From Cold comfort by Katherine Heerbrandt
22 Apr, 2009
The Criminal Investigation Division at Fort Meade has been investigating USAMRIID at Fort Detrick since at least early February. Meade's CID pursues investigations of serious crimes and sensitive subjects of concern to the Army at regional bases like Detrick, which has no internal investigative arm.
A News-Post story in February reported that USAMRIID was shutting down most of its bioresearch while it tried to match its inventory to its records, citing an "overage" of BSAT, biological select agents and toxins.
Meade's CID, however, isn't concerned with overstock. Instead, agents are looking for what may have gone missing between 1987 and 2008.
"It's possible there are some viral samples missing," at USAMRIID, Fort Meade public affairs officer Chad Jones confirmed in a phone interview Monday.
"I don't know anything else. The investigation is ongoing," he said.
The investigation into possible missing pathogens began about the same time Col. John P. Skvorak issued a "stand down" memo halting research operations until an updated inventory is complete. The memo made no mention of missing samples.
A retired support staff employee who worked in the BSL-4 labs received a visit from Fort Mead's CID agents in February. Agents wanted to know if he'd taken anything out of the lab between 1987 and 2008, and how easy it was for others to remove samples.
~ more... ~
Thursday, April 23, 2009
From Cold comfort by Katherine Heerbrandt
AFP (21 Apr, 2009) Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials could face legal action in Norway over the Gaza offensive after six Norwegian lawyers said Tuesday they would accuse them of war crimes.
The lawyers, who plan to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, said they will call for the arrest and extradition of Olmert as well as former foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers.
Under the Norwegian penal code, courts may hear cases involving war crimes and other major violations of human rights.
The lawyers released a statement accusing Israel of "massive terrorist attacks" in the Gaza Strip from December 27 last year to January 25, killing civilians, illegally using weapons against civilian targets and deliberately attacking hospitals and medical staff.
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From Greek mainstream media (Newspaper Makedonia):
THESSALONIKI Masked group attacks an information engineering college
A masked group caused chaos in the center of Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon.
About ten people smashed the windows of an information engineering college and damaged computers without being traced by the police. The foray by the masked group took place at the junction of Tsimiski str. and Ethnikis Aminis str. a bit after 3pm in the afternoon, at the school that is on the ground floor of the building which accommodates the British Council. Police deems that the college became a target because of its collaboration with a private english institution.
The fact that makes impression is that the police that were patrolling the city's center saw the moves of the anti-authoritarians before they arrived at the college but only after the damages were done they mobilized to chase them without catching them, since they managed to disappear from the surrounding narrow streets of Ippodromiou and Navarinou square.
From http://bellumperpetuum.blogspot.com/ (Greek direct action blog)
Monday, 20th of April 2009
Attack against British educational institute, Thessaloníki (15/4)
The return to normality will never ever exist
Daily life in the metropolis gains a meaning. It's the daily life of the new city-guerrilla warfare. The attacks follow one another, the whole city and its symbols are mapped as targets, the plans are alternated, sabotages are organized, and promises are given that nothing will remain the same.
The strategy of tension now passes on to our areas. There is no time to lose, never there was, silence and indifference will now take position. Or they will deny their selves and become an attack, or they will remain dull on the couch of their living room being passed on to the enemy's camp.
The opponent from its side realizes that right across there is not simply the reflections and the leftovers of December's insurrection, nor dissected moments of optional riot as an expression of youthful dispute. The opponent begins to distinguish more and more clearly the permanent threat of direct action in all its dimensions.
The new measures, the anti-mask laws, the employment of thousands of new cops, the re-function of cctv cameras, the much advertised Delta group, the cooperation with the secret services of Scotland Yard are for us pleasant reasons to hit them again and again. We are not complaining about the scarcity of freedom, nor we are claiming for rights against repression. We decided to form the domestic enemy front against their system, undertaking whenever needed the price of our choice. For now, the enemy will pay the price of its position.
That's why we claim responsibility for the attack against the British educational institution D.E.I. in the center of Thessaloniki on the evening of Wednesday 15/04. D.E.I. is one of the many businesses that are aiming to train the new think tanks of participation sovereignty in the sectors of science, technology, economy, marketing and repression. Thus, by producing the new images and models of shining smiles and happy faces, of much desired objects and of the professional success of graduates, they consist the proper motivation for the lamentable imitators and the equivalent bait for most of the excluded in order to mortgage their lives for their kids future. We are attacking not only the top british foundations but also the educational institution on a whole which disappears any sense of substantial knowledge and multi-shape growth of the individual by repressing every personal initiative.
Also, behind our idea for the attack against a company of british interest is the fact that few weeks ago in heavily-policed London the G20 summit took place. Thousands of people protested and some chose to attack. During the clashes, the pigs beaten and brought to death protester Ian Tomlinson.
Furthermore, on 14/04 in Nottingham, police raided a camp against climate change where 114 people were arrested facing charges of destruction of electricity power units.
The only substantial solidarity is the continuation of revolutionary action everywhere and always. Also, with our attack, we send our greetings to the sleuths of Scotland Yard, notifying them that from now on they are on our list. The many recent attacks, either in the darkness of night, either in the shadow of day, prove that the military supremacy of the state, orchestrated with consent of society and with the propaganda of fear, remains vulnerable. Because we are watching out and are searching for passages to attack the order and the ethic of this world. Even if we don't find the path of denial, we are convinced that with violence we will engrave them in the new map of city-guerrilla warfare, like the deepest scar in the face of captivity.
THINK TANK FOR THE OVERTHROW OF EXISTENCE
~ Source: Indymedia UK ~
THE BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
by Mark Karlin
BuzzFlash fully supports trying Bush, Cheney, and their band of fellow sadists for war crimes, but while they are in the courtroom, let's not forget Murder One. Apparently, many in the mainstream press and blogosphere already have.
The focus right now is on legal memos justifying the horrifying and numbing repetition of torture against "high profile" targets. We have a short memory in America -- and most of what was in these memos -- except for the diabolical excess of the waterboarding and the medieval torture by insects -- was, as President Obama has said, pretty much already known.
Also known, but not discussed at this time, is that less upper echelon Al-Qaeda figures were murdered as a result of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld torture jihad (euphemestically called in the mainstream corporate press "harsh" or "enhanced interrogation").
Uh, remember those photos of bludgeoned prisoners in body bags that came out of Abu Ghraib? (And we still have only seen a small portion of the visual evidence.) Those people were murdered as a result of the green light on torture. Even the Pentagon has declared some of the Guantanamo dead were victims of homicide. Then there are many "renditioned" individuals who disappeared into torture prisons around the world and have never reappeared.
In 2008, Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell and a man who came over from the dark side to tell the truth, testified before Congress that a minimum of 25 people died in U.S. detention as a result of homicides -- and that the figure was probably higher.
Indeed, other estimates put the figure much, much higher -- and that doesn't include the prisoners who were sent to "black holes" and never reappeared. It doesn't include the hundreds of Taliban prisoners who were transported to a remote spot in Afghanistan (shortly after the U.S. invasion) and machine gunned to death in container tracks by Afghan soldiers with a green light from Rumsfeld.
The number of people murdered during torture ("harsh interrogation") will likely never be known, but as a governor in Texas, George W. Bush executed the highest number of people for far fewer murders each. Some of them just killed one person, unlike Bush, Cheney and their crew of arm chair executioners.
~ more... ~
Longtime Dish readers will know what I'm referring to. It is a famous war crime prosecution against Nazi officers in occupied Norway, and the trial took place in 1946. The men were accused of using "enhanced interrogation" techniques - or in the original German "verschaerfte Vernehmung" - against captives. The Dish's first coverage of this case can be read here. The online account of the trial can be found here. Two things are worth noting. The first is the Nazi definition of the term "enhanced interrogation." Here's the formal description:
On 19th December, 1942, Bruns was present at the interrogation of a sick Norwegian. Leg screws were fastened to his legs and he was beaten with various implements. Later he was thrown unconscious into a cellar, where he remained for four days before receiving medical attention.So you have the abuse of someone with a pre-existing injury (Zubaydah), neglect of prisoners (ubiquitous at Bagram, Abu Ghraib and testified to by FBI agents at Gitmo), measured beatings, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and hypothermia or cold baths (also documented in the Bybee and Bradbury memos and the ICRC report). Now check out the defense against the charge of war crimes:
Between 1942 and 1945, Bruns used the method of "verschärfte Vernehmung" on 11 Norwegian citizens. This method involved the use of various implements of torture, cold baths and blows and kicks in the face and all over the body. Most of the prisoners suffered for a considerable time from the injuries received during those interrogations.
Between 1942 and 1945, Schubert gave 14 Norwegian prisoners "verschärfte Vernehmung," using various instruments of torture and hitting them in the face and over the body. Many of the prisoners suffered for a considerable time from the effects of injuries they received.
All three defendants appealed to the Supreme Court. Their appeal was based on the following arguments :Do these defenses sound familiar? They failed in court. And while modern Americans debate whether we can even use the word 'torture' with respect to these techniques, previous generations, closer to the reality of war and torture than we are, had no qualms.
(a) That the acts of torture which the defendants had committed were permitted under International Law as reprisals against the illegal Military Organisation whose activities were at variance with International Law.
(b) That the acts were carried out on superior orders and that the defendants acted under duress.
(c) That the acts of torture in no case resulted in death. Most of the injuries inflicted were slight and did not result in permanent disablement.
The punishment for these crimes was the death penalty.
~ Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish ~
Alison Flood reports in the Guardian :
16 Apr, 2009
Khaled Hosseini has joined the illustrious ranks of Philip Pullman and the authors of a story about gay penguins, after his novel The Kite Runner became one of the books that inspired most complaints in America last year.
The bestselling and critically acclaimed title, the story of a 12-year-old Afghan and his betrayal of his best friend, includes the rape of a boy, and provoked challenges in the US over what objectors saw as sexual content and offensive language. Some objections led to the removal of the book from library shelves, while others saw it replaced with bowdlerised versions minus the offending scenes, according to the American Library Association, which compiles an annual list of the most challenged titles in the country.
Topping this list in 2008 was, for the third year running, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's And Tango Makes Three, a children's book about two male penguins who bring up an orphaned chick. Based on a newspaper story the authors saw about a zookeeper who noticed two of his penguins trying to hatch a stone, the book was criticised for being pro-gay, anti-religion and anti-family.
"Books that address same-sex parenting, or same-sex relationships, are particularly prone to challenges in the US," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the ALA's office for intellectual freedom, which has collected information on challenged books for the last 20 years. "In the case of And Tango Makes Three, there are many parents who believe it inappropriate to teach children anything at all about homosexual relationships, even in the form of a picture book about a true story."
Another stalwart of the ALA's list, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, rose to second place overall in 2008 from fourth the previous year, distressing challengers over its political viewpoint, religious viewpoint and violent scenes. Last year Pullman said his immediate reaction on hearing the news was "glee". "They never learn," he said. "The inevitable result of trying to ban something – book, film, play, pop song, whatever – is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don't the censors realise this?"
Caldwell-Stone said the film of The Golden Compass, based on the first novel in Pullman's trilogy, had renewed attacks on the sequence from Catholic pressure groups. "In many cases school boards reacted precipitously and removed it – then a few weeks later they returned it to the shelves," she said.
This year, challengers appeared to be focusing their efforts on more recent releases, with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which had drawn criticism for racism), Alice Walker's The Color Purple (challenged for sexual content, homosexual content and offensive language) and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (sexual content) all dropping out of the top 10 after riding high last year.
The ALA recorded 513 challenges in 2008, up from 420 in 2007. The ALA defines a challenge as "a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness". It estimates that as few as one in five challenges are actually reported. "We believe this is just the tip of the iceberg," said Caldwell-Stone.
Seventy-four books were actually removed from shelves following challenges last year, the ALA said, ranging from Jodi Picoult's bestselling novel My Sister's Keeper, pulled for its sexually explicit content, to Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which includes references to masturbation. Alexie's comments at the time echoed Pullman's, with the author telling local press that "the amazing thing is these banners never understand they are turning this book into a sacred treasure. We don't write to try and be banned, but it is widely known in the [young adult] world, we love this shit."
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Carlos Futura "Bach For Computer" 1979
Bach For Bachelors (Preludium 21 - Übungen Für Angänger) Johann Sebastian Bach.
Carlos Futura was a pseudonym for Klaus Netzle and Christian Bruhn (legendary German composer of themes from Capt. Future, Timm Thaler etc.)
It's more a historic- than an masterpiece of electronic/synthesizer music, but nevertheless interesting.
On the lp-cover backside there is a picture of an Roland System-700 connected to the MC-8 Microcomposer...
Memorable lines from Twelve Monkeys courtesy of Wikiquote :
Dr. Peters: I think, Dr. Railly, you have given your "alarmists" a bad name. Surely there is very real and very convincing data that the planet cannot survive the excesses of the human race: proliferation of atomic devices, uncontrolled breeding habits, the rape of the environment, the pollution of land, sea, and air. In this context, isn't it obvious that "Chicken Little" represents the sane vision and that Homo Sapiens' motto, "Let's go shopping!" is the cry of the true lunatic?
Jeffrey Goines: There's the television. It's all right there — all right there. Look, listen, kneel, pray. Commercials! We're not productive any more. We don't make things any more. It's all automated. What are we for, then? We're consumers, Jim. Yeah. Okay, okay. Buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, if you don't, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally ill. Fact, Jim, fact: if you don't buy things — toilet paper, new cars, computerized yo-yos, electrically-operated sexual devices, servo systems with brain-implanted headphones, screwdrivers with miniature built-in radar devices, voice-activated computers...
L.J. Washington: I don't really come from outer space.
Jeffrey Goines: Oh. L.J. Washington. He doesn't really come from outer space.
L.J. Washington: Don't mock me, my friend. It's a condition of mental divergence. I find myself on the planet Ogo, part of an intellectual elite, preparing to subjugate the barbarian hordes on Pluto. But even though this is a totally convincing reality for me in every way, nevertheless Ogo is actually a construct of my psyche. I am mentally divergent in that I am escaping certain unnamed realities that plague my life here. When I stop going there, I will be well. Are you also divergent, friend?
James Cole: It's just like what's happening with us, like the past. The movie never changes. It can't change; but every time you see it, it seems different because you're different. You see different things.
James Cole: This is a place for crazy people. I'm not crazy.
Dr. Peters: We don't use the term "crazy," Mr. Cole.
James Cole: Well, you've got some real nuts here.
The security minister has confirmed officials are considering installing technology that could enable on-demand wiretapping of all communications passing over the internet by the intelligence services and law enforcement.
Lord West told Parliament on Monday that civil servants working on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) were considering how Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) equipment "might support the lawful interception of communications and separately the lawful acquisition of communications data".
It's the first time the government has publicly acknowledged its interest in DPI equipment. A delayed Home Office consultation on IMP is due to be launched "shortly", West said.
The Programme as envisaged by GCHQ and MI6, according to sources, has two aims.
First, spy chiefs want to create a massive central repository of communications traffic data. Such data contains the powerful details of who contacts whom, how, when and where. Most major ISPs and telecoms firms already retain much of this data, but some do not, and many email, VoIP, instant messenging and social networking services retain little.
This in turn would facilitate the second aim of the system, the interception of the content of internet communications. As now, this would require a warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), but each wiretap would be much easier to implement.
West's comments confirm our sources' information that officials are considering a network of DPI probes inside the UK internet and telecoms infrastructure that could fulfil each ambition. The equipment can monitor everything in each data packet passing its location in the network, allowing both "the lawful acquisition of communications data" and the "the lawful interception of communications".
~ more... ~
By John Leyden (The Register)
20 Apr, 2009
Hacktivism cuts both ways
Hacktivists have launched denial of service attacks against music industry association ifpi.org and lawyers involved in the prosecution of the four Pirate Bay defendants in the wake of a guilty verdict against the quartet last Friday.
The assault has rendered ifpi.org - the main website of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry - intermittently unavailable or sluggish for a time on Monday morning.
Operation Baylout, as the attack is called, also involved the reported defacement of the Swedish website of the IFPI.
Meanwhile limited distributed denial of service attacks against some Torrent tracker sites continued in the wake of guilty verdict against the four defendants in the high-profile Pirate Bay trial last Friday.
~ more... ~
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