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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A new way to be human: The plan is to replace existing humans with 'transhuman' hybrids


© endoftheamericandream.com

Transhumanism - Public Domain

Transhumanists believe that the time has come for humans to take control of their own evolution. Many of them are fully convinced that we can use emerging technologies to "fix" the flaws in the human race and ultimately eradicate sickness, disease, poverty and war. So would you like to have the eyesight of an eagle? Would you like to download an entire library of information directly into your brain in just minutes? Would you like to rid your family line of all genetic diseases? Would you like to extend your lifespan to 500 years or even longer? Transhumanists promise that all of these things will soon be possible, if we are willing to embrace a new way of doing things.

They foresee a future in which we will all have lots of little nanobots running around inside of us, in which we are all connected directly to the Internet, and in which we have all been genetically modified to at least some degree. In fact, one prominent transhumanist recently stated that he believes that "eventually every human will be designed on a computer". In the end, the goal is to produce a vastly improved version of the human race which will usher in a golden new age for the planet. But as we merge ourselves with animals, machines and weird new technologies that scientists cook up, at what point do we cease to be human?

And when I say "weird new technologies", I am not overstating things in the least. Just consider what one transhumanist says that they have planned for us...

As with all radical social movements, there is bound to be resistance. After all, transhumanists are interested in some pretty bizarre things: mind uploading, living indefinitely through life extension science, biohacking themselves to install cyborg body parts, and creating artificial general intelligence. Each of these areas of research will radically change the lives of people—and some, such as cyborg body parts, are already doing so.

Once upon a time, the only people that talked about "cyborgs" were science fiction geeks.

But today, many transhumanists speak of us becoming "cyborgs" as if it was some sort of foregone conclusion. It is almost as if they are the Borg, and they are telling us that there is no choice but to assimilate.

And this assimilation is already happening to a certain degree. If the idea of humanity "merging with machines" sounds bizarre to you, just check out the following excerpt from a recent Vice article...

Next up are brain implants, tiny computer chips inserted surgically directly into the brain itself. So far, they've been used mainly to help treat patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and epilepsy.

But some scientists are now tinkering with brain implants that enable more physical pursuits, from controlling people's prosthetic limbs to ​restoring movement in paralyzed rats. Scientists say that the capabilities of brain implants are only in their infancy, and some of them envision a near-future where brain implants can even be installed in healthy people to connect them directly to the internet and improve memory] a la . The US military agency DARPA is already building such memory chips, and wants to develop implants that could be installed throughout a soldier's nervous system to provide advanced, on-the-spot healing of conditions from mental illness to arthritis.

Of course most of those developing these new technologies believe that they are doing something wonderful for humanity.

And in many cases they are.

But at what point do we enter a danger zone?

In a previous article , I noted that one recent survey discovered that approximately one-fourth of all professionals in the 18 to 50-year-old age bracket would like to connect their brains directly to the Internet.

I don't know about you, but that is something that I will never be doing.

Meanwhile, scientists continue to push the envelope when it comes to merging humans with animals.

Most people don't realize this, but today we are creating genetically modified cattle with human DNA, we are growing human kidneys in rats, and we are experimenting on human-mouse hybrids with freakishly large brains.

Once again, those involved in this kind of research believe that they are finding "cures for diseases" or that they are working to make life better for all of us somehow.

But when we combine animals and humans, what exactly are we creating?

Are they animals?

Are they humans?

And where do we draw the line? Will we someday have creatures that are 50 percent human and 50 percent animal walking around our cities?

For much, much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "The Era Of Chimeras: Scientists Fearlessly Create Bizarre Human/Animal Hybrids".

Another area that transhumanists are extremely excited about is the ability to use technology to genetically edit our children.

At Harvard, researchers now believe that it will soon be possible to completely remove genetic diseases from our family lines...

As I listened to Yang, I waited for a chance to ask my real questions: Can any of this be done to human beings? Can we improve the human gene pool? The position of much of mainstream science has been that such meddling would be unsafe, irresponsible, and even impossible. But Yang didn't hesitate. Yes, of course, she said. In fact, the Harvard laboratory had a project to determine how it could be achieved. She flipped open her laptop to a PowerPoint slide titled "Germline Editing Meeting."

Here it was: a technical proposal to alter human heredity.

"Germ line" is biologists' jargon for the egg and sperm, which combine to form an embryo. By editing the DNA of these cells or the embryo itself, it could be possible to correct disease genes and to pass those genetic fixes on to future generations. Such a technology could be used to rid families of scourges like cystic fibrosis. It might also be possible to install genes that offer lifelong protection against infection, Alzheimer's, and, Yang told me, maybe the effects of aging.

And "maybe the effects of aging"?

Life extension technologies are something that many transhumanists are particularly obsessed with.

For example, Bloomberg recently did an interview with one technology executive that believes that it will eventually be possible for all of us to live to the ripe old age of 500...

"If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes," Bill Maris says one January afternoon in Mountain View, California. The president and managing partner of Google Ventures just turned 40, but he looks more like a 19-year-old college kid at midterm. He's wearing sneakers and a gray denim shirt over a T-shirt; it looks like he hasn't shaved in a few days.

Maris is using his position to pour millions upon millions of dollars into companies that are developing radical life extension technologies that they hope will enable people to live for hundreds of years. Maris just hopes that he can stay alive long enough to take advantage of them...

"We actually have the tools in the life sciences to achieve anything that you have the audacity to envision," he says. "I just hope to live long enough not to die."

And of course Maris is far from alone. The most famous transhumanist on the entire planet, Ray Kurzweil, is absolutely obsessed with immortality. He takes 150 vitamin supplements a day in a desperate attempt to extend his life until more advanced life extension technologies can be developed. In chapter 7 of , he expressed his thoughts on where the future is taking all of us...

"Evolution moves toward greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love. In every monotheistic tradition God is likewise described as all of these qualities, only without any limitation: infinite knowledge, infinite intelligence, infinite beauty, infinite creativity, infinite love, and so on. Of course, even the accelerating growth of evolution never achieves an infinite level, but as it explodes exponentially it certainly moves rapidly in that direction. So evolution moves inexorably toward this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal. We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spiritual undertaking."

But what about those of us that do not want to be a part of this future?

Is there any room for people that do not want to be genetically modified and that do not want to merge with animals and technology?

Some transhumanists believe that those that do not adapt will eventually be wiped out because they simply will not be able to survive in the new world that is emerging.

Other transhumanists believe that in order to truly have a world where there is no sickness, disease, poverty and war, all of the "inferior" humans will ultimately have to be "removed".

But what almost all of them agree on is the fact that the future belongs to them and not to us.

So what do you think? Is humanity on the verge of a great leap forward, or are these new technologies actually opening up a door for great darkness? Feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below...

Photos offer first-ever evidence of male tigers as family men

Amur Tiger Family

© Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo composite of images showing Amur tiger family, led by adult male, as they walk past camera trap over a period of two minutes..

Male Amur tigers are generally thought to live a solitary existence; however, a new series of photographs released by the Wildlife Conservation Society has revealed a family of wild Amur tigers with an adult male with family.

The photos are from a camera trap slideshow and they reveal the "tiger dad" passing through a Russian forest along with an adult female and three cubs. Researchers note this is the first observation this kind of social behavior. The WCS also released a photo composite of a sequence of images showing the whole family as they wandered past the camera trap over the course of two minutes.

"Although WCS's George Schaller documented sporadic familial groups of Bengal tigers as early as the 1960s, this is the first time such behavior has been photographed for Amur tigers in the wild," said Dale Miquelle, the director of WCS Russia. "These photos provide a small vignette of social interactions of Amur tigers, and provide an evocative snapshot of life in the wild for these magnificent animals."

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Male tigers are family men

The photos are the product of a 2014-2015 project that set up a network of camera traps across both Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park in Russia. The goal of the project is to obtain a better understanding on the population of endangered Amur tigers in the area. Although outcomes are still being evaluated, the biggest surprise was the series of 21 photographs that exhibited the tiger family.

"We have collected hundreds of photos of tigers over the years, but this is the first time we have recorded a family together. These images confirm that male Amur tigers do participate in family life, at least occasionally, and we were lucky enough to capture one such moment."

Unsure of numbers

The precise population of Amur tigers is difficult to determine. Every decade an ambitious survey is executed that involves hundreds of researchers, hunters, and participants. The results of the latest survey, carried out in February 2015, will be unveiled by summer. In 2005, the last time a range-wide study of Amur tigers was carried out, it was determined there were about 430 to 500 tigers left in the wild.

One WCS-backed study published last month revealed that "index-calibration" method, which includes the use of camera traps, may not be as accurate as previously thought. The study authors cautioned against relying too much on this method and suggested using a different method moving forward.

"This study exposes fundamental statistical weaknesses in the sampling, calibration and extrapolations that are at the core of methodology used by the Government to estimate India's numbers, thus undermining their reliability," said study author Ullas Karanth, from the WCS and a member of India's National Tiger Conservation Authority. We are not at all disputing that tigers numbers have increased in many locations in India in last 8 years, but the method employed to measure this increase is not sufficiently robust or accurate to measure changes at regional and country wide levels."

Milky Way may be 50 per cent bigger than thought

Milky Way

© A. Fitzsimmons/ESO

Home extension: an extra ring-like filament could expand the size of our galaxy by 50 per cent.

A ring-like filament of stars wrapping around the Milky Way may actually belong to the galaxy itself, rippling above and below the relatively flat galactic plane. If so, that would expand the size of the known galaxy by 50 percent and raise intriguing questions about what caused the waves of stars.

Scientists used data collected by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to reanalyze the brightness and distance of stars at the edge of the galaxy. They found that the fringe of the disk is puckered into ridges and grooves of stars, like corrugated cardboard.

"It looks to me like maybe these patterns are following the spiral structure of the Milky Way, so they may be related," astronomer Heidi Newberg, with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, told Discovery News.

She and colleagues suspect that a dwarf galaxy may have plunged through the disk of the Milky Way, setting off ripples, like a pebble falling into a pond.

Intruder galaxies also may have set up spiral wave patterns that later trigger star formation in the gas along waves, leading to spiral arms in galaxies.

Evidence that the so-called Monoceros Ring, located more than 65,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy, actually is part of the Milky Way surprised Newberg, who was on a team that discovered the ring in 2002.

"We thought it was a tidal debris stream -- a dwarf galaxy that came in and spread itself out in this big ring. For 15 years, there's been a controversy in the field where half the astronomers think it's a tidal stream and half the astronomers think it's something in the disk. I was in the stream camp," says Newberg.

"What I was trying to do was find more evidence that it was streams. It took a very long time to get this result, partly because I had to change my whole way of thinking. It now looks to me like it's part of the disk," she says.

Incorporating the ring into the map of the Milky Way expands the galaxy's span from 100,000 light-years to 150,000 light-years, says study co-author, astronomer Yan Xu of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and former visiting scientist at Rensselaer.

Light travels at nearly 300,000,000 metres per second, so one light-year is nearly 10 trillion kilometres.

Astronomers are eager for a higher-resolution, three-dimensional views of the Monoceros Ring, and another ring even farther out, from Europe's Gaia telescope.

Meanwhile, they are interested in seeing if ripples found in gases in the Milky Way are related to what has been observed in the stars.

"In the gas, we have seen a couple of perturbations, these vertical oscillations, in the outer part of the galaxy," says astronomer Leo Blitz of the University of California, Berkeley.

As far as signs of an intruder galaxy, one may have already been found, he adds. Publication of that discovery is pending.

The research by Newberg and colleagues is published on the pre-press website ArXiv and will be published this week in the Astrophysical Journal.

Report: Whites more likely to be CEOs than equally psychopathic blacks

black white

Only four Fortune 500 CEOs are corrupt, pathologically narcissistic African-Americans.

Shedding light on the striking lack of diversity within the highest ranks of corporate America, a report from the Executive Leadership Council released Tuesday reveals that white individuals are far more likely to be named CEOs than equally sociopathic black candidates.

Despite widespread evidence that minority executives are just as misanthropic and unprincipled as their Caucasian peers, the study found that less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, demonstrating that the upper levels of the business world frequently remain inaccessible to even the most morally bankrupt of African-Americans.

"Our data shows that when white megalomaniacs and black megalomaniacs contend for the highest corporate positions in the U.S., the latter are routinely passed over," said the report's lead author, Sandra Norwood, pointing to dozens of recent instances in which African-American individuals who had proven track records of undermining their colleagues', employees', and shareholders' interests in order to further their own selfish ambitions were not even offered an interview for a company's top seat. "Vindictive, unscrupulous blacks simply aren't granted these leadership opportunities, despite possessing the same willingness to maximize short-term profit by eliminating health insurance benefits for part-time employees or commit accounting fraud in order to inflate the value of their personal stock options."

"These are heartless sadists who have put in countless hours of backstabbing and forsaken all ethical constraints in order to bolster their own power, and yet time and time again they are denied a place at the top of the corporate ladder simply because of the color of their skin," she continued.

According to the report, even when companies were presented with numerous highly qualified minority candidates with no moral compass and a history of increasing earnings by knowingly rushing an unsafe product to market or outsourcing thousands of manufacturing jobs to overseas sweatshops, the top-tier positions still tended to be awarded almost exclusively to deceitful, empathy-devoid whites.

In fact, the study found that, when presented with identical résumés of potential CEOs who had hid billions of dollars of revenue in offshore tax havens and poached several engineers from a rival business in order to illegally gain confidential trade secrets—one labeled with a common Caucasian name and the other with a traditionally African-American name—boards of directors were far more likely to select the applicant with the white-sounding name. Such findings suggest that many at the highest corporate level still hold inherent biases against amoral, power-hungry egotists of color.

"Even in 2015, many corporate boards will automatically discount a black candidate even if they have demonstrated that they are fully capable of using aggressive intimidation tactics to prevent their company's workers from forming a labor union," Norwood said. "Board members often are more comfortable working with lying, underhanded double-crossers who are similar to themselves. Therefore, the individual that they ultimately promote to CEO tends to come from the same cultural background that turned them into destructive, unrepentant monsters."

According to sources, the dearth of black CEOs within corporate America has prompted a number of companies to institute personnel outreach programs to identify and cultivate malevolent young African-Americans who they believe have the potential to one day violate insider trading laws and initiate spurious patent lawsuits against smaller competitors in order to overwhelm them with legal fees and force them out of the industry.

However, after years of confronting the "glass ceiling" that prevents them from advancing as far as their white peers, many blindly ambitious blacks told reporters they are skeptical that these programs will have a meaningful impact on African-Americans who aspire to become CEOs so that they can immediately downsize as many low-level personnel as necessary to hit profit targets that trigger lucrative personal bonuses.

"When you're black, you have to be twice as ruthless and deceptive just to reach the senior level, but then you can pretty much forget about ever having a shot at the corner office," said William Coleman, the sole African-American vice president at a prominent Wall Street financial services group, who says he has yet to be recognized for allocating the risk of his firm's portfolio of unstable derivatives investments entirely onto the municipal worker pension funds it administers. "My company just elected a white external candidate for our CEO role even after I successfully shifted the blame for a botched merger onto a fellow senior manager before personally firing him and claiming his successes as my own. It's like they refuse to see how deeply predatory and full of hatred I am."

"My race shouldn't be a factor when I've proven that I'm a borderline psychopath who will step over anybody in my way to sate my fanatical lust for power," he continued. "When it comes to succeeding in the business world, that's all that should matter."

Evacuations as 6.6 earthquake shakes Colombia capital

Colombia Quake

© Google maps

A screenshot from Google maps.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has hit the Colombian capital of Bogota, prompting mass evacuations from the city's buildings. Strong and prolonged tremors sparked panic and a social media storm.

The Colombian Geological Survey reported that the tremors originated from the Santander Department area and were 158 kilometers deep. The earthquake was an estimated magnitude of 6.6.

BOGOTA, Colombia - A Widely Felt Earthquake Has Shaken Colombia's Capital, Swaying Buildings. No Immediate Reports of Damages -AP

— Breaking News (@Breaking911) March 10, 2015

"@monterocnn: Evacúan varios edificios del centro de #Bogotá tras el fuerte sismo http://bit.ly/1EUz2P4 http://bit.ly/1EUz2P8"

— AdrianaCarolina! (@Cinnamon_Skin22) March 10, 2015

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake was centered about nine miles (14 kilometers) north of Aratoca, which is about 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Bogota. The epicenter was reportedly 91 miles (147 kilometers) deep. The USGS revised the earthquake's magnitude to 6.2.

No damage or casualties were immediately reported.

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Residents reported on Twitter that tremors were felt in several Colombian cities, and posted photos of people rushing into the streets and waiting outside houses, cafes, and shopping centers.

There were reports that cellphone networks were completely jammed in the capital minutes after the earthquake struck. Local media said the quake was felt in the second biggest city of Medellin, as well as in several Venezuelan cities near the border.

"We know of no serious impact up to now," Oscar Ivan Marquez of the presidency's Risk Management office said, as quoted by Reuters.

Photos posted on social media show stores with goods lying on the floor and wine bottles shattered, wrecked communication lines underground, and damage caused to historical buildings in Bogota. Twitter user @whatsbenupto also reported that a student riot broke out in the city following the quake.

Although no significant destruction was caused by the Tuesday quake, tremors of similar strength could be deadly if they are shallow and close enough to populated areas. In January 1999, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake centered 40 kilometers away from the Colombian city of Ibagué shattered homes and killed at least about 1,200 people, heavily affecting the regional capitals of Armenia and Pereira. Some 4,000 people were said to be missing in the aftermath of the quake, which caused a widespread communication breakdown, riots, and looting. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed by local authorities.

Delusional judge bars Washington DC man from smoking in his own(ed) home after neighbors sue


Edwin Gray smokes outside his Northeast D.C. home.

Under D.C.'s new law, anyone can smoke pot in their home. But a temporary decision by a Superior Court judge means one man in the District can't light up anything at his home—including pot and cigarettes. The 7 On Your Side I-Team found the decision could also impact you.

Edwin Gray loves a cigarette to relax, but now he's got to smoke them outside.

"You want me to stop what I've been doing in my house, all my life," he said.

Gray is not quitting cold turkey by choice. Instead, it's by a temporary order of the court that Gray can no longer light up in the Northeast D.C. home that's been owned by his family for 50 years.

"We were floored," said Gray's sister, Mozella Johnson.

Johnson says she was shocked a lawsuit filed by neighbors who moved in last year could now dictate what the family can do inside its home.

D.C. real estate attorney and columnist Benny Kass was also surprised to learn a judge recently issued a temporary injunction in the civil lawsuit filed by Gray and Johnson's neighbors. Court filings show the couple that moved in next door has one child and another on the way. They claim they're being harmed by smoke they say sneaks into their home through a hole in the basement.

"I think it's an excellent precedent to start, so people can realize you can't just ignore your neighbor," Kass said. "Your home is no longer your castle."

But with no moat and only shared walls in many D.C. homes, the habits of your neighbor can rise to what Kass calls a private nuisance. A judge agreed in a decision last week, saying in the injunction that Johnson, Gray and any guests or family cannot smoke cigarettes, cigars or marijuana in their home—even if it's legal in the city where they live.

"If this judge has done this, ? What other neighbor will be next?" Johnson asked.

She and her brother are vowing to continue fighting. Kass believes others may fight as well, with this decision setting precedent for public nuisances in the District.

"I think this is going to open the door to a lot of thinking, a lot of cases," Kass said. "I gotta believe once this comes out there's going to be 100 cases filed in Superior Court tomorrow."

The couple suing Johnson and Gray declined 7 On Your Side's request for an interview. Court filings and a statement they supplied to ABC7 say they tried to work with Johnson and Gray, but had to file suit when mediation attempts failed. In addition to the injunction, their lawsuit asks for $500,000 in damages. The case is ongoing.

Washington's Al Qaeda ally now heading ISIS in Libya


© www.telegraph.co.uk

Abdelhakim Belhadj

The revelations that US ally Abdelhakim Belhadj is now leading ISIS in Libya should come as no surprise to those who have followed US policy in that country, and throughout the region. It illustrates for the umpteenth time that Washington has provided aid and comfort to precisely those forces it claims to be fighting around the world.

According to recent reports, Abdelhakim Belhadj has now firmly ensconced himself as the organizational commander of the ISIS presence inside Libya. The information comes from an unnamed US intelligence official who has confirmed that Belhadj is supporting and coordinating the efforts of the ISIS training centers in eastern Libya around the city of Derna, an area long known as a hotbed of jihadi militancy.

While it may not seem to be a major story - Al Qaeda terrorist turns ISIS commander - the reality is that since 2011 the US and its NATO allies have held up Belhadj as a "freedom fighter." They portrayed him as a man who courageously led his fellow freedom-lovers against the "tyrannical despot" Gaddafi whose security forces at one time captured and imprisoned many members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), including Belhadj.

Belhadj and McCain

© theconservativetreehouse.com

Abdelhakim Belhadj honored by Sen. John McCain as a hero.

L to R: CT Senator Richard Bumenthal, ISIS commander Abdelhakim Belhadj, AZ Senator John Mc Cain, SC Senator Lindsey Graham

Belhadj served the US cause in Libya so well that he can be seen receiving accolades from Sen. John McCain who referred to Belhadj and his followers as heroes. He was initially rewarded after the fall of Gaddafi with the post of military commander of Tripoli , though he was forced to give way to a more politically palatable "transitional government" which has since evaporated in that chaotic, war-ravaged country.

Belhadj's history of terrorist activity includes such "achievements" as collaboration with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq, and of course his convenient servitude to the US-NATO sponsored rampage across Libya that, among other things, caused mass killings of black Libyans and anyone suspected of being part of the Green Resistance (those loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya led by Gaddafi). Although the corporate media tried to make a martyr of Belhadj for his alleged torture via the CIA rendition program, the inescapable fact is that wherever he goes he leaves a violent and bloody wake.

While much of this information is known, what is of paramount importance is placing this news in a proper political context, one that illustrates clearly the fact that the US has been, and continues to be, the major patron of extremist militants from Libya to Syria and beyond, and that all talk of "moderate rebels" is merely rhetoric designed to fool an unthinking public.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend...Until He Isn't

There is ample documented evidence of Belhadj's association with Al Qaeda and his terrorist exploits the world over. Various reports have highlighted his experiences fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and he himself has boasted of killing US troops in Iraq. However, it was in Libya in 2011 where Belhadj became the face of the "rebels" seeking to topple Gaddafi and the legal government of Libya.

As the reported:

So, not only was Belhadj a participant in the US-NATO war on Libya, he was one of its most powerful leaders, heading a battle-hardened jihadist faction that constituted the leading edge of the war against Gaddafi. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than when the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) took the lead in the attack on Gaddafi's compound at Bab al-Aziziya. In this regard, LIFG was provided intelligence, and likely also tactical support, from US intelligence and the US military.

This new information about Belhadj's association with the suddenly globally relevant ISIS certainly bolsters the argument that this writer, among many others, has made since 2011 - that the US-NATO war on Libya was waged by terrorist groups overtly and tacitly supported by US intelligence and the US military. Moreover, it dovetails with other information that has surfaced in recent years, information that shines a light on how the US exploited for its own geopolitical purposes one of the most active terrorist hotbeds anywhere in the world.

According to the recent reports, Belhadj is directly involved with supporting the ISIS training centers in Derna. Of course Derna should be well known to anyone who has followed Libya since 2011, because that city, along with Tobruk and Benghazi, were the centers of anti-Gaddafi terrorist recruitment in the early days of the "uprising" all through the fateful year of 2011. But Derna was known long before that as a locus of militant extremism.

In a major 2007 study entitled conducted by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point, the authors noted that:

And so, the US military and intelligence community has known for nearly a decade (perhaps longer) that Derna has long been directly or indirectly controlled by jihadis of the LIFG variety, and that that city had acted as a primary recruiting ground for terrorism throughout the region. Naturally, such information is vital if we are to understand the geopolitical and strategic significance of the notion of ISIS training camps associated with the infamous Belhadj on the ground in Derna.

This leads us to three interrelated, and equally important, conclusions. First, Derna is once again going to provide foot soldiers for a terror war to be waged both in Libya, and in the region more broadly, with the obvious target being Syria. Second is the fact that the training sites at Derna will be supported and coordinated by a known US asset. And third, that the US policy of supporting "moderate rebels" is merely a public relations campaign designed to convince average Americans (and those in the West generally) that it is not supporting terrorism, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Myth of 'Moderate Rebels'

The news about Belhadj and ISIS must not be seen in a vacuum. Rather, it should be still further proof that the notion of "moderates" being supported by the US is an insult to the intelligence of political observers and the public at large.

For more than three years now, Washington has trumpeted its stated policy of support to so-called moderate rebels in Syria - a policy which has at various times folded such diverse terror groups as the Al Farooq Brigades (of cannibalism fame) and Hazm ("Determination") into one large "moderate" tent. Unfortunately for US propagandists and assorted warmongers however, these groups along with many others have since voluntarily or forcibly been incorporated into Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/ISIL.

Recently, there have been many reports ofmass defections of formerly Free Syrian Army factions to ISIS, bringing along with them their advanced US-supplied weaponry. Couple that with the "poster boys" for Washington policy, the aforementioned Hazm group, now having become part of Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda linked group in Syria. Of course these are only a few of the many examples of groups that have become affiliated with either the ISIS or Al Qaeda brand in Syria, including Liwaa Al-Farouq, Liwaa Al-Qusayr, and Liwaa Al-Turkomen to name just a few.

What has become clear is that the US and its allies, in their unending quest for regime change in Syria, have been overtly supporting extremist elements that have now coalesced to form a global terror threat in ISIS, Nusra, and Al Qaeda.

But of course, this is nothing new, as the Belhadj episode in Libya demonstrates unequivocally. The man who was once Al Qaeda, then became a "moderate" and "our man in Tripoli," has now become the leader of the ISIS threat in Libya. So too have "our friends" become our enemies in Syria. None of this should surprise anyone.

But perhaps John McCain would like to answer some questions about his long-standing connections with Belhadj and the "moderates" in Syria. Would Obama like to explain why his "humanitarian intervention" in Libya has become a humanitarian nightmare for that country, and indeed the whole region? Would the CIA, which has been extensively involved in all of these operations, like to come clean about just who they've been supporting and what role they've played in fomenting this chaos?

I doubt any such questions will ever be asked by anyone in the corporate media. Just as I doubt any answers will ever be furnished by those in Washington whose decisions have created this catastrophe. So, it is for us outside the corporate propaganda matrix to demand answers, and to never let the establishment suppress our voices...or the truth.

Falling meteor may have sparked unexplained bush fires in New Zealand

© Supplied

This bushfire at Tangahoe on the Whanganui River was reported on February 20

A falling meteor may have caused the spate of unexplained fires in Wanganui forest and bush.

Eight fires in sometimes very remote places have Department of Conservation staff investigating whether the meteor which flashed across the New Zealand sky on the evening of February 11 was to blame.

DoC Whanganui services manager George Taylor said in some cases trees were burned right down to stumps, which was unusual.

Fires at Parinui and Tangahoe were among those fought near the Whanganui River last month. The three latest fires, reported on March 3, were even more remote - one was 5km from the river and the other two were west at Matemateaonga.

Kelly O'Neill farms at Pipiriki and DoC have been using his property to land firefighting helicopters.

He talked to DoC staff there who were pretty convinced the falling meteor of February 11 caused at least some of the fires.

Mr O'Neill saw the meteor himself, around 10pm that night.

"It made a massive big flash in the sky - it was there for about a second, and headed over in that direction."

The meteor was a very bright type called a fireball, said David Britten, the astronomy educator at Auckland's Stardome.

It was probably the size of a football or two and travelling south to north across the country. It could have been debris from an asteroid, comet, moon or planet.

It exploded somewhere in a triangle bounded by South Auckland, Thames and Waikato, shaking Auckland windows.

The time between people seeing the explosion and feeling the shock indicated the explosion was probably about 30km above the earth.

It's still being investigated, but Mr Britten said it was possible that bits broke off the meteor as it passed and started fires in the Wanganui region. However, he thought that unlikely.

The first fire after it passed overhead on February 11 was at Ohura on February 16, and it was more likely such fires would happen on the night, he said.

But Mr Taylor said the Wanganui fires were in such remote places that people wouldn't necessarily see and report them immediately.

Lightning was another possible cause, and "dry lightning" can happen without a downpour.

But Mr Taylor said MetService had found no correlation with lightning so far.

Mr Britten knew of only one incident where a falling meteor is thought to have started a fire - that was in the 1800s in a remote place in the United States. The three latest fires in Whanganui National Park were reported by a Wanganui Aero Work staff member flying over on March 3. DoC staff fought them the next day, and for an hour the day after.

The extra firefighting was putting a strain on the low-staffed Whanganui DoC office, Mr Taylor said.

Of the meteor theory, he said: "We can't jump to conclusions, but we can't discount it either."

* Anyone with evidence relating to the meteor is invited to record it on the Stardome website: .

Sinkhole causes gridlock in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

© Lando Zawawi via Facebook

A sinkhole the size of a wheel caused traffic to slow down in Jalan Maarof, heading to Bangsar. The wheel of a car also got stuck in it.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) Civil Engineering and Drainage Department director Tan Keng Chok said the hole appeared after Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) employees were dragging an underground high tension cable to supply power for a nearby Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd construction site.

"The hole appeared after a 33kv cable was pulled to lay supply for the MRT construction in Jalan Damansara," Tan said, when contacted by The today.

Adding that TNB had admitted its fault, Tan said repairs would be conducted on the road tonight.

An image of the hole was uploaded onto biker group Silaturrahim Brotherhood spokesman Azlan Sani Zawawi @ Lando Zawawi's Facebook page.

Lando, who regularly conducts road repair works on potholes and sinkholes and is part of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) WhatsApp group, uploaded images of his conversation in the group, calling on the authorities to take swift action.

The image of the sinkhole was also uploaded on to Friends of BN's Twitter page.

"Sinkhole the size of a tyre at Jalan Maarof heading to Bangsar. Nearby the Petronas oil pump," read the image's description by Friends of BN read, with Astro Traffic stating that the sinkhole had led to a traffic crawl.

© Geoffrey Yeow via Facebook

Car crashes into sinkhole in Boston, Massachusetts

© Westboro Fire Department

A car was damaged after it crashed into a sinkhole Saturday night in Westborough.

The car fell a few feet into the sinkhole before it came to rest on a gas main below.

Firefighters were able to lay a ladder across the hole and walk out to the woman to rescue.

Police said the driver was not hurt, but the car was totaled.

See video coverage here.

Blizzard conditions close access to Hawaii summits


There is some visibility on Mauna Loa.

The wintry weather continues on the summits of Hawaii Island.

Mauna Kea rangers report blizzard conditions have shut down the road to the summit of the mountain. Poor weather is forecast for the next several days. Webcams have been blinded by the white out.

The summit of Mauna Loa is also closed. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park says the area is off limits for backcountry use due to the continued winter storm conditions.

A high wind warning is in effect for both summits until 6 p.m., reports the National Weather Service. Southwest winds are blowing 45 to 70 mph with localized gusts over 105 mph.

A winter weather advisory is also in effect, with an additional 1 inch of snowfall expected at elevations above 12,500 feet.

There has been constant snow on the summits over the last week. On Saturday, the harsh weather took a break long enough for island residents to drive up to the summit.

A wind and snow swept shot on the summit by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, one of the few webcams not completely covered by ice on Monday.

[embedded content]

Giant waterspout spotted near the coast of Mauritius

© Delphine Hugounenc


A giant waterspout has allegedly been observed at La Preneuse beach on Friday 6th of March. The sighting of the meteorological phenomenon is attributed to Delphine Hugounenc, a French woman who has settled down in Mauritius for two years now.

Delphine Hugounenc related that she was at the public beach of La Preneuse with her family on the 6th of March. Around 16h00, something bizarre caught her attention. According to her, she saw a waterspout over the sea. When she pointed it out to a friend of hers, they were both shocked at such a sight. Delphine Hugounenc also admitted that on seeing the phenomenon, a feeling of insecurity swept over them.

When this was narrated to forecaster Vimal Mungul, he explained that waterspouts appear as a consequence of the formation of cumulonimbus clouds; active clouds accompanied by thunder are behind the strange occurrence. He also added that waterspouts are not considered to be dangerous. However, one should always be careful and not approach the region where they are seen.

Generally, waterspouts resemble funnel-shaped clouds over water bodies; they are connected to the cumulonimbus clouds. They are known to form mostly in tropical and sub-tropical areas.

M6.2 - 14km N of Aratoca, Colombia

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Scotland Yard chief proposes CCTV in every home -- all in the name of safety, of course


© unknown

The citizens of the United Kingdom are possibly the most surveilled group of people in the history of the world. Forget the NSA's ever-expanding reach over every form of communication imaginable. We're talking cameras... everywhere. The City of London is equipped with thousands of them, so is Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and well, like I said before, pretty much everywhere. In a nation of 64 million residents, there is one CCTV camera for every 11 people in the UK.

The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimates there are up to scattered throughout the UK, including 750,000 in "sensitive locations" such as schools, hospitals and care homes. This statistic was released in 2013 as well. Do you think they decided to halt the expansion of their Orwellian state at any point over the past two years? The safe bet is that these numbers have grown exponentially.

The truly remarkable and almost unfathomable piece of information regarding CCTV cameras in the United Kingdom is that .

Simon Adcock, of the BSIA, said in 2013, "Because there is no single reliable source of data, no number can ever be held as truly accurate." So basically what Simon is saying is that there are so many of these damn things, we lost count a long time ago. It appears the BSIA has guesstimated a number for the purpose of appeasing the general population.

And now for the kicker... There are apparently not enough surveillance cameras to spy on the innocent citizens of the United Kingdom, according to Scotland Yard.

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service, is now urging residents to put CCTV cameras in their homes and businesses. Because safety. It gets better though...

home protection ad

Genuine swill propaganda generated to instill fear in those naive enough to give up their freedom of privacy.

Sir Bernard is encouraging inhabitants to install cameras at eye level, because according to the Scotland Yard chief, jhbfglnhgnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Please forgive the long string of indiscernible text above. My head crashed against the keyboard when I passed out in anger because of the egregious words I was being forced to type.

Sir Bernard wants to encroach on the privacy of the good people of the United Kingdom to such a prodigious level, that he is encouraging them to install video cameras with facial recognition capabilities inside of their most personal of spaces? Wow.

Does the government need to peer in on our most intimate moments of isolation to keep us secure?

Have we really come to a point in our civilization, in a supposed 'free society' mind you, where we put facial recognition equipped cameras in our homes?

No thanks, Sir Bernard.

The Empire's minions: Evidence for the relationship between Washington and ISIS

US Isis proxy

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a 'double game' with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms 'moderate Syrian rebels', to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the 'extremist rebels'. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from 'humanitarian intervention' to a renewal of Bush's 'war on terror'.

A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a 'New Middle East', a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of 'creative destruction' in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh's 2007 article, 'The Redirection', the US would make use of 'moderate Sunni states', not least the Saudis, to 'contain' the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These 'moderate Sunni' forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS 'caliph' al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US 'war' against ISIS . So what is the broader evidence on Washington's covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing 'I know major Arab allies who fund [ ISIS ]'. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, 'They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn't fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad'.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia 'were so determined to take down Assad ... they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad ... [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world ... [and then] this outfit called ISIL'. Biden's admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington's relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia's extremist ideology: 'This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money', Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the 'moderate rebels', now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, 'Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave', reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest 'Free Syrian Army' group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these 'moderate rebels' and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean 'support front', that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: 'We are all Jabhat al-Nusra'.

israel support terrorists al Nusra

Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting wounded al Nusra ‘rebels’ in early 2014.

After the collapse of the 'Free Syrian Army' groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel's support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of 'rebel' fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded 'rebels' in early 2014. That led to a public 'thank you' from a Turkey-based 'rebel' leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel's Defence Forces 'interacting with' al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel's hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ' Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]'. A military spokesman's reply was hardly a denial: 'In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.'

The artificial distinction between 'rebel' and 'extremist' groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ' Syrian National Coalition', said 'opposition fighters' were 'increasingly joining' ISIS 'for financial reasons'. In that same month, 'rebels' in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria's far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand 'moderate rebels' from the US-backed 'Harakat Hazzm' collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

ISIS US ammunition

© Conflict Armament Research

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria , as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a 'non aggression pact' was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between 'moderate rebels' and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: 'the Nussayri regime', a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the 'rebels'.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to 'Syrian rebels' from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

With 'major Arab allies' backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed 'moderate rebels' and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and 'coalition' flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to 'degrade' the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

US ISIS weapons

Weapons "intended" for Kurdish fighters dropped at ISIS-held location.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that 'an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin'. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a 'mistake'. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. 'We have discovered weapons made in the US , European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL's control in Al-Baqdadi region', al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested 'four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters', three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the 'Islamic State' in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then 'rendered' to Gaddafi's Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based 'Libyan Dawn' group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington's Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were 'surprisingly supportive of democracy'. After all the well-published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington's 'cosmetic war' on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq . Their 'war' on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane's Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is 'not fighting ISIS'. This alleged 'unwillingness' was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military's recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq's main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran's Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation. A decade after Washington's 'creative destruction' plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran's influence is 'at its highest point in almost four centuries'.

Select references

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a 'New Middle East'

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

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Recognizing anxiety: Symptoms, signs, risk factors and possible solutions

© Shutterstock

Anxiety is a normal part of human life. You may have felt anxiety before addressing a group or applying for a job, for example. In the short term, anxiety increases your breathing rate and heart rate, concentrating the blood flow to your brain, where you need it. This very physical response is preparing you to face an intense situation. If it gets too intense, however, you might start to feel lightheaded and nauseous. An excessive or persistent state of anxiety can have a devastating effect on your physical and mental health.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 40 million American adults have some type of anxiety disorder every year. An anxiety disorder is a condition in which you experience frequent, powerful bouts of anxiety that interfere with your life. This type of anxiety can get in the way of family, career, and social obligations.

There are several types of anxiety disorder. Among them are:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is excessive anxiety for no apparent reason. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), GAD affects about 6.8 million American adults a year. GAD is diagnosed when extreme worry about a variety of things lasts six months or longer. If you have a mild case, you're probably able to function fairly normally. More severe cases may have a profound impact on your life.

Social anxiety disorder is a paralyzing fear of social situations and of being judged or humiliated by others. This severe social phobia can leave one feeling ashamed and alone. About 15 million American adults live with social anxiety disorder, according to the ADAA. The typical age at onset is 13. Thirty-six percent of patients wait a decade or more before pursuing help.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after you've witnessed or experienced something traumatic. Symptoms can begin immediately or be delayed for years. Common causes include war, natural disasters, or physical attack. Episodes of anxiety may be triggered without warning.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is also a type of anxiety disorder. People with OCD are overwhelmed with the desire to perform particular rituals (compulsions) over and over again. Common compulsions include habitual hand washing, counting, or checking something.

Phobias are also anxiety disorders. Common phobias include fear of tight spaces (claustrophobia) and fear of heights (acrophobia). It creates a powerful urge to avoid the feared object or situation.

Panic disorder causes panic attacks spontaneous feelings of anxiety, terror, or impending doom. Physical symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath. These attacks may be repeated at any time. People with any type of anxiety disorder may have panic attacks.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Anxiety manifests in many different ways. Symptoms may be unique to the type of anxiety disorder or to the individual. All include magnified worry about something for more than six months. General symptoms include:

  • nervousness, irritability, restlessness

  • trouble sleeping, fatigue

  • trouble concentrating

During moments of extreme anxiety or during a panic attack, these symptoms may be accompanied by:

  • sense of danger or doom

  • trembling, dizziness, weakness

  • shortness of breath

  • excessive perspiration

  • feeling cold or overheated

  • numbness or tingling in the hands

  • rapid heartbeat, palpitations

  • chest pain

  • rapid breathing, hyperventilating

Panic attacks can happen when least expected and without obvious provocation. Frequent panic attacks may elevate your level of stress and contribute to social isolation.

People who have PTSD experience flashbacks, reliving a traumatic experience over and over. They may be quick to anger, startle easily, or become emotionally withdrawn. Other symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, and sadness.

OCD causes obvious behavioral symptoms such as performing compulsive, repetitive acts. Many people with OCD develop rituals they feel they must carry out to avoid perceived consequences. People with social anxiety disorder or other phobias usually try to avoid confronting the object of their fear.

Complications of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety can trigger the "flight or fight" stress response, releasing a flood of chemicals and hormones like adrenaline into your system. In the short term, this increases your pulse and breathing rate so your brain can get more oxygen. You are now prepared to respond appropriately to an intense situation. Your immune system may even get a brief boost. Your body will return to normal functioning when the stress passes.

If you repeatedly feel anxious and stressed, or if it lasts a long time, your body never gets the signal to return to normal functioning. That can weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections. According to Harvard Medical School, studies have shown an increased rate of anxiety and panic attacks in people with chronic respiratory disease (COPD). COPD patients with anxiety tend to be hospitalized more often. Prolonged stress may lead to a general feeling of ill health. Vaccines may be less effective in people with anxiety disorders.

Your excretory and digestive systems also suffer. According to Harvard Medical School, there may be a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) after a bowel infection. IBS can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Anxiety disorder may cause loss of appetite and lack of interest in sex. Other symptoms include muscle tension, headaches, and insomnia. Frequent panic attacks can cause you to fear the anxiety attacks themselves, thereby increasing overall anxiety. The constant state of stress can lead to clinical depression. You are also at increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you already have heart disease, anxiety disorders may raise the risk of coronary events.

Risk Factors for Developing an Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders can happen at any stage of life, but they usually begin by middle age. Women are 60 percent more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, according to the NIMH.

Stressful life experiences may increase your risk. Symptoms may begin immediately or years later. Having a serious medical condition or a substance abuse problem can also lead to anxiety disorder.

Social Signs of Anxiety Disorder: What to Look For

It may be difficult to pinpoint anxiety disorders if there are co-existing mental health disorders, physical illnesses, or substance abuse problems. Signs that someone may have a serious anxiety disorder include:

  • fear of leaving the house, social withdrawal

  • extreme, unwarranted fear of particular situations or things

  • compulsive or repetitive behaviors

  • changes in personality

  • trouble on the job or in school

  • family or relationship problems

  • alcohol or drug abuse

  • depression or suicidal thoughts

  • frequent emotional and physical health issues

If you have signs of anxiety disorder, see your doctor or make an appointment with a mental health professional.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To reach a diagnosis, your doctor must carefully evaluate your symptoms. Underlying medical conditions will need to be addressed. Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, cognitive therapy, or behavioral therapy. Often, a combination of treatments is the best course of action. Treatment for anxiety disorders should be viewed as long term. In most cases, treatment for anxiety is successful, allowing patients to lead full, productive lives.

Comment: Though anxiety can be "treated" with medication and/or cognitive and behavioral therapy, there are several holistic approaches which an individual might consider (and this is not to disparage the benefits of working with a good therapist). One may even think of taking the following approaches as a war being fought for one's own well being - where the battleground is your own mental and physical health. And consider that taking several tacts to this problem, , will bring about a greater probability of success; all working in tandem and synergistically.

1. Diet. Consider that a good diet high in animal fats and low on carbohydrates will not only be feeding your brain what it runs on best, but will be reducing the amount of inflammation that exists in your gut and in your brain, and which tends to exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety.

See this article for a better idea: The Ketogenic Diet - An Overview

And read the helpful book Keto-adapted to learn how to make the transition as easy and delicious as possible.

2. Meditate. Learn and practice Éiriú Eolas, a highly effective program of breathing techniques and meditation that utilizes one's own natural ability to stimulate the vagus nerve and help clear away unnecessary stress and emotional and psychological duress.

The reasons for using, and a good way to learn how to do Éiriú Eolas is shown in this video.

3. Orthomolecular treatment. Unlike conventional allopathic treatment, physicians who practice orthomolecular medicine tend to see the body and mind's health in more holistic ways. If anti-depressants and other types of medications put a band-aid on a particular psychological/emotional condition, the orthomolecular approach diagnoses what you are nutritionally deficient in and suggests the vitamins and minerals that will help correct the condition at it's deepest level.

Some good books on the subject are: The UltraMind Solution, Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (even if you don't suffer from these two ailments), and Detoxification and Healing: The Key to Optimal Health. Toxicity and malnutrition tend to affect our moods, thoughts and feelings in ways that are largely unrecognized in Western culture, and these particular books offer a whole new way to think about what it means to be healthy in both mind and body.

4. Writing exercises. Writing down long hand and articulating one's experiences on paper has been shown to help ameliorate anxiety.

See also:

So don't despair! Overcoming the physiological, psychological and emotional underpinnings of anxiety may be a bit of a process, and may require some time and effort to address thoroughly, but the work involved is worth the benefits of increased psychological health and lasting quality of life.

War crime: Tokyo fire bombing 70th anniversary, 100,000 people died in a single night

On the 70th anniversary of Tokyo’s fire bombing, relatives are asking for a real tribute to its victims

It was just after midnight when the rumble of B-29 bombers was heard, jolting Tokyo awake. The incendiaries that fell from their bellies, full of jelly petroleum, were like nothing anyone had ever seen.

They turned canals and rivers into flame and if the jelly stuck to you, it kept burning till flesh turned to bone. "The planes filled the sky like dragonflies," recalls Michiko Kiyoka. "Everywhere you looked there were charred bodies."

Today, Ms Kiyoka, now 91, will join a small group of elderly Tokyoites and mark the death of her father and sister in the 1945 firebombing, which killed about 100,000 people in the single night of 10 March.

Because men of fighting age were away, most of the victims were women, the elderly and children. A US survey later concluded that probably more people lost their lives during the raid by 300 bombers than at any single moment in history.

The Tokyo bombing opened the curtain on an orgy of destruction in the final months of the Second World War that included dozens of similar raids on Japanese cities, and culminated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. When the droning of bombers stopped on 15 August, almost 70 cities had been reduced to rubble and perhaps half a million people were dead.

Some thought that Imperial Japan, like Nazi Germany, deserved retribution for the bombing of Shanghai and Chongqing, the Rape of Nanjing and other war atrocities across Asia. But others asked where had the moral high ground gone since US President Franklin D Roosevelt described the 1940 Nazi blitzkrieg of British cities as "inhuman barbarism"?

If the bombing of Dresden a month earlier than Tokyo had produced a ripple of public debate in Europe, "no discernible wave of revulsion took place in the US or Europe in the wake of the far greater destruction of Japanese cities", wrote Mark Selden, a historian at Cornell University.

Yet today, unlike Hiroshima or Nagasaki, there is no publicly funded museum in Japan's capital to commemorate the night of 10 March. The Tokyo government, urged on by a small group of private citizens, began compiling an incomplete list of victims in 2010. A small memorial squeezed into a corner of Yokoamicho Park in the city contains their names, next to a charnel house with the mixed ashes of thousands who died.

© AP

Survivors of the 1945 raids commuting to work through the rubble

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today reminded Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the need to face up to the past. In a speech in Tokyo, Ms Merkel said those who close their eyes to history are "blind to the present", a quote from a famous speech by the late German president Richard von Weizsacker.

Tokyo lacked the emotional or financial resources to properly mourn the victims after the war, says Bret Fisk, a Tokyo-based novelist who writes about the 1945 raids. Later, there was no appetite for a political fight with Washington, Japan's new Cold War ally. Remarkably, Japan awarded the architect of the 1945 raids, US General Curtis LeMay, its highest prize in 1964 for helping to reconstruct Japan's Self-Defence Forces after the war.

Plans for a museum became bogged down in controversy in the 1990s. Conservatives said the plans were "anti-Japanese and "self-masochistic". The decision infuriated survivors. Tokyo had no stomach for reminding people of the horrors of war, said survivor Katsumoto Saotome, who was 12 when the bombers arrived. He set up a private fund to build the Centre of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, and helped launch a lawsuit for compensation. The suit was dismissed in 2009; government lawyers said that since Japanese civilians had equally experienced severe hardship during a time of national emergency, no particular group could receive special treatment, says Cary Karacas, a specialist on aerial bombing at the City University of New York.

The dwindling band of survivors of the Great Tokyo Air Raid met at the weekend to demand the event is properly memorialised. Mr Saotome says he accepts they face an uphill fight. He says that after all these years, he still doesn't even like to say the say the figure of 100,000 people out loud - it's too impossibly large.

"They were all individuals," he said. "They had all been talking to their families hours before they died."

Moscow-US embassy leaks reveal possible motive for Nemtsov killing

putin kadyrov

BFFs, despite U.S. meddling.

WikiLeaks published secret telegrams of U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle. The American ambassador reported to Washington about his meeting with the Russian "dissidents", about the requests from non-systemic opposition and that an emergency situation is required in order to "overthrow Putin".

Secret telegrams to Washington

It is not a secret that Russian "dissidents" meet regularly with American politicians. Those particularly close, such as Boris Nemtsov, are called directly to Washington, others, less significant, are invited to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle reports on each such meetings in secret cables. However, in the era of WikiLeaks it is difficult to maintain secrecy. The newspaper published excerpts from these cables.

Cable "MOSCOW 000304" talks about the meeting of the Director of the Department for Russia at the National Security Council (NSC) of USA Michael McFaul with Russian human rights activists, which took place on January 14, 2010.

The human rights activists were disappointed with the thaw in relations between the two countries and the reset in Russian-American relations. Lyudmila Alexeyeva from the Moscow Helsinki group advised the Americans to closely monitor what is happening in Moscow, but do it more delicately than the previous US administration: "Increase the intensity, but don't be the second Bush..." - Alekseeva told McFaul.

Another human rights activist, Yuri Dzhibladze from the Center for Human Rights and Democracy, also asked to increase the degree of interference in Russian affairs and even offered to influence Moscow with some "concessions". "Dzhibladze believes that the U.S. should strengthen their criticism... to show that human rights issues occupy a prominent place in the agenda of bilateral relations... As a Russian partner the USA has the right to demand reforms in exchange for trade or other concessions", - says the cable of John Beyrle.

The editor of the Internet site "Caucasian Knot" Grigory Shvedov asked Americans "to work more closely with NGOs, not limited to just financial support." And Lev Ponomarev from the organization "For Human Rights" and Lyudmila Alekseeva advised US to isolate the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and to establish relations with leaders of other North Caucasian republics of Russia.

U.S. Ambassador framed the "dissidents"

The following cable "MOSCOW 000305" from January 19, 2010 talks about the new meeting of McFaul with the Russian opposition. With his report to Washington John Beyrle unwittingly exposed Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov from the movement "Solidarity", Gregory Bovt from "The Right Cause" party, and Vladimir Ryzhkov, a former head of the Republican party.

"...They agreed that the purpose of the political opposition in the next two years should be to work to prevent the return of Putin to the presidency. But, according to their opinion, and considering the control of Putin over society, his overthrow can only be caused by some kind of emergency situation. Bovt said that civil society in Russia at the present time is asleep and will unlikely actively oppose the current regime," - quoted the words of his guests the US ambassador.

By the way, after the content of these cables was disclosed, Boris Nemtsov said in his interview to Voice of America that his words in the Byerly's cables are quoted correctly.

This is how the "dissidents" explained to the Americans, what needs to be done in order to shake the authority of Vladimir Putin. Need an emergency, disaster, global upheaval. Otherwise, the non-systemic opposition in Russia has not the slightest chance. This is even recognized by Ryzhkov himself. "According to him, the majority of Russian citizens are content with the current situation," - said the secret cable.

However, American diplomats, apparently, are not going to do the work for "dissidents". Otherwise, why is the US funding numerous NGOs and human rights defenders?

"Deputinisation" must come from Russia itself... Although the American President is not speaking openly in support of the civil society in Russia, as the members of opposition would like ... he fully supports democratic reforms," - lectured McFaul.

It should be noted that WikiLeaks has published reports only about several of the meetings of the dissidents with the Americans. Presumably, we'll find out soon, how many more of such visits took place and who else attended them. And the Russian opposition activists should ponder about what other compromising things they said behind the walls of the American Embassy, that Byerly could report to Washington, and what will now become public knowledge.

Kristina Rus: There are two key links here to the murder of Nemtsov: "the need to isolate Kadyrov" (a pillar of peace in Chechnya and Putin's closest supporter) and "Caucasian Knot" being connected to the US (likely funded by the US, Caucasus being a key region of Russia, which is of interest to the US).

It is the "Caucasian Knot", which broke the story about Nemtsov killers having a link to Kadyrov, and announced that there is no foreign trail!

March 7, 2015


The acting secretary of the Security Council of Ingushetia, Albert Barahoev first informed the "Caucasian Knot" what Dadaev and Gubashev were engaged in.

Z. Dadaev - is an active employee of the Chechen Interior Ministry, worked in senior positions. Until recently lived in Grozny in the barracks.

Later Barahoev explained to RIA Novosti that Dadaev is the deputy commander of the regiment battalion "North" of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic.


"If the information of the sources of the "Caucasian knot" that one of the suspects was serving in the Chechen battalion "North" is confirmed, it will prove one thing: the suspects are associated with customers [likely intermediaries - KR], who, in turn, are connected with Chechnya. And the theory of a foreign trail, voiced by one of the agencies, is wrong. Our information shows the failure of the theory about a foreign trail and that customers of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, live outside of Russia," told RBC the chief editor of the website "Caucasian knot," Grigory Shvedov.

Here we see Americans took the advice of establishing connections with other Caucasian leaders, in this case Ingushetia, and used their own media outlet, "Caucasian Knot", "to bury the foreign trail", while framing Kadyrov.