Puppet MastersS

Evil Rays

US: TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation

The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation - 247 machines at 38 airports - after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

The TSA says that the records reflect math mistakes and that all the machines are safe. Indeed, even the highest readings listed on some of the records - the numbers that the TSA says were mistakes - appear to be many times less than what the agency says a person absorbs through one day of natural background radiation.

Even so, the TSA has ordered the new tests out of "an abundance of caution to reassure the public," spokesman Nicholas Kimball says. The tests will be finished by the end of the month, and the results will be released "as they are completed," the agency said on its website.

TSA officials have repeatedly assured the public and lawmakers that the machines have passed all inspections. The agency's review of maintenance reports, launched Dec. 10, came only after USA TODAY and lawmakers called for the release of the records late last year.

War Whore

NATO to Send Ships Towards Libya

© Photo: APNATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at headquarters in Brussels, March 10, 2011
NATO defence ministers agreed today to send more naval ships off Libya's coast and to renew military planning for a possible no-fly zone pending a UN mandate, the alliance's chief said.

"It has been decided to increase the presence of NATO maritime assets in the central Mediterranean," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference after a meeting of defence chiefs.

The naval ships would bolster surveillance of Libya and monitor an existing arms embargo against the country, where Moamer Kadhafi's troops are battling opposition forces.

The ministers also called for urgent "detailed planning" for humanitarian efforts and for possible measures to enforce the arms embargo in case required by any new UN Security Council resolution, he said.

There was no decision to launch a no-fly zone against the regime -- a step favoured by Britain and France -- but the alliance endorsed further military planning if the United Nations endorsed the move.


Libyan Hospital Vacated After Air Blitz

Shrapnel flies through the air as a tank shell explodes near Libyan revolutionary fighters in Ras Lanuf on March 10, 2011.
Employees at the main hospital in Libya's northern city of Ras Lanuf have evacuated the medical center following an air strike launched against it by pro-Gaddafi forces that injured over 17 people.

On Thursday, Libyan warplanes launched a blitz on revolutionary forces' positions in the oil port, maintaining a counteroffensive against opposition fighters in an effort to contain their advance toward the embattled Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold in the capital Tripoli.

The shells landed about 500 meters (0.3 mile) from the hospital in the center of the city, AFP reported. The blitz comes as Gaddafi's military has been making more use of its air power advantage to attack protesters.

Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi closed in on revolutionary forces on Wednesday in the city of Zawiyah, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Tripoli, and surrounded them with tanks and snipers in the main square.


UK: Thousands Evacuated from Heathrow's Terminal 5 As Armed Police Swoop on Man With Suspect Suitcase

Thousands of passengers were evacuated after officers moved in on the British suspect, aged in his 30s
Heathrow's Terminal 5 check-in area was shut down for more than an hour today after armed police swooped on a man with a suspect package.

Thousands of passengers were evacuated after officers moved in on the British suspect, aged in his 30s.

Flyers had to wait outside for around 90 minutes before they were allowed back into the largest terminal at the airport which is used exclusively by British Airways.

Security workers are believed to have become suspicious when he walked into the building carrying a suitcase this afternoon.

Officers only evacuated people from the check-in area who had not been through passport control.

Police cordoned off a small area while they dealt with the incident.

Around 70,000 passengers go through Terminal 5 each day and up to 5,000 passengers are thought to have been disrupted.

A spokesman for BAA said that no flights had to be cancelled.

War Whore

US: Republican Accused of McCarthyism Over Radical Islam 'Show Trial'

Qaeda is targeting Muslim Americans for recruits to terrorism and the community must do more to combat Islamic radicalisation, a U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday as he opened hearings that have been criticised as a witch hunt.
A Republican congressman who has convened a public inquiry into radical Islam in the United States has been accused of staging a "show trial" reminiscent of the McCarthy-era hunt for communist sympathisers.

Representative Peter King, who heads the House homeland security committee, has come under withering criticism for the hearings, which begin today against a backdrop of increased terror plots by American Muslims.

Protesters and critics ranging from Islamic associations, civil liberties groups and law enforcement officials have said that by concentrating on extremism within the Muslim community, Mr King risked alienating Muslims who have supported police efforts to track terror suspects.


US: Justice Department Investigating Death Threats Against Republican Senators, Representatives

Seventeen Republican Senators in addition to Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald received the email threat that stated they should put their "things in order because you will be killed and your families also will be killed."

The email, which in the subject said "Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!," was sent at 9:18 p.m. Wednesday, after the Senate, with Democrats absent, voted to eliminate most collective bargaining provisions for most public workers.

In addition, all of the Assembly Republicans, including Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, received an email death threat about 10:30 Wednesday night, said John Jagler, a spokesman for Jeff Fitzgerald. That email stated "Vote no and save your life."

Jagler said the threat talked about shooting the representative and planting bombs in places he frequented.

The state's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the email threat against the senators and several other threats from a variety of sources, said Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Cosh said Thursday he was not at liberty to say anything more about the threats and investigation.

Andrew Welhouse, a spokesman for Scott Fitzgerald, said the email threat was turned over to Capitol Police, who also are investigating.

Arrow Down

U.S. Officials Pushed Products Deemed Unsafe by China

When it comes to protecting consumers, American politicians in China don't always practice what they preach, unpublished U.S. diplomatic cables show.

In 2007, two U.S. Congressmen privately admonished a Chinese official about the sudden spike in potentially harmful Made-in-China products being shipped around the world, according to a cable from the U.S. embassy in Beijing obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party.

At the time, China was under fire from the United States and other nations for a host of toxic exports -- everything from lead paint in toys to poisonous chemical substitutes for ingredients in medicine and pet food. In August of that year, Mattel alone was compelled to recall 20 million toys that had been manufactured in China.

Two years later, the cables show, the same U.S. Congressmen -- Mark Kirk, then a House Republican from Illinois, and Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington -- returned to Beijing, only this time they had an entirely different message. Kirk and Larsen asked Chinese officials to look the other way as an American company failed to meet regulations restricting the use of a toxic chemical in medical equipment sold to Chinese hospitals.

The company, Baxter Healthcare, was making blood bags for intravenous delivery using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic softener that has been banned in some other parts of the world. A chemical found in PVC has been shown to build up in humans, causing developmental defects in children, among other things. The European Union banned the chemical in question -- commonly known as DEHP -- from all household products this year.


UK: How Labour government blew £250million on private surgery that never took place

nhs hospital
© Getty ImagesLabour wasted £252million by paying for operations that were never carried out. The payments came at a time when the NHS was routinely refusing people life-extending cancer drugs - claiming they were too expensive to afford

Labour squandered £252million by paying private companies for operations on Health Service patients that were never carried out, it emerged yesterday.

Private healthcare firms were paid £1.689billion in advance over a seven-year period to carry out procedures such as hip replacements and cataract operations.

But in a shocking example of the last Government's wasteful spending only £1.437billion worth of procedures were actually performed - meaning £252million went into the pockets of private firms for doing nothing.

Comment: Yes, it's quite a racket the allopathic medical industry has going on:

Israel & South Africa: Netcare coughs up about illegal organ trafficking


US: Scott Walker's Real Agenda in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
© ReutersRepublican Governor Scott Walker's 'budget repair bill' would pave the way for wholesale privatisation of Wisconsin's state infrastructure.
The Republican governor's budget plan would open the state up to a corporate asset-grab not seen since robber baron capitalism

On Wednesday evening, in a veritable Night of the Long Knives, Wisconsin's integrity was brutally murdered on the floor of the state Capitol in Madison. On 9 March, integrity and trust built up over a century was obliterated as Wisconsin state senators quickly reversed course and cleaved its budget "repair bill" in half. Financial items require a quorum, thus, collective bargaining was split off from the budget repair bill and voted on separately so as to permit its being voted on now. Even so, this still broke the state's open meeting law requiring 24 hours' notice to ensure transparency. Instead, the Wisconsin senate Republicans pulled out this new legislation without advance notice and began voting, leaving only a stunned Democratic legislator, Peter Barca, to read the open meeting law out loud to prevent the senators from voting. The senate voted over his objections anyway.

The Wisconsin brand has always centered on integrity. This was really about the only distinctive comparative advantage the state could lay claim to. Now, it is gone. With collective bargaining abolished, huge issues remain beyond labour. The privatisation of public assets is now on the agenda, with the yet-to-be-voted-on budget repair bill.

Bad Guys

The Grievous Return of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger illus
© n/a
Oh God protect us, Henry Kissinger is back!

Henry Kissinger was President Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State. He also held the latter position under President Gerald Ford. While it would be unfair to characterize him as someone who never gave a piece of good advice (he did encourage Nixon to engage in Detente with the Soviet Union), his record weighs heavily on the side of unwise counsel. As we will see he is back in exactly that role, plying bad advice that, in this case, could further erode America's already messed up intelligence agencies.

Kissinger was originally an academic. His doctoral dissertation was on the diplomacy of two early 19th century statesmen, Britain's Viscount Robert Castlereagh and Austria's Prince Klemens von Metternich. These men were major players at the great Congress of Vienna that took place after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. At that meeting Metternich argued for returning Europe to its pre French Revolution political status. Pursuing that impossible end, he backed repressive policies and regimes. One gets the impression that the history of Kissinger's public service was, at least in part, an effort to achieve the stature of a Metternich. Toward this end Kissinger would pursue "realpolitik" which, more often than not in its American manifestation, entailed the backing of repressive policies and regimes.