Dec. 29, 2012
Americans are living in an Orwellian state argue Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, as they sit down with us to discuss US foreign policgn policy and the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law.
The drones are coming to a neighborhood near you.
December 25, 2012
The New York Times
The unmanned aircraft that most people associate with hunting terrorists and striking targets in Pakistan are on the brink of evolving into a big domestic industry. It is not a question of whether drones will appear in the skies above the United States but how soon.
Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to quickly select six domestic sites to test the safety of drones, which can vary in size from remote-controlled planes as big as jetliners to camera-toting hoverers called Nano Hummingbirds that weigh 19 grams.
The drone go-ahead, signed in February by President Obama in the F.A.A. reauthorization law, envisions a $5 billion-plus industry of camera drones being used for all sorts of purposes from real estate advertising to crop dusting to environmental monitoring and police work.
Responding to growing concern as the public discovers drones are on the horizon, the agency recently and quite sensibly added the issue of citizens’ privacy to its agenda. Setting regulations under the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unlawful search is of the utmost importance. But since the F.A.A.’s primary mission is safety, Congress should take the matter in hand by writing privacy safeguards for the booming drone industry.
The anticipated market includes tens of thousands of police, fire and other government agencies able to afford drones lighter than traditional aircraft and costing as little as $300. Several surveillance drones are already used for border patrol, and the F.A.A. has allowed a few police departments to experiment narrowly, as in a ceiling of 400 feet for surveillance flights over the Everglades by the Miami Police Department.
Privacy worries in California prompted Alameda County officials to postpone drone plans for further study. The local sheriff insisted that what he had in mind was disaster response, not random snooping, but the local American Civil Liberties Union office claimed the plan would have permitted extensive intelligence gathering.
by Sibel Edmonds
“The czar was always sending us commands – you shall not do this and you shall not do that – till there was very little left that we might do, except pay tribute and die.” ~ Mark Antin
WarWith only a few days left to the start of a new year, the majority of the mainstream media and blog-o-sites are busy preparing and displaying either a roundup of major highlights of the past year or predictions on the highlights of the coming year. The Boiling Frogs Post will be doing neither. This is not due to being a contrarian. Okay, to make it more accurate: this is not solely due to me being a contrarian. I may include a few macro highlights, but those highlights cover a much larger time span. I am looking at least a few decades in the past with an emphasis on the last decade. Similarly, I may make a prediction or two, but then again, those won’t be limited to the coming year but rather the coming few years.
Now, if you are getting in a holly jolly mood and don’t want to ruin it, just skip this post. Either don’t read it, or, save it for after the jolly holiday break. However, if you are like me and are able to reflect on grim realities yet enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones, then please be my guest and read this yearend post.
The Expanding Wars at Home & Abroad
Let’s start by saying: “So what’s new? Same-O-Same-O” and be right, shall we? I am not talking about this almost-over year. I am talking about the year before, and the year before that, the decade before, and the decades before that. When was the last time we ended a warless year? Thinking? That’s right, just keep thinking. Let me put it this way: If you were to ask the 15 year olds they’d tell you: I’ve never had such a year. If you ask a 100 year old (assuming their brain functions are still intact) they’d squint, and squint a little more, and then say: a couple of years here and a couple of years there. Now, if you ask a knowledgeable realist who knows his history he’d say: Not in the last hundred years. That’s right: not in the last century.
Of course everybody knows that we’ve had the World Wars, Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Bosnian War, Kosovo War, War on Terror, Iraq-Afghanistan-Libya wars and a few others. Some would be knowledgeable enough to mention the unmentionable wars: our covert wars all over the world – whether in Latin America, in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Some would add our ‘Secret Wars’ – whether in Somalia or in Syria. A few would mention other wars, such as the War on Drugs and the coming War on Guns.
Basically, we’ve been in a constant war mode – declaring and waging wars – overtly and covertly. Similarly, our media, and now that includes the pseudo alternatives and blog-o-media, year after year, this time of the year keep busy with the soon-to-be-past year’s wars as their highlights. Actually, it should be more like lowlights, but let’s stick with the traditional expressions for this post.
I wonder what kind of reaction we would get from people (if any) if the year-end media war highlights would include a longer time-span: take the ending-year’s wars, and then add them and truly highlight them next to the list of all our wars for the past century. And then include the results and consequences of every single one of those wars. By that I mean:
The number of our soldiers killed, plus the number of the soldiers killed on the other side, plus the number of civilians killed (civilian casualties aka collaterally damaged human beings), plus the number of handicapped for life for all sides, plus the dollar cost involved in each war, plus what these dollar costs translate to for our nation’s citizens, plus the number of destroyed civilian homes and infrastructure – plus what was really achieved from those wars for our nation’s people, their security-image and financial well-being.
For example: take the Vietnam War, and do all of the above fact-checking and calculations. Millions dead on their side, tens of thousands dead on our side, hundreds of thousands injured for life on both sides, and the billions of dollars spent, and … what the heck was the result again? What did we achieve? What was it really for? What did we the people gain from it?
Yeah. That’s what I mean by a different highlighting each ending year. I wonder what kind of effect that would have on our majority. I wonder what kind of effect doing that would have on the perpetual wars course of our nation. However, I don’t ever wonder why our media has never done this, and why they would never do it. Do you?
By Pepe Escobar
Dec. 22, 2012
Asia Times Online.com
The top geopolitical tragedy in 2012 is bound to remain the top geopolitical tragedy in 2013: the rape of Syria.
Just as once in a while I go back to my favorite Hemingway passages, lately I’ve been going back to some footage I shot years ago of the Aleppo souk – the most extraordinary of all Middle Eastern souks. It’s like being shot in the back; I was as fond of the souk’s architecture as of its people and traders. Weeks ago, most of the souk – the living pulse of Aleppo for centuries – was set on fire and destroyed by the “rebels” of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).
In this Syrian tragedy, there is no Hemingway young hero, no Robert Jordan in the International Brigades fighting alongside Republican guerrillas against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. In the Syrian civil war, the international brigades are mostly of the mercenary, Salafi-jihadi, beheading and car-bombing type. And the (few) young Americans in place are basically high-tech pawns in a game played by the rapacious NATOGCC club (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its Arab puppets of the Gulf Cooperation Council).
The tragedy continues. The Syrian state, political and military security apparatus will maintain its mini-blitzkriegs – with no second thoughts for “collateral damage”. On the opposing side, “rebel” commanders will be betting on a new Saudi-Qatari-encouraged Supreme Military Council.
The Salafis and Salafi-jihadis of the al-Nusrah Front – 7th century fanatics, beheading enthusiasts and car-bombing operatives who do the bulk of the fighting – were not invited. After all, the al-Nusrah Front has been branded a “terrorist organization” by Washington.
Odierno Touts Plan for Fast Deployments Anywhere in the World
by Jason Ditz
December 24, 2012
The creation of the US African Command (Africom) of course pointed to US involvements in wars on the continent, and indeed the US has since fought a war in Libya, deployed troops of Uganda, and is planning for another war in Mali.
But what they don’t have compared to, say, CENTCOM, is an established collection of nations with US troops stations waiting for wars to break out. That will soon change, as the Army is planning to send troops to “as many as 35 African nations early next year.”
The numbers will be small, at least at first, but done with an eye on Gen. Raymond Odierno’s “Regionally Aligned Forces” plan, giving the US the ability to quickly deploy troops anywhere on the planet.
The comparative lack of things for the US military to do in Africa has long kept the US out of Africa. Since the establishment of Africom, officials seem to figure that with enough troops and enough countries involved, the question of what wars and where can be worked out at their leisure.
Submitted by Professor Steven Jones
In October of this year, I gave two talks in Missouri discussing 9/11, challenging the official narrative. Certainly I talked about the fall of the Towers and WTC7, but there is more to it than that. May I emphasize areas that are evidence-based and that I find also important in our discussions of 9/11:
1. How the government lied about factual dangers of the WTC dust, how thousands of people were in fact hurt by the WTC dust (see below);
2. The whistleblower testimony of Sec’y of Transportation Norman Mineta (50 miles out, 30 miles out, etc., reported to Dick Cheney);
3. The lack of air defenses that day, including at the Pentagon (2 and 3 are generally all I say about the Pentagon);
4. The whistleblower testimony of Sec’y of Treasury Paul O’Neill (he noted -from day one it was about getting us into Iraq; his opposing pre-emptive war, and how he was canned by Dick Cheney);
5. The whistleblower testimonies of Kevin Ryan, April Gallop, Susan Lindauer and Sibel Edmonds;
6. The attempts to discredit/marginalize whistleblowers (including myself) that also speaks of conspiracy to cover-up facts regarding 9/11;
7. Historical use of false-flag events by Germany, USA, and others to further political agendas; the Big Lie principle and why many people hesitate to question “official narratives”;
8. The strange coincidence that emergency gear and hundreds of personnel were assembled in Manhattan on 9/10/01 (the day BEFORE the tragedy);
9. The destruction of evidence, that over 99.5% of the steel from the Towers and WTC7 was shipped to Asia for melting, contrary to the protests of scientists and engineers;
10. The remarkable growth and efforts of AE911Truth.org — with over 1,700 architects and engineers and over 16,000 supporters now calling for an investigation. When questions arise about Judy Wood’s book on DEW, I often refer to the FAQ at AE911Truth on this subject: http://www.ae911truth.org/news-section/41-articles/505-ae911truth-faq-6-… .
11. Public polls show that large numbers of the public question the “official 9/11 story.” We are making progress despite the opposition.
As an example, the following is from one of my PPT slides for point # 1:
“At the White House’s direction, the Environmental Protection Agency gave New Yorkers misleading assurances that there was no health risk from the debris-laden air after the World Trade Center collapse, according to an internal inquiry…. The White House “convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones” by having the National Security Council control EPA communications after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report issued late Thursday by EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley.” http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/136350_epa23.html
The EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley then lost her job like so many other whistle-blowers. A compelling talk could be given focusing on whistle-blowers and what the government/corporation complex has done to squelch them.
Clearly, there is more to understanding 9/11 than just the fall of the Towers and WTC7 and evidence for thermitic materials (as important as these are). We may reach more people by broadening our discussion points.
Chuck Hagel is the Neoconservatives’ worst nightmare. A decorated combat veteran who disdains promiscuous war-making. A conservative Republican who rejects a foreign policy of wandering the globe bombing, invading, and occupying other nations. A supporter of Israel who won’t subcontract his judgment to the demands of Israel’s Likud Party.
No wonder the usual suspects responded in the usual way. By calling Hagel an anti-Semite.
There are anti-Semites in the world. They should be reviled and resisted. Israel’s Yad Vashem illustrates the horrific consequences when genuine anti-Semites gain political power.
Chuck Hagel is no anti-Semite.
The former senator is under consideration for Secretary of Defense because he would be an excellent choice. He is more of an interventionist than I am. But he offers a thoughtful, realistic, and measured perspective that has been largely lacking in Washington, especially over the last decade. As my Cato Institute colleague Chris Preble put it, Hagel’s nomination “should be welcomed by anyone frustrated by years of war and foreign meddling, and out-of-control spending at the Pentagon. Which is to say, nearly everyone.”
Jiehui Li, MBBS, MSc; James E. Cone, MD, MPH; Amy R. Kahn, MS; Robert M. Brackbill, PhD, MPH; Mark R. Farfel, ScD; Carolyn M. Greene, MD; James L. Hadler, MD, MPH; Leslie T. Stayner, PhD; Steven D. Stellman, PhD, MPH
Journal of the American Medical Association
Dec. 19, 2012
Context The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resulted in the release of known and suspected carcinogens into the environment. There is public concern that exposures may have resulted in increased cancers.
Objective To evaluate cancer incidence among persons enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry.
Design, Setting, and Participants Observational study of 55 778 New York State residents enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry in 2003-2004, including rescue/recovery workers (n = 21 850) and those not involved in rescue/recovery (n = 33 928), who were followed up from enrollment through December 31, 2008. Within-cohort comparisons using Cox proportional hazards models assessed the relationship between intensity of World Trade Center exposure and selected cancers.
Main Outcome Measures Cases were identified through linkage with 11 state cancer registries. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, and sex were computed with 2003-2008 New York State rates as the reference, focusing on cancers diagnosed in 2007-2008 as being most likely to be related to exposure during September 11 and its aftermath. The total and site-specific incidence rate differences (RDs) per 100 000 person-years between the study population and the New York State population in 2007-2008 also were calculated.
Results There were 1187 incident cancers diagnosed, with an accumulated 253 269 person-years (439 cancers among rescue/recovery workers and 748 among those not involved in rescue/recovery). The SIR for all cancer sites combined in 2007-2008 was not significantly elevated (SIR, 1.14 [95% CI, 0.99 to 1.30]; RD, 67 [95% CI, −6 to 126] per 100 000 person-years among rescue/recovery workers vs SIR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.83 to 1.03]; RD, −45 [95% CI, −106 to 15] per 100 000 person-years among those not involved in rescue/recovery). Among rescue/recovery workers, the SIRs had significantly increased by 2007-2008 for 3 cancer sites and were 1.43 (95% CI, 1.11 to 1.82) for prostate cancer (n = 67; RD, 61 [95% CI, 20 to 91] per 100 000 person-years), 2.02 (95% CI, 1.07 to 3.45) for thyroid cancer (n = 13; RD, 16 [95% CI, 2 to 23] per 100 000 person-years), and 2.85 (95% CI, 1.15 to 5.88) for multiple myeloma (n = 7; RD, 11 [95% CI, 2 to 14] per 100 000 person-years). No increased incidence was observed in 2007-2008 among those not involved in rescue/recovery. Using within-cohort comparisons, the intensity of World Trade Center exposure was not significantly associated with cancer of the lung, prostate, thyroid, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or hematological cancer in either group.
Conclusions Among persons enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, there was an excess risk for prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and myeloma in 2007-2008 compared with that for New York State residents; however, these findings were based on a small number of events and multiple comparisons. No significant associations were observed with intensity of World Trade Center exposures. Longer follow-up for typically long-latency cancers and attention to specific cancer sites are needed.
Suicide Records Continue to Grow
by Jason Ditz
December 20, 2012
In 2011 the US military lost 165 soldiers to suicide, a record that narrowly beat the 2009 level of 160. This year things have gotten much, much worse, and up to the end of November the suicide deaths are up to 303.
Putting this in perspective, that’s actually quite a bit more than the number of US troops slain in combat so far in 2012. That figure is 212, though the overall US death toll in Afghanistan is 307, including non-combat deaths.
The military has been desperate to get a handle on the rising suicide rate, making several very public efforts, none of which seems to have accomplished much of anything.
The latest on that is a number of Congressmen pushing for a new law allowing the military to ask “unstable” troops whether they own any personal guns, though as with most of the legislative “solutions” to this problem it seems focused more on adding to the stigma of being considered “at risk” than actually encouraging people to seek help.