Daily Archives: July 28, 2007

Ritalin May Alter Chemistry of Young Brains

MedPage Today | Jul 20, 2007

By Neil Osterweil

NEW YORK, July 20 — Children who take methylphenidate (Ritalin) throughout childhood may undergo behavior-modifying brain changes that carry into adulthood, or so investigators found in rats.

Normal rats exposed to methylphenidate during the early stage of brain development exhibited changes in brain regions linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, including areas involved in higher executive function, addiction and appetite, social relationships, and stress, reported Teresa A. Milner, M.D., of Weill-Cornell Medical College here, and colleagues.

The findings suggest that methylphenidate, widely prescribed in the United States for treatment of ADHD, may have significant but largely reversible effects on developing brains, the authors reported in the July 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

“One thing to remember is that these young animals had normal, healthy brains,” said Dr. Milner “In ADHD-affected brains, where the neurochemistry is already somewhat awry, or the brain might be developing too fast, these changes might help ‘reset’ that balance in a healthy way. On the other hand, in brains without ADHD, Ritalin might have a more negative effect. We just don’t know yet.”

The alterations included neurochemical and cellular changes — but not structural changes — in ADHD-related regions, including the medial prefrontal cortex, striatum, hippocampus, and hypothalamus

But the authors also saw that the changes appeared to be reversible, with alterations in norepinephrine and other catecholamines largely reversed three months after the animals were taken off the drug.

“That’s encouraging, and supports the notion that this drug therapy may be best used over a relatively short period of time, to be replaced or supplemented with behavioral therapy,” Dr. Milner said. “We’re concerned about longer-term use. It’s unclear from this study whether Ritalin might leave more lasting changes, especially if treatment were to continue for years. In that case, it is possible that chronic use of the drug would alter brain chemistry and behavior well into adulthood.”

The authors injected methylphenidate at 5 mg/kg or vehicle (as placebo) into male rates beginning on their seventh day of life and continuing through day 35. The animals were sacrificed either at day 35 or in adulthood at day 135, and brain sections from littermates were labeled for neurotransmitters and cytological markers with immunocytochemistry.

The investigators looked at 16 specific regions implicated either in the ADHD etiology, methylphenidate effects, or both,

They found that among the rats killed at day 35, the medial prefrontal cortex of those animals given methylphenidate showed 55% greater immunoreactivity for tyrosine hydroxylase, a marker for catecholamines, compared with controls. They also saw in this region 60% more Nissl-stained cells, indicating neuronal growth, and 40% lower norepinephrine transporter immunoreactivity density compared with controls.

In addition, rats given the active drug had a 51% decrease in norepinephrine transporter immunoreactivity in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and a 61% expanded distribution of polysialylated form of neural cell adhesion molecule, a marker for new cell generation.

Other changes seen in methylphenidate-treated rats included a decrease of 21% in tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the medial striatum, and 10% in neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity in the hypothalamus.

The changes seen at the cellular level were reflected in both weight gain and an increase in anxiety on behavioral testing in the methylphenidate-treated animals, the authors noted.

But after another 100 days had passed, adult rats had decreased anxiety in an elevated plus-maze test, and had a trend toward a decrease in catecholamine marker immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex.

There were no structural brain changes observed among the methylphenidate -treated rats at either 35 or 135 days, however.

“These findings suggest that developmental exposure to high therapeutic doses of methylphenidate has short-term effects on select neurotransmitters in brain regions involved in motivated behaviors, cognition, appetite, and stress,” the investigators wrote. “Although the observed neuroanatomical changes largely resolve with time, chronic modulation of young brains with methylphenidate may exert effects on brain neurochemistry that modify some behaviors even in adulthood.”

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US plans $20 bn arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Indo-Asian News Service | July 28, 2007

The US is mulling arms sales worth $20 billion to Saudi Arabia as part of a controversial deal that could run into opposition from legislators, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The package would include advance weaponry such as satellite-guided bombs and upgrades to the country’s air force and navy, the daily said.

The deal, to be formally presented to Congress during the fall, comes as administration officials voiced concerns on Friday that Saudi Arabia was playing an unproductive role in Iraq. Assurance that the Saudi government would lend greater support to US efforts in Iraq was reportedly not part of the arms deal.

The increase in arms sales is part of a plan to bolster the militaries of US allies in the Gulf in the face of Iran’s growing strength in the region, officials told the Times. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates could also receive increased military aid as part of the deal.

Legislators, some concerned about the sale’s impact on the chief US ally in the region, Israel, were briefed on the possible deal this week – a move requested by Saudi Arabia itself before the two countries entered into final talks on the arms package, the Times said.

US officials believed they could placate Israel and Congress’ concerns by also promising increased military aid to the Jewish state, while placing restrictions on Saudi Arabia over the range of bombs to be sold and how close to Israel the weapons could be stored.

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US arming oil-rich nations
THE US plans a series of arms deals worth at least $US20 billion ($23 billion) with Saudi Arabia and five other oil-rich Persian Gulf states, it was reported today.

THE BUSH-CLINTON DYNASTY

NewsWithViews.com | Jul 17, 2007

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By Chuck Baldwin

A news item appeared in the Financial Times last Friday that received little notice. However, the hidden story behind this report is much deeper and more complex. The FT report stated: “John Mack, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, is to invite senior staff to a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Monday [yesterday], in a pointed endorsement of the Democratic presidential hopeful from an important backer of President George W. Bush in 2004.

“Mrs. Clinton, a New York senator, is scheduled to appear at the fundraiser on the 41st floor of Morgan Stanley’s headquarters in Times Square.

“The minimum donation for the event is $1000 per person but Mr. Mack urged those attending to give $4,600, the maximum for the 2008 presidential campaign.

“Mr. Mack surprised many on Wall Street in the spring when he said he and his wife, Christy, would support Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 bid.”

John Mack is not the first Bush supporter to jump on the Hillary bandwagon. Neither will he be the last.

That wealthy and influential supporters of G.W. Bush are now supporting Hillary Clinton only surprises those who have not been paying attention. For the rest of us, this is merely par for the course.

The Bushes and Clintons go way back. They have been fast friends for decades. Only a closely guarded media cover up has hidden this fact from the general public.

As you will recall, George H.W. Bush was President of the United States while William Jefferson Clinton was Governor of Arkansas. During this time, it was very common for the two families (along with G.W. Bush and Laura) to vacation together. This is well-known to those who are familiar with the two families.

Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton … Who Needs Elections?
Mo Rocca on The Bushes and Clintons as the Royal House of Republicrats

Yet, the connection between the Bushes and Clintons is much deeper than simple friendship. They share a deep socio-political alliance as well.

Remember that it was President Bill Clinton who first proposed what came to be called the USA Patriot Act. Of course, he failed to convince a GOP Congress to approve the measure. However, G.W. Bush succeeded where Clinton failed. Remember, too, that it was President Bill Clinton who gave us NAFTA, something G.W. Bush has not only supported but expanded into the SPP and a burgeoning North American Community. Furthermore, both Bush and Clinton are major players in the push for amnesty for illegal aliens. And the list just goes on and on.

Face it folks: the Bushes and Clintons are political soul mates. Therefore, why should it be surprising that many Bush supporters are now working for the Hillary Clinton campaign?

To believe that the Bushes and Clintons are political and philosophical opponents is the height of absurdity. Both have the support and do the bidding of the international elite. Both families are imbedded in secret societies and globalist agendas. And mark my words, the Bushes will be working behind the scenes for a Hillary victory in 2008.

I will even be so bold as to say that the Bushes and Clintons are as close as America has gotten to a crime family dynasty. If you are brave at heart, do a little personal research into the connection between these two families and the CIA’s infamous “extra curricular” C-130 flights to Central and South America originating in and out of Mena, Arkansas back in the ’90’s.

Barak Obama needs to pray he doesn’t get too close to the Democratic nomination. And the American people need to pray for a “Great Awakening,” because another four or eight years of the Bush-Clinton dynasty might turn this once-great constitutional republic into just another banana republic.

Psychologists’ CIA torture work called ‘voodoo science’

Spokesman Review | Jul 18, 2007

by Bill Morlin and Karen Dorn Steele

Two Spokane-based psychologists working under contract to the CIA at interrogation sites for the war on terror practiced “voodoo science” that was brutal and ineffective, according to an article published Tuesday on vanityfair.com.

The article provides more details about CIA contractors James Elmer Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, who worked previously at Fairchild Air Force Base in a classified military program that teaches airmen how to respond to enemy forces if captured.

“The CIA put them in charge of training interrogators in the brutal techniques, including ‘waterboarding,’ at its network of ‘black sites,’ ” the Vanity Fair article said of Mitchell Jessen & Associates, based in Spokane.

Mitchell and Jessen are linked to a program called SERE – Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. The SERE techniques have been “reverse-engineered” since Sept. 11, 2001, to use against detainees in the war on terror, according to a recently declassified Pentagon report reviewed by The Spokesman-Review.

Mitchell and Jessen – subjects of a June 29 story in the newspaper – remain under investigation in a Senate Armed Services Committee inquiry into the harsh techniques used at interrogation centers including Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. A Senate hearing is expected to occur in September.

Their company is located at 108 N. Washington in the American Legion Building and employs about 120 people.

According to Vanity Fair, Mitchell and Jessen are paid more than $1,000 per day plus expenses – tax free – for their overseas work.

Mitchell, who has lived in Spokane, is now building his “dream house” in Florida, according to the article by correspondent Katherine Eban.

The psychologists did not respond to several interview requests from The Spokesman-Review or to a list of written questions submitted by e-mail.

But on Tuesday, the Spokane-based company said, “We are proud of the work we have done for our country. The advice we have provided, and the actions we have taken have been legal and ethical,” according to a statement.

“We resolutely oppose torture. Under no circumstances have we ever endorsed, nor would we endorse, the use of interrogation methods designed to do physical or psychological harm. We were not involved in any way with the scandal at Abu Ghraib or with the abuses alleged at Guantanamo,” the statement continued. “We were appalled by reports from both places.”

Contacted Tuesday in New York City, Eban said the article was the result of 10 months of work investigating the role psychologists play in military interrogations.

“That work brought me to Mitchell and Jessen and other psychologists behind the curtain who are into a regime that many familiar with their actions felt amounted to torture,” Eban said.

Her article provides new details about tensions between the FBI and the CIA over the most effective methods to interrogate al-Qaida leaders after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The FBI successfully interrogated a high-level al-Qaida official, Abu Zubaydah, at a safe house in Thailand in 2002, using “rapport-building techniques” that produced valuable information, according to the magazine.

But CIA Director George Tenet soon sent his own team to Thailand, including Mitchell, to use an “alternative set” of coercive interrogation tactics on Abu Zubaydah, the magazine said.

The reverse-engineered SERE techniques developed by Mitchell and Jessen include waterboarding, sexual humiliation, loud noises, sleep deprivation and other methods to break down detainees.

Steve Kleinman, an Air Force colonel and expert in human intelligence operations, is quoted in the Vanity Fair article as saying he found it astonishing that the CIA chose two clinical psychologists from Spokane who had no intelligence background and had never conducted an interrogation.

“I think Mitchell and Jessen have caused more harm to American national security than they’ll ever understand,” Kleinman told the magazine.

The controversy over using reverse-engineered SERE tactics has sparked an intense debate within the American Psychological Association about whether psychologists should participate in interrogations that harm people.

Michael Rolince, section chief of the FBI’s International Terrorism Operations, told Vanity Fair the techniques amount to “voodoo science” because they get people to talk but don’t lead to credible information.

Physicians for Human Rights, a group that has denounced the government interrogation sites, praised the Vanity Fair article and called on the White House to repudiate the controversial techniques.

Mitchell and Jessen “committed serious crimes in violation of American criminal law. It goes well beyond what the FBI said was counterproductive – it puts our values in jeopardy,” said Leonard Rubenstein, director of the human rights group.

White House approves resumption of severe interrogation of terrorism suspects

In other words they are saying that their not going to torture, but they ARE  approving interrogation methods that are even more harsh than those already practiced at Gitmo. Which means they are going to torture more than ever! Total double-talk, but typical of these raging psychopaths.

PW

International Herald Tribune | Jul 22, 2007

By Mark Mazzetti and William Glaberson

WASHINGTON: The White House has given the Central Intelligence Agency approval to resume its use of some severe interrogation methods for questioning terrorism suspects in secret prisons overseas.

With the new authority, administration officials said the CIA could now proceed with an interrogation program that has been in limbo since the Supreme Court ruled last year that all prisoners in American captivity be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention prohibitions against humiliating and degrading treatment.

A new executive order signed by President George W. Bush does not authorize the full set of harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA since the program began in 2002. But government officials said the rules would still allow some techniques more severe than those that govern interrogations by military personnel in places like the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Several officials said the permitted techniques did not include some of the most controversial past techniques, among them “waterboarding,” which induces a feeling of drowning, and exposure to extremes of heat and cold.

The basic outcome had been expected, but it was preceded by months of intense disagreement within the administration about where to draw the line on CIA interrogations. The new list of techniques has been approved by the Justice Department as not violating the Geneva conventions, a step that Congress insisted on last October when it passed the Military Commissions Act, which formally authorized the CIA program.

The White House order brought condemnation from human rights groups, which argued that it helped systematize a program of indefinite incommunicado detention and used methods that violated international law.

But in a message to agency employees, General Michael Hayden, the CIA director, defended the interrogation program as having been “irreplaceable,” although he said extraordinary techniques had been used on fewer than half of about 100 terrorism suspects who had spent time in CIA custody.

Separately, an appeals court ordered the U.S. government Friday to turn over virtually all of its information on Guantánamo prisoners who are challenging their detention, rejecting an effort by the Justice Department to limit disclosures. The decision set the stage for new legal battles over the government’s reasons for holding the men indefinitely.

The ruling, which came in one of the main court cases dealing with the fate of the prisoners, effectively set the ground rules for scores of cases by detainees challenging the actions of military tribunals that decide whether terrorism suspects should be held as enemy combatants.

It was the latest of a series of stinging legal challenges to the administration’s detention policies that have amplified pressure on the Bush administration to find some alternative to Guantánamo Bay, where about 360 men are being held at the U.S. naval base. A three-judge panel of the appeals court in Washington unanimously rejected a government effort to limit the information it must turn over to the court and lawyers for the detainees.

13 yr old boys could face 10 years for slapping girls’ posteriors

  • Face ten years in prison and registering as sex offenders for life
  • Strip searched and treated as sexual predators at jail
  • Parents not allowed to talk to their own kids for 2 days

The arrests, critics said, reflect a trend toward criminalizing adolescent sexual behavior

ABC13.com | Jul 25, 2007

McMINNVILLE, OR – Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls on the rear end at school.

Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, were arrested in February after they were caught in the halls of Patton Middle School, in McMinnville, Ore., slapping girls on the rear end. Mashburn told ABC News in a phone interview that this was a common way of saying hello practiced by lots of kids at the school, akin to a secret handshake.

The boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility and were charged with several counts of felony sex abuse for what they and their parents said was merely inappropriate but not criminal behavior.

The local district attorney has since backed off — the felony charges have been dropped and the district attorney said probation would be an appropriate punishment. The Mashburns’ lawyer said prosecutors offered Cory a plea bargain that would not require him to register as a sex offender, which the family plans to reject.

But the boys, if convicted at an Aug. 20 trial, still face the possibility of some jail time or registering for life as sex offenders.

The boys’ families and lawyers said even sentencing them to probation would turn admittedly inappropriate but not uncommon juvenile rowdiness into a crime. If they are convicted of any of the misdemeanor charges against them, they would have to register as sex offenders.

“It’s devastating,” said Mark Lawrence, Cory Mashburn’s lawyer. “To be a registered sex offender is to be designated as the most loathed in our society. These are young boys with bright futures, and the brightness of those futures would be over.”

‘Lots of Kids Do It’

Cory Mashburn said he and Ryan Cornelison slapped each others’ and other kids’ bottoms every Friday. “Lots of kids at school do that,” he said.

Cory and Ryan were brought to the principal’s office Feb. 22, where they were questioned by school officials and a police officer. They were arrested that day and taken in handcuffs to a juvenile detention facility.

Court papers said the boys touched the buttocks of several girls, some of whom said this made them uncomfortable. The papers also said Cory touched a girl’s breasts. But police reports filed with the court said other students, both boys and girls, slapped each other on the bottom.

“It’s like a handshake we do,” one girl said, according to the police report.

The boys were initially charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse. At a court hearing, two of the girls recanted, saying they never felt threatened or inappropriately touched by the boys. The judge released the boys but barred them from returning to school and required that they be under constant adult supervision.

District Attorney Bradley Berry has since dismissed the felony counts. The boys face 10 misdemeanor charges of harassment and sexual abuse. They face a maximum of up to one year in a juvenile jail on each count, though Berry said there was no way the boys would ever serve that much time.

“An appropriate sentence would be probation,” he said. “These are minor misdemeanor charges that reflect repeated contact against multiple victims. We never intended for them to get a long time in detention.”

“We’re not seeking major penalties,” he said. “We’re seeking change in conduct.”

‘We Just Want This to Be Over’

Tracie Mashburn, Cory’s mother, said they will not accept plea and plan to fight the charges.

The arrests, critics said, reflect a trend toward criminalizing adolescent sexual behavior. Between 1998 and 2002, juvenile arrests for sex offenses other than rape or prostitution rose 9 percent — the only kind of juvenile arrests that rose during that time, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

“More and more, they are criminalizing normal adolescent or preadolescent behavior,” said Chuck Aron, co-chairman of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers juvenile justice committee.

Even probation, the Mashburns and their attorney said, would be too severe a punishment.

Julie McFarlane, a supervising attorney at the Juvenile Rights Project in Portland, Ore., said, “Probation for a sex offense is very difficult thing, and there’s a pretty high failure rate.” Failing to meet the terms of probation could mean the boys would be sent to jail.

Depending on the terms of probation, it’s likely that the boys would not be allowed to have sexual contact with anyone or any contact with younger children, McFarlane said. For Cory Mashburn, that would mean he couldn’t be left alone with his younger siblings.

“It’s been awful,” said Cory’s mother. “We just want this to all be over. But it will never go away. We’ll always remember it.”

Berry, the district attorney, said the victims — the girls who were touched — were being overlooked. “What’s been lost in this whole thing are the victims, who have been pressured enormously by these boys’ friends,” he said.

Cory, who said he now realizes what he did was inappropriate, spends his days playing video games and basketball. He said he’s scared. “I could go to jail. I could be registered as a sex offender,” he said. “I think it’s all crazy.”

Tillman probe a ‘sham,’ says his mom

DAILY NEWS | Jul 27, 2007

BY RICHARD SISK

tillman2

Pat Tillman was killed in 2004

WASHINGTON – Pat Tillman’s family yesterday ripped the Army’s latest investigation of the pro football star’s friendly-fire death in Afghanistan as a “sham” meant to protect higherups.

“It’s so humiliating and disrespectful,” said Mary Tillman, mother of the Arizona Cardinals defensive back who joined the Army and became a Ranger after 9/11.

“It’s one more example of the Army investigating itself,” she said. “It was all done to glorify this war. It’s a sham. Pat deserves the truth.”

Army Secretary Pete Geren is expected to recommend next week against criminal action but urge that four generals and three other officers be reprimanded for “critical errors” that misled the family and the nation into thinking Tillman was killed in combat in April 2004.

The officers also allowed the approval of Tillman’s Silver Star award, which said he died in a charge against the enemy when he was actually killed by machine-gun fire from his own platoon.

Geren is also expected to recommend that retired Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, former head of Army special operations, be demoted one rank to major general. The action would cut Kensinger’s monthly pension from about $8,800 to $7,900.

Five weeks after Tillman’s death, when Kensinger already knew about the friendly-fire reports, he joined the family at a nationally televised memorial service but did not dispute the Silver Star citation.

Mary Tillman said Kensinger “was just the fall guy” for others in the chain of command. She suggested that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also knew that her son had fallen to friendly fire but kept the facts hidden so his death could be used as propaganda for the war.

Brig. Gen. Gina Farrisee, who oversaw the Silver Star award, is expected to receive a letter of censure.

Mary Tillman said Farrisee had seen coroner’s reports after her son’s death and “knew immediately something was suspicious.”

“She knew damn well something was wrong” but let the award process go ahead, the mother said.