Daily Archives: January 23, 2010

College Student Says a TSA Employee Played a Prank on Her

Woman Says Airport Guard Asked Her What a Baggie of White Powder Was Doing in Her Bag

ABC | Jan 22, 2010

By EMILY FRIEDMAN

College student Rebecca Solomon never expected to become the target of a prank orchestrated by a TSA employee.

But that’s exactly what happened when a Transportation Security Administration agent at a checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport held a small baggie of white powder up to the shocked 22-year-old student and asked her, “Where did you get this from?”

Solomon, who wrote an editorial in The Michigan Daily, her college’s student newspaper, detailing the incident, said that she was the “epitome of compliance” and was an “expert traveler” thanks to her frequent trips between Ann Arbor and Philadelphia, which is why she was so surprised at the sight of the baggie she swore wasn’t hers.

Her first thought when she saw the baggie, Solomon wrote, was that she had left her bag on the ground when she was looking for her license to show another security guard. She figured that “terrorists slipped bomb-detonating powder into my bag.

“I immediately told him I had no idea where the bag came from, and that I hadn’t left my bags unattended — a cardinal sin in airport security,” wrote Solomon, who didn’t return messages left by ABCNews.com.

“He let me stutter through an explanation for the longest minute of my life. Tears streamed down my face as I pleaded with him to understand that I’d never seen this baggie before,” said Solomon.

But then, according to Solomon, the TSA employee began to smile and told her that the whole thing had been a joke — he was “just kidding.”

The prank prompted Solomon to ask for a supervisor, who immediately removed the employee from the floor.

The TSA released the following statement regarding Solomon’s incident to ABCNews.com: “The behavior exhibited by this TSA employee was highly inappropriate and unprofessional.

“TSA can assure travelers that disciplinary action was taken by TSA management at Philadelphia International Airport, and the employee expressed remorse for his actions,” read the statement. “This individual is no longer employed by TSA. ”

Was An 8-Year-Old on the TSA’s No-Fly List?

But this isn’t the first faux pas by the TSA to make headlines in recent weeks.

The story of an 8-year-old boy who is frisked profusely every time he steps foot in the airport was first reported by The New York Times, and highlights an entirely different issue that even the TSA says they’re working to fix.

Mikey Hicks’ mother, Najlah Hicks, told ABCNews.com that her son has been patted down ever since he started flying.

“He was a little over 2 years when he first went through airport security,” said Hicks of her son. “They were not overly aggressive, but they certainly frisked him up his legs and arms and stomach and back.”

“[My husband and I] were amused at first, we kept saying to ourselves that they look like a bunch of bumbling idiots,” she said. “Why are they frisking a little 8-year-old?”

The Hicks first thought their son was on the TSA’s “no-fly list,” a program implemented to ensure terrorists don’t board plans, but later found out that wasn’t so.

According to the TSA, Mikey was the victim of misidentification that the family is currently working to fix.

“The TSA can confirm there are no 8-year-olds on the no fly or selectee list,” said a statement issued to ABCNews.com.

A new program, known as Secure Flight, is currently being rolled out by the TSA on domestic flights. It will match passenger information — including gender and date of birth — with government-maintained watch lists.

This way, an 8-year-old won’t be confused with a person who might have a legitimate reason to be on the watch list, according to the TSA.

“Initial estimates indicate that under Secure Flight, in excess of 99 percent of passengers who provided the additional data elements will be able to use Internet check-in and experience no delays in obtaining their boarding passes,” said the statement.

Transportation Security Administration Frisks an 8-Year-Old

As for Mikey and his mom, they both hope they see the change next month when they go to the airport on their next trip.

“My son keeps asking me, ‘Hey, Mom, why would they think a kid is a terrorist?'” said Hicks.

“Next time we fly we hope we can go right through and not be patted down like that again,” she said.

“I understand the need for security. I know there are crazy people who want to blow us up — but obviously the system is broken. How can you respect the list when you have children on the list?”

HAARP, Haiti, Brzezinski and the NWO

Online Journal | Jan 22, 2010

By Jerry Mazza

On October 25, 2005, I wrote an article for Online Journal, headlined Is it the weather or government terror, detailing government manipulation of weather, including earthquakes, for terror and destruction, mentioning that “your local weatherman was surely not up to pointing this out,” and adding “let me help with the forecast, past, present and long-range. Well, déjà vu all over again seems to have struck in Haiti on January 12.

When I wrote that article, I was disturbed over the effects of Katrina, on August 25, 2005, not to mention the Indonesian tsunami preceding it on December 26, 2004. It seemed to me it would take a helluva lot more than the weatherman to explain such cosmic events within a year, four months and a day. Today, I ask you to read my first article to familiarize yourself with HAARP, the acronym for the government’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which is about more than weather, but rather US Weapons of Meteorological Mass Destruction.

As I write that, I can hear the sirens of “conspiracy theory” going off on the airwaves as if a thief had broken into the dark hole of the Pentagon and was filling his pockets with all the secrets of these darker ops. Well, perhaps.

HAARP, as you will read in more detail, can shock the upper atmosphere with both a focused and navigable electromagnetic bolt. The ionosphere is the electrically charged sphere that surrounds the earth’s upper atmosphere, about 40 to 60 miles above the earth’s surface. Take a look also at the excellent Haiti Earthquake Raises HAARP Controversy at the phoenixaquua.blogspot, so you don’t think it’s just me thinking this. In fact, you can see filmed examples of how HAARP works, and how it has worked on Haiti.

You will particularly enjoy this article’s film clip of Pat Robertson’s analysis of the Haitian earthquake. Pat believes it’s due to the victory of the Haitians in their rebellion over Napoleon and the French in 1801. Their victory, he claims, was due to a pact the Haitians made with the Devil. And this pact, Pat iterates, haunts them to this day. This is a man who ran for president of the US, is the owner of a chain of TV and radio stations, and a leader of the Machiavellian Dominionists sect of Conservative Christianity. But I digress and I’m dizzy from this one.

HAARP has always been referred to by the US government as a tool for researching weather, but in fact has been developed and used by the military for Department of Defense purposes. This dark side of HAARP has been played down for obvious reasons, but Dr. Nick Begich and Jeane Manning have done an excellent expose of this “Military Pandora’s Box” in their book, Angel’s Don’t Play This Harp. There as an excellent summary of the book at this site. It debunks the notion that HAARP is no different than other ionospheric heaters operating safely through the world in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Tromso, Norway, and the former Soviet Union.

Yet a 1990 government document claims that the radio frequency (RF) power bolt can drive the ionosphere to “unnatural” activities. Quoting the authors . . .”at the highest HF powers available in the West, the instabilities commonly studied are approaching their maximum RF energy dissipative capability, beyond which the plasma process will ‘runaway’ until the next limiting factor is reached.” The program operates out the University of Alaska Fairbanks (in Sarah Palin-land), providing a ground-based “Star Wars” technology, offering a relatively inexpensive defense shield.

But the University also boasts about the most mind-boggling geophysical manipulations since nuclear bombs of which HAARP is capable. It’s based on the work of electrical genius Nicholas Tesla and the work and patents of Texas’ physicist Bernard Eastlund. The military has deliberately underestimated the deadly possibilities of this uber technology, most pointedly in this case to create earthquakes with the generation of bolts of electrical power aimed at specific targets.

In fact, HAARP’s potential for havoc drew the attention of none other than Zbigniew Brzezinski, former NSA adviser to Jimmy Carter, science advisor to President Johnson, and political advisor to President Obama.

More than 25 years ago, when Brzezinski was a professor at Columbia University, he wrote, “Political strategists are tempted to exploit research on the brain and human behavior [another strange purpose HAARP can be put to]. Geophysicist Gordon J.F. MacDonald, a specialist in problems of warfare, says accurately-timed, artificially-excited electronic strokes could lead to a pattern of oscillations that produce relatively high power levels over certain legions of the earth . . . in this way one could develop a system that would seriously impair the brain performance of very large populations in selected regions over an extended period.”

He capped this statement with “no matter how deeply disturbing the thought of using the environment to manipulate behavior for national advantages, to some, the technology permitting such use will very probably develop within the next few decades.” Let me tell you, dear readers, it’s here.

Full Story

C.I.A. Deaths Prompt Surge in U.S. Drone Strikes

Critics have contended that collateral civilian deaths are too high a price to pay.

NY Times | Jan 23, 2010

By SCOTT SHANE and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the Central Intelligence Agency has struck back against militants in Pakistan with the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft since the covert program began.

Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties. The assault has included strikes on a mud fortress in North Waziristan on Jan. 6 that killed 17 people and a volley of missiles on a compound in South Waziristan last Sunday that killed at least 20.

“For the C.I.A., there is certainly an element of wanting to show that they can hit back,” said Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal, an online publication that tracks the C.I.A.’s drone campaign. Mr. Roggio, as well as Pakistani and American intelligence officials, said many of the recent strikes had focused on the Pakistani Taliban and its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, who claimed responsibility for the Khost bombing.

The Khost attack cost the agency dearly, taking the lives of the most experienced analysts of Al Qaeda whose intelligence helped guide the drone attacks. Yet the agency has responded by redoubling its assault. Drone strikes have come roughly every other day this month, up from about once a week last year and the most furious pace since the drone campaign began in earnest in the summer of 2008.

Pakistan’s announcement on Thursday that its army would delay any new offensives against militants in North Waziristan for 6 to 12 months is likely to increase American reliance on the drone strikes, administration and counterterrorism officials said. By next year, the C.I.A. is expected to more than double its fleet of the latest Reaper aircraft — bigger, faster and more heavily armed than the older Predators — to 14 from 6, an Obama administration official said.

Even before the Khost attack, White House officials had made it clear to Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, that they expected significant results from the drone strikes in reducing the threat from Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, according to an administration official and a former senior C.I.A. official with close ties to the White House.

These concerns only heightened after the attempted Dec. 25 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner. While that plot involved a Nigerian man sent by a Qaeda offshoot in Yemen, intelligence officials say they believe that Al Qaeda’s top leaders in Pakistan have called on affiliates to carry out attacks against the West. “There’s huge pressure from the White House on Blair and Panetta,” said the former C.I.A. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern about angering the White House. “The feeling is, the clock is ticking.”

After the Khost bombing, intelligence officials vowed that they would retaliate. One angry senior American intelligence official said the C.I.A. would “avenge” the Khost attack. “Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day,” the official said at the time, speaking on the condition he not be identified describing a classified program.

Today, officials deny that vengeance is driving the increased attacks, though one called the drone strikes “the purest form of self-defense.”

Officials point to other factors. For one, Pakistan recently dropped restrictions on the drone program it had requested last fall to accompany a ground offensive against militants in South Waziristan. And tips on the whereabouts of extremists ebb and flow unpredictably.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, declined to comment on the drone strikes. But he said, “The agency’s counterterrorism operations — lawful, aggressive, precise and effective — continue without pause.”

The strikes, carried out from a secret base in Pakistan and controlled by satellite link from C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia, have been expanded by President Obama and praised by both parties in Congress as a potent weapon against terrorism that puts no American lives at risk. That calculation must be revised in light of the Khost bombing, which revealed the critical presence of C.I.A. officers in dangerous territory to direct the strikes.

Some legal scholars have questioned the legitimacy under international law of killings by a civilian agency in a country where the United States is not officially at war. This month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for government documents revealing procedures for approving targets and legal justifications for the killings.

Critics have contended that collateral civilian deaths are too high a price to pay. Pakistani officials have periodically denounced the strikes as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty, even as they have provided a launching base for the drones.

The increase in drone attacks has caused panic among rank-and-file militants, particularly in North Waziristan, where some now avoid using private vehicles, according to Pakistani intelligence and security officials. Fewer foreign extremists are now in Miram Shah, North Waziristan’s capital, which was previously awash with them, said local tribesmen and security officials.

Despite the consensus in Washington behind the drone program, some experts are dissenters. John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School who frequently advises the military, said, “The more the drone campaign works, the more it fails — as increased attacks only make the Pakistanis angrier at the collateral damage and sustained violation of their sovereignty.”

If the United States expands the drone strikes beyond the lawless tribal areas to neighboring Baluchistan, as is under discussion, the backlash “might even spark a social revolution in Pakistan,” Mr. Arquilla said.

So far the reaction in Pakistan to the increased drone strikes has been muted. Last week, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan told Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s senior diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the drones undermined the larger war effort. But the issue was not at the top of the agenda as it was a year ago.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a military analyst in Lahore, said public opposition had been declining because the campaign was viewed as a success. Yet one Pakistani general, who supports the drone strikes as a tactic for keeping militants off balance, questioned the long-term impact.

“Has the situation stabilized in the past two years?” asked the general, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Are the tribal areas more stable?” Yes, he said, Baitullah Mehsud, founder of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed by a missile last August. “But he’s been replaced and the number of fighters is increasing,” the general said.

UN’s push for Arms Trade Treaty could affect American gun ownership

Hillary Rodham Clinton with UN Gen Secretary Ban Ki-moon. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Ban by baby steps
ESPNOutdoors.com | Jan 21, 2010

By Colin Moore

LAS VEGAS — In the parallel world where the likes of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi live, the enlightened govern the ignorant masses by applying one set of universal rules, and it’s not the Constitution of the United States.

In Hillary’s world, radical ideas progress at first with baby steps that ultimately become great strides to harness the destructive forces in society. That’s why the current Secretary of State and the other Hillarys in her world are drawing a bead on gun owners, mainly those in the United States.

In 2012, the United Nation’s will push for the Arms Trade Treaty, which, among other things, will establish goals regarding the ownership and disposition of firearms on a global basis. This new world order is apt to take various forms, but none of them are likely to be good for gun owners in this country.

The Arms Trade Treaty, along with attempts to reconstitute the so-called “assault weapons ban,” and efforts to ban lead-based ammunition are among the biggest challenges facing the shooting sports industry in the coming years, according to Steve Sanneti, president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

It’s been a while since the ban on any firearm that looked remotely like an assault rifle was in effect. Thankfully, the public has become better educated about the firearms and the fact that just because they look like something that Rambo might wield, basically they do the same thing as any other rifle.

Talk of outlawing black guns was a topic that once scored points for politicians in the “blue states,” but there’s no current movement to return the ban. Still, Sanneti said, it only takes one lunatic with a rifle to re-energize the issue.

The lead ban is an ongoing project for anti-hunters and their allies, the gun control crowd. Banning lead shot on wildlife refuges and other federal lands was the first stage, and now various advocates in the northern tier of states, and California, have taken up the cause. In the Bear State, pro-raptor groups managed to convince the powers-that-be that condors were being poisoned en masse after ingesting lead bullets or shot in the remains of deer or various other game animals and birds.

In truth, more California condors have died from eating the poisoned carcasses of sheep and other domestic animals intended for coyotes. Still, lead was a convenient villain. More recently, anti-hunters tried to stampede food banks and others from accepting donated game meat shot with lead ammo by well-meaning hunters. Eventually, the wheels fell off that campaign when even the Center for Disease Control said it was a bogus issue.

“Anti-hunters will do or say anything to curtail hunting, and they’ll settle for winning small battles and advancing their cause in incremental stages,” Sanetti said. “What is so insidious about the various lead ban proposals is that they ignore the fact that there are no wildlife populations that have been threatened or endangered because hunters use lead ammunition. It just doesn’t happen, and we’ve got to continue to remind people of that and present the truth.”

As for the Arms Trade Treaty, Sanetti said he thinks it might pose the greatest danger if only because there are so many different permutations it could take, any of which could be disastrous to gun owners.

Sanneti is no stranger in Hillary’s world, and as a former executive of the Ruger Arms Company, knows of the subtle ways that gun control advocates employ to advance their cause. Convince the general public that if all guns are banned, and nobody has them but governments, then there would be no more wars and no more crime. In effect, the Arms Trade Treaty is one of those baby steps in that direction.

“Essentially, the international community doesn’t understand why Americans respect and protect their Second Amendment rights because in most countries no such rights exist,” said Sanetti, who is presiding over the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show. “Of course, the Founders added the Second Amendment as one of the safeguards, and it’s not something open for discussion as far as we’re concerned.

“The current (Obama) administration has gone on record as saying it’s time for this country to rejoin the community of nations and get more in line with various international goals. So, definitely, gun control is moving to the forefront, though not in such an-in-your-face, confrontational manner that we’ve seen before in this country. Gun control advocates go in one direction, try and fail, and then go in another direction. That’s been the pattern.”

Sanetti notes that prior to the current administration, UN delegates routinely gave such notions as international gun control a no-way, Jose response. However, recently Secretary Clinton has noted that the administration is not opposed, per se, to an Arms Trade Treaty that inhibits the manufacture and distribution of guns, but rather that the U.S. might go along with it if there is a consensus among the nations.

“Our salvation might be that 2012, which is when the UN will put the Arms Trade Treaty on the front burner, is an election year,” Sanetti said. “We feel reasonably confident that this administration is not going to push the treaty or even avow any ownership, but there’s no certainty of that. If the administration sidesteps the issue and there is no unanimity among nations, the treaty is probably dead, but we’re definitely keeping an eye on developments there.”

Eternal vigilance and all that, but it’s the price to pay for living in the world next to Hillary’s. The neighbors will do whatever they can to get rid of as many guns as possible, perhaps by curtailing the international flow of component materials that go into the manufacture of firearms and ammunition.

It’s a long shot, but such ideas have merit in Hillary’s world, where even little victories lead ever closer to the big prize: no guns, just government.

JPMorgan Chase Nets $11.7 Billion On Record Revenues

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said the bank “fell short” of its earnings potential. Katie Falkenberg for The New York Times

Over all, JPMorgan said 2009 net income rose to $11.7 billion, or $2.26 a share. That compares with a profit of $5.6 billion, or $1.35 a share, during 2008, when panic gripped the industry. Revenue grew to a record $108.6 billion, up 49 percent.

NY Times | Jan 16, 2010

By ERIC DASH

JPMorgan Chase kicked off what is expected to be a robust — and controversial — reporting season for the nation’s banks on Friday with news that its profit and pay for 2009 soared.

In a remarkable rebound from the depths of the financial crisis, JPMorgan earned $11.7 billion last year, more than double its profit in 2008, and generated record revenue. The bank earned $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter alone.

Those cheery figures were accompanied by news that JPMorgan had earmarked $26.9 billion to compensate its workers, much of which will be paid out as bonuses. That is up about 18 percent, with employees, on average, earning about $129,000.

Workers in JPMorgan’s investment bank, on average, earned roughly $380,000 each. Top producers, however, expect to collect multimillion-dollar paychecks.

The strong results — coming a day after the Obama administration, to howls from Wall Street, announced plans to tax big banks to recoup some of the money the government expects to lose from bailing out the financial system — underscored the gaping divide between the financial industry and the many ordinary Americans who are still waiting for an economic recovery.

Over the next week or so, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are expected to report similar surges in pay when they release their year-end numbers.

But not all the news from JPMorgan Chase was good. Signs of lingering weakness in its consumer banking business unnerved Wall Street and drove down its share price along with those of other banks.

Chase’s consumer businesses are still hemorrhaging money. Chase Card Services, its big credit card unit, lost $2.23 billion in 2009 and is unlikely to turn a profit this year. Chase retail services eked out a $97 million profit for 2009, though it posted a $399 million loss in the fourth quarter. To try to stop the bleeding, the bank agreed to temporarily modify about 600,000 mortgages. Only about 89,000 of those adjustments have been made permanent. In a statementon Friday, Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan, said that bank “fell short” of its earnings potential and remained cautious about 2010 considering that the job and housing markets continued to be weak.

“We don’t have visibility much beyond the middle of this year and much will depend on how the economy behaves,” Michael J. Cavanagh, the bank’s finance chief, said in a conference call with journalists. Across the industry, analysts expect investment banking revenue to moderate this year and tighter regulations to dampen profit. As consumers and businesses continue to hunker down, lending has also fallen.

Just as it did throughout 2009, JPMorgan Chase pulled off a quarterly profit after the strong performance of its investment bank helped offset large losses on mortgages and credit cards. The bank set aside another $1.9 billion for its consumer loan loss reserves — a hefty sum, but less than in previous periods.

That could be a sign that bank executives are more comfortable that the economy may be turning a corner. The bank has now stockpiled more than $32.5 billion to cover future losses. Still, Mr. Dimon warned that the economy was still too fragile to declare that the worst was over, though he hinted that things might stabilize toward the middle of the year. “We want to see a real recovery, just in case you have another dip down,” he said in a conference call with investors. Earlier, Mr. Cavanagh said that the bank hoped to restore the dividend to 75 cents or $1 by the middle of 2010, from 20 cents at present.

Over all, JPMorgan said 2009 net income rose to $11.7 billion, or $2.26 a share. That compares with a profit of $5.6 billion, or $1.35 a share, during 2008, when panic gripped the industry. Revenue grew to a record $108.6 billion, up 49 percent.

JPMorgan has emerged from the financial crisis with renewed swagger. Unlike several other banking chiefs, Mr. Dimon has entered 2010 with his reputation relatively unscathed. Indeed, he is regarded on Wall Street and in Washington as a pillar of the industry. On Wednesday on Capitol Hill, during a hearing of the government panel charged with examining the causes of the financial crisis, Mr. Dimon avoided the grilling given to Lloyd C. Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Dimon was also the only banker to publicly oppose the administration’s proposed tax on the largest financial companies.

Moreover, JPMorgan appears have taken advantage of the financial crisis to expand its consumer lending business and vault to the top of the investment banking charts, including a top-flight ranking as a fee-earner. Over all, the investment bank posted a $6.9 billion profit for 2009 after a $1.2 billion loss in 2008 when the bank took huge charges on soured mortgage investments and buyout loans.

The division posted strong trading revenue, though well short of the blow-out profits during the first half of the year when the markets were in constant flux. The business of arranging financing for corporations and advising on deals fell off in the last part of the year, though Mr. Cavanagh said there were signs of a rebound in the first two weeks of January.

As the investment bank’s income surged, the amount of money set aside for compensation in that division rose by almost one-third, to about $9.3 billion for 2009. But JPMorgan officials cut the portion of revenue they put in the bonus pool by almost half from last year.

The division, which employs about 25,000 people, reduced the share of revenue going to the compensation pool, to 37 percent by midyear, from 40 percent in the first quarter. The share fell to 11 percent in the fourth quarter because of the impact of the British bonus tax and the greater use of stock awards.

Bank officials have said that they needed to reward the firm’s standout performance, but to show restraint before a public outraged over banker pay. Other Wall Street firms may make similarly large adjustments.

Chase’s corporate bank, meanwhile, booked a $1.3 billion profit this year, even as it recorded losses on commercial real estate loans. Still, that represents a smaller portion of the bank’s overall balance sheet compared with many regional and community lenders. JPMorgan’s asset management business and treasury services units each booked similar profits for 2009.