Apr 182015
 

espite the ongoing debate to roll back the Department of Homeland Security’s current civil liberties overreaches, the DHS is soliciting bids from corporations for access to license plate data collected by private surveillance systems. In a public statement, the Department said it’s “not seeking to build a national database or contribute data to an existing system,” rather, the DHS claims to be tapping into existing networks.

According to the Washington Post, the DHS “is seeking bids from companies that already gather the data to say how much they would charge to grant access to law enforcement officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency.”

However, public statements vary greatly from the actual implementation of these policies; abuses are almost certain. More personal forms of data such as addresses, telephone numbers, and other information associated with registering a license plate could be “inadvertently” recorded and stored through private surveillance cameras.

Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy  Technology said, “If this goes forward, DHS will have warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S., and sometimes to their image as well,”

If they take it so far as to collect facial images, the DHS, and its partnered government agencies, will have the capability of establishing a biometric database. These databases could yield some of the most invasive law enforcement technologies the world has ever seen.

However, this new surveillance tool would only add to the DHS’ already incredible biometric law enforcement abilities. In fact, they have access to the FBI’s enormous multi-biometric database and are trying to extend biometric capabilities to US Border Patrol. According to NextGov, “The [border patrol] test is part of a coming overhaul of the department’s (DHS) biometric system, “IDENT,” which currently contains more than 170 million foreign fingerprints and facial images, as well as 600,000 iris templates.”

This license plate news is more like the cherry on top of the existing surveillance sundae.

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/DHS_Seeking_to_Buy_Access_to_Private_Surveillance_Cameras_to_Track_Drivers/43507/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 182015
 

Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives. 

More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one. 

The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.

“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.

– From the Guardian article: NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration

June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.

The USA Freedom Act is nothing new. A version of it passed the House last spring, before dying in the Senate. Rand Paul surprised many people by saying he would not support it because it didn’t go far enough. Additionally, one of its key cosponsors ultimately failed to support his own bill. I covered this in the post, Congress Guts Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Votes No. Here’s an excerpt:

Rep. Amash is 34 years old and was first elected to Congress in 2010. He has been on my radar screen for several years now as one of the few elected representatives who act more like statesmen than politicians. He has been on the right side of many civil liberties related issues, including his opposition to the NDAA’s provision that allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without a trial. More recently, last summer he authored an anti-NSA amendment known as the “Amash Amendment,” which was defeated by establishment authoritarians in both political parties. I covered that story in my post: NSA Holds “Top Secret” Meeting to Stop Powerful Anti-Spying Amendment.

Being the fighter that he is, Amash regrouped and came back with an anti-NSA spying bill with some teeth to it: The USA Freedom Act. This bill concerned the establishment to such a degree that Senator Feinstein launched her own competing bill, which believe it or not, intended to codify the NSA’s unconstitutional practices into law.

In the end, what the status quo did was water down the once robust USA Freedom Act into oblivion.

Well the USA Freedom Act is back, and it appears to be the vehicle being used to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act. This story is extremely important, and serves as a great example of how tricky it can be to know what’s actually going on. I spend nearly 100% of my time trying to stay informed about the world around me, yet I’m constantly surprised by how little I know. For people who don’t have the time or energy to try to stay informed, forget about it. The media is generally worthless, and will more often than not mislead you, even if it’s unintentional.

To prove my point, I will highlight two separate articles on the latest version of the USA Freedom Act. Let’s start with the National Journal article titled, Congress to Introduce Last-Ditch Bill to Reform NSA Spying. The caption underneath the main title states: With the clock winding down, lawmakers in both chambers are staging one last attempt to rein in the government’s surveillance powers.

Come again? Is that really what’s happening here. First, let’s read a few excerpts from the piece:

April 17, 2015  Backed up against a rapidly approaching do-or-die deadline, bipartisan lawmakers are poised to introduce legislation next week that would roll back the National Security Agency’s expansive surveillance powers.

The legislation could land as soon as Tuesday in the House, congressional aides and privacy advocates said, who would only speak on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, would effectively end the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. phone metadata—the numbers, time stamps, and duration of a call but not its actual content—by instead relying on phone companies to retain that data. The program is the first and one of the most controversial spying programs exposed by the Edward Snowden leaks that began nearly two years ago.

Whatever the strategy, lawmakers in both chambers need to move quickly, since the bill’s introduction arrives as the window of opportunity for reforming the nation’s surveillance activities is rapidly closing. Core provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act are due to sunset on June 1, including the controversial Section 215, which the NSA uses to authorize its dragnet surveillance of Americans’ call data. The Freedom Act would reauthorize these authorities, preserving expiring capabilities the intelligence community has said are vital to national security while ushering in more strident privacy protections and transparency requirements.

The above paragraph is very misleading. The deadline in play here is to ensure that the Patriot Act provisions are reauthorized, not for reforming surveillance. What a bizarre way to frame this.

Despite the obstacles, aides close to negotiations believe they have enough momentum to push the legislation through Congress fast enough for the president to sign it by June 1. The White House said last year it was supportive of the reform package.

This is the first hint something might be up. If Obama likes it, it’s bound to be either useless or tyrannical.

A version of the Freedom Act passed the House last spring 303-121 before a more comprehensive package died in the lame-duck Senate, falling just two vote shorts of the filibuster-proof 60 needed to advance. All but four Republicans rallied to block the measure due to fears it could bolster terrorist activity, despite wide-ranging support from tech companies, privacy advocates, the White House, and even senior members of the intelligence community.

Once again, this is very misleading, if not downright false. Yes a few Republicans blocked it for those reasons, but Rand Paul refused to support it because it didn’t go far enough. The fact that this isn’t mentioned is extremely irresponsible.

The defeat was seen as a crushing blow to the post-Snowden movement to overhaul the nation’s sweeping surveillance apparatus—a sting made worse by the GOP takeover of the Senate.

This is 100% not true. Many civil liberties advocates thought the final bill was so watered down as to become worthless. Recall that earlier I noted how one of the original cosponsors, Justin Amash, couldn’t support the final bill because it was so weak.

But instead of giving up, lawmakers began a new process earlier this year, believing they had one last shot at enacting strong reforms before the Patriot Act sunset.

Sources said the new language is closer to last year’s Senate version than one that passed the House, which suffered a loss of support from privacy and tech interests due to amendments made by House leadership in the 11th hour.

One privacy advocate used a scale of 1 to 100 to indicate how strong the bill is on civil liberties. “If the House-passed version was a 60, and the Senate cloture was 80, this is a 73 or 74,” the advocate said.

Still, the measure faces several significant hurdles in both chambers before it can get to the president’s desk. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said in a memorandum to members earlier this month that the chamber “may” consider the Patriot Act reauthorization this month, without providing more specifics. But earlier this year, House Speaker John Boehner went out of his way to defend the surveillance program, saying it helped thwart a recent plot to blow up the U.S. Capitol.

Yes, John Boehner claimed it thwarted a terrorist attack. What he failed to mention was that this terrorist attack was actually an attack dreamed up by the FBI itself. They didn’t stop anything from happening that they didn’t manufacture in the first place. See: Manufactured Terrorism – U.S. Officials Claim Credit for Stopping Another Terror Attack Created by the FBI.

If the only article you read on the latest version of the USA Freedom Act was this National Journal article, I couldn’t blame you for thinking that it was a valiant piece of legislation put forth by civil liberties activists fighting to rein in the NSA. Unfortunately, the truth seems to be closer to the USA Freedom Act being used as a vehicle by which to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Considering the fact that the NSA, FBI and White House all seem to be lobbying for it, it’s probably a very bad piece of legislation.

As Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian informs us in the more appropriately titled, NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration, we learn that:

With about 45 days remaining before a major post-9/11 surveillance authorization expires, representatives of the National Security Agency and the FBI are taking to Capitol Hill to convince legislators to preserve their sweeping spy powers.

That effort effectively re-inaugurates a surveillance debate in Congress that has spent much of 2015 behind closed doors. Within days, congressional sources tell the Guardian, the premiere NSA reform bill of the last Congress, known as the USA Freedom Act, is set for reintroduction – and this time, some former supporters fear the latest version of the bill will squander an opportunity for even broader surveillance reform.

The classified briefings come amid an unsettled surveillance debate in Congress that rushes up against an unforgiving deadline. On 1 June, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which permits US law enforcement and surveillance agencies to collect business records, expires. 

Section 215 is the authority claimed by the NSA since 2006 for its ongoing daily bulk collection of US phone records revealed by the Guardian in 2013 thanks to leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden. While the Obama administration and US intelligence agencies last year supported divesting the NSA of its domestic phone metadata collection, a bill to do so failed in November

Again, any bill supported by Obama and the intelligence agencies is guaranteed to be worthless. It would be more appropriately named the NSA Freedom Act.

While the briefings were not described as a platform for defending the controversial Section 215, they “offer an important opportunity to hear directly from analysts and operators who use Section 215 as part of their daily mission to protect the Nation from terrorist attacks,” according to an announcement for legislators sent by intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes and Georgia Republican Lynn Westmoreland and obtained by the Guardian.

Civil-libertarian members who attended left unsatisfied. 

“Our questions about constitutionality and legality were answered with statements of efficacy. We said, ‘How can this possibly be legal?’ and they would say, ‘this program works great, here’s how it’s helping us catch terrorists,’” Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, told the Guardian.

Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives. 

More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one. 

They don’t know how to pass reauthorization, so they are trying to sneak it in.

Advocates of the bill in both congressional chambers, including its original architects, have been laboring for eight weeks in marathon negotiations to revive the USA Freedom Act. The revived bill would extend the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act for a still-undetermined number of years – essentially staking out the center of the 2015-era surveillance debate for a bill that would take NSA out of the domestic bulk-collection business.

The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.

“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.

On the other hand, a real NSA reform bill has been introduced into Congress, see: Meet the “Surveillance State Repeal Act” – A Bipartisan Bill to Fully Repeal the Patriot Act. 

Yet, this one has almost no chance of passing. Why? Because it’s the real deal.

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Congress_is_Attempting_to_Reauthorize_Key_Patriot_Act_Provisions_by_Sneaking_it_Into_%E2%80%9CUSA_Freedom_Act%E2%80%9D/43503/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 182015
 

Pittsburgh G20 Summit Protests -  514

These are videos of police officers in America killing unarmed black men like Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. And, as the most recent case shows, without these recordings, much of America might not have any idea exactly how much of a problem this is.

Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering—it is legal to record the police.

The police don’t always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don’t comply.

In the most recent citizen-filmed incident to gain widespread media attention, on April 4, white police officer Michael Slager shot and killed 50-year-old black man Walter Scott in the back as he ran away in North Charleston, South Carolina. Bystander Feiden Santana filmed the encounter, which started with a traffic stop. After Santana’s video surfaced, the officer was arrested and charged with murder. Santana said that he is scared of what might happen to him. He also considered deleting the video, and doing nothing with it. And Santana is not the only person who may be intimidated by the prospect of filming the police, with good reason.

That’s why, in addition to EFF Attorney Sophia Cope’s legal analysis highlighting some of the recent case law establishing the right to film police officers, we’re sharing some basic information cop watchers should know.

What Courts Have Said

Courts across the country have held that there is a First Amendment right to openly record the police. Courts have also held, however, that individuals cannot interfere with police operations, and that wiretapping statutes that prohibit secretly recording may apply to recording the police. But underlying these decisions is the understanding that recording the police is constitutionally protected.

Know Your Rights and Be Safe

While it has been established that individuals have the right to record the police, what happens on the street frequently does not match the law. Also, if you’re thinking about filming the police, it’s likely you’ll have more police encounters than you otherwise would.

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is a bar association that does police accountability work. The National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer program is focused on watching the police at protests. CopBlock and Cop Watch are loosely organized groups that have chapters across the country, and provide resources on filming the police everyday.

Here are the most essential things to keep in mind:

  • Stay calm and courteous, even though the situation may be stressful. Remember—if you get arrested or get into an altercation with the police, you won’t be able to keep filming them!
  • Be sure that you are not interfering with police operations, and stand at a safe distance from any encounter you film.
  • Your right to record audio surreptitiously of police carrying out their duties in public may vary from state to state. You should check your state law to know the fullest extent of your rights, but the lowest risk way to record is to hold your device in plain view of the officers.
  • Do not lie to police officers. If they ask whether you are recording, answer honestly.
  • If the police start interacting with you, treat the encounter as you would any encounter with law enforcement—in fact, you may want to be extra careful, since as the repeated incidents of police seizing cameras and smartphones demonstrate, it may make you more of a target.
  • If you are at a demonstration, police will often issue a dispersal order—in general, they will declare a protest an unlawful assembly and tell people to leave. Unless you are granted permission to stay, that order applies to you, too. If you do not comply, you should expect to be arrested.
  • While it is not legal for an officer to order you to move because you are recording, they may still order you to move. If you do not comply you could be arrested. If you do want to comply, consider complying with the smallest movement possible, and verbally confirming that you are complying with their orders. For example, if you are standing five feet from an officer, and they say “You need to move back,” you might want to consider calmly saying “yes, officer, I am moving back” while taking a few steps back.

Below are some helpful resources and tips related to interacting with and filming the police from these groups and EFF:

  • The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) “Know Your Rights” pamphlet (available in multiple languages) provides basic information you should know for interacting with the police.
  • The NLG Legal Observer Program training manual has tips for filming the police at protests, many of which are useful for filming any encounter.
  • Cop Watch has resources and examples here.
  • EFF’s Know Your Rights guide provides information on what you need to know if the police want to search your electronic devices.

Why Focus on Citizen Recording When Departments Are Implementing Bodycams? 

As the conversation about police accountability continues to take place across the country, body cameras are often proposed as a solution, and they are getting a lot of attention in the news right now. “Bodycam” recordings have made a difference in some cases. But many transparency and accountability advocates including EFF, have expressed reasonable doubts about their efficacy. States are trying to grapple with the many privacy issues they raise, mostly by considering exempting the footage from public records act requests. And while “bodycams” may be a contentious subject, there’s little doubt that it is citizen footage of law enforcement encounters that has really fueled the current debate about police accountability.

Keep Taping

As North Charleston Pastor Nelson Rivers said: “If not for the video, we would still be following the narrative from the officer. If not for this video, the story would be entirely different.” Scott’s family agrees. After watching the video, his brother stated: “I think that if that man never showed the video we would not be at the point that we’re at right now.” And North Charleston Councilwoman Dorothy Williams had this to say: “I’m asking all the citizens of North Charleston to continue taping.”

You don’t have to live in North Charleston to know why that’s a good idea.

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Want_to_Record_The_Cops%3F_Know_Your_Rights/43509/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 182015
 

Source: Discovery News

Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.

For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.  

Like similar biometric technologies — fingerprint or facial recognition systems — the Carnegie Mellon project uses mathematical pattern-recognition techniques. The technology captures images from a live photographic or video feed and runs them through a database to find a potential match.

Like fingerprints, every iris is unique — thanks to enormously complex patterns that remain the same throughout a person’s lifetime. High-resolution cameras can capture images of the iris from a distance using light in the near-infrared wavelength band.

In the realm of law enforcement, iris recognition could be used to identify suspects at long range in various lighting conditions. The system can even be used to capture images through reflections in a mirror.

The CMU team recently posted a video successfully testing the system in a typical traffic stop scenario. Using the long-range iris scanner, the system was able to identify the driver of a vehicle by capturing an image of the eye via the side-view mirror. You can see the results below.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/iris-scanner-identifies-a-person-40-feet-away-150410.htm



Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/VIDEO%3A_Long-Range_Iris_Recognition_System_Can_Identify_a_Person_40_Feet_Away/43510/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 172015
 

In Europe these days, the pace of legislative change is dizzying, as Brussels continues its blitz-like power grab. Last year saw the birth of the banking union. This year, it’s Energy Union. With the European Commission determined to push through an ambitious consolidation of the continent’s disparate energy sectors, the coming months and years promise to be highly lucrative for energy lobbyists – particularly those representing the fracking industry.

For the public, the Commission talks up Europe’s renewable energy credentials. Behind the scenes, it is teasing open the back door to fracking, despite overwhelming public opposition across Europe.

This is the finding of a new report on the European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction, otherwise known as “The Network.” The study was published jointly by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Friends of the Earth.

The Commission launched the Network in 2014 with the official aim of “bringing together all relevant stakeholders (practitioners from industry, research, academic as well as civil society) to foster a common understanding on unconventional hydrocarbons.” A closer look, however, reveals the Network as a Commission-funded lobby vehicle whose ultimate aim is to drive the industry’s expansion across Europe.

The Fracking Revolution Crosses the Atlantic

As the Guardian recently reported, America’s shale revolution has had a huge impact not only at home but far beyond U.S. shores, including by providing a bonanza for the fracking lobbies in Brussels:

From shale to climate-change policies, from car exhaust rules to renewables, from carbon-capture technologies to carbon-trading schemes, the energy lobby is highly active and successful in Brussels, with companies such as BP and Shell maintaining big operations aimed at shaping policy.

“In a nutshell, the energy-intensive lobbies say they are not competitive, especially vis-a-vis the US, because of shale and the low prices there,” says an industry insider engaged in Brussels lobbying. “They argue that we’re much too focused on renewables and climate change and that we should be much more open [to fracking] like the US.”

The creation of the Network is a far from subtle attempt to promote that agenda. Of the non-European Commission members, fewer than 10% represent civil society, while 40% work directly for the fracking industry – Shell, Total, ExxonMobil, GDF Suez, PGNiG, Encana and Cuadrilla. Another 45% of Network members represent academic and research institutes, of which two-thirds have worked closely with the fracking industry. For example, Susan Sakmar from the University of Houston started her professional career with Chevron and as an academic speaks at multiple industry conferences promoting shale gas, including on topics such as “How Do You Overcome Public Concerns [Over Shale Gas]?”

Of the Network’s five carefully selected working group chairs, two work directly for the fracking industry (Cuadrilla, ConocoPhillips), another two are from pro-fracking governments (UK and Poland), while the last chair represents a fracking industry-friendly body (IFP Energies Nouvelles).

In other words, it’s a classic Brussels stitch-up. The Network’s findings are already a forgone conclusion. In fact they were probably written years ago. Fracking, it will no doubt claim, is just what an energy-dependent and insecure Europe needs to lift itself from the doldrums.

With the Commission’s official stamp of approval, fracking will be foisted upon EU member states, including even countries that have banned the practice such as France and Romania. Indeed, if the transatlantic trade agreement TTIP is signed in its current form, any country that refuses to allow energy companies to frack could end up being sued for lost profits in corporate-friendly arbitration trials.

A PR Exercise

Naturally, the Network’s findings will be couched in terms that are suitable for public consumption. There will be a great deal of talk about the need for energy security – especially with a new Cold War brewing on the Eastern Front. Meanwhile fracking’s potential side effects (poisoned water, polluted air, increased earthquake activity) will be given somewhat less attention. The Network could take a leaf out of a recent reportpublished by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), which passionately defended the industry’s safety record in Europe, in particular in Germany where “no hydraulic fracturing is allowed without prior proof of the technical integrity of the well.”

The Network will no doubt ignore a recent study by the Energy Watch Group that warned that the environmental impact of shale gas extraction in Germany and Europe are in no way proportionate to the raw materials gained using this method of drilling. “We should not compare the conditions in Germany with those in the United States,” said Werner Zittel, the author of the study. For one thing, Germany is much more densely populated, he said, increasing the risk for people and the environment near extraction sites.

Nor is the Network likely to dwell on recent revelations that geological conditions and other factors in Europe make fracking more arduous and expensive than in the U.S. And just as had happened in the U.S., assessments provided by the Energy Information Administration had grossly overestimated deposits in Europe. In Poland, for example, the recoverable shale gas estimate recently shrank from 187 trillion cubic feet to 1.3 trillion cubic feet, a 99% drop. To make matters worse, one industry study estimatedthat drilling shale gas in Poland would cost three times what it does in the United States.

Even in the U.S., where geological and demographic conditions are much more favorable for fracking, the shale gas revolution would have been unthinkable without the help of absurdly cheap debt. As WOLF STREET has consistently warned, without high oil and gas prices, the ability to service that debt collapses – as is now happening across the industry.

A Lobbyist’s Paradise

In a 2013 EU study canvassing popular opinions on fracking, over four-fifths of respondents from France and over half of those in Germany said that unconventional fossil fuels – which include shale gas and oil – should not be developed under any circumstances. In a survey in the UK, a staggering 99% of some 40,000 respondents objected to fracking. Their concerns are understandable: most of Europe has a much higher population density than the United States, which means that fracking would likely take place much closer to population centers.

What’s more, as I reported last year in an article on fracking in the UK, most Europeans do not own the mineral rights to their land and would not get a single cent of compensation.

Given the scale and intensity of public opposition, it’s perhaps no wonder the Commission is adopting a softly-softly approach to new legislation.

In today’s Europe it is the lobbyists who matter. In Brussels, there are at least 30,000 of them, neatly matching the 31,000 staff employed by the European Commission, making it second only to Washington in the concentration of those seeking to affect legislation (read: Full Steam Ahead for the EU Gravy Train). By some estimates, lobbyists influence 75% of legislation. Many are former MEPs or commissioners. In Brussels’ cheap imitation of democracy, it is they and the masters they serve who rule the roost. And their wish — no matter how insane or unpopular — is the Commission’s command and soon our reality. 

Launched to conceal the rising tide of a different type of toxic matter, namely triple-F rated financial junk, “bad banks” are suddenly hot. Read…  “Bad Bank” Mania Spreads in Europe 

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Fierce_Opposition%3F_Heck%2C_EU_Lets_Fracking_in_through_Back_Door/43489/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 172015
 

Agent In Charge of Amerithrax Investigation Blows the Whistle

The FBI head of the agent in charge of the anthrax investigation – Richard Lambert – has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire FBI investigation bullsh!t:

In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.

Executive management at FBI Headquarters assigned responsibility for the anthrax investigation (code named “AMERITHRAX”) to the Washington Field Office (WFO), dubbing it the single most important case in the FBI at that time. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI’s charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI’s San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an “Inspector.” While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff’s efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO’s executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley – all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.

On July 6, 2006, Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303. Reports of mismanagement conveyed in writing and orally included: (a) WFO’s persistent understaffing of the AMERITHRAX investigation; (b) the threat of WFO’s Agent in charge to retaliate if Plaintiff disclosed the understaffing to FBI Headquarters; (c) WFO’s insistence on staffing the AMERITHRAX investigation principally with new Agents recently graduated from the FBI Academy resulting in an average investigative tenure of 18 months with 12 of 20 Agents assigned to the case having no prior investigative experience at all; (d) WFO’s eviction of the AMERITHRAX Task Force from the WFO building in downtown Washington and its relegation to Tysons Corner, Virginia to free up space for Attorney General Ashcroft’s new pornography squads; (e) FBI Director’s Mueller’s mandate to Plaintiff to “compartmentalize” the AMERITHRAX investigation by stove piping the flow of case information and walling off task force members from those aspects of the case not specifically assigned to them – a move intended to stem the tide of anonymous media leaks by government officials regarding details of the investigation. [Lambert complained about compartmentalizing and stovepiping of the investigation in a 2006 declaration.  See thisthis and this]

This sequestration edict decimated morale and proved unnecessary in light of subsequent civil litigation which established that the media leaks were attributable to the United States Attorney for the District of the District of Columbia and to a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s National Press Office, not to investigators on the AMERITHRAX Task Force; (f) WFO’s diversion and transfer of two Ph.D. Microbiologist Special Agents from their key roles in the investigation to fill billets for an 18 month Arabic language training program in Israel; (g) the FBI Laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab’s initial refusal to perform comparison testing; (h) the FBI Laboratory’s refusal to provide timely and adequate scientific analyses and forensic examinations in support of the investigation; (i) Defendant Kelley’s erroneous and subsequently quashed legal opinion that regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) precluded the Task Force’s collection of evidence in overseas venues; (j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.

Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions. Plaintiff further objected to the FBI’s ordering of Plaintiff not to speak with the staff of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes or investigative journalist David Willman, after both requested authorization to interview Plaintiff.

In April 2008, some of Plaintiff’s foregoing whistleblower reports were profiled on the CBS television show 60 Minutes. This 60 Minutes segment was critical of FBI executive management’s handling of the AMERITHRAX investigation, resulting in the agency’s embarrassment and the introduction of legislative bills calling for the establishment of congressional inquiries and special commissions to examine these issues – a level of scrutiny the FBI’s Ivins attribution could not withstand.

After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.

Exonerating Evidence for Ivins

Agent Lambert won’t publicly disclose the exculpatory evidence against Ivins. As the New York Times reports:

[Lambert] declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.

But there is already plenty of exculpatory evidence which is already publicly available.

For example:

  • Handwriting analysis failed to link the anthrax letters to known Ivins writing samples
  • No textile fibers were found in Ivins’ office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes
  • No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes
  • Samples of his hair failed to match hair follicles found inside the Princeton, N.J., mailbox used to mail the letters
  • No souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder cases
  • The FBI could not place Ivins at the crime scene with evidence, such as gas station or other receipts, at the time the letters were mailed in September and October 2001
  • Lab records show the number of late nights Ivins put in at the lab first spiked in August 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacks

As noted above, the FBI didn’t want to test the DNA sample found on the anthrax letter to Senator Leahy.  In addition, McClatchy points out:

After locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.

Anthrax vaccine expert Meryl Nass. M.D., notes:

The FBI’s alleged motive is bogus. In 2001, Bioport’s anthrax vaccine could not be (legally) relicensed due to potency failures, and its impending demise provided room for Ivins’ newer anthrax vaccines to fill the gap. Ivins had nothing to do with developing Bioport’s vaccine, although in addition to his duties working on newer vaccines, he was charged with assisting Bioport to get through licensure.

***

The FBI report claims the anthrax letters envelopes were sold in Frederick, Md. Later it admits that millions of indistinguishable envelopes were made, with sales in Maryland and Virginia.

***

FBI emphasizes Ivins’ access to a photocopy machine, but fails to mention it was not the machine from which the notes that accompanied the spores were printed.

FBI Fudged the Science

16 government labs had access to the same strain of anthrax as used in the anthrax letters.

The FBI admitted that up to 400 people had access to flask of anthrax in Dr. Ivins’ lab.  In other words, even if the killer anthrax came from there, 399 other people might have done it.

However, the FBI’s claim that the killer anthrax came from Ivins’ flask has fallen apart. Specifically, both the National Academy of Science and the Government Accountability Office – both extremely prestigious, nonpartisan agencies – found that FBI’s methodology and procedures for purportedly linking the anthrax flask maintained by Dr. Ivins with the anthrax letters was sloppy, inconclusive and full of holes.  They found that the alleged link wasn’t very strong … and that there wasno firm link.  Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences found that the anthrax mailed to Congressmen and the media could have come from a different source altogether than the flask maintained by Ivins.

After all, the entire Ft. Detrick facility – where Ivins worked – only dealt with liquid anthrax.  But the killer anthrax was a hard-to-make dry powder for of anthrax. advance.  Ft. Detrick doesn’t produce dry forms; but government labs in Utah (Dugway) and Ohio (Batelle) do.

The anthrax in the letters was also incredibly finely ground; and the FBI’s explanation doesn’t pass the smell test.

Moreover, the killer anthrax in the letters had a very high-tech  anti-static coating so that the spores “floated off the glass slide and was lost” when scientists tried to examine them.  Specifically, the killer anthrax was coated with polyglass and each anthrax spore given an electrostatic charge, so that they would repel other spores and “float”.   In other words, this was very advanced bio-weapons technology.

Top anthrax experts like Richard Spertzel say that Ivins didn’t do it. Spertzel also says that only 4 or 5 people in the entire country knew how to make anthrax of the “quality” used in the letters, that Spertzel was one of them, and it would have taken him a year with a full lab and a staff of helpers to do it. As such, the FBI’s claim that Ivins did it alone working a few nights is ludicrous.

Moreover, the killer anthrax contained silicon … but the anthrax in Ivins’ flask did not.  The FBI claimed the silicon present in the anthrax letters was absorbed from its surroundings … but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories completely debunked that theory. In other words, silicon was intentionally added to the killer anthrax to make it more potent. And Ivins and Ft. Detrick didn’t have that capability; but other government labs did.

Similarly, Sandia National Lab found the presence of iron and tin in the killer anthrax … but NOT in Ivins’ flask of anthrax.

Sandia also found that there was a strain of bacteria in one of the anthrax letters not present in Ivins’ flask.

The Anthrax Frame Up

Ivins wasn’t the first person framed for the anthrax attacks …

Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials(remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

And – between the Al Qaeda/Iraq angle and Ivins – the FBI was convinced that another U.S. government scientist, Steven Hatfill, did it.  The government had to pay Hatfill $4.6 million to settle his lawsuit for being falsely accused.

Ivins’ Convenient Death

It is convenient for the FBI that Ivins died.

The Wall Street Journal points out:

No autopsy was performed [on Ivins], and there was no suicide note.

Indeed, one of Ivins’ colleagues at Ft. Deitrich thinks he was murdered.

Whether murder or suicide, Ivins’ death was very convenient for the FBI, as dead men can’t easily defend themselves.

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/HEAD_of_the_FBI%E2%80%99s_Anthrax_Investigation_Says_the_Whole_Thing_Was_a_SHAM/43490/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 172015
 

(This is an item from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)

Going to Disney World this summer? Don’t laugh excessively with widely open staring eyes — because those behavior indicators could identify you as a potential terrorist. Packing a Mickey Mouse costume? Wearing a disguise is another indicator.

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.

TSA has trained security teams from SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens to use the same checklist of behavior indicators, which includes “wearing a disguise,” “whistling,” “exaggerated yawning” and “excessive laughter,” according to interviews and documents obtained by The Intercept.

In March, The Intercept published the now widely ridiculed 92-item checklist of behavior indicators used by TSA’s behavior detection officers at airports around the country. The SPOT program, now referred to by TSA as the Behavior Detection Analysis program, has been the subject of several audits and reviews by oversight agencies and congressional committees, which have criticized the program’s methodology and scientific basis.

Read More… 

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/TSA_TRAINED_DISNEY%2C_SEAWORLD_TO_SPOT_TERRORISTS/43491/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 172015
 

Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

Riot police in Chile have deployed water cannons and tear gas against demonstrators who were lobbing rocks and street signs, after a mostly-peaceful march against a contentious university reform and corruption allegations ended in violent clashes.

Organizers say that 150,000 students filled the streets of Santiago on Thursday to demand free higher education, and challenge Socialist party president Michelle Bachelet over recent corruption allegations. Authorities estimated the number to have stood at around 20,000 people.

As the peaceful march, organized mostly by opposition parties, came to a close, a smaller group of radical protesters began to attack and pelt objects at the armed police, reportedly injuring one officer. Riot police pushed back, using water cannon and tear gas, as demonstrators banged on the windows of armored vans. At least four protesters were detained.

Education protests reignited in the wake of President Bachelet’s promise to abolish the country’s high university fees. A series of tax raises that have brought $8.3 billion for that purpose last year. However, the majority of the funds have been allocated to other programs.

“It is not clear whether the high expectations of students will be fulfilled. The money from the tax reform originally committed for education won’t be enough to finance all the reforms,” Diego Vela, one of the organizers told Bloomberg.

#Chile: Police repression of massive student rally leads to clashes. #ChileMarchaEl16 VIDEO: http://t.co/LK2FCOPb5w pic.twitter.com/InUhlKSXnL

— ѕyndιcalιѕт (@syndicalisms) April 16, 2015

Bachelet was elected for the second time last year, after losing her post in 2010. She recently became embroiled in the scandal after her son’s wife was reported to have obtained a $10 million loan under suspicious circumstances.

A separate scandal involving right-wing politicians and SQM, a mining company that meddled in politics and was able to avoid taxes, led to students occupying its headquarters on Wednesday, as well as calls for punishment during Wednesday’s march.

“We need to protest against this caste of corrupt politicians and businessmen who are involved and who are not ruling for a majority, and instead they’re cooking up the reforms behind four walls,” Aurora Isidor, who led a procession of high school students, told AP.

PICTURES – Protest against political corruption, for education reform ends in CLASHES in #Chile – footage to follow pic.twitter.com/G7Njr83Kcp

— Ruptly Newsroom (@RuptlyNewsroom) April 16, 2015

Chile has one of the most unequal education systems in the world; a legacy of the Pinochet era. While those who are able to afford private education receive access to some of the best facilities on the continent, those who are not, are allocated limited funds, and are left behind.

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Mass_student_protest_in_Chile_escalates_into_clashes_with_riot_police_%28VIDEO%29_/43492/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 162015
 

Following hours of hearing several hundred parents voice their opposition to the controversial SB277, the bill that would remove the personal and religious exemptions and would require mandatory vaccines for children attending public or private schools, was going to fail the Senate Committee Hearing. The State Capitol was flooded with a line of parents that filled the halls and extended out the building doors and into the grounds surrounding the building. One by one people filed in and gave their name, city of residence, and stated their opposition to the proposed bill. The Senate Education Committee held it’s hearing concerning the portion of the bill that would exclude children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them from schooling.

The bill by Senator Richard Pan (916) 651-4006 and Senator Ben Allen (916) 651-4026 was facing certain defeat due to lack of votes from committee members. The committee members raised questions about the bill stripping the right to an education to California children because of parents’ decisions concerning inoculations. Despite Pan’s repeated use of a catchy, propagandist phrase “community immunity” and references to the measles incident at Disneyland, the Senators were unconvinced and the bill was going to die in the hearing. I would suggest the extensive line of opposition they had witnessed influenced their decision. Then came the devious twist. Committee Chair, Senator Carol Liu, who supports the bill, threw Pan and Allen a lifesaver and rescued the flailing legislation. What she did was despicable. At the close of the meeting, Liu advised Pan to postpone the vote one week. She, then, asked for a show of hands from the other members. When it was apparent that the bill would not pass the hearing, Pan conceded and stated that he would “take the advice” and rescheduled the vote for April 22. The vote next Wednesday will not have debate or input from citizens. It was clear that Pan and Liu agreed to a “vote only”.

The entire hearing and the multitude of opposition can be viewed here. The atrocity by Senator Liu is in the last three minutes. (Start at 3:38:00)

The frightening part of this bill, besides, the authoritarianism of its nature, is the text at the end of the list of disease covered by this bill.

… it is the intent of the Legislature to provide a means for the eventual achievement of total immunization of appropriate age groups against the following childhood diseases:

(1)Diphtheria.

(2)Hepatitis B.

(3)Haemophilus influenzae type b.

(4)Measles.

(5)Mumps.

(6)Pertussis (whooping cough).

(7)Poliomyelitis.

(8)Rubella.

(9)Tetanus.

(10)Varicella (chickenpox).

(11)Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department

This would appear to allow the ‘department’ the ability to add any disease it seems necessary and require vaccines that could possibly be dangerous. How many more vaccines do they plan on adding to this list?

To get to the bottom of this legislation, let us follow the money. I prefer to start with campaign financing.

Pan’s campaign contributions come from a who’s who in pharmaceautical corruption. Let’s take a look into the history of Pan’s nafarious donors.

London based GlaxoSmithKline was involved in a European bribery scandal and a vaccine trial scandal involving babies in Argentina.

Merck, that attempted to conceal it’s links to many deaths from heart attacks and stroke from Vioxx were running ads and promotions for Nexium that ”caused millions of people to take a drug at inflated high prices”

Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm with 72 lobbyists paid $762 million dollars after pleading guilty to misbranding its anemia drug Aranesp.

Eli Lily, known for its notorious corruption during the George W. Bush presidency, paid a $500 million settlement to 18,000 people that developed diabetes or other diseases after taking Zyprexa

These scandals are well documented and widely known. But it doesn’t stop there. Genentech was caught offering secret rebates to eye doctors to persuede them to use Lucentis rather than a less costly alternative.

After Biomarin received exclusive licensing for Firdapse for ten years, it increased the price from under $2000 to almost $70,000! Much worse is the controversy surrounding the death of Chloe Drury. Chloe was refused medication because she was under the age of 18. This did not stop Biomarin from refusing cancer drugs to Andrea  Sloan.

Committee Chair Senator Carol Liu is not without her controversies. She received campaign money from the law firm Girardi Keese. Girardi was implicated in a racketeering scandal that involved bribery and laundering money for judges and attorneys! But, it gets worse. Southern Edison was investigated for prolonged power outages by the California Public Utilities Commission. Not only did Edison contribute more than $35,000 to Liu, her husband is a former Edison executive and chaired the CPUC! Liu did not respond to requests. But, it gets worse. Her husband, Michael Peevey resigned in disgrace after the mayor of San Bruno and others accused PUC officials, including Peevey, of not properly notifying the public of confidential communications with the utility in the case of the San Bruno gas explosion. The disaster killed eight people, injured 66, and destroyed 38 homes. It cannot get worse than that. Or can it? Liu and Peevey’s house was raided and computers were taken in a massive judge-shopping investigation involving Pacific Gas Electric. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction.

Are we supposed to believe that these morally bankrupt politicans have the right to deny our children an education because we may refuse to inject them with drugs from companies that have paid billions in fines for causing deaths and suffering. If not, you have one week to call the members of the California Education Committee and let your will be known!

Here is a list of committee members and their probable vote on this bill:

EARLY Poll of Senate EDUCATION Committee Members on Sb-277

Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge: YES

Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar: UNDECIDED
Marty Block, D-San Diego: YES
Loni Hancock, D-Oakland: DECLINED TO SAY
Connie Leyva, D-Chino: UNDECIDED
Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia: LEANING YES
Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento: YES
Andy Vidak, R-Hanford: UNDECIDED

 

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/SB277_Controversial_Committee_Chair_Steals_Victory_From_CA_Parents/43466/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Apr 162015
 

Following hours of hearing several hundred parents voice their opposition to the controversial SB277, the bill that would remove the personal and religious exemptions and would require mandatory vaccines for children attending public or private schools, was going to fail the Senate Committee Hearing. The State Capitol was flooded with a line of parents that filled the halls and extended out the building doors and into the grounds surrounding the building. One by one people filed in and gave their name, city of residence, and stated their opposition to the proposed bill. The Senate Education Committee held it’s hearing concerning the portion of the bill that would exclude children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate them from schooling.

The bill by Senator Richard Pan (916) 651-4006 and Senator Ben Allen (916) 651-4026 was facing certain defeat due to lack of votes from committee members. The committee members raised questions about the bill stripping the right to an education to California children because of parents’ decisions concerning inoculations. Despite Pan’s repeated use of a catchy, propagandist phrase “community immunity” and references to the measles incident at Disneyland, the Senators were unconvinced and the bill was going to die in the hearing. I would suggest the extensive line of opposition they had witnessed influenced their decision. Then came the devious twist. Committee Chair, Senator Carol Liu, who supports the bill, threw Pan and Allen a lifesaver and rescued the flailing legislation. What she did was despicable. At the close of the meeting, Liu advised Pan to postpone the vote one week. She, then, asked for a show of hands from the other members. When it was apparent that the bill would not pass the hearing, Pan conceded and stated that he would “take the advice” and rescheduled the vote for April 22. The vote next Wednesday will not have debate or input from citizens. It was clear that Pan and Liu agreed to a “vote only”.

The entire hearing and the multitude of opposition can be viewed here. The atrocity by Senator Liu is in the last three minutes. (Start at 3:38:00)

The frightening part of this bill, besides, the authoritarianism of its nature, is the text at the end of the list of disease covered by this bill.

… it is the intent of the Legislature to provide a means for the eventual achievement of total immunization of appropriate age groups against the following childhood diseases:

(1)Diphtheria.

(2)Hepatitis B.

(3)Haemophilus influenzae type b.

(4)Measles.

(5)Mumps.

(6)Pertussis (whooping cough).

(7)Poliomyelitis.

(8)Rubella.

(9)Tetanus.

(10)Varicella (chickenpox).

(11)Any other disease deemed appropriate by the department

This would appear to allow the ‘department’ the ability to add any disease it seems necessary and require vaccines that could possibly be dangerous. How many more vaccines do they plan on adding to this list?

To get to the bottom of this legislation, let us follow the money. I prefer to start with campaign financing.

Pan’s campaign contributions come from a who’s who in pharmaceautical corruption. Let’s take a look into the history of Pan’s nafarious donors.

London based GlaxoSmithKline was involved in a European bribery scandal and a vaccine trial scandal involving babies in Argentina.

Merck, that attempted to conceal it’s links to many deaths from heart attacks and stroke from Vioxx were running ads and promotions for Nexium that ”caused millions of people to take a drug at inflated high prices”

Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm with 72 lobbyists paid $762 million dollars after pleading guilty to misbranding its anemia drug Aranesp.

Eli Lily, known for its notorious corruption during the George W. Bush presidency, paid a $500 million settlement to 18,000 people that developed diabetes or other diseases after taking Zyprexa

These scandals are well documented and widely known. But it doesn’t stop there. Genentech was caught offering secret rebates to eye doctors to persuede them to use Lucentis rather than a less costly alternative.

After Biomarin received exclusive licensing for Firdapse for ten years, it increased the price from under $2000 to almost $70,000! Much worse is the controversy surrounding the death of Chloe Drury. Chloe was refused medication because she was under the age of 18. This did not stop Biomarin from refusing cancer drugs to Andrea  Sloan.

Committee Chair Senator Carol Liu is not without her controversies. She received campaign money from the law firm Girardi Keese. Girardi was implicated in a racketeering scandal that involved bribery and laundering money for judges and attorneys! But, it gets worse. Southern Edison was investigated for prolonged power outages by the California Public Utilities Commission. Not only did Edison contribute more than $35,000 to Liu, her husband is a former Edison executive and chaired the CPUC! Liu did not respond to requests. But, it gets worse. Her husband, Michael Peevey resigned in disgrace after the mayor of San Bruno and others accused PUC officials, including Peevey, of not properly notifying the public of confidential communications with the utility in the case of the San Bruno gas explosion. The disaster killed eight people, injured 66, and destroyed 38 homes. It cannot get worse than that. Or can it? Liu and Peevey’s house was raided and computers were taken in a massive judge-shopping investigation involving Pacific Gas Electric. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction.

Are we supposed to believe that these morally bankrupt politicans have the right to deny our children an education because we may refuse to inject them with drugs from companies that have paid billions in fines for causing deaths and suffering. If not, you have one week to call the members of the California Education Committee and let your will be known!

Here is a list of committee members and their probable vote on this bill:

EARLY Poll of Senate EDUCATION Committee Members on Sb-277

Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge: YES

Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar: UNDECIDED
Marty Block, D-San Diego: YES
Loni Hancock, D-Oakland: DECLINED TO SAY
Connie Leyva, D-Chino: UNDECIDED
Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia: LEANING YES
Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento: YES
Andy Vidak, R-Hanford: UNDECIDED

 

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/SB277_Controversial_Committee_Chair_Steals_Victory_From_CA_Parents/43466/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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