Daily Archives: September 29, 2009

Confusion about mysterious “American Police Force” grows

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APF Reveals Little Information

kulr8.com | Sep 28, 2009

By Nick Lough & Katie Ussin

BILLINGS – Confusion and secrecy about American Police Force has grown during the last few weeks.

“APF has been here for 10 months but it has never been stealth,” said APF spokesperson Becky Shay at a press conference on Saturday morning. The group announced its plans to fill the $27 million dollar detention facility and build a police training center next to the jail. While they gave details for the site, other questions went unanswered.

APF Hardin double eagleWhere will the prisoners come from? What experience does APF have in prisoners and training police officers? Why was Two Rivers Authority Executive Director Greg Smith placed on administrative leave?

During the press conference APF also refused to release any information on its funding or organization “The decision is the name of the parent company will not be released,” said Shay.

Related

Mysterious group claims jurisdiction over Montana town

Residents surprised to see Mercedes SUVs marked ‘Hardin police’

APF In Hardin

When questioned about the decision to show up in Hardin last week in vehicles with “Hardin Police” templates, members were brief in their explanation. “They are to show are intentions are good,” said APF leader Captain Michael Hilton. “Why not put an APF logo on it,” said Shay. “You know we’re getting there.” All of the decals were removed from the vehicles two days later.

APF has consistently stated the community has nothing to fear and says its plans will help stimulate the Hardin economy. “This corporation’s intention is to buy local and stay local and do local business as much as we can,” said Shay.

Residents appear split in their feelings over the company. Some want more information, but others believe it will be a tremendous boost to the area. The company plans to hold a job fair in Hardin the third week of October.

Another development this weekend was the naming of Shay as APF’s new public relations director. Shay was a reporter with the Billings Gazette who had covered the detention facility story for last few years. She announced on Friday she was leaving the paper and hosted the APF press conference Saturday morning.

American Police Force spokesperson, Becky Shay, said the private police group would not house terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Last April, the executive director of the Two Rivers Authority expressed interest in housing Gitmo detainees and the Hardin City Council approved efforts to bring them in.

President Obama ordered the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay to close by next January. White House officials are now saying they are most likely not going to meet that deadline. Reuters news outlet reports that an Obama administration official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the White House is close to selecting a U.S. location for some of the Gitmo detainees to be transferred once the facility closes.

They said possible locations in Michigan and Kansas are no longer being considered, but would not say what sites are in the running. In May, the U.S. Senate voted 90-to-6 to deny the $80-million dollars needed to fund the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

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American Police Force

Government contract databases show no record of the company. Security industry representatives and federal officials said they had never heard of it. On its Web site, the company lists as its headquarters a building in Washington near the White House that holds “virtual offices.” The company also boasts to have “rapid response units awaiting our orders worldwide” and that it can field a battalion-sized team of special forces soldiers “within 72 hours.” The group’s members include major security contractors Triple Canopy, DynCorp and Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide.

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor

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Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation

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“Order Out of Chaos” of Freemasonry

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Entrance to the Scottish Rite temple in Washington DC


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Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

“Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls, while government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.

guardian.co.uk | Sep 28, 2009

by Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent, and Anushka Asthana

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would “be more correct” to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

“Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

The statement concluded: “As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.”

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Porteous Wood said the Holy See had not contradicted any of his accusations. “The many thousands of victims of abuse deserve the international community to hold the Vatican to account, something it has been unwilling to do, so far. Both states and children’s organisations must unite to pressurise the Vatican to open its files, change its procedures worldwide, and report suspected abusers to civil authorities.”

Representatives from other religions were dismayed by the Holy See’s attempts to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: “Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst.”

A spokesman for the US Episcopal Church said measures for the prevention of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children had been in place for years.

Of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn (£1.25bn) in compensation to victims. In Ireland, reports into clerical sexual abuse have rocked both the Catholic hierarchy and the state.

The Ryan Report, published last May, revealed that beatings and humiliation by nuns and priests were common at institutions that held up to 30,000 children. A nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls, while government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.

Soldiers kill more than 150 protesting for democracy

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Guinean police arrest a protester on September 28, 2009 in front of the biggest stadium in the capital Conakry during a protest banned by Guinea’s ruling junta. Opposition political parties, labor unions and civil society groups reacted by swiftly agreeing to proceed with the rally to protest against junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara Camara running in a presidential election. The protest was dispersed with tear gas. Speaking on national television on September 27, Interior Minister Frederic Kolie declared that ‘all demonstrations on national territory are prohibited until the national holiday on October 2.’ Getty Images 

Democracy rally turns into slaughter as soldiers fire into crowds at Conakry arena

“Soldiers were firing at people and those who tried to get out (of the stadium) were caught and finished off with bayonets.”

guardian.co.uk | Sep 29, 2009

More than 150 feared dead in Guinea stadium clashes

by  Xan Rice in Nairobi and agencies in Conakry

More than 150 people are feared to have been killed after soldiers fired into a crowd of pro-democracy demonstrators at a stadium in Guinea yesterday.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered in the capital Conakry to protest against plans by the military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, to contest the presidential election next year. Camara, who took power in a 2008 coup, earlier pledged not to run.

Police initially fired teargas in an attempt to disperse the crowd at the 25,000-seater stadium before shooting live rounds at the protesters.

“Soldiers were firing at people and those who tried to get out (of the stadium) were caught and finished off with bayonets,” Guinean human rights activist Souleymane Bah told Reuters. Police initially said 87 people had been killed but a local rights group, Guinea Human Rights Organisation, quoted hospital sources as saying that at least 157 people had been killed and 1,253 injured. That claim could not be verified.

There were reports of female protesters being stripped naked by some of the soldiers.

Opposition politician Mutarr Diallo said he witnessed soldiers raping women with rifle butts during yesterday’s protests. He was arrested during the protest but released this morning.

An Associated Press reporter said he saw halls full of wounded patients at the city’s large Donka hospital, some with bullet wounds, others who appeared to have been beaten.

Besides the dead, hundreds of people were injured and several opposition politicians were arrested. Two police stations were later set on fire, with burnt-out cars littering the deserted streets today.

The killings were strongly condemned by the UN, the EU and the African Union, which suspended Guinea’s membership after last year’s coup.

Camara told French radio yesterdaythat he was not responsible for the killings, which were reportedly carried out by his presidential guard.

“Those people who committed those atrocities were uncontrollable elements in the military,” he told Radio France International. “Even I, as head of state in this very tense situation, cannot claim to be able to control those elements in the military.”

GUINEA-POLITICS-COUP

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (C), leader of the putschist camp, accompanied by bishop Vincent Colibaly (L) arrives at the Campa Alfa Yaya Diallo in Conakry to hold his first public meeting on December 27, 2008. Guinea’s new military junta began meetings with local people and foreign envoys as part of a charm offensive on after leading a bloodless coup. Some 1,000 representatives of political parties, trade unions, religious faiths and civil associations gathered in the open air at the junta’s base, the sprawling Campa Alfa Yaya Diallo, near Conakry’s international airport. Getty Images

Camara was at first welcomed by the population when he seized power after the death last December of President Lansana Conte, whose 24 years of corrupt and authoritarian rule had left the economy in tatters. So heavy was the influence of South American drug cartels on the government – Conte’s son Ousmane later confessed to aiding cocaine traffickers – that there were fears Guinea was turning into a narcostate.

Promising to clean up the country, Camara brought in his own eccentric style of rule. Besides sleeping most of the day and working all night, he hosted the “Dadis Show”, where he forced televised confessions out of corrupt members of the old regime.

Camara’s quirks soon became a liability and, added to the frequent abuse of power by his troops, had translated into serious political tension in recent months. His announcement that he had the right to stand in elections scheduled for January, despite earlier pledges to allow a return to civilian rule, contributed to the heavy turnout for yesterday’s protest. Many demonstrators held signs that read: “We want true democracy.”

IBM Celebrates 20 Years Since First Manipulating an Atom

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In 1989 Don Eigler manipulated atoms to spell ‘IBM’.

One wonders what we will see in the next twenty years. An IBM logo in your DNA?

Singularity Hub | Sep 28, 2009

by Aaron Saenz

It was twenty years ago when Don Eigler, a fellow at IBM, made history by moving individual atoms for the first time. Like any good employee he used his new found ability to do something productive for the company: spell out ‘IBM’ using thirty five xenon atoms. With that microscopic marketing ploy began a new era of research into nanotechnology that continues today. Check out IBM’s anniversary video after the break.

IBM had long been at the forefront of atomic research, building the first Scanning Tunneling Microscope in 1981. Eigler was using a STM in 1989 when he made the discovery he could manipulate individual atoms with the instrument. Recently, IBM continued to astound the world by creating nanoscale MRI, and imaging a molecule for the first time. The ability to move atoms and molecules, and observe what you are doing, is a revolutionary technology that opens the door to molecular machines – devices built of just a handful of atoms.

Those familiar with biology know that our cells already possess several structures that could be called molecular machines. In that way, nanotechnology and biotechnology are working towards one another. The successes at IBM suggest that the future of atomic scale manipulation may involve building interesting new substances that might fit into our lives at the cellular level.

Even if they stay outside ourselves, materials built one atom at a time are going to be amazing. Programmable matter, a substance that can rearrange itself to become anything you need, will become a reality when computer chips and machines can be built on a nanoscale. Quantum computing, superconductive wire, and carbon fibers stronger than steel – the next generation of technology was started with Eigler’s experiments.

It has taken 20 years to go from moving individual atoms to building artificial organelles, using carbon nanotubes in biosensors, or any of the hundreds of other current applications of nanotechnology. One wonders what we will see in the next twenty years. An IBM logo in your DNA?

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World Bank Head Sees Dollar’s Role Diminishing

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Robert B. Zoellick sees dollar’s role diminishing

NY Times | Sep 29, 2009

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS

WASHINGTON — The president of the World Bank said on Monday that America’s days as an unchallenged economic superpower might be numbered and that the dollar was likely to lose its favored position as the euro and the Chinese renminbi assume bigger roles.

“The United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar’s place as the world’s predominant reserve currency,” the World Bank president, Robert B. Zoellick, said in a speech at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins. “Looking forward, there will increasingly be other options to the dollar.”

Mr. Zoellick, who previously served as the United States trade representative and as deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush, said that the euro provided a “respectable alternative” for financing international transactions and that there was “every reason to believe that the euro’s acceptability could grow.”

In the next 10 to 20 years, he said, the dollar will face growing competition from China’s currency, the renminbi. Though Chinese leaders have minimized their currency’s use in international transactions, largely so they could keep greater control over exchange rates, Mr. Zoellick said the renminbi would “evolve into a force in financial markets.”

The World Bank, which is financed by governments around the globe and lends money primarily to poor countries, has no say over the economic policies of large nations or over currency matters.

But Mr. Zoellick’s comments were unusual, in part because he seemed intent on being provocative. He argued that the United States and a handful of other rich nations could no longer dominate the world economy and suggested that America was losing its clout. He also took issue with a central piece of the Obama administration’s proposal regarding the country’s financial regulatory system.

“The greenback’s fortunes will depend heavily on U.S. choices,” Mr. Zoellick said. “Will the United States resolve its debt problems without a resort to inflation? Can America establish long-term discipline over spending and its budget deficit?”

Mr. Zoellick criticized President Obama’s plan to put the Federal Reserve in charge of reducing “systemic risk” and to regulate institutions considered too big to fail. Saying that Congress had become uneasy about the Fed’s exercise of emergency powers to bail out financial institutions and prop up credit markets, Mr. Zoellick argued that the Treasury rather than the Fed should get more power because the Treasury was more accountable to Congress.

“In the United States, it will be difficult to vest the independent and powerful technocrats at the Federal Reserve with more authority,” Mr. Zoellick said, adding that “the Treasury is an executive department, and therefore Congress and the public can more directly oversee how it uses any added authority.”

Clinton Compared Gore to Mussolini

“Whenever he tried to be aggressive, said Clinton, Gore could come off ponderous and harsh, like Mussolini.”

Mother Jones | Sep 23, 2009

By David Corn

Al_Gore_BlowsAs I noted yesterday, the new book on Bill Clinton, based on taped conversations he had throughout his presidency with Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and FOB, is loaded with intriguing and juicy passages about the Clinton years (like Hillary Clinton dumping on Sally Quinn because Quinn was spreading the rumor the First Lady had been caught trysting with a female veterinarian in a White House bedroom). But perhaps the most fascinating subplot of the 707-page tome is the relationship between Clinton and Al Gore. The book details the now-famous conversation the two had after the 2000 election, an encounter that was both heated and weird, with each man caught in a different view of reality about that election and other matters.

Now that I’ve had more time to peruse the book, I’ve come across other passages that illuminate the tensions and affections these pols shared.

* Describing one interview in which Clinton was evaluating Gore’s campaigning during the 2000 election, Branch writes, “Gore lacked confidence in a light touch. Whenever he tried to be aggressive, said Clinton, Gore could come off ponderous and harsh, like Mussolini.” Mussolini? That’s harsh.

* During a “stressful consultation” between the two men when Gore was running for president, Gore, as Clinton recalled to Branch, told Clinton that “he, Gore, was a good politician, elaborating that he meant good on the policy, and also good on the politics, but admitted that he did not instinctively blend the two. Gore said he had to think about it, and Clinton thought this was pretty close to the bone. As a policy person, and a government person, Gore would make wise choices. He had the stuff to be a great president.”

So Clinton compared his veep to a fascist Italian dictator, but believed he could be a great president, and Gore realized that his major deficit was integrating the policy wonk and the politician within him. What I’d like now is to see Gore’s side of the tale. Or perhaps a book just on what went on between these two guys. Mr. Vice President, where are your memoirs of the Clinton years?

Third World population controls won’t save climate, study claims

London Times | Sep 29, 2009

by Ben Webster

The population explosion in poor countries will contribute little to climate change and is a dangerous distraction from the main problem of over-consumption in rich nations, a study has found.

It challenges claims by leading environmentalists, including Sir David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt, that strict birth control is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The study concludes that spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate because poor countries have such low emissions. It says that Britain and other Western countries should instead focus on reducing consumption of goods, services and energy among their own populations.

David Satterthwaite, of the International Institute for Environment and Development , a think-tank based in London, analysed changes in population and greenhouse gas emissions for all countries between 1980 and 2005.

He found that sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5 per cent of the world’s population growth and only 2.4 per cent of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. The United States had 3.4 per cent of the world’s population growth but 12.6 per cent of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions.

China’s one-child rule had resulted in a sharp decline in population growth but its CO2 emissions had risen very rapidly — 44.5 per cent of the growth in global emissions — largely because of the increasing number of Chinese enjoying Western levels of consumption.

Dr Satterthwaite, whose study is published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment and Urbanization, said: “A child born into a very poor African household who during their life never escapes from poverty contributes very little to climate change, especially if they die young, as many do. A child born into a wealthy household in North America or Europe and who enjoys a full life and a high-consumption lifestyle contributes far more — thousands or even tens of thousands of times more.”

The world’s population has risen from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 6.8 billion. It is growing by 75 million a year and is almost certain to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Nine of the ten countries with the highest predicted growth rates up to 2050 are in Africa. Uganda’s population is expected to treble from 33 million to 91 million.

The populations of developed countries, including Japan and Russia, are expected to decline over the same period.

A separate study by the Princeton Environmental Institute found that the world’s richest half billion people accounted for 7 per cent of the world’s population but 50 per cent of emissions. The difference in emissions levels between a rich Westerner and a poor African was illustrated in a study this month by the New Economics Foundation.

It found that by 7pm on January 4, a typical person in Britain would have generated the same amount of carbon emissions that someone in Tanzania would be responsible for in the whole year. A US citizen would reach the same point by 4am on January 2.

Last month the Optimum Population Trust called for population restraint policies to be adopted by every world state to combat climate change. The call was endorsed by Sir David Attenborough, James Lovelock and Jonathon Porritt.