Monday, March 1, 2010

"The middle classes could become a revolutionary class"

From Celente Predicts Revolution, Food Riots, Tax Rebellions By 2012

The prospect of revolution was a concept echoed by a British Ministry of Defence report last year, which predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, “The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest,” and that, “The middle classes could become a revolutionary class.”


In a separate recent interview, Celente went further on the subject of revolution in America.

“There will be a revolution in this country,” he said. “It's not going to come yet, but it's going to come down the line and we're going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D. C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen.”

“The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That's going to be the big one because people can't afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You're going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop.”

“It's going to be very bleak. Very sad. And there is going to be a lot of homeless, the likes of which we have never seen before. Tent cities are already sprouting up around the country and we're going to see many more.”

“We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to. It's going to come as a shock and with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs – over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be. So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension.”

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The battle for Baluchistan: Iran nabs top NATO terrorist with help from Pakistan

By Webster G. Tarpley, TARPLEY.net February 25, 2010

On Tuesday Feb. 23, Iran announced the capture of Abdulmalek Rigi, the boss of the terror organization Jundullah, which works for NATO. The capture of Rigi represents a serious setback for the US-UK strategy of using false flag state-sponsored terrorism against Iran and Pakistan, and ultimately to sabotage China’s geopolitics of oil. The Iranians claim to have captured Rigi all by themselves, but the Pakistani ambassador to Teheran is quoted in The Dawn as claiming an important role for Pakistan. The Iranians say that Rigi was attempting to fly from Dubai to Kyrgystan, and that his plane was forced to land in Iran by Iranian interceptors. This exploit recalls Oliver North’s 1985 intercept of the accused Achille Lauro perpetrators, including Abu Abbas, forcing their Egyptian plane to land at Sigonella, Sicily. But other and perhaps more realistic versions suggest that Iran was tipped off by the Pakistanis, or even that Rigi was captured by Pakistan and delivered to the Iranians.

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New Israeli law forbids Palestinians from mourning or “showing signs of sadness”

A new law in Israel makes it a crime to commemorate what Palestinians call the “Nakba”, the “catastrophe” of their dispossession by the creation of the Zionist state in 1948. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has passed “The Nakba Draft Law” after just one reading. Penalties will be imposed on anyone showing signs of sadness and mourning within the (undefined) borders of Israel on 15 May; Palestinians remember on that day the creation of the refugee crisis that remains after 62 years.

Hebrew radio reported this week that the law is intended to stop people mourning on what is Israeli Independence Day; commemorative acts are, it is claimed, tantamount to “denying the Jewish character of Israel [and] insulting the symbols of the state”. The radio noted that the fines might amount up to three times the expenditure of commemorative programmes.

According to one commentator, it is ironic that this law has been passed at a time when Israel is complaining about attempts to “de-legitimise” the Zionist state. Here is an example of Israel’s own “de-legitimisation” of the Palestinians, their land and their culture, he said.

If you do not know about the Nakba I suggest the following links:
1. Al Nakba.Org
2. Nakba – The Palestinian Catastrophe
3. To Those Who Deny The Nakba


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Political Theatrics ~

New scientific breakthrough proves why acupuncture works

New groundbreaking research shows that the insertion of an acupuncture needle into the skin disrupts the branching point of nerves called C fibres. These C fibres transmit low-grade sensory information over very long distances by using Merkel cells as intermediaries. Dr. Morry Silberstein of the Curtin University of Technology will publish his research in the Journal of Theoretical Biology later this year.

We have never really had a scientific explanation for how acupuncture actually works,” he said. In the absence of a scientific rationale, acupuncture has not been widely used in the mainstream medical community. If we can explain the process scientifically, we can open it to full scientific scrutiny and develop ways to use it as a part of medical treatments.”

Dr. Silberstein mentions that they have known, for some time, that the acupuncture points show lower electrical resistance than other nearby areas of the skin. His research specifically pinpoints that the C fibres actually branch exactly at acupuncture points. Scientists don’t know exactly what role C fibres play in the nervous system, but Dr. Silverstein theorizes that the bundle of nerves exists to maintain arousal or wakefulness. The insertion of the acupuncture needle disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain.”

Acupuncture for pain relief is actually being taught to American Air Force physicians deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan (2009) by Dr. Richard Niemtzow MD, PhD, MPH and editor of Medical Acupuncture. His technique called “Battlefield Acupuncture” relieves severe pain for several days and is a variation of acupuncture, which inserts very tiny semi-permanent needles at specific acupoints on the skin of the ear that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.

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Blood from a stone - Metropolis



The scenes are from the 1927 silent film Metropolis by Fritz Lang and the music is by Cycle V.

Online Weirdness Encyclopedia celebrates fifth anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT

A online "directory of the differently-saned" is celebrating its fifth anniversary on February 25th, 2010. In operation since 2005, the High Weirdness Project is engaged in a wiki-based project (similar to Wikipedia) to categorize strange, fringe, bizarre, and Slackful sources of information.

The First Online Church of "Bob" (www.modemac.com) has opened its doors to the public, to allow for wider exposure of the so-called "fringe elements" of our society: the strange, the weird, the blasphemous, the Slackful, and the subversive. After earning a position on the enemies' lists of various cults and white supremacist groups, the church launched its own wiki catalog of fringe groups in 2005: The High Weirdness Project.

Although it is run on wiki software, the High Weirdness Project proclaims it is not an "encyclopedia" like Wikipedia. This site is dedicated to providing readers and researchers with a gateway to many strange, unusual, useful, and above all Slackful sources of information. The High Weirdness Project does not follow a neutral point of view: its entries are deliberately biased, and they are intended to offend those who are too easily offended.

Topic covered at the High Weirdness Project include religious cults, conspiracy theories, science and pseudo-science, and extensive sections on entertainment (including cult movies and online comics).

The site has been featured as one of the top ten Google searches for "Scientology," and it is included in the list of Web sites banned by the Web filtering and censorship software distributed to Scientologists in the late 1990s. The High Weirdness Project has also become known for its exposure of such controversial groups as St. Matthew's Churches, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Perverted Justice, persecution of accused "witches" in Africa and the Far East, and the Gentle Wind Project. For the years 2007 and 2008, the High Weirdness Project has compiled exhaustive listings of the psychic predictions for each of those years, in order to determine which predictions were genuine and which were not.

Other online sources credited by the High Weirdness Project include The Wild Hunt, Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, It's Scary Out There, Boing Boing, and Fark.

Since the wiki was founded in 2005, the High Weirdness Project has managed the daily Bulldada Newsblog: a repositorium for links to temporary news stories in the media that are Slackful and Bulldada-worthy.

In 2006, the High Weirdness Project became the primary source of information regarding the SubGenius Reverend Mary Magdalen's legal battle for custody of her son - after a New York county judge was offended by her participation in the Church of the SubGenius. (The legal battle was won and custody of Magdalen's son was returned to her in the fall of 2007, though high legal costs were incurred.)

The High Weirdness Project is open for mutants, SubGenii, Discordians, hackers, blasphemers, and other unmentionables far and wide to visit, read, and make their own contributions. All readers are free to contribute their links and reviews to whatever parts of the wiki they find appropriate - Other Mutants, Music, Books and Zines, Sex, or any other section. Because the site uses wiki software, it is being constantly updated.

The High Weirdness Project celebrated its one millionth visitor in January of 2008, and it currently consists of over two thousand separate Web pages. The site averages around one thousand visitors per day, and this number is expected to increase.

The First Online Church of "Bob" ministry has been online since April 1994, and their Web site has been in operation since May 1995. Site manager Reverend Modemac states, "We are proud to have been at the focus of various controversies involving the Church of Scientology and its war against the Internet; the net.kooks and spammers of the news.admin.net-abuse.* newsgroups; and the great X-Day gatherings of 1998 through the present day at Brushwood."

In his statement thanking the regular contributors to the High Weirdness Project, Reverend Modemac writes, "The amount of sheer Bulldada flooding the media these days seems to increase exponentially with each passing breath. It's impossible for any SubGenius to keep up with it all…and that is why I especially love it when people send me links for the High Weirdness Project. Usually they're for stuff that I never would have found on my own. This keeps the wiki from focusing exclusively on my own personal obsessions, and that in turn makes it more interesting for you to read."

In a tribute to the subjects covered at the site, the High Weirdness Project marked the anniversary date by issuing a prediction: on the morning of July 5, 2010, a fleet of alien flying saucers will invade the planet Earth. This bizarre prediction, originated by the Church of the SubGenius, is known as "X-Day," and it is the apocalyptic prediction of this fringe religious cult.

The High Weirdness Project is based upon the SubGenius holy book High Weirdness by Mail by Rev. Ivan Stang, published in 1988.

Contact Info
Reverend Modemac
The High Weirdness Project
P.O. Box 850240
Braintree, MA 02185

Phone: (206) 202-1311
(206) 202-1311

Website: http://www.modemac.com

~ Link ~

Why psychiatry needs therapy

...For those more seriously ill, contemplating suicide or pacing restlessly and saying "It's all my fault," melancholia was the diagnosis of choice. The term has been around for donkey's years.

All the serious disorders of mood were once lumped together technically as "manic-depressive illness"—and again, there was little point in differentiating, because medications such as lithium that worked for mania were also sometimes effective in forestalling renewed episodes of serious depression.

Psychopharmacology—the treatment of disorders of the mind and brain with drugs—was experiencing its first big push, and a host of effective new agents was marketed. The first blockbuster drug in psychiatry appeared in 1955 as Wallace Lab's Miltown, a "tranquilizer" of the dicarbamate class. The first of the "tricyclic antidepressants" (because of their chemical structure) was launched in the U.S. in 1959, called imipramine generically and Tofranil by brand name. It remains today the single most effective antidepressant on the market for the immediate treatment of serious depression.

In the 1960s an entirely different class of drugs appeared, the benzodiazepines, indicated for anxiety rather than depression. (But one keeps in mind that these indications are more marketing devices than scientific categories, because most depression entails anxiety and vice versa.) In the benzodiazepine class, Librium was launched for anxiety in 1960, Valium in 1963. Despite an undeserved reputation for addictiveness, the benzos remain today one of the most useful drug classes in the history of psychiatry. They are effective across the entire range of nervous illnesses. In one World Health Organization study in the early 1990s, a sample of family physicians world-wide prescribed benzos for 28% of their depressed patients, 31% of their anxious patients; the figures are virtually identical. In the 1950s and '60s physicians had available drugs that truly worked for diseases that actually existed.

And then the golden era came to an end. The 1978 article of British psychiatrist Malcolm Lader on the benzos as "the opium of the masses" would be a good landmark. The patents expired for the drugs of the 1950s and '60s, and the solid diagnoses were all erased from the classification in 1980 with the appearance of the third edition of the DSM series, called "DSM-III." It was largely the brainchild of Columbia University psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, an energetic and charismatic individual who had been schooled in psychometrics. But his energy and charisma nearly led psychiatry off a cliff...

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Who are you Mr President Nigel Farage asks Bilderberger Van Rompuy



► European Parliament, Brussels - 24.02.2010

► Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, UKIP, Co-President of the EFD group.

► Debate: European Council and Commission statements - EU 2020 - Follow-up of the informal European Council of 11 February 2010

President of the EU Council Herman Van Rompuy and Commisson President Jose Manuel Barroso participated in the debate.

..................................

Entire Transcript:

Nigel Farage MEP, Presdient of the EFD Group (Europe of Freedom and Democracy):

We were told that when we had a president, we'd see a giant global political figure - the man that would be the political leader for 500 million people. The man that would represent all of us on the world stage. The man whose job was so important that of course you're paid more than President Obama. Well, I'm afraid what we've got was you. And I'm sorry, but after that performance, earlier, that you gave - and I don't want to be rude - but, you know, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. And the question that I want to ask - [disruption] - the question that I want to ask is: Who are you? I'd never heard of you; nobody in Europe has ever heard of you. I would like to ask you, president, who voted for you? And what mechanism? Oh, I know democracy is not popular with you lot - [disruptions] - and what mechanism do the peoples of Europe have to remove you? Is this European democracy? Well, I sense though that you're competent and capable and dangerous, and I have no doubt that it's your intention to be the quiet assassin of European democracy and of the European nation states. You appear to have a loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation states - perhaps that's because you come from Belgium, which of course is pretty much a non-country. But since you took over, we've seen Greece reduced to nothing more than a protecorate - Sir, you have no legitimacy in this job, at all, and I can say with confidence, that I can speak on behalf of the majority of the British people in saying: We don't know you, we don't want you and the sooner you're put out to grass, the better.

Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament:

Well, as you said Mr Presdient, you wouldn't like to be rude, and I, well, I prefer to go ahead with this statement.

[Joseph Daul here uses the 'blue card' and informs Mr Farage that the UK can leave the EU.]

Martin Schulz MEP, Presdient of the S&D group (Socialists) on a point of order:

I'm very disappointed with you, President Buzek. It is not acceptable that in this parliament, that a group chairman not only criticises a president of the council, but calls him a 'wet rag'. I expect you, president, to call this person to order. It's not right that this man should be able to trample on the dignity of this house. It's not just a case of allowing the UK to leave the EU, it would be better for Mr Farage to resign if the EU and the European Parliament are such bad things in his eyes.

Jerzy Buzek:

Thank you president, just as I have said to President Farage preveiously, two months ago, and today I repeat this. These types of addresses which are character assassinations of individuals are inadmissible in the European Parliament and I spoke to Mr Farage about it and I drew his attention to it. Mr Schulz, I'd like to say that this is how I work and that's my way of going about it.

[Nigel Farage asks for a rebuttal]

Is it personal statement? The floor is yours.

Nigel Farage:

You may not like what I say, but just consider your behaviour - you, after the Irish people in a referendum voted 'no', said that our group, by supporting the 'no' vote, had opened the door to fascism. You said that we had behaved as a group in the parliament, like Hitler and the Nazis in the Reichstag. We've been called by Danny Cohn Bendit, 'Mentally weak'. You know, it can't be one way...

Buzek intervenes:

It is not personal statement, Mr President Farage, it is not personal satemtn. I am very sorry, it was not personal statement. We must keep order and all the regulations of our parliament.

END
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► Video: European Parliament Audio Visual

We need to stop circumcision

In the weeks ahead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are likely to publish a recommendation that all infant boys undergo circumcision. This is a huge mistake. Circumcision is an unnecessary procedure that is painful and can lead to complications, including death. No organization in the world currently recommends this. Why should we routinely remove normal, functioning tissue from the genitals of little boys within days of their birth?

The vast majority of the world's men, including most Europeans and Scandinavians, are uncircumcised. And before 1900, circumcision was virtually nonexistent in the United States as well--except for Jewish and Muslim people, who've been performing circumcisions for thousands of years for religious reasons. Believe it or not, circumcision was introduced in English-speaking countries in the late 1800s to control or prevent masturbation, similar to the way that female circumcision--the removal of the clitoris and labia--was promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women's sexuality. [1]

Routine female circumcision, which has been practiced in some cultures, is completely unacceptable. Few people would argue otherwise. In fact, the United Nations has issued a decree against it. Circumcision is a form of sexual abuse whether it's done to girls or boys. We justify male infant circumcision by pretending that the babies don't feel it because they're too young and it will have no consequences when they are older. This is not true. Women who experience memories of abuse in childhood know how deeply and painfully early experiences leave their marks in the body. Why wouldn't the same thing apply to boys?

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A turning point in Europe

Wednesday’s general strike in Greece, involving two million workers in the public and private sectors, marks a turning point in the political situation throughout Europe. It represents the most significant manifestation of a growing movement of resistance to the attempt by Europe’s governments and corporations to make workers pay for the economic crisis and the multibillion-euro bailout of the banks.

At the very onset of this new movement of the working class, two fundamental characteristics have emerged: the movement assumes a cross-border and international character, and the workers immediately come up against the bankruptcy of their old trade union and political organizations—all of which are wedded to a nationalist program.

Indeed, austerity measures are being imposed by governments of the official “left” no less than those of the “centre” and “right.”

This week saw a succession of strikes and protests throughout Europe:

On Monday, Lufthansa’s 4,500 pilots in Germany struck. In France, air traffic controllers struck alongside workers at six French oil refineries. British Airways cabin crew voted by over 80 percent to strike.

On Tuesday, protest rallies took place in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia against the austerity measures of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government of José Zapatero. Trade unions in the Czech Republic announced that public transport would be halted next week.

A one-day general strike of the public sector is planned for March 4 in Portugal over the extension of a wage freeze as part of measures to cut the deficit from 9.3 percent of gross domestic product to 3 percent by 2013. French pilots have also announced plans to strike later this week.

These strikes and protests are only the initial response by Europe’s workers to the offensive being waged against them. The broadest mobilizations have been in those countries where the most savage cuts have been announced.

Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain—the so-called “PIGS”—have been targeted by the banks and financial speculators and ordered by the European Union to drastically slash their budget deficits. This will set a precedent for similar cuts across Europe. But the fact that industrial unrest has spread to Germany, France and the UK indicates the potential development of a truly pan-European movement.

The same underlying tendencies that have given rise to the reemergence of the class struggle in Europe exist in North and South America, Asia and Africa.

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American Red Cross must explain $175 million in unallocated Haiti donations

...Some newspapers, like The San Francisco Chronicle, included the American Red Cross in a list of recommended organizations to donate to in the effort to help Haiti. The message, and thus the common assumption or "conventional wisdom", was that the American Red Cross was the "safe" organization to donate to.

It's not.

According to CNN Money, The American Red Cross had to ask for a $100 million cash infusion after its emergency fund was depleted. Today, reports are that the American Red Cross spent or committed nearly $80 million to "meet the most urgent needs of earthquake survivors."

But wait. Where did the cost of $80 million come from? Or is it that the American Red Cross received that much in donations and while all of it is committed, only part of it is spent? According to the American Red Cross' own one month report, it has raised $255 million for the Haitian Relief effort.

But here's where the reports gets really confusing and disturbing. While $255 million was raised, only $80 million was spent or committed, leaving $175 million in donations that's neither spent nor committed to Haiti...

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1997 DoD Briefing: 'Others' can set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely using electromagnetic waves

By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 28 Feb 2010

DoD News Briefing

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen April 28, 1997 8:45 AM EDT

DoD News Briefing: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen

Q: Let me ask you specifically about last week's scare here in Washington, and what we might have learned from how prepared we are to deal with that (inaudible), at B'nai Brith.

A: Well, it points out the nature of the threat. It turned out to be a false threat under the circumstances. But as we've learned in the intelligence community, we had something called -- and we have James Woolsey here [*puke*] to perhaps even address this question about phantom moles. The mere fear that there is a mole within an agency can set off a chain reaction and a hunt for that particular mole which can paralyze the agency for weeks and months and years even, in a search. The same thing is true about just the false scare of a threat of using some kind of a chemical weapon or a biological one. There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus [OMG! Who would do such a thing?], and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toeffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others [LOL] are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops. Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.'

Just switch 'yours,' 'others' and 'they' with 'U.S.,' 'U.S.' and 'U.S.' This was in 1997. Imagine, after eight years of George W. Bush turbo-funding these lunatics, what they can do now. Oh, BTW. See, also, the list of dead scientists.

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Did Tony Blair use Hitler’s rhetoric to go to war in Iraq?

Abuse of rhetoric led Britain to invade Iraq in the same way the Nazis used oral propaganda to mobilise for war, a leading communications professor in East London argues.

Rhetoric is effective in manipulating mass consciousness, its 'misuse' having pushed sinister causes throughout history, Prof Nicholas O'Shaughnessy will state in his inaugural lecture at Queen Mary London university college at Mile End on March 10.

“Rhetoric is a remarkable tool of persuasive communication,” he explains. “Good rhetoric resonates. It fizzles in the mind.

“But it is also one of the most frightening things the human race possesses. In the wrong hands, it can also misdirect perceptions, befuddle and corrupt.”

His talk focuses on rhetoric by Tony Blair and George Bush prior to the Iraq invasion.

It will also look at the use of oral propaganda by Hitler in Nazi Germany and the rhetoric of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist leaders.

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A lingering technical question about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks still haunts some...

EXPLOSIVE NEWS by Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

...and it has political implications: How did 200,000 tons of steel disintegrate and drop in 11 seconds? A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center.

"In order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially, exploded outwards," says Richard Gage, a San Francisco architect and founder of the nonprofit Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Mr. Gage, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, managed to persuade more than 1,000 of his peers to sign a new petition requesting a formal inquiry.

"The official Federal Emergency Management [Agency] and National Institute of Standards and Technology reports provide insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers' destruction. We are therefore calling for a grand jury investigation of NIST officials," Mr. Gage adds.

The technical issues surrounding the collapse of the towers has prompted years of debate, rebuttal and ridicule.

He is particularly disturbed by Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper, which was not hit by an aircraft, yet came down in "pure free-fall acceleration." He also says that more than 100 first-responders reported explosions and flashes as the towers were falling and cited evidence of "multi-ton steel sections ejected laterally 600 ft. at 60 mph" and the "mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete & metal decking."

There is also evidence of "advanced explosive nano-thermitic composite material found in the World Trade Center dust," Mr. Gage says. The group's petition at www. ae911truth.org is already on its way to members of Congress.

"Government officials will be notified that 'Misprision of Treason,' U.S. Code 18 (Sec. 2382), is a serious federal offense, which requires those with evidence of treason to act," Mr. Gage says. "The implications are enormous and may have profound impact on the forthcoming Khalid Shaikh Mohammed trial."

Stay tuned for more in this space.

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Steyn: Our own Greek tragedy

While President Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care "summit," thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split screen - because they're part of the same story. It's just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They're at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18.

What's happening in the developed world today isn't so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they've reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1, or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids - i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 "lowest-low" fertility - the point from which no society has ever recovered. And compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can't borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don't have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian "public service" of California has been metaphorically face-down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book "America Alone," I put the Social Security debate in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent. In other words, head for the hills, Armageddon, outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And really the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn't going to have a 2040 - not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.

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California is a greater risk than Greece, warns JP Morgan chief

Mr Dimon told investors at the Wall Street bank's annual meeting that "there could be contagion" if a state the size of California, the biggest of the United States, had problems making debt repayments. "Greece itself would not be an issue for this company, nor would any other country," said Mr Dimon. "We don't really foresee the European Union coming apart." The senior banker said that JP Morgan Chase and other US rivals are largely immune from the European debt crisis, as the risks have largely been hedged.

California however poses more of a risk, given the state's $20bn (£13.1bn) budget deficit, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is desperately trying to reduce.

Earlier this week, the state's legislature passed bills that will cut the deficit by $2.8bn through budget cuts and other measures. However the former Hollywood film star turned politician is looking for $8.9bn of cuts over the next 16 months, and is also hoping for as much as $7bn of handouts from the federal government.

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