Posted onOctober 31, 2014|Comments Off on “The Bad Luck Billionaire” First his cars catch on fire, then his solar panels, now his rockets.. What’s a billionaire to do?
Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors cars are famous for catching on fire because the highly explosive, and toxic batteries, he used were never meant to be massively packed in a metal box in a car.
Then, via Dianne Feinstein, (who funded and took personal gain from both Tesla and Solyndra) (on adjacent plots of land), and Musk got started on a deal for his other company: Solar City, with Solyndra, only to find out that Solyndra’s chemistry caused it’s solar panels to set the roofs of peoples homes on fire. Then other panels that Solar City was using also began setting homes on fire. You see Solar City had some chemicals in it from Afghanistan called Indium, and other odd names, Musk’s Lithium for Tesla also comes from Afghanistan and all of Musk’s investment partners and Senators are invested in Afghan mineral mining.. interesting.. huh? Of course Afghanistan also “blew up” in every sense of the word.
Then Musk has multiple horrible divorces and girl troubles with women who say, really, really bad things about him.
Then Musk’s other Company: Space X has it’s rocket blow up.
On top of all of this, all of his companies are under government investigations and tons of law-suits.
Elon still comes out on stage, the able Huckster, with his “nothing to see here”-smile and his effective avoidance of all topics related to the failures.
Musk’s Silicon Valley cartel paid for the campaigns of Obama, Reid and Feinstein in exchange for TARP and DOE cash. How is that working out for those three so far…What’s that you say? NOT SO WELL?!
With charges that White House Campaign backers are pumping his stocks in order to avoid a stock crash.. one has to wonder how long that can last…
About Western Free Press. Combining straight news from a wide variety of sources with insightful opinion from our team of writers, Western Free Press has provided daily coverage of political, economic, and social issues in Arizona and around the nation since 2010.
A commentary that asks if SolarCity is thenextSolyndra. Government Waste, Fraud and Abuse. Exposing waste, fraud and abuse at all levels of government. Skip to content. … In recent days the spotlight has been turned on to SolarCity, …
… Smith Electric Vehicles is also dependent on government … The problem is that Smith could be the nextSolyndra. The Kansas City, … The DOE is sensitive to helping pay for company development after guaranteeing over $500 million loans to solar panel maker Solyndra, …
Subsidizing SolarCity A California solar-panel company could be another Solyndra in the making. By Andrew Stiles. About Author; Archive; Latest; RSS; Send; Follow; Print. Text Comments. 139. Andrew Stiles
A California-based solar company backed by several Obama supporters has been receiving millions in federal tax credits while losing $322 million since 2008, raising concerns about the company “becoming the nextSolyndra.” Among SolarCity Corp.’s biggest investors is Elon Musk …
TheNextSolyndra? November 21, 2013 … raising concerns about the company “becoming the nextSolyndra.” Among SolarCity Corp.’s biggest investors is Elon Musk — the high-profile donor and fundraiser who co-founded PayPal and whose companies SpaceX and electric-car company Tesla Motors …
The Forbes headline reads, “Elon Musk to Divorce Wife” — but clearly, Talulah beat him to the punch. So far, Elon has NOT filed divorce documents. … After his nasty 1st divorce, I’m sure this pre-nup was iron clad! 1005 days ago. Reply 2. 0
Elon Musk is broke. Tony Stark is broke. The man who had everything had his finances brought to light during a nastydivorce settlement, and he’s living on 200,000 a month from loans from friends. Basically, he’s got no liquidity, …
GREEN FAIL: Solar PanelsCatchFireon High School Roof … But the fact remains that companies like Solyndra have sucked billions of dollars out of our pockets. The irrelevance of Romney, and the fact that he was wrong about Tesla does not negate the overall issue.
Tags: Attorney Jeffrey Feulner, CNBC, Divorce Battle, Divorce Wars, Elon Musk, Financial Infidelity, Justine Musk, Melissa Francis, Prenuptial Agreement, … Divorce Law Firm believe in protecting your future through a pre-nuptial agreement that is entered into prior to any nastydivorce talk.
This story, written by Camille Ricketts, was originally posted on VentureBeat’s GreenBeat, an editorial partner of AllCarsElectric. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk may have won an initial ruling in the divorce dispute with his now-separated wife, novelist Justine Musk, but the case is far from over, Mrs
A reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket used to test landing systems the company hopes to incorporate on future operational launch vehicles exploded shortly after liftoff Friday at the company’s 900-acre McGregor, Texas, flight facility, officials said. The uncrewed rocket stage, a successor to SpaceX’s
Debris from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket, which self-destructed less than 20 seconds after launch, … CNN affiliate KWTX reported the explosion on Friday and posted video. Design image of the Skylon spacecraft taking off.
The owners of the unmanned commercial supply ship that exploded Tuesday over a launchpad in Virginia warned people to keep away from potentially hazardous debris and promised to figure out what destroyed the rocket that was supposed to ferry cargo to the International Space Station.
No one ever said rebooting spaceflight was going to be easy. The SpaceX team might know that better than anyone, especially on a night like this: one of the company’s experimental F9R rockets malfunctioned in a test flight over McGregor, Texas and automatically aborted by self-destructing
A SpaceXrocket appears to have exploded during a test launch at its facility near McGregor, Texas. Reports popping up from McGregor locals who witnessed the failed launch suggest that the test spacecraft was one of SpaceX’s unmanned Falcon 9 Reusable rockets (F9R), which were due to undergo …
A SpaceX F9R rocket exploded during a test over Texas today after an anomaly was detected. The rocket’s software automatically blew up the ship, preventing it from leaving the test area. “Today’s test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous […]
HOUSTON, Texas — A SpaceXrocket exploded over Texas on Friday when its self-destruct system was triggered for unknown reasons. The incident occurred just after takeoff at the company’s development facility located in McGregor.
… the fire department last month held a series of classes for firefighters about the dangers solarpanels … Carroll said the academy and fire organizations are working with solarpanel … The meter and emergency shutoff for the solarpanelson the roof of the city’s …
The Ivins City royalty cut a ribbon at the city’s Center Street fire station to fete completion of the second phase of solar power conversion on the building. City Engineer Chuck Gillette said Ivins City finished installing 52 new solarpanelson the fire station’s angled roof, which produce …
This story first appeared on the Atlantic Cities website and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A 300,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse in Delanco, New Jersey, burned down last week, and the local fire chief says solarpanels are partly to blame.
His team started looking into solarpanels after an El Dorado Hills home caught fire. We’ve learned these solarpanels are on roof tiles of more than 200 homes in Northern California, … But the city’sfire prevention chief says that may not cut down the risk.
… the risk of solarpanels causing a fire is extremely low. However, should your house catch fire for other reasons, the fire service must face both the risks from fire and from potential electrocution due to the solarpanels.
Solarpanels are safe and effective; … SolarPanelFires and Electrical Hazards. by Nick Gromicko . … arrays with increasing frequency and may want to be aware of the ways in which an installed PV array may pose a fire hazard to a home. Do solarpanels cause fires?
Increased fire spread concerns. Since solarpanels are constantly exposed to … The research being conducted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation aims to stay on the forefront of the solarpanel … As the World Series returns to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday evening, cooler …
Solarpanels atop a food warehouse in southern New Jersey in September forced firefighters at certain points to retreat because of the threat … Fire officials worry about the weight of the panelson roofs weakened by fire. … The Solar Energy Industries Association did not return …
Firefighters attend a blaze involving solarpanelson the roof of a house in south London. Accessibility links. Skip to content; Skip to local navigation; Accessibility Help; BBC navigation. News; Sport; Weather; Earth … Hundreds evacuated over Cityfire;
There’s a downside to the solarpanels that … That’s why the 2012 International Fire Code that the Boulder City … out a compromise that officials say will still protect firefighter safety while leaving more of the roof available for panels. Boulder Chief Fire Marshal David …
With rooftop solarpanels … The solar industry is working with fire departments and utilities to find ways to make solarpanels less of an obstacle. By David J. Unger, Staff writer September 11, 2013. A worker cleans solarpanelson the rooftop of the Yiwu International Trade City …
To address the increased risks associated with fighting structure fireson buildings with solarpanels, the Fire Protection Research Foundation released a 2010 study that highlights appropriate training … or they are using some kind of different solarpanel then the industrial …
Posted onOctober 31, 2014|Comments Off on Why are all the Space-Ships blowing up? Billionaire Amateur Hour?
Why are all the Space-Ships blowing up? Billionaire Amateur Hour?
– “My Phallic looking rocket is bigger than yours” say egotistical billionaires to each other.
– The likelihood that you, as a normal person, will ever afford to pay the $50,000.00 to $250,000.00 for a half hour ride into space to get exposed to cancer causing radiation is…rather low! The George Clooney Movie: “GRAVITY” scared most people away from Space; now these explosions pretty much kill space tourism off.
– Enough “personal ego rockets” have blown up in the last few months to fund all of the schools in the Western United States.
– Elon Musk said to have gotten NASA contracts as pay-off for campaign cash, from Obama.
Actual photo of Space X Rocket Exploding in Mid Air
– Elon Musk’s Space X suffers catastrophic explosions.Multiple problems covered up to press. At least one FULL ROCKET explosion covered up to Press!
– Antares Rocket explodes on launch
– Richard Branson’s Virgin Space-ship explodes killing crew
– Is amateur-hour with billionaire ego-maniacs destroying the Space Race?
– What drives billionaires to want to show-off with rocket-ships?
– Movie stars on phone to agents all morning: “Cancel my ticket to Space!”
– In 60 Minutes interview Elon Musk cries because “real” astronauts think he is a “wanna-be” amateur
– Space Scientist: “What do you expect, you are riding on a bomb built by the lowest bidder…”
– Musk says: “Mine won’t blow up, I’m Elon Musk!”
– Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Etc… All known for huge ego’s, personal rocket-ships and explosions…
A fatal accident in the Mojave Desert is a lesson in the perils of space hubris
It’s difficult not to feel sympathy for the hard-working people of Virgin Galactic—Sir Richard Branson’s private space tourism company—after the loss of their SpaceShipTwo vehicle in a crash in the Mojave Desert at a little after 10 a.m. PDT Friday. And it’s completely impossible not to hurt for the families of the two pilots involved in the accident—one of whom was killed and the other of whom suffered serious injuries, according to local police.
But it’s hard too not to be angry, even disgusted, with Branson himself. He is, as today’s tragedy shows, a man driven by too much hubris, too much hucksterism and too little knowledge of the head-crackingly complex business of engineering. For the 21st century billionaire, space travel is what buying a professional sports team was for the rich boys of an earlier era: the biggest, coolest, most impressive toy imaginable. Amazon.com zillionaire Jeff Bezos has his own spacecraft company—because what can better qualify a man to build machines able to travel to space than selling books, TVs and lawn furniture online? Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, has a space operation too because, well, spacecraft have computers and that’s sort of the same thing, right?
A Virgin crash always seemed troublingly likely. And since it is the company’s whole purpose to carry passengers, it seemed equally likely to hurt or kill a lot of people too. I visited Branson’s self-styled spaceport in the Mojave last year to watch a brief test flight of his spacecraft. The mission that day was intended more as an air show than anything else—part of a pep rally for the hundreds of Virgin customers who would be attending to hear about the company’s progress. All of them had reserved a seat and paid a deposit toward their $200,000 ticket for a trip that—if it ever happened—would last just 15 minutes and ascend to just 62 miles (100 kilometers), which technically counts as being in space, but only to the extent that riding a jet ski off the beach in Ft. Lauderdale counts as going to sea.
But never mind, because the crowd seemed happy to be there and to take Branson’s word that they really, truly would get their chance to be astronauts. For the record, the demonstration flight they had come to see never took off due to high desert winds.
The Virgin crash comes just three days after the Oct. 28 explosion of an Antares rocket taking off from Wallops Island, Va., on an unmanned resupply mission to the International Space Station. That first part of a very bad week for the space industry was especially cautionary, because Orbital Sciences, the Virginia-based manufacturer of the rocket, is by no means a newcomer. It’s been in the business for more than three decades and has a very good track record of getting payloads—not passengers—off the ground and into orbit. Yet even it cannot control all of the lethal variables—technical, meteorological, human—that make space travel such a dicey game.
The practice of non-professionals insinuating themselves into the space business is not new. We have a launch facility at Cape Canaveral yet built a Mission Control center halfway across the country in Houston—the least efficient, most senseless arrangement imaginable—because then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson was the White House point man for the space program and he wanted his home state of Texas to get a bite of the big moon pie. Ex-Sen. Jake Garn and current Sen. Bill Nelson both elbowed their way aboard space shuttle flights since, unlike all of the other American kids who want to play spaceman, they were powerful figures in Congress and could loosen or tighten NASA’s purse strings at will.
Once NASA announced that after the shuttle program ended in 2011 it would be outsourcing the low Earth orbit portion of its portfolio to the private sector, it was inevitable that there would be a scramble of companies vying for those contracts—and that’s by no means all bad. In some respects, space has always been privatized: North American Aviation, Grumman Aerospace, Boeing and others have all been major NASA contractors, and they are hardly government-owned operations.
All, however, are deeply experienced in the business of aeronautical and astronautical design, too. Elon Musk, founder of the upstart SpaceX is, so far, defying doubters, with a string of both commercial launches and resupply missions to the ISS and no major disasters. But SpaceX is a rare bird—and still a young one—and it has a while to go before it establishes its true space cred.
It’s Branson, however, who has always been the most troubling of the cosmic cowboys—selling not just himself on his fever dreams but his trusting customers. One of those would-be astronauts I met in the Mojave that day was a teenage girl, whose parents had put aside enough money to buy her the singular experience of a trip to space. They beamed at her courage as we spoke, and seemed thrilled about the ride she was soon to take. Those plans, presumably, are being rethought today.
Virgin Galactic Spaceship ‘SpaceShipTwo’ Crashes During Flight Test
One pilot was killed and another seriously injured
A Virgin Galactic spacecraft crashed in the California desert during a test flight Friday, the company said. The crash killed one test pilot and left another seriously injured.
Visibly shaken officials at a Friday press conference said that the surviving pilot is being treated at Antelope Valley Hospital and that little is known at this time about what caused the crash.
A witness told the Associated Press that SpaceShipTwo, which is carried aloft by a separate aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo, exploded shortly after detaching from its carrier craft and igniting its rockets. Virgin Galactic has been testing the aircraft, known as SpaceShipTwo, in the Southern California desert in hopes that it could one day be used to shuttle tourists to space.
Virgin Galactic recently changed SpaceShipTwo’s fuel mixture from a rubber-based solution to a plastic mix, but it’s unclear if that switch had anything to do with Friday’s explosion.
“We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP,” the company said in a tweet.
Officials from the Kern County Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol both responded to the incident, while local news helicopter footage of the scene showed debris clearly from SpaceShipTwo littering the test area. The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it’s sending a “go-team” to investigate the incident.
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson tweeted Friday afternoon that he’s flying to the scene of the crash immediately:
The SpaceShipTwo incident follows Tuesday’s loss of an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket shortly after liftoff from Virginia’s Wallops Flight Facility.
“It hasn’t been an easy week,” said Stuart Witt, CEO of the Mojave Air & Space Port, at a press conference Friday. “It’s certainly been a challenge, but, where I’m from, this is where you find out your true character.”
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s rocket test that ended with an explosion over Texas may slow a U.S. decision on a contract to take astronauts to the International Space Station, an aerospace analyst said.
SpaceX has had a dramatic end to the week, with a successful Static Fire test of their Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket at Cape Canaveral, concluded just hours after the F-9R Dev-1 test rocket failed during testing in Texas. The test failure holds no impact to next week’s ASIASAT-6 mission …
Officials at NASA and SpaceX were working through the weekend to see whether they could still safely rocket a cargo capsule to the International Space Station on Monday, despite the failure of one of the backup computers in the system that helps dock the pod in space.
Testing a truly new rocket has always involved failure. In fact, the development of any complex and innovative product should feature an iterative development process. By definition such a process is “failure driven.”…
An unmanned NASA rocket exploded during a launch from Wallops … NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space … No injuries were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA’s commercial …
estimate the required probability of catastrophicfailure of the solid rocket boosters on the space shuttle for the Galileo mission, which occurred in October 1989. The point estimates are in fairly close agreement, while the
A CatastrophicFailure is an event that makes it impossible to finish the mission, usually either killing the crew, stranding them in space or forcing them to initiate a reentry using the engines and fuel they didn’t lose in the accident.
A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle carrying the NSS-8 satellite for SES New Skies suffered a catastrophicfailure Jan. 30, exploding at liftoff. An Internet broadcast of the launch by Sea Launch was cut off as a fireball enveloped the platform only seconds after anticipated liftoff.
As Orbital Sciences Corporation looks for clues to Tuesday’s catastrophicfailure of its Antares launcher, three independent industry insiders tell Forbes that the blame squarely rests on one of two of the rocket’s Soviet-era engines. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a launcher …
Introduction Main Failure Modes. 1. Case breach: Local burning-through of the rocket case (see Figure 1 in Home section) which can result in catastrophic impact on the TVC system (see Figure 1, and Figure 2 (in Home section) for the test firing of TD31).
NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – Moments after a seemingly glorious liftoff, an Orbital Sciences Corp. commercial Antares rocket suffered a catastrophicfailure and exploded into a spectacular aerial fireball over the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of
In early October 2012, within of few days of each other, two vehicles were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and both suffered serious liquid rocket engine problems. While significant, the rocket engine failures proved to be largely non-catastrophic relative to the …
What we now know about the ‘catastrophicfailure’rocket launch Investigators and scientists have made an initial assessment of the launch site as they attempt to work out how the launch of a commercial resupply ship ended so dramatically.
Posted onOctober 30, 2014|Comments Off on Are spy “back-doors” and “hacker picks” hidden deep within Google’s Android OS?
– Is “Google Not what it seems” as Julian Assange claims?
– Is anything with the Google Android Operating System evil?
– Is this just a tactic by Microsoft to grab market-share?
– If Andoid is “Open Source”, why can’t programmers open every single part of it?
– Does everything with Android secretly spy on you?
– Google engineers say you are “perfectly safe” unless you do,or say something that Google, Google’s owners, Google’s investors, Google’s political backers, or Google’s bought-and-paid for Senators, don’t like. Then your F**KED!
– Tens of thousands of published articles imply something is “fishy” in Android
– GOOGLE executives refuse to put in writing that they are not,or have not in the past, used Google for political attacks and policy manipulation!!!
– Can the Russians and Chinese exploit these back-doors just as well as anybody? Recent White House, JP Morgan, Home Depot, CIA, NSA, Target break-ins seem to say… YES!
– CONSUMER GROUPS CALL TO VOTE OUT ALL THE LAP DOG POLITICIANS THAT ARE PROTECTING GOOGLE. USE THE MID TERMS TO SAY THAT IT IS NOT OK FOR GOOGLE TO BUY SENATORS!
It seems like a good goal and, indeed, most manufacturers and carriers agree: according to Eckhart, the spyware is included in most Android phones out there. … If you have any decently modern Android phone, …
There was a posting on the web, some time ago, that proposed what sounded like a crazy concept about Eric Schmidt and Google running some insane scheme to take over America. That posting was before The Snowden thing happened.
If you had come across this guy’s posting from a year, or so, ago, you might have dismissed it as whack. In light of the facts that have now emerged in the news.. it’s kinda sounding more “right on the mark”. See what you think:
“I used to work at Google. I left because of what I saw. Eric Schmidt has gone nuts. He can act normal in interviews but behind the scenes, he has lost his marbles from hyper-affluenza. He has this secret group called New America Foundation that tells politicians what to do, he even tells Obama. HIs people are ON STAFF in the White House. He has this spy thing called INQTEL that does weird politics manipulation. He buys girls for weird parties. He has a concept that he wants America run “his way” and that he has the money to buy that plan. He got some other big Silicon Valley investors to buy into his plan and they seem to be doing this thing based around the FDR Smedley Butler federal take-over attempt. Look up “Smedley Butler” online but don’t look anything up on Google. Schmidt, and the boys, have the Google search engine rigged to hide anything that comes out about this. He and the boys got Obama to give billions and billions of dollars to them through TARP and the Department of Energy. He even claimed, once at a private party, to have arranged, with Goldman Sachs, to have faked the last economic collapse in order to get the TARP and Department of Energy funds created so that they could be given to “his boys”. I’m going to China until this blows over. You will see that the beneficiaries of the TARP and DOE cash were almost all connected to Eric. Schmidt uses the Google built-in spying systems to keep an eye out for any trouble-makers who might squeal. Good Luck.”
In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, arrived from America at Ellingham Hall, the country house in Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest.
For several hours the besieged leader of the world’s most famous insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the world’s largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the political problems faced by society, and the technological solutions engendered by the global network—from the Arab Spring to Bitcoin.
They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with U.S. foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to Western companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.
In this extract from When Google Met WikiLeaks Assange describes his encounter with Schmidt and how he came to conclude that it was far from an innocent exchange of views.
Eric Schmidt is an influential figure, even among the parade of powerful characters with whom I have had to cross paths since I founded WikiLeaks. In mid-May 2011 I was under house arrest in rural Norfolk, England, about three hours’ drive northeast of London. The crackdown against our work was in full swing and every wasted moment seemed like an eternity. It was hard to get my attention.
But when my colleague Joseph Farrell told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me, I was listening.
In some ways the higher echelons of Google seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. We had been locking horns with senior U.S. officials for years by that point. The mystique had worn off. But the power centers growing up in Silicon Valley were still opaque and I was suddenly conscious of an opportunity to understand and influence what was becoming the most influential company on earth. Schmidt had taken over as CEO of Google in 2001 and built it into an empire.
I was intrigued that the mountain would come to Muhammad. But it was not until well after Schmidt and his companions had been and gone that I came to understand who had really visited me.
The stated reason for the visit was a book. Schmidt was penning a treatise with Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas, an outfit that describes itself as Google’s in-house “think/do tank.”
I knew little else about Cohen at the time. In fact, Cohen had moved to Google from the U.S. State Department in 2010. He had been a fast-talking “Generation Y” ideas man at State under two U.S. administrations, a courtier from the world of policy think tanks and institutes, poached in his early twenties.
He became a senior advisor for Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. At State, on the Policy Planning Staff, Cohen was soon christened “Condi’s party-starter,” channeling buzzwords from Silicon Valley into U.S. policy circles and producing delightful rhetorical concoctions such as “Public Diplomacy 2.0.” On his Council on Foreign Relations adjunct staff page he listed his expertise as “terrorism; radicalization; impact of connection technologies on 21st century statecraft; Iran.”
It was Cohen who, while he was still at the Department of State, was said to have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance in order to assist the aborted 2009 uprising in Iran. His documented love affair with Google began the same year when he befriended Eric Schmidt as they together surveyed the post-occupation wreckage of Baghdad. Just months later, Schmidt re-created Cohen’s natural habitat within Google itself by engineering a “think/do tank” based in New York and appointing Cohen as its head. Google Ideas was born.
Later that year two co-wrote a policy piece for the Council on Foreign Relations’ journal Foreign Affairs, praising the reformative potential of Silicon Valley technologies as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. Describing what they called “coalitions of the connected,” Schmidt and Cohen claimed that:
Democratic states that have built coalitions of their militaries have the capacity to do the same with their connection technologies.…
They offer a new way to exercise the duty to protect citizens around the world [emphasis added].
Schmidt and Cohen said they wanted to interview me. I agreed. A date was set for June.
Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, director of Google IdeasOlivia Harris/Reuters
* * *
By the time June came around there was already a lot to talk about. That summer WikiLeaks was still grinding through the release of U.S. diplomatic cables, publishing thousands of them every week. When, seven months earlier, we had first started releasing the cables, Hillary Clinton had denounced the publication as “an attack on the international community” that would “tear at the fabric” of government.
It was into this ferment that Google projected itself that June, touching down at a London airport and making the long drive up into East Anglia to Norfolk and Beccles.
Schmidt arrived first, accompanied by his then partner, Lisa Shields. When he introduced her as a vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations—a U.S. foreign-policy think tank with close ties to the State Department—I thought little more of it. Shields herself was straight out of Camelot, having been spotted by John Kennedy Jr.’s side back in the early 1990s.
They sat with me and we exchanged pleasantries. They said they had forgotten their Dictaphone, so we used mine. We made an agreement that I would forward them the recording and in exchange they would forward me the transcript, to be corrected for accuracy and clarity. We began. Schmidt plunged in at the deep end, straightaway quizzing me on the organizational and technological underpinnings of WikiLeaks.
* * *
Some time later Jared Cohen arrived. With him was Scott Malcomson, introduced as the book’s editor. Three months after the meeting Malcomson would enter the State Department as the lead speechwriter and principal advisor to Susan Rice (then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, now national security advisor).
At this point, the delegation was one part Google, three parts U.S. foreign-policy establishment, but I was still none the wiser. Handshakes out of the way, we got down to business.
Schmidt was a good foil. A late-fiftysomething, squint-eyed behind owlish spectacles, managerially dressed—Schmidt’s dour appearance concealed a machinelike analyticity. His questions often skipped to the heart of the matter, betraying a powerful nonverbal structural intelligence.
It was the same intellect that had abstracted software-engineering principles to scale Google into a megacorp, ensuring that the corporate infrastructure always met the rate of growth. This was a person who understood how to build and maintain systems: systems of information and systems of people. My world was new to him, but it was also a world of unfolding human processes, scale and information flows.
For a man of systematic intelligence, Schmidt’s politics—such as I could hear from our discussion—were surprisingly conventional, even banal. He grasped structural relationships quickly, but struggled to verbalize many of them, often shoehorning geopolitical subtleties into Silicon Valley marketese or the ossified State Department micro-language of his companions. He was at his best when he was speaking (perhaps without realizing it) as an engineer, breaking down complexities into their orthogonal components.
I found Cohen a good listener, but a less interesting thinker, possessed of that relentless conviviality that routinely afflicts career generalists and Rhodes Scholars. As you would expect from his foreign-policy background, Cohen had a knowledge of international flash points and conflicts and moved rapidly between them, detailing different scenarios to test my assertions. But it sometimes felt as if he was riffing on orthodoxies in a way that was designed to impress his former colleagues in official Washington.
Malcomson, older, was more pensive, his input thoughtful and generous. Shields was quiet for much of the conversation, taking notes, humoring the bigger egos around the table while she got on with the real work.
As the interviewee, I was expected to do most of the talking. I sought to guide them into my worldview. To their credit, I consider the interview perhaps the best I have given. I was out of my comfort zone and I liked it.
We ate and then took a walk in the grounds, all the while on the record. I asked Eric Schmidt to leak U.S. government information requests to WikiLeaks, and he refused, suddenly nervous, citing the illegality of disclosing Patriot Act requests. And then, as the evening came on, it was done and they were gone, back to the unreal, remote halls of information empire, and I was left to get back to my work.
That was the end of it, or so I thought.
* * *
Two months later, WikiLeaks’ release of State Department cables was coming to an abrupt end. For three-quarters of a year we had painstakingly managed the publication, pulling in over a hundred global media partners, distributing documents in their regions of influence and overseeing a worldwide, systematic publication and redaction system, fighting for maximum impact for our sources.
But The Guardian newspaper—our former partner—had published the confidential decryption password to all 251,000 cables in a chapter heading in its book, rushed out hastily in February 2011.
By mid-August we discovered that a former German employee—whom I had suspended in 2010—was cultivating business relationships with a variety of organizations and individuals by shopping around the location of the encrypted file, paired with the password’s whereabouts in the book. At the rate the information was spreading, we estimated that within two weeks most intelligence agencies, contractors and middlemen would have all the cables, but the public would not.
I decided it was necessary to bring forward our publication schedule by four months and contact the State Department to get it on record that we had given them advance warning. The situation would then be harder to spin into another legal or political assault.
Unable to raise Louis Susman, then U.S. ambassador to the U.K., we tried the front door. WikiLeaks investigations editor Sarah Harrison called the State Department front desk and informed the operator that “Julian Assange” wanted to have a conversation with Hillary Clinton. Predictably, this statement was initially greeted with bureaucratic disbelief.
We soon found ourselves in a reenactment of that scene in Dr. Strangelove, where Peter Sellers cold-calls the White House to warn of an impending nuclear war and is immediately put on hold. As in the film, we climbed the hierarchy, speaking to incrementally more superior officials until we reached Clinton’s senior legal advisor. He told us he would call us back. We hung up, and waited.
When the phone rang half an hour later, it was not the State Department on the other end of the line. Instead, it was Joseph Farrell, the WikiLeaks staffer who had set up the meeting with Google. He had just received an email from Lisa Shields seeking to confirm that it was indeed WikiLeaks calling the State Department.
It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.
While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.
I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.
The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.
Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.
Founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange speaking from the Ecuadorean embassy in London appears on a screen as he gives a video conference to open the Human Rights Film Festival in Barcelona on October 22, 2014.Quique Garcia/AFP/Getty
Only a few months before he met with me, Cohen was planning a trip to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan to “engage the Iranian communities closer to the border,” as part of a Google Ideas’ project on “repressive societies.” In internal emails Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, Fred Burton (himself a former State Department security official), wrote:
Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do…
[Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag.
In further internal communication, Burton said his sources on Cohen’s activities were Marty Lev—Google’s director of security and safety—and Eric Schmidt himself.
Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.
Three days after he visited me at Ellingham Hall, Jared Cohen flew to Ireland to direct the “Save Summit,” an event co-sponsored by Google Ideas and the Council on Foreign Relations. Gathering former inner-city gang members, right-wing militants, violent nationalists and “religious extremists” from all over the world together in one place, the event aimed to workshop technological solutions to the problem of “violent extremism.” What could go wrong?
Cohen’s world seems to be one event like this after another: endless soirees for the cross-fertilization of influence between elites and their vassals, under the pious rubric of “civil society.” The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic “civil society sector” in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the “private sector,” leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech and accountable government.
This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming “civil society” into a buyer’s market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm’s length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.
It is not just obvious neocon front groups like Foreign Policy Initiative. It also includes fatuous Western NGOs like Freedom House, where naïve but well-meaning career nonprofit workers are twisted in knots by political funding streams, denouncing non-Western human rights violations while keeping local abuses firmly in their blind spots.
The civil society conference circuit—which flies developing-world activists across the globe hundreds of times a year to bless the unholy union between “government and private stakeholders” at geopoliticized events like the “Stockholm Internet Forum”—simply could not exist if it were not blasted with millions of dollars in political funding annually.
Scan the memberships of the biggest U.S. think tanks and institutes and the same names keep cropping up. Cohen’s Save Summit went on to seed AVE, or AgainstViolentExtremism.org, a long-term project whose principal backer besides Google Ideas is the Gen Next Foundation. This foundation’s website says it is an “exclusive membership organization and platform for successful individuals” that aims to bring about “social change” driven by venture capital funding. Gen Next’s “private sector and non-profit foundation support avoids some of the potential perceived conflicts of interest faced by initiatives funded by governments.” Jared Cohen is an executive member.
Gen Next also backs an NGO, launched by Cohen toward the end of his State Department tenure, for bringing Internet-based global “pro-democracy activists” into the U.S. foreign relations patronage network. The group originated as the “Alliance of Youth Movements” with an inaugural summit in New York City in 2008 funded by the State Department and encrusted with the logos of corporate sponsors. The summit flew in carefully selected social media activists from “problem areas” like Venezuela and Cuba to watch speeches by the Obama campaign’s new-media team and the State Department’s James Glassman, and to network with public relations consultants, “philanthropists,” and U.S. media personalities.
You are the vanguard of a rising generation of citizen activists.…
And that makes you the kind of leaders we need.
In 2011, the Alliance of Youth Movements rebranded as “Movements.org.” In 2012 Movements.org became a division of “Advancing Human Rights,” a new NGO set up by Robert L. Bernstein after he resigned from Human Rights Watch (which he had originally founded) because he felt it should not cover Israeli and U.S. human rights abuses. Advancing Human Rights aims to right Human Rights Watch’s wrong by focusing exclusively on “dictatorships.”
Cohen stated that the merger of his Movements.org outfit with Advancing Human Rights was “irresistible,” pointing to the latter’s “phenomenal network of cyber-activists in the Middle East and North Africa.” He then joined the Advancing Human Rights board, which also includes Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in occupied Afghanistan. In its present guise, Movements.org continues to receive funding from Gen Next, as well as from Google, MSNBC and PR giant Edelman, which represents General Electric, Boeing, and Shell, among others.
Google Ideas is bigger, but it follows the same game plan. Glance down the speaker lists of its annual invite-only get-togethers, such as “Crisis in a Connected World” in October 2013. Social network theorists and activists give the event a veneer of authenticity, but in truth it boasts a toxic piñata of attendees: U.S. officials, telecom magnates, security consultants, finance capitalists and foreign-policy tech vultures like Alec Ross (Cohen’s twin at the State Department).
At the hard core are the arms contractors and career military: active U.S. Cyber Command chieftains, and even the admiral responsible for all U.S. military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. Tying up the package are Jared Cohen and the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt.
I began to think of Schmidt as a brilliant but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire who had been exploited by the very U.S. foreign-policy types he had collected to act as translators between himself and official Washington—a West Coast–East Coast illustration of the principal-agent dilemma.
I was wrong.
* * *
Eric Schmidt was born in Washington, D.C., where his father had worked as a professor and economist for the Nixon Treasury. He attended high school in Arlington, Virginia, before graduating with a degree in engineering from Princeton.
In 1979, Schmidt headed out West to Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. before joining Stanford/ Berkeley spin-off Sun Microsystems in 1983. By the time he left Sun, sixteen years later, he had become part of its executive leadership.
Sun had significant contracts with the U.S. government, but it was not until he was in Utah as CEO of Novell that records show Schmidt strategically engaging Washington’s overt political class. Federal campaign finance records show that on January 6, 1999, Schmidt donated two lots of $1,000 to the Republican senator for Utah, Orrin Hatch. On the same day Schmidt’s wife, Wendy, is also listed giving two lots of $1,000 to Senator Hatch.
By the start of 2001, over a dozen other politicians and PACs, including Al Gore, George W. Bush, Dianne Feinstein, and Hillary Clinton, were on the Schmidts’ payroll, in one case for $100,000.
By 2013, Eric Schmidt—who had become publicly over-associated with the Obama White House—was more politic. Eight Republicans and eight Democrats were directly funded, as were two PACs. That April, $32,300 went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. A month later the same amount, $32,300, headed off to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Why Schmidt was donating exactly the same amount of money to both parties is a $64,600 question.
It was also in 1999 that Schmidt joined the board of a Washington, D.C.–based group: the New America Foundation, a merger of well-connected centrist forces (in D.C. terms). The foundation and its 100 staff serve as an influence mill, using its network of approved national security, foreign policy and technology pundits to place hundreds of articles and op-eds per year.
By 2008, Schmidt had become chairman of its board of directors. As of 2013 the New America Foundation’s principal funders (each contributing over $1 million) were listed as Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the U.S. State Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Secondary funders include Google, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Radio Free Asia.
Schmidt’s involvement in the New America Foundation places him firmly in the Washington establishment nexus. The foundation’s other board members, seven of whom also list themselves as members of the Council on Foreign Relations, include Francis Fukuyama, one of the intellectual fathers of the neoconservative movement; Rita Hauser, who served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board under both Bush and Obama; Jonathan Soros, the son of George Soros; Walter Russell Mead, a U.S. security strategist and editor of the American Interest; Helene Gayle, who sits on the boards of Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, the Rockefeller Foundation, the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Unit, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the White House Fellows program and Bono’s ONE Campaign; and Daniel Yergin, oil geo-strategist, former chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Task Force.
Google Executive Chairman Eric SchmidtPetar Kujundzic/Reuters
The chief executive of the foundation, appointed in 2013, is Jared Cohen’s former boss at the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton law and international relations wonk with an eye for revolving doors. She is everywhere, issuing calls for Obama to respond to the Ukraine crisis not only by deploying covert U.S. forces into the country but also by dropping bombs on Syria—on the basis that this will send a message to Russia and China. Along with Schmidt, she is a 2013 attendee of the Bilderberg conference and sits on the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.
There was nothing politically hapless about Eric Schmidt. I had been too eager to see a politically unambitious Silicon Valley engineer, a relic of the good old days of computer science graduate culture on the West Coast. But that is not the sort of person who attends the Bilderberg conference four years running, who pays regular visits to the White House, or who delivers “fireside chats” at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s “foreign minister”—making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines—had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within U.S. establishment networks of reputation and influence.
On a personal level, Schmidt and Cohen are perfectly likable people. But Google’s chairman is a classic “head of industry” player, with all of the ideological baggage that comes with that role. Schmidt fits exactly where he is: the point where the centrist, liberal and imperialist tendencies meet in American political life.
By all appearances, Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the “benevolent superpower.” They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of “don’t be evil.” They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem.
* * *
Google is different. Google is visionary. Google is the future. Google is more than just a company. Google gives back to the community. Google is a force for good.
Even when Google airs its corporate ambivalence publicly, it does little to dislodge these items of faith. The company’s reputation is seemingly unassailable. Google’s colorful, playful logo is imprinted on human retinas just under 6 billion times each day, 2.1 trillion times a year—an opportunity for respondent conditioning enjoyed by no other company in history.
Caught red-handed last year making petabytes of personal data available to the U.S. intelligence community through the PRISM program, Google nevertheless continues to coast on the goodwill generated by its “don’t be evil” doublespeak. A few symbolic open letters to the White House later and it seems all is forgiven. Even anti-surveillance campaigners cannot help themselves, at once condemning government spying but trying to alter Google’s invasive surveillance practices using appeasement strategies.
Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation. But Google has always been comfortable with this proximity. Long before company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Schmidt in 2001, their initial research upon which Google was based had been partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). And even as Schmidt’s Google developed an image as the overly friendly giant of global tech, it was building a close relationship with the intelligence community.
In 2003, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had already started systematically violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) under its director General Michael Hayden. These were the days of the “Total Information Awareness” program. Before PRISM was ever dreamed of, under orders from the Bush White House the NSA was already aiming to “collect it all, sniff it all, know it all, process it all, exploit it all.”
During the same period, Google—whose publicly declared corporate mission is to collect and “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”—was accepting NSA money to the tune of $2 million to provide the agency with search tools for its rapidly accreting hoard of stolen knowledge.
In 2004, after taking over Keyhole, a mapping tech startup co-funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the CIA, Google developed the technology into Google Maps, an enterprise version of which it has since shopped to the Pentagon and associated federal and state agencies on multimillion-dollar contracts.
In 2008, Google helped launch an NGA spy satellite, the GeoEye-1, into space. Google shares the photographs from the satellite with the U.S. military and intelligence communities. In 2010, NGA awarded Google a $27 million contract for “geospatial visualization services.”
In 2010, after the Chinese government was accused of hacking Google, the company entered into a “formal information-sharing” relationship with the NSA, which was said to allow NSA analysts to “evaluate vulnerabilities” in Google’s hardware and software. Although the exact contours of the deal have never been disclosed, the NSA brought in other government agencies to help, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Around the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies and Pentagon-affiliated agencies “at network speed.” Emails obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about ESF.
Reportage on the emails focused on the familiarity in the correspondence: “General Keith…so great to see you…!” Schmidt wrote. But most reports over-looked a crucial detail. “Your insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” Alexander wrote to Brin, “are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.”
The Department of Homeland Security defines the Defense Industrial Base as “the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements [emphasis added].” The Defense Industrial Base provides “products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.”
Does it include regular commercial services purchased by the U.S. military? No. The definition specifically excludes the purchase of regular commercial services. Whatever makes Google a “key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” it is not recruitment campaigns pushed out through Google AdWords or soldiers checking their Gmail.
In 2012, Google arrived on the list of top-spending Washington, D.C., lobbyists—a list typically stalked exclusively by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, military contractors, and the petro-carbon leviathans. Google entered the rankings above military aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, with a total of $18.2 million spent in 2012 to Lockheed’s $15.3 million. Boeing, the military contractor that absorbed McDonnell Douglas in 1997, also came below Google, at $15.6 million spent, as did Northrop Grumman at $17.5 million.
In autumn 2013 the Obama administration was trying to drum up support for U.S. airstrikes against Syria. Despite setbacks, the administration continued to press for military action well into September with speeches and public announcements by both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. On September 10, Google lent its front page—the most popular on the Internet—to the war effort, inserting a line below the search box reading “Live! Secretary Kerry answers questions on Syria. Today via Hangout at 2pm ET.”
As the self-described “radical centrist” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in 1999, sometimes it is not enough to leave the global dominance of American tech corporations to something as mercurial as “the free market”:
The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
If anything has changed since those words were written, it is that Silicon Valley has grown restless with that passive role, aspiring instead to adorn the hidden fist like a velvet glove. Writing in 2013, Schmidt and Cohen stated,
What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.
One way of looking at it is that it’s just business. For an American Internet services monopoly to ensure global market dominance, it cannot simply keep doing what it is doing and let politics take care of itself. American strategic and economic hegemony becomes a vital pillar of its market dominance. What’s a megacorp to do? If it wants to straddle the world, it must become part of the original “don’t be evil” empire.
But part of the resilient image of Google as “more than just a company” comes from the perception that it does not act like a big, bad corporation. Its penchant for luring people into its services trap with gigabytes of “free storage” produces the perception that Google is giving it away for free, acting directly contrary to the corporate profit motive.
Google is perceived as an essentially philanthropic enterprise—a magical engine presided over by otherworldly visionaries—for creating a utopian future. The company has at times appeared anxious to cultivate this image, pouring funding into “corporate responsibility” initiatives to produce “social change”—exemplified by Google Ideas.
But as Google Ideas shows, the company’s “philanthropic” efforts, too, bring it uncomfortably close to the imperial side of U.S. influence. If Blackwater/Xe Services/Academi was running a program like Google Ideas, it would draw intense critical scrutiny. But somehow Google gets a free pass.
Whether it is being just a company or “more than just a company,” Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower. As Google’s search and Internet service monopoly grows, and as it enlarges its industrial surveillance cone to cover the majority of the world’s population, rapidly dominating the mobile phone market and racing to extend Internet access in the global south, Google is steadily becoming the Internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history.
If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.
I need help in trying to figure out if my phone has sometime of spyware or could be possibly cloned. I have a Samsung Epic 4g with Sprint. Finally after months and months of trying to get Sprint to help me they are now involved because of my complaint with the FCC but still they are a …
1. A strange eye shaped icon notification never seen before appeared yesterday on my phone’s top bar with chinese typing in it. Clicking on icon open browser at blog.avenc.tw saying could not load the page.
http://www.mobiespion.com/android-spy/ Permalink Flag. Reply. android-cell-phone-spy 1 year ago. That’s … I do have to say I believe firmly anyone in the world with a mother like this; who can and would do these things; I have the right to hate her and these spyware apps.
There are a few companies on the android market that have created anti … internet is needed and even when i swipe the lock screen. it even happened after playing angry birds. im worried i may have spyware on my phone its only 2 weeks old aswell. how can i tell if i have got …
As soon as an app is uploaded, Bouncer checks it and compares it to other known malware, Trojans, and spyware. … You forget to mention that many antivirus solutions on androidhave call block and SMS block feature.
So if you do have malware detection and removal software on your … AVG’s free mobile app for Android has been downloaded more than 70 million times and is even more … malware and spyware. And while this has nothing to do with malware, AVG Antivirus also will kill tasks that slow your …
After installing Mobistealth Android Spy App on my sons phone for about a week, I came across a phone conversation between my son and a “friend” who wanted him to come out and go to a big party where there would be lots of drugs and alcohol.
Does your spouse have an android phone and you want to catch them cheating? We take a look at the top spy apps available and give our review! Relationship Solutions. Spying, Advice and Hacking Resources. Home; Spying Products; Get Revenge; Contact;
cellphone wiretapping application for an android cellphone ? i’m curious because i hear my phone ma… Home; Mail; News; Sports; Finance; Weather; Games; Groups; Answers; Screen; Flickr … Does my brother’s Androidhavespyware to wiretap my cellphone ?
How Do I Know If My Android Tablet Has Spyware. Now CEO Bezos has said the number will be closer to 10,000 by the end of this year. This beta test will give us our first glimpse at the potential size of the Machines market.
The majority of Android security apps are actually packages that include a host of other tools from contact filtering to remote lock or wipe. We decided to take a look at the top five Android security apps and find out what they do. … spyware, and the threat of infection.
Doesandroidhave a app like iphones spyglass. Spy cam links to iphone. AA’s just haven’t done this and thou didst throw but answers vary, that merely for ucsf emory university admissions counselors claim medicine. 14th but presented by fencer may 20 of blackberry spy tracker uk post I’m fairly …
The good news though is that Androidspyware can be detected and removed. If you believe you have Androidspyware installed on your cell, you should take your cell phone to your service center and have them reformat it.
Google’s history of anti-social social networks and anti-trust trust relations that deceptively breach online consumer privacy and trust has already begun to threaten its longstanding web hegemony and its vaunted brand.
Not Evil: As a Big Company, They’re Always Going to Offend Someone. One thing many of you pointed out is that Google’s come under more scrutiny about the evil banner because they’ve gotten a lot bigger since they made that original motto.
Forget the NSA – it’s Google you should be worried about. Fox News; Fox Business; Fox News Latino; Fox Business Go; Fox News Radio; Fox Nation; Fox News Insider; … there’s even more evidence that Googleis the most evil tech company since Microsoft was, …
Conference keynote speeches aren’t usually very controversial, and internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis marched through his opening address for PubCon Las Vegas with a lengthy succession of slides showing the rapidly changing nature of media. He spiced up the statistics by going …
Google had a wonderful search engine but unfortunately has become some sort of perverse game that we are all forced to play. And while the people at Google and their shareholders continue to earn billions, small businesses like mine suffer….
The growing European backlash against Google, reflected in the European Commission’s rejection of the search giant’s antitrust settlement and a German minister’s request for it to reveal its search algorithms, suggests it’s hard to regulate Google in a way that increases, rather than reduces, its
“Don’t be evil” is the formal corporate motto (or slogan) of Google. While there have been unsourced allegations that Google dropped this motto, particularly in light of privacy violations, it remains at the head of Google’s corporate Code of Conduct. It was first suggested either by Google …
When Apple and Google unveiled new encryption schemes last month, law enforcement officials complained that they wouldn’t be able to unlock evidence on criminals’ digital devices. What they didn’t say is that there are already methods to bypass encryption, thanks to off-the-shelf digital implants readily available to the smallest national agencies and the largest city police forces — easy-to-use software that takes over and monitors digital devices in real time, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
We’re publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software “Remote Control System,” manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team. Despite FBI director James Comey’s dire warnings about the impact of widespread data scrambling — “criminals and terrorists would like nothing more,” he declared — Hacking Team explicitly promises on its website that its software can “defeat encryption.”
The manuals describe Hacking Team’s software for government technicians and analysts, showing how it can activate cameras, exfiltrate emails, record Skype calls, log typing, and collect passwords on targeted devices. They also catalog a range of pre-bottled techniques for infecting those devices using wifi networks, USB sticks, streaming video, and email attachments to deliver viral installers. With a few clicks of a mouse, even a lightly trained technician can build a software agent that can infect and monitor a device, then upload captured data at unobtrusive times using a stealthy network of proxy servers, all without leaving a trace. That, at least, is what Hacking Team’s manuals claim as the company tries to distinguish its offerings in the global marketplace for government hacking software.
Hacking Team’s efforts include a visible push into the U.S. Though Remote Control System is sold around the world — suspected clients include small governments in dozens of countries, from Ethiopia to Kazakhstan to Saudi Arabia to Mexico to Oman — the company keeps one of its three listed worldwide offices in Annapolis, Maryland, on the edge of the federal intelligence and law-enforcement cluster around the nation’s capital; has sent representatives to American homeland security trade shows and conferences, where it has led training seminars like “Cyber Intelligence Solutions to Data Encryption” for police; and has even taken an investment from a firm headed by America’s former ambassador to Italy. The United States is also, according to two separate research teams, far and away Hacking Team’s top nexus for servers, hosting upwards of 100 such systems, roughly a fifth of all its servers globally.
The company has made at least some sales to American entities, according to comments its outspoken co-founder and CEO David Vincenzetti made in l’Espresso in 2011. “We sell Remote Control System to institutions in more than 40 countries on five continents,” he told the Italian newsmagazine. “All of Europe, but also the Middle East, Asia, United States of America.” In the English-language press, where Hacking Team has been more circumspect about its client list, Vincenzetti’s l’Espresso comments about selling implants to U.S. institutions seem to have fallen through the cracks. Asked about them, Hacking Team spokesman Eric Rabe told TheIntercept, “we do not identify either our clients or their locations.”Whatever the extent of its U.S. sales, Hacking Team’s manuals deserve an audience in America and beyond. This summer, researchers at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, including the co-author of this piece, published excerpts of the manuals and technical descriptions of Hacking Team’s capabilities. Publishing the manuals in their entirety here will give the public a better understanding of the sophistication of these relatively low-cost and increasingly prevalent surveillance tools. That sort of understanding is particularly important at a time when digital monitoring has spread from large federal agencies to local police departments and as more national governments gain the once-rarified ability to deploy digital implants across borders. Turnkey solutions like RCS effectively multiply the online threats faced by activists, dissidents, lawyers, businessmen, journalists, and any number of other computer users.
A Niche for Commercial Spyware
Within the U.S., there’s relatively little information on the prevalence of law enforcement hacking. The FBI only rarely discloses its use in criminal cases. Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Project on Speech, Privacy and Technology, who has closely tracked the FBI’s use of malware, says that agents use vague language when getting judges’ permission to hack devices. “This is a really, really, invasive tool,” Soghoian says. “If the courts don’t know what they’re authorizing, they’re not a good check on its use. If we as a society want malware to be used by the state, we ought to have a public debate.”
What is clear is that large nations with well-funded intelligence establishments have long been capable of the kind of surveillance Hacking Team offers. In 2001, it was first reported that the FBI had developed malware known as Magic Lantern, which could take over a computer and log its users’ keystrokes, as a way around encryption. Soghoian says it’s likely that the bureau and American intelligence agencies get more customized spying solutions from contractors other than Hacking Team. Countries such as China and Russia probably develop their spyware in-house.
Hacking Team and the German firm FinFisher have taken over another niche, as the most prominent purveyors of user-friendly, off-the-shelf spyware for less moneyed customers, says Ben Wagner, director of the Center for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina. A recent leak of FinFisher data showed customer service communications between the company and Bahrain, Pakistan, Estonia, and a regional police department in Australia, among other clients. The cost of a Hacking Team installation package, meanwhile, ranges from 200,000 to 1 million euros, Vincenzetti told l’Espresso in 2011. Pricey, but not out of reach.“If those countries didn’t have access to Gamma [FinFisher’s former parent company] or Hacking Team, they probably wouldn’t be able to do this kind of surveillance,” says Wagner. “Those are the two that we know about who have really gone for this targeted surveillance market for smaller and midsize countries.”
Soghoian thinks that “to the extent that Hacking Team has sold in the U.S., it would be to less well-resourced federal agencies or bigger local police teams.”
Hacking Team has built up enough of a profile to become something of an icon in its home country. “Elegant and tan” Vincenzetti has been lauded as a poster-boy for modernizing the Italian economy and is touted to stateside investors at events like “Italy Meets the USA.” Among those promoting Hacking Team is Innogest, an Italian venture capital firm headed by the former U.S. ambassador to Italy Ronald Spogli. The company is in Innogest’s own portfolio.
Despite the acclaim, Hacking Team — and its competitor FinFisher — have drawn the ire of human rights and privacy activists. “We have not that many companies doing nasty things for not that much money on a global scale, but with huge human rights effects,” Wagner said.
Companies like Hacking Team refer to their products as “lawful intercept” technology. They need at least the pretense of dealing with legitimate actors because the legality of surveillance software depends on the behavior of its users. That’s all that fundamentally separates their software from tools for crime or repression. But evaluating that legitimacy becomes tougher as prices fall and customers proliferate.
Hacking Team offers the assurance that its users are all government institutions. Spyware is perfectly legal in law enforcement or intelligence investigations “if used with the proper legal authorization in whatever jurisdiction they’re in,” according to Nate Cardozo, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Hacking Team’s “customer policy” also claims that it will not sell to countries listed on international “blacklists” or that it believes “facilitate gross human rights abuses.” The company won’t disclose what it means by blacklists, how its review process works, or which, if any, customers have been dumped. Hacking Team’s spokesman refused to provide details beyond what is on the company’s website.
There’s evidence the company is not being particularly selective about to whom it sells. Of 21 suspected Hacking Team users tracked down by Citizen Lab, nine had been given the lowest possible ranking, “authoritarian,” in The Economist’s 2012 Democracy Index, and four of those were singled out for particularly egregious abuses — torture, beatings and rapes in detention, lethal violence against protestors — by Human Rights Watch.
Its competitors face similar criticism. Activists in Bahrain and Ethiopia have found FinFisher spyware on their computers. (FinFisher did not respond to an emailed request for comment.)
The U.S. government has shown an interest in policing the improper use of packaged malware. The Justice Department just recently brought its first case against a spyware developer, arresting a Pakistani man who marketed StealthGenie, an app that does some of the same things as Hacking Team’s RCS – monitoring all phone calls, messages, emails, texts and more without the owner’s knowledge — except for individuals rather than governments. Announcing the charges against StealthGenie’s maker, an assistant attorney general called the spyware “reprehensible…expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim’s personal life.”
How It Works
Key to the spread of software like Hacking Team RCS is that it’s designed to be simple for non-experts to use.
In a brochure, Hacking Team boasts, “You cannot stop your targets from moving. How can you keep chasing them? What you need is a way to bypass encryption, collect relevant data out of any device, and keep monitoring your targets wherever they are, even outside your monitoring domain. Remote Control System does exactly that.”
Hacking Team manuals, dated September 2013, provide step-by-step instructions for technicians, administrators, and analysts on how to infect a device and set up spying.
The software can be installed physically, via a USB stick, if the authorities have direct access to the computer (imagine a police stop or an airport search.)
Or, the infection can happen remotely. It could take the familiar form of a phishing attack or email scam – as a group of Moroccan reporters found out in 2012. A document promising them a secret scoop (it was titled “scandale,” in French) turned out to be a decoy for Hacking Team software. An Emirati blogger fell victim to the same trick. The implant can also be melded with legitimate, useful software that the victim is prompted to download.
As The Intercept has previously reported, Hacking Team also installs its bugs via “network injectors” – physical devices housed with internet service providers, that allow them to intercept ordinary web traffic, like streaming video, and replace it with infectious code. (After we reported that YouTube and Microsoft Live were exploitable in this way, both companies moved to fix the vulnerabilities.)
From page 107 of the RCS Technician’s Guide. Click to enlarge.
Then there are covert network injections. The spyware installer might lay in wait in a hotel, or a Starbucks, and gain access to your computer by “emulating an access point” – in other words, pretending to be a free wifi hotspot to which the victim connected previously. The manual also describes how the software can deploy password-busting tools to break into closed wifi networks.
From RCS Technician’s Guide, page 115. Click to enlarge.
From RCS Technician’s Guide, page 117. Click to enlarge.
The Hacking Team manuals recommend that customers buy a code signing certificate from Verisign (now Symantec), Thawte, or GoDaddy– companies that offer a stamp of assurance that signals to operating systems and anti-virus scanners that the software is legitimate. Getting what Symantec calls its “digital shrinkwrap” added to Hacking Team software makes it less likely to be detected. (Symantec declined to comment on how it handles malware in issuing certificates. GoDaddy and Thawte did not respond.)
Via one of those methods, the “agent” — ie., the bug — is implanted on any of these devices:
From RCS Technician’s Guide, page 39. Click to enlarge
And set up to start recording:
From RCS Technician’s Guide, page 71. Click to enlarge.
The “analyst” can then explore and take virtually anything from the target’s phone or computer, at least according to the manual.
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 59-60. Click to enlarge.
Here our analyst selects an investigation – code-named “Swordfish,” and described as a “Terrorist Attack in Singapore.”
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 32. Click to enlarge.
Opening that up, he sees the targets in swordfish – “Alejandro Reade,” “Joey Fargo,” and “Jimmy Page” – “head of the terrorist cell.”
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 34. Click to enlarge.
Here’s what he’s looking at on Jimmy’s computer: his desktop, Skype account, Firefox browsing. All of that can be exported from the bugged device to the spy’s computer, undetected.
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 49. Click to enlarge.
But before he sends everything off to his higher-ups, he can have a listen, to decide if it’s relevant:
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 56. Click to enlarge.
And can even translate it:
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, page 48. Click to enlarge.
Once he’s got all that, he maps out the various people and places tied to his target.
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, pages 66-67. Click to enlarge.
Entities are automatically linked by the software based on their contacts – either as a “know,” a “peer,” or an “identity” (ie., two addresses associated with the same person.)
From RCS Analyst’s Guide, pages 68, 70, and 71. Click to enlarge.
The Hacking Team manuals recommend that customers buy a code signing certificate from Verisign (now Symantec), Thawte, or GoDaddy- companies that offer a stamp of assurance that signals to operating systems and anti-virus scanners that the software is legitimate.
The manuals describe Hacking Team’s software for government technicians and analysts, showing how it can activate cameras, exfiltrate emails, … Submission: Secretmanuals show the spyware sold to despots and cops worldwide.
The Secrets of America’s High-Tech Haunted Houses; … But the version of the manual the NSA released was last updated in 2007, … that Johnny Long has been talking about this for years at hacker conferences and in his book Google Hacking, you’d be right.
The Information Center Supermarket of impossible to find publications. “130 Publications on Hacking, Tapping, Jacking, Hiding, … SO LEARN THE SECRET! HACKING ONSTAR The OnStar System is becoming more and more common as GM installs it by default in many of their vehicles.
Hello friends, today i am going to share all the available secret hack codes for iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. These secret hack codes will help you to hack the iPhone and helps you to explore the internal settings of your iPhone.
Download manual guide of Free HackingSecrets Revealed Dowload in pdf that we listed in Manual Guide. This manual books file was taken from security.irost.org that avaialble for FREE DOWNLOAD as owners manual, user guide / buyer guide or mechanic reference guide.
Espionage & Technology. Why would you need to know about espionage? Because it’s not just secret agents who should know how to use the latest technology and tools to gather information, investigate people or companies, run a surveillance op, or determine who’s telling the truth about what.
… Google’s secret hacks … Security Agency just declassified a hefty 643-page research manual called Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research that, at least at first, doesn’t appear all that interesting. That is, except for one section on page 73: “Google Hacking.”
Hacking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 … Steve Jackson Games was raided by the U.S. Secret Service during a “hacker hunt” that went disastrously out of control. … icial system manuals explain many Original Manuals They
HACKINGSECRETS REVEALED. Information and Instructional Guide HACKINGSECRETS REVEALED Production of S&C Enterprises … The authors of this manual will like to express our concerns about the misuse of the information contained in this manual.
Secrets of hacking slot machines Gaminator Admiral Novomatic. Secrets of the slot machine-is a chance to win with constant regularity, if any, or gives way to win 50 to 50 is no longer a secret, this is the correct method of playing.
HackingSecret Ciphers with Python not only teaches you how to write in secret ciphers with paper and pencil. This book teaches you how to write your own cipher programs and also the hacking programs that can break the encrypted messages from these ciphers.
All The Secrets Of Hacking Is Exposed Nothing is secure 100% in world, because nothing is impossible for hackers. Pages. Home; Exploits and Advisories; … check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ”’ at line 1 …
The Knightmare can break in; the only question is whether he wants to.Secrets of a Super Hacker is an extraordinary manual on the methods of hacking. Here are some of the techniques covered in this data-devouring dossier: – Brute Force Attacks: …
Hacking Exposed Live: Mobile Targeted Threats. The Next Wave of Attack. View Webcast Recording. Download Slides. View Android Exploit Demo. Hacking Exposed 7. Buy Now at Amazon.com. Follow Us. Twitter. Contact Us. For general questions and comments: email@example.com.
Reactor designer Westinghouse was among the companies listed as a victim of Chinese state-sponsored hacking in a first-of-its-kind indictment announced Monday. A grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted five military hackers, alleging they conspired to steal trade secrets from six American organizations
READ MORE STORIES ON THE SUBJECT BY PUTTING THESE ARTICLE TITLES INTO THE SEARCH WINDOW AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE:
Tesla Owner Buyers List Out in the Public. No privacy for Tesla Owners!2014/10/18
BOOKSTORE: PRIVACY ISSUES TOP BOOKSPage
Nobody Wants Your Privacy Abusing App! Developers On The Skids2014/08/18
Public uproar gets White House privacy CTO kicked to the curb. Charged with being anti-privacy Silicon Valley shill.2014/08/15
FACEBOOK Class Action Privacy Abuse Lawsuit is Good To Go2014/08/08
INTERNET PRIVACY ABUSE: PAGE 2Page
INTERNET PRIVACY ABUSE: PAGE 3Page
INTERNET PRIVACY ABUSE: PAGE 1Page
THE MOST SPY COMPROMISED WEB-SITES IN THE WORLD:2014/10/29
BILLBOARD APPEARS NEXT TO AMAZON CHARGING AMAZON WITH BEING FRONT FOR CIA!!!!!2014/10/29
YEP! AT&T CHARGED WITH LYING TO PUBLIC YET AGAIN. THIS TIME FEDS DROP THE HAMMER!2014/10/29
FTC hits the KILL-SWITCH ON DATING-SITE FAKE PROFILES! MATCH.COM and OK CUPID UNDER INVESTIGATION!2014/10/29
Do you have your “INFIDELITY BRACELET” Yet?: Electronic Chastity Belt Changes Everything!2014/10/29
TODAY’S TOP STORIES2014/10/29
THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: EXPOSE FILM AND REPORTS2014/10/29
The Curious Case Of The Corrupt Spies. We love it when they catch bad guys but not so much when they steal money.2014/10/26
CBS Reporter Attkinsson releases book disclosing White House corruption in CleanTech scandal and Fast and Furious cover-ups.2014/10/26
Bundlers and DOE Ex-Staff find that the tracks they thought they covered up were actually NOT covered up… Oops!2014/10/25
ENTIRE INTERNET HISTORY OF N.Y. HATCHET TERRORIST WAS EXPOSED AND DISCUSSED IN NEWS CONFERENCES WITHIN HOURS OF HIS DEATH2014/10/25
FACEBOOK BETS BIG ON VIRTUAL REALITY BROTHELS AND SEX ORGIES. PARENTS WORRIED KIDS CAN NOW HAVE UNSUPERVISED KINKY VR SEX ANYWHERE2014/10/22
Does the President’s Staff Just Sit Around and Lie To Him All Day Long? White House: Fire Some People!2014/10/18
Eric Schmidt’s Coup2014/10/17
21rst Century Protesting: HONG KONG! Lasers, Video Projectors, Drones, P2P, coded-hashcodes, Mass-mouthing – GEEK VS. GEEK CYBERWAR!2014/10/04
21rst Century Protesting: HONG KONG! Lasers, Video Projectors, Drones, P2P, coded-hashcodes, Mass-mouthing – GEEK VS. GEEK!Page
Do Snowden Papers Reveal Clues About 9/11?2014/10/04
GOOGLE TO GET SUED FOR $100M+ FOR CONSCIOUSLY MANIPULATING THEIR SEARCH ENGINE TO PROFIT OFF THE PAIN OF OTHERS! MULTIPLE LAWSUITS IN DEVELOPMENT2014/10/02
What Percentage of The White House Does Google’s Eric Schmidt Control?2014/09/30
Bob Winston: “Elon Musk, I say you are a mobster, so SUE ME!”2014/09/24
Spying Controversy Blowback, The Rebekah Brooks Trial and Dianne Feinstein2014/09/18
Assange: Google should be of concern to people all over the world ! GOOGLE EXPOSED!2014/09/18
INTERNET SECURITY TIPS FOR REGULAR FOLKS2014/09/15
THE DOUCHEBAG CRISISPage
Deaths, so far, In These Scandals! Murders and Acquisitions?2014/09/13
Silicon Valley CEO’s asked to come before Congress: Explain, in detail, which Silicon Valley jobs no American can fill? Clarify Cheap Labor Vs. “Immigration” reform”2014/09/12
Net Neutrality Issues and ISP’s now dead and gone! The P2P Web Has Arrived! On P2P Web, EVERYTHING is Free, Unthrottled, hacker-proof and users are no longer slaves to corporate gate-keepers on P2P Web!.2014/09/12
ACXIOM Turning Sick Old People into CASH! Better Than Soylent Green!2014/09/11
NSA LOVES the APPLE WATCH. Urges everyone to buy one, Especially ISIS!2014/09/10
Many New Devices Hit Market; designed to Shut Google Down! Buy a gadget to Un-Google yourself!2014/09/09
Details of How Silicon Valley Men Pay For Sex. Over 100,000 sex-for-sale relationships in SV.2014/09/09
Federal officials on Tuesday sued AT&T, the nation’s second-largest cellular carrier, for allegedly deceiving millions of customers by selling them supposedly “unlimited” data plans that the company later “throttled” by slowing Internet speeds when customers surfed the Web too much.
The Federal Trade Commission said the practice, used by AT&T since 2011, resulted in slower speeds for customers on at least 25 million occasions – in some cases cutting user Internet speeds by 90 percent, to the point where they resembled dial-up services of old. The 3.5 million affected customers experienced these slowdowns an average of 12 days each month, said the FTC, which received thousands of complaints about the practice.
The legal action — which AT&T immediately criticized and signaled it was prepared to fight — is one of the most aggressive yet under FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, a reserved former corporate lawyer who took office last year. In challenging one of the nation’s largest cellular providers, she also tread close to the jurisdiction of a sister agency, the Federal Communications Commission, which more regularly handles telecommunications issues but often has been criticized by consumer groups as being too cozy with industry and not aggressive enough in protecting customers’ privacy and pocketbooks.
“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said Ramirez in a statement. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”
She said that the FTC was seeking financial damages that could result in money being repaid to AT&T customers affected by the company’s policy of throttling. The suit, which was approved by the five-member commission in a unanimous vote, was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The FTC found in its investigation that AT&T was aware that consumers saw throttling as inconsistent with promises of “unlimited” data. When the company explained the concept to focus groups, the FTC reported in its suit, customers grew upset. The company’s own researchers then urged AT&T’s marketers that “saying less is more” when it comes to selling such services.
The FTC lawsuit rested on its power to police deceptive marketing practices and prompted praise from consumer advocates, who long have complained that cellular carriers have larded the bills of their customers with unnecessary and deceptive charges. Throttling, they said, deprived customers of data they believed they had paid for, with little recourse against AT&T. The practice occurred even when AT&T’s network was not burdened, according to the FTC, which added that the company had received 190,000 customer calls regarding the practice.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” said John Bergmayer, a senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group based in Washington. “They’re not allowed to promise one thing and deliver another… Unlimited is not unlimited when you put limits on it.”
AT&T responded by calling the FTC’s allegations “baseless” and an intrusion into the normal network management practiced by all telecommunications providers. The company also noted that it had alerted customers about the throttling, by sending e-mails or texts notifying customers that they had crossed pre-set limits and would experience slower data speeds for the rest of the billing period.
“It’s baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers,” said AT&T senior executive vice president Wayne Watts, “and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts.”
The lawsuit marks the second time this year that a major wireless carrier has been targeted for its treatment of customers on unlimited data plans. The FCC wrote a letter in July criticizing Verizon over a plan to throttle heavy users during periods of peak congestion. Verizon later backed down on that plan. The FCC said Tuesday that it was coordinating with the FTC on investigations into carriers slowing down unlimited data.
“Wireless customers across the country are complaining that their supposedly ‘unlimited’ data plans are not truly unlimited, because they are being throttled and they have not received appropriate notice,” said Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman. “We encourage customers to contact the FCC if they are being throttled by AT&T or other cellular providers.”
The lawsuit comes at an awkward time for AT&T, which is trying to convince regulators to approve its $49 billion acquisition of the nation’s largest satellite TV provider, DirecTV.
AT&T is also paying $105 million to settle charges from this month that it loaded consumers’ wireless bills with bogus third-party fees without their consent. Those fees, according to the FTC and the FCC, added “hundreds of millions of dollars” to AT&T’s bottom line over a five-year period and misled customers into thinking that they were being charged for AT&T’s own services.
FTC investigations take place behind closed doors and often result in out-of-court settlements, typically proceeding to legal action only when accords cannot be reached. The inability to agree on terms of a possible settlement suggests high stakes for AT&T, which like other cellular carriers relies increasingly on delivering data, rather than traditional phone calls, in making money from its customers. The company is the 14th-largest spender on lobbying in America, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the FTC cited numerous consumers who alleged that AT&T failed to honor its commitments to unlimited data.
“This is a clear case of bait and switch,” one customer said, according to the FTC’s complaint.
“If [I’m] being punished for using my phone and plan as advertised[,] then I have lost a lot of respect for [AT&T],” said another.
The fight also touches on some larger issues, including the politically charged debate over “net neutrality,” which concerns whether Internet providers should be allowed to alter the speeds of various Internet traffic, potentially prioritizing the data flowing from favored corporate partners. Both of the Republican commissioners on the FTC, Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua Wright, issued tweets on Tuesday afternoon saying that the AT&T lawsuit showed that the FTC already has the power to regulate certain abuses in Internet data flows.
“@ATT throttling case shows the @FTC can and will enforce broadband ISPs’ promises about traffic mgt. #NetNeutrality http:,” Ohlhausen said in her tweet.
Such arguments come amid larger turf issues between the FCC and the FTC, which regulates a broader group of industries and often is described as more aggressive in curbing the abuses of large companies.
“Under Ramirez, the commission is going to confront some of the most powerful companies in the country for their data and privacy practices,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a consumer and privacy group based in Washington. “This is part of a much broader set of investigations going on at the FTC to look at how the digital data marketplace treats consumers… The FTC is stepping into an area where the FCC has failed to be an effective regulator.”
The FTC filed a complaint in July against T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest cellular carrier, for allegedly “cramming” their bills with charges for “premium” services that customers often did not seek or understand.
Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
The Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T for allegedly misleading customers by slowing data speeds for wireless customers who had unlimited data plans but went over a certain usage point, the agency announced Tuesday.
The Federal Trade Commission said this throttling of Internet feeds was deceptive and that in some cases data speeds were slowed by nearly 90 percent. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said that AT&T wanted to retain longtime customers and so allowed them to buy unlimited data plans, in …
AT&T’s controversial throttling policies have attracted the ire of the Federal Trade Commission, which earlier this month won a $105 million settlement with Ma Bell over the carrier’s alleged SMS cramming policies.
AT&T is back in the government’s crosshairs. The Federal Trade Commission announced a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that AT&T (T, Tech30) misled mobile customers with “unlimited” data plans, deliberately slowing their connection speeds in a practice known as throttling.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is suing AT&T for “deceptive and unfair data throttling“. The FTC’s announcement seems to target AT&T’s practice of lowering data transfer speeds for customers with unlimited data plans versus customers with tiered data …
Earlier this month, AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation over deceptive billing practices. On Tuesday, the government agency hit AT&T with new charges that the wireless carrier throttled data speeds of 3.5 million customers who signed up …
AT&T Mobility was sued by the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, accused of unfairly throttling users who paid for unlimited data plans by slowing their data-transfer speed when they hit certain limits.
The FTC sued AT&T this week for data throttling, or selling consumers unlimited data plans and then reducing their Internet speeds once they exceeded a certain amount of data. The Federal Trade Commission said this throttling of Internet feeds was deceptive and that in some cases data …
FTC says AT&T ‘misled millions’, charging for unlimited data but throttling speeds. Summary: The cellular giant gets a second slap on the wrist by the federal regulator after the FTC accuses the company of misleading millions of its customers over unlimited data.
AT&T unlimited data users, your champion has arrived. Today the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Wireless, alleging that the company misled customers by offering “unlimited” cellular data service that was …
I would consent to kill whoever suggested that to me. … I think it would be an interesting device to wear short term. It’s something kinky a couple could do as a buildup to sex. Or it could be used on your man when he wants to go out partying with the boys or to a club. I would …
I would consent to kill whoever suggested that to me. … I think it would be an interesting device to wear short term. It’s something kinky a couple could do as a buildup to sex. Or it could be used on your man when he wants to go out partying with the boys or to a club. I would …
And sex with different people–either concurrently or over the course of a …. claim tobemore evolved or enlightened than monogamous people – those who do are … And love is everywhere, and if youcan‘tfind it reach out and give some away …
Posted onOctober 27, 2014|Comments Off on Russian Mobsters!!! in DOE Funding and Silicon Valley?
Why did the key investors of Tesla meet with persons and groups from the Russian government and business sectors who State Department has identified as having mob connections? Could it have to do with all of the trillions of dollars of materials used for making lithium ion electric car batteries that those Russian groups control? If those investors helped grease the deal, they certainly wouldn’t cash in on that… would they? Here is the NY Times research on some of their backgrounds:
Russian Organized Crime Data Pull- State- :
Multiple meetings with Silicon Valley Suspects
Received DOE Funds Via Severstal:
Alexey Mordashov -General director of “Severstal group”, Chairman of the board of directors in “Power Machines”, the largest shareholder of “Arcelor”,
Position: General director of “Severstal group”, Chairman of the board of directors in “Power Machines”, the largest shareholder of “Arcelor”, a member of board of RSPP.
Mordashov Alexey Aleksandrovich was born on September 26, 1965 in Cherepovets in the Vologda area in workers’ family; Russian. In 1988 he graduated with excellence from the Leningrad Engineering-Economical Institute. During study he got acquainted with Anatoly Chubais.
From 1988 till 1989 – Senior Economist in maintenance and repair shop #1 of the Cherepovets Metallurgical Plant (CMP).
In 1989-1991 – Head of Bureau of Economics and Labor of MRS#1 at CMP.
In 1991-1992 – Deputy Director of planning department of CMP.
In 1992-1993 – Deputy Director of Economics and Finance at CMP.
Since 1993 – Financial Director of CMP (now CMP is renamed into Open Joint-Stock Company “Severstal”). Simultaneously the chairman of board of directors of joint-stock company “Severstal-Invest”. He was one of creators of the plant privatization program, and transition to active marketing practice in metal trading. Company “Severstal-Invest” was engaged in sale of rolled metal products, motor vehicles and the weapon, cultivation, processing and sale of fish, realtor and security-detective activity.
Since March, 1996 – chairman of board of “Severstal-holding” LLC (Cherepovets).
Since March, 1996 – chairman of board of directors of Joint-Stock Company “Severstal-invest” (Cherepovets).
Since September 1996 till June, 2002 – General Director of “Severstal” OAO.
Since November, 1997 – chairman of board of directors in Metkombank (Cherepovets). He was a councilor of bank “Metallinvest”. Then he was trained on courses of managers in England (in the late nineties he completed the MBA program of Newcastle Business school (NBS) in the University of Northumbria (UNN, Great Britain).
Since June, 2000 – the councilor of directors of Joint-Stock Company «Izhora pipe factory», joint venture of «Izhora factories» OAO and “Severstal” OAO. In October, 2000 he was selected as a member of bureau of board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).
Since June, 2001 – coordinator of RSPP Working group.
From April 2001 till April, 2003 – member of the Supervisory board of «Industrial Construction Bank» (ICB).
Since June, 2002 – chairman of the board of directors of “Severstal” OAO.
Since 2002 – General Director of “Severstal group” ZAO.
Since August, 2002 – the chairman of the board of directors of “SSM-Tyazhmash” LLC, subsidiary of “Severstal group” ZAO.
Since December, 2002 – the judicial arbitrator at the Commission on Ethics of RSPP created for settlement of corporate disputes.
In May, 2003 he was included in structure of Business Council at the government of the Russian Federation.
In December, 2003 he became the authorized representative of president Putin on presidential election on March, 14th, 2004.
In 2003 Forbes magazine included Mordashov in the list of 500 richest people in the world (348th place, fortune – 1.2 billion dollars).
In February, 2004 “Severstal” OAO informed that Mordashov supervised 82.75% of stocks of “Severstal”.
Since June, 2004 – councilor of directors of bank “Rossiya” (St.-Petersburg).
In February 2006 “Finance” magazine estimated Mordashov’s capital at 6.0 billion dollars (the tenth place in Russia).
In March, 2006 there was a next rating of Forbes Magazine in which Mordashov was on the 64th place in the world (fortune – 7.6 billion dollars).
Member of Board of guardians of RDC «Expert institute» at Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP);
Member of Advisory council on the innovations created by Ministry of Industry and Science of the Russian Federation.
He is awarded with the order «For Merits for Country» of the I and II degrees.
The winner of the All-Russia competition of businessmen “Career-96”. In December, 2000 Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs called him the best businessman of the year.
Speaks English and German.
Mordashov is married for the second time. He has three sons – one from the first marriage, two – from the second one.
Takes a great interest in poetry, painting, active winter kinds of sports.
By 2001 there were no any compromising materials concerning Mordashov on pages of the mass-media. As for unpleasant stories – only divorce with the wife and the ignominious alimony to the son. The only thing that was spoken about him appeared in July, 2001. Mordashov was supposed to be offered a post of the chairman in the Russian government. In reply to that Mordashov declared that even if he had been offered the post he would have had to refuse of it.
In 2004 in mass media the materials convicting Mordashov of dishonest engagement of “Severstal” were published. The ex-general director of Cherepovets Metallurgical Plant Yury Lipuhin – who promoted Mordashov on a career ladder – became an information source. When Mordashov was already the director of “Severstal” the plant suffered from an attempt of raid capture. Trans-World Group tried to persuade Mordashov to sell the plant (it was represented by well known businessmen Vladimir Lisin, Mikhail Chernoy, Oleg Deripaska) but he resisted. After those events Mordashov convinced Lipuhin that the plant shares needed to be privatized not to admit strangers to the enterprise. The plant released metal under the low prices to the company “Severstal-Invest” created for that purpose; Mordashov spent millions of gross margin from resale on purchase of vouchers and shares from workers. So he became the owner of 51% of shares of “Severstal” and Lipuhin – 49 %.
In 1998 there was a conflict between two proprietors – Mordashov decided to diversify business and began to buy up industrial actives: stocks of ports in St.Petersburg, Tuapse and East port, coal mines, Kolomna diesel factory, UAZ factory. Lipuhin was against of such diversification of the business. In the beginning of 2001 Mordashov redeemed from Lipuhin 49 % of “Severstal-Guarant” with the big discount; Lipuhin is still offended by Mordashov for that. The latter during had enemies that period – Zavolzhsky motor factory became a subject of his conflict to GAZ owner Oleg Deripaska. Together with the head of “Eurazholding” Alexander Abramov, Mordashov struggled for “Kuzbassugol”, the metallurgical market was divided with Iskander Mahmudov.
Source: «Forbes», 4/10/2004
In youth during internship in Austria Mordashov had a conflict with the son of the minister of ferrous metallurgy Serafim Kolpakov Sergey. The minister demanded for Yury Lipuhin dismissed Mordashov, but Lipuhin then defended the young perspective employee.
Source: «Forbes», 4/10/2004
In 2001 the first spouse of Mordashov, Elena declared that Alexey Mordashov did not help their son sufficiently, didn’t let her arrange private life and promoted her dismissal from work. For 2000 Mordashov declared his income at 80 million dollars (Mordashov denied the sum soon after that), his former wife took advantage and sued for alimony and separation of jointly acquired property (he had been paying to the wife 650 dollars monthly for the son). Mordashova demanded a share in business of the husband and developed huge information war. The businessman considered that behind that claim there were competitors of metallurgical holding – the Ural mountain-metallurgical plant and “Sibal”, in particular their owner Iskander Mahmudov who was at that time the main contender of Mordashov in the metallurgical market. In August, 2001 the former wife applied to Nikulinsky Office of Public Prosecutor of Moscow with the requirement to force former husband to give 25% of the income for education of the son from first marriage. In her opinion the underpaid alimony of Mordashov made more than semi billion dollars. In maintenance of the claim the Office of Public Prosecutor managed to arrest 32.5 % of stocks of “Severstal”. Claims of former spouse Elena Mordashova for a quarter of incomes of the husband were recognized by Moscow court as groundless, and attachment was removed from property. And after that Cherepovets court took Mordashov’s side and decided that he did not owe to the former spouse 40 percent of shares of “Severstal” (Elena Mordashova had declared such requirements in the statement of claim). As a result Elena Mordashova lost both suits.
On presidential election of 2004 Alexey Mordashov was Vladimir Putin’s authorized representative. Support of the head of the country helped Mordashov to create the steel-making company the largest in Russia, which possessed the largest actives abroad on the basis of the Cherepovets plant.
In February, 2005 Alexey Mordashov made scandal at airport Vnukovo-3. He left the plane together with two girls accompanying him in the trip. One of his companions unexpectedly found out that she had lost a buckle from the handbag. Mordashov unexpectedly began to behave inadequately: for about a half an hour he loudly shouted at employees of the airport, and demanded to pay him one thousand dollars for the lost buckle.
Source: “Life”, 2/9/2005
Alexey Mordashov tried to unite his business with metallurgical group Arcelor being absorbed, but owners of the company refused the offer of Mordashov and group “aggressors” – Mittal Steel became its owner.
Source: Investments ? 3(334) 01.02-07.02.2010
In September, 2006 Alexey Mordashov decided to hold again the post of the general director of “Severstal”; in this connection he carried out administrative reform at the enterprise. General Director Anatoly Kruchinin, the hired manager, was removed by Mordashov from the post. Later he was appointed as the General Director of «Severstal. Russian steel» (in April, 2008 management of “Severstal” divided it into three directions: «Severstal. Russian steel», «Severstal. Resources», «Severstal Internationa»). Mordashov’s return on a post of the director of according to his plan should promote success of IPO – Kruchinin was unknown person in business while Mordashov after attempt to become the largest owner of Arcelor received world popularity. In some months Mordashov arranged IPO in London which observers considered to be not successful.
Source: “Vedomosti”, 9/21/2006
Due to lack of more interesting actual metallurgical actives for purchase, Mordashov once again tried to diversify business in adjacent spheres. New object of interest of the businessman – the main Russian manufacturer of the equipment for electric power industry, “Power machines”. Structures “Severstal” then requested permissions for the transaction in Federal antimonopoly service (FAS). Stocks of “Power machines” were the personal investment of Mordashov which was not connected with mountain-metallurgical company “Severstal”. Competitors of Mordashov in struggle for “Power machines” became Victor Vekselberg and Oleg Deripaska.
In December, 2003 bank “Rossiya” informed that it would make additional share issue for 30 million rubles face value in advantage of Alexey Mordashov’s “Severstal-groups” under the price in 20 times above face value. Thus, the holding should pay 600 million rubles for 9% of shares of bank with own capital of 616 million rubles. The General Director of “Rossiya” Victor Myachin explained the high cost of package with consideration of the «occurrence of the foreign investor» in the capital of bank and dynamics of its development (for a year actives and the capital have trebled). Experts consider such estimation of a minority package as absolutely inadequate. The most probable explanation of such an odd act – rupture of relations with Industrial Construction Bank (ICB) and transfer of money resources to bank “Rossiya”. At the same time Mordashov since 90th years kept partner relations with Petersburg banker Vladimir Kogan, ex-founder of ICB – in the beginning of 2001 Mordashov sold a share holding of “Metkombank” to Kogan.
In the beginning of 2007 in the central mass-media, in particular, in newspapers “Commersant” and “Newspaper” the information began to appear that soon there would be a merge of two largest metallurgical companies – “Eurazholding” and “Severstal”. Besides it was written about nationalization of branch and government plans about it. As there were no any concrete facts confirming possibilities of such changes, there were assumptions that this “canard” in respectful newspapers was created by their owners. The owner of “Commersant” – Alisher Usmanov was simultaneously the owner of “Metalloinvest”, the largest metallurgical companies; “Newspaper” belonged to other large “metallurgist” Vladimir Lisin, the owner of Novolipetsk metallurgical plant. The purpose: to press on competitors or to force them to buy, for example, business for high price, probably even to frighten and force to cease to put up money in development of the enterprise, to sell to competitor.
Source: «Komsomol truth», 5/30/2007
In August, 2008 at Mordashov’s company “Power machine” shareholders were replaced: 63.1 % of shares of company have appeared concentrated in three offshore now. Among shareholders of OAO there were two offshore, King Rail Trading and Ashington Trading, each owns 16,55 % of his actions. Presumably, these companies are under control of Alexey Mordashov and re-structuring of actives allows him to bypass the requirement about exhibiting of the obligatory offer by minoritaries. If Alexey Mordashov exposed the offer, he should redeem shares from minoritaries with 9 percent award to market quotations. He did not expose it but bought up company shares in the off-exchange market from many sellers. Redistribution of actives gave Mordashov also the joint-stock control over the company.
Source: “Money” ? 33 (688), 8/25/2008
The Office of Public Prosecutor accused Alexey Mordashov of legislation infringement – he, having dismissed employees of Kostomuksha mining and concentrating mill, in October, 2009 replaced them with less paid Gastarbeiters. Active workers of the enterprise arranged several meetings in the city, the Office of Public Prosecutor of Karelia began investigation. Trade-union active workers were accused of extremism and Alexey Mordashov was required by the public prosecutor of republic Karelia to exclude infringement of the labor and social rights of citizens and to provide measures on prevention social and political tension in «Karelian pellet OAO. Thereof Mordashev stopped employment of migrants.
Source: Rusmet.ru 24.12.09
Alexey Mordashova’s name was mentioned in a context of preparation of amendments by the Ministry of Finance to the article 7 of the Tax code depriving Russian businessmen of possibility to minimize taxes by using the companies in the countries having agreements with Russia on avoidance of the double taxation. It was declared that Alexey Mordashov had supervised “Severstal” through the Cyprian companies, thereby minimized taxes in the federal budget of our country.
The family conflict of Alexey Mordashov with the first wife Elena Novitskaya passed to a new stage – in 2004 she submitted the claim to the Strasbourg court where she accused Russia of partiality of justice. In January, 2010 Novitskaya’s case received a priority. Few years ago the court dismissed Novitskaya’s claim about property separation, as all agreements on property division between spouses had been signed back in 1996, and Novitskaya did not apply for shares and refused them voluntarily. Having lost the court, Elena Novitskaya still owed the state duty of 213 million rubles. In European court Novitskaya demanded from Russia for compensation at amount of 500 million dollars, referring to article 6 of the European convention about human rights. Now Russia should prove that at the moment of divorce Alexey Mordashov did not possess influence on justice.
Boris G. Zingarevich
Received DOE funds through Ener1
Boris Zingarevich – Deputy Director General of Ilim Group
Until the early 90’s Boris Zingarevich, along with his brother Michael worked as a mechanic at the Leningrad cardboard factory. In 1992 they created “Ilim Pulp” – a company for export of paper products. Then they got reassigned to the woods production, and over the years have bought about 30 logging companies – then timber industry enterprises were sold at very low prices.
Easy money in the timber industry caused competition that turned into criminal fights. Most of them appeared to be in Arkhangelsk region, where the main enterprise of the holding – Kotlas PPM was. In the region, the company has developed a bad reputation to the extent that one day in January 2002, half the guests did not appear on the anniversary of the governor Anatoly Efremov, having learnt that Zingarevich brothers and their partner Zakhar Smushkin were going to be there.
In spring 1999 the house of the head of the Arkhangelsk PPC Vladimir Krupchak was bombed. In the summer of 1999 the head of OAO “Solombalskiy LDK” Evgeny Drachev and his driver were kidnapped by unknown. A few months later director general of forestry complex the department of the regional administration, Alexander Bulatov was beaten. It’s difficult to say whether those events were connected to the activities of Ilim Pulp. However, its top managers- Smushkin and the Zingareviches could have argued with those people, because the struggle for supremacy in the timber industry was very tough, and Arkhangelsk region was considered a “fiefdom” of Ilim Pulp in the field. The regional law enforcement agencies had a huge dirt on the heads of the holding, but for some reason the case went “down on the brakes” every time.
For example, the same story happened with the murder of Dmitry Varvarin, Director General of ZAP “Concern” Orimi”, the main competitor of Ilim Pulp. He was shot in St. Petersburg in March of 2000. The heads of Ilim Pulp, including Boris Zingarevich had sufficient motives for the killing, including the competition and the fact that Varvarin supported the campaign of Yuri Boldyrev for the post of mayor of St. Petersburg, which was obviously to fail. In addition, Varvarin owned shares of Ilim Pulp, so he begged Smushkin and Zingarevichey as his partners to allocate money for it.
A few days after the murder of Varvarin, unknown people killed another founder of “Orimi”, Sergey Krizhan together with his family.
Law enforcement agencies considered the version according to which the two murders were connected with the management of Ilim Pulp, as the most probable, but somehow forgot about it; the team of investigators was excluded from the investigation.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 31.07.2002
The involvement of the heads of “Ilim Pulp” in the second killing has not been confirmed, as in 2005, Andrey Yurevich – the son of commercial director of “Plastpolymer”, Victor Yurevich, and two accomplices – Alexander Ulyanov and Vyacheslav Shinkarev were sentenced for that murder. Krizhan was chairman of the board of directors of the company and clashed with Viktor Yurevich.
The newspaper “Kommersant-Petersburg” ? 216 (3300) on 17.11.2005
In spring and autumn of 2000, a new wave of crime passed.
In March, the director of Agency Company, lumber exporter – Vladimir Malkov was attacked. And in October, the hotel “Polina”, owned by Krupchak was set on fire. As leader of the Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill, he was a major player in timber market and he could have possibly conflicted to the Zingarevicheses and Smushkin quite often. In 2001 Dmitry Belyaev, External Manager of LDK-4 was attacked. Again, the connection with the management of Ilim Pulp was not confirmed, but it was on the cards, as Ilim Pulp had been seeking for the rule in the forest sector, and Belyaev could have threatened the interests of their company by his business, or could have simply competed with its leaders.
Boris Zingarevich together with the companions did the business of “Ilim Pulp” not very successful, at least for their enterprises. The main one was the debts of Kotlas pulp and paper mill in Arkhangelsk region, Bratsk Timber Complex in the Irkutsk region, as well as others, they had ruthlessly cut down the forest, accidents happened frequently, the equipment was worn out or even broken. At the same salaries were miserable.
Until 2000, the shareholders of Ilim Pulp had not received dividends. Ostensibly, they were invested in production development, but in reality everything was falling apart. The problem was that all the investments in production then were exempt from taxation. Once the tax credit was abolished, dividends went.
In addition, it became clear that Kotlas Pulp came under the control of Ilim Pulp illegally: during the investment competition the money, which the company pledged to invest in a company, were transferred to its account for one day and then were sent back to the accounts of Smushkin and the Zingarevicheses. But formally everything looked legitimate.
They purchased equipment for the companies in an interesting way: at very high prices, while in fact only half of it was brought. The money also flowed to foreign accounts of the firms affiliated with Ilim Pulp.
Other financial frauds by the Zingarevicheses and Smushkin were turned in the Bratsk Timber Industry Complex (BTIC). First they formed huge debts for electricity for the budget of Bratsk and many others. And in 1998 the company established a subsidiary company OAO “Pulp and Cardboard Plant (PCP) and began to place there their liquid assets. Thus, BTIC eventually had unprofitable production and debts. The state had a stake in BTIC and did not impede the withdrawal of assets.
Only Dmitry Medvedev, the current president objected that, then in 1993 he was Director of Legal Affairs “Ilim Pulp”, and since 1998 -a member of the Board of Directors in BTIC. His relationship with the Zingarevicheses and Smushkin worsened, and in 1999 they were completely stopped – he was distracted by new concerns associated with climbing the career ladder.
In October 2001 it became known that Ilim Pulp committed deals for the sale of pulp and paper factory to offshore companies. Then the shareholders of OAO “Irkutskenergo” which was the main creditor of BTIC – appealed to the federal agencies. They failed to find out the truth because of the legal tricks: documents submitted to the commission, were valid, but for the period prior to the fraud.
After that the minority shareholders of BTIC went to court, and it ordered to reinstate the dismissed general director BTIC George Trifonov. He restored an order, paid the debts. The Zingarevicheses and Smushkin were defeated. But when in 2002 BTIC came under their control again, they began to restore the old order by dismissing disloyal people and replacing them with loyal ones, uncomprehending in the timber industry.
In addition, the holding company began the blockade of the Ust-Ilim Timber Complex (UiLPK) by not sending paid commodity to the company. All forces were driven to expell the head of the trade union, Yuri Savinkov, they wrote denunciations to the prosecutor’s office against the former Complex director Andrey Prokopov. The new head of UiLPK Vladimir Batishchev reported that Prokopov took away the production equipment. It was a slander – he just took jeeps belonging to the management company “Continental Invest”.
In early February 2002 UILPK was entirely under the control of Ilim Pulp.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 13.02.2002
In April 2002, Ilim Pulp lost control over Kotlas and Bratsk pulp and paper mills. There were two lawsuits from shareholders, after which the company’s shares were arrested, and then purchased for the benefit of companies affiliated with the actual new owners – “Basic Element”, “Continental management” and “Banking House” Sankt-Petersburg”. Oleg Deripaska was behind those machinations, who wanted to get a strategic advantage in the industry.
Source: corp-gov.ru from 29.09.2003
The management of “Ilim Pulp” disputed the transaction through numerous courts. There were information wars. The information agencies had the news spread that the Court invalidated the new board of directors elected by shareholders. It was misinformation. To gain access to the documents of Kotlassky PPM they forged execution lists and sent them to the office of registry holders. According to them it was necessary to issue registry documents. They also launched “a fake” that the registry of the Bratsk TIC was lost.
In the end, “Ilim Pulp” prevailed in the information and judicial war. Businessmen managed to agree, but the true owner of the enterprises is still unknown. Representatives of “Bazel” argued that the blocking stake in the enterprises was still in the structures of Basel. Smushkin also announced that he possessed more than 90%. As the court ruled, the enterprises passed to Ilim Pulp. Perhaps the company paid Bazel some compensation. In any case, that was a good lesson for the Zingarevicheses and Smushkin and a signal that the empire they built up may well falter without gaining a strong support.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 31.07.2002
In 2004, the media reported that Boris Zingarevich intended to acquire a large stake in English football club Everton. Upon the request of Zingarevich, that information was retracted. According to British media, the football club was really interesting to Zingarevich’s son Anton. He himself had no money to buy it, but he practiced abroad as a football manager. There is no information confirming the purchase plans. This episode is insignificant, but given that Boris Zingarevich studiously avoided the media spotlight, it looks interesting. Maybe it was advantageous for someone to put Zingarevich as a reckless spender and a wasteful man.
Source: “Kommersant» ? 155 (2994) on 24.08.2004
Also in 2004, there were rumors in the media that the company “Ilim Pulp” is going to buy the state Vneshtorgbank, and the then owner of Promstroibank Vladimir Kogan was to be an intermediary in the transaction. The price was to be inflated in more than a billion dollars. Journalists advanced the version of such a bizarre waste of public funds. They supposed, the billion would be withdraw from the State Bank and shared by individuals, including Zingarevich. In their opinion, the deal was scheduled to be held “under the guise of” Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin. However, no further speculation happened a the possible grand scam failed for unknown reasons.
Source: Kompromat.ru from 23.09.2004
In 2006 the Zingareviches and Smushkin sold half of the holding to a foreign company International Paper, the world’s largest pulp and paper corporation. In the name of the company they found a strong partner and a way to overcome the crisis that had began with the attack by Mr. Deripaska on Kotlas and Bratsk pulp and paper mills. Once they returned the enterprises, Deripaska exchanged his remaining shares to the stake in the Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill of Vladimir Kogan, and the latter gave them to the shareholders of Ilim Pulp. That is, everything returned to business as usual. However, after such a shake-up the Zingareviches and Smushkin realized they were not omnipotent, and their old methods to maintain the credibility in the timber industry had been no longer working. The holding company needed a powerful protection of the parties and they found such a support in the name of the foreign company.
Source: Journal “Secret Firmy» ? 48 (183) on 25.12.2006
In spring 2010 the authorities of St. Petersburg passed at once three buildings – the monuments of federal importance for the reconstruction of them as hotels – to the companies close to Zingarevich brothers. OOO “Lotus Oteli” received a historic building of the former barracks of the Life Guards of the Pavlovsky Regiment on the Marsovo Pole, 1. OOO “Orange-Development” acquired the building of the former court stables Office at Konyushennaya Ploshad, 1a. The third building was on Nevsky Prospekt, 7-9A, which is the Central Agency of Aviation and airline ticket place passed to OOO “IFG-Basis-Project”. Experts say that at the auction the buildings could cost a lot of money. However, they gave them under the decision taken at a closed meeting of the government. Thus, not only the interests of the city budget were violated, but of the potential buyers who could acquire the right to use the buildings through a fair competition.
The Russianoligarch has spent the past decade buying up nine flats across two buildings in the exclusive Lowndes Square. … JohnDoerr; John Frederiksen; John Paul DeJoria; John Paulson; Jon and Karen Huntsman; Jose Mourinho; Joseph Lau; Jr. Julian H. Robertson; Ken Fisher;
Billionaire Alisher Usmanov acquired the biggest private jet in Russia, … oligarch, percent, president vladimir putin, private flight, private jet, richest man, roman, roman abramovich, Russia’s richest man, sale, seat, spacious … JohnDoerr; John Frederiksen; John Paul DeJoria; John Paulson …
JohnDoerr. Larry Ellison. Reed Hastings. Reid Hoffman. Mark Hurd. Vinod Khosla. … He’s covertly embedded at a Wall Street bank where he uncovers a Russian plot to buy up U.S. Treasury bonds, … Ryan’s investigation leads him to the Russianoligarch Viktor Cherevin, played by Kenneth Branagh, …
DST says it hasn’t sold any Facebook shares and doesn’t want to, but some people think DST’s main backer, Russianoligarch Alisher Usmanov, wants to sell and might get his way. … JohnDoerrAnd The Rise Of Secondary Private Markets …
• Ann and JohnDoerr, venture capitalist. … Russianoligarch to donate fortune to charity 02 Feb 2010; Story Tags. Blackstone Group. Citigroup. David Rubenstein. Julian Robertson. Michael Bloomberg. Philanthropy. Renaissance Technologies. Sandy Weill.
RussianOligarchs buying French and British Newspapers. Business Week reports on some rather interesting news – Russianoligarchsand their sons are saving French and British newspapers. … Amazon related News – JohnDoerr leaves Amazon Board.
… and Oleg Deripaska, the youngest of the Russianoligarchs, 41, “king” of aluminum. … Other Dolby Labs president of technology titans like JohnDoerrand the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, live in nearby Silicon Valley. …
… and his wife have already donated 800 million dollars.They were joined by venture investor JohnDoerrandJohn … It should be noted that V. Potanin was among the first Russianoligarchs to go into arts patronage by setting up V. Potanin’s Charity Foundation in 1999mainly focused …
“He was the most visionary of all the Russianoligarchs” …. … JohnDoerr; Creating, Propagating; Google Apps: Open The Flood Gates; No More Beer, No More Soda; Dell Duo: Tablet + Netbook; Web 2.0 Summit 2010: Robin Li; John Battelle’s Search Hangover;
… we’ll tell you about, “Russian Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov: From Oligarch to President?” Mikhail Prokhorov is a tycoon in Russia, … we’ll tell you about, “JohnDoerr’s Plan to Reclaim the Venture Capital Throne” …
… Google, Steve Westly, Green Jobs, Tesla Motors, Edeniq, JohnDoerr, Amyris Biotechnologies, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Facebook, Recyclebank, Barack Obama, Apple, Energy … With billionaire Meg Whitman spending like a Russianoligarch, it’s inevitable that the race for California …
the Stud House, the private home of the Lebedev family – one of the Russianoligarchs … been a long time partner in Silicon Valley venture capital powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers whose partner JohnDoerr is a member of the Google board. Another Google director, …
Neither VC JohnDoerr nor entrepreneur Martin Roscheisen has a background in enviro. … (Then again, just a few decades later, we’ve got Russianoligarchs needing seemingly just that kind of expertise for equipping their yachts.)
He raked in a gazillion bucks, give or take a few billion, as the founder of KleinerPerkins Caufield and Byers, a venture capital firm. His letter, published in the Wall Street Journal, … essentially from Europe west of Russia through North America, …
Kleiner Perkins’s website lists Perkins as one of 14 partner emeriti, a group that includes recent partner Ray Lane and co-founder Eugene Kleiner, who died in 2003. Perkins has been a director at companies including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Applied Materials Inc.
He is a Co-Founder of KleinerPerkins Caufield & Byers. Mr. Caufield has served on the boards of Quantum Corporation, Caremark Inc., … He also serves as a director of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund, Refugees International, …
According to sources close to the situation, the aggressive Russian investment outfit DST Global is out of the running to fund Twitter. Instead, the prize is almost certainly going to KleinerPerkins, the legendary Silicon Valley venture firm of Web 1.0 that has been making a big push …
– Senators had insider trading deals with the companies that were “Winners”.
All Investigators are now closely watching the ELIO MOTORS CAR FUNDING PROCESS:
If Elio gets jacked up with any of the same application sabotage tactics, it will provide judicial evidence that can prove the rigging of the funds.
If ELIO MOTORS makes it through, it will provide judicial evidence that can prove that the 200+ other past applicants had been jacked up in the process.
Either way, ELIO is being monitored closely.
ELIO Watchers are most interested in the DOE PERMANENT STONE-WALL TACTIC: An endless series of “just-on-more-thing” for those who are not associated with campaign backers. “Bottom-Drawer-ing” your application can be made to last over a decade, or until your company goes out of business. According to federal investigators, campaign backers Tesla, Solyndra and Fisker were reviewed in 14 days, like normal commercial bank loans. … Applying for DOE cash will make investors avoid your car company because of: “the deal”; an dis-incentive structure which makes banks and venture capitalists back off any investment until later, if at all, unless you are a campaign financier.
Posted onOctober 27, 2014|Comments Off on RICH SILICON VALLEY YUPPIES BUY PERFECT BABIES USING COMPUTERS TO BREED ARAYAN ELITES BY MANIPULATING “DESIRED TRAITS AND APPEARANCES”.
– “Digital Babies” creators “promise” not to use it to eliminate ethnic people or ugly people
– “We are just a business..”
– Human baby manipulation for social traits found disturbing by some. “Sounds like the Nazi’s tried to do..” Says LA Teacher “…if you try to buy a baby modification to make your daughter look like a cheer-leader, you will end up with a socially ruined child..”
– Rich families love it. Poor ones, not so much.
– Tom K. from East Palo Alto says: “Everybody knows that the only Black person allowed in Silicon Valley is Obama when he comes to pick up his cash from the VC’s. There are almost no blacks employed here. Silicon Valley has the lowest black hiring ratio, relative to local demographics, of any city. They will use this breeding thing, here, for something that is not good…”
– Breeding humans like high end dog kennels do, can have it’s upsides
Norah O’Donnell looks into a controversial procedure that could stop the spread of dangerous genes that have stalked families for generations
The following is a script of “Breeding out Disease” which aired on Oct. 26, 2014. Norah O’Donnell is the correspondent. Tanya Simon, producer.
There are few fields of medicine that are having a bigger impact on how we treat disease than genetics. The science of genetics has gotten so sophisticated so quickly that it can be used to not only treat serious diseases but prevent thousands of them well before pregnancy even begins. Diseases that have stalked families for generations – like breast cancer – are being literally stopped in their tracks. Scientists can do that by creating and testing embryos in a lab, then implanting into a mother’s womb only the ones which appear healthy. While the whole field is loaded with controversy, those who are worried about passing on defective and potentially dangerous genes see the opportunity to breed out disease.
Norah O’Donnell: Did you ever envision that you would have the capability you have today?
Dr. Mark Hughes: No, but that’s the fun of science. It’s constantly surprising you.
[Dr. Mark Hughes: Wow. Look at that.]
“If it’s a mutation in a particular gene that causes early onset, we can test for it…”
Dr. Mark Hughes is one of the scientists leading the way in a rapidly growing field known as reproductive genetics. He pioneered a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, an embryo screening procedure that can identify deadly gene mutations – and alter a child’s genetic destiny.
[Dr. Mark Hughes: This one’s got a minus two.]
Dr. Mark Hughes: We all throw genetic dice when we have children. But when you know the dice are loaded and that there’s a really reasonable chance that your baby will have an incurable, dreadful condition, you’re looking for an alternative.
Dr. Hughes helped develop PGD two decades ago to screen embryos for one disease: cystic fibrosis. Today, because of advances in the mapping of the human genome, he says it can be used to root out virtually any disease caused by a single defective gene.
Norah O’Donnell: Let me do a rapid fire yes or no. Can you use PGD for Tay-Sachs?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Muscular dystrophy?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Sickle-cell anemia?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Hemophilia?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Huntington’s disease?
Dr. Mark Hughes: It’s one of the most common disorders we test for, yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Alzheimer’s disease?
Dr. Mark Hughes: If it’s a mutation in a particular gene that causes early onset, we can test for it, yes.
Norah O’Donnell: So you can test for Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Mark Hughes: This is a small subset of a particular kind of Alzheimer’s that attacks very early in life.
Norah O’Donnell: Colon cancer?
Dr. Mark Hughes: If we know which of the colon cancer genes, yes.
Norah O’Donnell: Breast cancer?
Dr. Mark Hughes: We do it regularly.
Dr. Hughes’ lab is one of a handful in the country that provides this genetic testing, which is why 3,000 couples turn to him each year. Among them, Matt and Melinda, who asked that we not use their last name. If they hadn’t done the embryo screening procedure, their four-year-old son Mason and his baby sister, Marian, might very well have been born with a genetic mutation that increases the risk of breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancer. It wasn’t until Melinda herself was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer seven years ago that she found out she carried that gene mutation known as BRCA1.
“It’s a lifetime of having to worry about it. And I just didn’t want my kids to have to do that.”
Norah O’Donnell: Did you know what BRCA1 was?
Melinda: Not a clue.
But as it turned out, it had haunted her family for generations. At age 29, facing chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Melinda was afraid that if she had children one day, they would also be cursed with that potentially deadly mutation.
Norah O’Donnell: What did doctors tell you about the risk of passing on this BRCA mutation?
Melinda: Fifty percent. So flip a coin.
Norah O’Donnell: And I bet that weighed on you even heavier.
Melinda: Yes. It’s a lifetime of having to worry about it. And I just didn’t want my kids to have to do that.
The best way to ensure that was to do embryo screening for the BRCA1 gene mutation, which Dr. Hughes says is among the fastest-growing parts of his business.
Dr. Mark Hughes: This takes the risk. For example, in breast cancer, it takes the risk if you have this mutation from 50/50 of passing it to the next generation down to less than one percent.
60 Minutes: Segment Extras
Another PGD story: Hunter syndrome
But the screening isn’t easy. All couples, even fertile ones, must first go through in-vitro fertilization, the process in which a man’s sperm is injected into a woman’s eggs under a microscope to create embryos. Then, five days later, a tiny tube just one twentieth the diameter of a human hair is used to extract from each embryo one single cell to be genetically tested for disease.
Norah O’Donnell: It’s just one cell?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: You can tell that much from one cell?
Dr. Mark Hughes: You can tell an awful lot in one cell.
“Was it right? Was it the right thing to do? Is it playing God? Is it ethical?”
That cell is packed up at fertility clinics across the country and shipped overnight in ordinary looking boxes like these to screening labs. We followed the process at Dr. Hughes lab, called Genesis Genetics just outside Detroit, where a team of scientists took over.
Norah O’Donnell: So what do you do with that one cell when it arrives here?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Well we’re busy. We have to break the cell open; they have to pull out this enormous encyclopedia of genetic information.
He’s talking about the cell’s DNA, our genetic code that scientists represent with four letters – A, C, T and G. For a gene to work properly, the letters have to be strung together in the right order. If they’re not, that could spell trouble. It’s Dr. Hughes’ job to find the mutation – or “typo” – in a gene that could cause disease.
Dr. Mark Hughes: So you have to find that typo in effectively six billion letters.
Norah O’Donnell: A typo in six billion letters?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Yeah.
Norah O’Donnell: So how do you do that?
Dr. Mark Hughes: Technology is amazing.
Dr. Hughes used the technology to screen Matt and Melinda’s embryos in 2010 – ruling out the ones that carried the BRCA1 mutation, which would have given their children a reasonable chance of getting breast or other cancers.
Norah O’Donnell: About how many of them tested positive for the BRCA1 gene?
Dr. Mark Hughes: About half and indeed, if you look at her embryos, here is an affected, an affected, an affected, an affected. That’s four. It’s about half. It is just what you’d expect.
It’s just what you’d expect in nature. But with the powerful intervention of science, embryos that carry a harmful mutation are often discarded, which is one reason the decision to go ahead with the screening was a difficult one for Matt and Melinda.
Melinda: We prayed a lot about it. It’s a hard decision to make.
Norah O’Donnell: What did you struggle with?
Melinda: Was it right? Was it the right thing to do? Is it playing God? Is it ethical? And the more we learned about it and got comfortable with the idea, it was like, “Yes, absolutely.”
Norah O’Donnell: You have said, “The breast cancer stops with me.”
Melinda: Yes. It’s not just my children. It’s their children and my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Forever and all for time, in my bloodline, yeah.
The entire process cost them around $16,000 – a small price to pay, Melinda says, for her children’s health.
But Anne Morriss didn’t get to change the odds for her child. By the time she learned she carried a dangerous mutation, she had already passed it on to her son, who’s now seven. At birth, Alec seemed the picture of health, but then came an unexpected call from a doctor.
Anne Morriss: He started by saying, “Can you please go check and make sure that your child is still alive and then come back and we can continue this discussion.”
Norah O’Donnell: So a doctor calls you and says, “I need to tell you something but can you go check that your son is still alive.”
Anne Morriss: That’s how the conversation started.
Norah O’Donnell: What was your reaction?
Anne Morriss: You know, your heart just falls out of you.
A newborn screening test revealed Alec had a rare and sometimes fatal metabolic disorder called MCAD deficiency; he had to be fed every few hours just to stay alive.
Unlike breast cancer, MCAD deficiency is a recessive disorder, meaning a child must inherit a copy of the faulty gene from both parents. Anne Morriss had used an anonymous sperm donor to conceive, but in an incredible case of bad luck, he just happened to carry the same mutation she did.
Anne Morriss: Every human being walking the planet is a carrier for a rare disease. But what matters is who we choose to partner with reproductively. Like, that’s where the risk shows up.
Now she wants to reduce the risk of a bad genetic match for others – well before they start the reproductive process. She just started a company called GenePeeks with Lee Silver, a Princeton University professor who’s also a molecular biologist — though his latest idea doesn’t take place in a lab. It’s entirely virtual.
Lee Silver: We are creating digital babies.
Norah O’Donnell: Digital babies?
Lee Silver: Yes.
Norah O’Donnell: So you’re simulating the process of reproduction, but on a computer.
Lee Silver: Exactly.
Silver says all it takes is a saliva sample to obtain DNA. He then combines the genetic information from both prospective parents in a computer to make a thousand digital babies.
Norah O’Donnell: this is a digital baby.
Lee Silver: This is a digital baby.
It contains virtual DNA – which like real DNA, is represented by those same four letters – A, C, T and G.
Lee Silver: This baby has a mutation.
He says that by analyzing the DNA in all those digital babies, he is able to calculate the risk of two people conceiving a child with any one of 500 severe recessive pediatric disorders.
60 Minutes Overtime
Norah O’Donnell finds her genetic match
For now, GenePeeks is available for $2,000 to clients using sperm banks and egg donors to conceive, though its founders say the goal is to expand it to all couples who want to have a baby.
Norah O’Donnell: You think everyone who’s going to have a baby should go and have a digital baby first?
Lee Silver: I see a future in which people will not use sex to reproduce. That’s a very dangerous thing to do.
That may sound far-fetched, but the way Lee Silver sees it, there will come a time when couples will no longer want to conceive naturally because it’s too risky.
Lee Silver: It’s safer to have a baby with this pre-knowledge, this genetic information that might help them avoid disease.
“I think it’s going to be used by society in the 21st century, just like we used antibiotics and other advances in the 20th century…”
But with the promise of this technology also comes the fear that some parents would want to use it to select genetic traits in their children that have nothing to do with disease – a debate Lee Silver himself stoked when he wrote the patent for GenePeeks.
Norah O’Donnell: We read your patent and it says your technology could be used to assess whether a child could have other traits, like eye color, hair color, social intelligence, even whether a child will have a widow’s peak? If your company is so focused on preventing disease, why would you include those traits?
Lee Silver: The purpose of the list of traits is simply to demonstrate that our technology can be used to study anything that’s genetically influenced. That doesn’t mean we’re going to actually do that.
Norah O’Donnell: OK. But you’re running a company? That could be big business?
Lee Silver: We are the ones who invented this technology and we’re going to use it to study pediatric disease. At the moment, we will make sure the technology is used only for that purpose.
And at the moment, you’ll have to take his word for it because there are no real rules in this country limiting what this kind of technology can be used to screen for, leaving those decisions up to scientists like Lee Silver and Mark Hughes.
Norah O’Donnell: So we should trust you to set the boundaries?
Dr. Mark Hughes: If I’m setting a boundary saying, “I’m not willing to do that,” that’s no different from any other field of medicine. So sure.
Norah O’Donnell: But do you wrestle with this at all? I mean, who is the gatekeeper?
Dr. Mark Hughes: That’s the question. Should it be some group sitting around a mahogany table or should it be all left up to the patient? If it would get to the point where it was like cosmetic surgery, that would be downright awful. But I’d think those are all straw men arguments. And people asked me these very questions that you’re asking me right now, 25 years ago. And it hasn’t happened.
That’s in part because researchers still only fully understand traits and diseases caused by a single flawed gene. There’s a lot left to learn about the interaction of multiple genes. But when that happens, Mark Hughes and Lee Silver believe their technologies will be able to screen for a host of genetically complex diseases that they say could include schizophrenia, and some types of diabetes and heart disease.
Lee Silver: I think it’s going to be used by society in the 21st century, just like we used antibiotics and other advances in the 20th century, to drastically reduce the risk of infectious disease. We’re going to be able to drastically reduce the risk of genetic disease.
Norah O’Donnell: You’re comparing this ability with reproductive genetics to antibiotics and vaccinations?
Lee Silver: I am. And in some ways, this is more powerful.
Norah O’Donnell On Twitter. Norah O’Donnell is CBS News’ Chief White House Correspondent
GENETIC DATING SERVICES: BREEDING THE ELITE:
Genetic Dating Services
Here is an interesting news item forwarded to me from one of our physicians. You have probably heard of dating / matching services like Match.com and EHarmony.com. Now there is a new site, ScientificMatch.com which offers to find your perfect mate through DNA testing!
For the mere fee of $1,995 you may join this new dating service. Membership will include a cotton swab for you to swab or brush the inside of your cheeks and send for laboratory testing. Testing will determine the genetic make-up of your immune system and once determined, you are matched to service members who have the opposite genetic composition.
According to Eric Holze, founder of ScientificMatch.com, there is research supporting the idea that two parents of opposite or different immune system make-ups may have a greater likelihood of producing healthier children. Mr. Holze is not a medical or genetics professional, but is a mechanical engineer by training.
From the genetics perspective it is recognized that many human traits and behaviors are complex in nature; this would certainly include human attraction and mating. There are certain genetic factors involved but equally or even more significantly there are environmental, social, and cultural factors. It is also known that many variables can affect gene expressions and the overall health of an individual.
Dr. Michael Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG), states that the research literature on this topic is “thin at best” and that perhaps this is “an interesting way to make money”.
What conclusions should we draw from this news item?
1) There is little scientific evidence to support the claim that parents with “opposite” immune system compositions will produce healthier offspring. 2) Genetic testing can have implications for other family members and often requires the services of genetic counseling. 3) We need to be wary of claims or advertisements involving genetic testing that promise definitive results.
GenePartner: Genetic Dating?
by Dr. Bertalan Meskó o
Are you kidding me? Do you remember ScientificMatch.com? Now GenePartner just launched its service:
GenePartner is a formula to match men and women by analyzing specific genes in their DNA.
At GenePartner we are dedicated to help you find your ideal life partner. Our formula is based on research on hundreds of couples and analyzes the pattern of genetic combinations found in successful relationships. Using this formula we will determine the probability for a satisfying and long-lasting romantic relationship between two people.
It means you can find your “genetic partner” for $199. They focus on HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genes as:
In collaboration with the Swiss Institute for Behavioural Genetics, we tested a large number of individuals (both romantically involved couples and persons not in a relationship) for their HLA genes.
The GenePartner formula measures the genetic compatibility between two individuals and makes an accurate prediction of the strength of their basis for a long-lasting and fulfilling romantic relationship.
it all works out in the end. life’s complicated. Source(s): yours … What is the UGLIEST breed of dog ? What is the worlds ugliest dogs breed? Who can come up with the ugliest breeding pair? (challenge)? Uglydog breeds? Discover Questions.
There are breeders out there who only breed dogs for conformation shows. Often these dogs come from a long line of champions. … Champion means that the dog was judged on beauty and those traits can be lost in one generation of breeding to an uglydog. Also, …
Should I Breed My Dog? You may be wondering whether or not you should breed your dog. Here is some information. The summary is that if you want to do it right, and get healthy and happy puppies, it is very expensive and a lot of work.
The ugly: Of these out crossed match dogs, … there are over one hundred and thirty Grand Champions presently registered in the “Sporting Dog Journal”, of those one hundred and thirty, … I find the best way to breed to an out crossed dog is to breed it to an inbred dog.
Why are bulldogs so gosh-darned ugly? And Dobermans so scary? It’s not by chance. (Image credit: Flickr user cayenne2006) Scientists speculate that the first dogs separated themselves from the wolf pack A lot of breeders are doing what they can to breed out the bad stuff while keeping in the good.
dogbreeding Ask a DogBreeding Expert Online Now. Get All Your DogBreeding Questions Answered Right Now, No Waiting! ~ “When I started out, all I wanted was to find a female to breed to my dog, Blue, so I could keep a puppy.
Posted onOctober 25, 2014|Comments Off on Bundlers and DOE Ex-Staff find that the tracks they thought they covered up were actually NOT covered up… Oops!
Energy Department Staff find that the tracks they thought they covered up were actually NOT covered up… Oops!
As departing energy department staff shredded and deleted as fast as they could, they thought they had covered the tracks of the theft and manipulation of billions of tax dollars which they routed to their friends.. not so much. Every insider phone call, every insider email (even on personal email accounts that they used to hide the process) every conversation in a Washington or Virginia restaurant with security cameras, every conversation in a car.. all documented. Postings by ACLU staff, such as the widely distributed post below, show that every aspect of the energy department “secret” deals is documented, archived and only one subpeona, or one FOIA filing or any investigator demand away from disclosure:
“ACLU CONCERNS OVER WHO SPYS:
As is now widely reported in the news: Any device that is marketed as a “smart device” or ANY electrical device, can be used to track you. Any bored child, hacker or competitor, with easily downloaded software tools, can spy on you using the following methods:
By tracking your utility smart-meter use activity.
By tracking when you cross bridges, or other points, on your bridge toll fastrak device.
By reading everything you ever wrote, read, looked at or clicked on in Facebook, Google, Twitter and any other “social media” site no matter how high you set your privacy settings. Don’t use “social media” if you don’t want to be tracked, and have your experiences processed to sell you ads and lose all of your privacy. Shut off all of your social media accounts. You don’t need any of them. Post this posting in blogs about any “social media”.
By reading any device that your bluetooth can connect to or transmit from, or to. Turn off Bluetooth. If your computer is offline but your phone or tablet is connected to your computer, hackers can backdoor into your computer through any connected device.
By reading your use of, location of use and activity when you use any ATM.
By using any aspect of Google. Google exists simply to spy on, and track people.
By using a parking lot monthly, daily or pay-per-use card or device. Pay by cash.
By logging all of your profile versions and communications on dating sites.
By being in any major city. Every major city has cameras that cross cover every part of the city. The cameras in stores and on buildings are crossed over. Most every bus, police car and many utlities vehicles share their cameras to the common database which any group can access.
By watching you from drones that are so high, or so small, you can’t see them.
By watching what you watch on Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Comcast, Xfinity and similar media outlets.
By using less than three mouse clicksevery Dell Server, Cisco router, Linksys device, Intel motherboard and Netgear device can be “backdoored” open and every document it is attached to read, opened and acquired.
By making the phone manufacturers Apple, HTC, Samsung, etc. put a secret switch in your phone so they can kill your phone remotely if you start to organize. Buy the oldest phone you can find, without GPS or even a screen. The old ones won’t have tracking chips.
By lasering, microwaving or otherwise bouncing energy off the windows or objects in your home or office to listen to you by recording the air vibrations of those objects that your voice causes.
By reading your location of uses, direction of travel, individual actions, trends in purchases, amounts of purchases and time of purchases for each and every credit card and debit card use.
By intercepting the network application in your car dashboard and watching the people behind you and on the street via the back-up camera in your car.
By using deaf people or specialized computers to read your lips no matter how far away you are or what windows you are behind.
By remote activating any camera on your computer, mobile device, TV, or any other location and watching you while putting fake screen information on your screen so you do not know they are watching you. Remove the battery of any mobile device when not using it. Hacker software makes your device appear to be turned off but it is still alive and watching you.
By reading every email that passes over any server in the world and by logging your passwords for any server.
By looking through walls with wifi distortion field devices, interferometry devices and EMF grid sensors.
By simply turning on software products such as Predator, Carnivore, CALEA, Prism, DCSNET, and over 100 others that exist to automatically acquire every personal information element they can find in an unattended manner.
By monitoring the GPS, Siri, OnStar, Microsoft Sync, Tesla dashboard, Nokia Here Audio and any other networked electronics in your car. Don’t buy a “smart car” if you don’t want to be watched every second you drive it. You can be listened to through it. Your GPs signal can be hacked and rerouted through it.
By reading the GPS, cell phone signal triangulation, bluetooth, Near Field Communications chip, modem or any other signal on your cell phone or table. Remove the battery on any device you don’t want to be tracked on. Only use an old cheap phone with no GPS and no internet capability.
By using fake cell towers called “sting rays”, your cell phone signals can be easily intercepted.
By making the “remember” function of any browser send what it “remembers” back to the hackers.
BY Itunes, Pandora and music services storing your preferences and all use data which can be forwarded to others.
By acquiring all information from lotteries, contests and subscription cards you fill out at expo’s fairs, online and at any other location. Filling out a contest entry guarantees you will end up on the junkmail lists.
By capturing and databasing all of your product exchanges and returns, store and log all of those actions and then hackers, and others, can access their database and pull down all of your records.
While the stated purpose is to “stop crime”, in many cases the information acquired, as we now learn from the IRS data manipulations, is used by some to stop, delay or harm those who have conflicting points of views. The statement that it is “legal” is mitigated by the fact that it now only costs $50,000.00, or less, to buy a “law” or “policy” in Washington. Corporate lobbyists buy them every day. Corporations and political operatives have the same agenda: To use you for their purposes. So they are not motivated to fix it.
The proven “targeting” of political adversaries by the IRS, and others, shows that, given the chance to use the system against those with other views, they always will.
Ebola crisis rekindles concerns about secret research in Russian military labs
The Siberian complex known as Vector was a top Soviet research facility for bioweapons. Today, its scientists study defenses against Ebola and other pathogens. A lab worker accidentally contracted Ebola in 2004 while working on vaccines. (Joby Warrick/The Washington Post)
She was an ordinary lab technician with an uncommonly dangerous assignment: drawing blood from Ebola-infected animals in a secret military laboratory. When she cut herself at work one day, she decided to keep quiet, fearing she’d be in trouble. Then the illness struck.“By the time she turned to a doctor for help, it was too late,” one of her overseers, a former bioweapons scientist, said of the accident years afterward. The woman died quickly and was buried, according to one account, in a “sack filled with calcium hypochlorite,” or powdered bleach.The 1996 incident might have been forgotten except for the pathogen involved — a highly lethal strain of Ebola virus — and where the incident occurred: inside a restricted Russian military lab that was once part of the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. Years ago, the same facility in the Moscow suburb of Sergiev Posad cultivated microbes for use as tools of war. Today, much of what goes on in the lab remains unknown.
The fatal lab accident and a similar one in 2004 offer a rare glimpse into a 35-year history of Soviet and Russian interest in the Ebola virus. The research began amid intense secrecy with an ambitious effort to assess Ebola’s potential as a biological weapon, and it later included attempts to manipulate the virus’s genetic coding, U.S. officials and researchers say. Those efforts ultimately failed as Soviet scientists stumbled against natural barriers that make Ebola poorly suited for biowarfare.
The bioweapons program officially ended in 1991, but Ebola research continued in Defense Ministry laboratories, where it remains largely invisible despite years of appeals by U.S. officials to allow greater transparency. Now, at a time when the world is grappling with an unprecedented Ebola crisis, the wall of secrecy surrounding the labs looms still larger, arms-control experts say, feeding conspiracy theories and raising suspicions.
“The bottom line is, we don’t know what they’re doing with any of the pathogens in their possession,” said Amy Smithson, a biological weapons expert who has traveled to several of the labs and written extensively about the Soviet-era weapons complex.
At least four military labs have remained off-limits to any outside scrutiny since the end of the Cold War, even as civilian-run institutions adopted more transparent policies and permitted collaborations with foreign researchers and investors, U.S. officials and weapons experts say. Even acknowledging — as most experts do — that Russia halted work on offensive bioweapons decades ago, the program’s opacity is a recurring irritant in diplomatic relations and a source of worry for security and health experts who cite risks ranging from unauthorized or rogue experiments to the theft or accidental escape of deadly microbes.
Enhancing the threat is the facilities’ collection of deadly germs, which presumably includes the strains Soviet scientists tried to manipulate to make them hardier, deadlier and more difficult to detect, said Smithson, now a senior fellow with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, a research institute based in Monterey, Calif.
“We have ample accounts from defectors that these are not just strains from nature, but strains that have been deliberately enhanced,” she said.
Other countries, including the United States, also conduct military research on defending against biological threats, including Ebola — a fact that draws criticism from some health experts and charges of hypocrisy from Russia. Pentagon officials counter that U.S. biodefense laboratories are subject to oversight and regular inspections by outside agencies.
Russian officials defend their right to military secrecy and point to tangible benefits from years of Ebola research. This month, Russian officials announced experimental Ebola vaccines developed by the same two labs that lost workers to Ebola accidents: the Defense Ministry’s Microbiology Research Institute at Sergiev Posad and the Vector Center for Virology and Biotechnologies in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.
“Vaccines are ready,” Valery Chereshnev, chairman of a science committee in the Russian parliament, told the news agency Tass last week
The Sergiev Posad lab was the site of the first of the two Ebola accidents, which today remain the only known cases in which lab workers died from inadvertent exposure to the virus. Similar exposures occurred in labs in the United States, Germany and Britain, but in those cases the victims survived.
In the 1996 incident, first documented in Russian-language news accounts and later described by author David Quammen in his 2012 book, “Spillover,” a worker named Nadezhda Makovetskaya cut herself at a facility that was developing an experimental treatment for Ebola derived from blood serum from horses.
The job was unusually risky because of the test animals’ size, Lt. Gen. Valentin Yevstigneyev, a Defense Ministry official overseeing biodefense work, was quoted as telling Russian journalists.
“It is difficult to describe working with a horse infected with Ebola,” he said. “One false step, one torn glove and the consequences would be grave.”
Despite wearing layers of protective clothing, the woman suffered a cut that penetrated her gloves, he said. Makovetskaya hid the accident from her bosses until it was too late, he said. Her death would be noted in records of the World Health Organization as the first Ebola fatality stemming from a laboratory accident anywhere in the world.
In the second incident, a Russian lab worker contracted Ebola in 2004 while working with infected guinea pigs in the Vector virology research center outside Novosibirsk. The victim, Antonina Presnyakova, 46, was drawing blood from one of the animals on May 4 when she accidentally pricked her left hand with a needle that pierced two layers of gloves.
Presnyakova was immediately hospitalized, but despite medical treatment she contracted the disease and died two weeks later.
A notorious past
The facilities that reported the accidents have a notorious past, having once been part of a larger complex of Soviet laboratories and testing facilities devoted to the science of biological warfare.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin confirmed the existence of the secret program to top U.S. officials in the early 1990s after declaring an end to bioweapons research in the months after the Soviet Union’s dismantling. Afterward, successive U.S. administrations dispatched experts and resources to the former Soviet republics to help secure dangerous pathogens and support the transition to peaceful research at civilian-run labs, including Vector, one of two known repositories for the smallpox virus.
U.S. experts collected first-person accounts of the research and visited outdoor testing facilities where dogs, monkeys and other animals were exposed to deadly pathogens, encounters described in the Pulitzer Prize-winning history “The Dead Hand,” by former Washington Post editor David Hoffman. But Russian officials refused to grant access to military laboratories and never offered a full accounting of past weapons research or described how they disposed of weaponized biological agents.
But more recently, new historical scholarship, drawing from Soviet-era records and interviews with Russian scientists, has offered deeper insight into Soviet efforts to make weapons out of a wide range of pathogens, from anthrax bacteria to the viruses that cause Marburg fever and Ebola.
According to these accounts, much of the Ebola research appears to have been devoted to developing vaccines to protect Red Army troops against the disease. But scientists also ran experiments intended to optimize the virus’s growth and isolate the parts of its genome that make it deadly, said Raymond Zilinskas, a microbiologist and co-author of “The Soviet Biological Weapons Program,” an exhaustive history published in 2012 by Harvard University Press.
As Soviet scientists worked in secret to manipulate the virus, other teams constructed large fermenters and production facilities that could reproduce the altered pathogens on an industrial scale, Zilinskas said.
“There is only one reason why you would have a large production of these viruses, and that’s for offensive purposes,”said Zilinskas, who, along with co-author Milton Leitenberg, spent more than a decade interviewing Russian scientists and other officials with direct knowledge of the program.
In the years just before the Soviet Union’s collapse, the program’s managers plunged into novel experiments — with code names such as “Hunter” and “Bonfire” — that sought to create superbugs that would resist common antibiotics, or combine elements of different microbes to increase their lethality. Sergei Popov, a former Vector scientist who defected to the West, described work on creating a “completely artificial agent with new symptoms, probably with no ways to treat it.”
“Nobody would recognize it. Nobody would know how to deal with it,” Popov said in an interview broadcast on the PBS program “Nova” in 2002, a few years after the scientist settled in the United States. Popov declined a request for an interview this week.
Ultimately, the effort to concoct a more dangerous form of Ebola appears to have failed. Mutated strains died quickly, and Soviet researchers eventually reached a conclusion shared by many U.S. biodefense experts today: Ebola is a poor candidate for either biological warfare or terrorism, compared with viruses such as smallpox, which is highly infectious, or the hardy, easily dispersible bacteria that causes anthrax.
Things might have turned out differently if the Soviets had continued their work, Zilinskas and Leitenberg suggest in their account. The science of genetic modification was still in its infancy at the time Yeltsin outlawed the program, essentially freezing the research in place.
“Most, if not all, of the recombinants created in the laboratory were not close to being weaponized,” the book states. Still, it adds: “One must assume that whatever genetically engineered bacterial and viral forms were created . . . remain stored in the culture collections of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense.”
Australian hospitals now returning dead body parts back to life in other bodies
– FIRST DEAD HEARTS TRANSPLANTED
– PART OF THE DEAD CAN NOW BE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE; WHAT ABOUT THE WHOLE DEAD PERSON…?
– Australian’s say they would never try to re-animate entire dead bodies …but, North Koreans… Who knows..?
Australian doctors perform pioneering heart transplants
By Melissa Gray, CNN
‘Dead’ hearts successfully transplanted
Doctors transplant three hearts that had stopped beating in donors
All three recipients are doing well
Doctors say the method could increase the number of donor hearts
The method is widely researched and already performed with other organs
(CNN) — Pioneering heart transplant surgery announced Friday in Australia may lead to a new option for patients awaiting transplants by boosting the number of donor hearts available.
Doctors at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney said they performed three successful transplants of hearts that had naturally stopped beating in the donor, rather than using the typical method of removing donor hearts from patients who are brain-dead but still have cardiovascular function.
The donor hearts had stopped beating for as long as 20 minutes before surgeons were able to remove them from the patients.
The three surgeries were done in the past few months. All patients are doing well; one of them told reporters she feels like a “different person” who can perform more physical activity than before the surgery.
The procedure involves injecting the hearts with a preservation solution developed by the institute and hospital, then placing them in a machine that perfuses them with warm oxygenated blood. The machine keeps the heart replenished with oxygen, nutrients and hormones during transport, according to TransMedics, the maker of the machine.
Typically, donated organs are transported on ice, which carries the risk of damage.
The transplanting of hearts that have naturally stopped beating in donors — which are called DCD hearts, for “donors after circulatory death” — is already the subject of research internationally, said Dr. Joseph Woo, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford Health Care and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford Medicine in Palo Alto, California.
Stanford researchers have been studying the process in human DCD hearts, and researchers elsewhere are studying it in pigs and other animals, he said.
Transplants involving other DCD organs such as kidneys, livers and lungs are already widely accepted, he said.
In 2008, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the successful transplants of DCD hearts into infants at Denver Children’s Hospital. Three babies younger than 18 months received hearts from donors who had died from cardiocirculatory causes; the recipients’ six-month survival rate was 100%, according to the article.
The authors, all members of the hospital’s Pediatric Heart Transplant Team, said the results were promising for others awaiting critical transplants.
“Donors who died from cardiocirculatory causes offer an opportunity to reduce waiting time and waiting-list mortality among children whose survival depends on a heart transplant,” wrote the authors.
“For pediatric heart donation and transplantation involving patients who die from cardiocirculatory causes to become a more frequent option for end-of-life care and to affect significantly the nationwide risk of dying while waiting, the concept of distant sharing of donated organs from these donors should be considered.”
Woo said the number of heart transplants in the United States has remained at around 2,000 for years, limited by the number of viable donors. New methods like the one performed successfully in Australia may help save more lives.
“The thinking is if you change the way that families are able to permit donation, that you might have more donors,” he said.
Two of the patients who received the new hearts in Sydney beamed as they spoke to reporters Friday.
Michelle Gribilas said she feels years younger. Before the surgery, she couldn’t walk more than 100 meters (about 110 yards) at a time.
“I’m a different person altogether. Like I walk 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) a day, I go up the stairs, about 120 to 100 stairs a day,” she said.
“It’s a wild thing to get your head around, that your heart’s (come from) a stranger, someone you don’t know — part of them is now inside you,” said another recipient, Jan Damen. “It’s a privilege. It’s an amazing thing.”
Feb 16, 2009 … So really, is there such a thing as a “mad” scientist at all? …. did what they had to in the name of science: They tripped likecrazy, day and night. … Illya Ivanovich Ivanov was aRussianand Soviet biologist famous for creating …
Mar 31, 2008 … Science is all fine and good and has provided us with countless modern … a fewscientistshave strayed from the path of useful research intocrazyas a … apparently he thought involving theRussianmob, just to take this up a …
Nov 16, 2013 … Here, we give you ten real-lifescientistswho could give Victor … with helping bring about important advances inRussianopen-heart surgery, …. If Tesla ever set out to be acrazygenius, then he accomplished it with aplomb.
One man in Arizona says the iPhone 6 is literally the hottest phone on the market. He says his newly purchased phone caught fire while it was in his pocket.Phillip Lechter says it even left his leg with second-degree burns.
One man in Arizona says the iPhone 6 is literally the hottest phone on the market. He says his newly purchased phone caught fire while it was in his pocket.Phillip Lechter says it even left his leg with second-degree burns. This was due to the lithium-ion battery in the phone. These batteries often self-ignite.
MYFOXNY.COM – Mashable’s senior tech correspondent sits alone in the newsroom. On Samantha Kelly Murphy’s forehead sits a $300 headband. It restrains none of her hair but connects wirelessly to an app on her phone. That app professes to calm Murphy’s breathing, body, and brain as much as 30 minutes of yoga in just three minutes of headband time.”It kind of looks like Google Glass when you put it on,” she says.While its app tells me to think of as many languages or presidents as I can, Muse says the sensors on this headband monitor my brain waves to determine how I think.”I was kind of skeptical what would happen in just three minutes, but I did actually feel a noticeable difference afterwards,” Murphy says.While Muse asks Murphy to stare at a beach scene and count her breaths, it also may represent the next wave of wearable technology.”A new trend in wearables that help you relax,” Murphy says.But that is if you don’t stress yourself out waiting for your phone to connect to your headband.”Everybody wants to get on you — whether it’s your wrist or your brain now or your head,” Murphy says.
Relief for migraine sufferers thanks to small electronic device
American Migraine Foundation: Twelve percent of the population affected
The pain is intense, crippling and relentless. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know how much you’d give for fast relief.
Now, a new procedure normally used to treat chronic back pain is showing promise and helping headache patients get their lives back.
For close to seven years Jenny Bruner dealt with debilitating daily migraine headaches.
“I went to a neurologist. I was hospitalized. Then they put me on preventative medicines. We tried acupuncture, even botox. I tried biofeedback, and nothing was working. I didn’t see any hope. It was so frustrating just living in constant pain, explained Bruner.
She met with more than a dozen doctors and tried 62 different medications, trying to get her life back.
“It’s unbearable because you are not able to eat because you are nauseated all the time,” said Bruner.
Bruner is one of millions of people who suffer from chronic migraines.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, twelve percent of the population is affected, and three times more women have migraines than men.
The 32-year-old Bruner traveled across country to try and find relief in something a friend found online– a neurostimulation treatment called Transforma.
“They are somewhat skeptical that a procedure like this would work for them because they have literally been through everything,” said Dr. Jack Chapman, a migraine specialist.
Here’s how it works. Doctors implant tiny leads beneath the skin. They connect to a small battery pack, implanted in the lower back. The battery pack sends small electrical pulses to the areas of the head. The patient can adjust the strength of the pulses, based on the level of pain
“We are turning on a small electrical signal to the nerve to basically shut off or change that nerves transmission of the pain that people interpret as a headache,” explained Chapman.
Bruner says it feels like, “you are getting kind of a massage.” Some people describe it as champagne bubbles.
Bruner says this treatment changed her life. She felt better in a month, experienced fewer headaches and was actually able start living her life again; even planning a wedding.
Neurostimulation is not yet approved by the FDA for the treatment of headaches so it may not be covered by your insurance company.
Electronic Harassment Washington Post on Electronic Harassment Technologies
“An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person’s head. “The signal can be a ‘message from God‘ that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender.” In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head. The patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects.”
— Washington Post article on electronic harassment and voices in the head, 1/14/07
It’s quite fascinating how many people immediately discount anyone who talks about mind control. Government mind control programs have been reported in many major media articles and have been the subject of intense Congressional investigations which revealed widespread abuses. Below is yet another major media article on this key topic, this one revealing that some people who hear voices in their heads may actually be the subject of electronic harassment. As these articles and thousands of pages of declassified government documents make clear, mind control has been secretly studied for many decades.
If you are unaware of this important field of study, there are many reliable, verifiable resources which give much more information than the article below. For informative major media news articles on electronic harassment weapons, click here. For a brief, excellent summary of these weapons, click here. For a concise two-page summary of government mind control programs based on 18,000 pages of released government documents, click here.
Though this information may be disturbing, we feel it is better to be informed than to close our eyes. By spreading this information to our political and media representatives and to our colleagues and friends, we can bring this vital information to light and build a brighter future for us all. And for lots more excellent information on this topic, see the “What you can do” box at the end of this article.
New on the Internet: a community of people who believe the government is beaming voices into their minds. They may be crazy, but the Pentagon has pursued a weapon that can do just that.
By Sharon Weinberger
Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page W22
If Harlan Girard is crazy, he doesn’t act the part. He is standing just where he said he would be, below the Philadelphia train station’s World War II memorial — a soaring statue of a winged angel embracing a fallen combatant, as if lifting him to heaven. Girard is wearing pressed khaki pants, expensive-looking leather loafers and a crisp blue button-down. He looks like a local businessman dressed for a casual Friday — a local businessman with a wickedly dark sense of humor, which had become apparent when he said to look for him beneath “the angel sodomizing a dead soldier.” At 70, he appears robust and healthy — not the slightest bit disheveled or unusual-looking. He is also carrying a bag.
Girard’s description of himself is matter-of-fact, until he explains what’s in the bag: documents he believes prove that the government is attempting to control his mind. He carries that black, weathered bag everywhere he goes. “Every time I go out, I’m prepared to come home and find everything is stolen,” he says.
The bag aside, Girard appears intelligent and coherent. At a table in front of Dunkin’ Donuts inside the train station, Girard opens the bag and pulls out a thick stack of documents, carefully labeled and sorted with yellow sticky notes bearing neat block print. The documents are an authentic-looking mix of news stories, articles culled from military journals and even some declassified national security documents that do seem to show that the U.S. government has attempted to develop weapons that send voices into people’s heads.
“It’s undeniable that the technology exists,” Girard says, “but if you go to the police and say, ‘I’m hearing voices,’ they’re going to lock you up for psychiatric evaluation.”
The thing that’s missing from his bag — the lack of which makes it hard to prove he isn’t crazy — is even a single document that would buttress the implausible notion that the government is currently targeting a large group of American citizens with mind-control technology. The only direct evidence for that, Girard admits, lies with alleged victims such as himself.
And of those, there are many.
It’s 9:01 P.M. when the first person speaks during the Saturday conference call.
Unsure whether anyone else is on the line yet, the female caller throws out the first question: “You got gang stalking or V2K?” she asks no one in particular.
There’s a short, uncomfortable pause.
“V2K, really bad. 24-7,” a man replies.
“Gang stalking,” another woman says.
“Oh, yeah, join the club,” yet another man replies.
The members of this confessional “club” are not your usual victims. This isn’t a group for alcoholics, drug addicts or survivors of childhood abuse; the people connecting on the call are self-described victims of mind control — people who believe they have been targeted by a secret government program that tracks them around the clock, using technology to probe and control their minds.
The callers frequently refer to themselves as TIs, which is short for Targeted Individuals, and talk about V2K — the official military abbreviation stands for “voice to skull” and denotes weapons that beam voices or sounds into the head. In their esoteric lexicon, “gang stalking” refers to the belief that they are being followed and harassed: by neighbors, strangers or colleagues who are agents for the government.
A few more “hellos” are exchanged, interrupted by beeps signaling late arrivals: Bill from Columbus, Barbara from Philadelphia, Jim from California and a dozen or so others.
Derrick Robinson, the conference call moderator, calls order.
“It’s five after 9,” says Robinson, with the sweetly reasonable intonation of a late-night radio host. “Maybe we should go ahead and start.”
The idea of a group of people convinced they are targeted by weapons that can invade their minds has become a cultural joke, shorthanded by the image of solitary lunatics wearing tinfoil hats to deflect invisible mind beams. “Tinfoil hat,” says Wikipedia, has become “a popular stereotype and term of derision; the phrase serves as a byword for paranoia and is associated with conspiracy theorists.”
In 2005, a group of MIT students conducted a formal study using aluminum foil and radio signals. Their surprising finding: Tinfoil hats may actually amplify radio frequency signals. Of course, the tech students meant the study as a joke.
But during the Saturday conference call, the subject of aluminum foil is deadly serious. The MIT study had prompted renewed debate; while a few TIs realized it was a joke at their expense, some saw the findings as an explanation for why tinfoil didn’t seem to stop the voices. Others vouched for the material.
“Tinfoil helps tremendously,” reports one conference call participant, who describes wrapping it around her body underneath her clothing.
“Where do you put the tinfoil?” a man asks.
“Anywhere, everywhere,” she replies. “I even put it in a hat.”
A TI in an online mind-control forum recommends a Web site called “Block EMF” (as in electromagnetic frequencies), which advertises a full line of clothing, including aluminum-lined boxer shorts described as a “sheer, comfortable undergarment you can wear over your regular one to shield yourself from power lines and computer electric fields, and microwave, radar, and TV radiation.” Similarly, a tinfoil hat disguised as a regular baseball cap is “smart and subtle.”
For all the scorn, the ranks of victims — or people who believe they are victims — are speaking up. In the course of the evening, there are as many as 40 clicks from people joining the call, and much larger numbers participate in the online forum, which has 143 members. A note there mentioning interest from a journalist prompted more than 200 e-mail responses.
Until recently, people who believe the government is beaming voices into their heads would have added social isolation to their catalogue of woes. But now, many have discovered hundreds, possibly thousands, of others just like them all over the world. Web sites dedicated to electronic harassment and gang stalking have popped up in India, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Russia and elsewhere. Victims have begun to host support meetings in major cities, including Washington. Favorite topics at the meetings include lessons on how to build shields (the proverbial tinfoil hats), media and PR training, and possible legal strategies for outlawing mind control.
The biggest hurdle for TIs is getting people to take their concerns seriously. A proposal made in 2001 by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to ban “psychotronic weapons” (another common term for mind-control technology) was hailed by TIs as a great step forward. But the bill was widely derided by bloggers and columnists and quickly dropped.
Doug Gordon, Kucinich’s spokesman, would not discuss mind control other than to say the proposal was part of broader legislation outlawing weapons in space. The bill was later reintroduced, minus the mind control. “It was not the concentration of the legislation, which is why it was tightened up and redrafted,” was all Gordon would say.
Unable to garner much support from their elected representatives, TIs have started their own PR campaign. And so, last spring, the Saturday conference calls centered on plans to hold a rally in Washington. A 2005 attempt at a rally drew a few dozen people and was ultimately rained out; the TIs were determined to make another go of it. Conversations focused around designing T-shirts, setting up congressional appointments, fundraising, creating a new Web site and formalizing a slogan. After some debate over whether to focus on gang stalking or mind control, the group came up with a compromise slogan that covered both: “Freedom From Covert Surveillance and Electronic Harassment.”
Conference call moderator Robinson, who says his gang stalking began when he worked at the National Security Agency in the 1980s, offers his assessment of the group’s prospects: Maybe this rally wouldn’t produce much press, but it’s a first step. “I see this as a movement,” he says. “We’re picking up people all the time.” Harlan Girard says his problems began in 1983, while he was a real estate developer in Los Angeles. The harassment was subtle at first: One day a woman pulled up in a car, wagged her finger at him, then sped away; he saw people running underneath his window at night; he noticed some of his neighbors seemed to be watching him; he heard someone moving in the crawl space under his apartment at night.
Girard sought advice from this then-girlfriend, a practicing psychologist, whom he declines to identify. He says she told him, “Nobody can become psychotic in their late 40s.” She said he didn’t seem to manifest other symptoms of psychotic behavior — he dressed well, paid his bills — and, besides his claims of surveillance, which sounded paranoid, he behaved normally. “People who are psychotic are socially isolated,” he recalls her saying.
After a few months, Girard says, the harassment abruptly stopped. But the respite didn’t last. In 1984, appropriately enough, things got seriously weird. He’d left his real estate career to return to school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was studying for a master’s degree in landscape architecture. He harbored dreams of designing parks and public spaces. Then, he says, he began to hear voices. Girard could distinguish several different male voices, which came complete with a mental image of how the voices were being generated: from a recording studio, with “four slops sitting around a card table drinking beer,” he says.
The voices were crass but also strangely courteous, addressing him as “Mr. Girard.”
They taunted him. They asked him if he thought he was normal; they suggested he was going crazy. They insulted his classmates: When an overweight student showed up for a field trip in a white raincoat, they said, “Hey, Mr. Girard, doesn’t she look like a refrigerator?”
Six months after the voices began, they had another question for him: “Mr. Girard, Mr. Girard. Why aren’t you dead yet?” At first, he recalls, the voices would speak just two or three times a day, but it escalated into a near-constant cacophony, often accompanied by severe pain all over his body — which Girard now attributes to directed-energy weapons that can shoot invisible beams.
The voices even suggested how he could figure out what was happening to him. He says they told him to go to the electrical engineering department to “tell them you’re writing science fiction and you don’t want to write anything inconsistent with physical reality. Then tell them exactly what has happened.”
Girard went and got some rudimentary explanations of how technology could explain some of the things he was describing.
“Finally, I said: ‘Look, I must come to the point, because I need answers. This is happening to me; it’s not science fiction.'” They laughed.
He got the same response from friends, he says. “They regarded me as crazy, which is a humiliating experience.”
When asked why he didn’t consult a doctor about the voices and the pain, he says, “I don’t dare start talking to people because of the potential stigma of it all. I don’t want to be treated differently. Here I was in Philadelphia. Something was going on, I don’t know any doctors . . . I know somebody’s doing something to me.”
It was a struggle to graduate, he says, but he was determined, and he persevered. In 1988, the same year he finished his degree, his father died, leaving Girard an inheritance large enough that he did not have to work.
So, instead of becoming a landscape architect, Girard began a full-time investigation of what was happening to him, often traveling to Washington in pursuit of government documents relating to mind control. He put an ad in a magazine seeking other victims. Only a few people responded. But over the years, as he met more and more people like himself, he grew convinced that he was part of what he calls an “electronic concentration camp.”
What he was finding on his research trips also buttressed his belief: Girard learned that in the 1950s, the CIA had drugged unwitting victims with LSD as part of a rogue mind-control experiment called MK-ULTRA. He came across references to the CIA seeking to influence the mind with electromagnetic fields. Then he found references in an academic research book to work that military researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research had done in the 1970s with pulsed microwaves to transmit words that a subject would hear in his head. Elsewhere, he came across references to attempts to use electromagnetic energy, sound waves or microwave beams to cause non-lethal pain to the body. For every symptom he experienced, he believed he found references to a weapon that could cause it.
How much of the research Girard cites checks out?
Concerns about microwaves and mind control date to the 1960s, when the U.S. government discovered that its embassy in Moscow was being bombarded by low-level electromagnetic radiation. In 1965, according to declassified Defense Department documents, the Pentagon, at the behest of the White House, launched Project Pandora, top-secret research to explore the behavioral and biological effects of low-level microwaves. For approximately four years, the Pentagon conducted secret research: zapping monkeys; exposing unwitting sailors to microwave radiation; and conducting a host of other unusual experiments (a sub-project of Project Pandora was titled Project Bizarre). The results were mixed, and the program was plagued by disagreements and scientific squabbles. The “Moscow signal,” as it was called, was eventually attributed to eavesdropping, not mind control, and Pandora ended in 1970. And with it, the military’s research into so-called non-thermal microwave effects seemed to die out, at least in the unclassified realm.
But there are hints of ongoing research: An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person’s head. “The signal can be a ‘message from God‘ that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender,” the author concluded.
In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head. That work is frequently cited on mind-control Web sites. Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent — records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials.
The official U.S. Air Force position is that there are no non-thermal effects of microwaves. Yet Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, tagged microwave attacks against the human brain as part of future warfare in a 2001 presentation to the National Defense Industrial Association about “Future Strategic Issues.”
“That work is exceedingly sensitive” and unlikely to be reported in any unclassified documents, he says.
Meanwhile, the military’s use of weapons that employ electromagnetic radiation to create pain is well-known, as are some of the limitations of such weapons. In 2001, the Pentagon declassified one element of this research: the Active Denial System, a weapon that uses electromagnetic radiation to heat skin and create an intense burning sensation. So, yes, there is technology designed to beam painful invisible rays at humans, but the weapon seems to fall far short of what could account for many of the TIs’ symptoms. While its exact range is classified, Doug Beason, an expert in directed-energy weapons, puts it at about 700 meters, and the beam cannot penetrate a number of materials, such as aluminum. Considering the size of the full-scale weapon, which resembles a satellite dish, and its operational limitations, the ability of the government or anyone else to shoot beams at hundreds of people — on city streets, into their homes and while they travel in cars and planes — is beyond improbable.
But, given the history of America’s clandestine research, it’s reasonable to assume that if the defense establishment could develop mind-control or long-distance ray weapons, it almost certainly would. And, once developed, the possibility that they might be tested on innocent civilians could not be categorically dismissed.
Girard, for his part, believes these weapons were not only developed but were also tested on him more than 20 years ago.
What would the government gain by torturing him? Again, Girard found what he believed to be an explanation, or at least a precedent: During the Cold War, the government conducted radiation experiments on scores of unwitting victims, essentially using them as human guinea pigs. Girard came to believe that he, too, was a walking experiment.
Not that Girard thinks his selection was totally random: He believes he was targeted because of a disparaging remark he made to a Republican fundraiser about George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s. Later, Girard says, the voices confirmed his suspicion.
“One night I was going to bed; the usual drivel was going on,” he says. “The constant stream of drivel. I was just about to go to bed, and a voice says: ‘Mr. Girard, do you know who was in our studio with us? That was George Bush, vice president of the United States.'”
Girard’s story, however strange, reflects what TIs around the world report: a chance encounter with a government agency or official, followed by surveillance and gang stalking, and then, in many cases, voices, and pain similar to electric shocks. Some in the community have taken it upon themselves to document as many cases as possible. One TI from California conducted about 50 interviews, narrowing the symptoms down to several major areas: “ringing in the ears,” “manipulation of body parts,” “hearing voices,” “piercing sensation on skin,” “sinus problems” and “sexual attacks.” In fact, the TI continued, “many report the sensation of having their genitalia manipulated.”
Both male and female TIs report a variety of “attacks” to their sexual organs. “My testicles became so sore I could barely walk,” Girard says of his early experiences. Others, however, report the attacks in the form of sexual stimulation, including one TI who claims he dropped out of the seminary after constant sexual stimulation by directed-energy weapons. Susan Sayler, a TI in San Diego, says many women among the TIs suffer from attacks to their sexual organs but are often embarrassed to talk about it with outsiders.
“It’s sporadic, you just never know when it will happen,” she says. “A lot of the women say it’s as soon as you lay down in bed — that’s when you would get hit the worst. It happened to me as I was driving, at odd times.”
What made her think it was an electronic attack and not just in her head? “There was no sexual attraction to a man when it would happen. That’s what was wrong. It did not feel like a muscle spasm or whatever,” she says. “It’s so . . . electronic.”
Gloria Naylor, a renowned African American writer, seems to defy many of the stereotypes of someone who believes in mind control. A winner of the National Book Award, Naylor is best known for her acclaimed novel, The Women of Brewster Place, which described a group of women living in a poor urban neighborhood and was later made into a miniseries by Oprah Winfrey.
But in 2005, she published a lesser-known work, 1996, a semi-autobiographical book describing her experience as a TI. “I didn’t want to tell this story. It’s going to take courage. Perhaps more courage than I possess, but they’ve left me no alternatives,” Naylor writes at the beginning of her book. “I am in a battle for my mind. If I stop now, they’ll have won, and I will lose myself.” The book is coherent, if hard to believe. It’s also marked by disturbing passages describing how Jewish American agents were responsible for Naylor’s surveillance. “Of the many cars that kept coming and going down my road, most were driven by Jews,” she writes in the book. When asked about that passage in a recent interview, she defended her logic: Being from New York, she claimed, she can recognize Jews.
Naylor lives on a quiet street in Brooklyn in a majestic brownstone with an interior featuring intricate woodwork and tasteful decorations that attest to a successful literary career. She speaks about her situation calmly, occasionally laughing at her own predicament and her struggle with what she originally thought was mental illness. “I would observe myself,” she explains. “I would lie in bed while the conversations were going on, and I’d ask: Maybe it is schizophrenia?”
Like Girard, Naylor describes what she calls “street theater” — incidents that might be dismissed by others as coincidental, but which Naylor believes were set up. She noticed suspicious cars driving by her isolated vacation home. On an airplane, fellow passengers mimicked her every movement — like mimes on a street.
Voices similar to those in Girard’s case followed — taunting voices cursing her, telling her she was stupid, that she couldn’t write. Expletive-laced language filled her head. Naylor sought help from a psychiatrist and received a prescription for an antipsychotic drug. But the medication failed to stop the voices, she says, which only added to her conviction that the harassment was real.
For almost four years, Naylor says, the voices prevented her from writing. In 2000, she says, around the time she discovered the mind-control forums, the voices stopped and the surveillance tapered off. It was then that she began writing 1996 as a “catharsis.”
Colleagues urged Naylor not to publish the book, saying she would destroy her reputation. But she did publish, albeit with a small publishing house. The book was generally ignored by critics but embraced by TIs.
Naylor is not the first writer to describe such a personal descent. Evelyn Waugh, one of the great novelists of the 20th century, details similar experiences in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Waugh’s book, published in 1957, has eerie similarities to Naylor’s.
Embarking on a recuperative cruise, Pinfold begins to hear voices on the ship that he believes are part of a wireless system capable of broadcasting into his head; he believes the instigator recruited fellow passengers to act as operatives; and he describes “performances” put on by passengers directed at him yet meant to look innocuous to others.
Waugh wrote his book several years after recovering from a similar episode and realizing that the voices and paranoia were the result of drug-induced hallucinations.
Naylor … is now back at work on an historical novel she hopes will return her to the literary mainstream. She remains convinced that she was targeted by mind control. The many echoes of her ordeal she sees on the mind-control forums reassure her she’s not crazy, she says.
Of course, some of the things she sees on the forum do strike her as crazy. “But who I am to say?” she says. “Maybe I sound crazy to somebody else.”
Some TIs, such as Ed Moore, a young medical doctor, take a slightly more skeptical approach. He criticizes what he calls the “wacky claims” of TIs who blame various government agencies or groups of people without any proof. “I have yet to see a claim of who is behind this that has any data to support it,” he writes.
Nonetheless, Moore still believes the voices in his head are the result of mind control and that the U.S. government is the most likely culprit. Moore started hearing voices in 2003, just as he completed his medical residency in anesthesiology; he was pulling an all-nighter studying for board exams when he heard voices coming from a nearby house commenting on him, on his abilities as a doctor, on his sanity. At first, he thought he was simply overhearing conversations through walls (much as Waugh’s fictional alter ego first thought), but when no one else could hear the voices, he realized they were in his head. Moore went through a traumatic two years, including hospitalization for depression with auditory hallucinations.
“One tries to convince friends and family that you are being electronically harassed with voices that only you can hear,” he writes in an e-mail. “You learn to stop doing that. They don’t believe you, and they become sad and concerned, and it amplifies your own depression when you have voices screaming at you and your friends and family looking at you as a helpless, sick, mentally unbalanced wreck.”
He says he grew frustrated with anti-psychotic medications meant to stop the voices, both because the treatments didn’t work and because psychiatrists showed no interest in what the voices were telling him. He began to look for some other way to cope.
“In March of 2005, I started looking up support groups on the Internet,” he wrote. “My wife would cry when she would see these sites, knowing I still heard voices, but I did not know what else to do.” In 2006, he says, his wife, who had stood by him for three years, filed for divorce.
Moore, like other TIs, is cautious about sharing details of his life. He worries about looking foolish to friends and colleagues — but he says that risk is ultimately worthwhile if he can bring attention to the issue.
With his father’s financial help, Moore is now studying for an electrical engineering degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio, hoping to prove that V2K, the technology to send voices into people’s heads, is real. Being in school, around other people, helps him cope, he writes, but the voices continue to taunt him.
Recently, he says, they told him: “We’ll never stop [messing] with you.”
A week before the TIs rally on the National Mall, John Alexander, one of the people whom Harlan Girard holds personally responsible for the voices in his head, is at a Chili’s restaurant in Crystal City explaining over a Philly cheese steak and fries why the United States needs mind-control weapons.
A former Green Beret who served in Vietnam, Alexander went on to a number of national security jobs, and rubbed shoulders with prominent military and political leaders. Long known for taking an interest in exotic weapons, his 1980 article, “The New Mental Battlefield,” published in the Army journal Military Review, is cited by self-described victims as proof of his complicity in mind control. Now retired from the government and living in Las Vegas, Alexander continues to advise the military. He is in the Washington area that day for an official meeting.
Beneath a shock of white hair is the mind of a self-styled military thinker. Alexander belongs to a particular set of Pentagon advisers who consider themselves defense intellectuals, focusing on big-picture issues, future threats and new capabilities. Alexander’s career led him from work on sticky foam that would stop an enemy in his or her tracks to dalliances in paranormal studies and psychics, which he still defends as operationally useful.
In an earlier phone conversation, Alexander said that in the 1990s, when he took part in briefings at the CIA, there was never any talk of “mind control, or mind-altering drugs or technologies, or anything like that.”
According to Alexander, the military and intelligence agencies were still scared by the excesses of MK-ULTRA, the infamous CIA program that involved, in part, slipping LSD to unsuspecting victims. “Until recently, anything that smacked of [mind control] was extremely dangerous” because Congress would simply take the money away, he said.
Alexander acknowledged that “there were some abuses that took place,” but added that, on the whole, “I would argue we threw the baby out with the bath water.”
But September 11, 2001, changed the mood in Washington, and some in the national security community are again expressing interest in mind control, particularly a younger generation of officials who weren’t around for MK-ULTRA. “It’s interesting, that it’s coming back,” Alexander observed.
While Alexander scoffs at the notion that he is somehow part of an elaborate plot to control people’s minds, he acknowledges support for learning how to tap into a potential enemy’s brain. He gives as an example the possible use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, for lie detection. “Brain mapping” with fMRI theoretically could allow interrogators to know when someone is lying by watching for activity in particular parts of the brain. For interrogating terrorists, fMRI could come in handy, Alexander suggests. But any conceivable use of the technique would fall far short of the kind of mind-reading TIs complain about.
Alexander also is intrigued by the possibility of using electronic means to modify behavior. The dilemma of the war on terrorism, he notes, is that it never ends. So what do you do with enemies, such as those at Guantanamo: keep them there forever? That’s impractical. Behavior modification could be an alternative, he says.
“Maybe I can fix you, or electronically neuter you, so it’s safe to release you into society, so you won’t come back and kill me,” Alexander says. It’s only a matter of time before technology allows that scenario to come true, he continues. “We’re now getting to where we can do that.” He pauses for a moment to take a bite of his sandwich. “Where does that fall in the ethics spectrum? That’s a really tough question.”
When Alexander encounters a query he doesn’t want to answer, such as one about the ethics of mind control, he smiles and raises his hands level to his chest, as if balancing two imaginary weights. In one hand is mind control and the sanctity of free thought — and in the other hand, a tad higher — is the war on terrorism.
But none of this has anything to do with the TIs, he says. “Just because things are secret, people tend to extrapolate. Common sense does not prevail, and even when you point out huge leaps in logic that just cannot be true, they are not dissuaded.”
What is it that brings someone, even an intelligent person, to ascribe the experience of hearing disembodied voices to government weapons?
In her book, Abducted, Harvard psychologist Susan Clancy examines a group that has striking parallels to the TIs: people who believe they’ve been kidnapped by aliens. The similarities are often uncanny: Would-be abductees describe strange pains, and feelings of being watched or targeted. And although the alleged abductees don’t generally have auditory hallucinations, they do sometimes believe that their thoughts are controlled by aliens, or that they’ve been implanted with advanced technology.
(On the online forum, some TIs posted vociferous objections to the parallel, concerned that the public finds UFOs even weirder than mind control. “It will keep us all marginalized and discredited,” one griped.)
Clancy argues that the main reason people believe they’ve been abducted by aliens is that it provides them with a compelling narrative to explain their perception that strange things have happened to them, such as marks on their bodies (marks others would simply dismiss as bruises), stimulation to their sexual organs (as the TIs describe) or feelings of paranoia. “It’s not just an explanation for your problems; it’s a source of meaning for your life,” Clancy says.
In the case of TIs, mind-control weapons are an explanation for the voices they hear in their head. Socrates heard a voice and thought it was a demon; Joan of Arc heard voices from God. As one TI noted in an e-mail: “Each person undergoing this harassment is looking for the solution to the problem. Each person analyzes it through his or her own particular spectrum of beliefs. If you are a scientific-minded person, then you will probably analyze the situation from that perspective and conclude it must be done with some kind of electronic devices. If you are a religious person, you will see it as a struggle between the elements of whatever religion you believe in. If you are maybe, perhaps more eccentric, you may think that it is alien in nature.”
Or, if you happen to live in the United States in the early 21st century, you may fear the growing power of the NSA, CIA and FBI.
Being a victim of government surveillance is also, arguably, better than being insane. In Waugh’s novella based on his own painful experience, when Pinfold concludes that hidden technology is being used to infiltrate his brain, he “felt nothing but gratitude in his discovery.” Why? “He might be unpopular; he might be ridiculous; but he was not mad.”
Ralph Hoffman, a professor of psychiatry at Yale who has studied auditory hallucinations, regularly sees people who believe the voices are a part of government harassment (others believe they are God, dead relatives or even ex-girlfriends). Not all people who hear voices are schizophrenic, he says, noting that people can hear voices episodically in highly emotional states. What exactly causes these voices is still unknown, but one thing is certain: People who think the voices are caused by some external force are rarely dissuaded from their delusional belief, he says. “These are highly emotional and gripping experiences that are so compelling for them that ordinary reality seems bland.”
Perhaps because the experience is so vivid, he says, even some of those who improve through treatment merely decide the medical regimen somehow helped protect their brain from government weapons.
Scott Temple, a professor of psychiatry at Penn State University who has been involved in two recent studies of auditory hallucinations, notes that those who suffer such hallucinations frequently lack insight into their illness. Even among those who do understand they are sick, “that awareness comes and goes,” he says. “People feel overwhelmed, and the delusional interpretations return.”
Back at the Philadelphia train station, Girard seems more agitated. In a meeting the week before, his “handlers” had spoken to him only briefly — they weren’t in the right position to attack him, Girard surmises, based on the lack of voices. Today, his conversation jumps more rapidly from one subject to the next: victims of radiation experiments, his hatred of George H.W. Bush, MK-ULTRA, his personal experiences.
Asked about his studies at Penn, he replies by talking about his problems with reading: “I told you, everything I write they dictate to me,” he says, referring again to the voices. “When I read, they’re reading to me. My eyes go across; they’re moving my eyes down the line. They’re reading it to me. When I close the book, I can’t remember a thing I read. That’s why they do it.”
The week before, Girard had pointed to only one person who appeared suspicious to him — a young African American man reading a book; this time, however, he hears more voices, which leads him to believe the station is crawling with agents.
“Let’s change our location,” Girard says after a while. “I’m sure they have 40 or 50 people in here today. I escaped their surveillance last time — they won’t let that happen again.”
Asked to explain the connection between mind control and the University of Pennsylvania, which Girard alleges is involved in the conspiracy, he begins to talk about defense contractors located near the Philadelphia campus: “General Electric was right next to the parking garage; General Electric Space Systems occupies a huge building right over there. From that building, you could see into the studio where I was doing my work most of the time. I asked somebody what they were doing there. You know, it had to do with computers. GE Space Systems. They were supposed to be tracking missile debris from this location . . . pardon me. What was your question again?”
Yet many parts of Girard’s life seem to reflect that of any affluent 70-year-old bachelor. He travels frequently to France for extended vacations and takes part in French cultural activities in Philadelphia. He has set up a travel scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the name of his late mother, who attended school there (he changed his last name 27 years ago for “personal reasons”), and he travels to meet the students who benefit from the fund. And while the bulk of his time is spent on his research and writing about mind control, he has other interests. He follows politics and describes outings with friends and family members with whom he doesn’t talk about mind control, knowing they would view it skeptically.
Girard acknowledges that some of his experiences mirror symptoms of schizophrenia, but asked if he ever worried that the voices might in fact be caused by mental illness, he answers sharply with one word: “No.”
How, then, does he know the voices are real?
“How do you know you know anything?” Girard replies. “How do you know I exist? How do you know this isn’t a dream you’re having, from which you’ll wake up in a few minutes? I suppose that analogy is the closest thing: You know when you have a dream. Sometimes it could be perfectly lucid, but you know it’s a dream.”
The very “realness” of the voices is the issue — how do you disbelieve something you perceive as real? That’s precisely what Hoffman, the Yale psychiatrist, points out: So lucid are the voices that the sufferers — regardless of their educational level or self-awareness — are unable to see them as anything but real. “One thing I can assure you,” Hoffman says, “is that for them, it feels real.”
It looks like almost any other small political rally in Washington. Posters adorn the gate on the southwest side of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, as attendees set up a table with press materials, while volunteers test a loudspeaker and set out coolers filled with bottled water. The sun is out, the weather is perfect, and an eclectic collection of people from across the country has gathered to protest mind control.
There is not a tinfoil hat to be seen. Only the posters and paraphernalia hint at the unusual. “Stop USA electronic harassment,” urges one poster. “Directed Energy Assaults,” reads another. Smaller signs in the shape of tombstones say, “RIP MKULTRA.” The main display, set in front of the speaker’s lectern has a more extended message: “HELP STOP HI-TECH ASSAULT PSYCHOTRONIC TORTURE.”
About 35 TIs show up for the June rally, in addition to a few friends and family members. Speakers alternate between giving personal testimonials and descriptions of research into mind-control technology. Most of the gawkers at the rally are foreign tourists. A few hecklers snicker at the signs, but mostly people are either confused or indifferent. The articles on mind control at the table — from mainstream news magazines — go untouched.
“How can you expect people to get worked up over this if they don’t care about eavesdropping or eminent domain?” one man challenges after stopping to flip through the literature. Mary Ann Stratton, who is manning the table, merely shrugs and smiles sadly. There is no answer: Everyone at the rally acknowledges it is an uphill battle.
In general, the outlook for TIs is not good; many lose their jobs, houses and family. Depression is common. But for many at the rally, experiencing the community of mind-control victims seems to help. One TI, a man who had been a rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard before voices in his head sent him on a downward spiral, expressed the solace he found among fellow TIs in a long e-mail to another TI: “I think that the only people that can help are people going through the same thing. Everyone else will not believe you, or they are possibly involved.”
In the end, though, nothing could help him enough. In August 2006, he would commit suicide.
But at least for the day, the rally is boosting TI spirits. Girard, in what for him is an ebullient mood, takes the microphone. A small crowd of tourists gathers at the sidelines, listening with casual interest. With the Capitol looming behind him, he reaches the crescendo of his speech, rallying the attendees to remember an important thing: They are part of a single community.
“I’ve heard it said, ‘We can’t get anywhere because everyone’s story is different.’ We are all the same,” Girard booms. “You knew someone with the power to commit you to the electronic concentration camp system.”
Several weeks after the rally, Girard shows up for a meeting with a reporter at the stately Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where he has stayed frequently over the two decades he has traveled to the capital to battle mind control. He walks in with a lit cigarette, which he apologetically puts out after a hotel employee tells him smoking isn’t allowed anymore. He is half an hour late — delayed, he says, by a meeting on Capitol Hill. Wearing a monogrammed dress shirt and tie, he looks, as always, serious and professional.
Girard declines to mention whom on Capitol Hill he’d met with, other than to say it was a congressional staffer. Embarrassment is likely a factor: Girard readily acknowledges that most people he meets with, ranging from scholars to politicians, ignore his entreaties or dismiss him as a lunatic.
Lately, his focus is on his Web site, which he sees as the culmination of nearly a quarter-century of research. When completed, it will contain more than 300 pages of documents. What next? Maybe he’ll move to France (there are victims there, too), or maybe the U.S. government will finally just kill him, he says.
Meanwhile, he is always searching for absolute proof that the government has decoded the brain. His latest interest is LifeLog, a project once funded by the Pentagon that he read about in Wired News. The article described it this way: “The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read. All of this — and more — would combine with information gleaned from a variety of sources: a GPS transmitter to keep tabs on where that person went, audiovisual sensors to capture what he or she sees or says, and biomedical monitors to keep track of the individual’s health.”
Girard suggests that the government, using similar technology, has “catalogued” his life over the past two years — every sight and sound (Evelyn Waugh, in his mind-control book, writes about his character’s similar fear that his harassers were creating a file of his entire life).
Girard thinks the government can control his movements, inject thoughts into his head, cause him pain day and night. He believes that he will die a victim of mind control.
Is there any reason for optimism?
Girard hesitates, then asks a rhetorical question.
“Why, despite all this, why am I the same person? Why am I Harlan Girard?”
For all his anguish, be it the result of mental illness or, as Girard contends, government mind control, the voices haven’t managed to conquer the thing that makes him who he is: Call it his consciousness, his intellect or, perhaps, his soul.
“That’s what they don’t yet have,” he says. After 22 years, “I’m still me.” Sharon Weinberger is a Washington writer and author of Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon’s Scientific Underworld. Note: For numerous patents demonstrating the possibility of projecting voices into the head, click here.
For those subjected to electronic harassment and/or stalking, you may greatly appreciate the many rich resources and excellent support available at http://freedomfchs.com
Learn more about the intriguing history and development of controversial mind control programs in this excellent two-page summary. Footnotes and links to reliable sources are provided for verification purposes.
For reliable, verifiable information from major media articles on the little-known, yet critical topic of nonlethal weapons, click here and here.
Read powerful, reliable major media articles on electronic harassment and government mind control programs at this link.
Inform your media and political representatives of this critical information. Contact those close to you at this link. Urge them to bring this information to light and encourage public dialog on this important civil rights issue.
Spread this news to your friends and colleagues, and bookmark this article on key news websites using the “Share This” icon on this page, so that we can fill the role at which the major media is sadly failing. Together, we can make a difference.
We need your support. Please help our work to grow and thrive by donating at this link.
The use of electronic monitoring (MEMS®) to evaluate antipsychotic compliance in outpatients with schizophrenia
To view the full text, please login as a subscribed user or purchase a subscription. Click here to view the full text on ScienceDirect.
Compliance rates employing different measures in stabilized outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (A) when compliance is treated as a dichotomous variable (% of subjects compliant/noncompliant) using a threshold of 80%, and (B) when compliance is treated as a continuous variable (reported as overall compliance rate). Clinician ratings are not included in (B); it was felt that clinicians could provide an estimate based on a single threshold i.e., 80%, but asking for an absolute estimate from 0–100% was not realistic.
Compliance with antipsychotic treatment is a well-recognized concern in the ongoing management of individuals with schizophrenia. The present investigation incorporated the Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS®) to evaluate compliance in a group of outpatients (N=52) with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Evaluating compliance as a dichotomous variable and using a threshold of 80%, the rate of noncompliance as measured by MEMS® was 52%, considerably higher than self-report (3%), clinician rating (24%) and pill count (25%). The ability of treating clinicians to predict compliance/noncompliance was limited: 13 of 31 (42%) subjects they rated as compliant were noncompliant while 4 of 9 (44%) rated as noncompliant were actually compliant according to MEMS®. Factors most consistently associated with noncompliance were higher total symptom scores and dosing complexity i.e., greater than once daily. Based on MEMS® data, the overall mean level of compliance was 66%; however, it remains unclear as to what threshold is associated with a compromise in clinical response. More sophisticated measurement tools such as MEMS® may assist us in better understanding how level and pattern of antipsychotic noncompliance, factors that at present remain poorly understood, impact on symptom exacerbation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, which involves delivering magnetic pulses to parts of the brain, is helpful to and well-tolerated by some patients with treatment-resistant depression.
Magnetic and electronic stimulators may help patients who have failed other treatments for depression.
When Shirlene Sampson, M.D., talks about transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and its potential for helping people who have failed or cannot tolerate conventional treatments for depression, her passion becomes obvious.
“Depression is an extraordinarily painful illness when it is in its most severe form,” she says, adding that about 4 million people in the United States have what’s called refractory or treatment-resistant depression. “People lose their ability to cope and function. They lose their lives. And the patients, families, and treaters get hopeless. They run out of things to do.”
Sampson, a psychiatrist, has been studying TMS as a possible treatment for refractory depression since the late 1990s, when, as a fellow in neuropsychiatry at Harvard University, she worked alongside one of the pioneers in the field. In 1999, she came to Mayo Clinic to set up a TMS lab, which has been involved in a 23-center double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of TMS for treating depression in 301 patients.
The results of the trial, which are being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), show promise for the use of TMS in treating depression. According to findings presented at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Toronto last May by Neuronetics Inc., the manufacturer of the TMS therapy system, the patients who received TMS therapy in the placebo-controlled trial showed twice the rate of response and remission as those who did not. Of the 85 patients who went on to participate in an open-label study of TMS, 45 percent showed improvement of their symptoms, and 31 percent saw complete remission.
Studies comparing the results of TMS with those of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which has been the standard for treating patients with medication-resistant depression, show similar success rates. But Sampson notes limitations in those studies. Unlike ECT, however, TMS doesn’t require the patient to be sedated, nor does it have side effects such as memory loss or confusion. (Fewer than 8 percent of the patients who took part in the TMS study left because they couldn’t tolerate the treatments.)
The most significant advantage of TMS over other technologies that are being tested for treating depression is that it’s not invasive. A magnetic coil is placed over the patient’s skull and delivers brief magnetic field pulses to the cerebral cortex.
Sampson explains that most of the TMS studies have involved applying high-frequency stimulation (5 Hz to 20 Hz) to the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex. Others have applied very low-frequency stimulation (1 Hz) to the right side of the brain.
“Depression is a very heterogeneous illness,” she says of the possible reasons why different frequencies delivered to different parts of the brain seem to be effective. “You can have someone who is anxious and agitated or who is sleeping all the time and eating everything in sight. People present with different types of disturbances in their brain, yet we call it depression.”
The FDA is expected to decide whether to approve TMS for treatment of refractory depression later this year.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation One device that does have FDA approval for use in treating medication-resistant depression is Cyberonics Inc.’s vagus nerve stimulator (VNS).
The stimulator is made up of a half dollar–sized battery-operated pulse generator that is surgically implanted under the patient’s skin on the left side of the chest, just below the clavicle. The generator is connected to a bipolar lead that is surgically attached to the vagus nerve in the neck. The pulse generator delivers a small electrical current to the nerve for about 30 seconds every five minutes. As the device stimulates the vagus nerve, the nerve then stimulates the parts of the brain that are responsible for mood.
In a 12-center study of VNS for treatment-resistant depression, investigators found that on 12-month follow up, 30 percent of the 205 patients who received the device plus an antidepressant saw a 50 percent reduction in symptoms compared with 13 percent of a control group of 124 patients who received medications only. In addition, 17 percent of the patients who received VNS therapy achieved remission, compared with 7 percent of those who received medication only. The results were the same after 24 months, and the most common side effect patients complained of was vocal hoarseness.
Despite the fact that the study wasn’t double-blinded or placebo-controlled, the FDA approved the use of the device for treating refractory depression in 2005.
“The rate of remission and response with VNS really could not be described as great,” says Dean Knudson, M.D., a psychiatrist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. “But when you compare it with what we could have done previously, it’s a big difference.”
Knudson has referred two patients for implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator in the past year, both of whom had tried and failed electroconvulsive therapy. One of those patients has responded “robustly,” Knudson says; the other has not.
Deep-Brain Stimulation Another medical device maker, Fridley-based Medtronic, is banking on deep-brain stimulation (DBS) as a possible treatment for refractory depression.
Deep-brain stimulation uses a surgically implantable pacemaker-like device with leads connected to two electrodes that are inserted in the subgenual cingulate region of the brain—the area that modulates negative mood and sadness and has been observed to be metabolically overactive in patients with refractory depression. And like a cardiac pacemaker, the pulse generator regularly delivers a steady stream of electrical impulses. (Researchers are still determining the optimal voltage, pulse width, and frequency.)
When traditional treatments don’t work.
Approximately 4 million people in the United States—20 percent of those with depression—suffer from the treatment-resistant variety.
“Most of these patients have failed three or four anti-depressive medications,” says Dean Knudson, M.D., a psychiatrist who works with inpatients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. He says some patients don’t respond to medications; others cannot tolerate the side effects of the medications or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the standard treatment for those with refractory depression, which is known to cause memory loss and confusion.
According to a 2002 study by researchers at the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based MEDSTAT Group, people with treatment-resistant depression often end up hospitalized, and the annual cost of their care runs approximately $40,000.
“This is a dangerous condition,” says Knudson, who sees a number of patients with treatment-resistant depression in his practice. “If you have this illness, there is between a 10 and 20 percent chance that you will go on to kill yourself to escape it.”—K.K.
“The foundation of deep-brain stimulation goes back to earlier neurosurgical history where surgeons used to make lesions at different places in the brain for treating movement disorders,” says Paul Stypulkowski, Ph.D., senior director of emerging therapies research for Medtronic’s neurological division.After stimulating targets in the brain that were previously lesioned for treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia and seeing success, researchers decided to try stimulating areas of the brain to treat psychiatric disorders. One of those is the internal capsule, a dense bundle of nerve fibers that carries information between the cortical regions and the thalamus, the brain’s central relay station.
In the late 1990s, researchers tested the device on patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Not only did the patients’ OCD improve, but also those who had co-morbid depression saw significant improvements in their mood.
A handful of centers in the United States and Europe have since begun investigating the use of DBS for patients with treatment-resistant depression. So far, one small trial led by Emory University’s Helen Mayberg, M.D., involved delivering chronic deep-brain stimulation to the brain’s subgenual cingulate region. Results, which were published in Neuron in 2005, showed marked remission in four of six patients.
“Those were very encouraging results,” says Stypulkowski. He says Medtronic is working with the FDA to design a multicenter trial of DBS for treatment-resistant depression that is on track to begin later this year.
Which Patient, Which Treatment? Exactly who might be the best candidates for each of these emerging therapies remains to be seen. Stypulkowski says that until large-scale, randomized controlled trials of TMS and DBS are complete, investigators won’t know the benefits of each, how the results of these therapies compare with those of ECT, and, in the case of DBS, whether the benefits are worth the risk associated with having electrodes implanted in the brain.
Sampson believes TMS may become the first option for patients who have failed psychotherapy and medications because it is noninvasive and is tolerated better than ECT.
In addition to giving hope to patients who previously had very little, Sampson says studying these therapies is also helping investigators gain insights into what causes depression. “Depression was seen as a deficiency of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline,” she says. “Now we have functional MRIs, which can look at the brain more directly and help us understand which parts are not working right when folks are depressed and then reimage them when they’re better to see how the brain has changed. By doing that, we can start to get at the very diverse structures of the brain that are involved in depression.”—Kim Kiser
The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.
This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”
The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.
Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:
Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.
President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.
Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.
The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.
Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized President Obama and his disgraced Attorney General in a statement today:
This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.
Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.
On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over records explaining why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gun running operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history that a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.
A week before the contempt finding, to protect Holder from criminal prosecution and stave off the contempt vote, President Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. Holder’s Justice Department wouldn’t budge (or follow the law), so JW filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012.
But then the Justice Department convinced U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to stay our lawsuit, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the Holder’s government lawyers and the House Committee to continue. Unsurprisingly, the “negotiations” between politicians running the House and the Justice Department went nowhere.
Fed up with the interminable delay caused Holder’s gamesmanship and stonewalling, JW renewed its request to the Court to allow our transparency lawsuit to continue. Thankfully, this past July, Judge John D. Bates ended the 16-month delay and ordered the Obama administration to produce a Vaughn index of the alleged “executive privilege” records by October 1. Judge Bates noted that no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s unprecedented executive privilege claims in the Fast and Furious matter.
Unhappy with having to produce the records prior to the elections, Justice lawyers asked the judge to give them one extra month, until November 3 (the day before Election Day!) to produce the info. Judge Bates rejected this gambit, suggested that the Holder’s agency did not take court order seriously. Rather than a month, Judge Bates gave Justice until yesterday to cough up the Vaughn index. Judge Bates issued his smack down on September 23.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation two days later.
Many share our opinion it was “no coincidence” that Holder’s resignation came “on the heels of another court ruling that the Justice Department must finally cough up information about how Holder’s Justice Department lied to Congress and the American people about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, for which Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives.”
The House had been separately litigating to obtain the records but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose information to Judicial Watch.
On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch’s success, ordered the Justice Department to produce information to Congress by November 3.
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels hoping they would end up at crime scenes, advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico. Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.
Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal continue to be used in crimes. Just last week, Judicial Watch disclosed that a Fast and Furious gun was used in gang -style assault on a Phoenix apartment building that left two people wounded. We figured this out from information we uncovered through another public records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.
Congress officially confirmed the AK-47 was used in the assault that terrorized residents in Phoenix. In an October 16 letter sent from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole discloses that “we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The [Justice] Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun….This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”
We have many other active lawsuits over the Fast and Furious scandal:
On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.
On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.
On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.
Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. [To order the Freedom Center’s pamphlet “Ten Reasons to Impeach EricHolder,” written by Department of Justice
The Obama Justice Department has increased Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions over 65% compared to the prior administration, a dramatic shift that stands to benefit Attorney General EricHolder’s former law firm Covington & Burling—the firm that helped write …
President Obama and key members of his Democrat cabinet like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, disgraced Attorney General EricHolder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice were all among the top ten most corrupt
Let the law run its course. Anything that stands in the way is corruption. Excerpted from The Washington Times: FBI agents working alongside Utah state prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption investigation have uncovered accusations of wrongdoing by two of the U.S. Senate’s most prominent …
Attorney General EricHolder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice FCPA enforcement has waxed and waned during EricHolder’s six-year tenure as U.S. Attorney General. But that’s not the whole picture. … since the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 in the wake of the Watergate investigations …
EricHolder. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from EricHolder, Jr) Jump to: navigation, search. Eric … At the beginning of his tenure, he oversaw the conclusion of the corruption case against Dan Rostenkowski, …
ericholder corruption? EricHolder Net Worth is $11.5 Million. EricHolder is a Bronx-born judge with an estimated net worth of $5.7 million dollars. EricHolder is the current United States Attorney General. He was a judge for the Superior Court of the District of Colum
October 21, 2014 From time to time in this column, I predict that the United States is entering an era of great political disruption, a bottom-up revolution on the scale of what upended the music, television, movie, media, and retail industries. Fueled by the radical connectivity of the Internet, abrupt new actors in those fields dismantled the status quo, shifted power downward, and created an explosion of options for consumers.
Consider what just one change wrought. You can now choose any musician’s song from any album, download it instantly and from virtually anywhere on earth for less than the price of a candy bar, and store it on a device with thousands of other tracks from just as many different singers. That’s power.
I ask you, how long until Americans recognized they’re no less equipped to disrupt politics and government? How soon before we stop settling for an inferior product in Washington and at statehouses? When do we demand more and better from the Democratic and Republican parties—or create new political organizations that usurp the old?
I don’t know the answers. I do believe it’s a matter of when, not if. Because, while we may be a presidential cycle or two away from the Great Disruption, you can already spot green shoots of populism emerging from an otherwise bleak midterm landscape.
Unsatisfied consumers: Disruption thrives when the status quo is not serving the needs of a changing public. Netflix, Amazon, and Buzzfeed wouldn’t exist if people had been satisfied with the way the entertainment, retail, and media industries were operating. The same American public that forced change on those industries is equally, if not more, annoyed with the political system.
A majority of Americans hold a negative view of the GOP, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journalsurvey. The Democratic Party’s image is underwater, meaning that more people disapprove than approve of the party. The percentage of Americans identifying themselves as independents is rising steadily, from 31 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in September, according to a Gallup study cited by Democratic consultant Doug Sosnik.
“Americans’ long-brewing discontent shows clear signs of reaching a boiling point,” Sosnik wrote a year ago. “And when it happens, the country will judge its politicians through a new filter—one that asks, ‘Which side of the barricade are you on?’ ”
While many independents will vote Democratic or Republican, they’re doing so out of a lack of choice. Last year, NBC/Esquire commissioned a nonpartisan analysis of the electorate and determined that a full majority, 51 percent, make up a “New American Center,” voters whose attitudes and ideologies leave them without a natural home inside either the GOP or the Democratic Party. These voters share common values that run counter to the polarized, zero-sum ways of the two major parties.
Exacerbating this disconnect between the parties and the people is the public’s sour mood. Huge majorities of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. They see a grim future for themselves, their children, and their country. They believe their political leaders are selfish, greedy, and short-sighted—unable and/or unwilling to shield most people from wrenching economic and social change.
Ambitious disruptors: A handful of politicians are looking over the horizon and offering themselves as an alternative to the GOP and the Democratic Party. Independent candidate Greg Orman threatens to unseat GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in heavily Republican Kansas. Republican-turned-independent Larry Pressler has put the South Dakota race into play. A libertarian pizza delivery man may gobble up enough voters to determine the Senate race in North Carolina. In Alaska, Democrats are backing an independent Republican for governor.
In governor’s races, nearly a dozen incumbents are in various levels of danger; their challengers seizing the mantle of change.
Still, this year’s elections won’t result in a wave of newly elected independents, nor will a record number of incumbents lose their jobs. The Old Guard will conclude that the status quo is safe. But the Old Guard is a ship of fools, living on borrowed time. They remind me of smug newspaper publishers, music moguls, and bookstore-chain operators who were abruptly disrupted out of business.
“Look beneath the surface, and you’ll see this is more of an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment year than people realize,” said Joe Trippi, who helped bring modern technology to the political system while running a 2004 Democratic presidential campaign for Howard Dean. “Change is coming. Big change.”
Young disruptors: The ranks of the congressional candidates include a dozen or so millennials, people who came of age after 9/11. They include Elise Stefanik, 30, a Republican who helped me research a 2006 book about leadership when she was a Harvard undergraduate. Nick Troiano, 25, is running as an independent in Pennsylvania. “If I win, it will send a signal to Washington that you’d better watch out, that there’s a huge generation of millennials poised to disrupt politics as usual,” Troiano told me in April.
Even if the Old Guard defeats Stefanik, Troiano, and every other young candidate in November, they can’t stop the changes millennials would make to the system. This generation of Americans is relatively civic-minded, pragmatic, tolerant, diverse, and less interested in ideology than results. The only thing that can stop millennials from disrupting the system is the generation itself; young Americans are deeply disillusioned with politics and government, and their inclination to solve problems outside of traditional institutions could create a severe brain drain in Washington.
Conventional wisdom argues against even the remote possibility of an independent presidential bid; against the dismantling of old party structures and the creation of new ones; and against any structural reform to government. I get it. There are thousands of reasons why you might place your bets on the status quo.
I’ll put my money on the people. Trippi is right. Change is coming.
How We See the Differences in Liberal and Conservative Brains
How an NYU research team is looking at the biological differences in partisan brains. (Reena Flores)
Posted onOctober 21, 2014|Comments Off on IS TESLA PUMPING IT’S STOCK WITH FAKE ORDERS? STOCK MARKET MANIPULATION OUT OF CONTROL!
Micheal Lewis best-selling book “Flash Boys” reveals how much of what you think is happening, on the stock market, may be contrived false-hoods created by computerized manipulations and fake coordinated shill bloggers. The White House games the stock market to payback Silicon Valley campaign funding VC’s and the GOP blows up those very games, right afterwards, in a secret dance of stock fraud tricks. They made a mistake, this time around, and the tricks became visible to everybody in the stock market world. This, on top of the Goldman Sachs sting operation recordings, shows that something is deeply wrong in Stock Land!
In the coming mid-term elections we are seeing Barbara Streisand and DNC notables bemoan the reduced budgets they have to work with this year. Privately, the DNC is ringing their core finance base (The Silicon Valley Vc’s) telephones off the hook.
One of the most successful tactics by GOP specialists involves Tesla Motors. Called out by Mitt Romney, and other Republican notables, as White House fronts. Tesla gets strange and illogical bumps in the stock market in spite of massive numbers of lawsuits, consumer complaints, the lowest sales volume for the money invested in a car company in history, and other facts which, in a rational world, would say they should not survive.
In fact, what is happening is that the backers of Tesla, the same Silicon Valley investors who pay for the White House and DNC campaigns, “Pump” the stock from their own bank accounts each time more bad news comes out about Tesla. There are now charges that the White House is even “pumping the TSLA stock”, like it may have done on the supposed October 16, 2014 “Pump” on the overall market, in order to protect Obama’s “brand name”.
This makes the stock chart for TSLA go up but it is not from mom and pop day-traders. It is “Pumping Cash” right out of the Vc’s investment bank fronts to artificially inflate the stock.
While a final Tesla bankruptcy might seem like the dream for GOP PR; allowing them to point and say “Ha, look, another Department of Energy Crony-Kickback deal gone south”, Tesla has provided even greater grist for the GOP strategy meat-hooks.
MUSK GREED AND HUBRIS BLEW THE SECRET:
By forcing the Silicon Valley VC campaign backers to constantly drain their bank accounts in order to keep Tesla looking like it is still alive, the GOP strategists are also draining the life out of the funding for mid-term and 2016 Democratic candidates.
The GOP finally figured out that almost all of the cash and web media manipulation was coming from one tiny spot in California: SandHill Road and the area around Standford University. They decided that to take down the GOP they just had to expose Silicon Valley.
Tesla was a test case and it worked well. The investment banks with auto refills on Tesla stock, running the investment funds for Doerr, Thiel, Westly, Draper and all the rest of the DNC VC’s is running overtime trying to keep the stock pumped as one set of bad news after another gets exposed about Tesla.
One GOP operative claims that every Kleiner Perkins investment has been: “Targeted, tracked and media exposed”…”can you hear that giant sucking sound”, he says “…that’s the sound of DNC VC cash sliding into oblivion…not only are they beating a dead horse but we have infected the very horse they are beating..”
The operative claims that Musk’s carve-outs for Solar, Space and batteries is his gift, by the White House for conduit-ing cash, through those, “fronts” back to DNC candidates. Sierra Nevada Corp is suing Musk’s Space X, claiming similar industry rigging. Tesla has been under investigation by many parties.
People don’t like taking it in the ass unexpectedly. In this case the old adage of “You F**ed me in the ass, so now I’m F***ing you guys in the ass tens times more..” Seems to be the rule of the game.
Thomas Roster- Palo Alto Rev
NY POST PROPOSES STOCK MARKET RIGGED BY WHITE HOUSE TO PROTECT CAMPAIGN BACKERS
Mysterious forces were trying their best, but they couldn’t keep the stock market from swooning Wednesday.
They failed in the morning, despite massive purchases of stock index futures contracts. Within minutes of the market’s opening, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 350 points. Later in the day — after a lot of shocking ebb and flow — the Dow bottomed out with a decline of 460 points.
It was only in the last hour of trading that the market saviors managed to trim the Dow loss to just 173 points. And they succeeded only after Janet Yellen’s private, upbeat remarks about the economy were leaked.
Welcome to a new kind of stock market — one that the average investor should refuse to be invested in.
Anyone whose investments tightly track the major indices is now losing money since the beginning of 2014. The Dow is down 1.1 percent on the year, with the S&P and Nasdaq up 3 percent for 2014.
Just for the record, I’ve been telling you for years that the stock market was in a bubble and that you should enjoy it while it lasts because bubbles always pop.
Of course, if you could time the end of the bubble, you’d be doing quite well. Miss the end and you are back to where you started. Or worse off in terms of confidence and finances.
Welcome to a new kind of stock market — one that the average investor should refuse to be invested in.
I obviously don’t know whether we are now seeing the end of the current stock market bubble, during which the S&P index has risen 102 percent since October 2008. But there are people like my friend Peter Grandich of Trinity Financial, who has been excellent at predicting market corrections in the past and who thinks this is the end.
I already brought up the sensitive issue of a market crash in a column on Oct. 9 that began: “Is this the month the stock market will crash?”
October is historically a spooky month for stocks, and in that column I rattled off the crashes and major price corrections of 1929, ’78, ’79, ’87, ’89 and 2008 to prove it.
Will 2014 soon be added to that list? That’ll be the cliffhanger in today’s column.
But let me explain about the unknown forces in the market these days. Call it by a nickname — the Plunge Protection Team. Or call it the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the official name given to the group when it was formed by President Ronald Reagan after the market turbulence of 1989.
These forces may be working from a script in the “Doomsday Book,” which the US government recently fought to keep secret when it was brought up last week during the AIG trial in Washington.
Here’s the bottom line: Someone tried to rescue the market last Wednesday. And it’s becoming a regular occurrence.
The details of last Wednesday morning are these: At the same time the Dow was off 350 points, the S&P index was down 43.80 points, That was an enormous decline in just 11 minutes of trading and it was an indication that Wall Street was not having a good day.
Then, someone (or something) started buying S&P futures contracts en masse. Twenty-one minutes later, the S&P index had regained 30 of those lost points and was back at 1,861.
Maybe you’ll believe that there was some manipulation going on if you knew that a guy named Robert Heller, who was a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors until 1989, proposed just such a rigging as soon as he left the Fed.
Look it up. Oct. 27, 1989, Wall Street Journal. Headline: “Have Fed Support Stock Market, Too.” By Robert Heller, who had just left the Fed to head up the credit card company Visa.
“It would be inappropriate for the government or the central bank to buy or sell IBM or General Motors shares,” Heller wrote. “Instead, the Fed could buy the broad market composites in the futures market.”
In case you don’t know the lingo, Heller is proposing that the Fed or government purchase stock futures contracts that track — and can influence — the major indices.
These contracts are cheap and a government could turn the whole stock market around quickly — but probably not permanently.
Wow! Doesn’t that seem a lot like what happened Wednesday at 9:41 a.m., when S&P futures contracts were suddenly and mysteriously scooped up?
Let me allow Heller to finish his thought because it’s important to anyone who believes in free and fair markets.
“The Fed’s stock-market role ought not to be very ambitious. It should seek only to maintain the functioning of the markets — not to prop the Dow Jones or the New York Stock Exchange averages at a particular level,” he continued.
But times change and so does thinking. In recent weeks, we’ve discovered that the CME Group, the exchange in Chicago, has an incentive program under which foreign central banks could buy stock market derivatives like the S&P contracts at a discount.
It’s not that these foreign banks need a break on the price of their trading. But it does show that there is a back-door way — through foreign emissaries — for the Fed and the US government to prop up stocks like Heller suggested, and — maybe — not get caught.
TESLA PUMPING STOCK WITH FAKE ORDERS:
MONEY How Investors May Be Getting Fooled by Buybacks
NEW YORK March 11, 2014 (AP)
By BERNARD CONDON AP Business Writer
If you’re puzzled why the U.S. stock market has risen so fast in a slow-growing economy, consider one of its star performers: DirecTV.
The satellite TV provider has done a great job slashing expenses and expanding abroad, and that has helped lift its earnings per share dramatically in five years. But don’t be fooled. The main reason for the EPS gain has nothing to do with how well it runs its business. It’s because it has engaged in a massive stock buyback program, halving the number of its shares in circulation by purchasing them from investors.
Spreading earnings over fewer shares translates into higher EPS — a lot higher in DirecTV’s case. Instead of an 88 percent rise to $2.58, EPS nearly quadrupled to $5.22.
Companies have been spending big on buybacks since the 1990s. What’s new is the way buybacks have exaggerated the health of many companies, suggesting through EPS that they are much better at generating profits than they actually are. The distortion is ironic. Critics say the obsessive focus on buybacks has led companies to put off replacing plant and equipment, funding research and development, and generally doing the kind of spending needed to produce rising EPS for the long run.
“It’s boosted the stock market and flattered earnings, but it’s very short term,” says David Rosenberg, former chief economist at Merrill Lynch, now at money manager Gluskin Sheff. He calls buybacks a “sugar high.”
Over the past five years, 216 companies in the S&P 500 are just like DirecTV: They are getting more of a boost in EPS from slashing share count than from running their underlying business, according to a study by consultancy Fortuna Advisors at the request of The Associated Press. The list of companies cuts across industries, and includes retailer Gap, supermarket chain Kohl’s, railroad operator Norfolk Southern and drug distributor AmerisourceBergen.
The stocks of those four have more than tripled, on average, in the past five years.
Companies insist that their buybacks must be judged case by case.
“The vast majority of our shareholders are sophisticated investors who not only use EPS growth but other important measures to determine the success of our company,” says Darris Gringeri, a spokesman for DirecTV.
But Fortuna CEO Gregory Milano says buybacks are a waste of money for most companies.
“It’s game playing — a legitimate, legal form of manufacturing earnings growth,” says Milano, author of several studies on the impact of buybacks. “A lot of people (focus on) earnings per share growth, but they don’t adequately distinguish the quality of the earnings.”
So powerful is the impact, it has turned what would have been basically flat or falling EPS into a gain at some companies over five years. That list includes Lockheed Martin, the military contractor, Cintas, the country’s largest supplier of work uniforms, WellPoint, an insurer, and Dun and Bradstreet, a credit-rating firm.
It’s not clear investors are worried, or even aware, how much buybacks are exaggerating the underlying strength of companies. On Friday, they pushed the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index to a record close, up 178 percent from a 12-year low in 2009.
“How much credit should a company get earning from share buybacks rather than organic growth?” asks Brian Rauscher, chief portfolio strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co, an investment company. “I think the quality of earnings has been much lower than what the headlines suggest.”
And it could get worse.
Companies in the S&P 500 have earmarked $1 trillion for buybacks over the next several years. That’s on top of $1.7 trillion they spent on them in the previous five years. The figure is staggering. It is enough money to cut a check worth $5,345 for every man, women and child in the country.
There is nothing necessarily nefarious or wrong about buybacks per se. It doesn’t seem that managements are trying to cover up a poor job of running their businesses. Even without factoring in a drop in share counts, earnings in the S&P 500 would have risen 80 percent since 2009.
The problem is that many investors are pouring money willy-nilly into companies doing buybacks as if they are always a good thing, and at every company.
A fund that tracks companies cutting shares the most, the PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio, attracted $2.2 billion in new investments in the last 12 months. That is nine times what had been invested at the start of that period, according Lipper, which provides data on funds.
For their part, the companies note there are all sorts of reasons to like them besides EPS.
WellPoint points out that it has increased its cash dividend three times since 2011, a big draw for people looking for income. Cintas says that it’s timed its buybacks well, buying at a deep discount to stock price today. And DirecTV says investors judge it also by revenue and cash flow, both of which are up strongly.
What’s more, companies seem to genuinely believe their shares are a bargain and they’d be remiss for not buying, though their record of choosing the right time is poor.
The last time buybacks were running so high was 2007, right before stocks fell by more than half.
There are signs the next $1 trillion in buybacks for S&P 500 companies could also prove ill-timed. Stocks aren’t looking so cheap anymore. After a surge of nearly 30 percent last year, the S&P 500 is trading at 25 times its 10-year average earnings, as calculated by Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Shiller of Yale. That is much more expensive than the long-term average of 16.5.
Many investors assume shrinking shares automatically make remaining shares more valuable. The math is seductive. A company that has $100 in earnings and 100 shares will report $1 in earnings per share. But eliminate half the shares and the same $100 is spread over 50 shares, and EPS doubles to $2.
But that doesn’t make the shares more valuable.
Shares aren’t just a claim on short-term earnings. They are an ownership stake in an entire company, including R&D programs and its capital stock — the plants, equipment and other assets needed to boost productivity long into the future. Critics say the lavish spending on buybacks has “crowded out” spending on such things, which is at its weakest in decades.
“It’s just like your car depreciating or your home depreciating — you have to invest,” says Gluskin Sheff’s Rosenberg, “The corporate sector has barely preventing the capital stock from becoming obsolete.”
One result: U.S. productivity, or output per hour, increased just 0.5 percent last year, a pitiful performance. It has grown by an average 2 percent a year since 1947.
If not reversed, history suggests stocks will suffer. In a 2010 study, Fortuna’s Milano found that stocks of companies that spent the most on buybacks vastly underperformed stocks of those that spent the least on them — at least over five years.
It’s unclear whether the kind of investor who dominates stock trading now cares about the long-term, though. Buybacks are one of the few sure-fire ways to push a stock higher in the short term, and investors these days are very short term.
They “don’t care what happens in three or five years,” laments Rauscher, the Baird strategist. “The market has become less of an investor culture, more of a trading one.”
Thursday, Jun 06 2013 11:00 PM
Credits fueled Tesla stock sale?
By The Bakersfield Californian
Concerning your May 31 editorial (“Some clean energy bets pay off nicely”) on Tesla Motors paying off the government loan:
In 2010, Tesla was awarded a milestone-based loan, requiring matching private capital obtained via public offering, by the Department of Energy as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. This program was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008, and then awarded under the Obama administration in the years that followed.
The loan payment was made using a portion of the approximately $1 billion in funds raised in the previous weeks concurrent offerings of common stock and convertible senior notes.
According to a May 8 USA Today report by James R. Healey and Fred Meier, Tesla made a first-quarter profit of $11 million on revenues of $562 million. But Tesla gets government zero-emission-vehicle (ZEV) credits for each car it builds, credits that can then be auctioned to other automakers to offset their non-zero-emission vehicles. The company income from sales of ZEVs came to about $68 million in the quarter, or 12 percent of revenue.
So, if you take away the ZEVs, Tesla lost $57 million. It sounds to me like the first-quarter profit allowed Tesla to make a stock offering to which the government loan was paid from. The profit was from government money in the way of ZEVs. Would the stock sale have been as good if Tesla had shown a $57 million loss?
It’s interesting how you tied Bush to the failed Solyndra loan and President Obama to the Tesla loan, when in fact the Obama administration made both loans.
How Markets Need $200 Billion Each Quarter From Central Bankers
By Simon Kennedy
The central-bank put lives on.
Policy makers deny its existence, yet investors still reckon that whenever stocks and other risk assets take a tumble, the authorities will be there with calming words or economic stimulus to ensure the losses are limited.
A put option gives investors the right to sell their asset at a set price so the theory goes that central banks will ultimately provide a floor for falling asset markets to ensure they don’t take economies down with them.
Last week as markets swooned again, it was St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard and Bank of England Chief Economist Andrew Haldane who did the trick. Bullard said the Fed should consider delaying the end of its bond-purchase program to halt a decline in inflation expectations, while Haldane said he’s less likely to vote for a U.K. rate increase than three months ago.
“These comments left markets with the impression that the ‘central-bank put’ is still in place,” Morgan Stanley currency strategists led by London-based Hans Redeker told clients in a report yesterday.
Matt King, global head of credit strategy at Citigroup Inc., and colleagues have put a price on how much liquidity central banks need to provide each quarter to stop markets from sliding.
By estimating that zero stimulus would be consistent with a 10 percent quarterly drop in equities, they calculate it takes around $200 billion from central banks each quarter to keep markets from selling off.
With the Fed and counterparts peeling back their net liquidity injections from almost $1 trillion in 2012 toward that magic marker, King’s team said “a negative reaction in markets was long overdue.”
“We think the markets’ weakness owes more to an almost belated reaction to a temporary lull in central bank stimulus than it does to any reduction in the effect of that stimulus in propping up asset prices,” they said in an Oct. 17 report to clients.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said in a report today that another 10 percent decline in U.S. stocks might spark speculation of a fourth round of quantitative easing from the Fed. That would mimic how the Fed acted following equity declines of 11 percent in 2010 and 16 percent in 2011.
The good news for investors in the eyes of Citigroup is that although the Fed is still reversing and set to end its bond-buying this month, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan will more than compensate with more stimulus in coming months.
The reason for the support is the fear that a prolonged sell-off in markets would upend the fragile economic outlook central banks are charged with safeguarding, they said.
“With central banks much more concerned about a return to recession than about asset-price bubbles, they have little choice but to step back in,” said Citigroup.
It’s remarkable that this Goldman report, and its writeup on Business Insider, is being treated with a straight face. The short version is current stock price levels are dependent on continued stock buybacks. Key sections of the story:
Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin believes a temporary pullback may explain why the S&P 500 has tumbled from its all-time high of 2,019 on Sept. 19.
“Most companies are precluded from engaging in open-market stock repurchases during the five weeks before releasing earnings,” Kostin notes. “For many firms, the beginning of the blackout period coincided with the S&P 500 peak on September 18. So the sell-off occurred during a time when the single largest source of equity demand was absent. Buybacks dip during earnings reporting months, which have seen 1.2 points higher realized volatility than in other months during the past 25 years.”…
“We expect companies will actively repurchase shares in November and December,” he writes. “Since 2007, an average of 25% of annual buybacks has occurred during the last two months of the year.”
Notice how the bulk of buybacks are concentrated in the fourth quarter, with the obvious intent of goosing prices at year end so as to lead to higher executive pay for “increasing shareholder value”? In fact, these companies are being gradually liquidated. Issuing debt, which public companies have done in copious volumes since the crash, and using it to buy shares is dissipating corporate assets. They are over time shrinking their businesses. That is also reflected in aggressive headcount cuts and cost-saving measures. Even though analysts like to tout the cash that companies have sitting on their balance sheets as a source of potential investment, as we’ve discussed in previous posts, public companies are so terrified of even a quarterly blip in earnings due to incurring expenses relating to long-term investments that they’d rather do nothing, or go the inertial path of cutting costs to show higher profits.
But with borrowing the big source of this corporate munificence to the share-owning classes, this is a self-limiting game. But the end game could be a long time in coming. First, you have economists who believe that the stock market directly drives consumer spending, echoing the Fed’s confidence in the wealth effect. For instance, see this argument from Roger Farmer (hat tip Bruegel blog):
There is a close relationship between changes in the value of the stock market and changes in the unemployment rate one quarter later. My research here, and here shows that a persistent 10% drop in the real value of the stock market is followed by a persistent 3% increase in the unemployment rate. The important word here is persistent. If the market drops 10% on Tuesday and recovers again a week later, (not an unusual movement in a volatile market), there will be no impact on the real economy. For a market panic to have real effects on Main Street it must be sustained for at least three months.
Yves here. The problem is that correlation is not causation. Significant and sustained stock market declines are almost always the result of Fed tightening. The usual lag between an interest rate cycle turn and a stock market peak historically was roughly four months, but in our new normal of seemingly permanent heavy-duty central bank meddling, old rules of thumb are to be used with great caution. Nevertheless, Greenspan was obsessed with what drove stock prices, and the Fed is unduly solicitous of asset price levels, no doubt because people like Janet Yellen have to leave their DC bubble in order to meet actual unemployed people.
Mike Whitney reminds those who manage to miss it that the Fed is so concerned about the actual and psychological impact of stock market prices that it immediately talked investors into getting back into the pool when the market started misbehaving badly last week. From Counterpunch:
For those readers who still think that the Fed doesn’t meddle in the markets: Think again. Friday’s stock surge had nothing to do with productivity, price, earnings, growth or any of the other so called fundamentals. It was all about manipulation; telling people what they want to hear, so they do exactly what you want them to do. The pundits calls this jawboning, and the Fed has turned it into an art-form. All [St. Louis Fed President James] Bullard did was assure investors that the Fed “has their back”, and , sure enough, another wild spending spree ensued. One can only imagine the backslapping and high-fives that broke out at the Central Bank following this latest flimflam….
It’s too bad the Fed can’t put in a good word for the real economy while they’re at it. But, oh, I forgot that the real economy is stuffed with working stiffs who don’t warrant the same kind of treatment as the esteemed supermen who trade stocks for a living. Besides, the Fed doesn’t give a rip about the real economy. If it did, it would have loaded up on infrastructure bonds instead of funky mortgage backed securities (MBS). The difference between the two is pretty stark: Infrastructure bonds put people to work, circulate money, boost economic activity, and strengthen growth. In contrast, MBS purchases help to fatten the bank accounts of the fraudsters who created the financial crisis while doing bupkis for the economy. Guess who the Fed chose to help out?
Do you really want to know why the Fed isn’t going to end QE? Here’s how Nomura’s chief economist Bob Janjuah summed it up:
“I want to remind readers of a message that may be buried in the past: When QE1 ended, the S&P 500 fell just under 20% in a roughly three-month period before the QE2 recovery.
When the QE2 ended, the S&P 500 fell about 20% in a three-month period before the next Fed-inspired bounce (aided by the ECB). QE3 is ending this month…”
Is that why the Fed started jawboning QE4, to avoid the inevitable 20 percent correction?
Whitney continues with one of our favorite tropes: that all QE has done is elevate asset prices. That has not led to a recovery in anything much beyond the balance sheets of the top cohorts and the income of the top 1%. Even worse, it has provide cover for the Administration falling in with investor-favoring austerity, in the form of reducing deficit spending when it ought to be increasing it to take up the considerable and costly slack in the economy.
It’s not surprising to see the Fed double down on a failed strategy. The central bank had apparently finally recognized in 2013 that QE was not helping the real economy, and they needed to exit the policy to reduce the resulting economic distortions. But they lost their nerve during last summer’s taper tantrum, and turned cowardly again in response to a mere stock market hissy fit.
The Fed believes that what is good for the wealthy is good for the US, and that when they are in danger of suffering financially, the central bank should break glass and administer monetary relief. Even though the Fed may think it is serious about ending QE and eventually raising rates, as they say in Venezuela, “They have changed their minds, but they have not changed their hearts.”
In the last few months, I have had a strange and interesting experience. In early April, I found myself the main character in Michael Lewis’s book FlashBoys. It told the story of a quest I’ve been on, with my colleagues, to expose and to prevent a lot of outrageous behaviour in the US stock market
In the last few months, I have had a strange and interesting experience. In early April, I found myself the main character in Michael Lewis’s book “FlashBoys.” It told the story of a quest I’ve been on, with my colleagues, to expose and to prevent a lot of outrageous behavior in the U.S. stock
San Jose, California: President Barack Obama warned tech leaders on Thursday to dig deep in their wallets to fund Democratic candidates and feel a sense of urgency about congressional elections in November or risk further gridlock in Washington and a failure to move on their priorities. Obama was
Rand Paul Opening SiliconValley Office to Fund Expected Presidential Run. 1,417. … “There’s a lot of smart people in SiliconValley, … wealthy”—one political analyst told the Chronicle that the Bay Area is now home to some of “the least loyal Democrats” in the country, …
In the 1970s and 1980s the politics of SiliconValley’s leaders tended more to … They also tend to have progressive views on gay marriage and climate change that align with the gospel of the Obama Democratic Party. In the … The Democrats are the party of the rich and have …
… an upstart candidate backed by some of tech’s biggest names, is looking to take SiliconValley’s transformational vision to Washington. SET … The financial muscle of SiliconValleyDemocrats, … An advocacy group backed by hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer is set to unleash a …
SiliconValleyfunds group aiming to register five million new conservative Christians for 2012 election. … Democratic organizers also attest to the potential, which has prompted religious advocates on the left to expand their organizing efforts.
Answer 1 of 1: The democratic party does accept funds from corporations. Suggest you look here: … SiliconValley: What does SiliconValley get from support for the Democratic party? How do political parties raise funds for campaigning and to pay staff?
SiliconValley may be 3,000 miles away from Washington, … If there is a Democratic bent in SiliconValley, … which has disbursed funds to candidates in both parties. Zuckerberg was friendly with Obama on the campaign trail, …
SiliconValleyDemocrats Neck and Neck After Massive Fundraising Haul for House Primary. Print article Send a Tip. … now that he and Singh have roughly the same amount of funds to spend on advertising and outreach. …
One of the most closely watched Congressional races in the nation is happening right here in SiliconValley. … SiliconValleyDemocrats At Odds Over … “People know the kinds of results I brought in. Things that brought in funds that created jobs like the BART to …
The GOP Plan to Crush SiliconValley What will become … House Republicans are seeking far greater cuts in non-defense spending than Senate Democrats, … to happen when Congress reconvenes is that Democrats and Republicans will agree on a continuing resolution that will fundthe government …
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg surprised everyone today by agreeing to host a fund-raiser for New Jersey governor Chris Christie, … People often assume that because SiliconValley tech companies are filled with hip, … Both Democrats and Republicans Are Trying to Politicize Ebola.
If Republicans Are So Great For Business, Why Does SiliconValley Support Democrats? By Henry Blodget February 16, … A partner at SiliconValley venture capital firm Greylock, Reid has invested in Facebook, Zynga, and many other companies.
Former Obama official already amassing funds, … Longtime SiliconValleyDemocrat wrangler Wade Randlett, … House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was at one of Khanna’s fundraisers but “supports Pete Stark,” said Jennifer Crider, …
… President Barack Obama on Thursday stopped in SiliconValley for the one thing this high … he sought funds for the Democratic National Committee. Advertisement “It’s an extraordinary honor to host the … Obama’s stop in the Bay Area scored big money for the Democrats, …
HowSiliconValley made Barack Obama this year’s hottest start-up. … The Amazing Money Machine. … By November, North and Gorenberg were among the top Democratic fund-raisers nationwide. On election night, …
The term of choice in political giving these days is straight out of the world of finance: donors have become “investors.” Now, liberal California venture capitalists have come up with the natural corollary: political “mutual funds.” The new venture, being launched Monday, is the work of Andy and
… HowSiliconValley’s $50 Million Bet on Immigration … who helped bankroll the project and personally helped convince an elite mix of SiliconValley CEOs and investors to fundthe … But after mulling how taking action might affect the prospects for Democrats in …
Posted onOctober 13, 2014|Comments Off on NASA Spacecraft Photographs Utility “Blow Jobs”: Methane Situation Kinda Bad!
NASA Spacecraft Photographs Utility “Blow Jobs”
Millions, maybe even billions, of tons of methane gas are being “blown off” by utility companies in their operations, says NASA.
PG&E in California releases massive tonnages of Methane when they work with the giant natural gas pipes that come into and out of California. Workers say they do it at night and rev the engines on the bulldozers so that nearby communities don’t hear the hiss of the, potentially illegal blow offs of methane built up in the large diameter natural gas pipes. Outside of Bakersfield, California, it is claimed that PG&E has blown off so much excess methane that it has changed the Central California weather.
In The SouthWest, Coal facilities have now blown off so much methane it has formed a fixed methane cloud over 3 states.
PG&E, now under investigation for lying to investigators, rigging reviewers and fraud on Brisbane, California natural gas explosion; is now even more under the gun for illegal late night methane Blow Offs. Combined with the coal industry methane issues now documented by NASA, expect some shake-ups.
Did the PG&E blow-offs cause the California drought? Scientists want to know!
How scientists overlooked a 2,500-square-mile cloud of methane over the Southwest
Scientists first noticed the largest methane hotspot in the US years ago, but the readings were so extreme they thought it might be instrument error. Emissions are 80 percent higher than previous Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
By Henry Gass O
Scientists have identified the largest hotspot of methane gas in the United States hovering over the Four Corners region of the Southwest, and the find could have big implications for how the country tracks its emissions in the future.
Scientists first noticed the data years ago amid satellite measurements collected by the European Space Agency’s Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument. The SCIAMACHY instrument collected atmospheric data over the US from 2002 to 2012. The bright red patch over the Four Corners persisted throughout the study period, but the readings were so extreme scientists still waited several more years before investigating the region in detail.
“We didn’t focus on it because we weren’t sure if it was a true signal or an instrument error,” said Christian Frankenberg from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement.
Frankenberg was co-author of a study released yesterday by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which analyzed SCIAMACHY data from 2003 to 2009. The study used a year of ground-based measurements to validate the satellite data, and found that the region where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah intersect had atmospheric methane concentrations equivalent to about 1.3 million pounds of emissions a year – roughly 80 percent higher than the Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
Methane is not as plentiful in the atmosphere as other climate-changing gases like carbon dioxide, but it is more than 80 percent more potent at trapping heat in the short term than CO2. The amount of methane believed to be hovering over the 2,500 square-mile area – about the size of Delaware – would trap more heat in the atmosphere than all the carbon dioxide produced yearly in Sweden.
The authors of yesterday’s study are careful to note that the methane emissions they analyzed don’t come from hydraulic fracturing in the region, a controversial method used to extract natural gas and oil that critics have blamed for releasing large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Most of the measurements used pre-date the widespread use of fracking in the region.
Eric Kort, lead author of the study and assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said that other industrial activity in the region is most likely the main culprit, in particular coal mining. The Four Corners sits on North America’s most productive basin of coalbed methane, a type of methane that sticks to the surface of coal.
“While fracking has become a focal point in conversations about methane emissions, it certainly appears from this and other studies that in the US, fossil fuel extraction activities across the board likely emit higher than inventory estimates,” Professor Kort says.
Since it’s impossible to have instruments set up at every methane leak in the country, estimates are usually based on measurements from a few individual locations that are then extrapolated to reflect a rough estimate of emissions nationwide. A flaw with this system is that isolated, anomalous sources of methane, such as the Four Corners basin, can go unnoticed, Kort explains.
“We often see, as in this study we published, that there seems to be more methane in the atmosphere than is accounted for in the inventories,” Kort says. “It’s a tremendous amount of work to compile and inventory like that, and its very valuable, but you’re only going to capture what you know to insert and you have to make these representative assumptions.”
The high methane levels are not a health risk to people in the Four Corners, but scientists have been finding it difficult to accurately track and quantify the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.
Methane inventories like those compiled by the EPA rely mostly on local measurements from towers and planes, and scientists believe those inventories reflect only half of US methane emissions. Estimates for the area in the European Union’s widely used Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research were also 3.5 times smaller than what the study found.
Methane leaks naturally from gas formations around the world, and without a detailed historical baseline of emissions from a particular area it can be hard to determine how responsible industry is for methane emissions in certain areas, according to Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University in State College.
“There is no baseline in the Four Corners region,” Professor Engelder said in an e-mail. “Therefore, we really don’t know to the extent to which the coal industry and coalbed methane increased and aggravated an existing, natural condition.”
Engelder adds that the study on methane in the Four Corners will “further spur an effort to understand methane emissions in the US.”
Satellite measurements could be an important tool for tracking greenhouse gas emissions in the future, Kort says, and could be especially useful at identifying, locating, and quantifying anomalous hotspots because “it’s hard to hide” from satellites.
But there is only one satellite measuring atmospheric methane right now, according to Kort, and it measures methane in a different manner that makes the data more difficult to use.
“Right now NASA has no plans to launch a new methane satellite,” Kort says, “and it may commit, or may not, [to a new satellite] based on other issues.”
America’s massivemethane mystery: Nasa satellite map spots unexplained hotspot over the Southwest. … Kim Kardashian posts cute baby pictures of herself and daughter North on Instagram Sees a lot of herself in her adorable daughter …
The news: A single hot spot in the American Southwest is responsible for the biggest concentration of methane gas seen over the United States. Now, thanks to satellite imagery, we can see just how massive it is. The data, published on Thursday by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan
Read the full article here | Digital Journal A cloud of methane gas was detected over the Four Corners area of the American southwest years ago. … More Photos: Visitors. 4,010 hits; Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Nasa’a animation reveals an explosion of solar particles, … Nasa reveals incredible animation showing massive ejection of solar particles from the sun. … When pointing south, the CME’s fields clash with Earth’s, …
Get Breaking News, photos that will warm your heart and daily schedules for RadioRMN! Click to join Rayelan. … America’s massivemethane mystery: Nasa satellite map spots unexplained hotspot over the Southwest. Posted By: RumorMail Date: …
… has released some new photos and animations of the Earth at Night constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite … and shows the dramatic difference at night between North and South Korea. HT: …
Tag Archives: photographs. Climate change graphics to share. Posted on July 26, 2013 by dorsi. Here are some of my recent designs done with photos from Nasa … Do you know that a massive release of methane is what caused the dinosaur extinction?
A cloud of methane gas about the size of Delaware was detected over the Four Corners area of the American southwest years ago. … Photographs of the construction of Titanic She Is Pretty as a Picture But Don’t Let That Fool You (41 pics)
Then look at all of Fisker’s recent PR, that they spent millions of dollars dishing out, saying that they had no customer problems, no technical problems, no money problems, etc… It turns out many of their customers, suppliers, staff, etc. are suing them for lies.
Same deal with Tesla: Staff suing them, lying about financial status, missed DOE milestones from their proposals yet still got cash, big backers had DOE staff working for them, only sold a few thousand cars, technical problems on each car, spending millions of dollars on fake PR and shill writers to fake up the status… looks like judgment time is coming…
Foodadditives are chemicals that help preserve, colour and flavour our food. It is very unlikely that foodadditives cause cancer. Foodadditives are subjected to safety testing before they are even considered for approval by the Health Products and Food Branch, Bureau of Chemical Safety of …