employees prescribed medical marijuana.
By John Vibes
This week, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that businesses can not fire employees for using medical marijuana if they have a legal prescription. Under the ruling, employees will be able to sue for handicap discrimination if they are fired for their medical marijuana use.
The ruling came in the case of Christina Barbuto, a former employee of Advantage Sales and Marketing, who said she was fired because she tested positive for marijuana, despite the fact that she was legally allowed to use the drug under state law. Barbuto was prescribed cannabis by her doctor to help with complications caused by Crohn’s disease.
When Barbuto was fired, she was told that even though cannabis was legal in her state, she was still going to be let go because it is illegal under federal law.
Chief Justice Ralph Gants concluded that if a medical marijuana patient tests positive for the drug “an exception to an employer’s drug policy to permit its use is a facially reasonable accommodation. The fact that the employee’s possession of medical marijuana is in violation of federal law does not make it per se unreasonable as an accommodation.”
The judge said that since it is only the employee who faces legal danger under federal law, the employer can’t claim that they have a liability in the matter. If the employee happens to be using the drug at work, the employer could potentially have a case to fire them, but not if the drug is taken while the employee is off-duty.
Matthew Fogelman, Barbuto’s lawyer, pointed out that since marijuana is legal, it is no different from any other prescription drug.
“This is the highest court in Massachusetts recognizing that the use of medically prescribed marijuana is just as lawful as the use of any prescribed medication,” he said.
“Before this there was no protection in Massachusetts for employers firing them for a drug test even if they were using it for medicinal purposes,” he added.
Earlier this year, a similar move was made through the legislature in Pennsylvania.
In addition to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, laws have also been passed in Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota, which protect the rights of employees who have been prescribed medical marijuana.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. John is currently battling cancer naturally, without any chemo or radiation, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments please donate.
The plane with a banner, reading ‘Go home f***ing tourists,’ puzzled beachgoers at Mauguio Carnon near Montpellier in southern France Sunday.
The message was first displayed in English, but then the aircraft made another round to display the Spanish version of the insult.
The Mediterranean resort is located near the French border with Spain and draws a lot of visitors from the neighboring state.
Some holidaymakers on the beach found the stunt amusing but others said their day was ruined.
A video from the scene showed a man shouting “It’s crazy! It’s crazy! It’s crazy!” and pointing his finger in the air.
Mauguio Carnon mayor, Yvon Bourrel, addressed tourists via Twitter to assure them that they were welcome and that neither the administration nor the locals had anything to do with the plane.
Bourrel said that the “upsetting” act was a work of French prankster, Remi Gaillard, who simply wanted “to create buzz”.
Ironically, the mayor’s message was accompanied by pictures of the offensive slogan.
He also criticized authorities for a perceived lack of safety at the beach, claiming that rescuers usually leave their posts too early when it’s is still packed with people.
According to the video, rescuers stayed later due to the Sunday’s plane incident and were able to help a tourist who suffered from sunstroke.
“Actually, I’m happy because if I didn’t do my stupid video, they wouldn’t be here today. That’s fate,” Gaillard said in the footage.
Pilot Jim O’Donnell had just taken off from Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley when his plane experienced a sudden mechanical failure.
Luckily nobody was injured in the incident.
“It wasn’t good, but here I am,” O’Donnell told ABC7. “No bent metal.”
O’Donnell knew he was unlikely to reach his destination of Eagles Nest Airport in New Jersey, and was forced to take matters into his own hands to avoid disaster.
O’Donnell’s Cessna touched down on Sunrise Highway at approximately 1pm local time but only after successfully navigating the traffic already on the road, dodging a highway sign and flying under an overpass without even a scratch on the plane, which rolled to a stop on the hard shoulder.
“From what we understand, from the preliminary information, is he came in over the street sign that stretches across the westbound Sunrise Highway and was able to land in between that and the overpass,” Suffolk County police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said, as cited by ABC.
“And he came in under the overpass. He kind of threaded the needle there, and it looks like he did a pretty nice job under the circumstances. He didn’t hit any cars, and no one got hurt,” Cameron added.
Just hours before, a helicopter reportedly carrying Shane McMahon, the son of WWE CEO Vince McMahon, was forced to make an emergency landing in the Atlantic ocean offshore of Gilgo Beach, New Jersey. There were no injuries reported in that incident either.
July 20, 2017
One third of dementia cases could be prevented with some basic lifestyle changes and better education during childhood, researchers have found.
The nine factors which damage the brain notably include hearing loss, obesity and smoking, according to the study published in The Lancet on Thursday.
Nearly 50 million people around the world suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, according to the latest estimates.
This figure could balloon to 132 million by 2050.
Dementia, which is caused by physical changes in the brain, leads to memory loss and hampers other mental abilities.
|Nine ways to reduce dementia|
|1. Maintain good hearing
2. Complete secondary education
3. Stop smoking
4. Reduce depression
6. Social activity
7. Treat high blood pressure
8. Healthy weight
9. Treat Type 2 diabetes
“Our results suggest that around 35 percent of dementia is attributable to a combination of the following nine risk factors: education to a maximum of age 11-12 years, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, hearing loss, late-life depression, diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, and social isolation,” the study said.
Researchers found if people stayed in school until the age of 15, the benefits of education and socialisation would help reduce the cases of dementia by eight percent.
“Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said lead author Professor Gill Livingston, from University College London.
“Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.”
The researchers said maintaining good hearing between the ages of 45 and 65 reduces the number of cases by nine percent.
Quitting smoking could reduce the number of cases by five percent, it said.
Other factors contributing to the risk include depression (four percent), physical inactivity (three percent), social isolation (two percent), high blood pressure (two percent), obesity (one percent) and type 2 diabetes (one percent).
The study said the global cost of dementia in 2015 was estimated to be $818bn, and that this figure would continue to rise.
It said nearly 85 percent of these costs were “related to family and social, rather than medical, care”.
The researchers noted, however, that the study was limited.
“We have not incorporated other potential risk factors, such as diet, alcohol, living near major roads, or sleep, which could be relevant,” it said. “Therefore, the potentially preventable fraction of dementia might be underestimated in our figures.”
Source: News agencies
“Mr Zebari said that intelligence had even intercepted messages “from Isis fighters to their commanders saying they were tired of killing civilians”.”
With permission from
July 20, 2017
More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent – a death toll far higher than previous estimates.
Hoshyar Zebari, until recently a senior minister in Baghdad, told The Independent that many bodies “are still buried under the rubble”. “The level of human suffering is immense,” he said.
“Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the Federal Police, air strikes and Isis itself,” Mr Zebari added.
Mr Zebari, a native of Mosul and top Kurdish official who has served as the Iraqi Finance Minister and prior to that Foreign Minister, emphasised in an exclusive interview that the unrelenting artillery bombardment by units of the Federal Police, in practice a heavily armed military unit, had caused immense destruction and loss of life in west Mosul.
The figure given by Mr Zebari for the number of civilians killed in the nine-month siege is far higher than those previously reported, but the intelligence service of the Kurdistan Regional Government has a reputation for being extremely accurate and well-informed. Isis prevented any monitoring of casualties while outside groups have largely focused on air strikes rather than artillery and rocket fire as a cause of civilian deaths. Airwars, one such monitoring group, estimated that attacks may have killed 5,805 non-military personnel in the city between 19 February and 19 June 2017.
Mr Zebari accuses the government in Baghdad, of which he was until recently a member, of not doing enough to relieve the suffering. “Sometimes you might think the government is indifferent to what has happened,” he said. He doubts if Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and other minorities, who have lived in and around Mosul for centuries, will be able to reconcile with the Sunni Arab majority whom they blame for killing and raping them. He says some form of federal solution for future governance would be best.
Reading from Kurdish intelligence reports, Mr Zebari says that a high level of corruption among the Iraqi military forces occupying Mosul is undermining security measures to suppress Isis in the aftermath of its defeat. He says that suspect individuals are able to pass through military checkpoints by paying $1,000 (£770) and can bring a vehicle by paying $1,500. He says corruption of this type is particularly rife in the 16th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions and the Tribal Volunteers (Hashd al-Ashairi), drawn in part from the Shabak minority in the Nineveh Plain.
The ability of Isis militants to remain free or be released from detention by paying bribes has led to a change in attitude among people in Mosul whom Mr Zebari says “were previously willing to give information about Isis members to the Iraqi security forces.” They are now wary of doing so, because they see members of Isis, whom they had identified and who had been arrested, returning to the streets capable of exacting revenge on those who informed against them. Several anti-Isis people in Mosul have confirmed to The Independent that this is indeed the case and they are frightened of these returnees and Isis “sleeper cells” that continue to exist.
Civilians in Mosul say they do not fault the behaviour towards them of combat units that have borne the brunt of the fighting, such as the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), but they are concerned about what to expect from less well-disciplined troops. A belief that Isis fighters and officials detained in Mosul are later able to bribe their way free explains why soldiers, most of whom are not complicit in bribery networks, have summarily executed Isis prisoners, sometimes by throwing them off high buildings.
Corruption by the occupying military forces takes different forms, according to Kurdish intelligence information cited by Mr Zebari. Some people are “being charged $100 for removing a body from the rubble and others $500 to reoccupy their house”, where it is still standing. Iraqi army and militia units have always been notorious for exacting fees and protection money from civilians, with trucks moving goods on the roads being a particularly profitable target when they pass through military checkpoints.
Much of the blame for the calamitous level of destruction in west Mosul has been put on air strikes, but it is evident at ground level that a lot of the damage was caused by artillery shells and rockets. This is confirmed by an Amnesty International report issued last week titled At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, which points to a greater and more indiscriminate use of its firepower by pro-government forces in the final stages of the attack on east Mosul, starting in January 2017 and continuing over the following six months during the assault on west Mosul. It says that Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces “relied heavily upon explosive weapons with wide area effects such as IRAMs (Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions). With their crude targeting abilities, these weapons wreaked havoc in densely populated west Mosul, where large groups of civilians were trapped in homes or makeshift shelters.” The UN estimated that Mosul had 1.2 million inhabitants at the start of the siege.
In addition, Isis snipers killed great numbers of civilians trying to escape whose departure would have robbed Isis of its “human shields”, though in the event their presence shielded very little. Mr Zebari said that intelligence had even intercepted messages “from Isis fighters to their commanders saying they were tired of killing civilians”.
Mr Zebari says that he is disappointed by the lack of Iraqi government plans to reconstruct Mosul. As Finance Minister in Baghdad until late last year, he had made provision for $500 million in the budget for rebuilding Mosul. He says: “I wanted $500 million upfront to encourage other donors, but now the government has withdrawn from the fund and used the money elsewhere. This was not an encouraging sign.”
Even if there is reconstruction, Mr Zebari, who grew up in Mosul and still has a house in the east of the city (though long confiscated, first by Saddam Hussein and later by Isis), laments that “the soul of Mosul has gone and its iconic buildings are destroyed.” He says he cannot imagine Mosul without the Nabi Yunus mosque (the tomb of Jonah) that Isis blew up as a heretical shrine in 2014 and the al-Nuri mosque, with its 12th century leaning minaret, which Isis destroyed in the last stage of the battle to prevent its capture by government forces. In addition, there is “an unimaginable level of human suffering with more than one million people displaced.”
He agrees that the government has won a big victory by destroying the Islamic State as a state structure controlling extensive territory. But he warns that Isis has shown that it is capable of “adapting themselves to new realities.” He says that the arms and heavy equipment from three Iraqi army divisions that Isis captured when it seized Mosul in June 2014 has never been fully accounted for. He says that there have been reports that much of it was hidden by Isis in tunnels, gorges and valleys in the arid wastelands of western Iraq and eastern Syria. “This is where they came from when they started their attacks,” he says.
Asked if the self-declared Caliph Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi is alive or dead, Mr Zebari said he did not know. But he added that, if Baghdadi was dead, it was strange that no new Caliph or Isis leader had been declared since part of the ideology of such movements is that they do not rely on a single human being. Successors had been quickly announced when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a US air strike in 2006 and Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011. Moreover, he says that there “has been no sign of a change in the Isis command and control structure.”