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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Nano drone swarm: Advanced tiny quadrotors stabilize mid-air, fly in strict formation (VIDEO)

Source: RT

Screenshot from a YouTube video / user Vijay Kumar

Screenshot from a YouTube video / user Vijay Kumar

New and improved tiny quadrotors can now sustain collisions in mid-air and fly in leader-follower formations, protecting the head of the pack, according to a new research video released by University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab.

Only 0.11 meters in size and weighing just 25 grams, the robots can fly up to six meters per second.

New video shows robust collision resistance during flights. At one point, two robots are shown crashing into each other during flight and still manage to continue on with their mission.

During another test, researchers are shown playing ping-pong with two of the robots. Another clip shows robots crashing into columns and other objects without sustaining too much damage.

Their most unique feature, however, is the strict flying formation. The leader-follower formation consists of three followers and one pack leader, which fly in a triangle formation with the leader based in the center.

The followers are able to mimic the leaders’ movements precisely in real-time, keeping the formation intact at any point during flight.

The size of the protective perimeter around the leader can also be changed via remote-control.

Screenshot from a YouTube video / user Vijay Kumar

Screenshot from a YouTube video / user Vijay Kumar

“The project was started earlier this year with the design and development of the pico quadrotor. I’ve designed the robot from the ground-up, right from the circuit boards to the software to control it,” one of the researchers behind the project, Yash Mulgaonkar, told TechCrunch.

The robots would be ideal for future work in search and rescue, first response, and law enforcement fields due to their “ability to fly through unstructured, constrained, 3-D environments,” Mulgaonkar said, adding that they enable humans to obtain information about potentially dangerous or inaccessible locations.

Another cool feature is that each robot has its own set of sensors, which free it to fly and make direction decisions in real-time, without the need to be connected to a computer. But, some help is still required while performing formation flight and obstacle avoidance maneuvers.

The original models were shown off in 2012, when GRASP Lab showcased a network of 20 nano-quad rotors. Even back then they were already capable of agile flight, and able to swarm and navigate in an environment with obstacles.

U.S. pretense of humanitarian goals in Syria dropped: by dropping so-called 'Free Syrian Army'

Washington tacitly admits that the FSA or Free Syrian Army really stands for Fictitious Syrian Army. Yet another creation by those in the psychopathic seat of power who'll go to any lengths of chaos to achieve their ends.

US President Barack Obama hosted a top-level war council this past week in Washington with the military leaders from 21 countries in attendance - under the official remit of coordinating tactics to defeat the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq.

The titular American commander-in-chief spoke with the gravitas of a decorated soldier. «This is going to be a long-term campaign and like all military campaigns there will be ups and downs», said Obama to the assembled military chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC.

Obama's presumed military authority was something of an achievement, considering that he is, by profession, a community activist, a professor of constitutional lawyer, and a former senator. The 53-year-old politician has never served a single day of his life in the US military, let alone seen combat action or having been awarded medals for bravery.

But that's not the only anomaly that sprung to mind about Obama's war council in Washington. Together with the usual Western allies of Britain, France, Canada and Australia, there were military top brass from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Yet, all these Middle Eastern «partners» are documented as having deep logistical links with the Islamic State and other related jihadist terror groups marauding in Syria and Iraq.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, admitted this terror connection between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab oil monarchies in a public debate at Harvard University earlier this month. Although Biden was later forced into making cringing apologies to the said offender countries, his initial blundering confirms the paradox that the US-led anti-terror coalition is comprised of, well, state-sponsoring terrorists.

© AFP / Getty Images

The humanitarian crises in Syria was caused by the U.S.'s support of the deranged FSA. How did the FSA manage to kill, injure or displace so many innocent people. They are only organized to destroy, where they can. Nothing else.

The terror sponsors include the US and Britain, who together spawned the Al Qaeda-linked network in their laboratory of illegal occupation of Iraq from 2003 onwards. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) later mutated into Islamic State (IS, ISIL or ISIS) during the West's covert war for regime change in Syria, which has been raging since March 2011, with a death toll of nearly 200,000, more than six million people displaced, and half of Syria's 23 million total population living in dire humanitarian conditions, according to the United Nations.

The open secret of weapons supplies to extremists from the US, coordinated by its Central Intelligence Agency and routed through Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, is not even a matter of controversy in the Western media. It has already been reported with mundane indifference by mainstream Western media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph.

A further striking anomaly from Obama's war council in Washington - scarcely reported in the Western media, not surprisingly - was the complete absence of military representatives from the much-heralded «moderate Syrian rebels».

Bear in mind that Obama's strategy for allegedly eradicating the IS extremists is based on two fronts. The first is the coordinated aerial bombardment of militants, involving warplanes from the US, Britain, France, Australia and all of the above Arab states; the second is the purported training of «moderate» Syrian rebels, who will take the fight to the Jihadists on the ground. With the anticipated defeat of IS and related extremist Islamist groups, such as Jabhat al Nusra and Ansar al Sham, the Western-backed «moderate» rebels will then be empowered to pursue their noble rebellion against the «despotic» Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad - or at least so goes the theory.

President Obama has already won the backing of the US Congress to train vetted, moderate Syrian rebels with a budget of $500 million - in a revamp of the Free Syrian Army. The American military training is to take place in undisclosed camps located in Saudi Arabia, as well as now Turkey belatedly offering its territory for that same purpose following top-level negotiations in Ankara last week with US former marines General John Allen.

Hold on a minute. Congress has approved $500 million to train a new cohort of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing bases for that undertaking. But at Obama's seminal war council on «coordinating» plans there was not one representative from the much-vaunted moderate rebels who are assigned this crucial military role.

A US official attempted to explain the absence of Syrian rebels at the Washington summit by saying that such a participation was «not ready at this stage, and there is still a lot of training to do».

In other words, the so-called moderate rebels that the US is touting do not actually exist. It's therefore less a case of Free Syrian Army and more a case of Fictitious Syrian Army.

This conceptual void has long been pointed out by many observers of the Syrian conflict. The notion of a moderate Free Syrian

© Reuters

Comin' atchya! Nice pic of the FSA in Aleppo, 2013. Did these guys even have a political mandate aside from "let's get a religious fanatic to run Syria, and, by the way, we have really big guns"? Nope. Not really.

Army fighting a virtuous fight against a tyrannical regime is but a figment of Western government and media imagination, aimed at giving the Western powers a political and moral cover to indulge in its criminal regime change machinations against Syria.

Many of the supposed FSA brigades are in fact integrated with the extremist networks of IS, al Nusra and Ansar al Sham. Not only fighters,

but also weapons and funding are recycled in a revolving-door relationship between these groups. Yes, there have been feuds, but this infighting is borne out of turf wars over criminal booty, not anything to do with ideological ethics.

However, Western governments and their dutiful media cannot admit this reality because that would leave them open to public vilification. Hence, they have projected the illusion, with Western media assistance, that there is a «moderate» legitimate Syrian opposition, whom the West supports and whom the West is concerned to elevate over «rogue» terror groups.

This fiction was apparent from the resounding absence of any such nominated moderate group at the Washington anti-IS summit.

It was also confirmed in a subsequent report from the , published Wednesday, the day after Obama's war council. Under the headline 'It's official: US will build new Syrian rebel force to battle Islamic State' the newspaper reported that «the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists».

Forget about the misnomer of the «old Free Syrian Army». There was never one to begin with. The point to take away is that the US is in effect admitting that there isn't a force worth talking about.

McClatchy quotes General John Allen, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, as saying: «At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA».

It's worth clipping the following editorial paragraphs from the same McClatchy report:

«For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the US ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA.

«Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida [sic] loyalists of the Nusra Front.

«This time, Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it's tied to «a credible field force» that will have undergone an intense vetting process.

«It's not going to happen immediately», Allen said. «We're working to establish the training sites now, and we'll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out».

This is a stunning admission, hardly picked up in the Western media. Washington is confirming that there is no such thing as a moderate rebel force in Syria. But what Washington and its fellow state terrorist sponsors are doing is throwing $500 million into a project of creating the semblance of «a credible field force». This creation will then give Western powers and its Arab allies a legitimacy to escalate their criminal covert war for regime change in Syria.

No wonder Obama warned his war council in Washington that this would be a «long campaign». For the arsonists have become the fireman, the poachers have become gamekeepers, and the deluded have become the therapists.

Excessive Force? Three Colorado cops, one with a boot on his head, hold down and taser a 60 year old man

Excessive Force

© Screen Capture

The Lakeside Police Department in Colorado is facing scrutiny and backlash after a video of three officers man handling and tasing a 60 year old alleged shop lifter was uploaded online.

The incident took place on Friday, after the suspect had fled a Walmart he is accused of stealing from and hid behind a dumpster across the street.

Pete Ortega, the witness who recorded the incident, believes the officers used excessive force when he saw two officers pin the senior citizen down on the ground and a third rush over and step on his face before tasing him.

[embedded content]

"The cop that just pulled up steps on top of his head and shoots him with a taser in a matter of a second," Ortega told CBS Denver.

"You probably have over 700, 800 pounds of police force there, and there's a 60-year-old man there that probably weighs a buck-fifty, and you've got to pull the taser out to take him down? I just don't think it was right," Ortega also noted.

The department is standing by their actions and issued an unapologetic statement that reads in part,

"He refused to comply with officers' request to get down, pulled his arms under him, and a struggle ensued.... He was tased and eventually complied (and) was placed into custody."

While tasers are considered "less lethal" it is important to note that these are still weapons, and they can cause serious injury and death.

A peer reviewed study published in 2012 by the American Heart Association stated,

"ECD stimulation can cause cardiac electric capture and provoke cardiac arrest resulting from ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation. After prolonged ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation without resuscitation, asystole develops."

Electronic Village, who has been tracking deaths caused by police tasing in the United States reports that there has been 630 deaths since 2001.

While this incident thankfully did not turn deadly, the police have no way of knowing the condition of their victims hearts, or whether or not they will survive. Should officers be allowed to use weapons that may cause death in non threatening situations simply to assert their power? We think not.

UK entrepreneur plans first cashless supermarket

Easyjet entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou hopes the store (mock up teacher) will become the UK's leading cashless supermarket.

It will sell low-cost unbranded food in cheap locations aimed at people 'on benefits' and in poorly-paid jobs.

And, true to its founder's philosophy of offering pared-back, no-frills service, eventually it won't even take cash.

EasyJet entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou has unveiled details for his first easyFoodstore budget supermarket - his latest venture after bargain easyJet flights and windowless rooms at the easyHotel.

He hopes it will eventually become the UK's first cashless supermarket, suggesting it is cheaper to process card payments than to cash up every day and pay a security firm to bank it.

But the company admits that, in an effort to compete with discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl, staff wages will also be low-cost.

All goods will be unbranded 'with white labels' and, with a mark-up far lower than local corner stores, will cost an average of 50p per item.

Baked beans could cost under 20p, threatening to trigger a repeat of the price wars of the 1990s started by now-defunct Kwik Save, when own-label beans fell to 3p and bread to 7p.

Sir Stelios claims he was inspired to create an ultra-budget store after reading about the growth of food banks in Britain.

He said even if he only breaks even or runs at a small loss, he will persist if the venture meets a need.

He revealed a mock-up of the store in an office block in Croydon this week - a rather barren layout covered with orange posters saying: 'No expensive brands, just honestly priced.'

His honesty about workers' wages might be less welcome. His spokesman said: 'We are aiming to be a low-cost supermarket so we need to keep costs low, property rent has got to be low, stock prices have got to be low and, inevitably, we will be looking towards the bottom end of the salary scale for employees.'

EasyFoodstore is looking to open in deprived parts of south-east London 'which fit our demographic', who 'will either be on benefits or in low-paid or zero-hour jobs'.

The first store had been due to launch this year but came up against Croydon Council's planning restrictions. The firm now hopes to open its first shop next summer.

It will sell frozen and dried food, and only a few fresh items such as milk, bread and 'maybe apples and oranges'. There will be 'no booze or fags' because it is too liable to theft, the spokesman said.

First Supermarket That Won't Take Cash

The easyFoodstore could become the country's first cash-less supermarket.

Customers would have to pay by debit or credit card or an Oyster card-style system where they top-up a payment card online or at the Post Office.

The firm said cash was more expensive for the business to process, and 'the demise of benefits received by Giro cheques means the vast majority of benefits recipients all have to have bank accounts' and therefore will have cards.

More than half of all transactions in shops were made with cash last year, but is declining.

In terms of the total amounts of money taken, cash accounts for just a quarter.

But the British Retail Consortium said it was 'absolutely not true' card payments were cheaper to process. Head of payments Richard Braham said: 'Stores can negotiate on costs associated with cash but you can't negotiate on card costs.'

Hurricane Ana floods roadways putting Hawaii's Big Island under Flash Flood Warning

Flash Flood Warning

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Flash Flood Warning for the Big Island until 12 noon Saturday (Oct 18). At 9 a.m. rain gages at Kulani Cone above Glenwood showed heavy rain falling at two inches per hour. This area of heavy rain was nearly stationary. The heavy rains will continue to stream into the Ka'u and Puna districts over the next two to three hours.

The Hawaii Police Department reports that Highway 11 between the 57 and 58 mile marks between Pahala and Naalehu is closed to all traffic due to flooding. Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.

Campers and hikers should avoid low lying flood prone areas. People should stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low lying areas prone to flooding. The rainfall and runoff will cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

Do not cross fast flowing or rising water in your vehicle or on foot. Turn around, don't drown. This warning may be extended beyond 12 noon if flash flooding persists.

High Surf Warning

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a High Surf Warning for West facing shores of the Big Island until 6 p.m. this evening (Oct 18).

Surf is forecast to be in the eight to 12 foot range.

Coastal areas can expect strong breaking waves, shore breaks and strong longshore and rip currents making swimming difficult and dangerous.

Beachgoers, swimmers and surfers should heed the advice given by ocean safety officials and be careful. Know your limits and when in doubt, don't go out.

Boaters should expect recreational surfers and bodyboarders using harbor channels to access surfing areas.

Small Craft Advisory

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a Small Craft Advisory until 6 p.m. this evening for Maui County Windward waters, Maalaea Bay, the Pailolo and Alenuihaha Channels, Big Island Windward, Leeward and Southeast waters.

Summit Wind Advisory and Roadway Closure

There is a Wind Advisory for Big Island summits until 6 p.m. this evening. The Mauna Kea summit Access Road is closed above the Visitor Information Station due to these high winds, heavy rains, lightning and roadway erosion.

Pennsylvania mother charged after 'pulling her daughter's hair so hard it removed scalp from her skull'

Jailed: Brittany Ruck (above) is being held in jail after pulling her 6-year-old daughter's hair so hard that the young girl had her scalp separate from her skull and blood pool in her eyes.

A young girl was admitted to the hospital after she allegedly suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her mother.

Brittany Ruck, 25, of Conway, Pennsylvania, was so angry with her 6-year-old daughter's inability to count to 12 that she lifted the little girl out of a chair by her hair.

The child was pulled so hard that 'the girl's scalp was separated from her skull and blood pooled around the girl's eyes.'

Ruck reportedly admitted to pulling the young girl's hair on multiple occasions when questioned by authorities.

Doctors at Children's Hospital alerted police when the girl was brought in suffering from traction on August 31, a few days after the incident.

This is when the child revealed what happened, and said her mother had pulled her hair to throw her in a corner the day after she was pulled from the chair.

'The little girl told us she could only count to 10 because she had 10 fingers, but she couldn't count any higher. That's when the mother grabbed her by her hair,' Conway police Officer Mike Priolo told WPXI.

'It's just sad because she didn't do anything wrong and she had to bear the brunt of pain.'

Placed: Ruck's 6-year-old (far right) and her two other children have been placed with family members while their mom is in jail.

Ruck, who says on Facebook she is a pharmacy technician at Millennium Pharmacy Systems, is facing charges including, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, and being held in the Beaver County Jail on $50,000 bond.

The married young mother has two other children, a son and a daughter, who are both younger than her 6-year-old.

All three children have been placed with other family members at this time.

Wales: Gwynedd Council agrees to Israel embargo in wake of bombardment, invasion of Gaza

© Walesnews.org.uk

Gwynedd Councillors have agreed not to conduct future trade with Israel in the wake of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip.

In a full council meeting last week, councillor Owen Williams proposed a motion condemning Israel for the bombardment and ground invasion of the Palestinian territory.

He said: "Following the latest attacks by the Israeli State on the territory of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, this council calls for the suspension of trading with Israel and condemns the over-reaction and savageness used.

"Furthermore, we confirm and underline this Council's decision not to invest in Israel or that country's establishments.

"We believe that if Gwynedd leads the way that there is hope that other councils in Wales and beyond will follow our example."

Councillor Sian Gwenllian said: "We condemn terrorism but we also condemn the killing of innocent people.

"It's very important that we here in Gwynedd look out at the world and seek to influence where we can."

Councillors voted 42-3 in favour of the motion, with six abstentions.

June Marshall added: "I agree completely with what we've said that we should condemn terrorism.

"I have a major concern that many people considers Israel with Jewishness and there have been a spate of anti-semitic attacks on cemeteries.

"This is not an attack on the Jewish."

Best-ever portrait of Alexander the Great found?

Abduction of Persephone.

© Greek Ministry of Culture

This is the full mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone.

The imposing mosaic unearthed in the burial mound complex at Amphipolis in northern Greece might contain the best-ever portrait of Alexander the Great as a young man, according to a new interpretation of the stunning artwork, which depicts the abduction of Persephone.

It might also confirm previous speculation that the tomb belongs to Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great.

The mosaic portrays the soul-escorting Hermes, Hades and Persephone. In reality, the mosaic most likely has human counterparts represented in the guise of the three mythological characters, said Andrew Chugg, author of

"I am thinking very much that Persephone should be an image of the occupant of the tomb being driven into the Underworld," Chugg told Discovery News.

"That means an important queen of Macedon that died between 325-300 B.C. possibly at Amphipolis. So we are exactly where we always were: Olympias or Roxane," Chugg said.

Chugg has considered Olympias (and Roxane, Alexander's Persian wife. in second place) as the person most likely buried in the magnificent tomb ever since archaeologists discovered colossal sphinxes and female statues known as Caryatids in the underground space.

According to the researcher, the female sculptures may specifically be Klodones, priestesses of Dionysus with whom Olympias consorted. The Greek historian Plutarch recorded they wore baskets on their heads filled with Olympias' pet snakes. The snakes would rear their heads out of the baskets, terrifying the male participants in Dionysiac rites and orgies.

Chugg's speculation was indirectly confirmed by Lena Mendoni, general secretary of the Greek Ministry of Culture. In a press conference, Mendoni said that the scene in the mosaic, recounting the the abduction of Persephone, is indeed "linked with the cults of the underworld, the Orphic cult-descent into Hades and the Dionysian rites."

"The leader of the Macedons was always the archpriest of these cults," Mendoni said.

Family Resemblance

Chugg, who is not involved in the excavation, noted that Persephone has reddish hair in the mosaic scene.

"Roxane came from Afghanistan in central Asia. There are, and I think always were, very few redheads there. Conversely Olympias was a Molossian, where redheads were reputedly common," Chugg said.

Therefore, Olympias remains the strongest candidate in the tomb's occupant guessing game, Chugg said.

"We do have for sure some indications that Alexander was reddish blond, so it would be expected that one of his parents at least had similar hair," he said.

More Connections

If Persephone should be seen as Olympias, shouldn't Hades and Hermes have human counterparts?

Indeed, Hades looks exactly like portraits of Philip II. Crowned as a king, he averts the right side of his face: Philip's right eye was disfigured by an arrow wound from the siege of Methone in 354 B.C., so the right side of his face could not be shown without spoiling the Hades-Philip duality.

"It is a magnificent irony to show him as carrying Olympias into the Underworld, since there were rumors she had been involved in organizing his assassination," Chugg said.

As for Hermes, he was portrayed with particular movement, care and drama. "If he is to have a human counterpart, he should be somebody close to Olympias who preceded her into the afterlife for he precedes her into the Underworld," Chugg said.

He noted that in the mosaic scene, Olympias may be in her thirties as a compliment to the deceased and because that matches Philip's age at death (he was in his forties).

"Hermes looks like a young man of about 20 and there is something curiously familiar about him to me," Chugg said.

The riddle has a simple solution, says the researcher.

"Who was 20 when Philip died and was close to Philip and Olympias? The obvious answer is that Hermes should be their only son, Alexander the Great," Chugg said.

He noted there is a family resemblance between Hermes and Persephone. "It is not difficult to believe that they are mother and son," Chugg said.

At the press conference, Mendoni confirmed that the scene of the abduction of Persephone strengthens the theory that the occupant of the massive tomb is a member of the Macedonian royal family.

"We have a found the scene of the abduction of Persephone in the mural of the so-called tomb of Persephone at the royal cemetery at Vergina, Greece. We have a second display of Pluto and Persephone, in a sacred marriage scene at the backrest of the marble throne found at the tomb of Eurydice, mother of Philip, in Aeges," Mendoni said.

A recent study led by Theodore Antikas, head of the Art-Anthropological research team of the Vergina excavation, has confirmed that the so called Tomb I -- the one featuring the stunning wall painting of the Rape of Persephone -- contains he remains of at least seven individuals: an adult male, a female, a child, four babies aged 8-10 months and one fetus of 6.5 months. It was previously believed the tomb contained the remains of a male, a female and an infant.

Moreover, the same study has confirmed the so called Tomb II at Vergina most likely contains the cremated remains of Philip II, along with the bones of a woman warrior. On Philip II's remains, Yannis Maniatis, Head of the Archaeometry Lab at the ''Demokritos'' National Scientific Research Center in Athens, found traces of a surprisingly composite multi-layered structure involving white-purple-white-beige-purple layers.

The rare white mineral huntite was the main constituent of the white layers, while the purple layers of the composite material were cloths dyed with Tyrian purple. The beige layer was a mixture of huntite, clay, beeswax and pine resin.

According to Maniatis, the whole structure resembles the cartonnage technique used in Egypt to make masks for the mummies.

"I suggest the fragments represent a mask that Philip II wore in ceremonies when he was alive. They could be religious ceremonies as he was also the highest priest. After his death and cremation they put this personal and religious item together with his golden wreath on top of his bones," Maniatis told Discovery News.

According to Mendoni, Philip II wore that mask during Orphic rites. "Therefore, the mosaic scene in Amphipolis has a symbolic importance, which may indicate a link between the tomb's occupant and the Macedonian royal family. The political symbolism is very strong," Mendoni said.

On his side, Chugg admits that his interpretation of the possible symbolic meanings in the mosaic scene are, at this stage, conjecture.

"But if it is obvious to me, it should have been obvious to someone viewing this mosaic when it was first made. We may have the best ever portrait of Alexander as a young man -- the way he was always remembered in Macedon, for he left at 21, never to return," Chugg said.

The overlord of an empire stretching from Greece and Egypt eastward across Asia to India, Alexander died in Babylon, now in central Iraq, in June of 323 B.C. -- just before his 33rd birthday.

Idaho SWAT team storms community yard sale in front of customers, children


© Adam Worthington/KTVB

The Ada Metro SWAT team during the arrest of Troy Wheeler at a yard sale.

Meridian - A SWAT team swarmed into a charity-based community yard sale pointing weapons and "scaring the heck out of" bystanders.

The raid took place at the "Neighborhood Angel" yard sale in Meridian, Idaho, which annually sells donated items to benefit a young girl suffering from cancer. When a 39-year-old man arrived on a motorcycle to browse the tables on September 22, 2014, the event organizer described him as an "Every day kind of a guy, [an] all-American boy."

Minutes later, in front of numerous customers and children, armored police officers descended upon the community event, throwing a man to the ground, along with an innocent woman who happened to be standing next to him.

"All of a sudden the SWAT team came in and arrested him and they told me he was a really bad guy," said Flo Martinez to WTVB. "I'm a single mom of four kids and it scared the heck out of us."

Troy Wheeler

© Adam Worthington/KTVB

Troy Wheeler is arrested at an Idaho yard sale by a SWAT team.

Troy Wheeler - the "really bad guy" that required a public display of aggression in front of innocent bystanders and children - was taken into custody for parole violation and breaking prohibition laws. Besides a battery conviction 13 years ago, his record is unremarkable and all prohibition-related.

The wisdom of the yard sale raid is questionable at best, especially if the suspect had actually been "heavily armed" as the police proclaimed. The potential for innocent casualties - caused either by the suspect or by the police themselves - had to be higher at the crowded yard sale than if the arrest took place in a less public setting.

More unsettling is the public's silent acquiescent to the aggressive, excessive enforcement of victimless crimes. "Everybody here thought it was great," explained Ms. Martinez after being told that the government had saved their lives from a "bad guy."

Guantánamo force-feeding manual reveals gruesome practices

focre feeding tubes

© John Moore / Getty Images

A U.S. Navy doctor shows off a display of feeding tubes for detainees at the hospital in the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Cuba.

Last week the U.S. government submitted to the District Court in Washington, D.C., the most recent standard operating procedures (SOPs) for force-feeding in the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. What remains of the documents, after redactions, is a shameful exercise in doublespeak that attempts to disguise what is really happening in the prison.

The SOPs were submitted in a case brought by Abu Wa'el Dhiab, an inmate represented by Reprieve, the international human rights organization that I head. Dhiab is a 43-year-old Syrian and father of four who has been held without trial or charge in Guantánamo for 12 years. The U.S. government told Dhiab four years ago that he was cleared for release, and yet to this day he remains behind bars. In a last resort to get back to his wife and children, he, along with many others, embarked on a hunger strike. His case concerns the manner in which that entirely legitimate hunger strike has been brutally opposed by the prison authorities.

The SOPs continually offer feigned concern for the prisoners. The "sole focus" of the doctors inserting the nasal tubes "is the health and welfare of their patients"; the force-feeding is carried out according to procedures performed "in nursing homes worldwide"; assessments are to be made during the feeding to check "the emotional well-being of the detainee." One typical instruction says that after restraining and force-feeding a prisoner, "a debriefing session is important." The instruction goes on to say - in a sickening parody of customer service - that medical staffers should note "any questions and feedback provided by the detainee."

Read more closely, though, and the cracks soon begin to open. The public learns what is involved when a man is dragged from his cell, strapped to a chair with five belts and held down as a tube - perhaps dangerously lubricated with olive oil - is forced through his nose, down his throat and esophagus and into his stomach so that he can be pumped full of liquid.

Euphemisms are used throughout, but in trying to hide the truth, they become only more bizarre and frightening. Guards are told to begin the restraint process with "verbal redirection and reassurance" before moving to "limit setting," "reality orientation" and "verbal behavior contacts." If all that fails, though, the final step is far clearer: "show of force."

What do you do when a convulsing prisoner bites a feeding tube? How do you slow the fluid pumping rate if the prisoner's stomach is becoming distended?

A section of the SOPs deals with the actual feeding. No checking on emotional well-being here. Guards are told how to position themselves behind the prisoners to hold their heads in order to "reduce head and jaw motion during insertion of the EF [enteral feeding] tube"; the tube's insertion is tested by "inflating the stomach, inserting water and checking for the return of stomach fluid"; then the feeding tube is "taped to the detainee's nose and forehead" and the "feed flow" is started.

Obliquely, through the checklists and medical forms, the reader can visualize the grotesque scenes that take place daily in the feeding rooms. What do you do when a convulsing prisoner bites a feeding tube? How do you slow the fluid pumping rate if the prisoner's stomach is becoming distended? Who, precisely, in the crowd surrounding the restraint chair, is allowed to pull out the tube in emergencies?

There is no genuine care for welfare in these SOPs. Guards are even given responses to parrot in case a prisoner ever asks for help: "Detainee demands to speak to the doctor: Respond: 'I will write a note in your chart for the doctor.'"

Perhaps the most vivid image emerges from a checklist titled "Use of restraints and seclusion." On it, the guard is required to observe the prisoner and take notes using the appropriate codes to describe his behavior. The options provided place us before the cell: "Beating or kicking door," "yelling or screaming," "mumbling incoherently," "crying," "harmful to self," "requesting release."

Every day, American soldiers are being made to stand in front of metal cells, peer through peepholes and tick these boxes. Although the guidelines may appear at first to be complex and professional, these SOPs are a shameful cover-up, nothing more. The American people must see them for what they are and reject them without reserve.

Dozens of Bangladeshi 'slaves' rescued from jungle in Thailand

Bangladeshi slaves Thailand

© BBC News

Thai authorities have rescued dozens of Bangladeshis from a jungle, says the BBC.

A BBC report said that they had been abducted and taken to Thailand to be sold as 'slaves'.

The men were promised well-paid jobs, before being drugged, bound and kidnapped, the report said.

The government in Thailand say they are trying to fight the slave trade, but have been accused of "dragging their heels" on the issue.

The report, however, did not disclose the identities of those rescued.

On Saturday, Thai security forces arrested two men charged with human trafficking, following the discovery of 53 men in a rubber plantation.

Thirty-eight of them were Bangladeshis and 15 were Rohingyas, a largely stateless Muslim minority from western Myanmar.

The human trafficking network operates out of the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh, as previous investigations by the 'Arakan Project', a Western research initiative in human trafficking in south-east Asia had found.

Chris Lewa, a Belgian researcher based in Thailand, directed the project.

Some religious leaders in Chittagong and a few in Malaysia and Thailand are key elements in this human trafficking chain that sucks in hundred of hapless poor Bangladeshis and Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh, the project found.

[embedded content]

80% of Bermuda without power as Hurricane Gonzalo hits

Hurricane Gonzalo

© Nicola Muirhead/Reuters

Bermuda's south shore is battered by heavy winds from Hurricane Gonzalo, which pounded the British territory Friday evening.

Hurricane Gonzalo has hit Bermuda, cutting power to many residents.

The category 2 hurricane caused flooding, felled trees, knocked down power lines and damaged buildings, including the island's main hospital.

Wind speeds of up to 175km/h (110mph) were reported, making it the strongest storm to hit the British overseas territory in a decade.

However there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries and emergency services are now clearing the wreckage.

Bermuda, a group of islands in the western Atlantic, frequently sees strong tropical storms.

Just days ago, Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines there.

"To be struck twice by two different cyclones is unusual, to say the least," said Max Mayfield, a former director of the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

One person died in the Dutch territory of St Maarten after Gonzalo passed over the Caribbean.

Terrified islanders sheltered in darkness from Gonzalo as power was cut to some 31,200 homes, accounting for most of the island's 64,900 residents, Bermuda's Royal Gazette said in a report.

Anna Neilson-Williams who lives in Bermuda told the BBC: "After the eye of the storm passed the intensity of the wind was incredible: for a couple of hours we thought the entire windows were going to come in."

Gonzalo was labelled as a category 4 storm on Thursday but downgraded to category 3, then 2, on Friday.The storm is being compared to Hurricane Fabian in 2003, the most powerful storm to hit the territory in 50 years.

The winds then reached the same speed as Hurricane Gonzalo, and caused damage of about $300m (£187.3m).

© REUTERS/NASA/Alexander Gerst

Hurricane Gonzalo is seen over the Atlantic Ocean in this NASA image taken by astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station October 17, 2014.

Senior NSA official moonlighting for private cybersecurity firm

computer screen

© Felix Clay/The Guardian

The National Security Agency has developed close ties with certain private cybersecurity businesses.

The former director of the National Security Agency has enlisted the US surveillance giant's current chief technology officer for his lucrative cybersecurity business venture, an unusual arrangement undercutting Keith Alexander's assurances he will not profit from his connections to the secretive, technologically sophisticated agency.

Patrick Dowd continues to work as a senior NSA official while also working part time for Alexander's IronNet Cybersecurity, a firm reported to charge up to $1m a month for advising banks on protecting their data from hackers. It is exceedingly rare for a US official to be allowed to work for a private, for-profit company in a field intimately related to his or her public function.

Reuters, which broke the story of Dowd's relationship with IronNet, reported that the NSA is reviewing the business deal.

Since retiring from the NSA in March and entering the burgeoning field of cybersecurity consulting, Alexander has vociferously defended his ethics against charges of profiting off of his NSA credentials. Alexander was the founding general in charge of US Cyber Command, the first military command charged with defending Defense Department data and attacking those belonging to adversaries. Both positions provide Alexander with unique and marketable insights into cybersecurity.

His final year as the agency's longest serving director was characterised by reacting to Edward Snowden's disclosures - and the embarrassment of presiding over the largest data breach in the agency's history - and publicly urging greater cybersecurity cooperation between the agency and financial institutions.

"I'm a cyber guy. Can't I go to work and do cyber stuff?" Alexander told the Associated Press in August.

Alexander, whose adult life was spent in uniform, intends to file patents for what he has described obliquely as a new forecasting model for detecting network intrusions. His assurance prompted speculation that the retired general is profiting from technical sophistication that competitors who do not have a US intelligence pedigree cannot hope to replicate.

Alexander portrayed Dowd's unusual joint positions with the NSA and IronNet as a way for the public to keep benefitting from Dowd's expertise, while saying less about how Alexander will profit from the same skill set.

"I just felt that his leaving the government was the wrong thing for NSA and our nation," Alexander told Reuters.

The NSA, whose operations are almost entirely secret, has long been criticised for its close corporate ties. One long-serving official, William Black Jr, left the agency for Science Applications International Corporation, before returning in 2000 as deputy director.

While Black was in his senior position, SAIC won an NSA contract to develop a data-mining programme, called Trailblazer, that was never implemented, despite a cost of over $1bn . Whistleblowers have charged that Trailblazer killed a more privacy-protective system called ThinThread.

Black, however, did not serve simultaneously at the NSA and SAIC.

Compounding the potential financial conflicts at the NSA, Buzzfeed News reported that the home of chief of its Signals Intelligence Directorate, Teresa Shea, has a signals-intelligence consulting firm operating out of it. The firm is run by her husband James, who also works for a signals-intelligence firm that Buzzfeed News said appears to do business with the NSA; and Teresa Shea runs an "office and electronics" business that lists a Beechcraft plane among its assets.

At least 10 civilians, including children killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria

© AP Photo/ U.S. Air Force, Shawn Nickel, File

In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 file photo released by the US Air Force, a US Navy F-18E Super Hornet fighter jet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria as part of US-led coalition airstrikes on the Islamic State group and other targets in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced Saturday that at least 10 Syrian civilians, among them children, were killed by airstrikes in the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS).

According to the observatory, the airstrikes targeting oil fields near the Kabiba village killed three people, one under the age of 18 in the far north east Hasakah province, while seven were killed by strikes targeting a gas station in a city in the eastern part of Syria, Der-Ezzor.

The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

In September US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition. Washington extended its airstrikes against the militants into Syria, while continuing airstrikes against the group's targets in Iraq. Obama said the United States would arm and equip Kurds, Iraqis and Syria's moderate opposition in an effort to eradicate the IS.

No consequences: Israel's moral hazard in the Gaza Strip

The passage in the British House of Commons of a resolution favoring recognition of a Palestinian state, coming on the heels of the Swedish government's announcement of its intention to extend such recognition, is the latest indicator of European disgust with Israeli policies. Recognizing a Palestinian state is, of course, an empty gesture as long as no such state exists on the ground, and the ground that would constitute such a state is under another state's occupation. But recognition is a peaceful and respectable way to express dismay. The Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons foreign affairs committee probably was speaking for many both inside and outside Parliament when he said that he had "stood by Israel through thick and thin" but that "over the past 20 years...Israel has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion," and that "such is my anger over Israel's behavior in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people."
gaza destruction 2014

© Reuters/Suhaib Salem

A Palestinian woman reacts upon seeing her destroyed house in Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 1, 2014.

As the comments of the MP suggest, the behavior that is the object of the dismay and anger has both long-term and short-term components. The long-term part is the continued Israel occupation of conquered territory, with the accompanying subjugation of Palestinians and denial to them of political rights. In the shorter term is the destruction that the Israeli military wreaked on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, in an operation that began when the Netanyahu government attempted to use force to disrupt a unity pact between the main Palestinian political factions. This week United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon toured the devastation in Gaza, remarking that "no amount of Security Council sessions, reports, or briefings could have prepared me for what I witnessed today."

Another, even more recent, component of the Israeli-inflicted destruction in Gaza may also have influenced the mood of the Swedes, the MPs at Westminster, and indeed taxpayers in any Western country. At an international conference in Cairo participating countries pledged a total of $5.4 billion in aid, half for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip and the other half as budget support for the Palestinian Authority. Besides the sheer irksomeness of any of the rest of us in the world community having to pay to repair that damage, think about what this situation implies for Israeli incentives. The Israelis mow the lawn in Gaza as often as they like, and they don't even have to pay for the clean-up. They may even profit from it because any building supplies that Israel allows to enter the Strip generally come from Israeli sources. (Investment tip: it's time to be bullish on cement manufacturers in Israel.)

This is an example of what economists call moral hazard: of someone having no incentive to curtail risky (or in this case, outright destructive) behavior because someone else is covering the losses. This in turn is one reason to be pessimistic that the whole tragic cycle of periodic Israeli lawn-mowing will end any time soon. The Israelis' economic flank is covered by donor conferences, just as their political flank is covered by U.S. vetoes at the Security Council.

Those on the American political Right, who tend to be most sympathetic to those on the Israeli Right who are running that country, ought to think carefully about this situation and how it relates to the principles of economic policy in which they profess to believe. Governments, including the U.S. government, are stepping in with subsidies that are keeping people from being held accountable for their behavior and its consequences. This isn't just about makers and takers; it's makers and takers with the takers also being destroyers. The situation also ought to be thought of in terms of U.S. fiscal priorities. Any program for the benefit of the United States and U.S. citizens that gets brutalized in the Paul Ryan budget should be stacked up against U.S. subsidization of behavior by countries in the Middle East, and hard questions asked about what U.S. priorities ought to be.

Here's an approach to reconstruction from the most recent Gaza war that admittedly has no political chance of enactment but would be fair and principled: hold each side responsible for the destruction that it inflicted. Hamas would be responsible for paying for the damage it caused, including from rockets fired into Israel, and Israel would be responsible for the damage its forces inflicted.

Hamas by all reports is in tough financial shape; that's one of the incentives it had for making the unity agreement with Fatah. But the damage it caused in this summer's war was so small that Hamas's friends in Qatar and Turkey could cover the bill with loose change that has fallen between the cushions of their divans. Heck, one could probably even add to the bill the cost of the Iron Dome missiles that Israel fired at rockets that never caused any damage, and it would be a pretty painless check for the Qataris to write.

The damage that Israeli forces inflicted is many orders of magnitude greater. But Israel is also far wealthier. In terms of GDP per capita it ranks right between New Zealand and Spain, according to the International Monetary Fund. It certainly can pay the bill. And if it balks at doing so, there are established methods that can peacefully and legitimately be used to collect from deadbeats. The half of the pledges from the Cairo conference devoted to reconstruction in Gaza totals less than the more than $3 billion in annual aid the United States bestows on Israel. Apply a garnishment to less than a year's worth of the subsidy, and that bill is paid. Hold the taker/destroyer accountable.

The National Interest

Ebola - The true vaccine is knowledge of current state of affairs

© Sott.net reader

There is no ethical way to conduct a study of anti-Ebola virus vaccines and drugs in humans. You can't intentionally inject individuals with a deadly virus and then give an inactive placebo pill to half of those who agree to participate as they do in most controlled human clinical studies. [Guardian UK Oct 10, 2014] An article published in Scientific American asked: "How do you test a human Ebola vaccine that works?" The answer: "You don't." [Scientific American Sept 17, 2004]

But what if the Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and killing hundreds or even thousands? The public would likely demand public health officials do something even if available vaccines and drugs are still unproven.

A manufactured outbreak of Ebola would force the issue. Something would have to be done. The public outcry for a cure would be deafening.

Was the unfolding Ebola epidemic contrived?

In a revealing report entitled "Ebola is in America - And, Finally, Within Range Of Big Pharma," the London-based Guardian newspaper tells how the battle against Ebola was pre-planned. [Guardian UK Oct 4, 2014]

It appears an effort to drum up an Ebola virus crisis emanated from publication of a list of neglected diseases by the World Health Organization in 2012. With the publication of that list, 13 pharmaceutical companies teamed up with the World Health Organization and the Gates Foundation to control or eradicate ten diseases like tuberculosis, river blindness, sleeping sickness and Ebola.

The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act [US Govt. Printing Office] introduced in Congress this year calls for the US to expand its disease-fighting activities to address international tropical diseases.

Investment houses are paying attention. "Ebola could be the issue that sends the whole thing snowballing. You are going to get more industry engagement. The signs were already positive after the London Declaration on neglected tropic diseases in 2012," said a Deutsche Bank analyst. Commercial interests, not disease, are the driving force behind this epidemic.

That analyst also said: "To the extent that these diseases are starting to appear in the US, this will put the issue much more firmly on US companies' radar." Is this why the arrival of a single case of Ebola involving an airline traveler to the US is getting so much attention?

Once US citizens lives are threatened this will justify use of US funds to develop drugs and vaccines that poor countries can't afford and also pawn the cost of human studies on the American public rather than pharmaceutical or vaccine makers. This will save billions of research and development dollars for the vaccine and drug companies.

And apparently both sides will profit. It is difficult to fathom that agencies purported to promote public health hold patents on varieties of deadly viruses like Ebola. [US Patent publication number US20120251502A1] One begins to wonder what business these public agencies are in - profiteering or health?

So the unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak occurs right on time, based upon questionable diagnostic tests to count up the numbers needed to gain world attention.

An article in Forbes Magazine says the Ebola epidemic has silenced critics of Big Pharma, especially "innovator" drug companies that have been criticized for using patents to produce over-priced drugs beyond the affordability of many countries with exotic tropical diseases.

Now, says the Forbes article, "with the tragic outbreak and ominous spread of the Ebola virus, the whole world seems to be knocking at the drug companies' doors hoping they will devise some way to prevent or cure Ebola." [Forbes.com Sept 11, 2014] But has the whole Ebola epidemic been contrived?

The next step is to involve the American public in the drama. [Guardian UK Oct 4, 2014] It's beginning to sound more and more like the Ebola epidemic was pre-arranged.

Research into tropical diseases is chronically neglected, but the horror of it is the modern effort to quell this epidemic may be worse than the disease itself.

Is Ebola an aerosol weapon?

While public health authorities are saying only direct contact with the virus via body fluids serve as a vector to transmit Ebola from person to person, animal studies in the laboratory say otherwise. A published report says: "At the very least, the potential exists for aerosol transmission, given that virus is detected in bodily secretions, the pulmonary alveolar interstitial cells, and within lung spaces." [Viruses Oct 15, 2012]

Unsurprisingly, Ebola virus and the whole class of filoviruses which includes the Marburg virus are characterized as potential bioweapons making the list of the CDC's Category-A Bioterrorism Agents.

Ebola is described as being "relatively stable in aerosols" and can remain present on surfaces for extended periods of time. Tests were performed on monkeys to show that aerosolized Ebola, especially under low temperature and humid conditions, can result in increased body temperatures (a fever) beginning 4-5 days following initial exposure. This shocking report shows that infectious disease experts have already pre-tested Ebola as a bioweapon - and here is the key part of the report - "as a foundation for testing vaccines and therapeutics."

The tests were conducted in 2012 by investigators at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland [Viruses Oct 15, 2012] the very same bioweapons center where an engineered anthrax bacterium was genetically traced back to in the crisis following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. A similar test was performed by scientists at the same military bioweapons center in 1995. [International Journal Experimental Pathology Aug 1995]

It appears the heightened outbreak of Ebola in Central Africa actually emanated from cutbacks in public health funds directed toward control of the disease, not from the disease mutating into a more virulent form. [British Medical Journal Oct 2, 2014; Nature Oct 1, 2014] Was this pre-planned?

A shortage of doctors in regions of Central Africa has also been blamed on the spread of Ebola. [ZeroHedge.com]

Interestingly, two drug/vaccine makers developing therapeutic agents against the Ebola virus receive funding, not from the Centers For Disease Control, not from the National Institutes of Health, not from the World Health Organization, but from the US Department of Defense which has pre-tested Ebola in the animal lab as a terrorist bioweapon, not as a preventive vaccine. [CDC Aug 29, 2014]

Professor exposes the plot

In an outspoken article published in The Liberian Observer by Dr. Cyril Broderick, a former professor of plant pathology at the University of Liberia's College of Agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry and the US Department of Defense are fingered as conspirators in a plot to intentionally spread Ebola to provoke public demand to use unproven vaccines and drug as rescue remedies.

Professor Broderick notes reports that the US Department of Defense funded Ebola trials on humans just prior to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone. In his letter addressed to all "world citizens," Professor Broderick pleads for everyone to "please stand up to stop Ebola testing and the spread of this dastardly disease." [Liberian Observer Sept 9, 2014]

Malnutrition as another cause

As millions of people around the world die of preventable infectious disease due to malnutrition (PLoS Medicine May 2007] public health authorities now focus their efforts on a single transmissible disease that kills an average about 40 people a year - the Ebola virus.

Stop the world - for Ebola

Inflating the priority of their own interests, over 40 public health officials and infectious disease specialists have written an open letter to European governments, locked up in a financial crisis of their own, to stop everything and "urge governments to mobilize all possible resources" in the control of "this horrific epidemic." [The Lancet Oct 4, 2014]

Stopping Ebola has now become a worldwide priority even though it has been confined to Central and West Africa for decades. United Nations health officials describe it as "likely the greatest peacetime challenge the United Nations has ever faced." [LA Times , Sept 18, 2014]

The discoverer of the Ebola virus, Peter Piot, says "In 1976 I discovered Ebola - now I fear an unimaginable tragedy." [Guardian UK Oct 4, 2014]

For unexplained reasons this outbreak of the Ebola virus is said to be far greater than prior regional epidemics in 1976 (Sudan, Congo), 1995 (Congo), 2000 (Uganda) and 2007 (Uganda, Congo). [New York Times Oct 7, 2014] The current Ebola epidemic in Central and West Africa began in December of 2013.

Despite the fact that over the past 38 years since Ebola virus infection was first diagnosed less than 2000 have died from it over that time span, a report issued by National Public Radio says Ebola is currently growing by exponential numbers. [NPR Sept 18, 2014]

So why is Ebola virus being researched at all given its relatively low incidence? An article published in Canadian Medical Association Journal provides the answer: "Fears that Ebola could be turned into a bio-weapon. A spokesperson for one vaccine maker says: "Were there not a perceived need to protect against an Ebola outbreak being spread around the world as a bioterrorist weapon I don't think anyone would be where we are now." Another public health officer says: "If public health need was the absolute driver we would be absolutely nowhere because frankly not too many people were getting sick with Ebola." [Canadian Medical Association Journal Oct 2, 2014]

Ironically, the only entity that has the technology and funding to develop a weaponized from of Ebola virus is the US biodefense conglomerate comprised of industry virologists and military bioweapons experts, not any rogue group of terrorists who are likely to kill themselves experimenting with such a deadly virus. The US has spent $79 billion on so-called biodefense since 2001. [Biosecurity Bioterrorism Sept 2013]

What happened to quarantine?

The lack of quarantine has been criticized widely. Why does it seem like public health officials are allowing travelers from Africa to travel without a health check? However, closing borders to quarantine large populations of people may not be practical says an article in Time Magazine. [Time Magazine Oct 6, 2014] Yet tried-and-true methods of walling-off Ebola via quarantine and confinement has worked at the Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia. [Wall Street Journal Oct 6, 2014] There's no money in quarantine efforts.

Transmission of infectious disease during air travel

Getting back to the issue of airborne transmission: Tom Frieden, M.D., Director of Centers for Disease Control, said "at this point there is zero risk of transmission of Ebola on air flight. It does not spread from someone who doesn't have fever or other symptoms." [USA Today Oct 1, 2014] Thirty-eight years of Ebola virus says that statement is true. But maybe not if the deadly Ebola virus is being purposefully weaponized and instilled into an airplane cabin or airport by a terrorist. And maybe that terrorist isn't wearing a towel on his head. The only organization with the knowledge of how to spread Ebola is the US Department of Defense.

The transmission of viruses during commercial air travel has been demonstrated to be a potential health threat. [The Lancet March 12, 2005]

Ebola can spread by aerosol transmission and also by direct contact with blood, mucus or other fluids from an infected person. Ebola can cause hemorrhagic fever. These viruses have long incubation periods, making infected passengers initially symptom-free and unaware that they are infected at the time of travel even though they can spread a disease by droplet transmission. These droplets are created by infected persons when they cough, sneeze or speak and the droplets are propelled up to 3 feet and deposited on a susceptible host's eyes or mucous membranes. Other infectious diseases that can be transmitted during air flight: Tuberculosis, SARS, the common cold, influenza, meningococcal disease, measles, Salmonella, Cholera, smallpox, and others. So Ebola is not completely removed from the list of transmissible disease during air flight. It has been widely reported that 35 countries are one air flight away from Ebola-affected countries. [Quartz July 30, 2014]

A disturbing report describes a laboratory where Ebola-infected pigs were placed in a room with monkeys separated by a wire barrier from monkeys, yet the monkeys got sick even though there was no contact with blood, tears, sweat or other airborne vectors. [Scientific Reports Nov 2012]

Way back in 1999 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases researchers working for the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reported on a scary outbreak of Ebola virus in the Congo. Some hospital visitors who did not come in contact with Ebola-infected patients came down with hemorrhagic fever. These researchers concluded that casual contacts might spawn future epidemics. [Journal Infectious Disease Feb 1999]

Another frightening report was published in 1992 showing that Ebola virus among lab animals (monkeys) spread to other animals despite discontinuation of all direct contact with other animals and handlers of animals developed antibodies to the virus, meaning it had spread to humans! [Lab Animal Science April 1992] This suggests the virus can escape from the animal lab to humans though it also suggests it did not emanate into full-blown hemorrhagic disease in animal handlers in a well-fed population (Virginia, USA).

Ebola: the comparable risk

The viral infection is said to be incurable because there are no proven drugs or vaccines for it and it has a high mortality rate, over 50%. [World Health Organization Sept 2014] So the fear factor associated with Ebola outranks the pervasiveness of other more prevalent diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

For comparison, a worldwide infectious disease threat like the flu has a mortality rate ranging from 9-20 per 100,000 in a well-nourished US population which includes pneumonia (data published 2013) which is a mortality rate of less than one-tenth of one percent. [Kaiser Family Foundation] That is why Ebola virus is so dreaded.

Americans have a 2000-times greater chance of developing malaria [CDC] and a 500-times greater risk from dying from tuberculosis [CDC 2013] than they do Ebola but a survey reveals 40% of Americans believe there will be a large outbreak of Ebola virus in the U.S. But that same news report says the fear of Ebola "is not even close to the actual reality" and that an individual's chance of getting Ebola in the developed world are "virtually zero." [NBC News Aug 26, 2014]

News media doubletalk

The news media actually dismisses itself for fomenting this unfounded fear. "Well, it might be our fault. Us, as in the news media" says a NBC report which quotes a risk communication expert to say the ongoing Ebola drama is "better than a zombie movie" with all of its mental pictures of blood pouring out of a hemorrhaging victim. The news media whips up the fear and then issues reports asking why is everyone so frightened. The news media is Big Pharma's best friend.

Hey, in the news headline business it is well known "if it bleeds it leads." Even on YouTube: "One drop of Ebola 12 million dead," already viewed a half-million times online. [YouTube.com]

The news media revels in the hype knowing that fear of the spread of the disease attracts more readers and viewers which in turn further heightens the fear. The world is being drawn into a staged drama. Only this horror show is not make-believe like Halloween.

And now a CBS News report says there is a fear that some bio-terrorist is going to cross the southern border of the U.S. carrying a vial of Ebola virus [CBS News Oct 6, 2014] and no mention of the thousands of illegal immigrants crossing the border every day with tuberculosis, whooping cough and hepatitis and enrolling their kids in public schools. [American Association Physicians & Surgeons June 25, 2014]

The news media is Big Pharma's best friend

Researchers further exacerbate these misplaced fears knowing research funds for human trials of vaccines and drugs will gain rapid approval and be fast-tracked. [The Economist Sept 13, 2014; New Scientist Sept 9, 2014]

The dead bodies piled high in Central Africa are for sure but most of these deaths are more likely the result of tuberculosis, malaria or Marburg virus.

Since the symptoms of Ebola and malaria are similar, it could be that many of the reported cases of Ebola are nothing more than malaria. In fact, among two patients placed in isolation in Washington DC-area hospitals, 1 had malaria.

As of October 1 the CDC had looked into 100 Ebola scares in 33 states and tested the blood of 15 possible Ebola patients and found only one patient who tested positive, the Liberian man who flew from Africa to Texas and was infected prior to his visit to the US. [WJLA-TV ABC News Affiliate Oct 4, 2014] He has now succumbed to the virus.

Misdiagnosis of Ebola

The confirmation of a diagnosis of Ebola is very specious.

The Centers For Disease Control publishes a list of diagnostic tests for Ebola. [CDC.gov] Definitive diagnosis rests on isolation of the virus by means of tissue culture in a lab dish or a sophisticated test known as reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay.

However, isolation of Ebola virus in tissue culture is a high-risk procedure that can be performed safely only in a few high-containment laboratories throughout the world. [MedScape]

Furthermore, reporter Jon Rappoport in his excellent interview of the inventor of the PCR test, Kary Mullis, quotes Mullis to say: "Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron." [Jon Rappoport] PCR testing produces questionable diagnoses.

Diagnosis of this viral disease is also confirmed by indirect blood markers (elevated interleukin-6 or tumor necrosis factor - IL-6 and TNF) that are commonly elevated in other diseases as well. Malaria also increases IL-6 and TNF. [Malaria Journal Aug 16, 2014]

Meanwhile a company in Japan is said to have developed a quicker Ebola test that within 30 minutes will diagnose this deadly virus. [IBTimes.com Sept 2, 2014]

Why has Ebola spread outside its geographical center?

In 38 years since the discovery of the Ebola virus in Central Africa this disease has never escaped its equatorial geographic zone but we are now led to believe it has killed more inside of a year than the prior 3+ decades and has escaped from Africa via airline travel to become a global health threat.

Ebola is now being called an inevitable transcontinental pandemic based upon two cases (a nurse who cared for an Ebola patient in Spain and an infected man who flew from Africa to Texas), as if this never happened before. In 38 years no one with Ebola virus in their bloodstream has ever traveled by air to a foreign land? News reports now say Ebola will spread from West Africa to France and beyond within days. [Daily Mail UK Oct 5, 2014] This is absurd.

Experimental vaccines proven long ago

Effective Ebola vaccines are not new. Experimental vaccines were shown in 1980, 2000 and 2001 to be effective against Ebola virus in monkeys. [Lancet Dec 13, 1980; Nature Nov 30, 2000; Bulletin World Health Organization Nov 5, 2001] But just how do you prove them safe and effective in human trials?

The problem is that vaccines are a little bit of the disease itself. They may cause vaccine-induced disease since they contain a weakened form of Ebola virus or segment of the virus. Vaccination with an unproven vaccine could result in a horrific outbreak of deadly Ebola, worse than the Ebola virus in a given population. That is the risk posed by these vaccines.

For example, if you live in Africa the threat of polio from the polio vaccine is now greater than the polio virus in circulation. [Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report March 23, 2012; Weekly Epidemiological Record , WHO, Vol. 87, No. 38, 2012]

Oddly, over a decade ago an "extremely promising" experimental DNA Ebola virus vaccine was reportedly tested in humans using modified, inactivated genes. [New York Times Nov 19, 2003] This appears to be the same vaccine that was declared safe and effective in a human trial among healthy (non-infected) adults in 2006. [Clinical & Vaccine Immunology Nov 2006] The developer of that vaccine worked for the federal government's Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health and a decade later accepted a position with a major pharmaceutical firm just about the same time the Big Pharma joined forces with the World Health Organization to tackle ten neglected tropical diseases. [ScienceMag.org Nov 15, 2012] This move reflects the revolving door between government and commercial enterprise.

Remember, efforts to quell the Ebola virus are to prevent just 40 deaths a year. It's possible the vaccine could cause more disease and death than the natural disease. It's more likely that efforts to improve nutrition and public hygiene would be more successful than mass vaccination. But don't mention that to Wall Street that is banking on the stocks of vaccine makers to soar now. [The Motley Fool Oct 1, 2014]

Maybe you vaccinate and end up killing millions. Just like old drugs that have been found to work better than newer ones, maybe the newer vaccines are just versions of older serums being conjured up to develop patentable profits.

Natural immunity

Public health officials claim a person may have Ebola virus in their blood but it is only when it produces symptoms that it is contagious. [WebMD Oct 6, 2014] There is some truth to this as apparently some people have Ebola virus in their blood circulation but don't develop symptoms.

In fact, since the year 2000 it has been reported that some people infected with the Ebola virus do not develop symptoms. [New York Times June 26, 2000] This means they have developed antibodies to ward off the disease or their immune system blunts the symptoms. So it cannot be said that humans do not develop natural immunity to Ebola.

A surprisingly high proportion of the population in the African country of Gabon appear to exhibit immunity from Ebola. There are healthy carriers of Ebola in Gabon. It is suspected that bats are a source of food for some Africans and may facilitate a low-dose exposure of Ebola to the immune system among people in Gabon. [Research Institute For Development Jan 2010] This means the human immune system is capable of warding off the disease even without a vaccine.


It would be critically important for a successful trial of a drug or vaccine, forced onto the marketplace under the active threat of a pandemic, that no other alternatives be available. Plant-derived nutraceuticals have been proposed but remain untested. Nutraceuticals are inexpensive to produce and therefore can be used in developing countries. Natural remedies for Ebola have been mentioned. [Biotechnology Journal Oct 2013]

The dietary supplement industry jumps on the bandwagon to sell its nostrums saying its herbs and vitamins prevent or cure the disease (and they do) while public health authorities say natural remedies are unproven and to wait and let people needlessly die till drug and vaccine manufacturers come up with their own elixirs.

The Food & Drug Administration has been quick to warn consumers away from any natural remedies for Ebola. [FDA.gov] In response the dietary supplement industry cowers and responds to the FDA by saying it discourages use of dietary supplements for nutritional support in the face of Ebola virus when natural products are the only alternative in a health crisis such as this. [New Hope Oct 7, 2014]

There's no vaccine. There's no medicine. But good God, don't dare try to use any natural remedies until we have some!

The illogic of the argument against natural remedies doesn't hold. While it will be said that herbal remedies are unproven, what is being offered are existing or developmental drugs that will be used on an off-label or purely experimental basis. [PLoS One April 5, 2013; Wall St. Journal Oct 18, 2011]

Recognize, in a public health crisis there is no way public stockpiles of vaccines or antibiotics could possibly meet public demand. While public health authorities will likely warn the public away from natural remedies, they may be the only hope for the masses.

If there were a drug that worked to eradicate Ebola virus one should use it. However, there is no such drug or vaccine. It is a proven fact that malnutrition is linked to viral infections like Ebola. The typical seasonal shortage of food running from June through September in central Africa is a possible reason why the current Ebola virus outbreak has reached unprecedented levels. [Washington Post Sept 16, 2014]

In the midst of this Ebola outbreak public health authorities should be thinking "nutrition." Instead they are thinking "vaccine deficiency," "drug deficiency," and how to raise the stock price of developmental drug and vaccine companies.

Ebola and vitamin C

It has been said that Ebola virus infection produces many of the same symptoms as scurvy, particularly internal hemorrhages. Most animals except fruit bats, guinea pigs and primate monkeys internally produce their own vitamin C. It may not be a coincidence that fruit bats, primate monkeys and humans are the primary at-risk species for Ebola virus.

Fruit bats are considered a vector for transmission of Ebola, which further points to depletion of vitamin C as a factor in acquired infection. Monkeys also have been found to harbor Ebola virus, again pointing to vitamin C deficiency as a virulence factor. [Developmental Biology May 14, 2013; Biochemical Genetics June 2013] In fact, with each human outbreak of Ebola virus there have been thousands of accompanying deaths of gorillas in the wild in Africa. [Science Dec 8, 2006]

Humans are in the same genetic predicament as these animals. Due to a gene mutation that universally affected all of humanity long ago in human history, humans no longer synthesize vitamin C. [Medical Hypotheses June 1979] Supplemental vitamin C may be a primary agent to reduce mortality among individuals with any tropical disease including Ebola.

The Orthomolecular News Service has issued a protocol for dosing of vitamin C for any viral infection. It calls for mega-dose vitamin C in the active treatment of viruses. [Orthomolecular News Service Aug 20, 2014]

Selenium depletion by Ebola virus

Selenium depletion by Ebola virus has been proposed as an explanation for the massive internal hemorrhaging associated with this infection. An overlooked fact is that selenium plays a role in blood clotting. As the Ebola virus replicates it requires more and more selenium proteins thus inducing depletion of selenium from the host. [Biological Trace Element Research Jan 1997; Journal Orthomolecular Medicine 1995] Depletion of selenium by Ebola virus induces both an incompetent immune response and rapidly mutated viruses. When selenium is provided to animals with virus infection mutation rates diminish. [Biological Trace Element Research Dec 2011] Zaire where Ebola virus first appeared has low soil levels of selenium. [Selenium Deficiency]

Estrogen cell receptor and Ebola

See comment in PubMed Commons below

Among the proposed drug targets to quell Ebola is the estrogen receptor. Two estrogen receptor targeted drugs have been proposed but there are natural molecules that block the estrogen receptor, namely from lignans from flaxseed and resveratrol from grapes. [Science Translational Medicine June 19, 2013; Molecular Nutrition Food Research March 2010; ELife April 25, 2014]

Cholesterol and Ebola

Two young children with a genetic cholesterol disorder (Niemann-Pick) where they are unable to produce sufficient amounts of cholesterol to supply cell surfaces have been declared resistant to contracting Ebola.

Department of Defense scientists actually took skin cells donated from kids who have this cholesterol disorder and tried to infect these cells with Ebola virus. The virus could not enter into the cells. [Science Daily Aug 24, 2011]

As background, viruses are not live and do not replicate on their own. Viruses require the genetic machinery of a living cell in order to multiply.

The young twin girls with the cholesterol disorder are also being treated with a common emulsifier used in drugs and dietary supplements that would theoretically block Ebola's entry into living cells. Cyclodextrin has been shown to inhibit a respiratory virus. [AddiandCassi.com] Various news reports have mentioned cyclodextrin as a preventive agent against Ebola virus. [Wall Street Journal Oct 18, 2011]

Antioxidant combination

It has recently been reported that the combination of oral resveratrol, beta glucan and vitamin C work synergistically "as the strongest reducer of biological stress-related symptoms including IL-6." [Molecules Sept 3, 2014] Vitamin D3 not only should be considered a primary anti-Ebola remedy because of its immune-boosting properties but also because it inhibits IL-6 and TNF, two blood markers of Ebola virus. [Age Aug 2014]

Natural anti-malarials

As many malaria-infected individuals are likely to be misdiagnosed as having Ebola, natural anti-malarials are of interest.

An interesting connection between the lost ability to self-heal from malaria and the amino acid taurine has been made. Mice deficient in taurine do not survive malaria. Taurine inhibits some of the common blood markers of Ebola virus including IL-6. [Infection Immunity April 2010]

In the animal lab vitamin D has been demonstrated to inhibit the occurrence of experimental cerebral malaria by suppressing the inflammatory response. [Journal Immunology Aug 1, 2014]

An antioxidant regimen consisting of vitamins C, E and glutathione has been shown to be helpful among patients with malaria. [Pakistan Journal Pharmaceutical Science April 2011]


One of the indirect blood markers used help diagnose Ebola is interleukin-6 (IL-6). A strong IL-6 inhibitor is the red wine molecule resveratrol (res-vare-a-trol). Resveratrol also targets the estrogen receptor. [Scripps Institute] Resveratrol works synergistically with vitamin D to optimize the immune response. [Molecular Nutrition Food Research March 2014]


A natural remedy that comes to mind that conquers all known viruses is garlic's key molecule allicin. [Planta Medica Oct 1992]

Modern medicine is derelict in not putting allicin to a test against the Ebola virus. But Allicin has been successfully tested against malaria which most of the reported cases of Ebola are likely to be in reality.

The scientific literature shows that allicin from fresh-crushed garlic protects against acute malaria infection in laboratory animals. [Malaria Journal Aug 8, 2012] Allicin inhibits the parasite that causes malaria. [Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters Sept 15, 2010] The primary anti-malarial activity of garlic emanates from allicin. [Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy May 2006]

Be aware, standard garlic pills do not yield allicin due to destruction of the enzyme that activates it by stomach acid. Alkalinized garlic capsules reliably yield allicin.


The widely reported Ebola outbreak is overstated by health authorities and the news media. Malnutrition largely explains why Ebola virus has remained uniquely confined to central and western Africa. If Ebola escapes to other well-fed regions of the world it can only be sustained among those individuals who are immune compromised (smokers, diabetics, alcohol and drug abusers, immune suppressive drug users, infants and the very old).

If there is some sinister plot to intentionally expose the US population or any other human population for that matter to weaponized Ebola virus it will likely be foiled by good nutrition. Nutrition is to Big Pharma what a ring of garlic cloves is to Dracula.

The only entity that has advanced technology to spread Ebola is the bioweapons division of the US Department of Defense, not some towel-headed bio-terrorist. That is also where the anthrax bacterium was traced to in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Whether covert government operations exist to intentionally expose the American population to biological threats to put counter terrorist operations to the test will likely never be revealed. Whatever is going on, a giant mind control operation is currently underway as the current Ebola crisis is a massive fabrication on a worldwide scale.

In January of 2014 a US Depart of Defense-backed vaccine maker commenced a human trial of its Ebola vaccine among healthy adults. [Drugs.com Jan 2014] But it needs Ebola-infected individuals to prove its vaccine works in an epidemic. Why is another major vaccine maker taking the unprecedented step of starting mass production of a vaccine that has also just commenced testing in humans? [Vox.com Sept 18, 2014] All that's needed for these investments to pay off is an "unexpected" outbreak of hemorrhagic Ebola virus infections to begin on US soil.

Will some overseas bioterrorist self-infect himself and jump on an airplane before a fever begins to develop and skip past airport health checks, then enter martyrdom by infecting others?

Or will the specific strain of Ebola virus be traced back to the US Army bioweapons lab at Ft. Detrick in Maryland like the weaponized anthrax bacterium that was spread through the US mail system and was cunningly directed at news sources (a tabloid paper in South Florida and NBC News in New York) as well as Congressional representatives and then blamed on an eccentric scientist in the laboratory there who had no motive to hush investigative sources who were delving into the events surrounding the 9-11 terrorist attacks?

According to surveys there is a growing body of Americans who believe that an Ebola attack is coming to America. The question is whether Americans will fall for the idea some lone terrorist inside some biological lab is capable of such a feat or whether a more sinister operation is underway by parties working on a larger scale. The current evidence points in the latter direction. As the late Dr. Stan Monteith frequently said: "America has the best enemies money can buy." Can Americans face that truth? Maybe this time they can't avoid it.

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