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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Magnitude-6.4 earthquake rocks Northern Chile

Putre Quake_230315


A major earthquake struck early Monday morning in northern Chile.

The National Seismological Service at the University of Chile initially listed the temblor at a magnitude-6.3. The U.S. Geological Survey listed it as a magnitude-6.4.

The temblor's epicenter was located 48 kilometers (30 miles) east-southeast of Putre, Chile, at a depth of 128 km (180 miles), the USGS reported. It was near the borders with Peru and Bolivia, and occurred at 12:51 a.m. local time.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the region.

No tsunami was expected as a result of the earthquake, according to the Chilean Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service.

The earthquake was felt in Tacna, Peru, but it didn't affect the electrical system, according to the USGS and Twitter users.

US psychological warfare in Ukraine and the targeting of online independent media coverage

If you are a journalist writing about or a person concerned about issues like Free Speech, read or write in alternative media or news, Occupy movement, Ferguson, Gaza, Ukraine, Russia, police brutality, US interventionism, fair government, homelessness, keeping the government accountable, representative government, government intrusions like the NSA is doing, or you are liberal, progressive, libertarian, conservative, separation of church and state, religion, ...

If you have a website, write, read, or like something in social media that strays outside the new lines the war isn't coming, its now here.

What would we do? Disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive, corrupt, usurp or destroy the information. The information, please don't forget, is the ultimate objective of cyber. That will directly impact the decision-making process of the adversary's leader who is the ultimate target."- Joel Harding on Ukraine's cyber strategy.

IO or IIO (Inform and Influence Operations) defined by the US Army includes the fields of psychological operations and military deception.

In military IIO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of "Inform and Influence Operations" is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences "think and act" in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audiences emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant.

Meet Joel Harding - Ukraine's King Troll

According to his own bio- Joel spent 26 years in the Army; his first nine years were spent as an enlisted soldier, mostly in Special Forces, as a SF qualified communicator and medic, on an A Team. After completing his degree, Joel then received his commission as an Infantry Officer and after four years transitioned to the Military Intelligence Corps. In the mid 1990s Joel was working in the Joint Staff J2 in support of special operations, where he began working in the new field called Information Operations. Eligible Receiver 1997 was his trial by fire, after that he became the Joint Staff J2 liaison for IO to the CIA, DIA, NSA, DISA and other assorted agencies in the Washington DC area, working as the intelligence lead on the Joint Staff IO Response Cell for Solar Sunrise and Moonlight Maze. Joel followed this by a tour at SOCCENT and then INSCOM, working in both IO and intelligence. Joel retired from the Army in 2003, working for various large defense contractors until accepting the position with the Association of Old Crows.

King Troll Joel Harding

According to TechRepublic -The career of Joel Harding, the director of the group"s (Old Crows) Information Operations Institute, exemplifies the increasing role that computing and the Internet are playing in the military. A 20-year veteran of military intelligence, Mr. Harding shifted in 1996 into one of the earliest commands that studied government-sponsored computer hacker programs. After leaving the military, he took a job as an analyst at SAIC, a large contractor developing computer applications for military and intelligence agencies.

Joel Harding established the Information Operations Institute shortly after joining the Institute at the Association of Old Crows; he then procured the rights to InfowarCon and stood it up in 2009. Joel is an editor of "The IO Journal", the premier publication in the field of IO. Joel formed an IO advisory committee, consisting of the 20 key leaders from Us and UK corporate, government, military and academia IO. Joel wrote the white paper for IO which was used as background paper for US Office of the Secretary of Defense's QDR IO subcommittee.

For ten years the Association of Old Crows has been the Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Association, but there has been no concerted effort to rally the IO Community. This has changed, the IO Institute was approved as a Special Interest Group of the AOC in 2008 and we have already become a major player in the IO Community. This is especially important with the recent formation of the US Cyber Command, with the new definition of Information Operations coming out of the Quadrennial Defense Review, with a new perspective of Electronic Warfare and a myriad of other changes. The IO Institute brings you events, most notably InfowarCon. Our flagship publication is the IO Journal, already assigned reading by at least two military IO educational programs. IO classes are integrated with Electronic Warfare classes to educate, satisfy requirements and enable contractors to be more competitive.

When you look at the beginning of the NSA's intrusive policies you find Joel Harding. Harding helped pioneer the invasive software used by government and business to explore your social networks, influence you, and dig out every personal detail. In Operation Eligible Receiver 1997 he used freeware taken from the internet to invade the DoD computers, utilities, and more. It's because most of it is based in "freeware" that NSA snooping has a legal basis. If you can get the software for free and use it, why can't the government use it on you?

Ukraine - Bringing it into Focus

Looking back at Joel Harding in 2012 seems like a different man. This is the same accomplished professional described above before Maidan. Here's how he describes the Russian, Chinese, and American experience before his involvement in Ukraine.

...These experiences, and the fact that I spent nine years in Special Forces and that kind of thing, caused me to think. Then I began to wonder. How much of what we read and what we see is propaganda? Not foreign propaganda, but domestic? How much of that domestic 'information' is propaganda? ...We are being smothered in one lie after another. All in the name of politics. It seems to me that these politicians are almost complacent with us behaving like suckling pigs, absolute ignorant morons...Free, unfettered, uncensored information exposes the lies their governments prefer to feed them, allowing their citizens to know and understand the truth. Authoritarians, like dictators, communists, fascists and many sectarian or religious governments, are said to enhance their authority over their citizens with the use of filters."

So I ask you, do you see more lies and propaganda here than I saw in China or Russia? I would say it depends on your perspective. I see more lies aimed at us from our own politicians than I have ever seen anyplace else in the world... you tell me. Are Americans more susceptible to propaganda?-Harding

Joel Harding has quite a different opinion in 2014 after taking control of Information Operations (IO) in Ukraine.

Part of USIA formed what is now called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the BBG, who oversee VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MEBN, Radio Marti and other international broadcasting bureaus - their mission is to broadcast "fair and objective" reporting to what I called 'denied areas', such as Russia - Harding


Febuary 22nd 2014 marks Harding's first involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. "Yesterday I agreed to help present the information of this situation, bringing in representatives from many of the sources cited above. It is time International Broadcasting is examined."- Harding

On February 28th 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center. Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations. On March 1st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine.

Pravy Sektor

In early March 2014 US President Barrack Obama issued an executive order stating anyone challenging the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government was subject to US sanctions including US citizens. The way it is written journalists in the US wondered if they would be put on a terrorist list.

On March 3rd, only a few days into the new job Harding's advice was "Now I have a thought bouncing around inside my head, which actually makes sense. But the repercussions are wild, off the charts, bloody and may destroy a nation. ..If one looks at that graphic, natural gas pipelines run through Ukraine. If one had the talent, one could close valves in any of those pipelines and shut down a major part of Russia's exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand.

Bumping this up one step, blow up those pipelines, although that is going to make one helluva mess.

This would result in a Russian invasion. End of story? No. Imagine trying to defend thousands of miles of pipeline. Ukrainian insurgents would make Russia devote dozens of divisions of soldiers..." At the time Victoria Nuland was trying to court Pravy Sektor into legitimacy by offering money and support.

That same day Harding noticed

"Suddenly I have 510 people in Ukraine following this blog. That is a.. let's see, 510 divided by four, multiplied by 100 is a 12,750 percent increase in one day! Gee, I wonder why?"- Harding

On March 16th Dimitri Yarosh answered. Yarosh threatened gaslines across Ukraine. The advice Harding gave threatened one of the only remaining sources of income remaining in Ukraine for the Kiev junta.

© Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili

Dimitri Yarosh and his Right Sector neo-Nazi thugs were seen at and largely responsible for the Odessa massacre.

From that moment on Harding geared his public writing to Ukraine. He provided military advice, the unified press stories Ukrainian media put out, IO cyber tactics, military manuals, psy-op manuals, and unified the large international press cover the Eastern European emigre populations provided. Behind the scenes beyond creating new government ministries it's easy to fathom the impact he is having.

"For all you Ukrainian intelligence officers about to put the lives of your soldiers at risk, I urge you to take a few hours and study this book, from cover to cover...Be professional, be calm, and do your absolute best. No matter what the circumstances. Good luck."- Harding

Throughout the past year Harding and others fleshed out the Ukrainian version of democratic "free speech" based on how he has concluded it should be in the USA. On December 12th 2014 Harding wrote "Ukraine is a bright shining star. They approved a Minister of Information Policy. They received a National Information Strategy and are working on a counter propaganda center. Hopefully they are going to remove the paywall at KyivPost.com." - Kiev Post did just that. They Read Joel Harding?

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic is critical of Kiev's decision to create the new ministry.

Dubbed "the Ministry of Truth" the new Ministry of Information Policy forbids journalists to write anything that is critical of the government policy.

"Wonderful news out of Ukraine. I submitted some papers to this end. I personally believe a few of my words survived. I know others involved in other parts of this effort...Minister of Information Policy Yuri Stets has five missions..."-Harding

On February 23rd 2015 Harding tweeted the creation of the i-army. The next day it was announced to the world. "This effort is geared to contain what they call Russian propaganda in the west. "In late January, Ukraine's Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, promised to create an "information-army" to fight Russian propaganda..."

War on Western Journalists, News sites, and Americans

On January 11th the peacemaker website went live with a mission to ...In the future the Peacemaker site will be similar to the site of the Viennese Simon Wiesenthal Center, which since the late 1940s has been focused on tracking and catching Nazi war criminals. In the case of Ukraine, these will be criminals who destroyed the Ukrainian people — the traitors,collaborators, Russian and other mercenaries, and military personnel taking part the undeclared and therefore illegal war by Russia, he concluded..."

Under Ukrainian law journalists that disagree with Kiev's policies are collaborators. They are subject to any mechanism Kiev can devise to stop them. In the case of RT Ruptly or the Guardian this means developing a strategy to ruin their reputations. The Interpreter was developed to that end. Kiev has gone so far as to petition the UK government to censure the Guardian for its coverage of events in Ukraine hoping to bully the publication into line. US broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) have put RT on the same list as ISIS.

Who is a Propagandist?

Since Harding's definition of propaganda is "any news coming out from your opponent", a propagandist would be tightly defined as the enemy operative that writes the news. In this view any journalist or news outlet; both mainstream and alternative that publishes articles or video going against his agenda is propaganda or worse - active measures.

It is the term "active measures" below that needs to be keyed in on. Almost all of Joel Harding's professional career has been devoted to Information Operations and developing a cyber offense to combat terrorists. A person employed in "active measures" according to its definition is committing political warfare against the USA , is a terrorist, and their writing is just short of a hot war.

The writings of 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire fit the bill describing a terrorist that is working to overthrow the US government because she writes about the injustices done in Gaza, and Syria.

Just by reading the titles it is obvious she is completely biased - anti-American, anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and pro-Syria. She is entitled to her opinions but an educated reader will note her consistent bias. Shades of Soviet, now Russian, Active Measures. Ask a well established distinguished person to write not slightly skewed, but highly biased articles bashing America and Israel. I would guess if someone were to investigate Global Research.ca they would find funding leading right to PressTV. I wouldn't even be surprised to find a link to Rossiya Segodnya, RIA Novosti, Voice of Russia or RT. Welcome to Propaganda 101, 21st Century style.- Harding

Private citizen Joel Harding has used both his connections and training as an SF to create a private foreign IO army which today is over 40,000 strong with the sole purpose of destroying publications, journalists, and people that "he deems" as supporting Russian propaganda and people engaged in "Russian active measures."Add into this that Harding wrote the white paper the doctrine of US Army Cyber Defense is based in, he pioneered the field of cyber warfare, developed the means and methods of the NSA and you have one of the most formidable practitioners on the planet. People spread throughout mainstream media that came after him were taught or mentored by him, his colleagues, and belong to the groups and associations he leads.

Long story short, if you write about social justice like Mairead Maguire, you are a targetable terrorist. It has been decided by private citizen Joel Harding. Today Ukraine is his project and if you are writing about it that's what you stepped into.

In truth it doesn't matter what you write about, his minions cover everything corporations and governments have an interest in. Ukraine isn't the test case, America was through the NSA. America failed miserably guarding responsible free speech. Ukraine is the first full scale rollout operation. The people and methods employed will continue long after the Ukraine War is over if they win the information war we are all in.

Take it from someone who was hearing military drones 2 or 3 times a week for months, spent a month in a town "occupied" at times by both Pravy Sektor and the Natz Guardia, whose home shook for months because of the artillery and rockets, and at the end of that occupation found themselves only hours from becoming another "cleansing casualty" before we were rescued. As much as I have written about these things I had to leave many things unsaid.

From my experience YOU, where ever you are would rather face 100 men with the capabilities of Navy Seals, or Delta Force and heavy weapons than just 10 men with ¼ of Mr. Harding's capabilities, intelligence, and connections. In the end 100 extremely trained warriors remain 100 men. Within months Harding has turned very few into a highly focused 40,000 and most of the propagandists he writes need to be dealt with by his army are Americans on American soil. That army is going to work influencing millions to go to war with Russia.

How Far Will Ukraine's King Troll go to destroy You?

And there are many kinds of propaganda; let me focus on what we are mostly seeing being dumped on us by Russia ...I'll put them in a spreadsheet and send it to anyone wanting to help. Together we'll see if we can send that to enough people to make a case against him, embarrass him and make it impossible for his to show his face without being labeled a bad journalist, a liar, guilty of perjury, and a dirty propagandist...Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos. Eyewitness accounts are suspect. Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don't know of any others). Harding Aug 31

Mechanisms of Enforcement

"They probably have been really frightened by the idea of bearing criminal responsibility sooner of later for their actions or for becoming persona non grata in the civilized world," Herashchenko wrote.

It is also noteworthy that foreign intelligence services have become interested in the Peacemaker site — the CIA, FBI, European intelligence and counterintelligence. The reason in simple. The civilized countries, drawing on information on the pro-Russian militants-terrorists, will be able to create their own databases of suspicious persons and individuals that must be neutralized and isolated from society, he said.

Before discounting the underlined as having anything to do with you bear in mind that Harding "worked IO on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon and was one of the plankholders of the Joint Staff IO Response Cell." The Security Service of Ukraine reached an agreement with Google Inc. to jointly fight with the Russian secret services, who are constantly spreading propaganda network in the Kremlin and sow panic among the population. - Harding

If you like Mairead Maguire are employing Russian active measures according to Harding's definition, you are the Russian secret services he is talking about. She doesn't write about Ukraine. You are the people to be isolated from society, "suspicious", that must be neutralized. You are the journalists, activists, or people who read alternative news that must be put on lists with the CIA, FBI, INTERPOL, intel, and counter intel.

Who's Getting Attacked?

Throughout 2014 Harding made it clear that journalists, writers, and scholars that publish articles at GlobalResearch were agents engaged in Russian propaganda and active measures. Like the labeling of Mairead Maguire it doesn't need to be written remotely concerned with Ukraine, Donbass, or Russia, just against his agenda.

Global Research is a constant focus of his IO disrupt and destroy work through his private Cyber army in Ukraine.

GlobalResearch.ca. You are unprofessional for doing this, you do not deserve any association with the proud profession of journalism and you should be shut down. GlobalResearch.ca Remember that name, put it on your "bad" list and spread the word. They are despicable, vile, the opposite of journalists. GlobalResearch.ca - Harding

Some of Ukraine's IO army Targeted Websites

Propaganda. "The word is frequently used to describe any news emerging from one's opponent."- Joel Harding

RT.com, Sputnik.ru, Washingtonsblog.com, GlobalResearch.ca, OpEdNews.com, Anti-War.com, ZeroHedge.com. InfoWars.com, DemocracyNow.com, CounterPunch.com, RonPaulInstitute.org, PaulCraigRoberts.org, GreanvillePost.com....Small Sampling

These are only a few of the websites that have been targeted for attacks as Russian propaganda and active measures. The very recent jump in spam comments is just the beginning of a large unified effort.

People the IO army are Targeting

Topping the list in terms of importance is Congressman Alan Grayson who has been an outspoken opponent of intervention in Syria as well as Ukraine. Perhaps someone should tell him he's being watched. Every Congressmen that is against interventionism or for human rights should look into why a private citizen can grind axes with Americans using a foreign government/ private IO army he is creating. It is in part a branch of the Ukrainian Military and under a ministryof the Ukrainian government that Harding helped create. He is also steering its efforts.

Below are Russian terrorists according to the definition "news emerging from one's opponent."

Peppy Escobar and Steven Lendman are both "active measures" agents for writing about John Kerry, the State Department, RT bashing, and of course Ukraine. Blog talk Radio host Dr. Rick Staggenborg both a veteran and peace activist is labeled a Russian propagandist. Professor Michel Chossudovsky and every journalist and activist that publishes at GlobalResearch.ca which is a large list including Paul Craig Roberts and Robert Parry are Russian active measures agents in the Ukraine war and every "agendized news event they write on. Tyler Durden, connected writers and journalists are Russian propagandists. Deena Stryker, an editor at OpedNews is noted because of her PressTV interview for saying the US is engaged in a propaganda war.

All conspiracies aside it wouldn't feel right without adding Alex Jones and Michael Rivera. Harding developed what seems to be a fixation about Jones and company a few years back. Its not that he hates Jones' news sites any more than the others, but it is personal. Joel Harding's favorite nephew rates Jones take on international events as more credible than what Harding has to say.

George Eliason - As for those documents, Eliason must have contacted the cyber-militia directly, because they haven't made any public posts online since December. All of this was unusual enough to warrant further investigation into George Eliason's online identity.

Only a short year ago very few people could even point out Ukraine on a map. During this past year an American has given the government and military of Ukraine the power and tools to attack people in the United States, Europe, and where ever you are reading this.

The people listed are only a few of many. If you have a blog, website and write about current events, you are included too.It shows is an across the board monolithic effort to destroy alternative news and free speech, journalists, and activists. If you are writing about Ferguson and police brutality, human rights, or responsible government - How how long does an organized IO army need to destroy your reputation, income, and work when its focus - is YOU. Whats next? Wait and see.

Mr. Harding, will it be assassination or character assassination? Will you hand this over to your UkrNazis or Pravy Sektor? Can you adequately respond to why you a private citizen can make Western journalists "bad guys, terrorists, Russian political warfare combatants and therefore targets in your war?

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Escape plot foiled as Bedford Prison staff intercept drone laden with drugs and weapons

drone used british jail

This is the first known case of a remote-controlled aircraft being used to infiltrate a British jail

A drone has been used in a daring night-time attempt to smuggle drugs and weapons into a high security jail.

The plan was only thwarted when the machine became entangled in razor wire on a security wall and was then spotted by staff at Bedford Prison.

It is the first known case of a remote-controlled aircraft being used to infiltrate a British jail.

The Chinese-made machine was carrying a package containing drugs, mobile phones, screwdrivers and a knife.

Prison staff spotted it on the razor wire and managed to retrieve it.

One theory is that the 'pilot' planned to direct the drone to a spot where it could hover outside a cell window.

A prisoner might then have been able to reach out and grab the illicit cargo.

The miniature aircraft are already a major concern to police, who want to be given powers to seize them if they suspect they are being misused.

The one flown into Bedford Prison two weeks ago was a DJI Phantom 2 Vision, which weighs just 2.5lbs but has a range of nearly half a mile.

The device is fitted with a wide-angle camera and can be bought online or at an electrical retailer for around £900.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: 'We were called to reports that a small drone had been discovered alongside a package at HMP Bedford at 11.30pm on March 6.

'Both the device and the contents of the package are currently being examined and investigations are on-going.'

jail trafficking unauthorized items

The jail can contain around 500 inmates. A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons said the main challenge facing staff was the prevention of 'the inward trafficking of unauthorised items'

Adam Bailey, of the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, said: 'It's a pretty stupid way of trying to get stuff into a prison.

'A drone sounds like a swarm of bees and has flashing lights so you're likely to attract attention. You'd have to be very skilled to pull this off and these guys clearly weren't.'

A possible rehearsal for the drone's flight may have taken place a month ago.

Farhat Erdogan, who works in a Londis store close to the site, said he thought two men had been involved.

Mr Erdogan, 29, said: 'I saw these guys in their 30s with a drone and wondered what they were doing.

'They were standing near traffic lights a couple of hundred yards from the prison. I watched as they sent the drone up into the air.'

Shop worker Paddy Pain, 22, said a friend serving a sentence at the jail had been offered money by fellow inmates to accept a delivery of banned substances.

And Sonya Minney, 55, chief officer of the Bedford Guild House charity, which backs on to the prison, said: 'Staff have recently covered up the cell windows that face outwards to prevent stuff being thrown in.

Bedford prison drone escape

The plan was only thwarted when the machine became entangled in razor wire on the security wall at the jail

'We often hear the police helicopter and sometimes they patrol the perimeter with sniffer dogs but we've never seen a drone.' Drones have been widely used in the United States and Canada to fly drugs into penal institutions and in October a miniature helicopter packed with pills crashed into a net guarding the exercise yard of a jail in Ireland.

Phantom Vision devices are small enough to fit into the corner of a suitcase and manufacturer DJI claims they can fly for up to 50 minutes if fitted with an extra battery.

There have been no arrests in connection with the Bedford incident yet. Police have appealed for information.

A Prison Service spokesman said that the package had been 'quickly intercepted by vigilant staff'.

Those who achieve goals do so despite their self-doubt


We often assume that in order to achieve our goals, we need to become more confident. We need to work through our deep-seated self-doubts and take action. Because then we'll be ready. Then we'll be able to achieve what we want to achieve. We'll feel more secure with ourselves. We'll actually believe in ourselves.

While learning ways to be more confident can be valuable, you don't need to put your goals on hold until you do.

In fact, according to Tara Mohr in Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, "Self-doubt will always be a part of what we each work with as we take steps to play bigger."

Successful people deal with self-doubt all the time. The people who write bestselling books, give brilliant talks, hold high positions and make breakthroughs in all sorts of ways still feel insecure. They still worry they don't measure up.

Mohr shares the example of Dani Shapiro, a bestselling author whose work has appeared in prestigious publications and who's taught writing programs at Columbia University and New York University. (I've written about her latest book here on Psych Central.)

According to Shapiro, self-doubt still stalks her any time she starts something new.

I was looking at my computer one day at my list of everything I had written in the last few years — essays, stories, books, blog posts, everything. I had realized that every single one of these pieces had begun with the words running through my mind, "Here goes nothing. Here goes nothing. It's not going to work this time...I know it's worked before, but this time somehow I'm in over my head. I'm not going to get it right, I'm not going to be able to figure it out..."

However, Shapiro doesn't listen to her "inner censor." Instead, she does whatever she's doing anyway. She moves forward despite the anxiety.

Mohr shares another example: Cherry Murray is the dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Before that she was an executive at Bell Laboratories and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She's won awards and published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, among achieving other great accomplishments.

"Do I ever think I'm not qualified?" Murray tells Nature.

"All the time."

As Mohr writes, "If women like these, women at the very top of their fields who have every reason to feel confident, continue to grapple with regular and serious self-doubt, you and I probably will too."

In fact, she adds, the reason why these women struggle with self-doubt is because they're showing up. They're putting themselves out there. They're "regularly exposing themselves to criticism and visible failures and expressing their unique ideas and leadership in the world."

In The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear Ralph Keyes opens the book by exploring E.B. White's unrelenting self-doubt:

E.B. White was the most graceful of writers. A generation of imitators tried, but seldom succeeded, to match his casual self-assurance. We like to imagine White on his New England farm dashing off lighthearted essays and charming books for children when he wasn't slopping hogs or chopping wood. In fact, White worried over every word. He rewrote pieces twenty times or more and sometimes pleaded with his postmaster of North Brooklin, Maine, to return a just-mailed manuscript so he could punch up its ending or rewrite the lead.

So the bad news is that no matter how successful we get, we're still likely going to doubt ourselves. No matter the accolades we receive or the achievements we realize, we're still going to wonder if this time we'll fail. And maybe we will. But we won't know until we actually go there.

But the good news is that we don't need to wait until we've become more confident to do good work. Big work. Because often that confidence doesn't show up, anyway. Often what shows up instead are insecurities and second-guesses and what-ifs.

And that's OK. Because you can learn to walk alongside your self-doubt. You can learn to communicate with it. You can learn to turn down the volume on your blaring inner critic. And you can do it — the dream, the dissertation, the project, the research, the work of art — anyway.

Facilitating control of the masses: Our habitual media consumption empowers the matrix

The Matrix

© Imágen de la pelícila The Matrix.

The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device. And most of that activity is not even interactive. The vast majority of the time we are just passively absorbing content that someone else has created. This very much reminds me of the movie "the Matrix", but with a twist. Instead of humans being forcefully connected to "the Matrix", we are all willingly connecting ourselves to it.

There is a giant system that defines our reality for us, and the length of time that the average American spends connected to it just continues to keep growing. In fact, there are millions upon millions of us that simply do not "feel right" unless there is at least something on in the background. Just think about it. How much time do you spend each day with all electronic devices completely turned off? Thanks to technology, we live at a time when more news, information and entertainment is at our fingertips than ever before, and we are consuming more of it than ever before. But this also gives a tremendous amount of power to those that create all of this news, information and entertainment. As I have written about previously, more than 90 percent of the "programming" that we absorb is created by just 6 enormously powerful media corporations. Our conversations, attitudes, opinions and belief systems are constantly being shaped by those entities. Unfortunately, most of us are content to just sit back and let it happen.

The following numbers regarding the media consumption habits of average Americans come directly from Nielsen's most recent "Total Audience Report". The amount of time per day that Americans spend using these devices is absolutely staggering...

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into the Matrix.

You have heard the old saying "you are what you eat", right?

Well, the same applies to what we put into our brains.

When you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out.

In my recent article entitled "It's Official: Americans R Stupid", I discussed how the U.S. population is being systematically "dumbed down" and how we are now one of the least intelligent industrialized nations on the entire planet.

A big contributor to our intellectual and social demise is the Matrix that has been constructed all around us.

Virtually every television show, movie, song, book, news broadcast and talk show is trying to shape how you view reality. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being bombarded with messages about what is true and what is not, about what is right and what is wrong, and about what really matters and what is unimportant. Even leaving something out or ignoring something completely can send an extremely powerful message.

In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. But instead, most people seem more than content to let the Matrix do their thinking for them. If you listen carefully, you will notice that most of our conversations with one another are based on programming from the Matrix. We all love to talk about the movie that we just saw, or what happened on the latest reality show, or what some famous celebrity is doing, or what we saw on the news that morning. The things that matter to us in life are the things that the Matrix tells us should matter.

And if someone comes along with information that contradicts the Matrix, that can cause anger and confusion.

I can't tell you how many times someone has said something like the following to me...

"If that was true I would have seen it on the news."

To many people, the Matrix is the ultimate arbiter of truth in our society, and so anything that contradicts the Matrix cannot possibly be accurate.

Fortunately, more people than ever are waking up enough to realize that they have a choice.

It is kind of like that moment in the Matrix when Neo is being offered the red pill and the blue pill.

Admittedly, a lot of people that do begin to wake up choose to take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

But there are so many others that are grabbing the red pill. That is why we have seen such an explosion in the popularity of the alternative media in recent years. Millions of people all over the planet now understand that they are not getting the truth from the Matrix and they are hungry for real information.

Yes, the Internet is being used for unspeakable evil, but it can also be used for great good. The Internet has allowed ordinary people like you and I to communicate on a mass scale like never before in history. The Internet has allowed us to reclaim at least some of the power that we have lost to the Matrix. I don't know how long this period of history will last, so we should make full use out of this great tool while we still have it.

On my own website, I have felt called to mainly focus on economics in recent years. And I will continue to chronicle economic conditions as we descend into the greatest economic crisis in U.S. history. What is coming is going to be worse than 2008, it is going to be worse than the Great Depression, and it is ultimately going to be worse than most Americans would ever dare to imagine.

But I also want to take my readers on a journey down the rabbit hole.

Our world is about to get really, really strange, and I would like to be a light in the chaos.

Yes, I believe that great darkness is coming. But I also believe that a great awakening is coming.

Personally, I believe that it is a great privilege to be alive at this time in human history.

It is a time of great evil, but it is also a time of great opportunity.

It is a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but it will also be a time when those that stand for what is right will shine like the stars.

So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to add your two cents by posting a comment below...

Argentine archaeologists find secret Nazi lair in jungle

Rio Parana

© Alamy

View of the Rio Parana from Teyu Cuare park in San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina.

A team of Argentine archaeologists investigating a series of ruins in the jungle, close to the border with Paraguay, believe they have discovered a secret Nazi lair.

The cluster of stone structures, now covered by thick vines and accessible only when using a machete to cut through the undergrowth, contain stashes of German coins from the late 1930s, fragments of "Made in Germany" porcelain, and Nazi symbols on the walls.

"We can find no other explanation as to why anyone would build these structures, at such great effort and expense, in a site which at that time was totally inaccessible, away from the local community, with material which is not typical of the regional architecture," said Daniel Schavelzon, leader of the team.

Mr Schavelzon, from the University of Buenos Aires, spent months exploring the site in the Teyu Cuare provincial park, in the Misiones region of northern Argentina. Local legend told that a house in the forest belonged to Martin Bormann - Hitler's right-hand-man, who took his own life in May 1945 - but Mr Schavelzon said there was no evidence to support what he called "an urban myth".

Instead, the buildings were planned as a refuge for the leaders of the Third Reich, commissioned in case they needed to flee Germany.

"Apparently, halfway through the Second World War, the Nazis had a secret project of building shelters for top leaders in the event of defeat - inaccessible sites, in the middle of deserts, in the mountains, on a cliff or in the middle of the jungle like this," Mr Schavelzon told Argentine newspaper . He said that his findings were not yet definite, but he was convinced of their veracity.

"This site also has the bonus of allowing the inhabitants to be in Paraguay in less than 10 minutes. It's a protected, defendable site where they could live quietly."

Ultimately, though, the hideout wasn't needed, because after the fall of the Nazi regime their leaders were welcomed to Argentina and allowed to live openly .

Thousands of Nazis, Croatian Ustasha fascists and Italian fascists arrived with the blessing of president Juan Peron, who led the nation from 1946 to 1955 and again briefly in the 1970s. An estimated 5,000 Nazis eventually ended up in Argentina.

In 1960, Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who helped organise the Holocaust, was captured in Buenos Aires by an Israeli commando team and tried in Israel where he was executed. Josef Mengele, whose grotesque experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz earned him the title "Angel of Death", also fled to Argentina.

"When the war was over some useful Germans helped us build our factories and make the best use of what we had," said Peron, who died in 1974. "And in time they were able to help themselves too."

People reach peak of mental powers at various ages for different skills


© unknown

People reach the peak of their mental powers at different ages for different skills, according to a new study.

People think fastest at around 18-years-old, but the ability to read the emotions of others does not peak until between 40 and 60, the study found.

Vocabulary skills, meanwhile, do not peak until people are in their 60s or 70s.

In fact there may be no time in life at which all the mental powers are peaking, although some bunch together in youth.

Dr Joshua Hartshorne, the study's co-author, said:

"At any given age, you're getting better at some things, you're getting worse at some other things, and you're at a plateau at some other things.

There's probably not one age at which you're peak on most things, much less all of them."

The study found that visual working memory peaks at around 25.

Working memory for numbers, though, peaks at around 35.

Declining mental powers?

The results are based on data from almost 50,000 people across a wide age-range who took all sorts of cognitive tests.

For example, visual working memory was measured by having people look at a series of shapes and try to remember if they had seen them before.

Another test asked people to judge emotions just by looking at pairs of eyes.

The results showed that the brain's raw processing speed peaks at 18 or 19 and then drops off straight away.

Short-term memory, though, peaks around 25 and levels off until around 35.

The findings — especially on the late blooming in language — go against some established theories.

It has mostly been thought that the brain's performance peaks around 20, then declines almost across the board.

This study, though, shows a much more complex picture of how mental powers change with age.

Dr Laura Germine, the study's co-author, said:

"If you go into the data on gene expression or brain structure at different ages, you see these lifespan patterns that we don't know what to make of.

The brain seems to continue to change in dynamic ways through early adulthood and middle age.

The question is: What does it mean?

How does it map onto the way you function in the world, or the way you think, or the way you change as you age?

[This study] paints a different picture of the way we change over the lifespan than psychology and neuroscience have traditionally painted."

Rhinos with poison-infused horns are roaming the bush in South Africa, frightening away poachers

Rhinos with poison-infused horns are roaming the bush in South Africa, frightening away poachers who don’t want sell a toxic product to their clients in Asia. At least that’s what Lorina Hern hopes.

Hern, the co-founder of the Rhino Rescue Project, has spent the last four years “devaluing” the horns of rhinos by infusing them with ectoparasiticides — or anti-parasite drugs — and pink dye. The dye isn't visble on the outside, and the ectoparasiticides are harmless to the rhinos when injected into their horns. But humans who handle or consume the horns may not be so lucky.

“At a minimum it would start with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, all the way up to nervous symptoms, which could be permanent,” Hern says. “Some ectoparasiticides also precipitate the development of cancers later on in life.”

Rhino Rescue does its work on behalf of wildlife parks and game reserves looking to protect their rhinos from poachers. Wildlife tourism brings billions of dollars into the South African economy each year, and tourists expect to see rhinos on their safari tours.

That makes rhinos expensive: One animal can cost an owner more than $20,000. But the demand for rhino horns in Asia, where they are believed to have medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities, has made a single rhino horn worth 10 times that on the black market, making the animals tempting targets for poachers.

A premeditated war with Russia?

© LiveLeak Screen Grab/DMCA

We are in deep trouble...

Professor Stephen Cohen, America's top Russian expert, says that he and other authorities have no input into US policy toward Russia. He says that there is no discourse, no debate, and that this is unprecedented in American foreign policy.

He says that the "ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonization of Putin" is an indication of "the possibility of premeditated war with Russia."

Key points from Professor Cohen's speech can be found here, and you can watch it below...

[embedded content]

BEST OF THE WEB: Crimea: Way Back Home (VIDEO)

crimea way back home

Andrey Kondrashov's documentary on the return of Crimea to Russia is finally available with English subtitles. It has been just 1 year since Crimeans took to the polls to vote their return to their Motherland and leave wretched Ukraine behind. And they're glad they did. See the following news coverage for more on the documentary and Crimea 1 year later: Episode 1: Saving President Yanukovich

Episode 2: Rage of the Maidan Orcs

Episode 3: Berkut. People's Protectors

Episode 4: Sevastopol. Defence of Crimean Parliament

Episode 5: Crimean Tatars

Episode 6: Greeting Right Sector's; Train of Friendship;. Simferopol Airport

Episode 7: Crimean Referendum. Vote of Crimean Parliament

Episode 8: Berkut and Kuban Cossacks. Defence of the Border

Episode 9: Black Sea Fleet. Coastal Defence System Bastion-P

Episode 10: Night Wolves in Yalta. Apprehension of Ukr. General Mikhail Koval

Episode 11: Neutralization and Defection of Ukr. Foces in Crimea to Russia

Episode 12: Natalia Poklonskaya. Night Wolves in Sevastopol

Episode 13: Neutralization of NATO partners - Battalion Galichina

Episode 14: Return of Crimea. Summary

SOTT Exclusive: Kalashnikovs in India - U.S.-backed insurgents playing divide and conquer near China's borders


A "Russian-doll" building in Inner Mongolia.

Suicidal, armed to the teeth and threatening any opposition to U.S. hegemony, the extensive Western-backed Gladio network is having a field day. It seems that staging terror attacks in Tunisia, Yemen, Sweden, Denmark and Syria wasn't enough. The latest attacks happened in India and are already increasing tension between India and Pakistan - both states being Observers for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) membership.

Two gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs and wearing military uniforms walked into an Indian police station in Kathua district located close to the border with Pakistan and opened fire. Six people died in total, including the attackers.

The following day, around 20 kilometres from the first scene of the crime, two gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades opened fire on an army camp in Samba district of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. After a shootout that lasted several hours, both attackers were killed. Security agencies believe that the two gunmen belonged to the same group that carried out the attack on the police station.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah reported in a Twitter post that: "If (this) is indeed a terrorist strike, it marks a sharp departure from past attacks. Two attacks in two days in (the) same area of Jammu (is) very unusual."

Since creating chaos in and around China's borders, as well as destabilizing China and its allies, is one of the goals of the U.S., it's not hard to see who benefits from the latest incident.

Beijing has stressed how important stability in Pakistan and their relations with neighbouring countries is for the upcoming China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC), connecting China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (which is already a target of U.S. terror operations) with Pakistan's Gwadar port.

Li Wei quoted by PTI News said, "Generally speaking, the security situation in Pakistan is very important for Pakistan for the establishment of the corridor and also the security situation in the neighbouring countries and Pakistan's relations with the neighbouring countries."

Mr. Li further added, "The establishment of the corridor will come a long way in boosting the economic and security environment in this region. There are three important countries in this region, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. So this economic corridor will exert very positive impact in boosting trade ties among the these three countries."

India is already blaming Pakistan for the incident - it seems it's mission accomplished for the U.S. terror hordes. If tensions increase even more, it could have a negative impact on China's CPEC project, and it could have an effect on SCO membership of Pakistan and India, which would thwart current Russia-China efforts aimed at bringing stability to the region. We'll have to wait for the annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this summer and see what happens.

Apart from causing chaos, the favorite pastime of the current empire is, as mentioned before, nurturing terrorists. So it's not hard to guess how terrorists ended up in the region. From Afghanistan to China's Xinjiang to the Pakistani region of Baluchistan, all of these are representative of U.S. efforts to dominate the region and prevent the emergence of countries that pose a threat to Western hegemony.

One long-time MI6 asset, Omar Bakri Muhammad, would openly boast about his close ties with MI6 and his work as one of their operatives and how he helped funnel terrorists as early as 2000 to the region of Kashmir:

In 1996, Omar Bakri founded Al Muhajiroun with Anjem Choudary. According to John Loftus, a former US Army Intelligence Officer and Justice Department prosecutor, three senior Al Muhajiroun figures at the time - Bakri, Abu Hamza, and Haroon Rashid Aswat - had been recruited by MI6 that year to facilitate Islamist activities in the Balkans.

In 2000, Bakri admitted to training British Muslims to fight as jihadists in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya or South Lebanon. Recruits were "learning firearms and explosives use, surveillance and other skills" and "would be expected to join a jihad being waged in one country or another". That year, he boasted: "The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity. There is nothing left. You can label us ... put us behind bars, but it's not going to work."

Labour Party MP Andrew Dismore told parliament the following year about a month after 9/11 that Bakri's private security firm, Sakina Security Services, "sends people overseas for jihad training with live arms and ammunition", including training camps "in Pakistan and Afghanistan", and even at "many different sites in the United Kingdom".

Hundreds of Britons were being funneled through such training only to return to the UK advocating that Whitehall and Downing Street be attacked as "legitimate targets". Though Sakina was raided by police and shut down, Bakri and Hamza were not even arrested, let alone charged or prosecuted.

And last year, Bakri boasted, "I'm involved with training the mujahideen [fighters] in camps on the Syrian borders and also on the Palestine side. "The trainees included four British Islamists "with professional backgrounds" who would go on to join the war in Syria. Bakri also claimed to have trained "many fighters", including people from Germany and France, since arriving in Lebanon.

On the other hand, the chaos caused by the foot soldiers of the Western powers could actually be presenting a unique opportunity for China and Russia by leaving an 'opening' for both states, allowing them to do what they do best: play a role of mediator and reconciliator, establishing numerous business and energy deals in the process, as we see is happening more and more and thus effectively winning favor with states under attack by the U.S., helping to bring about the multipolar world and eventually causing the downfall of U.S. grip of the planet. In the meantime it's business as usual for the current empire - 'enjoy' the show.


Ante Sarlija (Profile)

Born and raised in Croatia, Ante joined the SOTT editorial team in 2014 and currently helps run the Croatian SOTT. He is also a part of the Croatian SOTT translation team. He spends his free time researching.

EU's accidental autocrat and her two accidental missions


© www.theblaze.com

Angela Merkel, a rising star?

The European Union is not a state or a federation of states, it is something not seen before, but is assumed to grow state-like characteristics like a center of political accountability. It does not have a head of state or head of government. But political entities of any kind will at some point, when under pressure, cry out for leadership. Europe's crises are demanding this, and have thrown up an autocrat.

Angela Merkel is an accidental autocrat. She was not chosen to be leader of Europe through any democratic method. She was not appointed or anointed. She could hardly be a more unlikely leader of the continent, having received her political education in the sheltered system of the DDR, far removed from plans and beginnings of Europe's unification. She does not give the impression of having wanted the position, and if she relishes it she does not let on. She has demonstrated great political savvy, with tactical skills first honed when she was leader of a youth devision of East Germany's "Propaganda und Agitation". Her acumen has lifted her to an apparently invulnerable position above Germany's political parties. The big question for all of us interested in the world's future is whether she is becoming the inspired politician for whom many Europeans have been waiting. Can she rise to the occasion?

Early signs do not prompt a jubilant 'yes!'. Yes, she did make a late move, eleven months into the Ukraine crisis, to try stop American 'lethal' weapon deliveries (with the inevitable 'advisers' and in the end well-nigh inevitable tactical nukes) to the Kiev regime. And, yes, she let the Greek Minister of Finance have a tiny slice of a compromise to allow him a Herculean attempt to save his country from total economic ruin. Both moves, though, were the absolute minimum of what the crises required.

The Ukraine and Greek crises have become existential crises for the European Union, caused by what is most wrong with that political entity. There are two great hindrances that keep the Union from fulfilling its unrealized promise. The promise was much commented upon only two decades ago, when Europe presented itself as a paragon of international virtues worthy of emulation. The hindrances - it cannot be restated often enough - are the secular faith of Atlanticism and the neoliberal capture of the Union's political structure and processes. The two are, almost needless to say, intertwined.

The phrase 'democratic deficit' used by officials and commentators until a few years ago showed an awareness among Europe's political elites that the way things are done in the European Union were not quite in keeping with professed principles held up for the world's admiration. But this criticism revolved around the lack of enthusiasm for, participation in, or even the slightest curiosity about Europe's political life rather than that they revealed an understanding of the momentous political metamorphosis that was changing things from under the feet of citizens of Europe's member states without them noticing.

That change is neatly summed up by the imagery of the transformation of citizens, as far as ruling elites are concerned, into consumers - a transformation more vividly imagined by American critics of late capitalism than their counterparts in Europe, for whom the process was faster and came with less warning.

No electorate in the European Union voted for a replacement of unions, political parties, churches and other once representative institutions between themselves and their governments by a pack of ever more powerful corporate bodies dictating terms to the Union's ruling elite. They did not vote for austerity policies masquerading as responsible finance. They did not bring a Brussels lobby of insurers to power, which demanded fundamental overhauls of good working national healthcare systems, limiting physicians in what they could and should perscribe and advise. They did not vote for an elevation of North European banks to become dominant arbiters of policy, and when these were facing technical bankruptcy through their gambling, they did not endorse the compensation of bank losses incurred through predatory lending by means of, again, predatory policies causing large-scale social suffering and ruin in the peripheral member states, Greece foremost among them.

Traditional safeguards against the arrogation of power by non-representative but politically significant entities to a point where they eliminate the relevance of citizens do not now function in Europe. Angela Merkel demonstrated her political loyalties when, after the credit crisis of 2008, she pointed her fingers at the Greeks and other peripheral populations who reportedly evaded their taxes and did not work hard enough, effectively changing the subject from the question of who instigated the crisis. After that, and up until today, she could hardly inform her electorate that German tax money and IMF financial 'aid' was bouncing straight back from Athens to replenish the coffers of Germany's own banks, along with those of France and The Netherlands.

Since that time I have wondered whether Chancellor Merkel could perceive what was going on, and whether her tack to blame the Greeks was a momentary expedient, the repercussions of which were beyond her abilities to fathom. With respect to the other big hindrance to European fulfillment, does Chancellor Merkel begin to fathom just how momentous the changes in Washington at the hands of neocon radicals and 'liberal hawks' have been? She has appeared, at least until recently, to share with her counterparts in Northern Europe a blindness to how Europe's erstwhile geopolitical protector, which for all its CIA machinations did help maintain a relatively stable post-World War II international system, has become a tragic case of political malfunctioning and deadly hubris. Does she perceive that the 'Alliance' part of Atlanticism has become theory without substance?

There is no alliance in the generally accepted interpretation of the word. Alliances exist for purposes of shared goals. After the demise of the common enemy, the transatlantic alliance collapsed because of a slide into militarism, and fundamentally altered priorities of its dominant member. Command replaced consultation. Times are long gone when any kind of public conversation between Europeans and Americans about harmful American action has a chance to resonate in American corridors of power. Through continued support for NATO Europe's member states help encourage Washington's delusions of unattainable total global control, which will not benefit them in any way, but of which they are likely to become dupes.

A major article in Der Spiegel, Germany's weekly with a reputation for seriousness to lose, celebrates a new Merkel. One who has taken the initiative to try stop the fighting in the Ukraine, and "contrary to her preferred modus operandi, has embarked on a mission with an uncertain outcome". Along with a detailed description of the Minsk negotiations, the magazine speaks of a major change of style. After a history of being critical of Merkel for "dithering in the face of tough decisions" it admires her now for "making moves she would have avoided in the past", and concludes that she has switched from foreign policy 'idealism' (principles) to realpolitik.

In this and other Spiegel articles, as well as most articles on the subject all over Europe, the elephant in the room is studiously overlooked. But the Der Spiegel editors do acknowledge who is boss, as they comment on Obama that "he is a president who gives Merkel room, and a chance, to make her own foreign policy, a European foreign policy," almost as if, under their breath, they thank him for his generosity on this occasion.

With respect to the looming threat of a proxy war in the Ukraine, the leading question is whether the peace party that Merkel has formed with Francois Hollande can outlive any further Washington meddling aimed at preventing a de facto partition of the Ukraine. In feverishly nationalist neocon eyes, what is at stake with propping up the Kiev regime, and helping it defeat the separatists, can only loom bigger than before they meddled in the Ukraine. By initiating the crisis and with their containment moves on the Asian side, they themselves have driven the two former communist giants of the Eurasian continent into each other's arms. There are now new Russian-Chinese trade and mutual assistance commitments, and their joint efforts to establish an alternative to the dollar for global trade and aid purposes have intensified. The new 'silk road' projects that will connect China's coastal cities with European ports by high-speed trains, and which promise to make the heaviest trade traffic in human history possible, can only appear as an ultimate threat to 'Full Spectrum Dominance' ambitions. It would be a miracle if the second Minsk ceasefire agreement also ended the recent history of NATO provocations, together with Washington's sabotaging of Europe-Russian commercial relations. Barack Obama has never shown the kind of presidential control and resolve that made Harry Truman fire General Douglas McArthur.

We may be witnessing a restoration of significant French-German cooperation, which evidently began over a lengthy dinner at the end of January in Strasbourg. Almost surely relevant as well was that Merkel and Hollande went to the Kremlin without their usual entourage, evidently to minimize the possibility of American eavesdropping. It would seem that the French, more than the Germans have begun to see that the Atlanticism fervently on display in 2014, and unreservedly preached by Europe's mainstream media, has created a funnel to political suffocation and perhaps fullscale war. For the peace party to succeed in the long term, and for European-Russian relations to be repaired and go towards where they were before waves of Putin vilification poisoned Europe's public discussion, Merkel will have to paper over her earlier shared general European assumptions of Putin as the aggressor in the Ukraine and her earlier bad misunderstanding of the crisis.

Peace party heroism now masks Merkel's factual defeat by having to take seriously what Putin had been suggesting all along with his repeated diplomatic proposals ever since the putsch in Kiev last year. Is she now also ready to accept the defeat of her story about lazy Greeks properly punished by an austerity program? The number of Europeans who still believe that original story has dwindled significantly. In spite of continued scornful and belittling mainstream misreporting in Northern Europe's mainstream media about the attempts by Yanis Varoufakis to break through the rigidity of Europe's financial apparatchiks, sympathy has grown for the new Greek government trying to save their nation.

The last time we had anything remotely resembling what the 'troika' of European Commission, ECB, and IMF was doing to Greece, was in the days of 'bleeding' as medical remedy for various illnesses. That flourished in ancient Greece and medieval Europe when surgeons believed that illnesses were caused by an imbalance of body 'humors'. It was discontinued just before the twentieth century. A hundred years later the comparable method of starving public sectors, making them as skinny as possible has been conquering the world. For centuries a fainting patient was considered proof that the treatment was working, and the weaker ones naturally died. But the difference between bloodletting in the past and the economic austerity of today, is that bloodletting was frequently not fatal, while starving countries' public sectors leads inexorably to ever deeper economic tragedy.

By now the only people who still stick to the unreason of bleeding, at least publicly, are the top officials of Europe's finance ministries, with Germany's Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble in the lead. I think they cannot believe in it, but they must be constantly aware of the interests they in fact represent, which have been prospering from Greece's bleeding. But, surprise, the IMF, whose record of enthusiastic economic bloodletting in South America and Africa brought its continued existence in danger until the Euro countries asked it to come and help, has turned out to be relatively supportive for the aims of the Syriza government. As we know, the American Treasury controls the IMF. For the moment Washington does not want to have to deal with disintegration of the euro or European Union.

Merkel does not of course want to go down in history as the autocrat who made disintegation happen. A very interesting and telling split in the German top was revealed when in the last phase Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel spoke of the Greek final proposal as an acceptable basis for negotiation after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, had denied this. The next thing that happened was a phone call from Merkel to Alexis Tsipras, her Greek colleague, that changed the atmosphere.

Did the German chancellor rise to the occasion here, characteristically at a late moment, in a seemingly trivial but factually big way? There are other cases in her political past where her well-known slow-motion decision making speeds up when her physicist-chemist trained mind has collected all available evidence. She also does not seem to mind that a political associate walks into a wall as a result.

Mainstream media reports on the confrontation between Varoufakis and the European authorities have mostly concealed the fact that Schäuble took a step back, as they made it appear that the Greek government was too sure of itself and invited humiliation. Reporters and analysts can be relied upon unwittingly to fall in line with Merkel's image-making behind which this, in her domestic setting rather ruthless, politician practices what Der Spiegel now calls 'realpolitik'.

The dogmatic rigidity of the troika serves to give this combination of institutions a semblance of legitimacy, which would be undermined if it ended its austerity demands. Their lording it over the nations that fell victim to the misbehavior of the Northern banks does not rest on democratic legitimacy. Neither has it possessed legitimacy rooted in knowledge and capacity or political wisdom. Europe's populations have been expected to accept that IMF, ECB, and their ministers of finance have profound understanding of economies and know what in the end is good for all. This is no longer widely believed. The rigidity of the ministers of finance on display in Brussels last month must have been inspired, more specifically, by a newly emerging threat to the power of present incumbents.

If the Syriza government in Athens succeeds in making headway in its promised fight against corruption and tax evasion during the four months extension of a loan agreement it has been given, and if it then manages, gradually and with new negotiations, to extricate itself from austerity doom, Spanish, Portuguese, and perhaps even Irish electorates will have a precedent for a new breed of politicians to invoke. In which case the authorities may begin to see the first outlines of a new spectre to haunt Europe. When Varoufakis kept referring to the fact that what he was doing for Greece, was very much also for Europe as a whole, this man of great intellectual capacity and integrity was not disingeneous.

Having once almost personified the two big things that are wrong with Europe, Atlanticist submission and austerity policies, does the German Chancellor have it in her to lead Europe away from those? She appears to be the only politician who can win from the ECB, IMF, EU Commission, and possibly even Obama. Circumstances are forcing this accidental autocrat to come to terms with the two great political perversions of our age: the subjection of the mass of the world's human beings to a life ultimately dictated by the very few - the infamous 1% - and an irrepressible warmaking spirit that seeks fulfillment of fantasies of total global control.

Is this accidental autocrat aware of how huge, how monumental a difference she could make?

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What diet soda does to belly fat

coke zero

A new study published in the found that people who drank diet soda gained almost triple the abdominal fat over nine years as those who didn't drink diet soda. The study analyzed data from 749 people ages 65 and older who were asked, every couple of years, how many cans of soda they drank a day, and how many of those sodas were diet or regular.

Those answers ended up being extremely predictive of abdominal-fat gain, even after the researchers adjusted for factors like diabetes, smoking and levels of physical activity. People who didn't drink diet soda gained about 0.8 in. around their waists over the study period, but people who drank diet soda daily gained 3.2 in. Those who fell in the middle — occasional drinkers of diet soda — gained about 1.8 in.

That change in waist circumference is especially concerning because it highlights an unfortunate truth about weight distribution: the belly is a bad place for extra pounds. The kind that pads the abs from the inside, called visceral fat, is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, inflammation and Type 2 diabetes.

These results, which the study authors call "striking," add to the growing body of evidence that no- and low-calorie sweeteners may come with health concerns. Though scientists are still puzzling through the mechanisms by which diet soda seems to have the unintended consequence of weight gain, they have some ideas. Sugar-free sodas contain substances that sweeten up soda at 200-600 times the sweetness of sugar.

"Regular sugar has caloric consequences," says the study's senior author Dr. Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. And one of those is that it triggers satiety — a sense of fullness or satisfaction. "Your body is used to knowing that a sweet taste means you are ingesting energy in the form of calories that, if you don't burn them off, is going to convert to fat," she says. Artificial sweeteners, however, confuse our bodies and weaken the link in our brains between sweetness and calories. That, Hazuda says, can lead to weight gain and cravings for sweeter and sweeter treats.

There may be something else at work. A recent study in mice showed that artificial sweeteners actually changed the gut bacteria of mice in ways that made them vulnerable to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance — both of which can lead to weight gain. And other mice research suggests that artificial sweeteners are associated with a drop in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin, Hazuda says. Leptin is the hormone that inhibits hunger.

The Calorie Control Council, an association that represents the reduced-calorie food and beverage industry — including alternative sweeteners — disagreed with the study's findings. "The use of low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) in weight management has been shown to be beneficial," the group said in a statement. "While approaches to treat obesity in older individuals is controversial, diet modifications can be a successful part of a weight-management program for older adults."

Researchers in the new study found that belly-fat gain was most pronounced in people who were already overweight. "People who are already at cardiometabolic risk because they have higher BMIs are really in double or triple jeopardy," Hazuda says. "When they think they're doing something good by drinking artificially sweetened beverages, it's actually totally counterproductive."

Clinton Foundation's deep financial ties to Ukrainian oligarch

Will take money from basically anyone.

Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.

In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn't handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals "to modernize Ukraine," according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine "a successful, free, modern country based on European values." It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, "this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing."

- From the article: Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends

When I first came across the title to this article, I didn't think much of it. In fact, I almost didn't even click the link thinking it was just a repeat of a prior expose I highlighted in the post:Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 2 - Clinton Foundation Took Millions From Countries That Also Fund ISIS.

Fortunately, I did decide to take a look and pretty soon my jaw absolutely hit the floor. Although the didn't play up the connection, I was stunned to see that of all the oligarchs connected to foreign governments who donated to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State, Ukraine was at the very top. I thought this to be strange, but as I read on I just couldn't believe how connected the main donor was to the current regime in power. Considering this is the main geopolitical hotspot on earth right now, many, many questions need to be asked.

Let's also recall some of the more shady aspects of the new government in Ukraine by taking a look back at the post, Made in the USA - How the Ukrainian Government is Giving Away Citizenships so Foreigners Can Run the Country. Here are a few excerpts:

Claims that the new government in Ukraine is nothing more than a Western puppet Parliament have been swirling around consistently since February. Nevertheless, I think it's very significant that the takeover is now overt, undeniable and completely out in the open. Nothing proves this fact more clearly than the recent and sudden granting of citizenship to three foreigners so that they can take top posts in the government.

At the top of the list is American, Natalie Jaresko, who runs private equity fund Horizon Capital. She will now be Ukraine's Finance Minister, and I highly doubt she will be forced to pay the IRS Expatriation Tax (one set of laws for the rich and powerful, another set of laws for the peasants). For Economy Minister, a Lithuanian investment banker, Aivaras Abromavicius, will take the reins. Health Minister will be Alexander Kvitashvili of Georgia.

Now read the following from the :

The Clinton Foundation swore off donations from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. That didn't stop the foundation from raising millions of dollars from foreigners with connections to their home governments, a review of foundation disclosures shows.

Some donors have direct ties to foreign governments. One is a member of the Saudi royal family. Another is a Ukrainian oligarch and former parliamentarian. Others are individuals with close connections to foreign governments that stem from their business activities. Their professed policy interests range from human rights to U.S.-Cuba relations.

All told, more than a dozen foreign individuals and their foundations and companies were large donors to the Clinton Foundation in the years after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, collectively giving between $34 million and $68 million, foundation records show. Some donors also provided funding directly to charitable projects sponsored by the foundation, valued by the organization at $60 million.

The foreign donors reached by The Wall Street Journal said they contributed to the foundation for charitable, not political reasons.

Former President Bill Clinton promised the Obama administration the foundation wouldn't accept most foreign-government donations while his wife was secretary of state. The agreement didn't place limits on donations from foreign individuals or corporations.

Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.

In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn't handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals "to modernize Ukraine," according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

During Mrs. Clinton's time at the State Department, Mr. Schoen, the pollster, registered as a lobbyist for Mr. Pinchuk, federal records show. Mr. Schoen said he and Mr. Pinchuk met several times with Clinton aides including Melanne Verveer, a Ukrainian-American and then a State Department ambassador-at-large for global women's issues. The purpose, Mr. Schoen said, was to encourage the U.S. to pressure Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych to free his jailed predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mr. Schoen said his lobbying was unrelated to the donations. "We were not seeking to use any leverage or any connections or anything of the sort relating to the foundation," he said.

Please Schoen, don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.

The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine "a successful, free, modern country based on European values." It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, "this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing."

Oh certainly, all you have to do is take a brief look at Ukraine to see what a wonderful thing it has been.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wasn't allowed to give to the foundation while Mrs. Clinton was at the State Department. But several prominent Saudi Arabian businessmen gave millions.

- Victor Dahdaleh, a London businessman whose foundation contributed between $1 million and $5 million, has ties to Bahrain's state-owned aluminum company. He was the intermediary between the state-owned Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. and Alcoa World Alumina, which is majority owned by Alcoa Inc. Last year, he was acquitted in London on charges of bribing Bahraini officials to secure contracts for the Alcoa firm. In the U.S., the Alcoa affiliate pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges, and the Justice Department said an investigation into the matter remains open.

Rilin Enterprises, part of a privately held Chinese construction, infrastructure and port-management company, made a $2 million foundation pledge. The company was founded and is run by Wang Wenliang, a member of the National People's Congress, China's formal parliamentary body. Mr. Wang didn't respond to a request to speak with him during the annual meeting earlier this month.

Mr. Wang is the former municipal official of Dandong, a city of 2.4 million in the Liaoning province on China's border with North Korea. His company now controls that city's port, a major trade route into North Korea.

The Clinton Foundation was unaware Mr. Wang was a delegate to the NPC, said a foundation official.

One of Mr. Wang's firms was a contractor for the new Chinese Embassy in Washington.

In today's fraudulent and rigged oligarch economy, this is what we call a nice "return on cronyism."