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Thursday, 1 October 2015

FBI: Nearly 5X More Murders Committed With Knives Than Assault Rifles

Far more murders are committed with knives than so-called “assault rifles,” according to the FBI.

The new crime statistics released by the agency reveal that out of 11,961 murders performed within the U.S. in 2014, 660 were committed unarmed, 1,567 were committed with knives and only 248 murders were known to have been committed using rifles of any type, including single-shot long arms and “assault rifles” routinely demonized by gun control groups.

Granted, the FBI did list 2,052 murders under “unknown firearm type,” but given the percentages of the known firearm categories, it is unlikely that more than four percent of the “unknown firearms” were in fact rifles, and less than that were semi-automatics.

In other words, despite the calls to ban “military-style assault rifles” by anti-gun groups, conservatively less – and likely much less – than four percent of murders were committed using AR-15s, AK-47s and other semi-automatic long arms.

This figure is a decrease from 2013.

In comparison, AR-15s are used far less often in murders than shotguns, a fact which contradicts Vice President Joe Biden who once implied otherwise.

That isn’t that surprising considering the recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab which revealed that AR-15s and AK-47s are unpopular amongst criminals.

Overall the number of murders involving guns has plunged from 8,855 in 2012 to 8,454 in 2013 and now 8,124 in 2014, following a significant decline in gun-related violent crimes since the mid-1990s.


“…The 2014 estimated violent crime total was 6.9 percent below the 2010 level and 16.2 percent below the 2005 level,” the FBI stated.

Guns are used exponentially more often to stop crime than to kill; each year firearms prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes in the U.S., usually without a shot being fired, meaning that guns are used over 300 times more often to save innocent lives, given the 8,124 murders committed with firearms in 2014.

It’s also been estimated that over 56 million people have died due to gun control in the last century, according to Gun Owners of America:

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. Subsequently, from 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, deprived of the means to defend themselves, were rounded up and killed.

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. Then, from 1929 to 1953, approximately 20 millon dissidents were rounded up and killed.

In 1938 Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945 over 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill, union leaders, Catholics and others, unable to fire a shot in protest, were rounded up and killed.

In 1935, China established gun control. Subsequently, between 1948 and 1952, over 20 million dissidents were rounded up and killed.

In 1956, Cambodia enshrined gun control. In just two years (1975-1977) over one million “educated” people were rounded up and killed.

In 1964, Guatemala locked in gun control. From 1964 to 1981, over 100,000 Mayan Indians were rounded up and killed as a result of their inability to defend themselves.

In 1970, Uganda embraced gun control. Over the next nine years over 300,000 Christians were rounded up and killed.

HBO and Snapchat are Actively Working with the U.S. Government to Create Propaganda

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 10.35.58 AM

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.

The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.

– From Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article: The CIA and the Media

What is art, when the artist is working with the host government to promote a particular message?

It is propaganda, and just because it’s your government doing it with the help of your friends and neighbors, doesn’t make it any less so. Even if you agree with the message, it is still propaganda. No wonder so many movies suck.

Today, we learn that both HBO and Snapchat are actively working with the U.S. State Department to push an anti-ISIS message. Again, even if the message is a good one, make no mistake about it, it is still propaganda. This is a very slippery slope, and something that Americans shouldn’t tolerate.

The National Journal reports:

The State De­part­ment is seek­ing a counter-nar­rat­ive to the pro­pa­ganda be­ing spread by IS­IS, and it is re­portedly turn­ing to some of Amer­ica’s pree­m­in­ent storytellers for help. Ac­cord­ing to The Daily Beast, ex­ec­ut­ives from both HBO and Snapchat are part of a team of film­makers and so­cial me­dia spe­cial­ists that’s brain­storm­ing how to hamper the ef­fect­ive­ness of ISIL’s mes­saging.

Notice that when ISIS does it, it’s propaganda, but when the U.S. government does it, it’s a “counter-narrative.”

Cit­ing un­named in­dustry and gov­ern­ment sources, The Daily Beast re­ports that HBO and Snapchat rep­res­ent­at­ives were in­vited to Sunny­lands, a Cali­for­nia re­treat known for host­ing im­port­ant gov­ern­ment fig­ures, in June to meet with State of­fi­cials on how best to counter the IS­IS nar­rat­ive, which has lured young men from the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States, to join its vi­ol­ent ranks. Mark Boal, the Oscar-nom­in­ated screen­writer of Zero Dark Thirty, is re­portedly part of the team as­sist­ing the State De­part­ment.

Ah, Zero Dark Thirty. Where have we hear about that before? Oh yeah…

Remember Zero Dark Thirty? Turns Out it was a CIA Propaganda Film After All

Now back to the National Journal:

Neither HBO nor Snapchat have re­spon­ded to re­quests for com­ment. The State De­part­ment, in a state­ment to Quartz, neither con­firmed nor denied the Daily Beastre­port but noted that film “is an es­pe­cially power­ful me­di­um for build­ing cross­cul­tur­al un­der­stand­ing” of world is­sues. It also said:

Through film, music, and the visual and performing arts, cultural diplomacy helps us make global connections with audiences that are traditionally harder to reach. By supporting creative expression, we help the development of civil society, promote positive role models, and amplify alternative voices. ”

Reread that paragraph from the State Department. Now read it again. I don’t think I could come up with a better definition of government propaganda if I tried.


Ac­cord­ing to The Daily Beast, the U.S. now wants to con­nect “in­flu­en­tial Hol­ly­wood fig­ures” with Middle East­ern film­makers, to pro­mote power­ful stor­ies of young people in the Middle East who have re­jec­ted IS­IS’s reign of ter­ror and are act­ively work­ing to make the re­gion a bet­ter place to live. 

Here’s a better suggestion for the U.S. State Department: Stop creating terrorist groups in the first place. And yes, the U.S. government is largely responsible for creating ISIS, as we learned in the following post:

Additional Details Emerge on How U.S. Government Policy Created, Armed, Supported and Funded ISIS

Thanks for playing.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Invincible Saudi Prince: Kidnapped, Beat, Raped 3 Women in Beverly Hills Compound, US Lets Him Go. Won't even release his picture.

On the 23rd of September, a servant employed at a Beverly Hills mansion compound saw a woman screaming for help while desperately trying to climb the tall wall surrounding the $37 million estate.

She was bleeding and had just been raped by 28 year old Saudi prince; Majed Abdulaziz al-Saud, the Times reported. She was only the latest of his several victims, who have now come forward. The servant who came to the brutalized woman’s rescue lived and worked within the compound. The police were called and the prince, who had been renting the mansion, was arrested.

The accused prince, a lower-ranking member of the House of Saud, does not have diplomatic immunity and can thus be legally tried for his crimes. He was set to appear in court on October 19th. Yet, despite his status as a non-national and being the very definition of a high flight risk, he was quickly released by the Beverly Hills, California police on a $300,000 bail; a paltry sum for a prince.

He has apparently now fled and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. No photographs of him have been released, and none exist in the public space. In similar fugitive cases, the police have released mugshots to help identify the suspects. Neighbor, Eric Stiskin offered his take on the prince’s whereabouts, “I am sure he has taken off on his private jet by now. I don’t think he even needs a passport to get out of here.”

Mansion Compound

The Beverly Hills, CA mansion compound rented by the royal kidnapper, as seen on Google Maps.

Last Friday, Three of the victims filed a civil lawsuit against Al-Saud. In it, they accuse him of “inflicting emotional distress, assault and battery, sexual discrimination, and retaliation against his domestic employees.” It is commonplace for affluent Beverly Hills residents to employ illegal immigrants as servants, so that they have no rights and protections and will be unlikely to report abuse for fear of deportation by the state.

Policing of the wealthy in the United States is a very different animal than the brutal tactics employed in low income communities. While a crime suspect from a low-income background will almost always be sucked up by the country’s infamous prison industrial complex; commoditized by the gigantic private prisons that turn every prisoner into a profit source, the authorities are incredibly lenient on wealthy lawbreakers. It is exceedingly unusual in the US, for a kidnapper and rapist of several women to be released on bail. The only logical explanation for the leniency is the suspect’s status as a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia; one of the US’s key allies.

The ultra-wealthy royal House of Saud is composed of 15,000 members, with about 2,000 of the family enjoying the highest wealth and power. A royal whistleblower revealed more details about her clandestine family:

“We have 15,000 royals and around 13,000 don’t enjoy the wealth of the 2,000. You have 2,000 who are multi-millionaires, who have all the power, all the wealth and no-one can even utter a word against it because they are afraid to lose what they have.”

The Saudi government is about to behead and crucify a young critic of the regime. The record of human rights abuses under the Saudi monarchy is absolutely staggering, so it should be of no surprise to any keen observer that a member of the Saudi ruling class would kidnap, beat and rape women while holidaying overseas, or that he would deny his servants basic worker rights.

In the latest horrific massacre by the Saudi regime, at least 28 people at a party celebrating a wedding in the village of al-Wahga, Yemen were killed by 2 successive airstrikes, with scores more maimed for life. The Saudi’s said the attack was a ‘mistake’.

The US is also famous for its long list of human rights abuses and the invasion and occupation of less affluent nations, so the steadfast alliance between the two ultra-wealthy nations is, if nothing else, a logical pairing.

The ongoing social apartheid that protects the rich and criminalizes the poor has long been the status quo in every capitalist nation. Both the US and Saudi Arabia have a long history of executing dissidents accused of fabricated crimes. The US arguably has a worse record, since many of their executions of the poor are carried out by police officers, without as much as a mock trial.

A US judge recently threw out a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by the families of the almost 3,000 9/11 victims. The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were mainly Saudi citizens. District Judge George Daniels of Manhattan, New York, stated that Saudi Arabia cannot be sued due to the sovereign immunity granted to it by the US government.

Saudi Arabia has just been made chair of the UN Human Rights Council. The US President, Barack Obama is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Propaganda War Begins: Russia's Syria Strikes Targeted US-Backed "Moderate" Rebels, West Says

With the US having officially lost control of the narrative in Syria now that The Kremlin has called Washington’s bluff on the battle to eradicate ISIS and eliminate the Sunni extremist elements that threaten to wrest control of Syria from President Bashar al-Assad, the only remaining question after Russian lawmakers officially cleared the way for airstrikes was how long it would be before the Western media began shouting about Russian warplanes bombing targets that aren’t affiliated with ISIS.

As we reported earlier today, Moscow wasted no time in launching its first round of air raids.

In turn, the West wasted no time in contending that Russia is targeting areas that aren’t known to be strategically significant for ISIS. Here’s a look at two headlines which do a nice job of summarizing all of the rhetoric which you’re about to hear emanating ceaselessly from every corner of the Western world in the coming days and weeks:


And here’s WSJ with a sneak peek at the new narrative which Washington will be working hard to refine:

Russian President Vladimir Putin inserted his country directly into Syria’s war Wednesday, as Russian forces launched their first airstrikes against what Moscow said were Islamic State targets in the Middle Eastern nation.

But Western leaders raised doubts about whether Russia really intended to take the fight to Islamic State, or merely broaden the Syrian regime’s offensive against a wide range of other opponents.

For the U.S., the Russian strikes add new questions about the role of Russian forces in Syria. “While we would welcome a constructive role by Russia in this effort, today’s [meeting in Baghdad] hardly seems indicative of that sort of role and will in no way alter our operations,” a U.S. official said.

Warplanes targeted Islamic State military hardware and weapons stores, a spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Defense told official news agencies hours after Russian lawmakers approved a request by Mr. Putin to allow the use of force abroad.

Framing the attacks as part of a fight against terrorism, Mr. Putin said that Russia will support the Syrian army from the air, without any ground operations, for the duration of the Syrian offensive.

“The only real way to fight international terrorism…is to act pre-emptively. and not wait till they [terrorists] come to our home,” Mr. Putin said in televised comments. He called for antiterror cooperation with other states through the Russian coordination center in Baghdad.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency reported Wednesday that Russian airstrikes hit areas under Islamic State control in Homs and Hama provinces, including the cities of Al Rastan and Talbiseh, near the town of Salamiyah, and the villages of al-Za’faran, al-Humr Hills, Eidoun, Salamiyah and Deir Fol. The strikes had successfully targeted Islamic State, SANA said, without elaborating.

But with the exception of the area east of the town of Salamiyah in Hama province, none of the areas listed by the Syrian regime have a known presence of Islamic State fighters. They are largely dominated by relatively moderate rebel factions and Islamist groups like Ahrar al-Sham and the al Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front.

Yes, “relatively moderate rebel factions like al-Qaeda" (check the above, WSJ actually said that) which in July kidnapped the commander and deputy commander of the Pentagon’s ragtag group of US-trained rebels that was supposed to number in the thousands by now but has been reduced to just “four or five” men and which was humiliated last Friday when the remaining fighters were forced to surrender their pickup trucks and ammo to al-Nusra in order to “secure safe passage” to who knows where.

Considering that, and considering the "solid" relationship the US has always maintained with al-Qaeda, it sure would be a shame if a few al-Nusra operatives wound up as collateral damage in Russia’s air campaign. 

Then there's The Telegraph with an epic attempt to spin the news with a single headline: "Putin defies West as Russia bomb 'Syrian rebel targets instead of Isil'".

Meanwhile, France - who recently went full-propaganda by using “self defense” to justify its newly launched Syrian bombing campaign - is out expressing its consternation about which groups Russia is bombing. Via Reuters:

France said it was "curious" that Russian air strikes in Syria on Wednesday had not targeted Islamic State militants and a diplomatic source added that Moscow's action appeared aimed at supporting President Bashar al-Assad against other opposition groups in the country's civil war.

The diplomatic source said it was in line with Russia's stance since 2012 that until there was a viable alternative to Assad, Moscow would not drop its support for him in the war that began in 2011 after a government crackdown on anti-Assad protests.

"Russian forces struck Syria and curiously didn't hit Islamic State," Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers.

A French diplomatic source said the strikes, which seemed to have been carried out near Homs, an area crucial to Assad's control of western Syria. 

"It is not Daesh (Islamic State) that they are targeting, but probably opposition groups, which confirms that they are more in support of Bashar's regime than in fighting Daesh," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We shall see what they do with their other strikes," the source said.

And then Germany (which, much to Moscow's chagrin, recently announced it’s set to receive a shipment of new US nukes) jumped on the bandwagon. Via Bloomberg:

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Russia needs to explain its aims in carrying out airstrikes in Syria. 

“In this highly charged situation in Syria there’s a big risk that there will be further misunderstandings between the partners, all of whom are needed to calm the situation”

“I hope that this isn’t slamming shut all the doors that were laboriously opened in recent days, including in talks between President Obama and President Putin”

“Only coordinated action can lead to a solution. Military action along won’t help us overcome the Syrian crisis. We have to get into a political process. We need the neighbors, Russia, the U.S., and we in Europe can be helpful, too."

There are two things to note here. First, there isn't anything "curious" about this and Vladimir Putin has made no secret of his intent to keep the Assad regime from falling. Indeed, it's not clear what else Putin could do besides invite Charlie Rose for a two hour interview and explain three separate times that Moscow intends to support Assad. Second, Germany's suggestion that Russia is "slamming shut all the doors to cooperation" is ridiculous to the point of absurdity. As the events that have unfolded over the past several weeks have made abundantly clear, it is the West that has slammed the door shut on Russia when it comes to cooperating to fight ISIS and the reason for Washington's trepidation stems directly from i) wanting to oust Assad at all costs even if it means allowing the extremists operating in Syria to remain active until the regime falls, and ii) the fact that no matter what line The White House trots out to the public, the US views the Russia-Iran "nexus" as far more dangerous to America's geopolitical ambitions than ISIS and therefore, allying with Washington's two fiercest foreign policy critics simply isn't an option even if such an alliance would swiftly eradicate Islamic State. 

And of course the narrative wouldn't be complete without some on-the-ground Skype "intelligence". Here's Reuters:

Russian air strikes in northwest Syria which Moscow said targeted Islamic State fighters hit a rebel group supported by Western opponents of President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, wounding eight, the group's commander said.

He said the fighters were hit in the countryside of Hama province, where the group has a headquarters.

"The northern countryside of Hama has no presence of ISIS at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army," Major Jamil al-Saleh, who defected from the Syrian army in 2012, told Reuters via Skype.

Saleh said his group had been supplied with advanced anti-tank missiles by foreign powers opposed to Assad.

The Homs area is crucial to President Bashar al-Assad's control of western Syria. Insurgent control of that area would bisect the Assad-held west, separating Damascus from the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous, where Russia operates a naval facility.

"In the early morning this aircraft conducted air strikes in Latamneh city. One targeted a civilian area, and the other targeted al-Izza," Saleh said, referring to his group which he said were set up around two years ago and has 1,500 fighters.

He declined to give further details on the exact location of the strike but said the bombs hit a cave which the group used as a headquarters and was near the front line with the regime in northern Hama countryside.

"Each strike had 8-10 missiles and there were two strikes so there is no way it was an accident," he added.

No, it probably was not an accident, but what the Western powers want you to believe is that because they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge what's going on even when it is patiently explained to them by The Kremlin, then anything that happens is thereby a mystery. 

The bottom line going forward is that the US and its regional and European allies are going to have to decide whether they want to be on the right side of history here or not, and as we've been careful to explain, no one is arguing that Bashar al-Assad is the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft but it has now gotten to the point where Western media outlets are describing al-Qaeda as "moderate" in a last ditch effort to explain away Washington's unwillingness to join Russia in stabilizing Syria. This is a foreign policy mistake of epic proportions on the part of the US and the sooner the West concedes that and moves to correct it by admitting that none of the groups the CIA, the Pentagon, and Washington's Mid-East allies have trained and supported represent a viable alternative to the Assad regime, the sooner Syria will cease to be the chessboard du jour for a global proxy war that's left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead. 

U.S. Bombs Somehow Keep Falling in the Places Where Obama “Ended Two Wars”

“We’ve ended two wars.” — Barack Obama, July 21, 2015, at a DSCC fundraiser held at a “private residence”

“Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans.” — National Security Adviser Susan Rice, May 20, 2015

“His presidency makes a potentially great story: the first African-American in the White House, who helped the country recover from recession and ended two wars.” — Dominic Tierney, The Atlantic, January 15, 2015, “America Will Miss Obama When He’s Gone”

Report from Airwars, August 2, 2015, detailing civilian deaths from continuous U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria:

New York Times, today, headlined: “U.S. Planes Strike Near Kunduz Airport as Fight Rages On”

American warplanes bombarded Taliban-held territory around the Kunduz airport overnight, and Afghan officials said American Special Forces were rushed toward the fighting. … The situation for the Afghan forces improved somewhat toward midnight: American warplanes conducted airstrikes at 11:30 p.m. and again at 1 a.m. on Taliban positions near the airport, an American military spokesman said. … Around the same time, soldiers with the American Special Forces headed out toward the city with Afghan commandos, according to Afghan government officials.

How do you know when you’re an out-of-control empire? When you keep bombing and deploying soldiers in places where you boast that you’ve ended wars. How do you know you have a hackish propagandist for a president? When you celebrate him for “ending two wars” in the very same places that he keeps bombing.

All of this, just by the way, is being done without any Congressional approval, at least with regard to Iraq and Syria. As my colleague Cora Currier noted when reporting on the Airwars report in August, these civilian deaths are “a reminder of the extent to which the United States’ air war in Syria and Iraq has rolled ahead with little public debate over its effectiveness. Congress has still not passed a specific legal authorization for the war.”

Russia today announced that its upper Parliament approved its own imperialistic intervention and bombing campaign inside Syria, and that legislative body was widely (and not inaccurately) derided by U.S. commentators for being what the New York Times called a “rubber stamp.” The Obama administration, by contrast, does not even bother with the empty ritual of Congressional approval for its bombing campaigns; the president proved he is even willing to bomb a country after Congress rejected his authorization to do so, as happened in Libya. Indeed, the one and only time Obama venerated the need for Congressional approval for bombing was when he was pressured to bomb the Assad regime for crossing his “red line” but did not actually want to do so; as Charles Davis put it today, “Obama only seeks Congress’ authorization when he doesn’t actually want to do something, as when Assad crossed his ‘red line.'”

Whatever else one wants to say about Iraq and Afghanistan, one cannot honestly say that Obama ended the wars in those countries. The U.S. continues to drop bombs on both, deploys soldiers in both, kills civilians in both, and engages in a wide range of overt and covert force, all without a shred of Congressional approval.

Photo: U.S. soldiers inspect the site of a suicide attack in the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy traveling through a crowded neighborhood in Afghanistan’s capital Saturday, killing at least 10 people, including three NATO contractors, authorities said. 

The Start Of China’s Unrest? Southern China City Rocked By “Massive” Bomb Explosions, At Least 6 Dead

Update: it did not take long to find the possible bombing suspect:

* * *

Over the weekend when we reported that one of China’s largest coal miners had laid off 100,000, or 40% of its workforce, we noted that China’s hard-landing is starting to hit where it really hurts: employment, or rather the lack thereof, and the one logical consequence: “now, many migrant workers struggle to find their footing in a downshifting economy. As factories run out of money and construction projects turn idle across China, there has been a rise in the last thing Beijing wants to see: unrest.

Moments ago we may have witnessed the first direct, and deadly, manifestation of this unrest when as Xinhua reported, a series of at least 17 “massive” explosions rocked the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou earlier today, killing at least three six people and injuring more than a dozen, state media reported.







According to NBC, a local police chief told state news agency Xinhua that the 17 explosions hit locations including a hospital, a food market and a bus station, state news agency Xinhua reported.

State-run broadcaster CCTV cited a police chief saying the blasts were caused by “parcels containing explosives,” without providing further information.

In other words, for the first time in recent years, someone in China proactively sent out mailbombs to heavily populated areas including a hospital, a market, and a bus station.

CCTV said at least 6 people had been killed and at least 13 injured. NBC News could not immediately confirm that tally.

Images posted to Twitter by the Chinese media outlets appeared to show partially collapsed buildings, rubble in the streets, and at least one plume of smoke above the city.

According to Xinhua, the incident is being investigated as a criminal act. Which brings us back to our conclusion from Sunday:

if there is one thing China’s politburo simply can not afford right now, is to layer public unrest and civil violence on top of an economy which is already in “hard-landing” move. Forget black – this would be the bloody swan that nobody could “possibly have seen coming.

Three days later we may have the first manifestation of precisely this civil violence “bloody swan.” Will today’s deadly bombing be the end of it, or is it just starting?

Saudi Prince Calls For Royal Coup

In the wake of the petrodollar’s dramatic collapse late last year, we’ve been keen to document the projected effect on global liquidity of net petrodollar exports turning negative for the first time in decades. We also moved to explain how this dynamic relates to the FX reserve liquidation we’re now seeing across EM. 

Of course we’ve also endeavored to explain that while grasping the big picture is certainly critical (and even more so now that China’s efforts to support the yuan in the wake of the August 11 deval have thrust FX reserve liquidation into the spotlight), understanding what “lower for longer” means specifically for Riyadh is important as well.

To recap, the necessity of preserving the status quo for everyday Saudis combined with funding two regional proxy wars while simultaneously defending the riyal peg isn’t exactly compatible with intentionally suppressing crude prices in an effort to outlast ZIRP and bankrupt the US shale complex. The difficulty of balancing all of this has created a current account/fiscal account outcome that makes Brazil look quite favorable by comparison and it has also forced the Saudis into the debt markets, suggesting that the kingdom’s debt-to-GDP ratio is set to rise sharply by the end of 2016 (although it would of course still look favorable by comparison in even the worst case scenarios). 

Thrown in a catastrophic crane collapse at Mecca and an incredibly horrific hajj stampede (followed by some epic trolling out of Tehran) and you have a recipe for social upheaval. 

It’s against this backdrop that we present the following from The Guardian followed by extensive commentary from Nafeez Ahmed.

From The Guardian

A senior Saudi prince has launched an unprecedented call for change in the country’s leadership, as it faces its biggest challenge in years in the form of war, plummeting oil prices and criticism of its management of Mecca, scene of last week’s hajj tragedy.


The prince, one of the grandsons of the state’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, has told the Guardian that there is disquiet among the royal family – and among the wider public – at the leadership of King Salman, who acceded the throne in January.


The prince, who is not named for security reasons, wrote two letters earlier this month calling for the king to be removed.



“The king is not in a stable condition and in reality the son of the king [Mohammed bin Salman] is ruling the kingdom,” the prince said. “So four or possibly five of my uncles will meet soon to discuss the letters. They are making a plan with a lot of nephews and that will open the door. A lot of the second generation is very anxious.”


“The public are also pushing this very hard, all kinds of people, tribal leaders,” the prince added. “They say you have to do this or the country will go to disaster.”


A clutch of factors are buffeting King Salman, his crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, and the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.


A double tragedy in Mecca – the collapse of a crane that killed more than 100, followed by a stampede last week that killed 700 – has raised questions not just about social issues, but also about royal stewardship of the holiest site in Islam. 


As usual, the Saudi authorities have consistently shrugged off any suggestion that a senior member of the government may be responsible for anything that has gone wrong.


Local people, however, have made clear on social media and elsewhere that they no longer believe such claims.


“The people inside [the kingdom] know what’s going on but they can’t say. The problem is the corruption in using the resources of the country for building things in the right form,” said an activist who lives in Mecca but did not want to be named for fear of repercussions.


“Unfortunately the government points the finger against the lower levels, saying for example: ‘Where are the ambulances? Where are the healthcare workers?’ They try to escape the real reason of such disaster,” he added.

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*  *  *

Submitted by Nafeez Ahmed via Middle East Eye

On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a “change” in leadership to fend off the kingdom’s collapse.

In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy’s continued survival.

“We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself,” warned the letter.

Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner – and informed observers think such a prospect “fanciful” – the letter’s analysis of Saudi Arabia’s dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchy’s undoing well within the next decade.

Black gold hemorrhage

The biggest elephant in the room is oil. Saudi Arabia’s primary source of revenues, of course, is oil exports. For the last few years, the kingdom has pumped at record levels to sustain production, keeping oil prices low, undermining competing oil producers around the world who cannot afford to stay in business at such tiny profit margins, and paving the way for Saudi petro-dominance.

But Saudi Arabia’s spare capacity to pump like crazy can only last so long. A new peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering anticipates that Saudi Arabia will experience a peak in its oil production, followed by inexorable decline, in 2028 – that’s just 13 years away.

This could well underestimate the extent of the problem. According to the Export Land Model (ELM) created by Texas petroleum geologist Jeffrey J Brown and Dr Sam Foucher, the key issue is not oil production alone, but the capacity to translate production into exports against rising rates of domestic consumption.

Brown and Foucher showed that the inflection point to watch out for is when an oil producer can no longer increase the quantity of oil sales abroad because of the need to meet rising domestic energy demand.

In 2008, they found that Saudi net oil exports had already begun declining as of 2006. They forecast that this trend would continue.

They were right. From 2005 to 2015, Saudi net exports have experienced an annual decline rate of 1.4 percent, within the range predicted by Brown and Foucher. A report by Citigroup recently predicted that net exports would plummet to zero in the next 15 years.

From riches to rags

This means that Saudi state revenues, 80 percent of which come from oil sales, are heading downwards, terminally.

Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest energy consumer, domestic demand having increased by 7.5 percent over the last five years – driven largely by population growth.

The total Saudi population is estimated to grow from 29 million people today to 37 million by 2030. As demographic expansion absorbs Saudi Arabia’s energy production, the next decade is therefore likely to see the country’s oil exporting capacity ever more constrained.

Renewable energy is one avenue which Saudi Arabia has tried to invest in to wean domestic demand off oil dependence, hoping to free up capacity for oil sales abroad, thus maintaining revenues.

But earlier this year, the strain on the kingdom’s finances began to show when it announced an eight-year delay to its $109 billion solar programme, which was supposed to produce a third of the nation’s electricity by 2032.

State revenues also have been hit through blowback from the kingdom’s own short-sighted strategy to undermine competing oil producers. As I previously reported, Saudi Arabia has maintained high production levels precisely to keep global oil prices low, making new ventures unprofitable for rivals such as the US shale gas industry and other OPEC producers.

The Saudi treasury has not escaped the fall-out from the resulting oil profit squeeze – but the idea was that the kingdom’s significant financial reserves would allow it to weather the storm until its rivals are forced out of the market, unable to cope with the chronic lack of profitability.

That hasn’t quite happened yet. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia’s considerable reserves are being depleted at unprecedented levels, dropping from their August 2014 peak of $737 billion to $672bn in May – falling by about $12bn a month.

At this rate, by late 2018, the kingdom’s reserves could deplete as low as $200bn, an eventuality that would likely be anticipated by markets much earlier, triggering capital flight.

To make up for this prospect, King Salman’s approach has been to accelerate borrowing. What happens when over the next few years reserves deplete, debt increases, while oil revenues remain strained?

As with autocratic regimes like Egypt, Syria and Yemen – all of which are facing various degrees of domestic unrest – one of the first expenditures to slash in hard times will be lavish domestic subsidies. In the former countries, successive subsidy reductions responding to the impacts of rocketing food and oil prices fed directly into the grievances that generated the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth, and its unique ability to maintain generous subsidies for oil, housing, food and other consumer items, plays a major role in fending off that risk of civil unrest. Energy subsidies alone make up about a fifth of Saudi’s gross domestic product.

Pressure points

As revenues are increasingly strained, the kingdom’s capacity to keep a lid on rising domestic dissent will falter, as has already happened in countries across the region.

About a quarter of the Saudi population lives in poverty. Unemployment is at about 12 percent, and affects mostly young people – 30 percent of whom are unemployed.

Climate change is pitched to heighten the country’s economic problems, especially in relation to food and water.

Like many countries in the region, Saudi Arabia is already experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of stronger warming temperatures in the interior, and vast areas of rainfall deficits in the north. By 2040, average temperatures are expected to be higher than the global average, and could increase by as much as 4 degrees Celsius, while rain reductions could worsen.

This would be accompanied by more extreme weather events, like the 2010 Jeddah flooding caused by a year’s worth of rain occurring within the course of just four hours. The combination could dramatically impact agricultural productivity, which is already facing challenges from overgrazing and unsustainable industrial agricultural practices leading to accelerated desertification.

In any case, 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s food requirements are purchased through heavily subsidised imports, meaning that without the protection of those subsidies, the country would be heavily impacted by fluctuations in global food prices.

“Saudi Arabia is particularly vulnerable to climate change as most of its ecosystems are sensitive, its renewable water resources are limited and its economy remains highly dependent on fossil fuel exports, while significant demographic pressures continue to affect the government’s ability to provide for the needs of its population,” concluded a UN Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report in 2010.

The kingdom is one of the most water scarce in the world, at 98 cubic metres per inhabitant per year. Most water withdrawal is from groundwater, 57 percent of which is non-renewable, and 88 percent of which goes to agriculture. In addition, desalination plants meet about 70 percent of the kingdom’s domestic water supplies.

But desalination is very energy intensive, accounting for more than half of domestic oil consumption. As oil exports run down, along with state revenues, while domestic consumption increases, the kingdom’s ability to use desalination to meet its water needs will decrease.

End of the road

In Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Egypt, civil unrest and all-out war can be traced back to the devastating impact of declining state power in the context of climate-induced droughts, agricultural decline, and rapid oil depletion.

Yet the Saudi government has decided that rather than learning lessons from the hubris of its neighbours, it won’t wait for war to come home – but will readily export war in the region in a madcap bid to extend its geopolitical hegemony and prolong its petro-dominance.

Unfortunately, these actions are symptomatic of the fundamental delusion that has prevented all these regimes from responding rationally to the Crisis of Civilization that is unravelling the ground from beneath their feet. That delusion consists of an unwavering, fundamentalist faith: that more business-as-usual will solve the problems created by business-as-usual.

Like many of its neighbours, such deep-rooted structural realities mean that Saudi Arabia is indeed on the brink of protracted state failure, a process likely to take-off in the next few years, becoming truly obvious well within a decade.

Sadly, those few members of the royal family who think they can save their kingdom from its inevitable demise by a bit of experimental regime-rotation are no less deluded than those they seek to remove.

*  *  *

We would only ask if all of the above means that future vists to the US will look dissimilar to this:

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

71% Of Americans Oppose Civil Asset Forfeiture. Too Bad Their Representatives Don't Care.

According to a YouGov/Huffington Post poll, 71% of Americans are opposed to civil asset forfeiture.

Too bad their opinion doesn't matter. This is part of the problem.

Most Americans haven't even heard of civil asset forfeiture. This is why the programs have run unchallenged for so many years. An uninformed electorate isn't a vehicle for change. This issue is still a long way away from critical mass.

Without critical mass, there's little chance those who profit from it will lose their power over state and federal legislatures. Forfeiture programs are under more scrutiny these days, but attempts to roll back these powers, or introduce conviction requirements, have been met with resistance from law enforcement agencies and police unions -- entities whose opinions are generally respected far more than the public's.

California's attempt to institute a conviction requirement met with pushback from a unified front of law enforcement groups. Despite nearly unanimous support by legislators, the bill didn't survive the law enforcement lobby's last-minute blitz. They also had assistance from the Department of Justice, which pointed out how much money agencies would be giving up by effectively cutting off their connection with federal agencies if the bill was passed.

Meanwhile, Michigan lawmakers have gathered unanimous support of asset forfeiture reform, but are not introducing a conviction requirement. This will make the bill more palatable for law enforcement, as it only raises the bar from a "preponderance of evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence" that seized property is linked to criminal activity. It would also make it a little easier for citizens to fight for the return of seized property if not charged with any crimes.

A reform bill introduced in Texas died an unceremonious death back in April when the committee chairman refused to move the legislation along until more concessions to law enforcement interests were made. The legislator who introduced the bill refused to budge and the bill was killed off.

Virginia's attempt to add a conviction requirement was similarly killed off by a legislative committee, despite nearly universal support from other legislators. The Senate Finance Committe claimed the State Crime Commission needed to examine the issue first, which will buy those opposed to reform at least another year to shore up their defenses.

Wyoming's governor vetoed an asset forfeiture reform bill, claiming the seizure of property without securing convictions was "important" and "right."

On the bright side, Montana and New Mexico have both enacted forfeiture reform. Montana introduced a conviction requirement and New Mexico went even further, eliminating civil asset forfeiture altogether. (Property can only be seized in criminal cases.)

But as for the rest of the nation, there has been little movement on asset forfeiture reform. Utah -- a state that overhauled its forfeiture system 15 years ago -- rolled those reforms back just as national scrutiny was increasing. A broader movement for reform seems unlikely when less than a third of the nation is even aware of these programs.

Even if awareness increases, legislators at the top end of the food chain are more interested in appeasing law enforcement agencies and prosecutors than pushing through reform bills that arrive on their desks with nearly unanimous support. Informing the electorate may put better people in office, but it won't change the mindset that almost always believes law enforcement knows best.

This problem is compounded when the law enforcement lobby starts complaining about the budgetary shortfalls reform efforts will create. If they aren't allowed to seize anything for any reason, they won't be able to buy the things they want or offset the costs generated by their seizure efforts. Any state strapped for cash -- and that's most of them -- will be hesitant to pick up the tab for "lost" revenue.

It all adds up to little forward motion. The public may be displeased with the status quo, but the status quo has paid off so much for so long, those with the power to motivate politicians won't be in any hurry to give up their forfeiture programs.

Fiat Chrysler Admits Under-Reporting Deaths & Injuries To NHTSA

Yet another auto-maker has lied. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US says in a statement

 that it has identified deficiencies in its 

TREAD reporting

 and has promptly notified NHTSA. One cannot help but wonder what came first, a leak or some conscience, but as NHTSA notes this means FCA under-reported the number of deaths and injuries that the automaker may be responsible for.


Fiat Chrysler's Statement: TREAD Reporting

September 29, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - As a result of FCA US LLC’s heightened scrutiny of its regulatory reporting obligations growing out of its recent Consent Order with NHTSA, FCA US identified deficiencies in its TREAD reporting. FCA US promptly notified NHTSA of these issues, and committed to a thorough investigation, to be followed by complete remediation. FCA US is in regular communication with NHTSA about its progress in the investigation. FCA US takes this issue extremely seriously, and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA to resolve this matter and ensure these issues do not re-occur.

The reaction is muted for now..

The TREAD Act reporting details are as follows:

The Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (or TREAD) Act is a United States federal law enacted in the fall of 2000. This law intends to increase consumer safety through mandates assigned to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It was drafted in response to fatalities related to Ford Explorers fitted with Firestone tires, and was influenced by automobile and tire manufacturers as well as consumer safety advocates.

There are three major components of the TREAD Act.

  • First, it requires that vehicle manufacturers report to the National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) when it conducts a safety recall or other safety campaign in a foreign country.
  • Second, vehicle manufacturers need to report information related to defects, reports of injury or death related to its products, as well as other relevant data in order to comply with "Early Warning" requirements.
  • Third, there is criminal liability where a vehicle manufacturer intentionally violates the new reporting requirements when a safety-related defect has subsequently caused death or serious bodily injury.

There are a number of other smaller provisions which mostly address manufacturers of vehicle tires and guidance to the NHTSA on reporting data. The "Early Warning" requirement is the heart of the TREAD Act, enabling the NHTSA to collect data, notice trends, and warn consumers of potential defects in vehicles.

Americans Trust In Mainstream Media Hits Rock Bottom

Four in 10 Americans say they have "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. This ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012. Prior to 2004, slight majorities of Americans said they trusted the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio.

Trend: Americans' Trust in the Mass Media

Americans' confidence in the media has slowly eroded from a high of 55% in 1998 and 1999. Since 2007, the majority of Americans have had little or no trust in the mass media. Trust has typically dipped in election years, including 2004, 2008, 2012 and last year. However, 2015 is not a major election year.

This decline follows the same trajectory as Americans' confidence inmany institutions and their declining trust in the federal government's ability to handle domestic and international problems over the same time period.

Americans' Trust in Mass Media


Trust in the Mass Media Has Fallen More Sharply Among Those Younger Than 50

Trust in the media continues to be significantly lower among Americans aged 18 to 49 than among those 50 and older, continuing a pattern evident since 2012. Prior to 2012, these groups' trust levels were more similar, with a few exceptions between 2005 and 2008.

Trend: Trust in Mass Media, by Age

Trust Among Democrats Remains Low, but Higher Than Among Republicans

For more than a decade, Republicans and independents have been significantly less likely than Democrats to trust the media. This pattern continues in the latest survey. In 2014, Gallup found that trust among Democrats fell to a 14-year low of 54%, and this figure is essentially unchanged at 55% this year. While more Democrats than Republicans continue to say they trust the media, the percentage of Republicans who report that they trust the mass media increased slightly this year, from 27% to 32%. This increase was offset, however, by a decrease in independents reporting trust, from 38% to 33%.

Trend: Trust in Mass Media, by Party

Bottom Line

Americans' trust level in the media has drifted downward over the past decade. The same forces behind the drop in trust in government more generally, as well confidence in many U.S. institutions, may also be at work with the media. But some of the loss in trust may have been self-inflicted. Major venerable news organizations have been caught making serious mistakes in the past several years, including the scandal involving former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in 2015 that some of his firsthand accounts of news events had been exaggerated or "misremembered."

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 9-13, 2015, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. 

Organic Farmers Suffer 77-fold Increase in Lost Revenue from GMO Contamination in Last 3 Years


Monsanto has many weapons in its arsenal when it comes to eliminating competition from non-GMO and organic farmers. After more than two decades of pushing their products onto US farmland with purposely flawed safety studies, the sheer presence of genetically modified crops poses an existential threat to the business of traditional and organic farming.

A new report has come out showing the extraordinary costs that non-GMO and organic farmers incur from GMO contamination of their crops.

“Results from the newest USDA survey indicate that of the farmers who chose to answer the question, 92 had experienced monetary loss between 2011 and 2014 averaging approximately $66,395 per farmer during that timeframe. Overall, GMO presence cost organic farmers at least $6.1 million over four years. This figure is 77 times that reported during the 2006 to 2011 timeframe—a staggering increase.”

The USDA conducted its first survey this year of the financial losses suffered by non-GMO and organic farmers from contamination. They did so at the urging of rights groups such as Food and Water Watch, who conducted their own survey in 2013.

That report found that one in three farmers had dealt with GMO contamination, causing many buyer rejections at a median cost of $4,500 each rejection. Considering the 77-fold increase in financial burden since previous years, it is clear that the biotech industry is pushing their competition toward financial ruin.

But genetic contamination is only half the story. The USDA’s report excludes losses incurred from pesticide drift, which occurs when crops such as Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready” corn are sprayed and the chemical drifts onto nearby fields. This will become a bigger burden as more chemical–resistant GMO crops are approved by friendly federal agencies.

“Regarding drift issues, one farmer we surveyed wrote, ‘my only problem comes from drift when commercial chemical sprayers spray on a windy day and the spray drifts across the road or buffer strip to kill my alfalfa or other crops. I call the company and complain but they have never compensated me for my loss as of yet.’ Regarding dicamba, another farmer wrote, ‘I’m more concerned with spray drift—especially with the effort to release Banvel-resistant soybeans. Everyone knows how volatile that chemical can be—not only to organic farmers but all farmers and home owners.’ Even Roundup, considered to be less harmful and less prone to drift than 2,4-D and dicamba has been a huge problem for organic growers. One farmer wrote, ‘in the last 16 years I have had three instances where spray drift has affected my fields. All three times it was Roundup. It has totaled $65,000 and I have had to start the three-year transition process [for organic certification] all over., Not only has spray drift negatively affected relationships between neighbors, it has resulted in organic farmers being forced to take some areas of their farm out of organic production completely.”

All of these burdens—from wind-driven pollen contamination to post-harvest seed/grain mixing to pesticide drift—are borne by the victimized farmers. They must establish buffers or adopt delayed planting regimens, and they alone bear the financial cost of rejected crops.

Meanwhile, biotech companies enjoy regulatory and financial support from their co-conspirators in federal departments, as they slowly grind the competition to dust.

Adding insult to injury, last year Monsanto persuaded their friends at the Supreme Court (including former Monsanto attorney Clarence Thomas) to grant Monsanto the ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with GMO material.

The results of these attacks on multiple fronts are being seen, with the number of organic farms decreasing over the past few years. 

More Doctors Against Vaccines

Athough it is true that the majority of doctors support vaccines, most of them don’t even know what vaccines contain or their dangers. Their training ends with knowing how to administer them. They are taught vaccine reactions are rare and they are quick to share the same assurances with their patients. These assurances are not based on objective science but merely on what they were told, what they were taught.

Whether layperson or scientist, high school drop out or M.D., no one can research vaccine manufacturers, vaccine laws, and vaccine injuries and then conclude that vaccines are 100% safe and effective. All you have to do is read the warning insert for any vaccine to learn that truth.

These following doctors rejected half-truths and lies. They did their own research.

Nancy Banks, M.D.


Dr. Banks earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School. She also earned an MBA in finance from Pace university. She completed her internship and residency at Saint Luke’s Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center. She is a board certified ObGyn.

If you look at the ingredients of vaccines you’ll find that they have mercury, and they have aluminum and the vaccines are polluted with other kinds of viruses and the vaccines are grown, sometimes on human tissue. So these are vaccines that have elements that are neurotoxic and then of course they have other elements that can set up autoimmune reactions. So those are the kinds of things that we’re seeing in the children; we are seeing autoimmune reactions.

We are seeing an autoimmune reaction against the brain tissue. And so these children, unfortunately even the ones who are not developing the syndrome autism, are developing other syndromes such as ADD and ADHD and of course the secondary problem is the number of allergies that we’re seeing in our young children.

…There really is no firm evidence that vaccines DO what they say they DO. They say that the introduction of vaccines actually reduced the amount of infectious diseases, but if you go back to the beginning of the century you will really see that the thing that was reducing infectious diseases was an improvement in diet, an improvement in sanitation and an improvement in education.

…I think that the idea that we can we can put toxins and poisons into a perfectly healthy immune system, a bloodstream and not expect to get complications is naive at best.

…When you’re going to medical school you actually think that you’re studying science. But you’re studying the science that someone has decided that is appropriate for you. And the science that they consider not appropriate for you, you don’t study. 

… Most of the students who come out of medical school are not going toquestion that. They are simply going to say this is what I learned and so this is how I’m going to proceed. It must be true.

And they will go to the CDC or the FDA website and that website will repeat the things that they heard in medical school. And one of the things that I’ve found is that most of these doctors do not go to the original literature. They don’t read the literature that would really question whether or not these vaccines are safe.

Toni Bark, M.D.

Dr. Bark has earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois, and her M.D. from Rush Medical School. She completed her Pediatric Residency at the University of Illinois. After directing the Pediatric Emergency Room at Michael Reese Hospital, she began her study of homeopathic medicine. She has a private homeopathic practice. She has also earned a masters degree in healthcare emergency management from Boston University. In 2012 she became Vice President of the American Institute of Homeopathy. A highly educated physician, she has done the research.

So I ran a pediatric emergency room and if people came in and they weren’t vaccinated, I was quite upset. Its not that I knew much about vaccines, I did a pediatric residency and you don’t really learn anything. You’re taught the schedule, that’s really what you’re taught about vaccines. You’re taught the schedule and that it produces antibodies and that’s it.

(After learning more about vaccines, she then changed her mind about their safety and effectiveness).

…The kids that come to me from other practices and are fully vaccinated often are the kids, well they are the kids in my practice with asthma, panic disorders, OCD, PANDAS [pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections], autism, Asperger’s. My kids who never have been vaccinated in my practice, I don’t see those issue. I don’t have one child who was not vaccinated who also has asthma or food allergies or Asperger’s or autism or crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. None of these chronic inflammatory or chronic autoimmune diseases, cause that’s how I kind of see them. I don’t have that in my population that never was vaccinated or even that was probably vaccinated very delayed and selectively but often those kids are in families where the first child was vaccinated fully and there was problems. There was a vaccine reaction and so the parents decided not to and those kids of course, those kids were those who reacted badly, and so those kids are the ones I’m seeing.

…Physicians are really quite naïve about how things work politically and financially, and that things are really the bottom line.

…and we have medical ethics departments that are completely funded by Pharma. That’s a huge conflict of interest. We have a vaccine medical ethics department, the only one in the United States that is completely funded by not only Pharma but by the vaccine manufacturers themselves. So when they are publishing articles, doctors see this and don’t understand who’s funding them and they believe everything when things have been cherry picked. They read a study on Gardasil vaccine they don’t understand that a placebo is not a saline injection. Most doctors don’t believe me when I tell them that the placebo used in most vaccine studies is the aluminum adjuvant or it is an experimental vaccine.

Meryl Nass, M.D., ABIM

Meryl Nass is no stranger to research. She earned a B.S. in biology from MIT. She worked as a lab technician for two years in the Immunology Department at John Curtin School of Medical Research. She earned her medical degree from the New Jersey Medical School and the University of Mississippi Medical School. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Afterwards, she worked as an emergency room physician for 14 years. She also taught internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She currently works as an internist and hospitalist at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor Maine.

Her research interests have included vaccine-induced illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War Illness, fibromyalgia, and toxicology. She also used her skills as a biological warfare epidemiologist to study the world’s largest anthrax epizootic in Zimbabwe. (An epizootic is an animal epidemic.)

Prevnar was licensed with a big clinical trial conducted at Kaiser in Northern California with 38,000 children. Half received the Prevnar 7 vaccine, and half received an experimental vaccine for Neisseria meningitidis type C – type C meningococcal vaccine.

Now, that seemed a little odd to me. I mean…the control was another vaccine. That’s a problem. But that’s pretty common, because you don’t really know what the side effect profile is if you compare one vaccine to another, because each causes side effects. You don’t have an inert placebo for comparison.

…In this case, they didn’t even take a licensed vaccine, but they took an experimental vaccine as their comparator. The experimental vaccine has never subsequently been licensed in the U.S. So, there is no real understanding. There is no published list of what the side effects are for that experimental vaccine. We don’t even know what we were comparing it to. Here we had two experimental vaccines being compared to each other. Where is the data? We have no idea really what the safety profile was. Now when they’re bringing in the Prevnar 13, they compare Prevnar 13 to Prevnar 7 and say, “Well, the side effects are about the same, so it’s okay.”

…The company is conducting all the studies. The company decides how to present them, and the company decides how to conduct them. So, whether these studies actually give you an unbiased review of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine [or not] is open to question.

…Children don’t usually die suddenly when they’re healthy; and you have to find a reason for that. There are certainly lots of teenage girls who have died relatively suddenly after Gardasil or developed severe neurological reactions.

…The problem is that vaccines can exert their effects, positively and negatively for a very long time. So for example, if you get a live virus vaccine, one hopes that you will be protected throughout your life.

So for smallpox vaccine it was shown that people had reasonable protection even fifty years after they were vaccinated. Obviously if the immune system is still revved up to protect you against smallpox fifty years later, there’s also the chance that, that revved up immune system may be causing more autoimmune conditions than it would have otherwise. All vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system.

Jack Wolfson, D.O.


Jack Wolfson, D.O.

Dr. Wolfson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois. Afterwards he earned D.O. at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is board certified in cardiology. Before meeting his future wife, Heather, he began to realize that conventional medicine was not preventing disease or curing disease, but merely treating the symptoms. Heather, a chiropractor, brought him into the world of holistic healing. He and Heather are now married with two kids, and neither of them are vaccinated.


I recently did an interview which was aired on NBC Phoenix. I was asked my opinion on vaccinations in response to the current measles outbreaks that have occurred at Disneyland in California. My reply has generated quite a bit of anger in thousands of people.

…I want to address all this misguided anger and see if we can re-direct it where it belongs.

Be angry at food companies. Sugar cereals, donuts, cookies, and cupcakes lead to millions of deaths per year. At its worst, chicken pox killed 100 people per year. If those chicken pox people didn’t eat cereal and donuts, they may still be alive. Call up Nabisco and Kellogg’s and complain. Protest their products. Send THEM hate-mail.

Be angry at fast food restaurants. Tortured meat burgers, pesticide fries, and hormone milkshakes are the problem. The problem is not Hepatitis B which is a virus contracted by drug users and those who sleep with prostitutes. And you want to inject that vaccine into your newborn?

Be angry at the companies who make your toxic laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. You and your children are wearing and breathing known carcinogens (they cause cancer). Call Bounce and Downy and let them know. These products kill more people than mumps, a virus which actually doesn’t cause anyone to die. Same with hepatitis A, a watery diarrhea.

Be angry at all the companies spewing pollution into our environment. These chemicals and heavy metals are known to cause autism, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease and every other health problem. Worldwide, these lead to 10’s of millions of deaths every year. Measles deaths are a tiny fraction compared to pollution.

Be angry at your parents for not breastfeeding you, co-sleeping with you, and stuffing your face with Domino’s so they can buy more Tide and finish the laundry. Breastfeeding protects your children from many infectious diseases.

Be angry with your doctor for being close-minded and not disclosing the ingredients in vaccines (not that they read the package insert anyway). They should tell you about the aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, aborted fetal tissue, animal proteins, polysorbate 80, antibiotics, and other chemicals in the shots.

…Lack of exercise kills millions more than polio. Where are all those 80 year olds crippled by polio? I can’t seem to find many.

…Be angry with pharmaceutical companies for allowing us to believe living the above life can be treated with drugs. Correctly prescribed drugs kill thousands of people per year. The flu kills just about no one. The vaccine never works.

…Myocardial infarctions are already the leading cause of death in the world today. The situation could get much worse.

A prestigious journal reported that men who had measles and mumps as children suffered 29% less heart attacks and 17% less strokes! Women with a history of both infections had a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 21% lower risk of stroke. The journal Atherosclerosis recently published these shocking findings in the June 2015 issue (1).

By my calculations, natural infection with the measles and mumps will prevent millions of heart attacks and strokes. Why is this information not all over the TV and Internet? I will tell you why. Because mainstream media is in bed with Big Pharma who pay their bills. The politicians are slaves to their corporate masters. Our children should be exposed to every virus and bacteria for which a vaccine exists.

The polio virus led to symptoms in only 5% of those exposed. Rarely was paralysis an effect, and even then, the cause may have been pesticide induced, other viruses, or from arsenic. This was the 1940’s after all. Children who are breast fed, eat organic foods, and are not living in a cloud of chemicals will easily combat these infections.

…The sad truth is that we are too early in the mass vaccination campaign to really understand the long-term risks. The gold standard in medical research is the randomized, placebo controlled trial. That study does not exist for most vaccines and there has never been a trial on 69 doses of 16 vaccines versus a placebo. There never will be. We may never fully realize the damage done from this immune system onslaught.

You brought a child into this world. Protect them.

Lee Hieb, M.D.


Lee Hieb, M.D.

Dr. Hieb received her undergraduate from Grinell College and the University of Iowa. She earned her M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She did her orthopedic surgical residency with the U.S. Navy. She is a former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and she frequently speaks out against the perils of government-run health care. She ran for Governor in 2014 as a libertarian. Unfortunately, she lost the election.


The voices shrieking to forcibly vaccinate people are the same voices shrieking to support a woman’s right to choose abortion under Roe v. Wade. If a woman’s body is sacrosanct, if she has the right to choose to deliver a child or not, if she has total authority over her body, how can she not have the right to accept or refuse a vaccination?

Medical ethics are clear: No one should be forced to undergo a medical treatment without informed consent and without their agreement to the treatment. We condemn the forced sterilization of the ’20s and ’30s, the Tuskegee medical experiments infecting black inmates and the Nazi medicine that included involuntary “Euthanasia,” experimentation and sterilization. How can we force vaccination without consent? Vaccination is a medical treatment with risks including death. It is totally antithetical to all ethics in medicine to mandate that risk to others.

Science is never “concluded.” Mr. Obama and other ideologues may think the truth is finalized (“The science is indisputable”), but the reality is our understanding of disease and treatment are constantly being updated. Just like Newton’s mechanical paradigm of the universe was supplanted by Einsteinian physics, and physicists today modify that view, medical “truth” is not the truth for long. In an attempt to quantify change in medicine, years ago a cardiology journal discussed “The Half-life of Truth.” Cardiologists looked back in their journal at 20-year-old articles to see how much of what was believed then was still believed to be true. The answer? 50 percent. So in cardiology, at least – and in all of medicine to greater or lesser degree – only half of what we believe now will still be true in 20 or so years. The last word on vaccination is not in. It hasn’t even begun to be written.

If you believe absolutely in the benefit and protective value of vaccination, why does it matter what others do? Or don’t do? If you believe you need vaccination to be healthy and protected, then by all means vaccinate your child and yourself. Why should you even be concerned what your neighbor chooses to do for his child – if vaccination works? The idea of herd immunity is still based on the idea that in individual cases vaccines actually are protective.

Since 2005 (and even before that), there have been no deaths in the U.S. from measles, but there have been 86 deaths from MMR vaccine – 68 of them in children under 3 years old. And there were nearly 2,000 disabled, per the aforementioned VAERS data.

In countries which use BCG vaccinations against tuberculosis, the incidence of Type I diabetes in children under 14 is nearly double.

As reported in Lancet in 1995, inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) is 13 times more prevalent in persons vaccinated for measles.

…In 1982 William Torch, a prolific researcher and publisher on Neurologic topics, presented a paper (later published) at the American Academy of Neurology reviewing SIDS deaths. He reported that in 100 consecutive cases, 70 percent of SIDS deaths occurred within three weeks of pertussis vaccination.

…The dirty little secret in recent outbreaks of mumps, measles and pertussis is – they are occurring in vaccinated people in highly vaccinated populations!

…In 2008-2009, Australia had epidemics of whooping cough and measles. Health authorities there must reveal the vaccination status of children in epidemics. Eighty-four percent of Australian children who got whooping cough were fully vaccinated, and 78 percent who got measles had record of measles vaccination. In the 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California, well over half the victims were fully vaccinated.

…Finally, it turns out that death and disability from many childhood diseases is preventable by means other than vaccination. Vitamin A has been known since the 1930s to reduce mortality from measles by 60 percent. Vitamin D is protective against viral illness. And numerous authors and studies have shown the damaging effects of chemical antipyretics (fever lowering drugs) on the natural course of disease – a practice still sadly in widespread use in America. Better understanding of disease mechanisms, utilizing nutritional support and better scientific care of the sick child are safer alternatives to widespread vaccination.

As one of today’s senior citizens who grew up in a Midwestern state in the 1930s, and as a doctor who has treated many children, I may have a special vantage point of time and experience in regard to the changes that have taken place in the health of America’s children since the relatively innocent times of the 1930s. At summer camps in the New Mexico Mountains that I was fortunate to attend, no boy had allergies, none was on medication, and no boy was ever sick with the common ailments of today. It was much the same in schools. I don’t recall ever seeing a child with easily recognized behaviors now described as hyperactivity (ADHD) or autism.

Today in stark contrast, approximately one-third of our youngsters are afflicted with the 4-A Disorders (Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies), as described and documented by Dr. Kenneth Bock. School budgets are being strained to the breaking points in providing special education classes for autistic and learning disabled children. Allergy problems are proliferating, as indicated by long lines of children at school nursing stations for their noontime medications.

…At the end of the day, the issue here is one of freedom, and freedom is the freedom to choose – even if we make a bad choice. The argument that I must vaccinate my children for the good of the community is not only scientifically questionable, it is an unethical precept. It is the argument all dictators and totalitarians have used. “Comrade, you must work tirelessly for the good of the collective. You must give up your money and property for the good of the collective, and now you must allow us to inject your children with what we deem is good for the collective.” If American’s don’t stand up against this, then we are lost. Because we have lost ownership of ourselves. Our bodies are no longer solely ours – we and our children are able to be commandeered for the “greater good.”

Michael W. Elice, M.D.


Michael W. Elice, M.D.

Dr. Elice graduated from Syracuse University and then the Chicago Medical School. He is is a board certified pediatrician, and he is certified in hyperbaric medicine. He has treated Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mitochondrial, immune and metabolic dysregulation for over a decade now.  Dr. Elice is on the board of NYFAC –New York Families of Autistic Children, National Autism Association – New York Metro Chapter and MAPS Physician.  He also teaches at New York university Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and he is an adjunct professor at North Shore University Hospital and the Cohen’s Children’s Hospital of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.


As a board certified pediatrician, I took the same oath as all physicians, “to do no harm.”

The latest media presentation of the measles outbreak at Disneyland as a result of unvaccinated children is very upsetting to me.  We are being fed information that is essentially inaccurate by media journalists – none of whom have medical degrees – which may actually be promoting medical harm to our children.

The latest reports blaming a failure of the measles vaccine on the unvaccinated population are not accurate, and in some reports, not true at all.  In fact, over the past 30 years, there have been similar numbers of measles cases reported in various areas of the United States.

…Last year 1 in every 500,000 Americans came down with the measles. Nearly all recovered in a few days without serious consequences.  At the same time 1 in 68 American children were diagnosed with autism or for every case of measles there were 7000 cases of autism.  I ask myself which is the real epidemic here?

…I wish these journalists, vaccinologists and infectious disease specialists spent a week in my office.  I wish they would actually listen to the testimonials given to me by parents of autistic children who were obviously affected by these vaccines adversely.  I wish they would tell parents that the risk of dying from the measles in the United States is around zero.  I wish they would admit that they are being told by pharmaceutical companies not to report certain statistics or to cover up factual scientific information.  I wish they could be free to report honestly about vaccines rather than being dependent upon drug advertising and Internet information.

This is an emotional debate for sure.  If we discount emotion and fear, we would realize that a child may have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning, accidental drowning or possibly from adverse side effects of the MMR vaccination itself than from acquiring live measles infection.  I wish that my pediatric colleagues would offer parents factual pros and cons of vaccines in general so that a parent can make an informed decision and then give consent to vaccinate rather than being told that if their child isn’t vaccinated they will be thrown out of school and they are guilty of child abuse!

I am not advocating that vaccines be discontinued.  I am advocating that doctors and patients become aware of the ingredients of these vaccines, what they can potentially do to affect an adverse outcome in an immunologically compromised child.  Adverse reactions to MMR and other vaccines have been reported in numerous clinical trials and studies.  I am advocating that medical practitioners and researchers, not journalists, address the real medical epidemics of autism, asthma, GI disease and autoimmune diseases facing our society and people around the world. Stop hyping the safety of MMR vaccines which may actually be more dangerous than live measles and may be ineffective in preventing the illness which they are so anxious to report as a dangerous epidemic itself.  Let’s stop believing that the mainstream media is telling us the truth when all they are doing is shutting down any intelligent and open discussion about vaccine safety and how to improve it.

Check out part 1 of this series, Doctors Against Vaccines – Hear From Those Who Have Done the Research. If you’ve been vaccinated, check out How To Detoxify and Heal From Vaccinations – For Adults and Children.

Further Reading:

Monday, 28 September 2015

Australian Government Warns That Alternative Rock, Teenage Rebellion Could Lead To Radicalization

The Australian government is fighting back against the unrelenting terrorist threat that threatens to consume every Western nation. It, too, has noticed that youngsters and their SnapChats are particularly prone to radicalization from outside forces. As Richard Chirgwin of the Register points out, it has chosen to address this threat to Australian society in the way only a government agency can: with a blend of the bizarre and the tone deaf.

Launched this week by justice minister Michael Keenan (who also glories in the title Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Terrorism), the Radicalisation Awareness Kit is supposed to help school teachers identify which of their students is going to enter the adult world with a penchant for bomb-throwing.

Cue the cheery faces of unradicalized youth: 

The 32-page booklet starts with a long definition of radlicalization, hedged by warnings that not every diversion from the mainstream will result in violence. Then it heads into a series of "case studies" that indicate every deviation from societal norms is a warning sign of impending unlawfulness. 

The case studies are the best kind of hilarious: inadvertent. 

"Erin" joined a "hate group" and committed crimes against Muslims. After a stay in jail and laying off the booze, "Erin" turned her life around. Not completely, but it's a start.

It is now a number of years since she left the group and Erin has sought treatment for her depression, reconciled with her family, is studying and has made some new friends. However, it was a difficult and slow process. She has moderated her beliefs significantly and makes a point of educating herself on issues rather than just accepting what others tell her. She does not entirely trust the government or police yet – it takes a long time to change some habits of thinking.

If nothing else, this fabricated tale shows the government to be overly-concerned about its place in the world. "Erin" is still partly broken because she doesn't "entirely" trust the government or police. What a shame. But it is hoped "Erin" will be made whole in the near future -- full of trust in the government and prone to only tempered beliefs. 

But that's not the worst of it. Much like the Homeland Security Advisor's ridiculous claim that teens 

acting like teens

 pose a threat to national security, the Australian government's concerns about future radicalization are also tied to the hallmarks of adolescence. 

As Richard Chirgwin points out, the radicalization anecdotes reach their nadir with the story of "Karen," starting with setting these ground rules for Normal Existence.

Karen grew up in a loving family who never participated in activism of any sort.

This is called foreshadowing. Karen soon deviates from her family's path of loving do-nothingness.

When she moved out of home to attend university Karen became involved in the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism.

And there you have it: alternative music is the gateway drug to terrorism. As is politics, oddly enough, considering this narrative has been written by a political agency. And let's not forget the activism -- the kind of thing her normcore family never felt compelled to participate in. 

Strangely, the government chalks this up to "normal teenage rebellion" before going on to warn parents about normal teenage rebellion.

One afternoon Karen attended an environmental protest with some of her friends. It was exhilarating, fun and she felt like she was doing the ‘right thing’ for society. She enjoyed spending time with this crowd. Over the next six months Karen progressively dropped out of university in order to live full-time in a forest camp, where she remained for a year. Her family were confused and disappointed and stopped supporting her financially.


You can guess what happened next. Logging operations were screwed with, Karen was arrested multiple times and, finally, she became disillusioned with her radical brethren and sistren. She chucked it all for a staid job at a "mainstream environmentalist organization." Happy endings all around, especially for Karen, who now realized the only way to fight the system was to become part of the system.

She now thinks illegal or aggressive direct-action campaigns only produce short-term solutions, and she is much more interested in working towards developing a sustainable solution using the legal system.

The warning signs the government says to look for are basically A Day in the Life of a Teen.

Issues that can help push someone onto a path of radicalisation may include: 

• changes in living or employment
• anxiety, depression, paranoia, suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues
• personal issues such as health problems, addiction, anger or social problems
• dropping out of school or university
• negative changes in friendships and/ or personal relationships
• confrontations with family members
• discrimination and social unfairness
• exposure to hateful attitudes and actions, either as victim or perpetrator, and
• overseas events that may harm their community.

Now, the report does go on to caution that these are normal and don't necessarily signify Early Onset Radicalization. However, the report does make it clear -- especially through its anecdotal evidence -- that these can lead to radicalization when combined with activism, alternative music and an apparently unearned distrust for the government. 

Perhaps sensing the sort of response this document might generate, the hefty propaganda leaflet also makes an effort to assure Australians that ASIO (the MI5/FBI of Down Under) is not allowed to crack down on radicalization warning signs -- at least not without going through the pre-lubed proper channels.

There are concerns that ASIO has extraordinary and unaccountable power. A review by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor has found that ASIO’s powers have been used appropriately and effectively, with no evidence of abuses. As at November 2014, ASIO has not used its powers to detain anyone at all, and has used its questioning powers only 16 times since 9/11.


These questionable anecdotes notwithstanding, the document takes a fairly restrained look at radicalization and its causes. But the nuances of its more cautious wording are undercut by stories that equate trusting your government and steering away from activism with normality, not-so-subtly suggesting any deviations from the norm should be viewed with suspicion.