Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 28 Nov 2022
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Nuke

A Hospital of Horrors: The Deformed Children of Fallujah

Fallujah General Hospital
© Getty Images
Dr Aiman Qeis cares for babies at Fallujah General Hospital, which has a high rate of children born with congenital defects
Special Report day two: Stillbirths, disabilities, deformities too distressing to describe - what lies behind the torments in Fallujah General Hospital?

The pictures flash up on a screen on an upper floor of the Fallujah General Hospital. And all at once, Nadhem Shokr al-Hadidi's administration office becomes a little chamber of horrors. A baby with a hugely deformed mouth. A child with a defect of the spinal cord, material from the spine outside the body. A baby with a terrible, vast Cyclopean eye. Another baby with only half a head, stillborn like the rest, date of birth 17 June, 2009. Yet another picture flicks onto the screen: date of birth 6 July 2009, it shows a tiny child with half a right arm, no left leg, no genitalia.

"We see this all the time now," Al-Hadidi says, and a female doctor walks into the room and glances at the screen. She has delivered some of these still-born children. "I've never seen anything as bad as this in all my service," she says quietly. Al-Hadidi takes phone calls, greets visitors to his office, offers tea and biscuits to us while this ghastly picture show unfolds on the screen. I asked to see these photographs, to ensure that the stillborn children, the deformities, were real. There's always a reader or a viewer who will mutter the word "propaganda" under their breath.

But the photographs are a damning, ghastly reward for such doubts. January 7, 2010: a baby with faded, yellow skin and misshapen arms. April 26, 2010: a grey mass on the side of the baby's head. A doctor beside me speaks of "Tetralogy of Fallot", a transposition of the great blood vessels. May 3, 2010: a frog-like creature in which - the Fallujah doctor who came into the room says this - "all the abdominal organs are trying to get outside the body."

This is too much. These photographs are too awful, the pain and emotion of them - for the poor parents, at least - impossible to contemplate. They simply cannot be published.

Airplane

Police State: "Robots R'US": Military-Style Drones on 63 Military Bases In The USA

drone 3
© n/a
It's easy to understand why Presidents, politicians and the military love robots. They don't talk back. They follow orders. You press a button and they do what they are told. They are considered so efficient, and so lethal.

These modern killing machines represent science fiction reborn as science 'faction.'

Robots and drones don't burn Korans or pose with the heads of their captives on the battlefield. (Robots also don't protest wars.) Lose the human factor and you get silent but deadly total destruction.

And that's why drone warfare has become such a weapon of choice. You have video game jockeys sitting on their asses in front of consoles of digital displays at an Air Force base outside Las Vegas, targeting suspected terrorists in Afghanistan. After a couple of quick kills, they take the rest of the day off.

It's only later, that we get the reports of civilians decimated as collateral damage.

Oops!

These new lethal toys are used both for surveillance and targeted assassinations.

Brick Wall

Scientists continue to be muzzled by Canada's Harper government

Stephen Harper Canada scientists
© Reuters/Chris WattieHarper
Prime Minister Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons.
Harper government 'muzzlers' are on the prowl at an international polar conference about everything from seabirds to arctic ice.

According to an article by PostMedia News, media instructions have been sent to the Environment Canada researchers attending the week long meeting in Montreal.

"If you are approached by the media, ask them for their business card and tell them that you will get back to them with a time for (an) interview," the Environment Canada scientists were told by email late last week.

"Send a message to your media relations contact and they will organize the interview. They will most probably be with you during the interview to assist and record," says the email obtained by Postmedia News.

The memo, signed by Kristina Fickes, an Environment Canada senior communications adviser, goes on to say that recordings of interviews are to be forwarded to the department's media relations headquarters in Ottawa. Fickes signs off with a signature tagline that says: "Let the sun shine in :)"

This isn't the first time Canadian scientists have been muzzled.

Comment: Once again, Harper takes a leaf from the US playbook on how to deal with dissident voices.


Arrow Up

Robert Wenzel's Speech At The Federal Reserve Bank

At the invitation of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, I spoke and had lunch in the bank's Liberty Room. Below are my prepared remarks.

money graphic
© n/a
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak here at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Intellectual discourse is, of course, extraordinarily valuable in reaching truth. In this sense, I welcome the opportunity to discuss my views on the economy and monetary policy and how they may differ with those of you here at the Fed.

That said, I suspect my views are so different from those of you here today that my comments will be a complete failure in convincing you to do what I believe should be done, which is to close down the entire Federal Reserve System

My views, I suspect, differ from beginning to end. From the proper methodology to be used in the science of economics, to the manner in which the macro-economy functions, to the role of the Federal Reserve, and to the accomplishments of the Federal Reserve, I stand here confused as to how you see the world so differently than I do.

I simply do not understand most of the thinking that goes on here at the Fed and I do not understand how this thinking can go on when in my view it smacks up against reality.

Please allow me to begin with methodology, I hold the view developed by such great economic thinkers as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard that there are no constants in the science of economics similar to those in the physical sciences.

In the science of physics, we know that water freezes at 32 degrees. We can predict with immense accuracy exactly how far a rocket ship will travel filled with 500 gallons of fuel. There is preciseness because there are constants, which do not change and upon which equations can be constructed..

There are no such constants in the field of economics since the science of economics deals with human action, which can change at any time. If potato prices remain the same for 10 weeks, it does not mean they will be the same the following day. I defy anyone in this room to provide me with a constant in the field of economics that has the same unchanging constancy that exists in the fields of physics or chemistry.

And yet, in paper after paper here at the Federal Reserve, I see equations built as though constants do exist. It is as if one were to assume a constant relationship existed between interest rates here and in Russia and throughout the world, and create equations based on this belief and then attempt to trade based on these equations. That was tried and the result was the blow up of the fund Long Term Capital Management, a blow up that resulted in high level meetings in this very building.

It is as if traders assumed a given default rate was constant for subprime mortgage paper and traded on that belief. Only to see it blow up in their faces, as it did, again, with intense meetings being held in this very building.

Yet, the equations, assuming constants, continue to be published in papers throughout the Fed system. I scratch my head.

Arrow Up

'United We Stand, Divided We Fall'

United
© Daily News, Sri Lanka
The ancient Greek storyteller Aesop told a tale in which a lion tried to attack four oxen, who would turn their tails to one another so that their horns faced the lion whichever way he approached them. However, the oxen quarrelled, and the lion attacked each separately in turn and overcame them.

At the end of each of his stories, Aesop would add an aphorism. In the case of 'The Four Oxen and the Lion', it was 'United we stand, divided we fall'. This ancient maxim holds true to this day.

It was to overcome the barrier of solidarity that Julius Caesar advocated the policy of 'divide et impera' - divide and rule - which has remained the guiding principle of imperialists up to modern times.

The imperialists of the 'Age of Imperialism' were superlative opportunists and improvisers, taking situations as they saw them and turning them to their advantage. The principle of divide and rule was applied using whatever human material came to hand, multiplying small irritations to create partitions in the colonised societies.

Conflicting populations

In Rwanda-Burundi, the Germans and their successors, the Belgians, elevated Tutsis above Hutus, creating caste conflict. In India, the British Raj put Muslim rulers over Hindu subjects and vice versa. In Nigeria, the British set the Ibos against the Hausas and in Sudan they created divisions between the Muslim North and the Christian South.

Where there was no dissension, the imperialists imported irritant populations - the prototype being Ireland, with 'plantations' of Scottish Protestants among the Roman Catholic population. The Boers were already in situ in South Africa - to be used against the Black and Coloured people. In North Africa the French settled 'Colons' from Metropolitan France among the Muslim population. In Uganda (the first 'promised land' of the Zionists led by Herzl) the British first toyed with the prospect of introducing Jews. However, Indian traders were found to fill the required niche quite well. In Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the West Indies, Indian Tamil indentured labourers were employed to divide the people at the lowest level.

Bomb

27 injured as blasts rock Ukrainian city, Opposition fingers government

Image
© Sergei Isayev/Reuters
Policemen walk at the scene of an explosion in Dnipropetrovsk, April 27, 2012.
A series of blasts rocked an eastern Ukrainian city on Friday, injuring 27 people, including nine teenagers, in what authorities say they believe was a terrorist attack.

Top law enforcement officials rushed to Dnipropetrovsk, 400 kilometres southeast of Kyiv, to investigate but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The violence undermined Ukraine's security just weeks before it co-hosts the European soccer championships in June.

President Viktor Yanukovych vowed to investigate and punish the perpetrators.

"This is yet another challenge for us, for the whole country," Mr. Yanukovych told reporters in televised comments. "We will think of how to respond to this properly."

Ukraine has not been afflicted with political terrorism but there have been previous explosions connected to criminal extortion.

Arrow Down

Private Wall Street Ratings Agency Downgrades Spain's Credit Rating

Image

We decide who stays poor and who becomes poorer
Standard & Poor's drops rating from A to BBB+ and warns that Spain's recession is likely to deepen by the end of the year

Spain's precarious economic situation has worsened after the ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt and warned that its recession was likely to deepen by the end of the year.

S&P cut the rating on Spain's debt mountain by two notches, from A to BBB+. The downgrade is expected to push up the cost of borrowing immediately, as investors become increasingly worried over Madrid's inability to cut spending without sending its beleaguered economy into a deeper recession.

European leaders have feared that investors, who have watched the unfolding euro crisis over the last two years, would withdraw their support for Spain in response to the increased risk that it will be forced to accept a multi-billion-euro rescue package from Brussels.

Comment: The Spanish government is preparing for trouble:

Spain plans 'draconian' new social networking laws in street protest clampdown

Spain to Close Border for Summit of the European Central Bank


Handcuffs

Retired British man extradited to US, charged with supplying weapons to Iran

Image
© Beretta/Sims/Rex Features
Set up? Chris Tappin, the retired British businessman charged with trying to sell missile parts to Iran.
A retired British businessman who was extradited to the US in February on charges of dealing arms to Iran, has denied any connection with terrorism and claimed he was the victim of an FBI sting operation.

Chris Tappin, 65 who was released on bail after his family paid $50,000 (£31,026) of a $1m (£620,527) bond, said: "I'm not a terrorist. I've never had any connections with terrorism and I'm just appalled that things could come to this stage."

Speaking to the BBC after a Texas court freed him on the condition that he wear an electronic tag and agree to have his emails monitored, Tappin said: "I didn't know these batteries were for hawk missiles and ... I didn't know they were destined for Iran."

Radar

Troop Movements: 9,000 Marines to be relocated from Japan

Image
© REUTERS/Issei Kato
Hercules aircraft are parked on the tarmac at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan on Okinawa May 3, 2010.
The United States and Japan announced on Thursday a revised agreement on streamlining the U.S. military presence on Okinawa that will shift 9,000 Marines from the southern Japanese island to Guam and other Asia-Pacific sites.

The new plan, unveiled days before Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda meets President Barack Obama in Washington, helps the allies work around the central but still-unresolved dispute over moving the Futenma air base from a crowded part of Okinawa to a new site that has vexed relations for years.

"I am very pleased that, after many years, we have reached this important agreement and plan of action. I applaud the hard work and effort that went into crafting it," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement.

"Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend."

Under the agreement, 9,000 U.S. Marines will be relocated. Five thousand will go to Guam and the rest to other sites such as Hawaii and Australia, a joint U.S.-Japanese statement said.

The updated version of a long-delayed 2006 plan was needed to achieve "a U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region that is more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable," the statement said.

Bad Guys

A Spanish Company Known As Scytl Will Be Reporting Election Results For Hundreds of U.S. Jurisdictions

vote US
© n/a
Do you know who is going to be counting the votes on Election Day 2012? Most Americans never even think about this. Most Americans just assume that their votes will count and that the government will ensure that the counting process is done honestly and fairly. But is this really the case?

Sadly, the vast majority of people never take the time to "look behind the curtain" to see how things really work. If they did, they might find themselves extremely upset about what they would find.

The integrity of our voting process is of the utmost importance. If we do not have the ballot box, then what avenues for changing our government do we have left? Unfortunately, the integrity of our elections has been called into question quite a few times in recent years, and now a Spanish company known as Scytl will be involved in reporting election results for hundreds of jurisdictions across the United States this upcoming election day. Will those election results be accurate?

It is absolutely amazing that a foreign company has been able to gain such control over the reporting of election results in the United States without it ever making a significant splash in the mainstream media.

You would think that there would be a law against this sort of thing, but apparently there is not.