The Golden Platform

A FOCUS ON THE FORCES CHANGING OUR WORLD

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Pakistanis rally to voice anger over US drone strikes

Pakistan’s biggest Islamic party, Jamat-e-Islami organised a massive rally in the country’s north west to denounce what they called the US aggression in their country’s tribal areas and interference in their country’ internal affairs.

People in their thousands came to join the rally to voice anger over the US assassination drone strikes in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, saying the attacks have been killing innocent people and are a clear violatation of their country’s sovereignty. 

Despite Pakistani government’s repeated protests, the US government continues its assassination drone strikes on Pakistan’s tribal regions and since 2008, its has carried out hundreds of its assassination drone attacks in Pakistan’s northwest, killing more than 3 thousand people. 

Washington claims its drone strikes target Al-Qaeda-linked pro Taliban militants. However, casualty figures show that civilians, including women and children, are the main victims of these attacks. 

Filed under News Pakistan USA Drones Murder Protest

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Presidential Proclamation — United Nations Day, 2012

UNITED NATIONS DAY, 2012

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Sixty-seven years ago, as the world began to emerge from the shadows of war, the 51 founding member states of the United Nations came together to take up the new test of forging a lasting peace. In a decade scarred by genocide, the United Nations chose the hope of unity over the ease of division, boldly promising to future generations that the dignity and equality of human beings would be our common cause. Today, we commemorate United Nations Day by celebrating the founding ideals laid down in its Charter and reaffirming the commitments to peace building, human rights, and social progress that will guide us in the years to come.

Throughout its history, the United Nations Charter has reflected the belief that the world is more secure when the global community acts collectively. Dedicated to assuring “the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,” the institution has played an essential role in addressing the conditions that make the world more just and conflict less likely — caring for children, tending to the sick, and pursuing peace in places wracked by conflict. In today’s world, this mission remains as vital as it has ever been. Across the globe, people are making their voices heard. They are insisting on their innate dignity and the right to determine their future. The United States will always stand up for these aspirations at home and abroad, and we will join our global partners in working to realize them.

Through the better part of a century, we have seen what is possible when a strong and united international community takes action to advance the interests and values we share. The founding values of the United Nations remind us that countries can resolve their differences peacefully, and that all people deserve the chance to seek their own destiny, free from fear and empowered with their most fundamental rights. As we recognize this 67th anniversary of the United Nations, let us recommit to carrying that vision forward in the years ahead.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 24, 2012, as United Nations Day. I urge the Governors of the 50 States, and the officials of all other areas under the flag of the United States, to observe United Nations Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

Filed under News United nations United Nations Day Obama One World Government NWO

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Transhumanism and Anarchism

Side Note: This guy is talking right out of his ass. Transhumanism as a prerequisite requires a super-State not to mention it creates an all new class system where these human/machine hybrids are somewhere near the top. There is no relationship between these two ideas; they appose each other on the most fundamental levels.

…oh, and if you think governments composed up of people is bad, this guy proposes how “ideal” our future will be when human Governments are replaced with computer Governments. With Anarchism, “no rulers” would also include the non-human variety - whether it be a God, gods or a computer system.

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SOURCE

A short and simple overview of how anarchism relates to transhumanism.

Libertarian socialism The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social and it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque.“The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16–22 November 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France.”

The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term “libertarianism” in “libertarian socialism” is generally used as a synonym for anarchism, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence “libertarian socialism” is equivalent to “socialist anarchism” to these scholars. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin. (Who I am not a big fan of) The association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States. As Noam Chomsky put it, a consistent libertarian “must oppose private ownership of the means of production and wage slavery, which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer.”

Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which endorses syndicalism. Syndicalism is an alternative co-operative economic system. Adherents view it as a potential force for revolutionary social change, replacing capitalism and the state with a new society, democratically self-managed by workers. Anarcho-syndicalists seek to abolish the wage system, regarding it as wage slavery, and state or private ownership of the means of production, which they believe lead to class divisions. Anarcho-syndicalist theory generally focuses on the labour movement.

Anarcho-syndicalists regard the state as a profoundly anti-worker institution. They view the primary purpose of the state as being the defence of private property and therefore of economic, social and political privilege, even when such defence denies its citizens the ability to enjoy material independence and the social autonomy which springs from it. In contrast to other bodies of thought (Marxism–Leninism being a prime example), anarcho-syndicalists deny that there can be any kind of workers’ state, or a state which acts in the interests of workers, as opposed to those of the powerful. Reflecting the anarchist philosophy from which it draws its primary inspiration, anarcho-syndicalism holds to the idea that power corrupts.(1)(2)

Technology: Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The word technology comes from Greek τεχνολογία (technología); from τέχνη (téchnē), meaning “art, skill, craft”, and -λογία (-logía), meaning “study of-” (3)

Noam Chomsky on Technology: “technology can be compared to a hammer. “It doesn’t care if you use it to build a house or crush someone’s skull. The Web is valuable if you know what you’re looking for, if you have a framework of understanding. But you always have to be willing to question whether your framework is the right one.” He compared simply browsing the web for information to pointing a student at the library knowing they had no idea what they were looking for. “Exploring the internet can just be picking up random factoids that don’t mean anything”, he said. “The person who won the Nobel prize in biology isn’t the person who read the most journals. It was the person who knew what to look for,””(4)

Transhumanism: is a intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other Emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are of concern to the transhumanist movement. (5)

Reality of the Production of Technologies Under Current Capitalism: “On the surface, companies like Jabil [HP, IBM, Intel, Cisco, AT&T, Motorola, Wal-Mart, Foxconn, Apple ] look clean and high tech.  It seems well-run.  But people looking in from the outside do not realize that the workers at Jabil are not treated like human beings.  The workers must obey all demands from the factory and have absolutely no right to express disagreement.  The workers are seen as components of a machine.  During the entirety of their 12-hour shift, they are stripped of their humanity.  They are not allowed to have their own personalities, feelings, desires or needs-even using the bathroom.  For every second of every minute, they are controlled and ruled over by a prison-like management system.”(5)(6)(7)(8)

Capitalism and Working During the Human Condition: “To move beyond Marx and Anarchism in our current paradigm of the human condition may be an actual fallacy, an over criticizing of theory by intellectuals [including transhumanists] or Anarchists which have, out of awareness, a desire to move on past Marx and anarchism out of [the knowledge] of the dangers of simplifying the way people are supposed to be.  Progress seems to come out of paradigmatic crisis, and this intuition may lead some to the point of over analyzing, yearning to either create crisis or move beyond crisis to a new paradigm because of authentic intuitive feelings of the yearning for progress and egalitarianism which many intellectuals experience and write about through out their lives.” (10)

“Though capitalism is meant to be based on competition, those at the top of the food chain have also shown themselves to be capable of inclusiveness and solidarity. The great Western Capitalists have done business with fascists, socialists, despots and military dictators. They can adapt and constantly innovate. They are capable of quick thinking and immense tactical cunning.But despite having successfully powered through economic reforms, despite having waged wars and militarily occupied countries in order to put in place free market “democracies”, Capitalism is going through a crisis whose gravity has not revealed itself completely yet.” (11)


Long story short: For all you republican, libertarian, and liberal capitalists out there that want to see a transhumanist future, the evidence is clear: you will have to abide by a broken system under the human condition. This includes capitalist free trade, unnecessary war, and wage slavery – are you really prepared to see transhumanist gadgets be set in stone within the history books as a time like that of apartheid or European and American slavery of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries?

Is your wealth, or dedication to the government and corporations that lead the way towards a transhumanist future really what you are all about? Transhumanists know that the future will include technologies that will replace government – worldwide. Transhumanists also know that democracy and/or singularity like computer intelligence will dictate our existential, utilitarian, and categorical imperative future. We will be networked together to feel and think as one via brain to computer interfaces. Whatever the means for higher critical thinking may be, rather morality drugs, nano-blood-bots, brain to computer interfaces, gene therapy, etc, the outcome will be socialized anarchism. Critical thinking does not lead the mentally “enhanced” individual or super-computer to be selfish, indeed just the opposite. Let’s take what we have so far as examples of critical thinkers who have come to the same conclusion but under the human condition. The list is long, but a few major examples are Marx, Einstein, Hawking, Chomsky, Russell, Arundhati Roy, most philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists.

If we base human intelligence, logic and critical thinking on examples like these we are left with one conclusion: The mentally enhanced will be socialist anarchists, regardless of what kind of technology they may be – for universal health care, anti-war, anti-authoritarian, anti-discrimination, pro-democracy, pro-choice, anti-racism, and even anti-speciesism will be regarded as the highest value system ever pondered by the brain/mind.

Scientific inquiry, the scientific method, and scientific revolutions will bring the enhanced mind together. Scientific discoveries and theories, in my opinion will bring brain/mind together like that of the social theory of Anarcho-syndicalism. Science however does not need a State, government, or leaders to be accepted as the truth – the scientific method speaks for itself.

In conclusion, we have several things going on here: Transhumanism being State and corporate funded under a “race to the bottom” wage slavery economic system. But, we also have the claim that transhumanism will increase intellectual thought and compassion towards brain/mind. I personally would rather see the compassion come before transhumanism so that history doesn’t reflect that of our ancestors. Anarchism also allows the free-thinker some time to ponder what is right and wrong without an authority figure proposing and in some cases forcing concepts and theories on them.  The scientific method, revolutionary liberal universities, colleges, and peer-reviewed journals will be of the utmost valued way of learning what is true and real - morally, ethically, and scientifically.

References:

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology
(4) http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-01/25/noam-chomsky-at-learning-without-frontiers
(5) http://ieet.org/index.php/tpwiki/Transhumanism/
(6) http://www.globallabourrights.org/reports?id=0602
(7) http://www.globallabourrights.org/
(8) http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/2012/03/27/addressing-abuses-at-apple-facilities-in-china/
(9) http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1886043/nlc_usowned_hitech_jabil_factory_in_china_run_ like_minimum/ 
(10) http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/notaro20101114
(11) http://www.zcommunications.org/capitalism-a-ghost-story-by-arundhati-roy

Filed under News transhumanism Anarchism technology Libertarian

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NYPD Opens Branch in Israel

Side Note: What?!
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SOURCE


The 
New York Police Department opened its Israeli branch in the Sharon District Police headquarters in Kfar Saba. Charlie Ben-Naim,  a former Israeli and veteran NYPD detective, was sent on this mission.

You don’t have to fly to New York to meet members of the police department considered to be the best in the world — all you have to do is make the short trip to the Kfar Saba police station in the Sharon, where the NYPD opened a local branch.

Behind the opening of the branch in the Holy Land is the NYPD decision that the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact.

Ben-Naim was chosen for the mission of opening the NYPD branch in Israel. He is a veteran detective of the NYPD and a former Israeli who went to study in New York, married a local city resident and then joined the local police force. Among the things he has dealt with in the line of duty are the extradition of criminals, the transmitting of intelligence information and assistance in the location of missing persons, both in the United States and in Israel.

It was decided, in coordination with the Israeli police, that the New York representative would not operate out of the United States embassy but from a building of the Sharon District Police headquarters, situated close to the Kfar Sava station. The NYPD sign was even hung at the entrance to the district headquarters, and Ben-Naim’s office is situated on the first floor of the building. One of the walls bears the sign: “New York Police Department, the best police department in the world.”

Filed under News Israel NYPD Police New York Holy Land

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SoCal Rattled by Quake Swarms

SOURCE  [A gallery can be seen here]

A rash of up to 70 moderate earthquakes were felt on Sunday from Orange County and San Diego County into Arizona as part of a swarm of shakers located at the south end of the Salton Sea near Brawley, Calif.

According to the USGS, the largest quake was 5.5-magnitude that rattled Brawley, Calif., just before 2 p.m.

A 5.3-magnitude quake centered in Brawley was felt throughout San Diego county at 12:30 p.m. A 4.9-magnitude quake followed minutes later, as well as several lower magnitude earthquakes and aftershocks.

The epicenters of the bigger earthquakes were 11 to 12 miles from Imperial, Calif., and 15 to 16 miles from El Centro, Calif., the USGS reported.

According to the USGS, there have been roughly 70 lower magnitude earthquakes in the Brawley area on Sunday alone.

In San Diego, residents across the county reported feeling the quake in places including downtown San Diego, Mission Valley, Santee and Chula Vista. No injuries were reported.

San Diego State University geology expert Pat Abbott told NBC 7 San Diego that Sunday’s earthquakes were in the middle of the Brawley Seismic Zone, famous for swarms of quakes. He said Southern California residents should expect aftershocks.

“[The Brawley Seismic Zone] is a broad zone with lots of little faults,” explained Abbott.
“This area has clearly activated. We will likely experience swarms of 3, 4 and 5-magnitude [earthquakes] but they are not likely to increase in intensity. Of course, there are no guarantees on this, but history says they likely won’t get bigger – that we will experience more of the same or smaller quakes,” he added.

As of 1:30 p.m., San Diego Fire Dispatch had no reports of earthquake-related damages or injuries in San Diego county.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station declared a “Notice of Unusual Event” following the earthquakes around 12:30 p.m.

“An earthquake was detected by the station’s monitoring system. The station subsequently received reports of earthquakes near the Mexico border. The plant has been off-line since earlier this year, and there is no safety risk for the public or SONGS employees,” a statement from the plant read.

The declaration is part of protocol set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

At around 1:40 p.m. Southern California Edison posted this update to their Twitter feed: “Earthquake felt in [San Onofre power plant] SCE _SONGS control room. Plant is safely shutdown.”

At 1:57 p.m., USGS reported another 5.4-magnitude earthquake centered three miles from Brawley, Calif. USGS later upgraded the quake’s magnitude to 5.5.

In compliance with regulations, the San Onofre Generating Station issued a second “Notice of Unusual Event” at 2:03 p.m., following the 5.5-magnitude quake.

Southern California Edison posted this update on its Twitter feed following the second Notice:

“Once again, no plant systems harmed at @SCE_Songs and no risk to public safety. Will update when second NOUE has been closed.”

As of 4 p.m., Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley, Calif., was beginning to evacuate patients due to the ongoing quakes in the area. About a dozen patients were transferred to hospitals in San Diego and Riverside Counties, but the majority of the hospital was operating with a generator.

Brawley Mayor George Nava said all damage to the area was mostly cosmetic damage to businesses and homes. About 30 mobile home residents were displaced, and Red Cross helped them find shelter.

Several outages were also reported following the earthquakes in Brawley. Workers were repairing low pressure instances and power outages in the hours following the quakes.

Monday marks the first day of school for Brawley students, but all schools will be closed to assess the damages.


Filed under News California Earthquakes

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Mysterious AIDS-like disease discovered

SOURCE

Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left thousands of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. A report was issued in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) regarding the mystery disease.

According to reports, the patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious. Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who helped pen the NEJM report, believes that the mystery disease is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus.

Although little is know about this new acquired immune deficiency disease, doctors say that the disease seems to develop around age 50 on average, but does not run in families, which makes it unlikely that a single gene is responsible. But, It’s still possible that an infection of some sort could trigger the disease, even though the disease itself doesn’t seem to spread person-to-person.

Filed under News disease science new aids

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Child Porn, Coke Smuggling: Hundreds of DHS Employees Arrested Last Year

Side note: Well, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. They are just carrying on the “tradition” I suppose - just like the Pentagon.

SOURCE

Border Patrol agents smuggling weed and coke. Immigration agents forging documents and robbing drug dealers. TSA employees caught with child porn. Those are just a few of the crimes perpetrated by Department of Homeland Security employees in just the past year.

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security nearly a decade ago, the agency’s inspector general has been tasked with uncovering corruption, waste and criminality within its own ranks. The IG has had his hands full.

According to a newly released DHS inspector general’s summary of its significant investigations, 318 DHS employees and contractors were arrested in 2011 (.pdf). That’s about one arrest per weekday of the men and women who are supposed to be keeping the country safe. The report lets us not only see how corrupt some agents tasked with protecting the homeland can be, it also gives us a scale of the problem. In short: There are a lot of dirty immigration and border officers.

That might send the wrong impression. DHS is a massive agency of more than 225,000 employees. Within DHS, sub-agency Customs and Border Protection has more than doubled in recent years to nearly 59,000 employees. Maybe it’s not so surprising an organization of that size has a few bad apples. There’s also some good news. The number of arrests is going down: there were 519 arrests in 2010, compared to the 318 last year. Still, within that number includes some serious crimes.

“Border corruption may take the form of cash bribes, sexual favors, and other gratuities in return for allowing contraband or undocumented aliens through primary inspection lanes or even protecting and escorting border crossings; leaking sensitive law enforcement information to persons under investigation and selling law enforcement intelligence to smugglers; and providing needed documents such as immigration papers,” Charles Edwards, the acting inspector general for DHS, told Congress earlier this month (.pdf).

According to the report, a Border Patrol agent from Tucson named Yamilkar Fierros was given 20 months in prison for providing “sensor location maps, trail maps, and communications technology” to cartel members in exchange for more than $5,000 in bribes. Another incident involved an 8-year veteran CBP agent who conspired with cocaine traffickers to let drugs past his border inspection post. The agent, whose name and former location are undisclosed in the report, was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison.

Other corruption cases read like a list of bad career decisions, some appalling; others involve petty greed. The appalling includes at least two employees — one from CBP and another from the TSA — who were caught in possession of child pornography. A Border Patrol agent in Arizona “punched a fellow agent and threatened him with his service-issued weapon after the fellow agent joked about the excessive amount of tactical gear the [Border Patrol] routinely wore,” according to the report.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent named Valentino Johnson was sentenced to 120 months in prison for working an off-duty job robbing drug dealers, according to the report. Johnson, who was busted after attempting to steal a load of fake cocaine, worked with a stick-up crew who saw him as a means to portray a sense of legitimacy to their robberies.

A Border Patrol agent in Arizona named Michael Atondo was convicted for attempting to distribute marijuana. The agent, according to the report, using his patrol vehicle to bypass checkpoints and smuggle more than 100 kilos of marijuana. Among ICE agents, many cases involve forging fake immigration documents for bribes. A CBP agent posted to Logan International Airport in Boston even reportedly stole astronaut Neil Armstrong’s customs declaration form and attempted to sell it on the internet.

The corruption investigations have also netted contractors. At least one contractor with the Federal Emergency Management Agency was convicted of defrauding the agency of more than one million dollars. A company employee for security contractor MVM was discovered to have falsified training documents to the Federal Protective Service, which oversees security at government buildings.

There’s also a caveat. While the numbers of arrests have fallen this year, the long-term trend of cases against CBP agents, at least, has been on a rise since 2004, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Between 2004 and 2010, the number of cases doubled. Former Border Patrol agent Lee Morgan told theDaily Star the increase was due to the agency expanding its ranks so quickly. “This is just such a tarnish on the badge of the U.S. Border Patrol,” he told the paper.

Homeland Security’s inspectors are also overloaded, and are now framing out more criminal cases to sub-agencies. The CBP, meanwhile, is boosting its own internal affairs staff, and is implementing lie-detector tests starting in January.

“While the number of corrupt individuals within our ranks who have betrayed the trust of the American public and their peers is a fraction of one percent of our workforce, we continue to focus our efforts on rooting out this unacceptable and deplorable behavior,” CBP acting commissioner David Aguilar told Congress (.pdf).

The director’s testimony came at a bad time. On Friday, in one of the most high-profile cases of agency corruption in recent years, two former Border Patrol agents were found guilty of smuggling hundreds of people in their vehicles in exchange for cash. They could face up to 50 years in prison. Perhaps they’ll meet up with some old colleagues, if they’re put behind bars.

Filed under News DHS Child Porn TSA

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US teen invents advanced cancer test using Google

Fifteen-year-old high school student Jack Andraka likes to kayak and watch the US television show Glee.

And when time permits, he also likes to do advanced research in one of the most respected cancer laboratories in the world.

Jack Andraka has created a pancreatic cancer test that is 168 times faster and considerably cheaper than the gold standard in the field. He has applied for a patent for his test and is now carrying out further research at Johns Hopkins University in the US city of Baltimore.

And he did it by using Google.

The Maryland native, who won $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May for his creation, cites search engines and free online science papers as the tools that allowed him to create the test.

The BBC’s Matt Danzico sat down with the teenager, who said the idea came to him when he was “chilling out in biology class”. 

Filed under News Cancer Teenagers Internet Google

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The Army Has Issued Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray To Keep Troops From Taking The ‘Easy Out’

SOURCE

The military suicide rate doubled in July. That’s one of our troops, almost every day.

To come up with an answer, the Army recently gave 3 million dollars to a university of Indiana research center, and those researchers came back with this: Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray.

Katie Drummond of The Daily reports researchers found a naturally occuring neurochemical called thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, that has euphoric, calming, anti-depressant effects. News of the nasal spray comes as a relief to some, who had to endure spinal taps for injections of the medicine.

The Pentagon, which tracks military suicides, reported that troops have committed the act at an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. Now, more troops die by their own hands that by the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The spray is only possible because of advances in “nanotechnology delivery systems.” Researchers plan to run a full battery of trials over the next few years, and hopefully put the spray not only in the hands of soldiers, but civilians as well.

The scientists say that applications go beyond anti-depression medications.



Filed under News Military Suicide

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Truck owner wants DEA to pay up after botched sting

Source

The phone rang before sunrise. It woke Craig Patty, owner of a tiny North Texas trucking company, to vexing news about Truck 793 - a big red semi supposedly getting repairs in Houston.

"Your driver was shot in your truck," said the caller, a business colleague. "Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?"

"What did you say?" Patty recalled asking. "Could you please repeat that?"

The truck, it turned out, had been everywhere but in the repair shop.

Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers.

At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers - all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.

In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.

Still waiting

But eight months later, Patty still can’t get recompense from the U.S. government’s decision to use his truck and employee without his permission.

His company, which hauls sand as part of hydraulic fracturing operations for oil and gas companies, was pushed to the brink of failure after the attack because the truck was knocked out of commission, he said.

Patty had only one other truck in operation.

In documents shared with the Houston Chronicle, he is demanding that the DEA pay $133,532 in repairs and lost wages over the bullet-sprayed truck, and $1.3 million more for the damage to himself and his family, who fear retaliation by a drug cartel over the bungled narcotics sting.

"When you start a new business, there are obvious pitfalls you go through, a learning curve," said Patty, who before buying his two trucks worked in the pharmaceutical industry. "But who would ever be ready to deal with this?

"How am I — a small businessman, father of three, American Joe from Texas — supposed to make a claim against a federal agency that has conveniently shrouded itself behind a red, white and blue cloak of confidentiality and secrecy?"

Copies of letters and emails from Patty’s insurance company state that it won’t pay for repairs because the truck was part of a law-enforcement operation. Patty drew from his 401K retirement fund to repair the truck, which was out of operation for 100 days.

"I was not part of this," he said. "I had absolutely no knowledge of any of it until after it happened."

For its part, the DEA has not admitted that it was using Chapa as a spy because its official policy is not to comment on whether someone was an informant.

Lisa Johnson, a spokeswoman for the DEA Houston Division, confirmed that Patty’s demand had been received and noted that it would be investigated by the agency. But the Chronicle established Chapa was an informant based on interviews with multiple law-enforcement officials who spoke on the condition they not be named, and later by courtroom comments of prosecutors.

Patty’s request chronicles much of what he’s been through, including the operating costs for his trucks and everything repaired or replaced due to the attack. Among other disturbing chores was the need to hire a Spring-based company to clean up the mess in the cab caused by the killing.

Houston lawyer Mark Bennett, who is advising Patty, said if Patty’s initial claim is not resolved, the next step would be to sue.

1,000-mile detour

Patty hired Chapa five weeks before the shooting and now wonders how many of the trips in the $90,000 rig included DEA work. GPS information from the truck reveals an unauthorized trek to the Rio Grande Valley in the days before Chapa was killed. He took a 1,000-mile round trip detour from the route he was supposed to travel.

Perhaps most unnerving, Patty says, is that drug mobsters now likely know his name, and certainly know his truck.

Panic at the Patty home these days can be triggered by something as simple as a deer scampering through the wooded yard or a car pulling into the driveway. One morning as his wife made breakfast, one of his young sons suddenly bolted across the house yelling, “Get the guns!”

A Bronco sport utility vehicle had pulled into the driveway past a broken gate. The dogs were barking in the darkness. Patty grabbed a pistol and headed for the front yard.

The Bronco pulled away, leaving a shiny object by the front walkway. It turned out to be the morning newspaper wrapped in a plastic bag reflecting a neighbor’s floodlight.

The whole ordeal has forced his children to grow up more quickly than he’d like, Patty said.

"I wanted to keep them young as long as I could," he said. "I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my son believing in Santa Claus, and now I’m talking to him about death, mayhem and drug cartels.

"That is a huge canyon between the two."

The truck has a new driver, but there’s still one bullet hole inside the truck’s cab. A chunk of seat cushion, sliced out as evidence, has been covered with a patch.

"I really do not worry about driving it," said driver Norman Anderson - as long is it doesn’t involve a trip to South Texas.

"I feel like if I go there, I should put an ‘X’ on each side of my neck, draw a dotted line between them, and write, " ’cut here.’ "

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NYPD Plans To Launch New Criminal And Terrorist Tracking System

Source

The New York Police Department will soon launch an all-seeing “Domain Awareness System” that combines several streams of information to track both criminals and potential terrorists.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the city developed the software with Microsoft.

Kelly says the program combines city-wide video surveillance with law enforcement databases.

He says it will be officially unveiled by New York’s mayor as soon as next week.

Kelly spoke Saturday before an audience at the Aspen Security Forum.

The NYPD has been under fire for surveillance of Muslim communities and partnering with the CIA to track potential terror suspects. Muslim groups have sued to shut down the NYPD programs.

Kelly defended the policies as key to thwarting 14 terror plots against the city since the attacks of Sept. 11th.

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NYPD detective suspended after cops find man tied up and being held for ransom in officer’s garage

SOURCE

Investigators from the NYPD’s major case squad went to the Springfield Gardens home of veteran cop Ondre Johnson after they were tipped off that a man was being held for $75,000 ransom, the sources said.

An NYPD detective was suspended without pay after cops found a bound man being held for ransom in the garage of the officer’s Queens home, law enforcement sources said Saturday.

Veteran cop Ondre Johnson, 45, was taken into custody outside his Springfield Gardens home at about 3 p.m. Friday after the major case squad was tipped off about the kidnapped man and the demand for $75,000 ransom, the sources said.

According to police, the 25-year-old victim was kidnapped in front of his Cambria Heights home early Friday morning. Cops said that Jason Hutson pulled a gun and told the victim, “Don’t try anything funny or I’ll shoot you.”

Another accomplice then put a T-shirt over the victim’s head, tossed him into an SUV and took him to the garage behind the NYPD officer’s house, where they bound his hands with zip ties and his feet with rope.

One of the kidnappers then called one of the victim’s relatives, demanding $75,000 — but the relative recognized the kidnapper’s voice, cops said.

Once on the scene, cops found the victim bound — and went inside and found Hutson with zip ties on him, police said.

Investigators also found two safes containing materials to make bogus credit cards, sources said.

Johnson, a 17-year veteran who worked for the Brooklyn North Gang Unit, was taken into custody after he identified himself as an officer, sources said.

Johnson said he shares the two-family home with his cousin, Hakeem Clark, 30, but knew nothing about the wild ordeal unfolding at the house, sources said.

He said his cousin lives in a separate apartment inside the home, and that he has no access to where the safes were found or where the kidnapping victim was being held, sources said.

Johnson avoided charges, but was stripped of his badge and gun as cops continue to probe the incident.

“He’s still not completely off the hook,” a source said. “Something is not right here. They’re going to try to find out what he was doing there and how he knows these guys.”

Four men — including Clark — were cuffed inside the house and taken into custody, sources said.

Clark and two others — James Gayle, 27, and Hutson, 27 — were later charged with kidnapping, attempting to collect ransom and criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.

Alfredo Haughton, 24, was charged with kidnapping.

Clark and Gayle also faced charges for the paraphernalia used in credit card fraud, sources said.

Clark and Hutson were arraigned Saturday and held without bail. The other two were awaiting arraignment.

“We deny any involvement,” said Hutson’s lawyer, Lester Seidman.

The four men charged are no strangers to breaking the law, with prior records that include weapons charges and drug arrests. Hutson served more than seven years in prison for robbery before he was released last April.

The victim claimed that he didn’t know the suspected kidnappers or why they targeted him.


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Real life shooting imitates training exercise at Parker medical school

Denver Post

The tragedy that played out in an Aurora movie theater Friday was ironically paralleled as a classroom learning experience in a medical school in Parker the same day.

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine is in the middle of holding specialized classes in disaster life support for 150 second-year medical students. Along with response to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods and terrorist attacks, one of the scenarios being used to train the students is how to respond if a shooter fires at people in a movie theater and also uses a bomb in the attack.

"The irony is amazing, just amazing," said Rocky Vista Dean Dr. Bruce Dubin.

He said emergency specialist physicians from Parkland Hospital in Dallas as well as from several other emergency programs around the country are teaching the Advanced Disaster Life Support Training. Rocky Vista is the only medical school in the nation to make that training a part of the curriculum.

"They are trained to respond in every type of disaster," Dubin said.

The shootings in Aurora were incorporated into the teaching Friday, Dubin said.

"It made these medical students very aware that these kinds of things can happen anywhere," he said. "The events of this tragedy have helped to drive that home."



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