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As U.S. Government Report Reveals Facial Recognition Tech Widely Used, WEF-Linked Israeli Facial Recognition Firm Raises $235 Million

By Derrick Broze

In June the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report detailing the widespread use of facial recognition technology, including law enforcement using databases of faceprints from government agencies and private firms. Privacy and civil rights organizations have been warning for the last few years that the use of facial recognition technology was a digital Wild West with little to no regulation determining the limits of the tech.

Now, the GAO’s new report shows that at least twenty of the forty-two U.S. government agencies surveyed have used the technology. These departments include those associated with law enforcement – the FBI, Secret Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Capitol Police, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Drug Enforcement Administration – as well as less obvious departments such as the U.S. Postal Service, the Fish, and Wildlife Service and NASA.

Six U.S. agencies admitted to using facial recognition on people who attended the protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The report states that the agencies claim they only used the tech on people accused of breaking the law.

“Thirteen federal agencies do not have awareness of what non-federal systems with facial recognition technology are used by employees,” the report said. “These agencies have therefore not fully assessed the potential risks of using these systems, such as risks related to privacy and accuracy.”

The GAO calls for increased training for law enforcement, stating that such training could “reduce risks associated with analyst error and decision-making; understand and interpret the results they receive; raise awareness of cognitive bias and improve objectivity; and increase consistency across agencies.” The GAO also calls for agencies to implement controls to better track what systems their employees are using.

While some of the U.S. government agencies have their own databases, the FBI’s database of faceprints is likely the most extensive, with some estimates at over 100 million faceprints. The U.S. government’s top law enforcement agency has been fighting to keep the database a secret since at least 2013.

Agencies have also used facial recognition databases from Amazon Rekognition, BI SmartLink, Giant Oak Social Technology, Clearview AI, and Vigilant Solutions. By far, government agencies used technology from Clearview and Vigilant the most. The report provides further insight:

“Moreover, federal law enforcement can use non-government facial recognition service providers, such as Vigilant Solutions and Clearview AI. For example, law enforcement officers with a Clearview AI account can use a computer or smartphone to upload a photo of an unknown individual to Clearview AI’s facial recognition system. The system can return search results that show potential photos of the unknown individual, as well as links to the site where the photos were obtained (e.g., Facebook). According to Clearview AI, its system is only used to investigate crimes that have already occurred and not for real-time surveillance.”

The US Postal Inspection Service said it has used Clearview AI’s software to help track down people suspected of stealing and opening mail and stealing from Postal Service buildings. Altogether, ten agencies used Clearview AI between April 2018 and March 2020. The U.S. Capitol Police used the company’s tech to investigate suspects from the event at the Capitol on January 6th.

TLAV has previously reported on the dangers associated with facial recognition technology, and specifically, how Clearview AI’s technology was being used to target so-called domestic extremists.

In 2020, the NY Times wrote about Clearview’s efforts to gather, store, and sell faceprint data as “the end of privacy as we know it” and they are not wrong. This company has been capturing billions of faceprints from online photos and now claims to have the world’s largest facial recognition database. This gives Clearview the opportunity to sell customers access to all our faces to secretly target, identify, and track any of us. This could be for marketing and advertising purposes, but it could be for government and law enforcement surveillance of activists, journalists, and organizers who are performing constitutionally protected activity. As the Mind Unleashed reported, Clearview is collecting data from unsuspecting social media users and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is using the controversial facial recognition tool to pinpoint the identity of unknown suspects.

Clearview said in May it would stop selling its technology to private companies and instead provide it for use by law enforcement only – they have thus far made their technology available to some 2,400 law enforcement agencies across the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Clearview, alleging that the company violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a state law that prohibits capturing individuals’ biometric identifiers without notice and consent.

While Vigilant Solutions is less well-known than Clearview, they are an essential part of the growing surveillance apparatus operated by private industry and shared with U.S. government agencies. The company is listed in the GAO report for their role in facial recognition technology, but they are widely known for their database of license plate records. In 2018 it was revealed that Vigilant Solutions signed a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) making the controversial agency the latest of several federal agencies that have access to billions of license plate records that can be used for real-time location tracking.

Vigilant Solutions has more than 2 billion license plate photos in its database due to partnerships with vehicle repossession firms and local law enforcement agencies with vehicles equipped with cameras. Local law enforcement agencies typically use some version of an Automatic License Plate Reader. ALPRs are used to gather license plates, times, dates, and locations that can be used to create a detailed map of what individuals are doing. The devices can be attached to light poles, or toll booths, as well as on top of or inside law enforcement vehicles.

AnyVision, Softbank, and the Push Towards a Technocratic Surveillance Grid

While the GAO report stands as a warning to anyone paying attention, the reality is that facial recognition technology is already ubiquitous. Despite the warnings of privacy organizations, the public has blindly walked into an era of facial recognition for opening your smartphone while purchasing groceries, and for video games. Generally speaking, the public seems downright ignorant of the attacks on privacy taking place every single day.

The GAO report notes that places like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon have banned police from using facial recognition technology, and Amazon currently has a moratorium on selling their Rekognition program to law enforcement. Most recently, Maine has passed what is being called the strongest law against facial recognition in the country. (The law does allow law enforcement to make use of the federal databases mentioned in the GAO report.)

Will these steps be enough to stem the tide of facial recognition cameras intruding into every aspect of your life? Not likely.

In the month since the release of the GAO report, we have seen Israeli facial recognition firm AnyVision raise $235 million in startup funding. AnyVision uses Artificial Intelligence techniques to identify people based on their faces. TechCrunch notes that “AnyVision said the funding will be used to continue developing its SDKs (software development kits), specifically to work in edge computing devices — smart cameras, body cameras, and chips that will be used in other devices — to increase the performance and speed of its systems.”

AnyVision has not been without controversy. A report in 2019 alleged that AnyVision’s technology was being secretly used by the Israeli government to run surveillance on Palestinians in the West Bank. AnyVision denied the claims. Another report published in The Markup examined public records for AnyVision, including a user guidebook from 2019, which showed the company is collecting vast amounts of data. One report involved tracking children in a school district in Texas. AnyVision collected 5,000 student photos in just seven days.

An April report from Reuters detailed how many companies are using AnyVision’s technology today, including hospitals like Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, retailers like Macy’s, and energy giant BP. AnyVision was also the subject of a New York Times report in 2020 which highlighted how the company was partnering with Israel’s Defense Ministry to use its facial recognition technology to “detect COVID-19 cells”.

As further evidence that companies offering facial recognition technology are here to stay – and play a vital role in the Great Reset agenda – we need look no further than the institutions investing in AnyVision. The latest round of fundraising is being co-led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge. Interestingly, AnyVision’s CEO Avi Golan is a former operating partner at SoftBank’s investment arm. Softbank is also a partner organization with the World Economic Forum, the international public-private organizations pushing for The Great Reset.

The reason this small detail matter is because the technocratic agenda being promoted by the fine folks at the WEF will absolutely involve a world of AI and facial recognition. The technology is ostensibly being used to catch criminals for the moment, but it’s also ripe for abuse by law enforcement agencies. Not to mention the larger role the technology will play in implementing future “social credit score” schemes, as seen in China.

The U.S. GAO is right to warn about the widespread use of this dangerous technology, but the fact is that it is already pervasive. It has become extremely difficult to avoid having your faceprint stolen and stored by both governmental agencies and private organizations. If we are to regain any semblance of privacy we must find a way to put an end to this technology before it is too late.

Source: The Last American Vagabond

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From Mind Control to Viruses: How the Government Keeps Experimenting on Its Citizens

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“They were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don’t recognize them for what they are until it’s too late.” — Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

The U.S. government, in its pursuit of so-called monsters, has itself become a monster.

This is not a new development, nor is it a revelation.

This is a government that has in recent decades unleashed untold horrors upon the world—including its own citizenry—in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

Mind you, there is no greater good when the government is involved. There is only greater greed for money and power.

Unfortunately, the public has become so easily distracted by the political spectacle out of Washington, DC, that they are altogether oblivious to the grisly experiments, barbaric behavior, and inhumane conditions that have become synonymous with the U.S. government.

These horrors have been meted out against humans and animals alike. For all intents and purposes, “we the people” have become lab rats in the government’s secret experiments.

Fifty years from now, we may well find out the whole sordid truth behind this COVID-19 pandemic. However, this isn’t intended to be a debate over whether COVID-19 is a legitimate health crisis or a manufactured threat. It is merely to acknowledge that such crises can—and are—manipulated by governments in order to expand their powers.

As we have learned, it is entirely possible for something to be both a genuine menace to the nation’s health and security and a menace to freedom.

This is a road the United States has been traveling for many years now. Indeed, grisly experiments, barbaric behavior, and inhumane conditions have become synonymous with the U.S. government, which has meted out untold horrors against humans and animals alike.

For instance, did you know that the U.S. government has been buying hundreds of dogs and cats from “Asian meat markets” as part of a gruesome experiment into food-borne illnesses? The cannibalistic experiments involve killing cats and dogs purchased from Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, China, and Ethiopia, and then feeding the dead remains to laboratory kittens, bred in government laboratories for the express purpose of being infected with a disease and then killed.

It gets more gruesome.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been removing parts of dogs’ brains to see how it affects their breathing; applying electrodes to dogs’ spinal cords (before and after severing them) to see how it impacts their cough reflexes, and implanting pacemakers in dogs’ hearts and then inducing them to have heart attacks (before draining their blood). All of the laboratory dogs are killed during the course of these experiments.

It’s not just animals that are being treated like lab rats by government agencies.

“We the people” have also become the police state’s guinea pigs: to be caged, branded, experimented upon without our knowledge or consent, and then conveniently discarded and left to suffer from the after-effects.

Back in 2017, FEMA “inadvertently” exposed nearly 10,000 firefighters, paramedics, and other responders to a deadly form of ricin during simulated bioterrorism response sessions. In 2015, it was discovered that an Army lab had been “mistakenly” shipping deadly anthrax to labs and defense contractors for a decade.

While these particular incidents have been dismissed as “accidents,” you don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins.

At the time, the government reasoned that it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks.

In Alabama, for example, 600 black men with syphilis were allowed to suffer without proper medical treatment in order to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. In California, older prisoners had testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts implanted in them to test their virility. In Connecticut, mental patients were injected with hepatitis.

In Maryland, sleeping prisoners had a pandemic flu virus sprayed up their noses. In Georgia, two dozen “volunteering” prison inmates had gonorrhea bacteria pumped directly into their urinary tracts through the penis. In Michigan, male patients at an insane asylum were exposed to the flu after first being injected with an experimental flu vaccine. In Minnesota, 11 public service employee “volunteers” were injected with malaria, then starved for five days.

As the Associated Press reports, “The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs … because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.”

Moreover, “Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the ’60s, apparently were never covered by news media. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures while glossing over how test subjects were treated.”

Media blackouts, propaganda, spin. Sound familiar?

How many government incursions into our freedoms have been blacked out, buried under “entertainment” news headlines, or spun in such a way as to suggest that anyone voicing a word of caution is paranoid or conspiratorial?

Unfortunately, these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the atrocities the government has inflicted on an unsuspecting populace in the name of secret experimentation.

For instance, there was the U.S. military’s secret race-based testing of mustard gas on more than 60,000 enlisted men. As NPR reports, “All of the World War II experiments with mustard gas were done in secret and weren’t recorded on the subjects’ official military records. Most do not have proof of what they went through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. And they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time, leaving some unable to receive adequate medical treatment for their injuries, because they couldn’t tell doctors what happened to them.”

And then there was the CIA’s MKULTRA program in which hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel were dosed with LSD, some having the hallucinogenic drug slipped into their drinks at the beach, in city bars, at restaurants. As Time reports, “before the documentation and other facts of the program were made public, those who talked of it were frequently dismissed as being psychotic.”

Now one might argue that this is all ancient history and that the government today is different from the government of yesteryear, but has the U.S. government really changed?

Has the government become any more humane, any more respectful of the rights of the citizenry? Has it become any more transparent or willing to abide by the rule of law? Has it become any more truthful about its activities? Has it become any more cognizant of its appointed role as a guardian of our rights?

Or has the government simply hunkered down and hidden its nefarious acts and dastardly experiments under layers of secrecy, legalism, and obfuscations? Has it not become wilier, more slippery, more difficult to pin down?

Having mastered the Orwellian art of Doublespeak and followed the Huxleyan blueprint for distraction and diversion, are we not dealing with a government that is simply craftier and more conniving than it used to be?

Consider this: after revelations about the government’s experiments spanning the 20th century spawned outrage, the government began looking for human guinea pigs in other countries, where “clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules.”

In Guatemala, prisoners and patients at a mental hospital were infected with syphilis, “apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease.” In Uganda, U.S.-funded doctors “failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study… even though it would have protected their newborns.” Meanwhile, in Nigeria, children with meningitis were used to test an antibiotic named Trovan. Eleven children died and many others were left disabled.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Case in point: back in 2016, it was announced that scientists working for the Department of Homeland Security would begin releasing various gases and particles on crowded subway platforms as part of an experiment aimed at testing bioterror airflow in New York subways.

The government insisted that the gases released into the subways by the DHS were nontoxic and did not pose a health risk. It’s in our best interests, they said, to understand how quickly a chemical or biological terrorist attack might spread. And look how cool the technology is—said the government cheerleaders—that scientists can use something called DNATrax to track the movement of microscopic substances in air and food. (Imagine the kinds of surveillance that could be carried out by the government using trackable airborne microscopic substances you breathe in or ingest.)

Mind you, this is the same government that in 1949 sprayed bacteria into the Pentagon’s air handling system, then the world’s largest office building. In 1950, special ops forces sprayed bacteria from Navy ships off the coast of Norfolk and San Francisco, in the latter case exposing all of the city’s 800,000 residents.

In 1953, government operatives staged “mock” anthrax attacks on St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg using generators placed on top of cars. Local governments were reportedly told that “‘invisible smokescreen[s]’ were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar.” Later experiments covered territories as wide-ranging as Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas.

In 1965, the government’s experiments in bioterror took aim at Washington’s National Airport, followed by a 1966 experiment in which army scientists exposed a million subway NYC passengers to airborne bacteria that causes food poisoning.

And this is the same government that has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, control, and trap us.

So, no, I don’t think the government’s ethics have changed much over the years. It’s just taken its nefarious programs undercover.

The question remains: why is the government doing this? The answer is always the same: money, power, and total domination.

It’s the same answer no matter which totalitarian regime is in power.

The mindset driving these programs has, appropriately, been likened to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews. As the Holocaust Museum recounts, Nazi physicians “conducted painful and often deadly experiments on thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent.”

The Nazi’s unethical experiments ran the gamut from freezing experiments using prisoners to find an effective treatment for hypothermia, tests to determine the maximum altitude for parachuting out of a plane, injecting prisoners with malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis, exposing prisoners to phosgene and mustard gas, and mass sterilization experiments.

The horrors being meted out against the American people can be traced back, in a direct line, to the horrors meted out in Nazi laboratories. In fact, following the Second World War, the U.S. government recruited many of Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order and experimentation, and implemented his tactics in incremental steps.

Sounds far-fetched, you say? Read on. It’s all documented.

As historian Robert Gellately recounts, the Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police, the Gestapo.

The FBI was so impressed with the Nazi regime that, according to the New York Times, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.

All told, thousands of Nazi collaborators—including the head of a Nazi concentration camp, among others—were given secret visas and brought to America by way of Project Paperclip. Subsequently, they were hired on as spies, informants, and scientific advisers, and then camouflaged to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. All the while, thousands of Jewish refugees were refused entry visas to the U.S. on the grounds that it could threaten national security.

Adding further insult to injury, American taxpayers have been paying to keep these ex-Nazis on the U.S. government’s payroll ever since. And in true Gestapo fashion, anyone who has dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties has found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed, and labeled a threat to national security.

As if the government’s covert, taxpayer-funded employment of Nazis after World War II wasn’t bad enough, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA, and the military—have since fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and have used them repeatedly against American citizens.

It’s certainly easy to denounce the full-frontal horrors carried out by the scientific and medical community within a despotic regime such as Nazi Germany, but what do you do when it’s your own government that claims to be a champion of human rights all the while allowing its agents to engage in the foulest, bases and most despicable acts of torture, abuse, and experimentation?

When all is said and done, this is not a government that has our best interests at heart.

This is not a government that values us.

Perhaps the answer lies in The Third Man, Carol Reed’s influential 1949 film starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. In the film, set in a post-WW II Vienna, rogue war profiteer Harry Lime has come to view human carnage with a callous indifference, unconcerned that the diluted penicillin he’s been trafficking underground has resulted in the tortured deaths of young children.

Challenged by his old friend Holly Martins to consider the consequences of his actions, Lime responds, “In these days, old man, nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t, so why should we?

“Have you ever seen any of your victims?” asks Martins.

“Victims?” responds Limes, as he looks down from the top of a Ferris wheel onto a populace reduced to mere dots on the ground. “Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax — the only way you can save money nowadays.”

This is how the U.S. government sees us, too, when it looks down upon us from its lofty perch.

To the powers-that-be, the rest of us are insignificant specks, faceless dots on the ground.

To the architects of the American police state, we are not worthy or vested with inherent rights. This is how the government can justify treating us like economic units to be bought and sold and traded, or caged rats to be experimented upon and discarded when we’ve outgrown our usefulness.

To those who call the shots in the halls of government, “we the people” are merely the means to an end.

“We the people”—who think, who reason, who take a stand, who resist, who demand to be treated with dignity and care, who believe in freedom and justice for all—have become obsolete, undervalued citizens of a totalitarian state that, in the words of Rod Serling, “has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom.”

In this sense, we are all Romney Wordsworth, the condemned man in Serling’s Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man.”

The Obsolete Man” speaks to the dangers of a government that views people as expendable once they have outgrown their usefulness to the State. Yet—and here’s the kicker—this is where the government through its monstrous inhumanity also becomes obsolete. As Serling noted in his original script for “The Obsolete Man,” “Any state, any entity, any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man…that state is obsolete.

How do you defeat a monster?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, you start by recognizing the monster for what it is.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




The US Did Not Bring Peace, Democracy, or Freedom to Afghanistan

U.S. troops patrol near Forward Operating Base Baylough in Zabul province, Afghanistan. (Photo: U.S. Army/Public Domain)

By Mary Hladky | Common Dreams

As the mother of an Army infantry officer who served for 13 months during former President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge, in the Zhari District of the Kandahar Province, I feel tremendous relief that President Joe Biden is calling the troops home from Afghanistan. I also feel an overwhelming sadness for the men and women who served in Afghanistan, especially for those who did not come home, were injured (physically or mentally), or committed suicide.  I also feel great sadness for the huge losses and suffering the Afghan people endured and will continue to endure in their homeland, destroyed by 20 years of war.

This is shameful, very painful, and must never happen again.

As the Afghanistan Papers confirmed, the military and the U.S. government knew early on that the Afghanistan War was a debacle and could not be won. Leadership did not understand Afghanistan; it did not have a strategy, nor could it define what winning meant. Yet our government and military were unwilling to admit the Afghanistan war could not be won, damn the consequences. These tragic decisions have destroyed people on all sides.

So what exactly did the Afghanistan war accomplish? The government has spent over $2 trillion dollars on a war that has brought us the death of 2,378 U.S. military men and women, plus more than 20,000 injured, which does not include those suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and moral injury, and those who committed suicide. Add the deaths and injuries of our allied troops and military contractors. Also, we must not forget the untold numbers of civilians who died or were injured, and the millions of Afghan refugees and internally displaced Afghans.

The U.S. government will leave Afghanistan in the hands of a corrupt and inept government, which the U.S. backed for almost 20 years, as well as in the hands of the Taliban, which currently controls over half the country. Without an effective U.N.-negotiated peace plan for power-sharing, it is very likely that the Afghanistan government will collapse, leading to much more internal violence. Twenty years of war and U.S. interference have brought no long-term, positive gains in Afghanistan.

We did not bring peace, democracy, or freedom. Afghanistan’s elections were flagrantly fraudulent. We did not improve the lives of the Afghan people. The necessities of life are in short supply—water, electricity, healthcare, education. And there are no jobs other than the opium trade, which supplies 90% of the world’s opium—a big contributor to the opioid epidemic.

This is shameful, very painful, and must never happen again. Our government needs to find a way to make this right. No more funds to the corrupt Afghanistan government. At the very least, the U.S. needs to find a way to provide real support to the Afghan people, ensuring they have water, electricity, basic healthcare, housing, and educational opportunities.

What we do know is: War is not the answer.  Not in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria. When will we learn that war and violence are not the paths to a better world? Peace must be our demand. We need to invest our time, intelligence, and money in diplomacy, bringing people together to solve the world’s problems so we can all live in a flourishing world.

Mary Hladky

Mary Hladky is a long-time member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) which is a UFPJ member group. She began her work with United for Peace & Justice in 2010 as a member of the Afghanistan Working Group and been a member of the UFPJ Administrative Committee since 2012.




New Reports Indicate US and China Collaborated on Coronavirus Research Prior to COVID-19 Outbreak

(TMU) — Despite months of constant news coverage telling the public the source of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was seafood markets located in Wuhan, China, mounting evidence indicates the origin of the virus may be related to joint research funded by the United States and Chinese governments. New records viewed by the Mail on Sunday, studies examining the outbreak of the virus, and questions posed by an increasing amount of researchers are poking holes in the narrative put forth by the government and media.

On Saturday, Mail on Sunday reported that scientists with the Wuhan Institute of Virology experimented on bats as part of a project funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Mail reported that they have obtained documents detailing the relationship between the Wuhan Institute and the NIH, including the use of U.S. funding to carry out research on bats. The Wuhan Institute also worked with the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, Harvard University, and the National Wildlife Federation.

The documents reportedly detail how the U.S. government provided a $3.7 million grant for the Wuhan Institute to experiment on bats captured from caves in Yunnan, more than 1,000 miles away from Wuhan. According to the Mail, scientists working with funds from the U.S. NIH grew a strain of coronavirus in a lab and injected it into piglets. The report also states that after some piglets died they were fed to the remaining piglets.

The importance of the connection to the caves in Yunnan cannot be overstated. According to a genetic analysis of the novel coronavirus’ genome, it is “96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus.” The study, “A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin,” also connected CoViD-19 to a coronavirus originating from Yunnan. The study stated, “We then found that a short region of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) from a bat coronavirus (BatCoV RaTG13)—which was previously detected in Rhinolophus affinis from Yunnan province—showed high sequence identity to 2019-nCoV.”

Following the revelations, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz called for an end to U.S. government funding of “cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which may have contributed to the global spread of CoViD-19.” 

While these new revelations counter the mainstream narrative regarding the origin of the virus, they line up with previous studies. In late February, UPI reported that Chinese authorities said the first patient known to contract the novel coronavirus had no connection to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. “Eastern Broadcasting Co. and Liberty Times reported Thursday that China’s first patient had shown symptoms of CoViD-19 as early as Dec. 8. Chinese authorities have previously said the outbreak began on Dec. 31,” UPI noted. Additionally, UPI reported that a research team with China’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Huanan Agricultural College, and the Chinese Institute for Brain Research have also said the seafood market is not the source of CoViD-19.

Both the U.S. and Chinese governments have been tight-lipped on potential alternative explanations for the origin of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and CoViD-19, the resulting disease. Both nations have also been quick to dismiss the idea that either was involved in developing any sort of germ or biowarfare—except when accusing each other of funding such projects. In fact, a recent report from the Guardian details how two websites for Chinese universities recently published and then removed pages referencing a new policy requiring all academic papers related to CoViD-19 to be submitted for extra vetting prior to publication.

In terms of priority, controlling the narrative is more important than the public health or the economic fallout,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the economy and public health aren’t important. But the narrative is paramount,” Prof Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London, told the Guardian.

What About the Harvard Arrests?

The revelations regarding the U.S. funding of Chinese research into viruses spawned from bats and the attempts at controlling the narrative are sure to rekindle theories regarding the arrests of a Harvard professor who has been accused of lying about his connections to the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents Plan, an effort to attract Chinese scientists and entrepreneurs back to their homeland. Harvard department chair Charles Lieber is alleged to have accepted more than $1 million in grant money from the Chinese government. Harvard University called the charges against him “extremely serious.” Lieber was arrested on January 28. Two Chinese nationals were also charged including Zaosong Zheng who was detained on December 30 and Yanqing Ye who is currently in China.

Although there is not yet clear evidence that Lieber was arrested in relation to research related to COVID-19, his arrest does deserve further scrutiny. According to the statement from the Department of Justice, since 2008 Lieber received more than $15,000,000 in grant funding from the NIH and Department of Defense which require the disclosure of “significant foreign financial conflicts of interest.” The complaint states that beginning in 2011 Lieber also became a “’Strategic Scientist’ at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017.

This complaint connects Lieber to research in Wuhan, his involvement with the NIH—which was also funding Chinese research into bats—and makes clear his involvement with the Thousand Talents Plan. The DOJ describes the Thousand Talents Plan as “one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security.  These talent programs seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.” 

Although the complaint alleges that Lieber lied about his involvement in the program in April 2018—prior to the CoViD19 outbreak—his involvement with the program continued into 2019. If Lieber had been involved with Chinese research into bats, or secretly funneling out U.S. research into viruses, he would have been working on such matters prior to the outbreak. Although FactCheck states that, “While his work has recently focused on coming up with novel ways of using nanowires in cells, he is not a biologist, nor does he have expertise in viruses,” a 2004 report quotes Lieber as researching nanowires for detecting the presence of virus. Coincidentally, Lieber himself states“Viruses are among the most important causes of human disease and are of increasing concern as possible agents of biowarfare and bioterrorism.” 

Nature Index recently reported that during an April 2018 hearing organized by the U.S. House of Representatives, Michael Wessel, the commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, asked Congress to cut federal grants, loans, or other assistance to participants of the Thousand Talents Plan. Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, also warned that China was using “sleeper agents at our research universities to steal our scientific breakthroughs.” Further, Nature Index notes that Francis Collins, director of the NIH, sent a letter to thousands of research institutes on August 20, 2018, warning that foreign nations were attempting to use “systematic programs to influence NIH researchers and peer reviewers.”

Final Thoughts

When considering these warnings in conjunction with Lieber’s arrest and involvement with the Thousand Talents Plan, it’s easy to understand why some readers and researchers believe there might be an as yet unproven connection between Lieber, the U.S. NIH funding of experiments in China, and the Chinese government’s plan to influence scientists within the United States. The U.S. and Chinese governments have both been accused of lying about the true impact of SARS-CoV-19 and the public has an increasing distrust for media reports that are often seen as exaggerated or downplayed.

All of this begs the following questions: Was Lieber involved with the research into bats found in the caves of Yunnan? What was the true nature of the U.S.-government sponsored experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology? How deep did this collaboration between the governments go? Does the truth about the origins of SARS-CoV-19 and COVID-19 relate to these experiments? The answers to these questions remain to be seen, but the public must continue to question the narratives that are being spun right in front of our eyes.




We’re On Our Own: Don’t Wait For The Ruling Elite

Video Source: LeeCamp

Lee Camp: The coronavirus has really shown us how unprepared the US government is for a pandemic of this scale. It’s time to use mutual aid to respond in a way that works for all of us.



Chelsea Manning Says She Is ‘Never Backing Down’ in Face of US Detention Meant to Break Her

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is remaining defiant in the face of months of imprisonment. (Photo: xychelsea/Twitter)

By Eoin Higgins | Common Dreams

Two days after the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer published a letter he sent to the U.S. government urging her release from federal prison, whistleblower Chelsea Manning issued a response welcoming the support and promising to stay resolute in the face of her prolonged detention.

“My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong,” said Manning.

Manning was imprisoned on March 8, 2019, for refusing to take part in a grand jury investigation on WikiLeaks and the group’s founder, Julian Assange. Manning and her supporters have alleged that the real purpose of her testimony would be to set perjury traps that could eventually land the former Army private in prison.

As Common Dreams reported, Melzer’s letter expressed the rapporteur’s “serious concern at the reported use of coercive measures against Ms. Manning, particularly given the history of her previous conviction and ill-treatment in detention” and requested more information on Manning’s detention.

“I recommend that Ms. Manning’s current deprivation of liberty be promptly reviewed in light of the United States’ international human rights obligations,” Melzer wrote. “Should my assessment regarding its purely coercive purpose be accurate, I recommend that Ms. Manning be released without further delay and that any fines disproportionate to the gravity of any offense she may have committed be canceled or reimbursed.”

Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen in a statement said that Melzer’s letter made clear that Manning’s detention is in violation of international norms and for the sole purpose of torturing the whistleblower.

“Special Rapporteur Melzer has issued a legally rigorous condemnation of the practice of coercive confinement, and of Ms. Manning’s confinement in particular,” said Meltzer-Cohen. “While the United States has so far failed to live up to its human rights obligations, I remain hopeful that the government will reconsider its policies in light of the U.N.’s admonition.”

“In any case,” Meltzer-Cohen added, “there can be no further doubt that Ms. Manning has the courage of her convictions, and will never agree to testify before a grand jury, even at great personal cost.”

Manning echoed that sentiment in her statement.

“Even knowing I am very likely to stay in jail for an even longer time,” said Manning, “I’m never backing down.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams




Mainstream Media Vs. The Age Of Information

By Ethan Indigo Smith | Waking Times

The information age is changing the entirety. It has changed and continues to change so rapidly that many of us, many times, find ourselves playing catch-up, not just with trends of communication but also with shifts in the flow of information itself.

The internet provides access to information and education on everything from politics to physics. Indeed we are presently more capable of being knowledgeable than other groups of people to have ever lived. Internet communication devices are almost like having a key to the Akashic Field; we can tap into practically all information anywhere on Earth.




American Apocalypse: The Government’s Plot to Destabilize the Nation Is Working

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out … without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” — H. L. Mencken

The U.S. government is working hard to destabilize the nation.

No, this is not another conspiracy theory.

Although it is certainly not far-fetched to suggest that the government might be engaged in nefarious activities that run counter to the best interests of the American people, doing so will likely brand me a domestic terrorist under the FBI’s new classification system.

Observe for yourself what is happening right before our eyes.

Domestic terrorism fueled by government entrapment schemes. Civil unrest stoked to dangerous levels by polarizing political rhetoric. A growing intolerance for dissent that challenges the government’s power grabs. Police brutality tacitly encouraged by the executive branch, conveniently overlooked by the legislatures, and granted qualified immunity by the courts. A weakening economy exacerbated by government schemes that favor none but a select few. An overt embrace of domestic surveillance tactics if Congress goes along with the Trump Administration’s request to permanently reauthorize the NSA’s de-activated call records program. Heightened foreign tensions and blowback due to the military-industrial complex’s profit-driven quest to police and occupy the globe.

The seeds of chaos are being sown, and it’s the U.S. government that will reap the harvest.

Mark my words, there’s trouble brewing.

Better yet, take a look at “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command.

The training video is only five minutes long, but it says a lot about the government’s mindset, the way its views the citizenry, and the so-called “problems” that the government must be prepared to address in the near future through the use of martial law.

Even more troubling, however, is what this military video doesn’t say about the Constitution, about the rights of the citizenry, and about the dangers of locking down the nation and using the military to address political and social problems.

The training video anticipates that all hell will break loose by 2030—that’s barely ten short years away—but the future is here ahead of schedule.

We’re already witnessing a breakdown of society on virtually every front.

By waging endless wars abroad, by bringing the instruments of war home, by transforming police into extensions of the military, by turning a free society into a suspect society, by treating American citizens like enemy combatants, by discouraging and criminalizing a free exchange of ideas, by making violence its calling card through SWAT team raids and militarized police, by fomenting division and strife among the citizenry, by acclimating the citizenry to the sights and sounds of war, and by generally making peaceful revolution all but impossible, the government has engineered an environment in which domestic violence is becoming almost inevitable.

The danger signs are screaming out a message

The government is anticipating trouble (read: civil unrest), which is code for anything that challenges the government’s authority, wealth and power.

According to the Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. government is grooming its armed forces to solve future domestic political and social problems.

What they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.

The chilling five-minute training video, obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request and made available online, paints an ominous picture of the future—a future the military is preparing for—bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

And then comes the kicker.

Three-and-a-half minutes into the Pentagon’s dystopian vision of “a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers,” the ominous voice of the narrator speaks of a need to “drain the swamps.”

Drain the swamps.

Surely, we’ve heard that phrase before?

Ah yes.

Emblazoned on t-shirts and signs, shouted at rallies, and used as a rallying cry among Trump supporters, “drain the swamp” became one of Donald Trump’s most-used campaign slogans.

Far from draining the politically corrupt swamps of Washington DC of lobbyists and special interest groups, however, the Trump Administration has further mired us in a sweltering bog of corruption and self-serving tactics.

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now the government has adopted its own plans for swamp-draining, only it wants to use the military to drain the swamps of futuristic urban American cities of “noncombatants and engage the remaining adversaries in high-intensity conflict within.”

And who are these noncombatants, a military term that refers to civilians who are not engaged in fighting?

They are, according to the Pentagon, “adversaries.”

They are “threats.”

They are the “enemy.”

They are people who don’t support the government, people who live in fast-growing urban communities, people who may be less well-off economically than the government and corporate elite, people who engage in protests, people who are unemployed, people who engage in crime (in keeping with the government’s fast-growing, overly broad definition of what constitutes a crime).

In other words, in the eyes of the U.S. military, noncombatants are American citizens a.k.a. domestic extremists a.k.a. enemy combatants who must be identified, targeted, detained, contained and, if necessary, eliminated.

In the future imagined by the Pentagon, any walls and prisons that are built will be used to protect the societal elite—the haves—from the have-nots.

If you haven’t figured it out already, we the people are the have-nots.

Suddenly it all begins to make sense.

The events of recent years: the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers.

The government is systematically locking down the nation and shifting us into martial law.

This is how you prepare a populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully.

You don’t scare them by making dramatic changes. Rather, you acclimate them slowly to their prison walls.

Persuade the citizenry that their prison walls are merely intended to keep them safe and danger out. Desensitize them to violence, acclimate them to a military presence in their communities, and persuade them that there is nothing they can do to alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation.

Before long, no one will even notice the floundering economy, the blowback arising from military occupations abroad, the police shootings, the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and all of the other mounting concerns.

It’s happening already.

The sight of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to “a military patrol through a hostile city,” no longer causes alarm among the general populace.

Few seem to care about the government’s endless wars abroad that leave communities shattered, families devastated and our national security at greater risk of blowback.

The Deep State’s tactics are working.

We’ve allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional lockdown of government buildings, Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory, and  Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis.

Still, you can’t say we weren’t warned about the government’s nefarious schemes to lock down the nation.

Back in 2008, an Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report went on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

In 2009, reports by the Department of Homeland Security surfaced that labeled right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) and called on the government to subject such targeted individuals to full-fledged pre-crime surveillance. Almost a decade later, after spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.

Meanwhile, the government has been amassing an arsenal of military weapons for use domestically and equipping and training their “troops” for war. Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.

Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that has been colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

All of this has taken place right under our noses, funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry.

And then you have the government’s Machiavellian schemes for unleashing all manner of dangers on an unsuspecting populace, then demanding additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threats.

Seriously, think about it.

The government claims to be protecting us from cyberterrorism, but who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

The government claims to be protecting us from weapons of mass destruction, but what country has one the deadliest arsenals of weapons of mass destruction and has a history of using them on the rest of the world? The U.S. government. Indeed, which country has a history of secretly testing out dangerous weapons and technologies on its own citizens? The U.S. government.

The government claims to be protecting us from foreign armed threats, but who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government. For that matter, where did ISIS get many of their deadliest weapons, including assault rifles and tanks to anti-missile defenses? From the U.S. government.

The government claims to be protecting the world from the menace of foreign strongmen, but how did Saddam Hussein build Iraq’s massive arsenal of tanks, planes, missiles, and chemical weapons during the 1980s? With help from the U.S. government. And who gave Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida “access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry”? The U.S. government.

The government claims to be protecting us from terrorist plots, but what country has a pattern and practice of entrapment that involves targeting vulnerable individuals, feeding them with the propaganda, know-how, and weapons intended to turn them into terrorists, and then arresting them as part of an elaborately orchestrated counterterrorism sting? The U.S. government.

For that matter, the government claims to be protecting us from nuclear threats, but which is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon in wartime? The United States.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from terrorism.

The U.S. government is creating terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror.

Just think about it for a minute: Cyberwarfare. Terrorism. Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race. Surveillance. The drug wars.

Almost every national security threat that the government has claimed greater powers in order to fight—all the while undermining the liberties of the American citizenry—has been manufactured in one way or another by the government.

Did I say Machiavellian? This is downright evil.

We’re not dealing with a government that exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness. Rather, these are the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

It’s time to wake up and stop being deceived by government propaganda.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats.

I’m referring to “government” with a capital “G,” the entrenched Deep State that is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and has set itself beyond the reach of the law.

I’m referring to the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

Be warned: in the future envisioned by the government, we will not be viewed as Republicans or Democrats. Rather, “we the people” will be enemies of the state.

For years, the government has been warning against the dangers of domestic terrorism, erecting surveillance systems to monitor its own citizens, creating classification systems to label any viewpoints that challenge the status quo as extremist, and training law enforcement agencies to equate anyone possessing anti-government views as a domestic terrorist.

What the government failed to explain was that the domestic terrorists would be of the government’s own making, and that “we the people” would become enemy #1.

As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re already enemies of the state.

Do you want to change things? Start by rejecting the political labels and the polarizing rhetoric and the “us vs. them” tactics that reduce the mass power of the populace to puny, powerless factions.

Find common ground with your fellow citizens and push back against the government’s brutality, inhumanity, greed, corruption and power grabs.

Be dangerous in the best way possible: by thinking for yourself, by refusing to be silenced, by choosing sensible solutions over political expediency and bureaucracy.

When all is said and done, the solution to what ails this country is really not that complicated: decency, compassion, common sense, generosity balanced by fiscal responsibility, fairness, a commitment to freedom principles, and a firm rejection of the craven, partisan politics of the Beltway elites who have laid the groundwork for the government’s authoritarian coup d’etat.

Let the revolution begin.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Read more great articles at The Rutherford Institute.




In The War On Free Speech, Assange Says: “Everyone Else Must Take My Place”

By Mac Slavo | Activist Post

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s health is deteriorating in a British prison, but the journalist was able to get a letter out to the public.  In the war on freedom of speech, Assange is asking everyone else who stands against corruption to take his place and keep speaking truth to power.

“Julian’s case is of major historical significance. It will be remembered as the worst attack on press freedom in our time,” said WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, urging people everywhere to oppose their politicians, courts, police, and prisons from being abused to “leave this black stain on history.”

In a handwritten letter from Belmarsh prison, Assange says he is being denied a chance to defend himself and that elements (government officials) in the United States “hate the truth, liberty, and justice.” Assange says that the U.S. government wants him extradited and dead for telling the public the horrifying truth about their government.

The letter was sent to independent British journalist Gordon Dimmack, according to an article by RT. It was dated May 13 – ten days before the U.S. announced 17 additional charges under the Espionage Act against the jailed whistleblower. In light of the new indictment, Dimmack read out the letter in a YouTube video. A photo of the handwritten note was soon posted online as well.

Assange’s situation shines a light on the lengths the U.S. government will go to in order to prevent the truth from getting out.  I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself: no laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library, so far, but even if I get access, it will just be for a half an hour, with everyone else, once a week,” Assange wrote. “The other side? A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years, with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case.”

I am defenseless. I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but, the days where I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideas, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.

The US government, or rather, those regrettable elements in it that hate truth, liberty and justice, want to cheat their way into my extradition and death, rather than letting the public hear the truth, for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated 7 times for the Nobel Peace PrizeTruth, ultimately, is all we haveJulian Assange, handwritten letter

Assange’s well being has been diminished during his time in prison. Even before his arrest, his health was faltering. “The decision of prison authorities to move [Assange] to the health ward speaks for itself,” said WikiLeaks, adding that Assange has lost a lot of weight and was barely able to speak to his Swedish lawyer last week.

Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him, his lawyer Per Samuelson told reporters after visiting Belmarsh. The quote was barely reported on in Sweden, let alone elsewhere. The media has already taken sides and it’s against free speech.

This article was sourced from SHTFplan.com

Image credit: The Anti-Media

Read more great articles at Activist Post




History’s Dire Warning: Beware False Flag Trigger for Long-Sought War with Iran

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News

Four excerpts to show why you should read this article, and share widely:

“We are very worried about the risk of a [U.S.-Iran] conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.” [British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt on Monday, May 13, 2019, after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo].

“[The …] former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman has stated that [John] Bolton, … in order to advance the goals of the Israeli government,… in more than one instance while in the Bush administration, … traveled to Israel in violation of State Department rules and negotiated privately with Israeli officials, including the then-head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, to lay the groundwork for a war with Iran … Worse still, Bolton has pressured Israeli officials to initiate a war with Iran, even when they didn’t support such a move.”

“[C]urrent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also called for the preemptive bombing of Iran long before he joined the Trump administration … based on his fervent adherence to Christian Zionism … Pompeo sees an “apocalyptic” war between Israel and Iran as a necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Christ and the “rapture.”

“Sheldon Adelson — the top donor to Trump, the entire Republican Party, and also the top political donor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu – has long sought war with Iran, and several of Adelson’s desired policies have already been enacted by Trump. These include recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, replacing H.R. McMaster with Bolton as National Security Advisor, and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.”

With the beat of Washington’s war drums continuing to grow, particularly following the Monday revelation of a government plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to counter Iran, the threat of an “accidental” provocation or a “false flag” is also becoming increasingly likely. As MintPress recently reported, the possibility of an “accident” leading to open conflict between the U.S. and Iran is now being openly stated by top European officials — such as U.K. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt — following meetings with noted Iran hawk and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In Part I of this series, MintPress explored how current events — including seemingly unrelated regional events, such as the Israeli government’s bid to occupy the West Bank and the Syrian offensive against Al Qaeda-held Idlib — were converging to create a “now or never” scenario for those most eager for regime change in Iran and a U.S.-Iran military confrontation, particularly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton.

This installment will also reveal how Trump’s top political patron Sheldon Adelson — who is also the top donor to Netanyahu and a long-time confidant of Bolton, whom he helped install in his powerful post in the Trump administration — may be the deciding factor whether Trump authorizes the use of military force against Iran.

Yet, while the endgame for Bolton, Adelson and Netanyahu, as well as Pompeo, has long been a U.S.-led war with Iran, public justification for such hostilities must be given in order to manufacture American consent for a war against a country significantly larger than Iraq, complete with a more powerful army. Historically, the U.S. government has frequently planned and used false flags in order to justify the initiation or expansion of hostilities, with the best-known examples being Operation Northwoods and the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

However, given the current situation, it is essential to revisit two other incidents that reveal that the key players pushing for war in Iran — Israel’s government and neoconservatives of the Bush era (Bolton chief among them) — have planned and attempted to execute false flag attacks to push the U.S. into a major war that the American public would not normally support.

Remembering the U.S.S. Liberty

On June 8, 1967, one of the worst attacks on a U.S. naval vessel during peacetime took place, an attack that the U.S. government has kept shrouded in secrecy over 50 years later in what many have called a cover-up.

Around two in the afternoon on a cloudless, sunny day, unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the U.S.S. Liberty — a largely defenseless naval intelligence vessel flying visible American flags — without provocation. The attack saw the aggressors commit several war crimes, including attacking with unmarked aircraft and vessels; shooting survivor-bearing lifeboats out of the water with machine-gun fire; and the jamming of the Liberty’s ability to use international distress frequencies.

Thirty-four American sailors lost their lives and 173 were wounded, and the Liberty — which cost U.S. taxpayers $40 million to build — was so badly damaged it was subsequently sold for scrap metal for pennies on the dollar.

During the attack and in its immediate aftermath, Liberty survivors were puzzled as to why the U.S. Department of Defense ordered the recall of U.S. ships that were on route to aid the Liberty from the hostile attack, which many sailors had assumed at the time was being conducted by Egyptian or Arab forces in light of the ship’s proximity to the Sinai Peninsula.

Indeed, the attack on the Liberty took place during the Israeli-Arab Six Day War, a war that Israel claimed to have started as a preemptive means of self-defense but that was later revealed to have been the culmination of years of planning for a war of aggression. This fact was openly admitted by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the early 1980s. Israel, an American ally, was not suspected by Liberty crewmen at the time of the attack as being their potential assailants.

However, no Arab nation had attacked the Liberty that day, though that assumption by Liberty sailors was what their true assailants had hoped they and the American public would believe. Instead, it had been Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats that had fired on the clearly-marked American vessel with torpedos, machine gun fire and even napalm. The Israelis “officially” maintain to this day, with little challenge from the U.S. government, that the attack was an accident, a fact that has been and continues to be heavily contested by the attack’s survivors.

Yet, beyond the testimony of survivors, the most compelling evidence that the attack on the Liberty was no accident comes from the Israelis themselves. Intercepted Israeli communications from the time of attack, made public only in recent years, reveal that the ship had been identified as American prior to the attack and, despite that, the plan was to sink the U.S.S. Liberty and ensure that there were no survivors. The goal of the attack was to place the blame on Egyptian forces, which necessitated there being no American survivors who could dispute the claim. If the Liberty had been sunk, it would have provided the United States legal cover and popular support for a more central role in the conflict and its crucial diplomatic aftermath. Indeed, the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was a false flag, one that failed to achieve its intended goal of goading the U.S. into a major war.

Instead of responding with indignation, then-President Lyndon Johnson — whether it occurred before or during the attack is disputed — ordered that the Liberty not be rescued during the course of the attack, allegedly not wanting to harm relations with or “embarrass” an ally even if it meant consigning the 294-person crew of the Liberty to death.

Those who survived the assault of the Liberty owe their lives to the then-23-year-old Terry Halbardier, who valiantly navigated the Liberty’s napalm-glazed deck and managed to jury-rig an antenna and send out an SOS signal to the Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Upon intercepting that distress signal, the Israelis immediately broke off the attack. Halbardier’s heroism prevented the massacre of all 294 crewmen and allowed them to live to tell their stories, despite Johnson’s having left them for dead.

Yet many Liberty survivors were unable to tell their stories for decades, as the U.S. government issued gag orders and threatened them with being court-martialed for speaking to anyone, even their spouses, about the incident. The Navy’s Board of Inquiry, which abetted the cover-up, was headed by Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the late Senator John McCain of Arizona.

To this day, the U.S. government has failed to conduct a full, public inquiry into the attack. Liberty survivors who have since spoken out have been accused of “anti-Semitism” and of slandering Israel for discussing their personal and traumatic experiences of the attack, significantly compounding their suffering and post-traumatic stress.

While the survivors of Israel’s assault on the Liberty have been denied closure, the U.S. government’s response has endangered the lives of American personnel by clearly signaling to Israel that they will suffer no consequences for such “false flag” attacks, regardless of whether American servicemen are wounded or killed. As former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern has previously noted for Consortium News, “the U.S. cover-up [of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty] taught the Israelis that they could literally get away with murder.”

In a 2015 interview on the Real News Network, McGovern warned that the attack on the Liberty still holds “current relevance” and that he felt that “the Israelis are capable of doing this kind of thing when they see their supreme national interests at stake.” McGovern further stated that Israeli officials may well have considered a provocation, such as false flag, to throw a wrench in the Iran nuclear deal, which was being negotiated at the time.

McGovern — in an open letter to President Barack Obama, co-authored with former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council Elizabeth Murray — noted that Admiral Mike Mullen, former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Bush administration, had flown to Israel in 2003 and told the Israeli government emphatically “to disabuse themselves of the notion that U.S. military support would be knee-jerk automatic if they somehow provoked open hostilities with Iran. According to the Israeli press, Mullen went so far as to warn the Israelis not to even think about another incident at sea like the deliberate Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty.”

McGovern and Murray cited Mullen’s statements to Israeli officials as the first time that “a senior U.S. official braced Israel so blatantly about the Liberty incident.” In an email to MintPress, McGovern stated that he was unsure whether current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford “can be counted upon to play a similar restraining role” in preventing hostilities with Iran. Notably, Dunford was in attendance along with Bolton at the recent CIA meeting to discuss “highly sensitive covert actions” in relation to Iran.

An “accident” waiting to happen

Since Bolton announced the movement of the Lincoln carrier strike group towards the Persian Gulf, some have pointed out that the vessels could well be destined for use in a “false flag” provocation, such as one planned by former Vice President Dick Cheney in 2008 (to be discussed shortly) and another conducted by Israel in 1967. Indeed, as MintPress noted the day after Bolton’s announcement, the carrier strike group’s deployment was actually announced a month prior and was a routine deployment.

The political analysis blog Moon of Alabama also noticed that Bolton had framed this routine deployment as something more dire for his own purposes, writing:

The carrier deployment to the Gulf is routine. It had beenannounced on April 8. The U.S. has bomberson rotation in the Middle East since 2001. Moreover – a carrier in the Persian Gulf is a sure sign that the U.S. will not attack Iran. Within the restricted waters of the Persian Gulf a carrier is a too easy target. The idea though may be to provide for an ‘accident’’ as Iran’s Foreign Minister [Javad Zarif] described it in a recent CBS interview.”

In an interview late last month with CBS’ Face the Nation, Zarif explicitly told journalist Margaret Brennan his concern about an imminent “false flag” to trigger war with Iran by John Bolton in collaboration with Israeli, Saudi and Emirati leadership:

Foreign Minister Zarif | I don’t think military confrontation will happen. I think people have more prudence than allowing a military confrontation to happen. But, I think the U.S. administration is putting things in place for accidents to happen. And there has to be extreme vigilance, so that people who are planning this type of accident would not have their way.

Margaret Brennan | What do you mean? What kind of accident are you talking about?

Zarif | I’m talking about people who have — who are designing confrontation, whose interest —

Brennan | Who’s doing that?

Zarif | My ‘B’ team. I call —

Brennan | What do you mean ‘B’ team?

Zarif | I call the group ‘B’ team who have always tried to create tension, whose continued existence depends on tension. Ambassador Bolton, one ‘B,’ Bibi Netanyahu, second ‘B,’ Bin Zayed, third ‘B,’ Bin Salman, fourth ‘B.’ And I’m not just making accusations.

With an aircraft carrier little more than a sitting duck in the area amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, an “accident” may well occur. As was noted in Part I of this mini-series, such a possibility was directly stated by British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt on Monday.

Hunt told reporters “We are very worried about the risk of a [U.S.-Iran] conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.” Hunt notably made the statement after meeting with Pompeo, who is currently in Europe meeting with European heads of state to discuss Iran. The Associated Press noted that the Trump administration had warned European officials, Hunt included, that “Iran or its proxies could be targeting maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region.”

The possibility of such an “accident” is further compounded by Bolton’s aforementioned and “highly unusual” meeting about Iran and “highly sensitive covert actions” at CIA headquarters last week. Declassified CIA documents show that the agency had previously planned to stage terror attacks on U.S. soil and murder Americans to blame on Cuba in order to justify invading the Caribbean nation in the 1960s. That plan, known as Operation Northwoods, further called for the destruction of U.S. military vessels to be blamed on Cuba and also the staging of fires and mortar attacks on U.S. military installations in Cuba (i.e., Guantanamo Bay) or nearby (i.e., in Florida). Though Operation Northwoods was never enacted, the agency has been accused of orchestrating numerous “false flags” in the decades since.

As was recently seen with the alleged “sabotage” of Saudi oil tankers near Iran, there are many potential targets for provocation. However, the incident that would most assuredly force U.S. involvement in a military conflict would be an attack on an American military target. While some have dismissed Bolton’s announcement of the carrier’s movements as a self-serving manipulation of the facts, it may have had the added purpose of framing the lead-up to an unfortunate “accident” targeting American vessels in the area, particularly the Lincoln carrier strike group or one of the other subsequent U.S. naval deployments to the Middle East.

The neocon plan for a Liberty-like attack

If any sort of provocation blamed on Iran should occur, it is important to consider that a powerful group of U.S. politicians — the neo-conservatives — have long sought to plan provocations that would drag the U.S. into war with Iran. One of the most recent examples took place during the George W. Bush administration when then-Vice President Dick Cheney held a meeting with other administration officials in 2008 aimed at provoking war with Iran.

The details of that meeting were revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, who described some of the ideas considered in that Cheney-led meeting as follows:

There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because … if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. You know, we’re into it.”

It is unknown if any Bush officials now in the Trump administration were present at that meeting where the use of a “false flag” pitting Americans against Americans disguised as Iranian was discussed. However, what is known is that John Bolton — who was a member of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, along with Cheney, and who also served in the Bush administration — has zealously sought war with Iran for nearly two decades. Indeed, the New York Times recently described Bolton as “one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.” It is also known that Bolton has a history of playing fast and loose with unconfirmed intelligence and also distorting intelligence to fit his pre-determined narrative.

As MintPress reported last year, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman has stated that Bolton, when serving in the Bush administration, was prone to “direct fire on his own forces,” — i.e., the U.S. government — in order to advance the goals of the Israeli government, especially with respect to Iran. For instance, in more than one instance while in the Bush administration, Bolton traveled to Israel in violation of State Department rules and negotiated privately with Israeli officials, including the then-head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, to lay the groundwork for a war with Iran. As journalist Gareth Porter has noted, Bolton did this in an effort to directly undermine Colin Powell, Bolton’s superior, just as Powell “was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran.”

Worse still, Bolton has pressured Israeli officials to initiate a war with Iran, even when they didn’t support such a move. One such case was Shaul Mofaz, former Israeli defense minister, who told Israeli media last March that Bolton “tried to convince me that Israel needs to attack Iran,” even though Mofaz did not see such a war as “a smart move — not on the part of the Americans today or anyone else until the threat is real.”

Pompeo’s Holy war and rapture

Furthermore, Bolton is not the only top Trump administration official who has long promoted a war with Iran, as current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also called for the preemptive bombing of Iran long before he joined the Trump administration. Pompeo’s desire to push the U.S. towards war with Iran is based on his fervent adherence to Christian Zionism. As a result of the admitted influence his beliefs hold over his foreign policy, Pompeo sees an “apocalyptic” war between Israel and Iran as a necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Christ and the “rapture.”

Pompeo is on record speaking about the rapture on several occasions, particularly as CIA director when he spoke about the event — which holds that “true believers” will ascend to Heaven prior to the tribulations and trials of the “end times” — so often that he made veteran intelligence officers uncomfortable. As a result, some have asserted that Pompeo is “a man who appears to view American foreign policy as a vehicle for holy war.”

The fact that the actions of the current Secretary of State are influenced by his Christian Zionist faith was on display last month, when American Christian journalist Chris Mitchell of the Christian Broadcasting Network asked Pompeo: “Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this … to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?” Pompeo responded that this was definitely “possible.”

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




The US Government Just Destroyed Our Privacy While Nobody Was Paying Attention

By Carey Wedler | The Anti-Media

(ANTIMEDIA) — While the nation remained fixated on gun control and Facebook’s violative practices last week, the U.S. government quietly codified the CLOUD Act, its own intrusive policies on citizens’ data.

While the massive, $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill passed Friday received widespread media attention, the CLOUD Act — which lawmakers snuck into the end of the 2,300-page bill — was hardly addressed.

The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD) “updates the rules for criminal investigators who want to see emails, documents and other communications stored on the internet,” CNET reported. “Now law enforcement won’t be blocked from accessing someone’s Outlook account, for example, just because Microsoft happens to store the user’s email on servers in Ireland.

The CLOUD Act will also allow the U.S. to enter into agreements that allow the transfer of private data from domestic servers to investigators in other countries on a case-by-case basis, further globalizing the ever-encroaching surveillance state. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has strongly opposed the legislation, listed several consequences of the bill, which it called “far-reaching” and “privacy-upending”:

  • Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.
  • Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.
  • Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.
  • Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it.
  • Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored.

The bill is an update to the current MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty), the current framework for sharing internet user data between countries, which both legislators and tech companies have criticized as inefficient.

Some tech companies, like Microsoft, have endorsed the new CLOUD policy. Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer, called it  “a strong statute and a good compromise,” that “gives tech companies like Microsoft the ability to stand up for the privacy rights of our customers around the world.”

They echoed the sentiment of lawmakers like Orrin Hatch (R-UT). In February, he said of the bill:

“The CLOUD Act bridges the divide that sometimes exists between law enforcement and the tech sector by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to access data throughout the world while at the same time creating a commonsense framework to encourage international cooperation to resolve conflicts of law.”

But one of the biggest complaints from privacy advocates, however, it that the new legislation places too much-unmitigated power in the hands of governments with abysmal human rights records while also giving too much discretion to the U.S. government’s executive branch. Noting that the executive branch will decide which countries are human rights compliant and that those countries will then be able to engage in data collection and wiretaps without any further restrictions or oversight, the ACLU warned:

Flip through Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch’s recent annual reports, and you can find a dizzying array of countries that have ratified major human rights treaties and reflect those obligations in their domestic laws but, in fact, have arrested, tortured and killed people in retaliation for their activism or due to their identity.”

The organization pointed out that no human rights organizations have endorsed the CLOUD Act, adding that “in the case of countries certified by the executive branch, the CLOUD Act would not require the U.S. government to scrutinize data requests by the foreign governments — indeed, the bill would not even require notifying the U.S. government or a user regarding a request.”

Further, the ACLU says, if a foreign government’s human rights record deteriorates, there is no mechanism to revoke its access to data. Considering the U.S.’ existing record on supporting regimes that severely restrict basic rights like freedom of expression, the expanded access the CLOUD Act provides is undoubtedly worrisome.

Also predictable is the government’s stale justification for expanding its power. As the CLOUD Act claims, it is purportedly to “protect public safety and combat serious crime, including terrorism” — even if it further empowers governments that support and commit said terrorism.

In an age where the government already engages in mass surveillance and is eager to disable the people’s efforts to protect their privacy through encryption technology, it is unsurprising, albeit dangerous, that Congress continues to encroach on what little is left of safeguards against unwarranted intrusions.

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

Read more great articles at The Anti-Media.




‘HAMMER’ Time? Spacecraft Could Defend Earth by Nuking a Dangerous Asteroid

Artist’s illustration of an asteroid headed for Earth.
Credit: European Space Agency

By Mike Wall | Space.com

The next time a hazardous asteroid lines Earth up in its crosshairs, we may be ready for the threat.

Scientists and engineers with the U.S. government have drawn up plans for a spacecraft that could knock big, incoming space rocks off course via blunt-force impact or blow them to bits with a nuclear warhead, BuzzFeed News reported.

The researchers announced the concept vehicle, known as the Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response (HAMMER), in a study in the February issue of the journal Acta Astronautica. And the team will discuss HAMMER at an asteroid-research conference in May, according to BuzzFeed News. [Potentially Dangerous Asteroids (Images)]

Each HAMMER spacecraft would weigh about 8.8 tons (8 metric tons). If an asteroid threat is detected early enough, a fleet of the vehicles could be dispatched to collide, nuke-free, with the space rock, changing its trajectory enough to spare Earth from an impact.

But this strategy wouldn’t work for big asteroids that appear out of the cosmic gloom with little warning; there wouldn’t be enough time for the nudge to take effect. To neutralize, or at least mitigate, such threats, a HAMMER would have to be outfitted with a nuke, the study team stressed.

“Whenever practical, the kinetic impactor is the preferred approach, but various factors, such as large uncertainties or short available response time, reduce the kinetic impactor’s suitability and, ultimately, eliminate its sufficiency,” the researchers wrote in the Acta Astronautica paper. The research is part of a broader study by NASA and the National Nuclear Security Agency to better understand humanity’s options when presented with a potentially threatening near-Earth object (NEO).

To arrive at these results, and refine HAMMER’s design, the team modeled how to deal with a potential real-life scenario: What if the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) near-Earth asteroid Bennu was headed right for our planet? There’s a 1-in-2,700 chance that this will indeed happen, on Sept. 21, 2135, BuzzFeed News reported.

“Bennu was selected for our case study in part because it is the best-studied of the known NEOs,” the researchers wrote. “It is also the destination of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample-return mission, which is, at the time of this writing, en route to Bennu following a September 2016 launch.”

OSIRIS-REx — whose name is short for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer — is scheduled to arrive at Bennu this summer. The spacecraft will study the asteroid from orbit for two years, then swoop in to grab a sample, which will return to Earth in a special container in September 2023, if all goes according to plan.

OSIRIS-REx is an $800 million mission. It’s unclear how much a HAMMER spacecraft would cost, if one ever gets built (which is certainly no guarantee, given that it’s a concept vehicle at this stage). The study team declined to estimate a price, BuzzFeed News reported.

You can read the full BuzzFeed story here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/nuclear-asteroid-deflection-nasa.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Read more great articles at Space.com




New Analysis Shows Federal Marijuana Legalization Could Raise $130 Billion, Add 1 Million Jobs by 2025

By Jon Queally | Common Dreams

Though a key argument for legalizing marijuana in the United States is that it would put a tremendous and necessary dent in the domestic and global failure known as “the War on Drugs,” a new analysis out Wednesday reveals that federal legalization could also raise more than $130 billion in tax revenue by 2025 while also creating more than 1.1 million new jobs.

The new study was published by New Frontier Data—a research and marketing firm whose stated mission is to “inform cannabis-related policy and business decisions through rigorous, issue-neutral and comprehensive analysis of the legal cannabis industry.”

As the Drug Policy Alliance has shown, the criminalization regime and enforcement of keeping marijuana and others drugs illegal costs the U.S. government more than $50 billion annually—that includes the outrageous costs of imprisoning tens of thousands of people for nonviolent drug offenses.

Meanwhile, according to New Frontier CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer,  the government would stand to do very well if marijuana, as has been shown in Washington state and Colorado, was taxed as a legal commodity. “The three most common business taxes that any standard business pays to the federal government are federal business taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes,” De Carcer explained. “If cannabis businesses were legalized tomorrow and taxed as normal businesses with a standard 35% tax rate, cannabis businesses would infuse the U.S. economy with an additional $12.6 billion this year.”

As opposed to the current patchwork of states that have legalized either medical marijuana, its recreational use, or both, the analysis looked at what could happen if the U.S. government made it legal to sell marijuana nationwide and included these major findings:

  • If full legalization occurred in all 50 states today, there would be an excess of 782,000 jobs, and would increase to 1.1 million jobs by 2025.
  • Full legalization would result in more legal businesses participating in the market, more consumers participating in the legal market, and more employees on official payrolls, resulting in $4 billion in payroll taxes. By 2025, payroll deductions would increase to $5.9 billion.
  • Assuming a sales tax at the federal level was implemented at 15%, the total tax revenues from 2017–2025 would theoretically be $51.7 billion. This amount of revenue would be entirely new revenue to the U.S. Treasury, as there are currently no federal sales or excise taxes.
  • By combining the business tax revenues, the payroll withholdings based on the theoretical employment required to support the industry, and the 15% retail sales tax, one can calculate the total federal tax revenue potential of legalization: The combined total is estimated to be $131.8 billion.
  • The difference between the current structure and the theoretical model is a $76.8 billion increase in federal tax revenues.

The new data comes in the wake of polling that shows historic levels of support for marijuana legalization nationwide. In October of 2017, a Gallup survey found that 64 percent of Americans now favor legal marijuana—the highest level ever recorded. It’s also an issue that receives backing from people across the political spectrum. According to the Gallup poll, a majority of Republicans (51%) are in favor while Independents (67%) and Democrats (72%) support legalization at even higher levels.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us (Only WE Can Do That)

By John W. Whitehead | Activist Post

“The warlords of history are still kicking our heads in, and no one, not our fathers, not our Gods, is coming to save us.”— Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: it will not hear the case of Young v. Borders.

Despite the fact that a 26-year-old man was gunned down by police who banged on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense, the justices of the high court refused to intervene to address police misconduct.

Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, only to be gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex, the Supreme Court refused to balance the scales between justice and injustice.

Despite the fact that police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people nationwide for the third year in a row (many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, minors or were shot merely because militarized police who were armed to the hilt “feared” for their safety), the Supreme Court will not act to right the wrongs being meted out by the American police state.

Although “knock-and-talk” policing has become a thinly veiled, warrantless—lethal—exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night, the Supreme Court will not make the government play by the rules of the Constitution.

The lesson to be learned: the U.S. Supreme Court will not save us.

No one is coming to save us: not the courts, not the legislatures, and not the president.

According to journalist Michael Harriot:

More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).

Americans are dying at the hands of the police, and the U.S. government doesn’t care.

In Kansas, a prank caller placed a fake 911 call (the tactic is referred to as “swatting”) that prompted a SWAT team to open fire on a 28-year-old unarmed man who had been spending a quiet evening at home with his family. The man was shot dead within moments of appearing outside his home, clearly confused to find his home surrounded by police on all sides, guns pointed in his direction, and orders being shouted at him. Thus far, all the blame has rested with the prank caller and little with the cops who shot first and asked questions later.

In New York, a 68-year-old former Marine was shot and killed by police who did a welfare check on him after he accidentally set off his emergency medical alert device. Although Kenneth Chamberlain insisted he was fine, police refused to leave, eventually kicked open the door, zapping Chamberlain with a stun gun, shooting him with beanbag ammunition and then killing him with a pistol shot. The cops were not charged.

In Arizona, a police officer was acquitted after he shot an unarmed man outside his hotel room while the man cried, begged and pleaded for his life. As the Associated Press reports:

The shooting occurred in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa after officers ordered Shaver to exit his hotel room, lie face-down in a hallway and refrain from making sudden movements — or risk being shot. Shaver, 26, sobbed as he begged police not to shoot and was ordered to crawl toward officers. As he inched forward, he reached toward the waistband of his shorts. Brailsford said he fired his rifle because he believed Shaver was grabbing a handgun in his waistband. While no gun was found on Shaver’s body…the detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl toward officers.

It gets worse.

You see, it’s not just that the U.S. government appears unconcerned about the fact that Americans are dying at the hands of the police.

Right now, the U.S. government is actively doing everything in its power to ensure that the killing spree continues.

Take Jeff Sessions, for example.

While the president’s conveniently-timed tweets distract the public and dominate the headlines, his attorney general continues to bulldoze over the Constitution, knocking down what scant protections remain between the citizenry and the hydra-headed police state.

Within his first year as attorney general, Jeff Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.

What this means is more militarized police, more asset forfeiture, more private prisons, more SWAT team raids, more police shootings of unarmed citizens, and more wars waged by the government against the American people.

And while the crime rate may be falling, the death toll—casualties of the government’s war on the American people—is growing.

The body count will continue to mount as long as the courts continue to march in lockstep with the police state, as long as police unions continue to strong-arm politicians into letting police agencies get away with murder, as long as legislators continue to care more about getting re-elected than about protecting the rights of the citizenry, as long as police continue to treat their fellow citizens as enemy combatants on a battlefield, as long as the media continues to focus the spotlight on circus politics, and as long as the citizenry fail to be alarmed and outraged every time the police state shoots another hole in the Constitution.

Even so, it’s not just the police shootings that are cause for concern.

We are inching ever closer to a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen before, and “we the people” are woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with a government that is corrupt, topsy turvy, unjust, immoral, illegal, brutal, violent, war-hungry, greedy, biased, imbalanced, unaccountable, non-transparent, fascist and as illegitimate as they come.

Where do we go from here?

We’ve been through troubled times before.

In fact, it was 50 years ago this year, in 1968, when the country was buffeted by assassinations, riots and protests: “The assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The riots that shook Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and other U.S. cities. Campus protests. Civil rights protests. Vietnam War protests. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai massacre. The rise of Richard Nixon and the retreat of Lyndon Johnson.”

Fifty years later, we’re no better off.

The nation is still being buffeted by economic instability, racial inequality, injustice, police brutality, government misconduct and a rising discontent on the part of the populace.

I can’t help but wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have to say to about his dream today.

Certainly, the reality we must contend with is far different from King’s dream of a world without racism, militarism and materialism: America has become a ticking time bomb of racial unrest and injustice, police militarization, surveillance, government corruption and ineptitude, the blowback from a battlefield mindset and endless wars abroad, and a growing economic inequality between the haves and have nots.

King himself—in life, a hard-talking, charismatic leader, voice of authority, and militant, nonviolent activist minister/peace warrior who staged sit-ins, boycotts and marches and lived through police attack dogs, water cannons and jail cells—has been so watered down in death that younger generations recognize his face but know very little about his message.

Yet King had a lot to say that remains relevant to our day and age.

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”

“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.”

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.’”

We cannot afford to wait until it is “too late.”

This is no time to stand silently on the sidelines. It’s a time for anger and reform. Most importantly, it’s a time for making ourselves heard. And there is no better time to act than the present.

As Robert F. Kennedy reminded his listeners in a speech delivered at the University of Cape Town in 1966, “Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives. Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile—family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head—all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people.”

What can ordinary citizens do?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, instead of sitting around and waiting for someone else to change things, take charge. Never discount the part that everyday citizens play in our nation’s future. You can change things, but there can be no action without education. Get educated about your rights and exercise them. Start by reading the Bill of Rights. You can do so online at www.rutherford.org. Or, if you want a copy to keep with you, email me at staff@rutherford.org and I’ll send you a free one.

Most important of all, just get out there and do your part to make sure that your government officials hear you. The best way to ensure that happens is by never giving up, never backing down, and never remaining silent. To quote Dr. King, “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re protesting the economy, the war, the environment or something else altogether. What matters is that you do your part. As that great revolutionary firebrand Samuel Adams pointed out, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.”

Take some time right now and start your own brushfire for freedom. Learn about the issues and then take a stand: attend local government meetings, contact your representatives, raise awareness within your community, and generally make your voice heard.

It’s midnight in America right now. But the real question is, will there be a dawn?

That’s up to you and me. The future is in our hands.

WC: 1958

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article first appeared. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

PUBLICATION GUIDELINES / REPRINT PERMISSION

John W. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries are available for publication to newspapers and web publications at no charge. Please contact staff@rutherford.org to obtain reprint permission.

Image credit: Matthew Cooke

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The UFO Documentary You’re Not Supposed To See

By Buck Rogers | Waking Times

The Pentagon recently authorized the release of footage of a Navy pilots close encounter with an unidentified flying object. This was presented along with the implied announcement that the U.S. government has set up a secretive military program to identify and monitor extraterrestrial threats, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program. The program only ran from 2012 to 2017, they say, which is a short five years in the longer timeline of U.S. government investigations into UFO activity, going back the Roswell incident in 1947.

Rather than fully disclosing the contents of the U/S. government’s knowledge of ET’s and UFO’s, the recent announcements can be seen as psyop to confuse and misdirect the UFO research community away from other important pieces of this timeline. This type of obfuscation offers cover to black budget programs while subtly announcing the presence of a war plan against extraterrestrials.

Absent from the current conversation about UFO’s is the broad body of investigation into alien activity around nuclear missile facilities, and a number of credible reports indicating that UFO’s have been able to disarm ICBM’s and other components of the nuclear arsenal.

This story is told in detail in a documentary film entitled UFO’s and Nukes: the Secret ink Revealed. This story has a much greater significance to our world than the slow drip of information on UFO sightings and a propaganda campaign to hijack the narrative on UFO’s.

The preview can be seen here, and a full version of the film is temporarily available on YouTube, below.

https://youtu.be/hUr_TF9o7sY

About the Author

Buck Rogers is the earth-bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.

This article (The UFO Documentary You’re Not Supposed To Seewas originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Buck Rogers and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

Read more great articles at Waking Times.