Daily Archives: June 11, 2008

Blackwater’s Private CIA

The notorious mercenary company now offers spy “services” to Fortune 500 companies, for the right price.

The Nation | Jun 9, 2008

By  Jeremy Scahill

This past September, the secretive mercenary company Blackwater USA found its name splashed across front pages throughout the world after the company’s shooters gunned down seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. But by early 2008, Blackwater had largely receded from the headlines save for the occasional blip on the media radar sparked by Congressman Henry Waxman’s ongoing investigations into its activities. Its forces remained deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and business continued to pour in. In the two weeks directly following Nisour Square, Blackwater signed more than $144 million in contracts with the State Department for “protective services” in Iraq and Afghanistan alone and, over the following weeks and months, won millions more in contracts with other federal entities like the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Blackwater’s Iraq contract was extended in April, but the company is by no means betting the house on its long-term presence there. While the firm is quietly maintaining its Iraq work, it is aggressively pursuing other business opportunities. In September it was revealed that Blackwater had been “tapped” by the Pentagon’s Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office to compete for a share of a five-year, $15 billion budget “to fight terrorists with drug-trade ties.” According to the Army Times, the contract “could include antidrug technologies and equipment, special vehicles and aircraft, communications, security training, pilot training, geographic information systems and in-field support.” A spokesperson for another company bidding for the work said that “80 percent of the work will be overseas.” As Richard Douglas, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, explained, “The fact is, we use Blackwater to do a lot of our training of counternarcotics police in Afghanistan. I have to say that Blackwater has done a very good job.”

Such an arrangement could find Blackwater operating in an arena with the godfathers of the war industry, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. It could also see Blackwater expanding into Latin America, joining other private security companies well established in the region. The massive US security company DynCorp is already deployed in Colombia, Bolivia and other countries as part of the “war on drugs.” In Colombia alone, US military contractors are receiving nearly half the $630 million in annual US military aid for the country. Just south of the US border, the United States has launched Plan Mexico, a $1.5 billion counternarcotics program. This and similar plans could provide lucrative business opportunities for Blackwater and other companies. “Blackwater USA’s enlistment in the drug war,” observed journalist John Ross, would be “a direct challenge to its stiffest competitor, DynCorp — up until now, the Dallas-based corporation has locked up 94 percent of all private drug war security contracts.” The New York Times reported that the contract could be Blackwater’s “biggest job ever.”

As populist movements grow stronger in Latin America, threatening US financial interests as well as the standing of right-wing US political allies in the region, the “war on drugs” is becoming an increasingly central part of US counterinsurgency efforts. It allows for more training of foreign security forces through the private sector — away from Congressional oversight — and a deployment of personnel from US war corporations. With US forces stretched thin, sending private security companies to Latin America offers Washington a “small footprint” alternative to the politically and militarily problematic deployment of active-duty US troops. In a January report by the United Nations working group on mercenaries, international investigators found that “an emerging trend in Latin America but also in other regions of the world indicates situations of private security companies protecting transnational extractive corporations whose employees are often involved in suppressing the legitimate social protest of communities and human rights and environmental organizations of the areas where these corporations operate.”

If there is one quality that is evident from examining Blackwater’s business history, it is the company’s ability to take advantage of emerging war and conflict markets. Throughout the decade of Blackwater’s existence, its creator, Erik Prince, has aggressively built his empire into a structure paralleling the US national security apparatus. “Prince wants to vault Blackwater into the major leagues of U.S. military contracting, taking advantage of the movement to privatize all kinds of government security,” reported the Wall Street Journal shortly after Nisour Square. “The company wants to be a one-stop shop for the U.S. government on missions to which it won’t commit American forces. This is a niche with few established competitors.”

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Herpes rife in Sex and the City land

Agence France-Presse | June 11, 2008

ONE in four adults living in New York City has the virus that causes genital herpes, and among African-Americans the rate is almost 50 per cent, official statistics show.

The sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus Type 2 is more prevalent in New York City, at 26 per cent, than nationally, where 19 per cent of adults, roughly one in five, are infected.

Far more women than men have the virus, 36 per cent compared to 19, in the city mythologised in the television-turned-movie megahit Sex in the City.

The study by New York City Department of Health also reveals that herpes is far more common among African-Americans – 49 per cent – than whites (14 per cent).

Most people infected with HSV-2 present no symptoms, but those that do experience periodic outbreaks of painful genital sores that heal in two to four weeks.

“Genital herpes alone will not cause serious problems for most people,” said Julia Schillinger, director of surveillance for the Health Department’s Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control.

“But some people will have painful genital sores, and the infection fosters the spread of HIV,” she said, urging New Yorkers to protect themselves and others.

“Using condoms consistently will help you avoid getting or spreading genital herpes,” she said.

Airport security guards to observe sex organs of men, women and children

Passengers, including children, wait to have their naked bodies inspected in a new security scan in this photo provided by Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Passengers hardly blinked at the introduction of a new security scanning system this week at Amsterdam’s airport, even though the machine allows guards to peer beneath their clothes. The “active millimeter wave” technology system under trial at Schiphol Airport is also being tested at airports in Mexico City and London, among others. It differs from the “back scatter” system being tested at Phoenix, Arizona, London, and other airports in that it uses low energy radio waves, rather than high-energy X-rays, to create a dim outline of a passenger’s body. (AP Photo by Schiphol Airport, HO)

“People have no idea how graphic the images are,” Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, said.

Agence France-Presse | Jun 11, 2008

SECURITY scanners that can see through passengers’ clothing and reveal details such as their sex organs, colostomy bags and breast size, are being installed in 10 US airports.

A random selection of travellers getting ready to board airplanes in Washington, New York’s Kennedy, Los Angeles and other key hubs will be shut in the glass booths while a three-dimensional image is made of their body beneath their clothes.


Airport strip-search machines “tear apart DNA”

The booths close around the passenger and emit “millimetre waves” that go through cloth to identify metal, plastics, ceramics, chemical materials and explosives, according to the Transport Safety Authority.

While it allows the security screeners – looking at the images in a separate room – to clearly see the passenger’s sexual organs as well as other details of their bodies, the passenger’s face is blurred, TSA said.

The scan only takes seconds and is to replace the physical pat-downs of people that is currently widespread in airports.

TSA began introducing the body scanners in airports in April, first in the Phoenix, Arizona terminal.

The installation is picking up this month, with machines in place or planned for airports in Washington (Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington International), Dallas, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Miami and Detroit.

The new machines have provoked worries among passengers and rights activists.

“People have no idea how graphic the images are,” Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, said.

The ACLU said passengers expecting privacy underneath their clothing “should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane”.

Besides masking their faces, the TSA says on its website, the images made “will not be printed stored or transmitted”.

“Once the transportation security officer has viewed the image and resolved anomalies, the image is erased from the screen permanently. The officer is unable to print, export, store or transmit the image.”

Lara Uselding, a TSA spokeswoman, said passengers were not obliged to accept the new machines.

“The passengers can choose between the body imaging and the pat-down,” she said.

TSA foresees 30 of the machines installed across the country by the end of 2008. In Europe, Amsterdam’s Schipol airport is already using the scanners.

Dolphins stranded after live-fire naval exercises

Dead dolphins on the bank of the Percuil river, near Falmouth, England, Monday June 9 2008. Rescue crews worked Monday to save dolphins that became stranded in a river in southwest England. Rescuers believe a pod of about 15 dolphins swam up the Percuil River in Cornwall and were beached, and that other dolphins responded to their distress cries. The Coastguard said the arrival of the first pod was reported Monday morning, and that most of that group had died. (AP Photo / Barry Batchelor)

Related: Dolphins in Cornwall stranding may have been confused by sonar

Telegraph | Jun 10, 2008

Dolphin stranding: Royal Navy was carrying out live firing exercises

By Richard Savill

The Royal Navy was carrying out live-firing exercises just hours before 26 dolphins died in the biggest mass stranding of the species in Britain, it has been claimed.

Marine experts trying to find out why the pod of dolphins tried to beach themselves on the shores of Percuil river, near Portscatho, Cornwall, say they could have been panicked by an “underwater disturbance”.

The dolphins were found dead early on Monday morning.

Falmouth Coastguard said that there had been “heavy” Royal Navy activity in the Falmouth Bay area and suggested it had continued past midday on Sunday.

A spokesman said: “There have been continual live-firing exercises up until yesterday [Monday] evening when the exercise was cancelled.”

It is understood that the exercises have been going on for two to three weeks and were carried out day and night.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), which co-ordinated the rescue of several dolphins, said they received reports from the public that an explosion took place at sea over the weekend.

Such an explosion could have panicked the dolphins – who were away from their natural deep water habitat – and sent them up the river to shallow waters.

“It does not mean that the Navy is to blame, but it would be naive of us to ignore the activity that has been going on,” said the BDMLR.

An MoD spokesman initially confirmed that live-firing exercises were taking place until midday on Sunday in Falmouth Bay, close to the entrance to the Percuil river. The exercises involved a submarine.

However, the MoD later issued a statement claiming that the last live firing by the Royal Navy in the area had actually taken place on Friday – 60 nautical miles from Falmouth.

“These live firings are routine training,” the spokesman said.

The MoD also disclosed that a survey vessel was conducting trials using high definition sonar for sea bed mapping trials off the coast of Falmouth at the time of the dolphin incident.

However, the spokesman insisted: “It is considered extremely unlikely that this operation could have affected the mammals in any way.”

Post-mortem examinations on some of the dead dolphins have yet to reveal any concrete evidence as to why the dolphins had swum up the river.

They appeared to have been well fed and there were no obvious signs of disease or poisoning. The tests are expected to take weeks or months to complete.

Other theories put forward yesterday included the possibility that the dolphins may have been trying to escape a killer whale or were seeking food.

The BDMLR chairman Alan Knight, said: “There is a possibility that these animals have been frightened by something which means they have panicked and beached themselves.

“The fact that they have beached in four separate sites is very unusual. It indicates to me that there is some kind of disturbance.”

David Jarvis, also from the charity, said: “It could have been something to do with sonar or it could have been that there was a killer whale out there that frightened them.”

Sarah Dolman, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: “Sonar is the most plausible [reason] based on previous strandings around the world.”

Lesbos islanders in bid to reclaim the term ‘lesbian’ from homosexual women

Sappho is the island’s most famous inhabitant, Getty Images

Telegraph | Jun 11, 2008

By Paul Anast in Athens

Residents on the Greek island of Lesbos have begun a legal battle to reclaim the term “lesbian” from homosexual women.

A group from the Aegean island claim that the international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders and disgraces them around the world.

They have asked a court to rule against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece and order them to change their name.

If the islanders are successful, they have vowed to fight for the meaning of the word lesbian internationally.

“Our case is an attempt to end the insult that our island is suffering, both in Greece and internationally,” Dimitris Lambrou, a magazine publisher and one of three plaintiffs, told a court in Athens at the start of proceedings.

The islanders claim that the term “lesbian” should only be used to describe those who hail from Lesbos, which has a population of 100,000.

It was adopted by homosexual women because the island, the third-biggest in Greece, was the birthplace of Sappho, who expressed her love of women in poetry in the seventh-century BC.

“The name Lesbian has been distorted and insulted by giving it a sexual connotation, which is totally unjustified and unnecessary,” said Mr Lambrou.

Human rights campaigners say the court action has been motivated by barely-disguised homophobia in a nation that remains reluctant to accept homosexuals.

“Claiming that the word insults their history is ridiculous,” said Evangelia Vlami, a lesbian activist who caused controversy earlier this month by becoming part of the first female couple in Greece to get married. “It is a word that has evolved harmlessly from history and mythology.”

Mr Lambrou said: “This must not be confused with homosexual or gay rights, or human rights or women’s rights, or whatever. They can do what they want with their bodies and they can call themselves what they want — but not lesbians.”

A decision on the court hearing is expected within a month.

Barack O’Bilderberg: Picking the President

Global Research | June 9, 2008

by Andrew G. Marshall

A Background to Bilderberg

Sunday, June 8, 2008, marked the last day of this year’s annual Bilderberg meeting, which took place in Chantilly, Virginia. The American Friends of Bilderberg, an American Bilderberg front group, which organizes the American participant list for the annual Bilderberg conference, issued a rare press release this year. It stated that, “The Conference will deal mainly with a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, US-EU relations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islam and Iran. Approximately 140 participants will attend.”1

Bilderberg, which has been meeting annually since 1954, is a highly secretive international think tank and some say, policy-forming group made up of representatives from North America and Western Europe and was founded by Joseph Retinger, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Belgian Prime Minister Paul Van Zeeland. The Bilderberg Steering Committee, made up of around 30 people, (with no official list available), “decided that it would invite 100 of the most powerful people in Europe and North America every year to meet behind closed doors at a different five-star resort. The group stresses secrecy: What’s said at a Bilderberg conference stays at a Bilderberg conference.”2

Usually, the Bilderberg Conference is held in Europe for three years in a row, with the fourth year holding a meeting in North America. However, the previous North American conference was held in 2006 in Ottawa. So why did they break tradition to hold the conference in North America this year? Speculation abounds around a discussion of a possible attack on Iran, the American-centered global financial crisis, as well as the current US Presidential elections.

Bilderberg has long been an important forum for up-and-coming politicians of Western nations to be introduced to the global financial elite; the heads of the major multinational corporations, international banks, world financial institutions, global governing bodies, think tanks, and powerful individuals of the likes of David Rockefeller and various European monarchs, including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, daughter of founding member, Prince Bernhard, as well as Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain.

According to The Globe and Mail, such Canadian Prime Ministers have, in the past, (often before becoming Prime Minister), attended a Bilderberg Conference as a guest, including Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper.3 Tony Blair attended Bilderberg before becoming Prime Minister,4 as did the current British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who also recently called for the establishment of a “new world order.”5

Interestingly, as the Washington Post reported, Vernon E. Jordon, a high-powered American executive, who sits on several corporate boards, including American Express, Xerox, J.C. Penney, Dow Jones, and Sara Lee, to name a few, also happens to be a very close friend of former President Bill Clinton. However, “it was Jordan who first introduced then-Gov. Clinton to world leaders at their annual Bilderberg gathering in Germany in 1991. Plenty of governors try to make that scene; only Clinton got taken seriously at that meeting, because Vernon Jordan said he was okay.”6 Clinton subsequently became President.

Barack and Bilderberg

Recently, there has been much discussion about Barack Obama having possibly attended the recent Bilderberg conference in Virginia. This speculation arose when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton sneaked off for a secretive meeting while in Virginia. As the AP reported, “Reporters traveling with Obama sensed something might be happening between the pair when they arrived at Dulles International Airport after an event in Northern Virginia and Obama was not aboard the airplane. Asked at the time about the Illinois senator’s whereabouts, [Obama spokesman Robert] Gibbs smiled and declined to comment.”7

The press that had been traveling with Obama were not made aware of the secretive meeting until the plane that they assumed Obama would be present on was moving down the runway, prompting many angry questions from the press towards Obama’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs. One reported asked Gibbs, “Why were we not told about this meeting until we were on the plane, the doors were shut and the plane was about to taxi to take off?” to which he responded, “Senator Obama had a desire to do some meetings, others had a desire to meet with him tonight in a private way and that is what we are doing.” This preceded another question, “Is there more than one meeting, is there more than one person with whom he is meeting?” Gibbs simply replied, “I am not going to get into all the details of the meeting.” He again later repeated that, “There was a desire to do some meetings tonight, he was interested in doing them, others were interested in doing them, and to do them in a way that was private.”8

On Friday, June 6, it was reported that Bilderberg tracker, Jim Tucker, “called Obama’s office today to ask if he had attended Bilderberg. A campaign spokeswoman refused to discuss the matter but would not deny that Obama had attended Bilderberg.”9

Bilderberg to Pick Obama’s Vice President

As the Financial Times reported in May of this year, Barack Obama appointed James A. Johnson, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, “to head a secret committee to produce a shortlist for his vice-presidential running mate.” A short list was discussed by the article, which listed, other than Hillary Clinton, “Jim Webb, the former secretary of the navy, Vietnam veteran and senator for Virginia; Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia; John Edwards, the former vice-presidential candidate in 2004; Ted Strickland, the governor of Ohio; and Kathleen Sebelius, the governor of Kansas.” Other potential nominees include “Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate armed services committee; and Wesley Clark, the former head of Nato in Europe.”10

James A. Johnson, the man Obama asked to pick his running mate, played the same role for John Kerry back in 2004, and he selected John Edwards. As the New York Times reported, “Several people pointed to the secretive and exclusive Bilderberg conference of some 120 people that this year drew the likes of Henry A. Kissinger, Melinda Gates and Richard A. Perle to Stresa, Italy, in early June, as helping [Edwards] win Mr. Kerry’s heart. Mr. Edwards spoke so well in a debate on American politics with the Republican Ralph Reed that participants broke Bilderberg rules to clap before the end of the session.” The Times further reported, “His performance at Bilderberg was important,” said a friend of Mr. Kerry who was there. ”He reported back directly to Kerry. There were other reports on his performance. Whether they reported directly or indirectly, I have no doubt the word got back to Mr. Kerry about how well he did.”11

James A. Johnson, Vice Chairman of Perseus, a merchant banking firm, is also a director of Goldman Sachs, Forestar Real Estate Group, Inc., KB Home, Target Corporation and UnitedHealth Group Inc., is also a member of the American Friends of Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and is an honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution.12 It is likely that Obama’s running mate will be chosen by Johnson at this years Bilderberg Conference.

Notable among this year’s Bilderberg guests are Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius, who the Financial Times reported was on Johnson’s short list of nominees. In fact, Sebelius is the only person mentioned as a possible running mate in the Financial Times article that was officially listed on the Bilderberg list of attendees.13 Could this be a sign that she may be the chosen one? Time will tell. However, another Democratic politician present at the meeting was Tom Daschle, so perhaps he is working his way back into politics.

Don’t Forget McCain

Just because Obama’s popularity dwarfs that of McCain’s, is not reason enough to ignore the other candidate. After all, the elite never ignore both candidates, and in fact, ensure they have them both neatly packed in their back pockets. Among the guests at the Bilderberg meeting this year, included Republican Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,14 which would be a smart political pick for McCain, going up against the first black presidential candidate.

McCain has also received endorsements from former Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger, General Alexander Haig, Lawrence Eagleburger and George P. Shultz.15 These are not men without influence, as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz were also present at this years meeting.16 Also interesting to note is that George P. Shultz “associated himself with the Bush presidency early on, introducing the Texas governor to Condoleezza Rice at the Hoover Institution in 1998.” Could Condi be in the process of being groomed for higher office, or is she simply at the meeting for foreign policy discussions?

Also important to note, is that McCain had a fundraiser in London held for him, which was hosted “by kind permission of Lord Rothschild OM GBE [Order of Merit and the Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire] and the Hon Nathaniel Rothschild.” As the Washington Post reported, “Tickets to the invitation-only event cost $1,000 to $2,300.”18 The Post later reported, “Aides refused to talk about the fundraiser, or to say how much money was raised, and McCain dashed through the rain away from reporters after emerging. One guest said there were about 100 people at the luncheon. If they all gave the maximum, the event would have raised about $230,000 for the campaign.”19

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Secret Bilderberg Agenda To Microchip Americans Leaked

Elitists want to microchip Americans in name of fighting terrorism, Europeans universally opposed to attack on Iran, Globalists fear oil prices rising too quickly

Prison Planet | June 10, 2008

by Paul Joseph Watson

Sources from inside the 2008 Bilderberg meeting have leaked the details of what elitists were discussing in Chantilly Virginia last week and the talking points were ominous – a plan to microchip Americans under the pretext of fighting terrorist groups which will be identified as blonde haired, blue eyed westerners.

Veteran Bilderberg sleuth Jim Tucker relies on sources who regularly attend Bilderberg as aides and assistants but who are not Bilderberg members themselves. The information they provided this year is bone-chilling for those who have tracked the development of the plan to make the general public consider implanted microchips as a convenience as routine as credit cards.

“Under the heading of resisting terrorism there were points made about how the terrorist organizations are recruiting people who do not look like terrorists – blonde, blue eyed boys – they’re searching hard for those types to become the new mad bombers,” said Tucker.

As we have documented, the blue eyed blonde haired Al-Qaeda line is a familiar talking point that has been pushed on Fox News and within other Neo-Con circles in an attempt to turn the anti-terror apparatus around to target dissidents, protesters and the American people in general.

Ominously, Tucker’s source also told him that Bilderberg were discussing the microchipping of humans on a mass scale, which would be introduced under the pretext of fighting terrorism whereby the “good guys” would be allowed to travel freely from airports so long as their microchip could be scanned and the information stored in a database.

Tucker said the idea was also sold on the basis that it would help hospital staff treat a patient in an emergency situation because a scan of the chip would provide instantaneous access to health details.

Tucker underscored that Bilderberg were talking about subdermally implanted chips and not merely RFID chips contained in clothing. The discussion took place in a main conference hall and was part of the agenda, not an off-hand remark in the hotel bar.

Such a bizarre concept may seem unbelievable to some, but over the last ten years there have been dozens of examples of people accepting implanted chips for a variety of different reasons.

In 2004, Mexico’s attorney general and 160 of his office staff were implanted with tracker chips to control access to to secure areas of their headquarters.

The Baja Beach Club in Barcelona and other nightclubs around the world are already offering implantable chips to customers who want to pay for drinks with the wave of a hand and also get access to VIP areas of the club lounge.

Bilderberg skeptical of attack on Iran

Tucker’s source told him that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did attend Bilderberg despite him not appearing on the official list.

Tucker said that his sources told him Gates was in attendance to present his case for war with Iran, but that the majority of Bilderberg members were against an attack at this time.

“The Europeans were generally opposed to an invasion of Iran – Gates made the regular war propaganda drill about how Iran is a nuclear threat to everybody,” said Tucker, adding that European Bilderbergers made snide comments about where such nuclear weapons actually were being kept and at one point joking that they were possibly “in Saddam Hussein’s tomb”.

Despite Bilderberg opposition, Tucker said that the administration was still considering an attack before Bush leaves office in January.

“At least 90 per cent of the Europeans oppose a war, probably closer to 100 per cent,” said Tucker, adding, “most of the Americans were passive and deferential to the Secretary of Defense and Condoleezza Rice’s pitch in so far as Iran is concerned”.

Tucker said that most Americans present at the meeting were opposed to attacking Iran but dare not be as visible and loud in their opposition as the Europeans.

Energy and oil prices

“One of the Bilderberg boys raised this question – should we put a lid on the rise in oil prices, are we reaching the point of diminishing returns,” said Tucker, adding that Bilderberg noted how Americans were trading in their SUV’s in record numbers for small and more fuel efficient cars and using more public transport to combat high gas prices.

Tucker’s source said that Bilderberg were predicting $5 for a gallon of gas by the end of this summer and oil over $150 dollars a barrel, but that this was a ceiling and oil prices would probably begin to decline thereafter because they thought the acceleration had happened too quickly.

As we previously reported, Bilderberg called for oil prices to soar in 2005 when oil was a mere $40 a barrel.

During the conference in Germany, Henry Kissinger told his fellow attendees that the elite had resolved to ensure that oil prices would double over the course of the next 12-24 months, which is exactly what happened.

During their 2006 meeting in Ottawa Canada, Bilderberg agreed to push for $105 a barrel before the end of 2008. With that target having been smashed months ago, the acceleration towards $150 is outstripping even Bilderberg’s goal, which is why the elitists expressed a desire to cool prices at least in the short term.

Just two days after he left Bilderberg, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, George W. Bush and others expressed support for a strong dollar and Bernanke hinted that interest rates could rise, which immediately caused oil prices to drop in line with Bilderberg’s consensus.

US HIV rate 25% higher than previous estimates

Reuters  | Jun 11, 2008

RESEARCHERS have been undercounting new cases of HIV infection in the United States, meaning the rate is probably 25 per cent higher at 50,000 people per year, the nation’s top AIDS doctor said today.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the rate of infection was not increasing but that new methods of calculating the rate showed infections were more common than previous estimates.

Dr Fauci, attending the United Nations’ 2008 High Level Meeting on AIDS, said the previous methods had shown the rate of new infections in the United States had hit a plateau at around 40,000 per year for the past 14 years.

“They were counting the numbers in a way that was leaving out certain segments of the society. So that 40,000 was probably an undercounted number,” he said.

Instead of using an extrapolated mathematical model to come up with the rate of new infections, he said, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was now relying on better counting of more groups, households and regions.

“The number went up to about 50,000. That doesn’t mean that the actual rate of new infections increased. It means that we are now no longer missing counting the ones that we missed early,” Dr Fauci said. “It was always 50,000 a year.”

The new counting methods are not changing the overall picture of AIDS in America, Dr Fauci said.

In the United States, with a population of about 300 million, some 1.1 million people are infected with HIV, of which 25 per cent do not know it. That leaves 770,000 documented cases.

“I have seen some of the data and it is clear. The confusion is that it was increasing when in fact it is better accounting,” Dr Fauci said. “They are counting more accurately.”

AIDS activists have accused the CDC of holding back results from the new methods but Fauci believes the statistics will become official “reasonably soon, when the official publication comes out from the CDC.”

Globally, an estimated 33.2 million people are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS and 25 million have died so far from the fatal and incurable disease.

Dr Fauci said the search for a vaccine was complicated because unlike other viruses that the human body can ultimately defend against, such as polio, measles, mumps or smallpox, “the body does not do a good job making an immune response to HIV”.

On a positive note, drug therapy for treating HIV is proving effective in slowing the disease.

“The good news is that the drugs we have now maintain people with undetectable viruses – present but undetectable for decades now,” Dr Fauci said.

Dr Fauci said that the virus disproportionately affects blacks. While blacks make up 12 per cent of the US population, 49 per cent of new HIV infections in men are among blacks and 65 per cent of new infections in women are among blacks.

Italy’s ‘clinic of horror’ under homicide investigation

Unnecessary procedures had “become a way to turn a profit”.

Agence France-Presse | Jun 11, 2008

TWO Italian surgeons accused, along with 12 others, of voluntary homicide and fraud for performing unnecessary invasive surgery for financial gain will face a hearing next week.

The other accused, who include the owner of the private 276-bed Santa Rita clinic in Milan, northern Italy, were under house arrest, police said.

One investigator referred to the clinic as a “butcher shop”, while Milan residents were in shock after learning that at least five mostly elderly patients died after operations that were too risky for their condition, press reports said.

Three surgeons arrested on Monday were accused of carrying out 91 unnecessary operations since 2005. They face life imprisonment if convicted, the leading daily Corriere della Sera reported.

The main suspect, the clinic’s top surgeon Pier Paolo Brega Massone, was put behind bars along with his colleague Pietro Fabio Presicci.

At his first hearing, Mr Massone said he “always thought of the well-being of the sick”.

He denied all the charges against him, the ANSA news agency reported.

The charges ranged from social security fraud, to voluntary homicide with the aggravating circumstances of cruelty, police said.

The fraud was estimated at €2.5 million ($4.08m) in 2005 and 2006.

The investigation began in January 2007 following an anonymous tip-off.

The 200-page charge sheet, from which large excerpts appeared in the press yesterday, is chilling.

Doctors operated on patients “with no consideration for their suffering, which they in no case relieved but instead aggravated”, the prosecution said.

Unnecessary procedures had “become a way to turn a profit”.

The charge sheet gave details of two mastectomies performed on women for minor breast ailments and a man with pneumonia who had part of a lung removed.

An 88-year old woman had three operations, each costing €12,000.

Another patient, aged 85, with a suspected lung tumour was not given a biopsy before a “highly risky” operation, which she did not survive.

Wiretaps caught doctors talking openly about greater income from more invasive surgery.

“It’s obvious that if your boss tells you ‘the more you operate the more I’ll pay you’, the surgeon starts having a more aggressive attitude,” one was quoted as saying.

Mr Massone is also accused of allowing a young tuberculosis patient to leave while still contagious.

He “infected his entire class”, according to a wiretapped conversation between a doctor and a friend.

The revelations come at a time when new Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been moving to restrict wiretaps as an invasion of privacy.

All the doctors implicated in the case have been suspended.

The northern Italian region of Milan announced yesterday it was suspending “for an indefinite period” the contract that obliges it to give partial funding to the private clinic.

Punk and Hardcore rockers drawn into the Masonic fraternity

“It’s kind of like a history class that no one else can take…”

Boston Herald | Jun 10, 2008

Frat boys: Masons drum up members among Hub rockers

By Dave Wedge

Stodgy lodges, traditional initiations and secret handshakes would seem to be the antithesis of punk rock.

But a diverse group of Hub rockers are embracing centuries-old fraternal ideals to become the new face of the Freemasons in Boston.

Rockin’ lodge: Musician J.R. Roach of Sam Black Church, master of the Cambridge Amicable Lodge, is flanked by members and friends.

“It’s not a religion, and it’s definitely not a cult,” said J.R. Roach, drummer for Sam Black Church and bassist for The Men, who also is master of the Masons’ Cambridge Amicable Lodge. “Everything is supposed to be dignified. There’s no hazing. We’re all brothers. It’s a movement for guys trying to find a deeper meaning in their lives.”

A new breed of Freemasons has surfaced locally, filling seats occupied for decades by community leaders, politicians and executives. Some join because their fathers or grandfathers were Masons. Others come for the male camaraderie or the intellectual challenge. And some simply want to get out of the house and go somewhere other than a rock club.


“It’s kind of like a history class that no one else can take,” said Dave Norton, drummer for Victory at Sea and The Men. He believes his membership in the fraternal organization will be especially rewarding when he tours Europe later this year.

“I can go anywhere in the world and find a brother,” he said.

According to the organization’s Web site, “Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternity dedicated to the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of a supreme being. Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion. It urges members to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs.” Its slogan is “making good men better.”

Masons have numbered artists as well as presidents, governors, judges and businessmen for centuries. Famous members include actors Clark Gable and Ernest Borgnine and musicians such as Mozart, Irving Berlin, Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington.

Masonry does have its critics who claim it is a secretive, chauvinistic and cult-like organization seeking no less than world domination. It’s been denounced by the Catholic Church and other religions and has faced political opposition for centuries.

“Some people just aren’t ready for it,” Norton said. “Any man can join. You just have to have the right reasons for it.”

Inside the Cambridge lodge, with its candelabras, velvet-covered pews, pipe organ and paintings of members past, members wear aprons indicating their level of enlightenment. Members meet monthly to discuss lodge business, which ranges from raising money for charities to electing leaders.

Gary Robley, drummer for Dashboard Jesus and J. Geils cover band Blow Your Face Out, said he joined because his father was a Mason, as are many of his friends.

“There were a bunch of musicians I knew in it,” Robley said. “It was kind of a brotherhood. Musicians have always been a part of Masonry since its inception.”

For Hank Peirce, a Unitarian minister and former roadie for hardcore band Slapshot, Masonry provided a safe haven when he went through a divorce.

“It’s important to have ‘men space,’ where we can talk about things going on in our lives,” he said. “The lodge is a sanctuary. When you’re here, you’re doing rituals that men have done for hundreds of years.”


Sam Black Church Myspace

Sam Black Church Myspace on Wikipedia

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