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 How the Channel Tunnel changed Europe forever Joe Minihane, CNN • Joe Minihane, CNN - 4th May 2019
(CNN) — Pulling out from beneath St Pancras's magnificent wrought iron roof, the Eurostar slipping through tunnels towards the Kent countryside, it's easy to feel blasé about taking a train from London to mainland Europe.
From the ease of checking in at the UK's finest rail station just 30 minutes before departure to arriving in the heart of Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam without having to deal with baggage reclaim, traveling by rail to northern Europe feels both seamless and everyday.
Likewise, driving onto a dedicated train Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service near Folkestone for a 35-minute ride to Calais, far quicker than using a ferry across the English Channel, is now seen as completely normal.
The same can be said for freight train drivers readying themselves for an epic 18 day, 7,500-mile trip from Barking in East London all the way to China.
The feat of engineering that has made this all possible, the Channel Tunnel, opened 25 years ago. Queen Elizabeth II and then French President Francois Mitterand officially cut the ribbon at special services in Folkestone and Calais on 6 May 1994, with Eurostar services running to Paris from London from November 1994.
In the quarter century since, it's become not only a vital physical link between the UK and mainland Europe,

but a highly symbolic one, particularly in an era of Brexit.
"It put international rail travel back in the game," says Mark Smith, founder of rail travel website The Man in Seat 61.
"It changed the perception of Brussels and Paris from being destinations you needed to go to via an airport, such as Vietnam and Australia, into places that are just down the road, like Manchester or Leeds."
Some 4.5 million UK tourists use the Channel Tunnel every year, with 1.6 million trucks transporting goods between the UK and the continent, making it worth around €140 billion per year to the UK and European economies, according to EY's Economic Footprint of the Channel Tunnel in the UK report from 2018.

Fears of invasion
The tunnel itself had been mooted for over 180 years before British and French workers broke ground and began digging towards each other in 1988. French engineer Albert Mathieu-Flavier first proposed a subterranean link between Britain and France in 1802, suggesting the creation of an artificial island in the English Channel for trains to change the horses that would be required to pull the carriages.
The concept continued to rear its head throughout the 19th century, with engineers even digging tunnels into the bedrock before plans were abandoned in 1882, with British politicians fearing that the tunnel would compromise the country's defenses.
It wasn't until 1987, after numerous false starts following World War II, that the British and French parliaments agreed to the project, with two rail tunnels and a third service tunnel preferred to plans for road tunnels and a suspension bridge.

It took six years for 13,000 workers to build the 31.4 mile tunnel, 23.5 miles of which run undersea, making it the longest of its kind in the world. Inevitably, that kind of engineering and manpower did not come cheap, with costs in 1994 estimated at £4.65 billion (about $7.2 billion), a massive 80% more than originally planned.
There was so much spoil left over from the tunnel that an entire nature reserve, Samphire Hoe, was created on the UK side. Consisting of 4.9 million cubic meters of chalk, it overlooks Dover's famous White Cliffs.
On opening, the Channel Tunnel was dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, alongside the Empire State Building and Toronto's CN Tower.
Despite the eye-watering cost, the tunnel became an immediate hit with travelers. "It played its part in changing public attitudes towards railways, which for many years had been declining in importance, and helped spark a railway renaissance across the UK," says Ed Bartholomew, lead curator at the UK's National Railway Museum in York.
Mark Smith agrees, saying the ongoing popularity of taking the train from the UK to Europe speaks to a wider grassroots distaste with flying.
"Mainstream travelers now come to my site," he says. "When they tell me why they're going by rail rather than air, they say two things in the same breath: They're fed up to the back teeth of the airline experience and they want to cut their carbon footprint. It's like those two are flip sides of the same coin."

A journey from London to Paris emits 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent short--haul flight, according to Eurostar.
"From the early days of operation, Eurostar has championed the environmental benefits of high-speed rail and encouraged the switch to sustainable modes of transport for short-haul international travel," a Eurostar spokesperson told CNN.

A slow start

The initial experience, however, was much removed from the high-speed delights experienced by today's travelers. While the French side of the tunnel utilized high speed lines into Paris from the get go, traveling in and out of London was a lot more sedate. For a start, services ran from Waterloo, just south of the Thames, rather than the current terminal at St Pancras.
And while facilities at the station itself were good, trains had to travel on commuter lines through the south of the city thanks to legal assurances made by the UK government in 1987 that no public money would be used for a high-speed rail link to the tunnel.

"Britain had to make use of existing lines running through one of the most intensively worked and congested commuter systems in the world," says Ed Bartholomew. "That meant that for the first 13 years of operation, passenger trains ran into Waterloo station on a DC electric system and, almost comically, Eurostar trains capable of 300 kph (186 mph) had to pass over a manually operated level crossing gate just south of Ashford station."
The experience was, frankly, embarrassing. The planned journey time of two hours and 50 minutes would lengthen when trains got stuck behind stopping services, throwing into sharp relief the difference between rail infrastructure in the UK and mainland Europe.

"The French approach to financing, government management and planning was very different and demonstrated a much bolder attitude to grands projets," adds Bartholomew.
Mercifully, the development of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, also known as High Speed 1, meant an end to chugging through London's leafy southern suburbs. The £11 billion route was beset by political and funding difficulties, but the first section, running 46 miles from the tunnel to a junction in northern Kent, opened in September 2003, followed by the final 24.5 mile section into London in November 2007.

With its completion, Eurostar services moved from Waterloo to the newly redeveloped St Pancras, with journey times to Paris down to as little as two hours and 15 minutes.
The updated station, already one of London's greatest Victorian buildings, has become a byword for the laid back approach of continental train travel compared with the harried experience found at airports.
It stands in stark contrast to the dingy, outdated Gare du Nord in Paris, where check in and passenger facilities remain underwhelming at best and cramped and uncomfortable at worst.

There was also another important aspect of making the switch to St Pancras: the trains themselves.
"Traveling on a high-speed railway line for the whole journey enabled the purchase of new state-of-the art trains with more capacity, onboard entertainment and Wi-Fi," Eurostar tells CNN.
Today's trains are noticeably more modern than the original rolling stock, where a lack of internet connection proved an issue with business customers zipping between London and mainland Europe.

Expanding horizons

While initial Eurostar services ran through the Channel Tunnel to Paris and Brussels, newer destinations have been added in recent years. Seasonal routes take in the south of France in the summer and the French Alps in winter have become hugely popular, as has the ability to book through to over 100 destinations in Europe and the UK, meaning it's possible to use the Channel Tunnel to plug into the wider rail network.
In April 2018, Eurostar opened a new direct route to Amsterdam, with a journey time of three hours and 55 minutes. However, passengers coming back need to take a train to Brussels to connect to a Eurostar service back to London. Despite that kink, over 250,000 people have used the service in the past year, with demand seeing a third daily train added. Pleasingly, the indirect return trip also looks set to be a thing of the past very soon.

"The governments have committed to finalizing an agreement to allow us to run a direct return journey by the end of the year," said Eurostar. "When we have this we're sure that it will feed the growing appetite among customers for high-speed, sustainable rail travel."
That said, plans for services to Frankfurt via Cologne, run by the German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB), were shelved in June 2018 citing changes in the "economic environment," suggesting any newer routes are unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Brexit, with its new deadline of October 31, may also have had a part to play in DB's decision.

Eurostar told CNN it planned to maintain its existing services even in the event of no deal being agreed between the UK and EU.
A success story?
From a travelers' perspective, it's hard to resist the allure and romance of the Channel Tunnel, an engineering project dreamed up over 200 years ago and now the most pleasant way to travel between the UK and Europe.

"The Channel Tunnel is a political, diplomatic, financial and technical success," says Ed Bartholomew.

"It's now firmly embedded in the economies of Britain, Ireland and continental Europe."​​
Mark Smith agrees. "It certainly fulfilled the promise for London to Paris and Brussels. It's now normal to go there by train and odd if you go there by plane. But there's lots of capacity left: The freight hasn't fulfilled its potential and there's still capacity for passenger trains."
There have been a string of events that have seen the Channel Tunnel in the headlines for the wrong reasons since its opening, from 1,000 passengers being trapped underground overnight on Eurostar trains in February 1996 due to electronic failures to fires and union action bringing services to a halt.
Throughout its life, the tunnel has proved irresistible to migrants from Africa, the Middle East and beyond who have tried to use it as a way to across the Channel illegally into the UK. Eurotunnel claimed more than 20,000 security breaches involving migrants in 2016.
Such incidents have left enthusiasm for the tunnel undimmed.
In an age when concerns about the environmental cost of air travel are growing, the Channel Tunnel, for all its teething problems, has become a beacon for what is possible when infrastructure projects are given the go ahead.
And while its green credentials will ensure it remains every bit as popular for the next 25 years, it's also impossible to deny the pleasures of sipping on a glass of Burgundy as the Eurostar zooms out into the French countryside and on towards some of the world's most beguiling cities.

Julian Assange at court in London on 1 May to be sentenced for breach of bail. 

Snake Island (Full Length Documentary)

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Like VICE News? Subscribe to our news channel: Check out the Best of VICE here: The highest concentration of one of the most venomous snakes in the world is located about 90 miles off the coast of Santos, Brazil, on a small, craggy chunk of otherwise uninhabitable land. It's known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, or Snake Island, and it's the only place you will find 2,000 or so of the wholly unique golden lancehead viper, or Bothrops insularis. When you step ashore, with a keen eye you spot one of these snakes roughly every 10 to 15 minutes after clearing the base of the island, and as many as one every six square yards in other parts of the island. This means, as you are walking through the waist-high brush, even with some good boots on, it's like walking through a minefield that moves and, instead of blowing you into chunks, slowly paralyzes you and liquefies your insides, as the golden lancehead does to the migrating birds it feeds on in the treetops. Well, "liquefying your insides" may be a stretch, but no one knows for sure because no one bitten has lived long enough even to be admitted to a hospital, or at least none of the researchers who accompanied VICE on their journey to Snake Island owned up to that fact. Nor did the Brazilian Navy, who allowed VICE exclusive access to document their annual maintenance inspection of Snake Island's lighthouse—which has been automated ever since the 1920s, after the old lighthouse keeper ran out of food and disappeared while picking wild bananas in a small grove near the shore. According to legend, he and the members of his rescue party died one by one, all alone and in search of one another after each had been missing for some time. The golden lancehead is so unique and its venom so potent that specimens procured by snake-smuggling "biopirates" can fetch up to $30,000 apiece on the black market (with prices going much higher depending on the location of the rich weirdo snake collector or, some have speculated, the black-market biopharmaceutical chemists attempting to beat Brazil on a patent). Is that the craziest fucking description of a documentary you've ever heard? The answer is yes. So of course VICE's editor-in-chief, Rocco Castoro, and senior producer, Jackson Fager, had to go there and nose around for themselves. On their return they said things like: "It was like a David Lynch movie through the prism of Satan's asshole. The anti-Galápagos. Darwin in reverse." "[It's] cut off from the mainland and perhaps the land of a long-buried pirate treasure, according to the stories from local fishermen. But they also told us there were aliens on the island, so pretty much anything goes. It's scorched earth. It's where I would send my worst enemies to live, and I look forward to setting up a business with the Brazilian government to do just that. After the World Cup, of course." "What I can tell you is that there are stone fucking steps hand-carved into the face of one of the prominent cliffs, all the way up. But you can't dock anywhere near there. There's also the possibility that [the venom] could be used for an anti-cancer drug, or perhaps anti-aging. Maybe it could save mankind. Whatever. They wouldn't have saved my ass." "There are blue locusts and so many of these weird, prehistoric-looking cockroaches on the ground at night that it crunches when you walk. Place is fucked. No one is allowed there for a reason. Don't ever go." "All that said, great shoot. Great diving, too." Check out the Best of VICE here: Subscribe to VICE here! Check out our full video catalog: Videos, daily editorial and more: Like VICE on Facebook: Follow VICE on Twitter: Read our tumblr:


Incidents such as electrical failure and fires have brought the service to a halt.  PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Glyphosate Worse Than We Could Imagine
By F. William Engdahl
14 April 2019 

Image: monsanto Credit: DJANDYW.COM AKA NOBODY License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) With Some Rights Reserved

As new studies continue to point to a direct link between the widely-used glyphosate herbicide and various forms of cancer, the agribusiness lobby fights ferociously to ignore or discredit evidence of human and other damage. A second US court jury case just ruled that Monsanto, now a part of the German Bayer AG, must pay $ 81 million in damages to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. The ruling and a line-up of another 11,000 pending cases in US courts going after the effects of glyphosate, have hit Bayer AG hard with the company announcing several thousand layoffs as its stock price plunges. .
As new studies continue to point to a direct link between the widely-used glyphosate herbicide and various forms of cancer, the agribusiness lobby fights ferociously to ignore or discredit evidence of human and other damage. A second US court jury case just ruled that Monsanto, now a part of the German Bayer AG, must pay $ 81 million in damages to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. The ruling and a line-up of another 11,000 pending cases in US courts going after the effects of glyphosate, have hit Bayer AG hard with the company announcing several thousand layoffs as its stock price plunges.
In a trial in San Francisco the jury was unanimous in their verdict that Monsanto Roundup weed-killer, based on glyphosate, had been responsible for Hardeman’s cancer. His attorneys stated, “It is clear from Monsanto’s actions that it does not care whether Roundup causes cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about Roundup.” It is the second defeat for the lawyers of Monsanto after another jury ruled in 2018 that Glyphosate-based Roundup was responsible for the cancer illness of a California school grounds-keeper who contracted the same form of cancer after daily spraying school grounds with Roundup over years, unprotected. There a jury found Monsanto guilty of “malice and oppression” in that company executives, based on internal email discovery, knew that their glyphosate products could cause cancer and suppressed this information from the public.

New independent study shows that those with highest exposure to glyphosate have a 41% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cancer. A meta-analysis of six studies containing nearly 65,000 participants looked at links between glyphosate-based herbicides and immune-suppression, endocrine disruption and genetic alterations. The authors found “the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma).” Further, they stated that glyphosate “alters the gut microbiome,” and that that could “impact the immune system, promote chronic inflammation, and contribute to the susceptibility of invading pathogens.” Glyphosate also ”may act as an endocrine disrupting chemical because it has been found recently to alter sex hormone production” in both male and female rats.

In a long-term animal study by French scientists under Gilles Eric Seralini, Michael Antoniou and associates, it was demonstrated that even ultra-low levels of glyphosate herbicides cause non-alcoholic liver disease. The levels the rats were exposed to, per kg of body weight, were far lower than what is allowed in our food supply. According to the Mayo Clinic, today, after four decades or more pervasive use of glyphosate pesticides, 100 million, or 1 out of 3 Americans now have liver disease. These diagnoses are in some as young as 8 years old.

But glyphosate is not only having alarming effects on human health. Soil scientists are beginning to realize the residues of glyphosate application are also having a possibly dramatic effect on soil health and nutrition, effects that can take years to restore.

Killing Soils too

While most attention is understandably drawn to the human effects of exposure to glyphosate, the most widely used agriculture chemical in the world today, independent scientists are beginning to look at another alarming effect of the agrochemical– its effect on essential soil nutrients. In a study of the health of soils in the EU, the online journal found that the effects of spraying of glyphosate on the major crops in European agriculture is having disastrous consequences on soil health in addition to killing weeds.

Scientists at Austria’s University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna showed that casting activity of earthworms had nearly disappeared from the surface of farmland within three weeks of glyphosate application. Casting is the process of the worm pushing fertile soils to the surface as they burrow, essential for healthy soil and plant nutrition. A study at Holland’s Wageningen University of topsoil samples from more than 300 soil sites across the EU found that 83% of the soils contained 1 or more pesticide residues. Not surprisingly, “Glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA, DDTs (DDT and its metabolites) and broad-spectrum fungicides… were the compounds most frequently found in soil samples and at the highest concentrations.”

The use of various pesticides, above all glyphosate-based ones like Roundup, has exploded over the past four decades across the EU much as across the USA. The agribusiness industry claims that this has been the key to the dramatic rise in farm crop productivity. However if we look more closely at the data, while average yields of major grains such as rice, wheat and maize have more than doubled since 1960, the use of pesticides like glyphosate-based ones has risen by 15-20-fold. Oddly enough, while the EU requires monitoring of many things, monitoring of pesticide residues in soil is not required at the EU level. Until recently the effects of heavy use of pesticides such as Roundup have been ignored in scientific research.

Evidence of soil experts is beginning to reveal clear links between use of pesticides such as glyphosate and dramatic drops in soil fertility and the collapse of microbe systems essential to healthy soil. Worms are one of the most essential.

It’s well-established that earthworms play a vital role in healthy soil nutrients. Soils lacking such are soils that deprive us of the essentials we need for healthy diets, a pandemic problem of soil depletion emerging globally over the past four decades, notably the same time frame that use of pesticides has exploded worldwide. Earthworms are beneficial as they enhance soil nutrient cycling and enhance other beneficial soil micro-organisms, and the concentration of large quantities of nutrients easily assimilable by plants.

The EU puts no limits on how much glyphosate can be put on crops even though it is established that glyphosate can kill specific fungi and bacteria that plants need to suck up nutrients in addition to its effects on earthworms. That is a major blind spot.

Where now?

What is becoming clearer is the colossal and obviously deliberate official blind eye given to potential dangers of glyphosate-based pesticides by regulatory bodies not only in the EU and the USA, but also in China, which today produces more glyphosate than even Monsanto. Since the Monsanto Roundup patent expired, Chinese companies, including Syngenta, Zhejiang Xinan Chemical Industrial Group Company, SinoHarvest, and Anhui Huaxing Chemical Industry Company, have emerged as the world’s major producers of the chemical as well as largest consumers, a not good omen for the future of the legendary Chinese cuisine.

Glyphosate is the base chemical component for some 750 different brands of pesticides worldwide, in addition to Monsanto-Bayer’s Roundup. Glyphosate residues have been found in tap water, orange juice, children’s urine, breast milk, chips, snacks, beer, wine, cereals, eggs, oatmeal, wheat products, and most conventional foods tested. It’s everywhere, in brief.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, however, EU Commission bureaucrats and the USA EPA continue to ignore prudence in not banning the toxic chemical pending thorough independent investigation over longer time. If I were cynical, I would almost think this continued official support for glyphosate-based herbicides is about more than mere bureaucratic stupidity or ignorance, even more than simply corruption, though that for sure plays a role. The nutritional quality of our food chain is being systematically destroyed and it is about more than corporate agribusiness profit.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

F. WILLIAM ENGDAHL ~ "Gods Of Money & Climate Change Hoax" [Age Of Truth TV] [HD] 
Age Of Truth TV Published on Nov 3, 2018

The ruling elite´s succesful economic crisis & The Federal Reserve! Media manipulation lies! Vaccinations and chemical medicine that makes people sick! The 9/11 lie! Oil and energy = Rothchilds vs. Rockefellers! The political voting scam! Nikola Tesla and Free Energy! GMO food poison! The Bilderberg Group! etc... These controversial and eye-opening topics and more - discussed in this interview with award-winning American author, professor, historian, investigative reporter, geopolitical analyst, economic and conspiracy researcher: F. WILLIAM ENGDAHL. AGE OF TRUTH TV´s Lucas Alexander is interviewing F. William Engdahl is this straight forward hard-talk interview, filmed at the Open Mind Conference in Skanderborg, Denmark in September 2013. Biography of F. William Engdahl courtesy of: "F. William Engdahl has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years. His various books on geopolitics—the interaction between international power politics, economics and geography—have been translated into 14 foreign languages from Chinese to French, from German to Japanese. His most recent works trace the strategies and events that led to the rise of the US as an international superpower. He describes the emergence after 1945 of an American power as a new kind of Empire not based upon sole military occupation of land, but control of vital resources. Domination was through creation of an informal empire where control of finance, of the basic food chain, of energy—above all of oil, would be the basis for what would become the greatest concentration of power in history, an American Sole Superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Born in Minnesota, William Engdahl grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative freelance journalist in New York and Europe. He has lectured on contemporary geopolitics as Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with focus on political risk. He has given talks at the Ministry of Science and Technology Conference on Alternative Energy, Beijing; London Centre for Energy Policy Studies of Hon. Sheikh Zaki Yamani; Turkish-Eurasian Business Council of Istanbul, Global Investors' Forum (GIF) Montreaux Switzerland; Bank Negara Indonesia; the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies; the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economics. F. William Engdahl also contributes regularly to a number of international publications on economics and political affairs including Asia Times,,, The Real News, OpEdge, RT TV, Asia Inc.,, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Foresight magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Grant', European Banker and Business Banker International, Globus in Croatia, and has been interviewed on various geopolitical topics on numerous international TV and radio programs including USA Coast-to-Coast with George Noory, Al Jazeera, CCTV and (China), Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and Channel 1 Russian TV. William is a Research Associate of Michel Chossudovsky's Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada and member of the editorial board of Eurasia magazine. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing and giving interviews on current events, consults as a political risk economist for various private organizations, major European banks and private investor groups. Why the "F." in F. William Engdahl? That's an interesting question." Age Of Truth TV Website: Please Like and Subscribe to our channel. Your support is greatly appreciated!
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Dr Mark McComiskey stressed the importance of speaking about vulval cancer to 'break the taboo'  

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is one of those whose job is up for grabs

St Pancras services now head directly to Amsterdam in addition to Brussels and Paris.   Ben Stansall/Getty Images

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” ​

Monsanto/Bayer Moving to Genome Edit Fruits and More
By F. William Engdahl
18 January 2019 

Image Credit: Karen Eliot License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license Some Rights Reserved

Not surprising, Monsanto, today hidden behind the Bayer logo, as the world leader in patented GMO seeds and the probable carcinogenic Roundup herbicide with glyphosate, is attempting to quietly patent genetically modified or GMO varieties of fruits using controversial gene-editing. The “beauty” of this for Monsanto/Bayer is that in the USA, according to a recent ruling by the US Department of Agriculture, gene-edited agriculture needs no special independent testing. The developments are not good for human health or safety, nor will it do anything to give the world better nutrition. .

The agrichemical and GMO giant Monsanto, which today tries to keep a lower profile inside the German agrichemical and GMO giant Bayer, is moving into the highly controversial domain of gene-editing of new crop varieties. In 2018 as the company was being deluged with lawsuits over its use of the probable carcinogen, Roundup, Monsanto invested $125 million in a gene-editing startup called Pairwise. The link is anything but casual.

Former Monsanto Vice President for Global Biotechnology, Tom Adams, has taken the post of CEO of Pairwise. In short, this is a Monsanto gene-editing project. In a press release, Pairwise says it is using the controversial CRISPR gene-editing technology to create genetically edited produce. Among their goals apparently is a super-sweet variety of strawberry or apples, just what our sugar-saturated population doesn’t need.

CRISPR gene-editing, a stealth attempt by the global agribusiness industry to promote artificial mutations of crops and, as the world was shocked recently to hear, even humans, as in China, is being advanced, much like GMO crops falsely were, as solution to world hunger. Pairwise founder, Keith Joung, told media that their CRISPR gene-edited fruits, “will speed innovation that is badly needed to feed a growing population amid challenging conditions created by a changing climate.” How sweeter genetically-edited strawberries will solve world hunger he leaves to the imagination. Pairwise also says that gene-edited fruits would somehow also cut down on food waste. One has to be also skeptical there as well, even if it makes nice promotion copy. In addition to super-sweet strawberries, Monsanto plans to use its work with Pairwise to develop new varieties of gene-edited corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops. And because the USDA unfortunately has given the green light, the new genetically modified foods will undergo no independent testing for health and safety.

USDA’s Foolish Ruling

The US Department of Agriculture recently made a ruling that CRISPR and other new gene-editing of food products need no special regulatory oversight or independent testing. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in 2018 reaffirmation of an Obama-era ruling exempting gene-edited crops from special testing. In a press release, Purdue stated that the USDA won’t regulate plant breeders who use gene-editing techniques without introducing genes from another species, or “plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques.” The statement added that, “USDA seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present.” The problem is that there has been no exhaustive scientific testing by any us government agency or others to prove no risk in gene-edited plants.

Fortunately, in a ruling that takes the health and safety of the population more seriously, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) — the highest court in the European Union — ruled last year that gene-edited products should be treated like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are subject to substantial regulation in the EU.

That ruling has drawn howls of protest from the likes of Monsanto/Bayer but to date, it stands. This makes the USA the focus of agricultural gene-editing developments, likely bad news for the American population which is already–as a result of an executive policy ruling made by then-president G.H.W. Bush in 1992–consuming a diet heavily saturated with GMO soy, rice, corn, potatoes, sugar beets and other products, even GMO insulin for diabetes.


The recent attention given to a Chinese biophysicist who went public with claims he had successfully gene-edited a human embryo to make the new-born twins “HIV-immune” has turned the world attention to the relatively unpublicized genetic manipulation technology known as gene-editing. That was bad news for companies like Monsanto/Bayer who had been hoping to advance their dreams of genetic manipulation under the rubric of “biotechnology,” to avoid the Frankenfoods label the world put on the earlier GMO technology.

Whether the current USDA Secretary Perdue simply relied on the earlier arguments of bureaucratic appointees of the previous pro-GMO Obama administration, clearly it warrants a serious re-examination.

The CRISPR-Cas9 technology which has transformed the gene-editing landscape is merely five or so years in existence. The risks have largely been left to individual scientists to reveal. In one such study, published in May, 2017 in Nature magazine, gene-editing researchers reported they were shocked to find an unexpectedly high number of secondary mutations in a mouse model of gene therapy. In other words, results were not predictable.

When Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui shocked the world in December, 2018 by announcing he had used CRISPR to alter a gene in human embryos in the womb of a woman, who gave birth to twin girls in November, the Chinese authorities tried to silence the affair by putting He under house arrest, some suggesting he may even have been sentenced to death. What biophysicist He did, obviously with little regard to the genetic consequences, was gene-editing of the so-called germ-line. Changing the genes in an embryo means changing genes in every cell. If the method succeeds, the baby will have alterations that will be inherited by all of the child’s progeny in incalculable ways. If the mouse studies are any indication, the unintended consequences could be horrendous, not just for the two unwitting Chinese newborn twins.

The implications of gene-editing using CRISPR and its modifications are so grave as to warrant the utmost caution before unleashing it on to the world market. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case. Gene-editing kits can be bought by anyone online without proof of scientific qualifications, and for little money. Calls for a moratorium on gene-editing until the technology has been proven or disproven go unheeded. President Obama’s Director of Intelligence, James Clapper, even had genome-editing on the list of “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.” The Pentagon DARPA is reportedly doing research on weaponizing certain varieties of mosquitoes. Anything is possible.

It is long overdue to invoke the prudent “precautionary principle” by imposing a global moratorium on gene-editing pending far more controlled independent research before we perhaps one day learn that gene-edited strawberries, ever so sweet, can destroy life inadvertently or by design.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Vulval cancer: Woman undiagnosed for seven years
10 May 2019 By Marie-Louise Connolly   BBC News NI Health Correspondent 

Zamira Hajiyeva:
How the wife of a jailed banker spent £16m in Harrods
Dominic Casciani
Home affairs correspondent@BBCDomC
Zamira Hajiyeva is at the Centre of a NCA investigation
29th May 2019


It is perhaps the shopping bill to end all shopping bills.
Documents disclosed to the BBC have revealed how a woman married to a jailed banker managed to spend £16m in Harrods without raising suspicions.
Zamira Hajiyeva, currently fighting the UK's first Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), used 54 credit cards - many of which were linked to her husband's bank - to go on a massive spending spree in the west London department store over a decade.
Mrs Hajiyeva risks losing her £15m home near Harrods - plus a Berkshire golf course worth millions more on top - if she fails to explain the source of her wealth to the High Court.

Her husband is serving a 15-year sentence in their native Azerbaijan for stealing millions from his state-controlled bank.

Last year, the BBC and its media partners won a legal battle to name the mother of three after the High Court ordered her to disclose how she had become so inexplicably wealthy despite having no income other than interest on her British bank accounts. If she cannot account for her riches, she risks losing her property.

The papers in the battle against the National Crime Agency, now seen for the first time, reveal the painstaking investigation into Mrs Hajiyeva's day-to-day spending and complicated off-shore property arrangements.

The permanent UK resident lives less than a five-minute walk from Harrods. Not only was it her local shop, she owned two bays in its private car park.

And one of the key documents in the case is a 93-page statement from the store's loyalty card scheme: in effect a record of her extraordinary shopping spree.

Spending begins

That spending began shortly after she sought to settle in the UK - having been kidnapped in Azerbaijan the year before.
She began modestly at first - spending £842 on children's books and £140 on perfume.
Before the year was out, she had discovered the Cartier jewellery counter - which would become one of her favourite locations - where a till recorded she spent £181 on 1 October.
Later came £1,600 of Miu Miu designer clothes and a further £1,539 on Ferragamo shoes.
In March 2007, she was back at Miu Miu and spent £10,616 on one of her 25 American Express cards.
Then the amounts began to soar. There was an unspecified payment to Harrods of more than £66,000 and more than £17,000 for goods from the designer Tom Dixon.
Zamira Hajiyeva's spending in Harrods
Harrods London United Kingdom
Boucheron jewellery: £3.5m
Cartier jewellery: £1.4m
Dennis Basso, US fashion designer: £402,000
Sandwich by Tom: £332,000
(This spending may be a combination of cafe stops and high-end designer furniture by Tom Dixon)
The Harrods perfume counters: £160,000
Total spending: £16,309,077.87
Source: High Court papers

F. Willian Engdahl   De-Fanging The Globalist Monster- How the President plays into their agenda.   July 17, 2018- "the whole history of the last 100 years or so of the increasing Global Elite's control and influence in the world can be traced back to a manefesto in the 1800's that stated this group of families had a God Given right to rule the world" 

​"  The entry of the US into the Second World War was to extend this manefest destiny towards Europe. To take over from the role of the British Empire, which was bankrupted at that time ,,,, certainly after the end of the Second World War.." ... "..The US Dollar was the only currency was considered as good as gold..
but that changed in 1971 when Richard Nixon ..on the advice of the Rockelfellas and others .... tore up the Brenten Woods Treaty ..stating ... we are cutting you away and going out own way .... and that has been the cause of the great inflation over the last 45 years.. .."..."... 

"... The Powers At Be (the Globalist Elite Banking Cartels) are behind Trump .. they had Donald Trump elected as the President of the United States. ... Trump is not an independly minded US President as the general public think ,,,, the reality is that .. as shown throughout history of the US president elections ... no one gets near the White House unless their vetted by the Powers At Be ... if there is any potential of a US President getting in their way ... and interfering with their plans and views .. they will simply torpedo him or her ..... all theu need to do is put a banana peal in front of them and their gone from any chance of being elected the President of the United States.. ,, such as Bernie Sanders who was not considered suitable to the Powers At Be to be the President of the United States ... Bernie Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist and progressive ... is pro-labor rights and emphasizes reversing economic inequality to limit the power of the wealthy so there is “democratic socialism for working families, not just Wall Street, billionaires and large corporations." 
.." .. That didn't happen with Trump.... I don't think they ever had in mind that Hillary Clinton was going to be elected as the President of the USA
because they wanted someone who was agressive .....who could bully Europe .,the European Union . andGermany ..and so forth.....
that could bully China .. bully Russia .. now its a little bit ... ah well ... I think  what Trump did with Putin yesterday as all a game ... Trump would have been impeached by now if Trump was any real threat to the real Powers At Be... ... let's call them the Powers At Be. ...." 

Question: Do not the real Powers At Be .... run the six corporations that run all the media ..that control everything..
and they love open borders....they love free trade ...  they love Big Pharma.. ....
I mean ... They're trying to get Trump out of office.. Aren't they?
Answer:  "..Not really ... I think the idea is to get people so stired up ..... so they can't think clearly.... You get Americans fighting each other.. When you get Americans stating in a taxi that Trump is doing the right thing.. you get a situation where the taxi druve dumps the passengers out of tghe taxi and onto the street..

Bill Gates -Mark Zuckerberg- Google executive Amanda Rosenberg, modeling the Google Glass face mounted wearable computer, reclines in a park

Vegan Greg McFarlane says vegan products mimic meat tastes because meat tastes “nice”. Photo: Facebook/ABC News

 Rakhia Ismail - The new mayor for Islington

Vegans say labels should inform consumers how much suffering is involved in some products. Photo: ABC

Two Fishermen Were Driving Along A Beach When They Came Across This Bizarre Six-Foot Creature
By Andrea Marchiano June 3, 2019

Driving along the beaches of southern Australia counts as just another day at the office for Steven Jones – the supervisor of an area fishing crew. After all, his daily treks along the coastline mean that he often catches glimpses of oceanic wildlife. Sometimes the fauna swims by him, while other times it has somehow washed ashore. But on one day in March 2019, Jones came across a specimen that all but beggared belief. 

It’s perhaps unsurprising that this unusual discovery should come out of Australia, though. As an island nation, Australia, of course, has just the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific Ocean around its eastern half. Because of the country’s watery surroundings, then, its marine habitats have had much more time to flourish than in other places. And this has made the land down under into an incubator for unique species. It also houses super-sized versions of fish known around the world.

Donald Trump had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia. As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing.... 6:06 PM - May 3, 2019
When asked in the White House on Friday whether he had warned Mr Putin that Moscow should not interfere in the next US presidential election, Mr Trump told the reporter she was "very rude". "We didn't discuss that," he said. "Getting along with countries is a good thing and we want to have good relations with everybody." But the White House said the matter of alleged Russian meddling had been broached in the call.

Trump calls Putin and talks of 'Russian hoax'  BBC 4 May 2019
Trump and Mr Putin at their controversial meeting in Helsinki​
US President Donald Trump has said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an hour-long call, covering issues including the "Russian hoax".
"Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin," the US president tweeted.
Mr Trump rebuked a reporter who asked whether he had warned Mr Putin against meddling in the 2020 elections.
It was the leaders' first conversation since the Mueller report cleared Mr Trump of colluding with Russia.
The Kremlin confirmed in a statement the two had spoken, saying the call had been initiated by the White House.
Rifts laid bare as G20 leaders meet
Russia hits out at 'boorish' Trump remarks
All you need to know about Trump Russia story
Mr Trump and Mr Putin last spoke informally at December's G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
The US president tweeted on Friday about their latest conversation: "As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing not a bad thing."Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

About F. William Engdahl –Biography
F. William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst, strategic risk consultant, author, professor and lecturer.

William Engdahl has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years.

William Engdahl's various books on geopolitics—the interaction between international power politics, economics and geography—have been translated into 14 foreign languages from Chinese to French, from German to Japanese.

His most recent works trace the strategies and events that led to the rise of the US as an international superpower. He describes the emergence after 1945 of an American power as a new kind of Empire not based upon sole military occupation of land, but control of vital resources. Domination was through creation of an informal empire where control of finance, of the basic food chain, of energy—above all of oil, would be the basis for what would become the greatest concentration of power in history, an American Sole Superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Born in Minnesota, William Engdahl grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative freelance journalist in New York and Europe.
William Engdahl has lectured on contemporary geopolitics as Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with focus on political risk. He has given talks at the Ministry of Science and Technology Conference on Alternative Energy, Beijing; London Centre for Energy Policy Studies of Hon. Sheikh Zaki Yamani; Turkish-Eurasian Business Council of Istanbul, Global Investors' Forum (GIF) Montreaux Switzerland; Bank Negara Indonesia; the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies; the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economics.

F. William Engdahl also contributes regularly to a number of international publications on economics and political affairs including Asia Times,,, The Real News, OpEdge, RT TV, Asia Inc.,, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Foresight magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Grant', European Banker and Business Banker International, Globus in Croatia, and has been interviewed on various geopolitical topics on numerous international TV and radio programs including USA Coast-to-Coast with George Noory, Al Jazeera, CCTV and (China), Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and Channel 1 Russian TV.

William is a Research Associate of Michel Chossudovsky's Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada and member of the editorial board of Eurasia magazine. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing and giving interviews on current events, consults as a political risk economist for various private organizations, major European banks and private investor groups. Why the "F." in F. William Engdahl? That's an interesting question.

​10 Years Of Bitcoin And Blockchain by R.L. BryerMay 23, 2019

Image Credit: Barack Obama - Official White House Photo Wikipedia

This design for a submerged railway linking France and England was drawn up in 1857. Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

President Donald Trump welcomes Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the White House on May 15, 2017

Wikipedia Exposed As Corrupt Tool of The Globalists  OCTOBER 30, 2018    Awareness Globalist Agenda  Interviews News
 This information is for the people who haven’t figured this out yet.The issue of corruption at Wikipedia has been thrust into the public spotlight recently with the exposure of one of its main censorship and defamation avatars known as “Philip Cross”, an apparent pseudonymous editor-contributor used to slander and defame leading dissident voices in the West and to bolster NATO aligned propaganda talking points across thousands of Wikipedia pages. Over 133,000 edits have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years – many of which are skewed and defamatory, including entries have smeared award-winning filmmaker John Pilger, and TV presenter George Galloway, along with numerous other alternative media journalists and academics as ‘Kremlin’ or “pro-Russian” journalists and commentators. But this is only the beginning. While Wikipedia can be a useful source of basic information on many academic subjects and for geography and general history. However, in the area of personal biographies and western foreign policy related attribution of blame (chemical weapons, ‘dictator’ death tolls in states Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, Ukraine etc) – the platform has been utterly corrupted by well-financed lobbies, PR consultants, law firms and other nefarious corporate vehicles employing persons subcontracting for government intelligence agencies, as well as various and sundry bent political operatives-for-hire. America’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Chris Hedges, talks with investigative journalist Helen Buyniski who exposes an editing racket resembling a type of “pay to play” policy, along with a collapse in credibility of this highly-politicized organization. Despite the obvious signs, a wave of disinformation is still being allowed by Wikipedia’s aloof co-founder Jimmy Wales (pictured above) who has knowingly allowed his online portal to transition from an egalitarian knowledge base into yet another corrupt tool of the ruling elite. Source:


St Pancras station -- one of London's greatest Victorian buildings.  Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

Eurotunnel trains carry cars and their passengers through the tunnel.  DENIS CHARLET/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May is expected to make concessions to Labour on customs, goods alignment and workers’ rights MICHAL WACHUCIK/GETTY IMAGES

Inside the Warwick University rape chat scandal
By Dulcie Lee & Larissa Kennelly  BBC News    29th May 2019

Warning: This story contains content that readers may find distressing

Watch the documentary
The Warwick Uni Rape Chat Scandal is available on BBC iPlayer

"Rape the whole flat to teach them a lesson," one message read.
"Oh god. I would hate to be in the firing line if I had a vagina," said another.
Anna - not her real name - was scrolling through hundreds of sexually violent messages on a Facebook group chat.
To her horror, she and her female university friends were mentioned dozens of times.
The men writing the messages were - like Anna - studying humanities at Warwick University.
But they weren't just her coursemates. They were her close friends.
In the weeks that followed Anna's discovery of the chat, word spread across campus. What begun as a private "lads' chat" quickly escalated.
Anna and a female friend - one of those also targeted in the chat - complained to the university.
After an internal investigation, one student was expelled and given a lifetime campus ban, two were given 10-year bans and also expelled, and two more were excluded for a year.
But after two of the men had their 10-year bans reduced to 12 months, serious questions were raised about the university’s handling of its investigation.
A year on, the university is still raw from the fall-out with many students and academics asking: what went so wrong at Warwick?

'Lads' chat'
Early last year, Anna, then 19, was sitting on the sofa in her student house when a stream of explicit messages began popping up on her friend's laptop.
As more came through, she asked him what they were about, and he laughed.

"He said: 'Well, if you think that's bad you might want to see our lads' chat'," Anna says. "That's when he took me through a year and a half's worth of rape threats."

As she sat there, she saw in the Facebook chat that he and his friends had changed their names to those of notorious serial killers and serial rapists.

"They were talking about a fellow student. They were talking about abducting her, chaining her to the bed, making her urinate on herself, and then sleep in it."
Much of the content was even more graphic.
"This wasn't just a flippant comment," Anna says. "This was an entire online community... they were proud that it was horrific."

She searched the chat for references of her own name. It came up hundreds of times.
At first, Anna says her male friend dismissed the chat's contents as "how boys talk", saying it was a joke.
She continued scrolling, taking screenshots as she went.
"I just told him that it was for my own peace of mind," Anna says. "He could see me getting more upset and more upset. And I think that's when it started to dawn on him that this was probably a lot more serious than he thought it was."

Soon, he took a different tone, suggesting he'd known the contents were unacceptable and that he'd shown it to her to protect her.
But as she flicked back through reams of messages about gang rape and genital mutilation, her instincts told her otherwise.
"I didn't know what to do because these people [in the chat] were a huge part of my life," she says.

A few days later she went back to her parents' house for the Easter break. But the prospect of returning to face the men again gave her panic attacks.
"I was getting my stuff ready to go back and I couldn't go through the door," she says.
It was then she decided to complain to the university.

'Potential for conflict'

After Anna and one other friend who was repeatedly targeted in the chat submitted their complaint to the university, they were told they would be formally interviewed.
But one thing stuck out: the man who would be interviewing them was the university's director of press.
"I thought straight away it was a very strange appointment for an investigating officer," Anna says.

As head of the press office, Peter Dunn was responsible for dealing with the media and protecting Warwick's reputation as one of the top universities in the UK.
As investigating officer, he was responsible for examining misconduct allegations and recommending which punishments - if any - the men should face.

Mr Dunn held both of these roles, despite the case gaining national media attention after it was reported by the student paper The Boar.

In February 2019, the university admitted "the potential for conflict" between Mr Dunn's two roles, but insisted relevant press duties were "delegated" during the investigation.

However, in one email seen by the BBC, Mr Dunn told the women he was planning to release a statement to the media about their case during the investigation, and asked for their feedback.
"It just felt really violating," Anna says. "This person that's writing press statements knows such intimate details about my life. It was a very surreal experience."

The university told the BBC: "We appreciate there are legitimate questions raised about the university's handling of this extremely delicate case. We continue to support the investigating officer for this case, Peter Dunn."
A month after the women were interviewed, five of the men involved in the chat were banned from the university. Two were banned for 10 years, two were banned for one year, and one was given a lifetime campus ban.

Anna and her friend said they were not kept informed of the outcome and instead found out in the press, meaning they didn't know which punishments corresponded to which men.
But her case wasn't closed - the two men who had been banned for 10 years appealed against the decision.

Shame On You Warwick
After a four-month wait - which the university put down in part to a staff member taking a late summer holiday - they had their bans reduced from 10 years to just one.
"I was never given an explanation. We were told new evidence had come to light but I don't know what the new evidence is," says Anna. "I was starting to feel like I was going to have to finally drop this... I felt like it was just me and my other complainant against an entire institution that was never ever going to listen to us."
Anna and her friend made one last attempt to outline their concerns about the investigation to the university.
But vice chancellor Prof Stuart Croft wrote to them saying he found "no evidence of procedural irregularity or bias" and declared the investigation closed.
Three weeks later, one female student connected to the case went on Twitter and soon #ShameOnYouWarwick started trending.
The story was once again the subject of intense media scrutiny. Academic departments began publicly distancing themselves from the university management.
Soon after, Prof Croft released a 1,000-word statement in which he spoke extensively about his reaction to reading the chat, saying it "produced a feeling of utter revulsion".
But his comments were regarded as tone deaf by the student community.
Three days later, he announced the men who had had their punishments reduced would not return to the university. It is not clear whether it was the university or the men who had made this decision.
But this did not stem the feelings of anger on campus: two days later hundreds of students and academic staff marched on the offices of senior management.
On the morning of the protest the university released a statement to the press saying they were "deeply sorry" for the distress caused to the victims.
The women involved never received a personal apology from the university.
Never want to go again
The case at Warwick has raised questions about how universities deal with serious sexual misconduct and problems arising in online chat groups.
The university has since launched a review into its disciplinary and appeals processes, which is due to conclude in summer 2019.
Prof Croft told the BBC he hoped the review would "demonstrate our learnings and help our community to better live our values".
But there has been no sense of closure for the women involved. Anna, now in her third year, is revising for her final university exam on Friday.
"The university caused so much pain and so much damage and this is carrying on over a year later," she says.
"The trauma of feeling strong enough to come forward and being punished for that by the university is probably the most damaging part of this.
"I don't want to go to my graduation. I just can't wait to never have to go to Warwick ever again."
Update: The university released a statement on Tuesday in response to the BBC's story, saying it "apologised for any part we played in causing distress to members of our community", and adding that it was making changes "which minimise the chances of these mistakes being repeated".

The Warwick Uni Rape Chat Scandal is available on BBC iPlayer

Elish McColgan said women should act immediately if symptoms persist  

‘Vegan’ tuna upsets fishing industry
Jessica Haynes


Vegans say labels should inform consumers how much suffering is involved in some products.Photo: ABC 
The marketing tactics  being used to sell a soy-based VEGAN TUNA, a product which has a similar name and packaging to the real thing, has upset the Australian seafood industry.  

“Tuno” is being sold as “vegetarian fishless tuna” which tastes similar to regular tinned tuna but is made with water, soy flour, yeast extract, maltodextrin and salt, instead of fish.
Seafood Industry Australia chief executive Jane Lovell said fish-free substitutes were a “slap in the face” for the industry, which had worked hard to establish a solid reputation.

She said the plant-based fish substitute used tactics which verged on being “false and misleading”.
“I don’t know what the ACCC [Australian Consumer and Competition Commission] would think about this,” she said.
“So, if they’re trying to make it look like tuna I think they’re probably on a reasonably slippery slope.”  
The criticism comes as plant-based products continue grow in popularity, but industry groups want greater clarity about whether vegan products should be allowed to be marketed using terms such as “meat” and “milk”.
Ms Lovell questioned why vegans wanted to eat plant-based substitutes that were made to resemble the original product.
“If you’re actually trying to avoid eating meat, then why pretend that you are [eating the food]?” she said.
“I don’t quite understand why you would want to make something look like tuna when it’s not. It’s not tuna.”

Vegan calls for ‘suffering’ label
Vegan Australia’s Greg McFarlane agreed clearer labelling was needed on food products.
“I think honesty in labelling is a good idea but it should go both ways,” he said.
“Consumers should be aware of what the product is that they’re buying, and how much suffering went into it.
“On a milk label, for example, it should include the fact that the cows are impregnated, their babies taken away, and that that cycle goes on for a few years, and then the animal is killed.” 

Mr McFarlane said making vegan food taste like animal products was simply about modifying food to taste good.
“For most vegans the idea is that we try to avoid causing suffering to animals, it doesn’t really have anything to do with taste,” he said.
“If something tastes nice then it tastes nice, and if you can get the same thing without the suffering then do that.”

Seafood ‘severely under pressure’: Company

Douglas Hines from Tuno manufacturer Atlantic Natural Foods said seafood was a precious protein that was “severely under pressure”.
“Seafood is a resource that will not be in our future if measures are not taken to protect the species and our oceans,” he said.
“Being involved for over 40 years in seafood, specifically tuna, I can truly say I have the greatest respect for Australia and the commitment of all involved, from government, to harvesting, and to marketers.
“They have managed with distinction to effect change and truly live by their commitment.
“However, the world does not have the same commitment to sustainability and without alternative protein creation we will face protein shortages in the very near future.”
He said the packaging clearly states the product is a “plant-based protein” in more than one location, and was specifically created for people wanting an alternative. -ABC

PM should defend Assange, Pamela Anderson says   November 5th, 2018​

Julian Assange and his friend Pamela Anderson

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has called on Scott Morrison to grant Julian Assange free passage into Australia, describing her relationship with the WikiLeaks founder as a “romantic struggle”.
In an interview with Nine Network’s 60 Minutes at her home in the south of France, Anderson said she hoped the Prime Minister would help Mr Assange to finally leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has lived for six years.
In a message to Mr Morrison, Anderson said: “Defend your friend and get Julian his passport back and take him back to Australia and be proud of him, and throw him a parade when he gets home.”

Despite recently splitting from 32-year old French soccer star Adil Rami, Anderson, 51, denied rumours she was anything more than a friend of Assange. “We like to call it a romantic struggle. It is to educate the world,” she said.
“I feel very close to him. And I feel closer to him than a lot of people have and he trusts me.”

Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case. The case was dropped, but supporters have said Mr Assange fears he could be extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy over the publication of US diplomatic and military secrets by WikiLeaks.

Anderson first met with Mr Assange more than two years ago to “ask him how to be a more effective activist”, adding that he “fascinated” her.
Anderson, an outspoken animal rights advocate, described herself as being a “valuable” asset to the holed-up Melbourne-born hacker.
“I think people think he’s a computer screen and I humanise him,” she said, adding she would visit Mr Assange for “three to four hours at a time”.
“I’m exhausted when I leave, but I’ve got a stack of notes,” Anderson said.

Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case. The case was dropped, but supporters have said Mr Assange fears he could be extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy over the publication of US diplomatic and military secrets by WikiLeaks.

Anderson first met with Mr Assange more than two years ago to “ask him how to be a more effective activist”, adding that he “fascinated” her.
Anderson, an outspoken animal rights advocate, described herself as being a “valuable” asset to the holed-up Melbourne-born hacker.
“I think people think he’s a computer screen and I humanise him,” she said, adding she would visit Mr Assange for “three to four hours at a time”.
“I’m exhausted when I leave, but I’ve got a stack of notes,” Anderson said.

During a hearing last week in Quito last week challenging the Ecuadorian government for violating his fundamental “rights and freedoms”, Mr Assange said Ecuador was seeking to end his asylum and hand him over to the United States.
Mr Assange was appealing against the Ecuadorean government edict that he to pay for his own medical bills, phone calls and clean up after his pet cat.
He said the new rules were a sign Ecuador was trying to push him out, and said Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno had already decided to end his asylum, but had not yet officially given the order. Judge Karina Martinez rejected the lawsuit, saying the Foreign Ministry was in charge of determining his living conditions. 
-with AAP

Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group
--- by Kirk James Murphy
Progressive Alaska
Spreading the word about the growing presence of progressive Alaskans and their powerful ideas on the web



Sunday, December 5, 2010
Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group
--- by Kirk James Murphy

Yesterday Alexander Cockburnreminded us of the news Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett brokeat Counterpunch in September. Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.

Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba. From Oslo, Professor Michael Seltzer points out that this periodical is the product of a well-financed anti-Castro organization in Sweden. He further notes that the group is connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner whose CIA ties were exposed here.

Quelle surprise, no? Shamir and Bennett went on to write about Ardin’s history in Cuba with a US funded group openly supported by a real terrorist: Luis Posada Carriles.

In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter. Wikipedia quotes Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo as saying that “the so-called Ladies in White defend the terrorism of the United States.”

Who is Luis Posada Carriles? He’s a mass murderer, and former CIA agent. . . .

Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles (born February 15, 1928) (nicknamed Bambi by some Cuban exiles)[1] is a Cuban-born Venezuelan anti-communist extremist. A former Central Intelligence Agency agent,[2] Posada has been convicted in absentia of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Americas, including: involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed seventy-three people;[3][4] admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots;[5][6][7] involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion; [and] involvement in the Iran-Contra affair…

Luis Posada Carilles is so evil that even the Bush administration wanted him behind bars.

In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada cannot be deported, finding that he faces the threat of torture in Venezuela. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 had elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks”, a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Who is Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden? She’s a gender equity officerat Uppsula University – who chose to associate with a US funded group openly supported by a convicted terrorist and mass murderer. She just happens to have her work published by a very well funded group connected with Union Liberal Cubana – whose leader, Carlos Alberto Montaner, in turn just happened to pop up on right wing Colombian TV a few hours after the right-wing coup in Honduras. Where he joined the leader of the failed coup in Ecuador to savage Correa, the target of the coup.

Montnaner also just happened to vociferously support the violent coup in Honduras, and chose to show up to sing the praises of the Honduran junta.Jean-Guy Allard, a retired Canadian journalist who now writes for Cuba’s Gramma, captured the moment:

A strange pair appeared on NTN 24, the right-wing Colombian television channel aligned to the Fox Broadcasting Company the U.S. A few hours after the coup attempt in Quito, Ecuador, CIA agent Carlos Alberto Montaner, a fugitive from Cuban justice for acts of terrorism, joined with one of the leaders of the failed Ecuadorian coup, ex-Lieutenant Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, to attack President Rafael Correa… On the margin of his media news shows, Montaner’s is known for his fanatic support of the most extreme elements of the Cuban-American mafia. Last year, in the wake of the coup d’état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, June 28, he became an fervent supporter of the dictator Roberto Micheletti, along with U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and another Cuban-American terrorist and CIA collaborator, Armando Valladares. Montaner showed up repeatedly in Tegucigalpa to “defend human rights,” and at the same time to applaud the fascist Honduran regime when it unleashed its police on demonstrations by the National Resistance Front.

Oh…and the “rape” charge that’s smeared Julian Assange’s name around the world? On Thursday James D. Catlin, the Melbourne barrister who represented Assange in London, wrote:

Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange that is destined to make Sweden and its justice system the laughing stock of the world and dramatically damage its reputation as a model of modernity.Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was embarrassed in August this year when it leaked to the media that it was seeking to arrest Assange for rape, then on the same day withdrew the arrest warrant because in its own words there was “no evidence”. The damage to Assange’s reputation is incalculable. More than three quarters of internet references to his name refer to rape. Now, three months on and three prosecutors later, the Swedes seem to be clear on their basis to proceed. Consensual sex that started out with a condom ended up without one, ergo, the sex was not consensual.

I’ve spent much of my professional life as a psychiatrist helping women (and men) who are survivors of sexual violence. Rape is a hideous crime. Yet in Assange’s case his alleged victim – the gender equity officer at Uppsula University – chose to throw a party for her alleged assailant – after they’d had the sex that even Swedish prosecutors concede was consensual. Barrister Caitlin again:

[The] phenomena of social networking through the internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilén boasting of their respective conquests after the “crimes”. In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is with the “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”. Go on the internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Neither Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.

Small world, isn’t it? Julian Assange is the human face of Wikileaks – the organization that’s enabled whistle-blowers to reveal hideous war crimes and expose much of America’s foreign policy to the world.

He just happens to meet a Swedish woman who just happens to have been publishing her work in a well-funded anti-Castro group that just happens to have links with a group led by a man at least one journalist describes as an agent of the CIA: the violent secret arm of America’s foreign policy.

And she just happens to have been expelled from Cuba, which just happens to be the global symbol of successful defiance of American foreign policy.

And – despite her work in Sweden upholding the human right of gender equity – in Cuba she just happens to end up associating with a group openly supported by an admitted CIA agent who himself committed mass murder when he actively participated in the terrorist bombing of a jetliner carrying a Cuban sports team…an act that was of a piece with America’s secret foreign policy of violent attacks against Cuban state interests.

And now she just happens – after admittedly consensual sex – to have gone to Swedish authorities to report the sex ended without a condom…which just happens to be the pretext for Interpol to issue a “Red Notice” informing the world’s police forces of charges against Julian Assange.

Who just happens to be the man America’s political class – the people who run America’s foreign policy – have been trying to silence. And who happens to be the man some of them have been calling to have murdered.

With a lust for vengeance like that, one could be forgiven for concluding they’ve just happened to have taken a page from Anna’s revenge manual.

Posted by Philip Munger at 6:38 PM 
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honestyinGov said...
Hope you had a good weekend. This week it looks like WGE MINO will be back in AK. 
Just an FYI: in your story where you said "see here & here ".. those are not active hyperlinks to see what she wrote.
Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here)
December 6, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Anonymous said...
His U.S. espionage activies alone are enough to put him away. Prosecute...
December 6, 2010 at 6:31 AM

Webmaster said...
Anna Ardin, who accused the WikiLeaks founder of rape, has a resume consistent with an undercover operative. Read more here:
December 6, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Anonymous said...
Thanks for this blog. It helped to get this information.
December 6, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Ben said...
Let's not forget there could be an element of US psy-ops here. Assange could be CIA-MI6. The women are obviously pawns but placed there to create a distraction. Whoever wrote this script has the whole world by the donuts.. ha
December 7, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Bill Dilworth said...
Since when is blaming the alleged victim of a rape "progressive"?
December 22, 2010 at 5:43 AM

Capitalism As The New Socialism  by Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna  May 21, 2019

​​The free market is no more, leaving only a finance ‘capitalism’ consisting substantively of ‘financial markets’ that are being prepped for something called ‘market socialism’, which, in turn, cannot, by its non-existent nature, actually exist. Yet this is the economic goal of the liberal left progressive, whose agenda, above all, is to preserve the wealth of the super wealthy—i.e. the platitude-rich tech billionaire on the west coast, ‘Fed Street’ on the east—both of these the American political socialist’s closest allies and truly most useful idiots.  There is no contradiction here, as communism and socialism have always despised wealth because they can’t help but covet it, fully aware that such ideologies could not have existed without capitalism, as it once was known. This will take place on two levels: an increase in the Welfare state, in which technological advances such as in automation will be seen as necessitating a ‘safety net’ in the form of guaranteed handouts, and welfarism’s next-generation iteration, the Reparation state.  In the former, several influential investors have joined philosophically with the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—notably, figures such as Ray Dalio, Warren Buffet, Howard Schultz or Bill Gates—who are still old-school enough to defend capitalism, but with appropriately zeitgeist appeals for higher taxes and investment in public education. The grandstanding tends not to go beyond this point, however, with little investigation considered as to how the higher levies will be applied or what the nature of ‘public education’ might look like.  However, these are the more mild reformers .

​More aggressive is the idea of a universal basic income touted by the tech world. In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg at a Harvard commencement address supported this idea of income, as did Elon Musk a year before, saying that automation would be so severe that the government would have to pay people to live. Sir Richard Branson, as well as the founder of social media giant Slack and funding platform Y Combinator have joined in with their support, arguing that hand-outs would end poverty.  Stockton, California, set such a program in motion recently, funded entirely by private individuals and the Economic Security Project out of Silicon Valley, and other cities such as Newark and Chicago are lining up as well, as are the Democratic presidential hopefuls as part of the cheering squad.  Yet where this idea has been tried—in Canada, Europe—the funding has proven a bureaucratic nightmare and have quietly ended. For example, Finland piloted a universal basic income program with unemployed people, yet it did not help to improve employment prospects.  When officials asked for more money, it was rejected.  Alaska, touted by Zuckerberg, pays a $1000 a year oil dividend to each resident, but this is not ‘basic income’ and it certainly is not enough to maintain any kind of living standard.  Moreover, the median income in the state is $73,000 and is not a state rife with disparities and unemployment. 

​Reparations as part of a policy platform will continue to gain momentum and in this form, the black-mark of social dependency will be transformed into the honor badge of social justice. Redistribution, in this sense, will take place through slippery confiscations in the name of correcting ‘economic inequality’, ‘institutional racism’, prelapsarian ‘white privilege’ and generally anything that ‘offends’.  Both welfarism and this kind of ‘payback time’ community financing will sky rocket together: with welfare, the eventual Baby Boomer social security outlays atop an increasing number of minorities on federal aid; with reparations, a new form of entitlement mentality that will guilt-trip its way into acceptance.

How sad to note that only thirty years ago students at the Karl Marx Institute in Budapest were writing glowing dissertations of  F.A. Hayek and the voters of (then) Leningrad, Gdansk and Tiananmen Square saw in the expression ‘free market’ a kind of venerable concept, one now cynically mocked even by its once most ardent philosophical defenders.  F.A. Hayek wrote in The Fatal Conceitthat socialism was doomed from the outset.  It was wrong about the facts of man and society and therefore not only did it fail as a system within itself but threatened those who lived under it.  Yet, as with every passing decade, few seem to learn this lesson and the progress of capitalism that has not conferred blessings on all who expected it to trickle down to them. These are the groups that still demand their place in the sun, demand it ‘now’, and through handouts or re-distribution. This time, they have the mega-capitalists on their side.

​That extreme wealth-producers in the U.S. are complicit in this monstrous development may seem counterintuitive, but it is they who, in fact, more than their ideological opposites, are in large part responsible for this ruinous mindset regarding wealth. The economic trends encouraging such thinking include: a) an inflated sense of value where little to none exists; b) the lack of a fiscal culture of accountability and consequence; c) money for nothing and, (apologies), your sh*t for free.

​At the foundation, it is a situation that no economic model, or Mr. Trump’s stock market, or Fed ‘policy’ can fix. It is, rather, a new nasty outlook, rooted in rotten education and the fertile soil of a fat, exhausted land.  It is also truly un-American.

​In 1907, there appeared an intriguing monograph by Walter Sombart, a contemporary and associate of-Max Weber, entitled, straightforwardly, Why There Is No Socialism in the United States.  This important, though not well-known scholar was curious as to why the country most ripe for a worker’s revolution to secure the prosperity then exploding at the seams the country, was not undergoing such historical ‘inevitability’. The most compelling of Sombart’s answers, as one reviewer noted, was that in America, collective action was not needed to change the condition of the individual. The frontier mindset meant that individualism could satisfy aspiration by one’s own efforts.  Sombart detailed four main arguments for this: first, that of the great vigor of capitalism in America at the turn of the century; second, that unlike those European nations at the time, the U.S. was almost completely dominated by the spirit of competition that cut across class lines; third, that the American worker had a favorable attitude toward capitalism as a whole, and, fourth, that he had a high regard for the American system of government and his own participation in it. 

​Fast forward to today, in which classic capitalism has morphed into a funhouse-casino strangulating into a bloated social welfare program—a phenomenon to which politicians, such as the notable suspects mentione above,  have adjusted their antennae. It goes by the name, as these delicate transitions must, of ‘reforming capitalism’.  Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper turned presidential hopefull is one such proponent, convinced that such ‘reform’ must consist of more government programs, free tuition and ‘aid’ all around.  Certainly, however, if Mr. Hickenlooper cared to save capitalism’, he might consider the need for enhanced individual responsibility and not more government programs. For if, in fact, as he notes, 40% of the population cannot cover an unexpected $400 expense and there is no honest analysis of why this is the case, no society is going to feel the effects of ‘reform’ of anything. As one reader of The Wall Street Journal noted in a letters column on Governor Hickenlooper’s proposals: “Government isn’t stopping people from saving money. Capital gains and inheritance tax rates have nothing to do with the issue—bad decisions do”.  The reader added: “All the free college one can eat serves no purpose if the students don’t apply themselves or study material which enhances their marketability.”

​Yet such political leaders are but the philosophical-policy parrots of a fiscal culture that has skewed notions of what ‘value’ means, or for that matter ‘profit’ or ‘market realities’.  If these politicians live in fantasy land, it is modern American capitalism that has paid their entrance fee. Uber, AirBnB, Lyft, Postnotes…it appears that the app as future of the economy is here to stay, yet how few seem to understand the economics of such companies—or if the companies themselves understand.  Pre-IPO Uber was valuated at $180 billion, yet showed little in the way of actualprofits; Snap went public to great fanfare but, as of this writing, is trading at $11; while Groupon, another highly touted IPO, is trading at $3. 

​To take an example, when the exercise company Peloton went public, one respected private banker in New York was offered to participate in a several hundred million dollar bridge financing that valued the company at $4 billion.  The banker regarded the valuation as thoroughly ridiculous, yet when the bridge  financing closed and the company picked Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to do their offering, the valuation was set, only four months later, at $8 billion, without the firm creating anywhere near that newly doubled value.

​Amazon, the greatest wonder of them all, trades off and on at 150 or 200 times income. As David Stockman, the former Reagan official turned investment banker turned bête noire of both Washington and Wall Street, noted in a March 9, 2019 podcast interview with The Wealth Standard:“If [Amazon] were valued rationally, it might be worth $5 billion. At $5 billion, [Amazon founder Jeff Bezos] would have one kind of business model. A growth strategy for Amazon at $150 billion is something totally different.”  Stockman added: “We’re not getting just creative destruction, we’re getting just pure destruction.”

​Where did this come from? Essentially, Wall Street’s own hand-out culture. Malinvestments are badly allocated business investments, due to the artificially low cost of credit and an unsustainable increase in the money supply, in turn causing bubbles caused by the central bankers. In this context, it is important to remember that the magic of the gold standard was that it was not about the magic of gold but about accountability and discipline. After 1971, when Nixon took the country off the gold standard, the concern was this would do to tempt central banks to run amok with the financial system.  For during the reign of that standard, one could not create credit and money at will in any quantity. In the words of William McChesney Martin who was Chairman of the Fed at the time:, “You can’t print your way to prosperity. As Mr. Stockman points out, our real GDP growth rate now is 1.5% compared to 3% to 4% “back in the heyday before 1971 when Nixon took us down the path we’re on.”

​Hand-in-hand with the easy money hand-outs is the culture of debt, and debt as an acceptable form of wealth. With government debt estimated to reach $40 trillion by 2020, stagnation and increasing resistance to growth in the country at large are a given.   In roughly nine to ten years since the onset of the crisis of September 2018, an estimated $3.5 trillion of central bank credit was made out of thin air and pumped into Wall Street in turn causing the price of bonds to soar because of all of this artificial demand from the debt. “Wall Street has learned to love money burning because, in the short run, it helps to inflate financial assets. It made interest rates lower. It made capital rates and our P/E multiple times and everybody lived happily ever after except Main Street”, states the author of The Great Deformation, maintaining that since Alan Greenspan, the U.S. economy has been living in what he calls “bubble financer Keynesian central banking”.  As Mr. Stockman succinctly sums up the situation: ​“You need very honest, efficient and discipline money in capital markets. If you have those, it will spread out to the rest of the GDP and the Main Street economy. The great trade market economist Joseph Schumpeter has this concept of creative disruption and that’s all capitalism progresses. Buggy whips go by the wayside and you get a horn on your automobile, your Ford, your model-T or whatever it is. That is important, but creative disruption is not working efficiently and productively if the financial markets are falsified by central bank manipulation and intervention. When they’re falsified and you get stock prices that are way too high, people are rewarded for doing the wrong thing where they should be doing something else.”

​Yet with money so easily won and contemptuously regarded,it is no wonder that a mentality of entitlement persists among those with little knowledge of what great industry and industriousness is about or how a market—a real one—is supposed to function. And so the parasitical and praying mantis politicians swarm in,  seeing no consequence for their trillion-buck environmental programs or social programs or ‘leveling the playing field’ programs, because it’s all digital hocus-pocus anyway and if some see-no-evil black hole debt of galactic proportions is incurred along the way—What of it?

What indeed.  The biggest victim of all in this situation is, in fact, the market itself, in being blamed for a market it did not create. Ayn Rand used to say, ‘you can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality’. The only problem with that wisdom as it applies today is that when there are no consequences to the consequences, reality cannot possibly mean much anyway.
Global Oil Markets Brace For Trade War Fallout
Islam Needs a Pope


Scientology The Cult of Greed

Time Cover Story On Scientology
The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power
 Sunday, June 24, 2001

 Published in Time, May 1991 and Reader's Digest, October 1991,9171,156952,00.html  
By all appearances, Noah Lottick of Kingston, Pa., had been a normal, happy 24-year-old who was looking for his place in the world. On the day last June when his parents drove to New York City to claim his body, they were nearly catatonic with grief. The young Russian-studies scholar had jumped from a 10th-floor window of the Milford Plaza Hotel and bounced off the hood of a stretch limousine. When the police arrived, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, virtually the only money he hadn't yet turned over to the Church of Scientology, the self-help "philosophy" group he had discovered just seven months earlier.
His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. "We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says. "I now believe it's a school for psychopaths. Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and brightest people and destroy them." The Lotticks want to sue the church for contributing to their son's death, but the prospect has them frightened. For nearly 40 years, the big business of Scientology has shielded itself exquisitely behind the First Amendment as well as a battery of high-priced criminal lawyers and shady private detectives.
The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally or physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."
Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law-enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.
In Hollywood, Scientology has assembled a star-studded roster of followers by aggressively recruiting and regally pampering them at the church's "Celebrity Centers," a chain of clubhouses that offer expensive counseling and career guidance. Adherents include screen idols Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actresses Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers and Anne Archer, Palm Springs mayor and performer Sonny Bono, jazzman Chick Corea and even Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon star Bart Simpson. Rank-and-file members, however, are dealt a less glamorous Scientology.
According to the Cult Awareness Network, whose 23 chapters monitor more than 200 "mind control" cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than does Scientology. Says Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members." Agrees Vicki Aznaran, who was one of Scientology's six key leaders until she bolted from the church in 1987: "This is a criminal organization, day in and day out. It makes Jim and Tammy ((Bakker)) look like kindergarten."
To explore Scientology's reach, TIME conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed hundreds of court records and internal Scientology documents. Church officials refused to be interviewed. The investigation paints a picture of a depraved yet thriving enterprise. Most cults fail to outlast their founder, but Scientology has prospered since Hubbard's death in 1986. In a court filing, one of the cult's many entities -- the Church of Spiritual Technology -- listed $503 million in income just for 1987. High-level defectors say the parent organization has squirreled away an estimated $400 million in bank accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Cyprus. Scientology probably has about 50,000 active members, far fewer than the 8 million the group claims. But in one sense, that inflated figure rings true: millions of people have been affected in one way or another by Hubbard's bizarre creation.
Scientology is now run by David Miscavige, 31, a high school dropout and second-generation church member. Defectors describe him as cunning, ruthless and so paranoid about perceived enemies that he kept plastic wrap over his glass of water. His obsession is to attain credibility for Scientology in the 1990s. Among other tactics, the group:
-- Retains public relations powerhouse Hill and Knowlton to help shed the church's fringe-group image.

-- Joined such household names as Sony and Pepsi as a main sponsor of Ted Turner's Goodwill Games.

-- Buys massive quantities of its own books from retail stores to propel the titles onto best-seller lists.

-- Runs full-page ads in such publications as Newsweek and Business Week that call Scientology a "philosophy," along with a plethora of TV ads touting the group's books.

-- Recruits wealthy and respectable professionals through a web of consulting groups that typically hide their ties to Scientology.

The founder of this enterprise was part storyteller, part flimflam man. Born in Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard served in the Navy during World War II and soon afterward complained to the Veterans Administration about his "suicidal inclinations" and his "seriously affected" mind. Nevertheless, Hubbard was a moderately successful writer of pulp science fiction. Years later, church brochures described him falsely as an "extensively decorated" World War II hero who was crippled and blinded in action, twice pronounced dead and miraculously cured through Scientology. Hubbard's "doctorate" from "Sequoia University" was a fake mail-order degree. In a 1984 case in which the church sued a Hubbard biographical researcher, a California judge concluded that its founder was "a pathological liar."
Hubbard wrote one of Scientology's sacred texts, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic technique he called "auditing." He also created a simplified lie detector (called an "E-meter") that was designed to measure electrical changes in the skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past. Hubbard argued that unhappiness sprang from mental aberrations (or "engrams") caused by early traumas. Counseling sessions with the E-meter, he claimed, could knock out the engrams, cure blindness and even improve a person's intelligence and appearance.
Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to climb. In the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or "thetans") who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu. Naturally, those thetans had to be audited.
An Internal Revenue Service ruling in 1967 stripped Scientology's mother church of its tax-exempt status. A federal court ruled in 1971 that Hubbard's medical claims were bogus and that E-meter auditing could no longer be called a scientific treatment. Hubbard responded by going fully religious, seeking First Amendment protection for Scientology's strange rites. His counselors started sporting clerical collars. Chapels were built, franchises became "missions," fees became "fixed donations," and Hubbard's comic-book cosmology became "sacred scriptures."
During the early 1970s, the IRS conducted its own auditing sessions and proved that Hubbard was skimming millions of dollars from the church, laundering the money through dummy corporations in Panama and stashing it in Swiss bank accounts. Moreover, church members stole IRS documents, filed false tax returns and harassed the agency's employees. By late 1985, with high-level defectors accusing Hubbard of having stolen as much as $200 million from the church, the IRS was seeking an indictment of Hubbard for tax fraud. Scientology members "worked day and night" shredding documents the IRS sought, according to defector Aznaran, who took part in the scheme. Hubbard, who had been in hiding for five years, died before the criminal case could be prosecuted.
Today the church invents costly new services with all the zeal of its founder. Scientology doctrine warns that even adherents who are "cleared" of engrams face grave spiritual dangers unless they are pushed to higher and more expensive levels. According to the church's latest price list, recruits -- "raw meat," as Hubbard called them -- take auditing sessions that cost as much as $1,000 an hour, or $12,500 for a 12 1/2-hour "intensive."
Psychiatrists say these sessions can produce a drugged-like, mind-controlled euphoria that keeps customers coming back for more. To pay their fees, newcomers can earn commissions by recruiting new members, become auditors themselves (Miscavige did so at age 12), or join the church staff and receive free counseling in exchange for what their written contracts describe as a "billion years" of labor. "Make sure that lots of bodies move through the shop," implored Hubbard in one of his bulletins to officials. "Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why, just do it."
Harriet Baker learned the hard way about Scientology's business of selling religion. When Baker, 73, lost her husband to cancer, a Scientologist turned up at her Los Angeles home peddling a $1,300 auditing package to cure her grief. Some $15,000 later, the Scientologists discovered that her house was debt free. They arranged a $45,000 mortgage, which they pressured her to tap for more auditing until Baker's children helped their mother snap out of her daze. Last June, Baker demanded a $27,000 refund for unused services, prompting two cult members to show up at her door unannounced with an E-meter to interrogate her. Baker never got the money and, financially strapped, was forced to sell her house in September.
Before Noah Lottick killed himself, he had paid more than $5,000 for church counseling. His behavior had also become strange. He once remarked to his parents that his Scientology mentors could actually read minds. When his father suffered a major heart attack, Noah insisted that it was purely psychosomatic. Five days before he jumped, Noah burst into his parents' home and demanded to know why they were spreading "false rumors" about him -- a delusion that finally prompted his father to call a psychiatrist.
It was too late. "From Noah's friends at Dianetics" read the card that accompanied a bouquet of flowers at Lottick's funeral. Yet no Scientology staff members bothered to show up. A week earlier, local church officials had given Lottick's parents a red-carpet tour of their center. A cult leader told Noah's parents that their son had been at the church just hours before he disappeared -- but the church denied this story as soon as the body was identified. True to form, the cult even haggled with the Lotticks over $3,000 their son had paid for services he never used, insisting that Noah had intended it as a "donation."
The church has invented hundreds of goods and services for which members are urged to give "donations." Are you having trouble "moving swiftly up the Bridge" -- that is, advancing up the stepladder of enlightenment? Then you can have your case reviewed for a mere $1,250 "donation." Want to know "why a thetan hangs on to the physical universe?" Try 52 of Hubbard's tape- recorded speeches from 1952, titled "Ron's Philadelphia Doctorate Course Lectures," for $2,525. Next: nine other series of the same sort. For the collector, gold-and-leather-bound editions of 22 of Hubbard's books (and bookends) on subjects ranging from Scientology ethics to radiation can be had for just $1,900.
To gain influence and lure richer, more sophisticated followers, Scientology has lately resorted to a wide array of front groups and financial scams. Among them:
CONSULTING. Sterling Management Systems, formed in 1983, has been ranked in recent years by Inc. magazine as one of America's fastest-growing private companies (estimated 1988 revenues: $20 million). Sterling regularly mails a free newsletter to more than 300,000 health-care professionals, mostly dentists, promising to increase their incomes dramatically. The firm offers seminars and courses that typically cost $10,000. But Sterling's true aim is to hook customers for Scientology. "The church has a rotten product, so they package it as something else," says Peter Georgiades, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents Sterling victims. "It's a kind of bait and switch." Sterling's founder, dentist Gregory Hughes, is now under investigation by California's Board of Dental Examiners for incompetence. Nine lawsuits are pending against him for malpractice (seven others have been settled), mostly for orthodontic work on children.

Many dentists who have unwittingly been drawn into the cult are filing or threatening lawsuits as well. Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, who entered a Sterling seminar in 1988, endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales tactics I have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their firm was not linked to Scientology, he says. But Geary claims they eventually convinced him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required auditing. Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services, plus $50,000 for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard. Geary contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his credit-card limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application. "It was insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from them of what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim, Scientologists held Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
Last October, Sterling broke some bad news to another dentist, Glover Rowe of Gadsden, Ala., and his wife Dee. Tests showed that unless they signed up for auditing, Glover's practice would fail, and Dee would someday abuse their child. The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled daily from a local hotel to a Dianetics center. "We thought they were brilliant people because they seemed to know so much about us," recalls Dee. "Then we realized our hotel room must have been bugged." After bolting from the center, $23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by Scientologists on foot and in cars. Dentists aren't the only ones at risk. Scientology also makes pitches to chiropractors, podiatrists and veterinarians.
PUBLIC INFLUENCE. One front, the Way to Happiness Foundation, has distributed to children in thousands of the nation's public schools more than 3.5 million copies of a booklet Hubbard wrote on morality. The church calls the scheme "the largest dissemination project in Scientology history." Applied Scholastics is the name of still another front, which is attempting to install a Hubbard tutorial program in public schools, primarily those populated by minorities. The group also plans a 1,000-acre campus, where it will train educators to teach various Hubbard methods. The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor. The commission typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists and the field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling antidepression drug. Despite scant evidence, the group's members -- who call themselves "psychbusters" -- claim that Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings, appearances on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped spark dozens of lawsuits against Lilly.

Another Scientology-linked group, the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, holds antidrug contests and awards $5,000 grants to schools as a way to recruit students and curry favor with education officials. West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller IV unwittingly commended the CBAA in 1987 on the Senate floor. Last August author Alex Haley was the keynote speaker at its annual awards banquet in Los Angeles. Says Haley: "I didn't know much about that group going in. I'm a Methodist." Ignorance about Scientology can be embarrassing: two months ago, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, noting that Scientology's founder "has solved the aberrations of the human mind," proclaimed March 13 "L. Ron Hubbard Day." He rescinded the proclamation in late March, once he learned who Hubbard really was.

HEALTH CARE. HealthMed, a chain of clinics run by Scientologists, promotes a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins designed by Hubbard to purify the body. Experts denounce the regime as quackery and potentially harmful, yet HealthMed solicits unions and public agencies for contracts. The chain is plugged heavily in a new book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, by journalist David Steinman, who concludes that scores of common foods (among them: peanuts, bluefish, peaches and cottage cheese) are dangerous.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop labeled the book "trash," and the Food and Drug Administration issued a paper in October that claims Steinman distorts his facts. "HealthMed is a gateway to Scientology, and Steinman's book is a sorting mechanism," says physician William Jarvis, who is head of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Steinman, who describes Hubbard favorably as a "researcher," denies any ties to the church and contends, "HealthMed has no affiliation that I know of with Scientology."

DRUG TREATMENT. Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers -- some in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries. Narconon, a classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open what it calls the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian reservation near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400). At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the Association for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000 and a study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of Scientology itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has fought back through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor and the local newspaper publisher.
FINANCIAL SCAMS. Three Florida Scientologists, including Ronald Bernstein, a big contributor to the church's international "war chest," pleaded guilty in March to using their rare-coin dealership as a money laundry. Other notorious activities by Scientologists include making the shady Vancouver stock exchange even shadier (see box) and plotting to plant operatives in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. The alleged purpose of this scheme: to gain inside information on which countries are going to be denied credit so that Scientology-linked traders can make illicit profits by taking "short" positions in those countries' currencies.

In the stock market the practice of "shorting" involves borrowing shares of publicly traded companies in the hope that the price will go down before the stocks must be bought on the market and returned to the lender. The Feshbach brothers of Palo Alto, Calif. -- Kurt, Joseph and Matthew -- have become the leading short sellers in the U.S., with more than $500 million under management. The Feshbachs command a staff of about 60 employees and claim to have earned better returns than the Dow Jones industrial average for most of the 1980s. And, they say, they owe it all to the teachings of Scientology, whose "war chest" has received more than $1 million from the family.

The Feshbachs also embrace the church's tactics; the brothers are the terrors of the stock exchanges. In congressional hearings in 1989, the heads of several companies claimed that Feshbach operatives have spread false information to government agencies and posed in various guises -- such as a Securities and Exchange Commission official -- in an effort to discredit their companies and drive the stocks down. Michael Russell, who ran a chain of business journals, testified that a Feshbach employee called his bankers and interfered with his loans. Sometimes the Feshbachs send private detectives to dig up dirt on firms, which is then shared with business reporters, brokers and fund managers.
The Feshbachs, who wear jackets bearing the slogan "stock busters," insist they run a clean shop. But as part of a current probe into possible insider stock trading, federal officials are reportedly investigating whether the Feshbachs received confidential information from FDA employees. The brothers seem aligned with Scientology's war on psychiatry and medicine: many of their targets are health and biotechnology firms. "Legitimate short selling performs a public service by deflating hyped stocks," says Robert Flaherty, the editor of Equities magazine and a harsh critic of the brothers. "But the Feshbachs have damaged scores of good start-ups."
Occasionally a Scientologist's business antics land him in jail. Last August a former devotee named Steven Fishman began serving a five-year prison term in Florida. His crime: stealing blank stock-confirmation slips from his employer, a major brokerage house, to use as proof that he owned stock entitling him to join dozens of successful class-action lawsuits. Fishman made roughly $1 million this way from 1983 to 1988 and spent as much as 30% of the loot on Scientology books and tapes.
Scientology denies any tie to the Fishman scam, a claim strongly disputed by both Fishman and his longtime psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, a prominent Florida hypnotist. Both men claim that when arrested, Fishman was ordered by the church to kill Geertz and then do an "EOC," or end of cycle, which is church jargon for suicide.

BOOK PUBLISHING. Scientology mischiefmaking has even moved to the book industry. Since 1985 at least a dozen Hubbard books, printed by a church company, have made best-seller lists. They range from a 5,000-page sci-fi decology (Black Genesis, The Enemy Within, An Alien Affair) to the 40-year-old Dianetics. In 1988 the trade publication Publishers Weekly awarded the dead author a plaque commemorating the appearance of Dianetics on its best-seller list for 100 consecutive weeks.
Critics pan most of Hubbard's books as unreadable, while defectors claim that church insiders are sometimes the real authors. Even so, Scientology has sent out armies of its followers to buy the group's books at such major chains as B. Dalton's and Waldenbooks to sustain the illusion of a best-selling author. A former Dalton's manager says that some books arrived in his store with the chain's price stickers already on them, suggesting that copies are being recycled. Scientology claims that sales of Hubbard books now top 90 million worldwide. The scheme, set up to gain converts and credibility, is coupled with a radio and TV advertising campaign virtually unparalleled in the book industry.

Scientology devotes vast resources to squelching its critics. Since 1986 Hubbard and his church have been the subject of four unfriendly books, all released by small yet courageous publishers. In each case, the writers have been badgered and heavily sued. One of Hubbard's policies was that all perceived enemies are "fair game" and subject to being "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." Those who criticize the church -- journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges -- often find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death. Psychologist Margaret Singer, 69, an outspoken Scientology critic and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, now travels regularly under an assumed name to avoid harassment.
After the Los Angeles Times published a negative series on the church last summer, Scientologists spent an estimated $1 million to plaster the reporters' names on hundreds of billboards and bus placards across the city. Above their names were quotations taken out of context to portray the church in a positive light.
The church's most fearsome advocates are its lawyers. Hubbard warned his followers in writing to "beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue . . . the purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win." Result: Scientology has brought hundreds of suits against its perceived enemies and today pays an estimated $20 million annually to more than 100 lawyers.
One legal goal of Scientology is to bankrupt the opposition or bury it under paper. The church has 71 active lawsuits against the IRS alone. One of them, Miscavige vs. IRS, has required the U.S. to produce an index of 52,000 pages of documents. Boston attorney Michael Flynn, who helped Scientology victims from 1979 to 1987, personally endured 14 frivolous lawsuits, all of them dismissed. Another lawyer, Joseph Yanny, believes the church "has so subverted justice and the judicial system that it should be barred from seeking equity in any court." He should know: Yanny represented the cult until 1987, when, he says, he was asked to help church officials steal medical records to blackmail an opposing attorney (who was allegedly beaten up instead). Since Yanny quit representing the church, he has been the target of death threats, burglaries, lawsuits and other harassment.
Scientology's critics contend that the U.S. needs to crack down on the church in a major, organized way. "I want to know, Where is our government?" demands Toby Plevin, a Los Angeles attorney who handles victims. "It shouldn't be left to private litigators, because God knows most of us are afraid to get involved." But law-enforcement agents are also wary. "Every investigator is very cautious, walking on eggshells when it comes to the church," says a Florida police detective who has tracked the cult since 1988. "It will take a federal effort with lots of money and manpower."

So far the agency giving Scientology the most grief is the IRS, whose officials have implied that Hubbard's successors may be looting the church's coffers. Since 1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the revocation of the cult's tax-exempt status, a massive IRS probe of church centers across the country has been under way. An IRS agent, Marcus Owens, has estimated that thousands of IRS employees have been involved. Another agent, in an internal IRS memorandum, spoke hopefully of the "ultimate disintegration" of the church. A small but helpful beacon shone last June when a federal appeals court ruled that two cassette tapes featuring conversations between church officials and their lawyers are evidence of a plan to commit "future frauds" against the IRS.

The IRS and FBI have been debriefing Scientology defectors for the past three years, in part to gain evidence for a major racketeering case that appears to have stalled last summer. Federal agents complain that the Justice Department is unwilling to spend the money needed to endure a drawn-out war with Scientology or to fend off the cult's notorious jihads against individual agents. "In my opinion the church has one of the most effective intelligence operations in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI," says Ted Gunderson, a former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

Foreign governments have been moving even more vigorously against the organization. In Canada the church and nine of its members will be tried in June on charges of stealing government documents (many of them retrieved in an enormous police raid of the church's Toronto headquarters). Scientology proposed to give $1 million to the needy if the case was dropped, but Canada spurned the offer. Since 1986 authorities in France, Spain and Italy have raided more than 50 Scientology centers. Pending charges against more than 100 of its overseas church members include fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, illegally practicing medicine and taking advantage of mentally incapacitated people. In Germany last month, leading politicians accused the cult of trying to infiltrate a major party as well as launching an immense recruitment drive in the east.

Sometimes even the church's biggest zealots can use a little protection. Screen star Travolta, 37, has long served as an unofficial Scientology spokesman, even though he told a magazine in 1983 that he was opposed to the church's management. High-level defectors claim that Travolta has long feared that if he defected, details of his sexual life would be made public. "He felt pretty intimidated about this getting out and told me so," recalls William Franks, the church's former chairman of the board. "There were no outright threats made, but it was implicit. If you leave, they immediately start digging up everything." Franks was driven out in 1981 after attempting to reform the church.
The church's former head of security, Richard Aznaran, recalls Scientology ringleader Miscavige repeatedly joking to staffers about Travolta's allegedly promiscuous homosexual behavior. At this point any threat to expose Travolta seems superfluous: last May a male porn star collected $100,000 from a tabloid for an account of his alleged two-year liaison with the celebrity. Travolta refuses to comment, and in December his lawyer dismissed questions about the subject as "bizarre." Two weeks later, Travolta announced that he was getting married to actress Kelly Preston, a fellow Scientologist.
Shortly after Hubbard's death the church retained Trout & Ries, a respected, Connecticut-based firm of marketing consultants, to help boost its public image. "We were brutally honest," says Jack Trout. "We advised them to clean up their act, stop with the controversy and even to stop being a church. They didn't want to hear that." Instead, Scientology hired one of the country's largest p.r. outfits, Hill and Knowlton, whose executives refuse to discuss the lucrative relationship. "Hill and Knowlton must feel that these guys are not totally off the wall," says Trout. "Unless it's just for the money."
One of Scientology's main strategies is to keep advancing the tired argument that the church is being "persecuted" by antireligionists. It is supported in that position by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council of Churches. But in the end, money is what Scientology is all about. As long as the organization's opponents and victims are successfully squelched, Scientology's managers and lawyers will keep pocketing millions of dollars by helping it achieve its ends.


Scientolog, The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power
"The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" is an article, written in 1991 by U.S. investigative journalist Richard Behar, which is highly critical of Scientology.

It was first published by Time magazine on May 6, 1991, as an eight-page cover story,[1][2] and was later published in Reader's Digest in October 1991.[3] Behar had previously published an article on Scientology in Forbesmagazine. He stated that he was investigated by attorneys and private investigators affiliated with the Church of Scientology while researching the Time article, and that investigators contacted his friends and family as well. Behar's article covers topics including L. Ron Hubbard and the development of Scientology, its controversies over the years and history of litigation, conflict with psychiatry and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the suicide of Noah Lottick, its status as a religion, and its business dealings.
After the article's publication, the Church of Scientology mounted a public relations campaign to address issues in the piece. It took out advertisements in USA Today for twelve weeks, and Church leader David Miscavige was interviewed by Ted Koppel on Nightline about what he considered to be an objective bias by the article's author. Miscavige alleged that the article was actually driven by the company Eli Lilly, because of Scientology's efforts against the drug Prozac. The Church of Scientology brought a libel suit against Time Warner and Behar, and sued Reader's Digest in multiple countries in Europe in an attempt to stop the article's publication there. The suit against Time Warner was dismissed in 1996, and the Church of Scientology's petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States was denied in 2001.
Behar received awards in honor of his work on the article, including the Gerald Loeb Award, the Worth Bingham Prize, and the Conscience-in-Media Award. The article has had ramifications in the current treatment of Scientology in the media, with some publications theorizing that journalists are wary of the litigation that Time Warner went through. The article has been cited by Anderson Cooper on CNN, in a story on Panorama's 2007 program "Scientology and Me" on the BBC, and has been used as a reference for background on the history of Scientology, in books from both the cult and new religious movement perspectives.

Research for the article
Before penning "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", Behar had written a 1986 article in Forbes magazine, "The Prophet and Profits of Scientology", which reported on the Church of Scientology's business dealings and L. Ron Hubbard's financial success.[4] Behar wrote that during research for "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", he and a Time contributing editor were themselves investigated by ten attorneys and six private investigators affiliated with the Church of Scientology.[5][6][7][8] According to Behar, investigators contacted his friends and previous coworkers to ask them if he had a history of tax or drug problems, and obtained a copy of his personal credit report that had been obtained illegally from a national credit bureau.[6][8][9][10] Behar conducted 150 interviews in the course of his research for the article.[11]
Behar wrote that the motive of these operatives was to "threaten, harass and discredit him".[5][8] He later learned that the Church of Scientology had assigned its head private investigator to direct the Church's investigation into Behar.[8] Anderson Cooper 360° reported that Behar had been contacted by Church of Scientology attorneys numerous times while doing research on the article.[12] The parents of Noah Lottick, a Scientologist who had committed suicide, cooperated with Time and Reader's Digest.[13]

The full title of the article is "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but is really a ruthless global scam — and aiming for the mainstream".[14][15] The article reported on the founding of the Church of Scientology by L. Ron Hubbard and controversies involving the Church and its affiliated business operations, as well as the suicide of a Scientologist.[2][13] The article related the May 11, 1990, suicide of Dr. Edward Lottick's son Noah Antrim Lottick.[13] Lottick was a Russian studies student who had taken a series of Scientology courses; he died after jumping from a hotel tenth floor window.[16] The Church of Scientology and Lottick's family have differing positions on the effect Scientology coursework had on him. While none of the parties assigned blame, they expressed misgivings about his death. Initially, his father had thought that Scientology was similar to Dale Carnegie's self-improvement techniques; however, after his ordeal, the elder Lottick came to believe that the organization is a "school for psychopaths".[17] Mike Rinder, the head of the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs and a Church spokesman, stated "I think Ed Lottick should look in the mirror ... I think Ed Lottick made his son's life intolerable".[16]
The article outlined a brief history of Scientology, discussing Hubbard's initial background as a science fiction writer, and cited a California judge who had deemed Hubbard a "pathological liar".[2] The Church of Scientology's litigation history was described, in addition to its conflicts with the Internal Revenue Service, with countries regarding whether or not to accept it as a religion, and its position against psychiatry.[2] Behar wrote of the high costs involved in participation in the Church of Scientology, what he referred to as "front groups and financial scams", and harassment of critics.[7] He estimated that the Church of Scientology paid US$20 million annually to over one hundred attorneys.[7] Behar maintained that though the Church of Scientology portrays itself as a religion, it was actually a "hugely profitable global racket" which intimidated members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.[6][18][19]

Cynthia Kisser, then director of the Cult Awareness Network, was quoted: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members".[2][20]

Church of Scientology's response

The Church of Scientology responded to the publication of "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" by taking out color full-page ads in USA Today in May and June 1991, on every weekday for twelve weeks, denouncing the Time magazine cover article.[21] Two official Church of Scientology responses were titled "Facts vs. Fiction, A Correction of Falsehoods Contained in the May 6, 1991, Issues of Time Magazine", and "The Story That Time Couldn't Tell".[22] Prior to the advertising campaign, Scientologists distributed 88-page bound booklets which disputed points from Behar's article.[23] The "Fact vs. Fiction" piece was a 1⁄4-inch-thick (0.64 cm) booklet, which criticized Behar's article and asserted "Behar's article omits the information on the dozens of community service programs conducted by Scientologists ... which have been acknowledged by community officials".[24] One of the advertisements in USA Today accused Time of promoting Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and featured a 1936 issue of Time which had Hitler's picture on the front cover.[25] The Church of Scientology sent out a news release condemning Time's "horrible history of supporting fascism", and said that the article was written because Time had been pressured by "vested interests".[23] When asked by the St. Petersburg Times whether this was the case, Time Executive Editor Richard Duncan responded "Good Lord, no".[23] Heber Jentzsch, at the time president of Church of Scientology International, issued a four-page news release which stated "Advertising is the only way the church could be assured of getting its message and its side of the story out to the public without the same vested interests behind the Time article distorting it".[25]

After the advertising run critiquing Time magazine in USA Today had completed, the Church of Scientology mounted a $3 million public relations campaign about Scientology in USA Today, in June 1991.[26] The Church of Scientology placed a 48-page advertising supplement in 1.8 million copies of USA Today.[26] In a statement to the St. Petersburg Times, Scientology spokesman Richard Haworth explained "What we are trying to do is put the actual facts of Dianetics and Scientology out there".[26]
In response to the Church of Scientology's claims of inaccuracies in the article, a lawyer for Time responded "We've reviewed all of their allegations, and find nothing wrong with the Time story."[27] In June 1991, Newsweek reported that staffers for Time said they had received calls from a man claiming to be a paralegal for Time, who asked them if they had signed a confidentiality form about the article.[27] Time editors sent staffers a computer memo, warning them about calls related to the article, and staffers told Newsweek that "sources named in the story say detectives have asked about their talks with Time".[27] A Church of Scientology spokesman called the claims "scurrilous".[27]
On February 14, 1992, Scientology leader David Miscavige gave Ted Koppel his first interview on Scientology on the ABC News program Nightline.[28] The program noted that Scientology has vocal critics and cited Behar's 1991 article. Behar appeared on the program and gave his opinion of why individuals join Scientology, stating that the organization's "ulterior motive" is really to get people to take high-priced audit counseling.[28] Behar stated on the program that he had evidence that members of the Church of Scientology had obtained his personal phone records.[28] Later in the program, Koppel questioned Miscavige on the Church of Scientology's response to the Time magazine article, particularly the $3 million the church spent advertising in USA Today.[28] Miscavige explained that the first three weeks of the advertising campaign was meant to correct falsehoods from the Time article, and the rest of the twelve-week campaign was dedicated to informing the public about Scientology. Koppel asked Miscavige what specifically had upset him about the Timearticle, and Miscavige called Behar "a hater".[28] Miscavige noted that Behar had written an article on Scientology and the Internal Revenue Service three years before he began work on the Time piece, and made allegations that Behar had attempted to get two Scientologists kidnapped. When Koppel questioned Miscavige further on this, Miscavige said that individuals had contacted Behar after an earlier article, and Behar had told them to "kidnap Scientologists out".[28] Koppel pressed further, noting that this was a serious charge to make, and asked Miscavige if his allegations were accurate, why he had not pressed charges for attempted kidnapping. Miscavige said Koppel was "missing the issue", and said that his real point was that he thought the article was not an objective piece.[28]

Miscavige alleged on Nightline that the article itself was published as a result of a request by Eli Lilly and Company, because of "the damage we had caused to their killer drug Prozac".[28] When Koppel asked Miscavige if he had affidavits or evidence to this effect, Miscavige responded "You think they'd admit it?"[28] Miscavige stated that "Eli Lilly ordered a reprint of 750,000 copies of Time magazine before it came out", and that his attempts to investigate the matter with Eli Lilly and associated advertising companies were not successful.[28]

The Church brought a libel lawsuit against Time Warner and Behar, seeking damages of $416 million.[9][29] The Church alleged false and defamatory statements were made concerning the Church of Scientology International in the Time article.[30] More specifically, the Church of Scientology's court statements claimed that Behar had been refining an anti-Scientology focus since his 1986 article in Forbes, which included gathering negative materials about Scientology, and "never accepting anything a Scientologist said and uniformly ignoring anything positive he learned about the Church".[30] In its initial complaint filing, the Church quoted portions of the Behar article that it alleged were false and defamatory, including the quote from Cynthia Kisser, and Behar's own assertion that Scientology was a "global racket" that intimidated individuals in a "Mafia-like manner".[30] 

Noah Lottick's parents submitted affidavits in the case, in which they "affirmed the accuracy of each statement in the article"; Edward Lottick "concluded that Scientology therapies were manipulations, and that no Scientology staff members attended the funeral" of their son.[30] During the litigation, the Church of Scientology attempted to subpoena Behar in a separate ongoing lawsuit with the Internal Revenue Service, and accused a federal magistrate of leaking information to him.[31] Behar was questioned for over 190 hours during 30 days of depositions with Scientology attorneys in the libel case.[31] One question was about Behar's life in his parents' home while he was still inside the womb.[31] St. Petersburg Times explained that this question was prompted by Scientology teachings that certain problems come from prenatal memories.[31] Behar told the St. Petersburg Times he "felt it was extremely excessive".[31] In a countersuit, Behar brought up the issues of Church of Scientology private investigators and what he viewed as harassment.[9][31] By July 1996, all counts of the libel suit had been dismissed.[12][32] In the course of the litigation through 1996, Time Warner had spent $7.3 million in legal defense costs.[31] The Church of Scientology also sued several individuals quoted in the Time article.[31]
The Church of Scientology sued Reader's Digest in Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany for publishing a condensed version of the Time story.[33] The only court to provide a temporary injunction was in Lausanne, Switzerland.[34] In France, Italy, and the Netherlands, the courts either dismissed the Church of Scientology's motions, or set injunction hearings far beyond the date of actual publication.[33] The company defied the injunction and mailed copies of the article, "Scientology: A Dangerous Cult Goes Mainstream", to their 326,000 Swiss subscribers.[33] Worldwide editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest, Kenneth Tomlinson, told The New York Times that "a publisher cannot accept a court prohibiting distribution of a serious journalistic piece. ... The court order violates freedom of speech and freedom of the press".[33] The Church of Scientology subsequently filed a criminal complaint against the Digest in Lausanne, and Mike Rinder stated it was in blatant violation of the law.[33] By defying the Swiss court ban, the Reader's Digest risked a fine of about $3,400, as well as a potential three months' jail time for the Swiss Digest editor-in-chief.[33] A hearing on the injunction was set for November 11, 1991, and the injunction was later lifted by the Swiss court.[33][35]In January 2001, a United States federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the Church of Scientology International's case against Time Warner.[36] In its opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Time Warner had not published "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" with an actual intent of malice,[37] a standard that must be met for libel cases involving individuals and public groups.[37] On October 1, 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to consider reinstating the church's libel case Church of Scientology International v. Time Warner Inc., 00-1683.[37][38] Time Warner said it refused to be "intimidated by the church's apparently limitless legal resources."[37] In arguments presented to the Supreme Court, the Church of Scientology acknowledged that church officials had "committed improper acts" in the past, but also claimed that: "allegations of past misconduct were false and distorted, the result of the misunderstanding, suspicion and prejudice that typically greet a new religion".[37] Of the rulings for Time Warner, the Church of Scientology complained that they "provide a safe harbor for biased journalism".[37] Behar commented on the Church of Scientology's legal defeat, and said that the lawsuit had a chilling effect: "It's a tremendous defeat for Scientology ... But of course their doctrine states that the purpose of a suit is to harass, not to win, so from that perspective they hurt us all. They've had a real chilling effect on journalism, both before and after my piece".[14]

As a result of writing the piece, Behar was presented with the 1992 Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and financial journalism, the Worth Bingham Prize,[39] the Conscience-in-Media Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors,[32][40] awarded to "those who have demonstrated singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost or sacrifice,"[41] and the Cult Awareness Network's Leo J. Ryan Award, in honor of Congressman Leo J. Ryan.[42][43] Paulette Cooper was also awarded the 1992 Conscience-in-Media Award by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, for her book The Scandal of Scientology.[40] This was the only time in the history of the American Society of Journalists and Authors that the award was presented to more than one journalist in the same year.[40]

In a February 1992 issue of Time, editor Elizabeth Valk congratulated Behar on his Conscience-in-Media Award, stating "Needless to say, we are delighted and proud".[41] Valk noted that the honor had only been awarded seven times in the previous seventeen years of its existence.[41] Managing editor Henry Muller also congratulated Behar in an April 1992 issue of Time.[44]

Insane Therapy noted that Scientology "achieved more notoriety ... with the publication of the journalist Richard Behar's highly critical article".[7] Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality described the cover design of the article as it appeared in Time, writing that it "shouted" the headline from the magazine cover.[18] In a 2005 piece, magazine noted that for those interested in the Church of Scientology, the Time article still remains a "milestone in news coverage", and that those who back the Church believe it was "an outrageously biased account".[19]


The Church of Scientology's use of private investigators was cited in a 1998 article in the Boston Herald, and compared to Behar's experiences when researching "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power".[5] After the paper ran a five-part series of critical articles in 1998, Church of Scientology President Heber Jentzsch confirmed that a private investigative firm was hired to look into the personal life of Joseph Mallia, the reporter who wrote the articles.[5] In a later piece titled "Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter—Investigation follows pattern of harassment" this investigation was likened to Behar's assertions of harassment, as well as other reporters' experiences from 1974, 1988, and 1997.[5]
Because of the history of conflict between Reader's Digest and Scientology, the writer of a 2005 cover story on Tom Cruise agreed to certain demands, including giving Scientology issues equal play in the writer's profile of Cruise, submitting questions for Cruise to Church of Scientology handlers, and sending the writer of the article to a one-day Church immersion course.[45] Also in 2005, an article in Salon questioned whether the tactics of the Church's litigation and private investigations of Time Warner and other media sources had succeeded in decreasing the amount of investigative journalism pieces on Scientology in the press.[19] A 2005 article in The Sunday Times cited the article, and came to the determination that the Church of Scientology's lawsuit against Time Warner "served to warn off other potential investigations", and that "The chill evidently lingers still".[46]

"The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" continues to be used today by journalists in the media, as a reference for historical information on the Church of Scientology.[47][48][49][50] In April 2007, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper interviewed former Office of Special Affairsdirector Mike Rinder,[51] in a live piece on Anderson Cooper 360° titled "Inside Scientology".[12] The CNN story was prompted by the May 2007 airing of a BBC Panorama investigative program, "Scientology and Me". In the interview, Anderson Cooper quoted directly from "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" article, when asking Rinder about the history of Operation Snow White, and if those tactics were currently used by the Church.[12] Rinder answered by stating that the individuals involved with Operation Snow White were no longer involved in Church of Scientology activities, and that the incident was "ancient history". Cooper then again referenced the Time magazine article noting that Behar asserted that he was illegally investigated by Scientology contacts during research for his article.[12] Cooper questioned Rinder on the dismissed lawsuit against Time Warner, and Rinder acknowledged that all of the Church of Scientology's appeals against Time Warner were eventually rejected.[12]
The article has been cited as a reference used for background on Scientology in books which take a critical look at cults such as Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality and Insane Therapy: Portrait of a Psychotherapy Cult,[7][18] those that analyze new religious movements including Understanding New Religious Movements and The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements,[52][53] and in a work that includes researchers from both schools of thought, Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field.[54]

The Curious Man Behind Nordic Banking Scandals By F. William Engdahl 5 April 2019

Image: Lietuvių: Swedbank, Konstitucijos prospektas, Vilnius Credit: Bearas License: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license With Some Restrictions

In recent days Sweden’s largest mortgage bank, Swedbank, fired its CEO amid charges she was involved in a multi-billion dollar money laundering operation. Swedbank now joins Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, and several other European Union banks implicated in laundering what has been claimed amounts to more than $1 trillion in funds of Russian or Ukraine or other origin in recent years. As impressive as the scandal appears, equally interesting is the curious man triggering the scandals .

On March 28 Swedbank AB fired its CEO, Birgitte Bonnesen, amid allegations she was complicit in a conspiracy to launder billions of dollars in money from former Soviet Union states via Swedbank’s Estonia branch. At present Swedish SVT television reports suggest the mortgage bank laundered as much as 20 billion euros ($23 billion) in questionable funds each year, between 2010 and 2016 in Estonia, which, if true, would total some $140 billion. Swedbank allegedly also misled US authorities on its suspicious customer activities. Reportedly the Swedbank Estonia violations are tied to the even more dramatic allegations that Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, laundered an eye-popping $230 billion via its Estonia operation. Bonnesen was in charge of Swedbank’s Baltic banking operations from 2011-2014.

Among those allegedly using the Baltic branch of Swedbank was former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovytch, ousted in a CIA coup in February 2014 facilitated by Obama State Department official Viktoria Nuland. Another client was reportedly the Russian industrial oligarch, Iskandar Makhmudov, who made his fortune during the Yeltsin years in the “rape of Russia” plunder of Soviet state companies.

The curious whistleblower

The person by all reports responsible for blowing the whistle on what he says is criminal money laundering of funds of Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs by Swedbank, Danske Bank and allegations that Deutsche Bank and other EU banks were also involved, is an American-born British citizen named Bill Browder.

Browder is notorious as a bitter enemy of Russia’s Putin. He has charged Putin’s police of murdering a business associate of Browder, Sergei Magnitsky, Browder’s accountant, in a Russian jail, charges never proven. It was enough however, for the well-connected Browder to get the influential backing of US Senator John McCain to pass the Magnitsky Act of 2012. Today the act has been broadened to apply globally, authorizing the US government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, freezing their assets, and banning them from entering the US.

Putin’s government had charged Browder with theft of $230 million in tax money, after Russian authorities banned Browder and seized his Hermitage Capital hedge fund in Russia. As investigators have pointed out, far from wanting him dead, Magnitsky, as accountant for Browder, was the key state witness for Russia against Browder. The McCain-backed Magnitsky Act gave the US Government unprecedented powers to sanction individuals and companies in the name of “punishing rogue, evil regimes who torture innocents.” The Magnitsky Act paved the way to the Cyprus confiscation of Russian deposits, to post-Crimean US sanctions and beyond. Browder’s Magnitsky games are still very active today.

In July, 2018 at the Helsinki Summit with Trump, Putin openly requested permission to send Russian prosecutors to the US to query Browder on his tax evasion. Putin offered that the USA could interrogate any Russian concerning the 2016 elections, provided he could do the same with respect to the Russian 2000 election, including the role of Bill Browder. One week later, with notable timing, Browder openly charged that Danske Bank had illegally laundered $8 billion via its Estonia operations from Russia, Moldova and Azerbaijan oligarchs. US authorities are investigating, but now Browder is apparently going all out to break links between Russian companies and many EU banks, whether criminal or not. Swedbank is apparently part of that escalation.

On March 6, the same Browder, who now seems to have made it his life mission to point the finger at the Putin government, filed a criminal complaint charging that Swedbank handled $176 million connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Then, mysteriously Swedish state TV followed with allegations that Swedbank laundered far more for Russian clients, leading to the dismissal of Swedbank CEO last month. Where SVT got their insider information is not clear at this point. Browder for his part claims that as much as $1 trillion in dubious money from Russia and the former USSR region has found or seeks to find refuge in EU banks like Swedbank and Danske Bank. How he would know that sum is also not clear, but the claim makes dramatic headlines, is quite vague and hard to prove.

Pots and Black Kettles?

Bill Browder is a curious person to be blowing the whistle on Russian illegal money laundering via western banks. In the wild west 1990’s era of CIA asset, Boris Yeltsin, a man who was willing to sell his country in return for unlimited vodka and billions for his “family,” did business with a company named Hermitage Capital.

The administrations of G.H.W. Bush and later Bill Clinton facilitated the plunder of billions of dollars in former Soviet state assets during the 1990s, using a complex network of Swiss and other Western banks tied to the CIA to launder the corrupt gains. One such bank was the Swiss branch of Riggs Bank of Washington, Riggs Valmet SA of Geneva, organized in part by Jonathan J. Bush, brother of the late President. Another was Republic National Bank of New York of the late Edmund Safra.

In the 1990s, US-born Browder, whose grandfather, Earl Browder, had been head of the Communist Party USA, founded Hermitage Capital solely to invest in Russian companies being privatized in the corrupt vouchers system of Yeltsin’s Finance Ministry. Geneva banker Edmond Safra put in $25 million seed capital for Hermitage Capital and Safra’s Republic National Bank of New York controlled Browder’s Hermitage Capital, founding it together with Israeli diamond billionaire, Beny Steinmetz, who himself has been charged with money laundering more than once.

Safra was also linked to gangster Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, who, along with Mikhail Khodorkovsky of Yukos Oil and Bank Menatep, was one of the original oligarchs groomed by Bush’s CIA and banking cronies to facilitate the looting of Yeltsin’s Russia dubbed by the CIA as Operation Hammer.

In short, Bill Browder knew much about illegal money laundering by Russian oligarchs in the 1990s. His Hermitage Capital allegedly helped facilitate it according to Russian charges and other evidence. When Yeltsin was gone, and a little-known nationalist named Vladimir Putin took charge as President in March 2000, Browder was suddenly on the outs in Putin’s Russia.

According to Martin Armstrong, who testified to the US Government that he had been approached to invest in Browder’s Russia Hermitage fund by HSBC, for Browder to get the Magnitsky Act aimed at the Putin government passed in Washington, Browder allegedly donated money to the bill’s recently-departed sponsor’s “Institute” – John McCain. Today, the board of the McCain Institute in Arizona includes such prominent figures as Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Gen. David Petraeus.

Influential friends?

European analysts and investigative journalists suggest that Browder’s whistleblowing today on the Russian oligarchs’ use of Nordic banks such as Swedbank or Danske Bank and other EU banks, to move funds out of Russia, may be motivated by more than Browder’s personal pangs of guilt for past Russian deeds in the 1990’s before Putin.

According to Martin Armstrong, Browder’s 1990’s business partner in Hermitage Capital, Edmund Safra, was involved in a scheme to launder a $7 billion IMF Russia loan via Safra’s Republic Bank in New York in a complex blackmail scheme to get Yeltsin to name Safra’s pal, Boris Berezovsky, as Russian President. The plot backfired as Yeltsin smelled a trap, Armstrong claims, and turned instead to Putin for a deal in order to survive.

Armstrong maintains there is a “whole other side to this story that nobody seems to be interested in exposing because it just might reveal American attempts to manipulate Russian politics that backfired and opened the door to Putin.”

Tom Luongo, who follows the case closely puts the right question when he asks, “…looking at this situation rationally, how does this guy get to run around accusing banks of anything and mobilize governments into actions which have massive ramifications for the global financial system unless he’s intimately connected with the very people that operate the top of that system?”.

This might be a good time to open that Yeltsin-era can of worms around Hermitage Capital and the role of the Clinton Administration with whistleblower Browder, Safra, Berezovsky and others in the Yeltsin era looting of Russia with aid of friendly Western banks

The new mayor for Islington, Rakhia Ismail - a mother of four who came to London from Somalia as a refugee - believes that some areas of the city are unsafe for young people.

"Does the parent wait for her child to be killed? Or does the parent take a decision - quite a drastic decision - to take him all the way back to wherever that child is from originally?"
She says she knows families who are waiting for their children to finish primary school so they can leave the UK.
She estimates that out of every five Somalian families, two are taking their children back home.

Dr Fatumo Abdi - a mother of Somali origin - said parents were struggling to know how to react to knife crime.
"This is not something they've encountered before. But we know living here in Britain, the context is Britain. This is a British problem and it's a problem that we've fallen into.
"It's not the answer but these are desperate parents."

She believes poverty, inequality and exposure to violence are big factors as to why young people fall into criminality.
"Our communities are living in very poor disadvantaged areas with poor educational attainment. All these things affect how our children move through the world."

'Better person'

Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen. …Victims, jilted lovers or undercover agents​
Alleged victims ... Anna Ardin, left, and Sofia Wilen.
Serious questions are being asked about one of Julian Assange's accusers
write Andrew West and Sarah Whyte.
December 19, 2010 

Did Khashoggi Really Die? By F. William Engdahl 23 January 201

Image  Credit: Alfagih at Arabic Wikipedia License: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts
I have not been convinced about the claims coming from Turkey and from the Washington Post and others regarding the allegations of a gruesome murder of intelligence asset, Jamal Khashoggi, in October, 2018. There are too many anomalies as it was portrayed by various statements from Turkey President Erdogan, and echoed by a chorus of the Western mainstream media. Recent research suggests that perhaps Khashoggi was never in that Saudi Consulate in Istanbul that day, and in fact may still be quite alive and in hiding. If so, it suggests a far larger story behind the affair. Let’s consider the following ....

Photo of Mount Everest Peak 

Obama, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood   By F. William Engdahl
25 December 2018 
There is a great uproar over the recent decision by US President Trump to pull US troops out of Syria, announcing his reason for doing so is that ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, has largely been defeated. What lies behind the decision and more important, what was behind the surprise emergence of ISIS across Syria in 2014 brings the spotlight to yet-classified documents of the Obama term. If the reorganized Justice Department is compelled to make these documents public in lawsuits or Freedom of Information requests, it could rock organizations such as the CIA and many in the Obama camp .
In 2010 the US Administration under President Barack Obama developed a top secret blueprint for the most ambitious and far-ranging series of US-backed regime change across the Islamic Middle East since World War I and the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement. It was to set off a wave of wars and chaos, of failed states and floods of war refugees unimaginable to the most cynical veteran diplomat, and beyond the belief of most lay persons in the world.
In August, 2010, six months before Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution was launched by the Washington NGOs including the NED, the Soros Foundations, Freedom House and others, President Obama signed Presidential Study Directive-11 (PDS-11), ordering Washington government agencies to prepare for “change.” The change was to be a radical policy calling for Washington’s backing for the secret fundamentalist Islamic Muslim Brotherhood sect across the Middle East Muslim world, and with it, the unleashing of a reign of terror that would change the entire world.
According to US Congressional testimony of Peter Hoekstra, former Chairman of the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Obama Administration PSD-11 directive–as of March 2017 still classified Top Secret–“ordered a government-wide reassessment of prospects for political reform in the Middle East and of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the process. “

A Grandiose Task Force
To draft the contents of PSD-11, a top secret task force was established within the Obama National Security Council (NSC), headed by Dennis Ross, Samantha Power, Gayle Smith, Ben Rhodes and Michael McFaul.
The PSD-11 Task Force members were remarkable in many regards. Samantha Power, who would go on to become Obama’s UN Ambassador and lead the demonizing of Russia after the CIA’s Ukraine Color Revolution coup in 2014, was to play an instrumental role in convincing President Obama that Libya’s Mohammar Qaddafi must be militarily removed for what she called “humanitarian reasons.” Dennis Ross, accused by Palestinian opponents of being “more pro-Israeli than the Israelis,” co-founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). He was Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the NSC for the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia when he was part of the PSD-11 task force.
Gayle Smith would later go on in 2015 to head the USAID, the CIA-linked State Department agency that funneled US taxpayer millions to finance the NGOs of the Arab Spring and other Color Revolution regime changes. Michael McFaul, who once described himself as a “specialist on democracy, anti-dictator movements, revolutions,” was later named Obama’s Ambassador to Moscow where he coordinated opposition protests against Putin.
The Top Secret PSD-11 report that the Task Force drew up was partially revealed in a series of legal Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department. Released official documents revealed that the NSC Task Force had concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “viable movement” for the US Government to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East. A resulting Presidential directive ordered American diplomats to make contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria, at the 2011 outset of the “Arab Spring.” The PDS-11 secret paper came to the bizarre conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam, combined with its fervent nationalism, could lead to “reform and stability.” It was a lie, a lie well known to the Obama PSD-11 Task Force members.

The True Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan–Arabic for The Brotherhood–is a secret masonic-like organization with a covert or underground terrorist arm and a public facade of “peaceful doing of charity.” It was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna who developed the cult’s guiding motto. The credo of his Society of Muslim Brothers was incorporated into a chant of six short phrases:
Allah is our goal; The Prophet is our Leader; The Qur’an is our Constitution; Jihad is our Way; Death in the service of Allah is the loftiest of our wishes; Allah is Great, Allah is Great.
Al-Banna created a secret or hidden arm of the Ikhwan in Egypt and later worldwide, known as the Special Section (al-nizam al-khass), or, as it was referred to by the British in Egypt, the Secret Apparatus (al-jihaz al-sirri). That was the military wing of the Brotherhood, in effect, the “assassination bureau.” Al-Banna taught his recruits, exclusively male, that “Jihad is an obligation of every Muslim.” He preached the nobility of “Death in the Service of Allah,” and wrote, Allah grants a “noble life to that nation which knows how to die a noble death.” He preached a death cult in which “Victory can only come with the mastery of the ‘Art of Death.’” For the Brotherhood that “mastery” was perfected in the killing of “infidels” in Jihad or Holy War in the name of Allah. The infidels could be other Muslims such as Shi’ite or Sufi who did not follow Al-Banna’s strict Sunni practice, or Christians.
Hasan Al-Banna called for adoption of the very strict Islamic Shari’a law, the complete segregation of male and female students, with a separate curriculum for girls, a prohibition of dancing, and a call for Islamic states to eventually unify in a Caliphate.
During World War II, leading Muslim Brotherhood figures spent exile from British-controlled Egypt by fleeing to Berlin where, among others, Al Banna’s close Muslim brotherhood ally, Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, worked intimately with the SS and Heinrich Himmler to create special Muslim Brotherhood terror units of the SS, so-called Handschar SS, to kill Soviet soldiers and Jews. In the 1950’s the CIA discovered the Nazi Muslim Brotherhood recruits in exile in postwar Munich and decided they could be “useful.”
Virtually every major Jihadist terrorist organization and leader has come out of the Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden, who worked for the CIA in Pakistan recruiting Jihadist Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, was a Muslim Brotherhood member who was recruited by the CIA and Saudi Intelligence head Prince Turki al-Faisal, to create what came to be called Al Qaeda. Other known terrorist members of the Ikhwan were Al Qaeda’s Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and the blind Sheik Omar Abdul-Rahman who recently died in a US prison serving time for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Sheikh Omar was accused of conspiring to assassinate Egypt’s Mubarak and masterminding the Muslim Brotherhood assassination of Anwar Sadat in addition to the bombing of the World Trade Center.
The members of the Obama Administration National Security Council PSD-11 Task Force that recommended a US Government embrace of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic countries of the Arab Middle East, knew very well who they were dealing with. Since the 1950’s the CIA had worked with the Ikhwan around the world. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq and in Syria, al Nusra Front in Syria, as well as the so-called Islamic State or ISIS all were created out of Muslim Brotherhood networks, changing names as a chameleon lizard changes color to suit its surroundings.
The origins of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and later of ISIS , the murderous wars and chaos sweeping across the Arab Middle East and into Western Europe since 2010, could all be directly traced back to those Washington Obama policies, their so-called Arab Spring, coming from that August 2010 PSD-11 Presidential Task Force directive. This is what threatens to come out with declassification of US Justice Department files in the coming months. Some in Washington speak of treason, a strong word.

Target China --- Myths Lies and Oil Wars - Gods of Money - books written by F. William Engdahl

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Frederick William Engdahl (born August 9, 1944) is an American writer based in Germany. He identifies himself as a "economic researcher, historian and freelance journalist."

​Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Engdahl is the son of F. William Engdahl, Sr., and Ruth Aalund (b. Rishoff). Engdahl grew up in Texas and earned a degree in engineering and jurisprudence from Princeton University in 1966 (BA) folloed by graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm from 1969 to 1970. He then worked as an economist and freelance journalist in New York and in Europe

Engdahl stated in 2007 that he had come to believe that petroleum is not biological in origin, which is the theory supported by scientists. Instead he now believes the hypothesis that petroleum is geological in origin, produced from carbon, by forces of heat and pressure deep underground. Engdahl calls himself an "ex peak oil believer", stating that peak oil is actually a political phenomenon.

​Engdahl argued that the problem with global warming is much exaggerated.[8] He claims that global warming is merely a "scare" and a "thinly veiled attempt to misuse climate to argue for a new Malthusian reduction of living standards for the majority of the world while a tiny elite gains more power."

​On RT (formally known as Russia Today), Engdahl stated in an interview that the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was orchestrated by the Pentagon to facilitate Barack Obama's Middle East foreign policy and that Egypt had turned to a worse situation since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.[9] According to him, "The ultimate goal of the US is to take the resources of Africa and Middle East under military control to block economic growth in China and Russia, thus taking the whole of Eurasia under control."[10] He believes that the Arab Spring was a plan "first announced by George W. Bush at a G8 meeting in 2003 and it was called 'The Greater Middle East Project.'"

​Engdahl began writing about oil politics with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. He has also been a long-time associate of the LaRouche movement and has written many articles for their publications.[citation needed]

His first book was called A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order and discusses the alleged roles of Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Ball and of the USA in the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran, which was meant to manipulate oil prices and to stop Soviet expansion. Engdahl claims that Brzezinski and Ball used the Islamic Balkanization model proposed by Bernard Lewis. In 2007, he completed Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, in which he criticized Monsanto's strategy with GMO seeds, such as Roundup Ready soybeans. He has also written for newsmagazines such as the Asia Times.

Engdahl is a contributor to the website of the anti-globalization and conspiracy theorist Centre for Research on Globalization, the Russian website New Eastern Outlook,[3] the Voltaire Network,[4] and Veterans Today.[5] He has been described by James Kirchick in Time magazine as being a "crank 'historian'."[5]
William Engdahl has been married since 1987 and has been living for more than two decades near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
OIT- Interview F. William Engdahl- Round Table, World War & Gods of MoneyWhere to begin with this one?
First of all... Thanks again to Tim Kelley, from Our Interesting Times,who is an excellent interviewer.  A very informative, listen more then once, kind of information packed historical/ present day chat- 
This is related to a concept I haven't been able to quite put my finger on, or organize, regarding the Atlantacists, Five Eyes, the Brexit and NATO's attempt to crush Europe. Maybe you all can leave some thoughts?
There's a post from 2014 where I had mentioned the agenda to subordinate Europe by the US/Atlantacist led NATO
Thursday, May 8, 2014 "Toward a Europe Whole & Free" Via NATO global dominance
 This post contains a ton of info-  Europe Whole and Free, is of course, nothing like it reads. In our Orwellian world of doublespeak. Whole and free  is really Europe subordinated to NATO/US dominance.There is most definitely information related to this interview in that post

 F. William Engdahl returns to Our Interesting Times to discuss his heretofore unpublished chapter "A New World Order Built on the Ashes of War." We talk about the intrigues of the secretive network known as the Round Table and the role it played in fomenting the world wars of the 20th century. Later we talk about his 2009 book Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century.

Theresa May’s last-ditch Brexit plan to woo Labour Revealed
PM risks Tory civil war over new customs deal
Tim Shipman, Political Editor May 5 2019, The Sunday Times
Theresa May will take a final desperate gamble to deliver Brexit this week by offering Jeremy Corbyn three major concessions in a bid to force MPs to back a new deal.
The prime minister will show her hand on Tuesday, making a “big, bold” offer to the Labour leader which could split the Conservative Party down the middle.
The Sunday Times has learnt she will outline plans for a comprehensive but temporary customs arrangement with the EU lasting until the next general election, which Corbyn will be able to depict as a Tory cave-in to his demands.
May and her negotiating team will agree that Britain will also align with a wider range of EU single market regulations on goods. Finally, they will enshrine in…Want to read more?

Sweden reopens rape case against Julian Assange
Lawyer for woman involved in allegations from 2010 has asked for investigation to resume
Assange now faces two extradition requests. What happens next? 
Swedish prosecutors are to reopen an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange.
The deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced the decision at a press conference on Monday, saying: “I have today taken the decision to reopen the preliminary investigation.”
She said the circumstances allowed for an extradition to Sweden from Britain, and an interview with Assange should be conducted.
“After reviewing the preliminary investigation carried out so far, I find that there still exist grounds for Julian Assange to be suspected on probable cause of the charge of rape,” Persson said. “It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required.”
With Assange now detained by the UK, “the prerequisites for continuing and completing the investigation are now considered to exist”, she said.
Prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017 because they were unable to proceed while the WikiLeaks founder remained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. They said at the time that the investigation could be reopened if the situation changed. Assange has always denied the allegation.
Assange, 47, was removed from the embassy last month after the Ecuadorian government abruptly withdrew his asylum. Having spent seven years in the building, he was arrested for breach of bail.
A lawyer for one of the women involved in the Swedish allegations subsequently asked for the investigation to be resumed. Assange had also faced an investigation over a second allegation, but this was dropped in 2015 because time had run out. He has denied both allegations.

Immediately after his arrest in April, US authorities made a request for Assange’s extradition in a case relating to WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive military and diplomatic documents. He faces allegations in the US that he conspired with a former intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, to download classified databases. The charge against him carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Assange is being held in Belmarsh high-security prison in south London after being sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for a bail violation. He appeared by video link at Westminster magistrates court on 2 May to say he did not consent to being extradited to the US. The court heard that the extradition process would take “many months” and the case was adjourned until 30 May.
Persson said the British authorities would decide whether the Swedish or US extradition request had priority.
The Swedish allegations date back to 2010. Assange unsuccessfully fought in the British courts to have the Swedish extradition order and preliminary investigation dropped. His lawyers said he feared that if he went to Sweden, authorities could have handed him over to the US to face prosecution over the WikiLeaks case.
The lawyer for the woman who had asked for the investigation to be reopened welcomed the decision saying: “Today we got great news.” It signalled “that no-one stands above the law,” Elisabeth Massi Fritz, told a new conference.
“My client feels great gratitude and she is very hopeful about getting restitution and we both hope that justice will win”, she added. 
She said Swedish prosecutors would be “forced to take steps quickly to ensure that we have time to get a potential criminal charge in this case.”
WikiLeaks said the reopening of the Swedish investigation would give Assange a chance to clear his name.
“Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “Its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name.”
Hrafnsson criticised the Swedish handling of the case. He said: “This case has been mishandled throughout. After the Swedish prosecutor refused to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy for years, it was only when forced by Swedish courts that she travelled to London to finally question Assange.
“Then Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange as early as 2013. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue. Since the investigation was closed in 2017, we have received reports of the destruction of records and correspondence on behalf of UK and Swedish authorities, surely an impediment to a thorough investigation.
“Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years. The widespread media assertion that Assange ‘evaded’ Swedish questioning is false. This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name.”
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, told the Swedish broadcaster SVT that he was “very surprised” by the decision to reopen the case, saying it was “embarrassing” for Sweden.
Nick Vamos, a former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, told Reuters news agency that UK extradition proceedings should not take more than 18 months.

An abortive 1970s attempt to build the tunnel resulted in these passageways near the UK port of Dover.

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Out on bail ... WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of sexual misconduct by two Swedish women.CREDIT:REUTERS

ANNA ARDIN, the Swedish political activist who has accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of rape, posted a flippant comment on her Twitter account: "CIA agent, rabid feminist/Muslim lover, a Christian fundamentalist, frigid & fatally in love with a man, can you be all that at the same time …"
It was the sort of comment designed to deflect, with irony or humour, the stories that have swirled around the woman who has levelled three charges of sexual misconduct at Assange.
But her attempt to disarm her critics - referring, perhaps jokingly, to the Central Intelligence Agency - has only provoked further questions. Could Ardin, 31, really be a spy and the charges against Assange part of a conspiracy to discredit him after he began publishing on WikiLeaks 250,000 classified documents from the US State Department? We know from Ardin's own words that, at various times, she has been infatuated and infuriated with Assange.
According to a timeline compiled by Australian journalist Guy Rundle in London, the day after Ardin's mid-August assignation with Assange - the assignation she later said involved rape - she tweeted that she wanted to take him to a ''crayfish party'', a popular summer social activity in Sweden.
Another tweet has her being with ''the world's coolest, smartest people, it's amazing!''
At the same time as Assange was enjoying her company, he became involved with another Swedish woman, Sofia Wilen, 26, a photographer whom he met at a public meeting he addressed and Ardin organised.
When Ardin learnt of Assange's encounter with Wilen - after Wilen approached her worried she may have become pregnant after unprotected sex - both women complained to the Swedish police.
Ardin alleged three counts of misconduct, while Wilen laid one charge.
The Swedish laws define rape broadly, so that pressing an erect penis against a woman's back the morning after consensual sex and not wearing a condom can count as sexual offences. Nevertheless, any charge of rape is serious.
In 2006, Assange, using the pseudonym Harry Harrison, wrote on the OKCupid website: ''Passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.'' He also admitted to being ''87% slut''. It would appear that he is a man with adventurous tastes.
But rumours suggesting an ulterior motive for the charges, which Swedish prosecutors initially dismissed, then revived, have ricocheted around the internet.
The rumours focus principally on Ardin. In September, the left-wing online magazine Counterpunch hinted that she could be a spy, especially considering her connections with Cuba and the Cuban emigre community in Miami that is fanatically opposed to former president Fidel Castro.

''Anna Ardin … is often described by the media as a 'leftist','' wrote Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett

. ''She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups.''

Ardin is, indeed, a political activist but her views would appear to run counter to the idea that she was an anti-communist zealot in the pay of the CIA.
She is a member of Sweden's Social Democratic Party and secretary of the Swedish Association of Christian Social Democrats, known colloquially as ''the Brotherhood''. As a Christian socialist organisation, it draws much of its inspiration from the left-wing gospel theology that inspired many Latin American revolutionaries.
But Ardin, who also goes by the name Anna Bernardin, has also evinced strong anti-Castro views. The articles in 2008, translated by Google, are not ''diatribes'', as Shamir and Bennett argue, but they do speculate on Cuba's future after Castro dies and push the idea of an anti-Castro Left.
The Miami Herald reported that Ardin had ''ties to Cuban dissidents'' and had visited the country on four occasions between 2002 and 2006, while representing the Swedish Social Democrats. But the paper disputed Counterpunch claims that she was linked to militant anti-Castro figures and groups, such as Carlos Alberto Montaner and the Ladies in White.
Rundle reported that she had interned with the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, wrote her thesis on Cuban opposition groups and was advised to leave Cuba. ''The reports,'' he wrote last week, ''have helped fuel wider conspiracy theories about the nature of Ardin's involvement with WikiLeaks and Assange''.
The swift and efficient disappearance of many of her Twitter and blog posts (some were cached) also led to suggestions that any material that was incriminating - or complicating to her case - had been professionally cleansed.
Australian journalist and expert on espionage Philip Knightley, who is backing Assange in his battle with the British courts, does not believe Ardin is a CIA agent.
''There's no direct evidence,'' he told The Sun-Herald. But he said that decades of dealing with spy agencies had led him to suspect that she fitted the model of someone who could be useful to intelligence agencies.
''She's someone they would consider an asset. I do not think she has been recruited for this mission but once she realised she was in this position, she might have known the right people to contact.''
The essence of Knightley's theory is that Ardin is someone whose high-level political activity inside Sweden's historically dominant party - and her ability to travel to contentious destinations such as Cuba and make connections with hostile emigre communities as part of her academic research - would make her a valuable source for Sweden's boutique spy agency.
''They are always on the lookout for people with what you might call 'interesting friends','' he said. ''The Swedes have a small but very active intelligence agency that was energetic during the Cold War.
''Sweden was a major site for anti-Russian activities during the Cold War and there was certainly considerable contact with the CIA.''
Ardin's family is also involved with the military and NATO forces in Afghanistan, adding another layer to the conspiracy theory.
Yet another factor, reported by Crikey, is that Ardin was in the Palestinian border town of Yumoun, working on a project for the ''Brotherhood''. While such news may undermine the alleged CIA relationship, the history of espionage suggests it could be a cover.
The theory that Ardin may be an active spy - or even just a naive participant in a conspiracy involving a Swedish intelligence agency trying to get close to its American counterpart - could obscure a more simple proposition: that she is a spurned lover who has seized the chance to go after a man who has made himself the No.1 enemy of the US.

In January this year, well before WikiLeaks began dumping US diplomatic cables on the web and long before she had ever met Assange, she published a manual on how to ''systematically take revenge'' on ''someone who cheated or who dumped you''.
She wrote: ''Do a brainstorm of appropriate measures for the category of revenge you're after … You can sabotage your victim's current relationship, such as getting his new partner to be unfaithful or ensure that he gets a madman after him.''
Assange may not be the prey of a ''madman'', such as an aggrieved husband or boyfriend, but the WikiLeaks founder is certainly the target of an angry superpower.

While owning a suburban home is the Australian dream for many, you’d want to make sure you’re not buying into one of NSW’s most notorious murder houses. Find out what horrors occured in these abodes. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

The NCA's ultimate target is not the spending in Harrods, but Mrs Hajiyeva's London home and Berkshire golf course - both of which she stands to lose if she cannot prove how she became so wealthy.
In the agency's submissions to the court, Ms Bartlett said: "The manner in which the property has been obtained (and subsequently handled) is complex... [Mrs Hajiyeva's] relationship to the property is obscure."
Mrs Hajiyeva's Knightsbridge home was bought in December 2009 by a company called Vicksburg Global Inc for £11.5m.
The documents show how the NCA ultimately linked this British Virgin Islands company to Mrs Hajiyeva.
Its director is a man from Azerbaijan called Elmar Baghirzade. He was also the director of a company registered in the UK called Berkeley Business Ltd, which bought a Gulfstream business jet for more than $42m (£33m).
British companies must declare who has "significant control" - meaning the person with more than a quarter of the voting shares.
And in the case of Berkeley, that person was Mrs Hajiyeva's husband, Jahangir.
The NCA also linked Vicksburg in the British Virgin Islands to the couple through Mrs Hajiyeva's own visa application. She told the Home Office that she was the beneficiary of the company that owns her home.

Australian DJ Adam Sky found dead in Bali resort
Sydney Morning Herald  By Sarah Muller  May 5, 2019
Police believe a popular Australian DJ who died at a luxury Bali resort, was trying to rescue a friend who’d fallen from their private terrace.

Australian DJ and music producer Adam Neat has been found dead after reportedly attempting to rescue a friend who had fallen off the side of a Bali luxury hotel villa on Saturday.
It is believed the 42-year-old, known by his stage name DJ Adam Sky, tried to rescue his personal assistant, who had fallen several metres from the villa shortly before Mr Neat's fatal accident.
Local police believe Mr Neat crashed through a glass door at Hillstone Villas Resort, sustaining fatal injuries in his attempt to assist his injured colleague, according to Nine News.
A post on Mr Neat's official Facebook and Instagram pages confirmed his death on Sunday evening, describing the accident as a "tragic loss".
"It is with great regret that we can confirm Adam Neat was involved in a fatal accident while trying to help a friend who had suffered multiple fractures in Bali on Saturday 4th May 2019," the post said.
"Relatives and friends of Adam are travelling to Bali today and handling all arrangements. We ask you to respect the families' privacy at this moment while we all come to terms with our tragic loss."
Nine News reported that local police suspected drinking had been involved prior to the accident.
Originally from Australia, the Singapore-based DJ garnered success touring throughout Asia, with more Top 100 and Top 10 charted tracks than any other producer in Asia, his official website stated.
Mr Neat also hosts a radio show, Guestlist Radio, which reaches more than a million monthly listeners globally, his website says.
Tributes have poured in on Mr Neat's Facebook page, which has more than 900,000 followers, remembering the "kind gent".
"Absolutely insane. Rest in peace mate, you did a lot for the scene and your friends," one comment read.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement it was providing consular assistance to the family of a man who died in Bali.
They were unable to confirm further details due to privacy reasons.
Mr Neat's management team and Hillstone Villas Resort have been approached for comment.

Jamal says he felt a sense of freedom when he moved to Kenya

Jamal went to Kenya as a teenager, when he says problems for him in London "were at their peak".
He says there are parallels with the present day.
"One of the things I'll never forget, is the fact that when you walk in the streets in Kenya you don't have to look over your shoulder.
"Here I could travel in and out of the city, go and visit whoever I wanted, and it was good. I felt a sense of freedom.
"But for these kids [in London that can be] life and death."

'Permanent damage'

Others, such as Abdul, who is in his early 20s, left London because they had started to get into trouble with the police.
"When I came here it was like a clean sheet," Abdul said.
"No-one knew me, no-one knows my history. There [in London], you have people that look like you going after you.
"My mum feels I'm much safer here than anywhere else in the world."
Parents say they do not view the move as a long-term solution - some children stay in Africa while others return.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland, and highlights a heightened threat of terrorism and kidnappings, across Kenya.
But Amina sent her 15-year-old son to Somaliland, when she was worried about the new friends with whom he was mixing.

In his year there, she says he became a studious child again.
He had even wanted to stay in East Africa.
But within 17 days of being brought back to the UK in November 2018, he was stabbed four times.
"He's been completely traumatised by the experience," she says.
"They damaged his bladder, his kidneys, his liver. He's got permanent damage.
"He was safer there [in Somaliland] than he was here… 100% more safe than in London."

'Desperate parents'

It took 13,000 workers six years to build the tunnel.  BORIS HORVAT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Why I won’t be joining the queue at the top of Everest
A startling picture of overcrowding near the summit shows the peril of turning the mountain into a form of adventure tourism

Peter Beaumont 28th May 2019​

Alan Arnette, an experienced climber and chronicler of the mountain, said that climbers waiting for hours on overcrowded peaks – putting pressure on oxygen supplies – was probably responsible for five of the 21 deaths so far this season; the remainder could have been due to poor training, inexperience, hidden health issues and inadequate support from guides.
“It is mainly due to the carelessness of climbers,” said a sherpa. “The government should ensure that prospective climbers should have prior experience of climbing peaks before trying to conquer the mighty Mount Everest.”
Saikaly said it may have been his last ascent of the mountain. “I was really turned off this year and I’m just worried,” he said. “I’m really worried for the years ahead of us and what the state of the mountain will be and how much more lives will be lost.
“I’m not sure if I’ll head back. I certainly know that as I was climbing up I was certainly doubting whether or not I would ever return.”

“For Nepal the Everest season is a valuable source of foreign currency and there is little interest in limiting numbers”
Mountaineering is a physical pursuit demanding an affinity for suffering. Where it is cerebral is in its requirement of good judgment, most importantly in extreme situations when the mind is most clouded and consequences of bad decision-making tend to multiply.
Considering risks requires being honest with yourself. At what climbers call the objective level, that involves assessing dangers you may encounter – weather, avalanches, poor rock, even whether there will be overcrowding on your route.
Subjectively, it means asking yourself searching questions. Are you capable of safely attempting your objective? Even if you are, will you be tempted to push on for the wrong reasons – because of ego, because you fear failure, or because you have spent large sums on the trip of a lifetime? For a climber, looking at Nirmal Purja’s picture last week of the queues close to Everest’s summit – delays that may have contributed to several deaths – is something that inspires dread.
It depicts an anxiety-inducing conga line in the death zone above 8,000 metres, where the body can’t properly function. Where movement forwards and backwards is seriously impeded. In a sport where efficient autonomous movement is regarded as crucial to safety, you want to ask, why would you put yourself in this position? The answer is to be found, in large part, in the commodification of the world’s highest mountain.

Everest has become largely detached from the rest of climbing and mountaineering. It has become a trophy experience, drawing too many otherwise without much interest in the sport, validated by media coverage that sees Everest as being endlessly “conquered” rather than passé.
The costs involved, in the order of £50,000 with a reputable company for a single trip, have created dangerously competing dynamics for would-be “conquistadors of the useless” to borrow from the great French mountaineer Lionel Terray.
If you can only afford to attempt the mountain once, the need to succeed risks doubling – even trebling – down on what is already a risky bet. “Summit fever””, as the accomplished US mountaineer and chronicler of Everest and the Himalaya Alan Arnette told me last week from his home in Colorado, is a real thing. But the economics of Everest operate in more subtle ways as well.
The transactional nature of most Everest attempts has seen a shift in how aspirants view responsibility, moving it away from a question of an individual’s own judgment and subcontracting it to guiding companies, some excellent, some of them far less scrupulous.
For Nepal, where the spring Everest season is a valuable annual source of foreign currency, there is little interest in either limiting numbers or regulating the new cut-price Nepalese companies that have been set up to compete with the expensive foreign-owned guiding outfits.
Perhaps most worrying is that the business model of these newer companies, often charging less than half the price of foreign competitors, critics suggest, relies on the volume of clients and a tacit understanding that many of those signing up will not get very high on the mountain, meaning there is no imperative to check climbing credentials.
Rounding off the whole equation is the question of pricing and value. Western companies, having fixed a price – both cultural and monetary – for an Everest summit, having created a desirable product and a growing market, have also motivated cheaper operators to try to undercut them, making an overcrowded business riskier for everyone.
A quote attributed to one of the pioneers of Everest, the New Zealand mountaineer George Lowe, who helped establish the route up the Lhotse face that most commercial clients now follow, suggested that Everest – 40 years later – had become the “greasy pole of Asia”.
It is not quite true. Looking at Purja’s photo, it is not only dread you sense, but hubris, too. In the suggestion that its summit can simply be bought, a key point has been lost: that climbing is as much about judicious turning back and failure as it is about reaching the top.

Major drug suppliers had a direct line to Australia’s most high-risk inmate Bassam Hamzy because a lawyer used client privilege to join them in three-way calls where words like"'lawyer" and “barrister” were used as code for drug movements, police

A County Down woman who has had surgery following vulval cancer is appealing to women to check themselves and be aware of changes in their genital area.Jill Gordon was diagnosed by chance in 2018, after her cancer went undetected for seven years.

Every year, about 30 NI women are diagnosed with cancer of the vulva, which is a woman's external genitals.
It is thought that greater awareness of symptoms could mean more women seeking GP help and starting treatment sooner.
"Check your vulva, make this vulval Friday," said Jill. "We check our breasts and don't think anything about it."So when you check the pair, check down there." 
Jill had many of the symptoms associated with vulval cancer, but was treated for other things.
"I was very itchy and was treated for thrush. That area was white and sore. It bled and stung when I passed urine. This went on for years."
Speaking to BBC News NI, Jill said there was a lack of knowledge about it and a sense of embarrassment because of where it is.

"GPs blamed it on the menopause and my age, even though I was only in my 40s. They didn't know what to do with me - lots of GPs have never seen it."
Cancer specialists are also appealing to women in Northern Ireland to be more aware of symptoms associated with vulval cancer.
For the first time, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has held a vulval health and wellbeing event.
It is hoped it will ease embarrassment while, at the same time, increasing knowledge, not only of the vulval anatomy, but also symptoms to look out for.
Dr Mark McComiskey, a consultant in gynaecological oncology, said: "Vulval cancer, if left untreated, can be very serious - indeed it can be life threatening.
"Women should present as early as possible, because a large vulval tumour requires more radical treatment and the complications, side effects and long-term effects can be much more severe.
"Surgery can involve removing quite a large area and we try to avoid doing that where possible.
"Vulval cancer continues to be a taboo subject and it shouldn't be. We are speaking out to try and break this taboo and to get women to be more aware about their vulval health."
The exact cause of vulval cancer in unclear, but increasing age, persistent infection, skin conditions affecting the vulva, such as lichen sclerosus, as well as smoking, can increase a woman's risk.

How vulval cancer is treated
The main treatment is surgery to remove the cancerous tissue from the vulva and any lymph nodes containing cancerous cells.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may often be used without surgery.
Elish McColgan, a gynae oncologist specialist, said: "The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the better.
"It can mean smaller treatment and less radical. Sometimes, I see patients who have been waiting to go to their doctor for up to seven months - that is too long.
"We would urge women to act immediately if the symptoms persist."
The outlook for Jill is good. With checkups every three months, she described those who looked after her in Belfast Cancer Centre as "genius".
But she is keen to raise awareness and decrease the stigma around this type of illness.
"Get a mirror, involve your partner if you want. You've got to be familiar with what is normal for you, so you can recognise if there's a new lesion, a white spot, an ulcerated area," she said.
"You've got to know what your bits look like, so if there's a problem, you can do something about it."
Dr Mark McComiskey stressed the importance of speaking about vulval cancer to 'break the taboo'  
Elish McColgan said women should act immediately if symptoms persist  

Uganda's Moonshine Epidemic
13,607,221 view
11.9M subscribers
Ugandans are the hardest drinking Africans in the motherland, both in terms of per capita consumption and the hooch they choose to chug. Waregi, or "war gin," is what they call the local moonshine, and it makes the harshest Appalachian rotgut taste like freaking Bailey's. Watch the uncensored "Preparation of the Goat" video here: Hosted by Thomas Morton Follow Thomas on Twitter here: Check out more VICE documentaries: Subscribe for videos that are actually good: Check out our full video catalog: Videos, daily editorial and more: Like VICE on Facebook: Follow VICE on Twitter: Read our tumblr:

Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin Accusing Julian Assange of Rape!
Posted Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin Accusing Julian Assange of Rape!
I Thought, I Thought I Saw Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin‘s Photos! I did, I did!
The names and photos of the two women accusing Julian Assange of rape were launched. The women are Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. We don’t know much about Sofia Wilen, but it looks like Anna Ardin had ties to a CIA backed anti-Fidel Castro group.
Due to these women’s accusations, WikiLeaks leader Julien Assange was taken into custody in London and is fighting extradition to Sweden.
Filed under Law Sexuality Tagged Julian Assange rape

Mohamed has spent two periods living in Kenya

Rhoda Ibrahim, who runs the Somali Advice and Forum of Information, which supports Somali mothers, says that as many of them have poor English, they are forced to take jobs such as cleaning, which lead them to being away from their families for long periods of time.
"When you get sent back to your country by your parents, it's the worst feeling," says Mohamed, who lived in Kenya for six and then nine months.
He was sent there after being excluded and sent to a pupil referral unit when no other school in his area would accept him.
"It feels like you're going to prison, and your mum's the judge. You can't come back until the judge has let you free.
"You have to show that you're good, you've changed."
But he feels like it has made him a "better person".
"I could have been out on the streets right now selling drugs, but... the kids in Kenya put school first."

Julian Assange: Sweden Reopens Rape Investigation

13 May 2019 
Swedish prosecutors have reopened an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010.
The inquiry has been revived at the request of the alleged victim's lawyer.
Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.
The 47-year-old was evicted last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.
He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

Why is the case being reopened?
Swedish prosecutors originally decided to drop the rape investigation two years ago, saying they felt unable to take the case forward while Assange remained holed up inside the embassy.
But on Monday, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced the case would be reopened because there was still "probable cause to suspect" that Assange had committed the alleged rape.

Profile: Julian Assange
Timeline of saga

"Now that he has left Ecuador's embassy, the conditions in the case have changed and... the conditions are in place once again to pursue the case," she said at a news conference, adding that a European Arrest Warrant would now be issued.
Swedish prosecutors have reopened an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010.
The inquiry has been revived at the request of the alleged victim's lawyer.
Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.
The 47-year-old was evicted last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.
He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

Why is the case being reopened?

Swedish prosecutors originally decided to drop the rape investigation two years ago, saying they felt unable to take the case forward while Assange remained holed up inside the embassy.
But on Monday, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced the case would be reopened because there was still "probable cause to suspect" that Assange had committed the alleged rape.

Profile: Julian Assange
Timeline of saga

"Now that he has left Ecuador's embassy, the conditions in the case have changed and... the conditions are in place once again to pursue the case," she said at a news conference, adding that a European Arrest Warrant would now be issued.

What happens now?Analysis by Clive Coleman
BBC Legal Affairs Correspondent 

Sweden's original extradition request was made under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) arrangements. However, it was withdrawn and so the extradition request from the US now ranks first in line. In order to displace it, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions said a fresh EAW request would now be issued.
If that does happen the decision as to which of the two requests take precedence will be made by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid. He would make his decision primarily on the basis of which alleged offence was considered to be more serious.
Rape is likely to be considered more serious than conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. That would mean ordering Assange's extradition to Sweden.
Assange challenged the original Swedish request through the UK courts and could bring fresh challenges in response to a new request. These would most likely be based on human rights grounds and in particular that it would be unjust or oppressive in light of his health to extradite him.

What has the reaction been?
Wikileaks said the reopening of the rape case would give Assange "a chance to clear his name".
"There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case," its editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said in a statement.
A lawyer for Assange told Swedish broadcaster SVT that the decision was "embarrassing for Sweden", adding that his client wanted to resolve the case but feared being extradited to the US
At a separate news conference, the alleged victim's lawyer, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, said the decision to reopen the case had been "very gratifying" and that she expected this would result in a criminal charge.
Nick Vamos, former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, told Reuters news agency that the UK proceedings should not take more than 18 months.
Considering Assange's potential objections to extradition, Mr Vamos said he did not think courts would accept the US case was politically motivated.

What is the Swedish investigation about?
Assange was accused of rape by a woman and sexual assault by another one following a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. He has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual.
He also faced investigations for molestation and unlawful coercion, but these cases were dropped in 2015 because time had run out.
Prosecutors have decided to reopen the rape case before the 10-year statute of limitations expires in August 2020. The sexual assault investigation was dropped after the five-year statute of limitations expired.

Mr Trump has defended Russia in the past over claims of interference in the 2016 election

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said: "Very, very briefly it was discussed, essentially in the context of that it's over and there was no collusion, which I'm pretty sure both leaders were very well aware of long before this call took place."
Mrs Sanders also said Mr Trump and Mr Putin had briefly discussed the investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The White House press secretary described the call as an "overall positive conversation".
A redacted version of the special counsel's report was made public last month. It concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election "in sweeping and systematic fashion".
The interference took the form of an extensive social media campaign and hacking into Democratic Party servers by Russian military intelligence, it said. The inquiry did not determine the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia.
On Friday, Mr Trump and Mr Putin also discussed thorny foreign policy issues:
According to the White House, Mr Trump told Mr Putin the US "stands with the people of Venezuela" and stressed he wanted to bring humanitarian relief supplies to the chaotic country. While the Trump administration backs opposition leader Juan Guaidó, Russia is allied with sitting Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro. In March, the Moscow foreign ministry accused President Trump of "boorishness on a global scale" after he said Russia should "get out" of Venezuela
Mr Trump and Mr Putin also talked about the possibility of a new multilateral nuclear accord between the US, Russia and China, or an extension of the current US-Russia strategic nuclear treaty, said the White House. In October, Mr Trump announced the US would withdraw from a landmark weapons pact, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The only remaining US-Russia arms agreement - the 2011 New Start treaty - is due to expire in February 2021
Mr Trump and Mr Putin are also said to have addressed ongoing conflict in Ukraine. At the end of last year, Mr Trump cancelled a summit in Argentina with Mr Putin after Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews off the Crimean Peninsula. According to the Kremlin, Mr Putin said on Friday's call with Mr Trump that Ukraine's newly elected administration needed to take responsibility for clashes with Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine

One of the tunnel's boring machines hangs over a tunnel entrance on the French side of the Channel in 1988.

EU Commission: France and Germany differ on Brussels' top job
European Election 2019
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is one of those whose job is up for grabs

Signs of disagreement have emerged between France and Germany as EU leaders meet following elections that shifted the balance in parliament. The talks are a chance to assess the new political landscape and consider candidates for the EU's top jobs.
But the leaders of France and Germany have already suggested different figures to take over the key role of EU Commission president.
The vote saw the big centrist blocs lose their majority for the first time.
Nationalists, liberals and Greens all gained ground, leaving the EU more fragmented and the possibility of finding consensus more distant.
Europe's biggest blocs lose grip on power
What are the clear trends from EU elections?
European elections: Country-by-country roundup

The talks over dinner on Tuesday may not even result in a shortlist of candidates and the haggling is likely to take months.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is participating, but Brussels sources say there will be little or no discussion of Brexit.

Who will take over at the Commission?
It is far too early to say. Negotiations are likely to be long and tricky, with several candidates in the mix.
The role of Commission president, the body that enforces EU rules and drafts EU law, is currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker, who is at the end of his five-year term.
In 2014 Mr Juncker was chosen to head the Commission as the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) candidate, after the EPP had won the election.
But it is a much tougher challenge this time for the EPP's candidate Manfred Weber - a German - after his bloc shrank from 217 seats to 180 in the 751-seat parliament.
Arriving in Brussels, Mrs Merkel said she "of course" backed Mr Weber, with her domestic party one of those in the EPP grouping.
Candidates spar on TV for top EU job
But French President Emmanuel Macron did not even mention Mr Weber as a possible candidate, instead naming chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who is French, Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager and Dutch centre-left candidate Frans Timmermans as having the right "skills".
Mr Timmermans has described the nomination process as like the brutal TV fantasy drama Game of Thrones.
Among other EU members, the leaders of Ireland and Croatia have backed Mr Weber, Spain and Sweden support Mr Timmermans while Luxembourg has spoken for Ms Vestager.

Time to negotiate - and compromise

The EU has committed to balance gender, political affiliation and geography when it fills its top jobs.
The leaders of the 28 member states will have to compromise with each other, and with MEPs who get to approve the choice. But this morning the European Parliament watered down its demands for the selection of the president of the European Commission, issuing a statement which says the winner only had to be someone "who made his/her programme and personality known prior to the elections, and engaged in a European-wide campaign".
That potentially opens the door to candidates who weren't strictly candidates before, such as Margrethe Vestager or maybe even Michel Barnier.
The previous front-runner Manfred Weber admits that his political family lost seats at the election which weakens his claim on the job.
There are also hints that the European Parliament will focus its efforts on defining the EU's future direction, rather than seeking a powerful role in picking its personnel. A lot of names will come and go and rise and fall before the process eventually comes to an end later this year.
The other top EU officials to be replaced later this year are: European Council President Donald Tusk (Polish); European Central Bank President Mario Draghi (Italian) and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (Italian).
After lengthy negotiations, the new top officials will take up their posts on 1 November, except for the new European Council chief, who starts on 1 December.

Serial killer Ivan Milat needs to “grow a spine”, “be a man” and confess if he was behind the decades-old mystery disappearance of several young Newcastle girls, say the grieving families who want to confront him.

‘Walking over bodies’: mountaineers describe carnage on Everest
Death toll grows on world’s highest summit as climbers face challenging conditions

More that 300 people have died on Mount Everest since 1922

Michael Safi in Delhi , Arun Budhathoki in Kathmandu and India Rakusen
Tue 28 May 2019

An experienced mountaineer has described the “death, carnage and chaos” at the top of Mount Everest as climbers pushed past bodies to reach the world’s highest summit.

The death toll on the mountain grew to 11 in the past day after an American doctor was killed while descending from the peak. It emerged also that an Australian climber was discovered unconscious but had survived after being transported downhill on the back of a yak.
Elia Saikaly, a film-maker, reached Hillary Step, the final stage before the summit, on the morning of 23 May, where he said the sunrise revealed the lifeless body of another climber. With little choice at that altitude but to keep moving, his team – including Joyce Azzam, the first Lebanese woman to climb the world’s “Seven Summits” – made it to the peak a short time later.
“I cannot believe what I saw up there,” Saikaly said of the last hours of his climb in a post on Instagram. “Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route and in tents at camp 4. People who I tried to turn back who ended up dying. People being dragged down. Walking over bodies. Everything you read in the sensational headlines all played out on our summit night.”

This year’s Everest climbing season is so far the fourth deadliest on record, with mountaineers blaming poor weather, inexperienced climbers and a record number of permits issued by the Nepalese government, which, along with a rule that every climber has to be accompanied by a sherpa, led to there being more than 820 people trying to reach the summit.

“There were 200-plus climbers making there way to the summit,” Saikaly told the Guardian of his ascent. “I came across a deceased climber … that person’s body was fixed to an anchor point between two safety lines and every single person that was climbing towards the summit had to step over that human being.

“It’s difficult for people at sea-level, who are not mountaineers, who have never been above 8000m, to understand that particular scenario. When you are on Everest and you’re in the death zone and you can barely think … it becomes a very complicated situation and you realise in your mind that your fate could be the same. And with a line-up pushing you up the mountain there nothing you can do. You really have no choice but to carry on.”

The scene arising from the restricted chance to climb affecting large numbers of mountaineers was captured and widely circulated in a picture taken by Nirmal Pujra on the morning of 23 May. It showed more than 100 climbers waiting, some for up to 12 hours, for a turn on the summit. More than 200 people reached the top of the 8,848-metre peak that day.

Chad Gaston, another climber who successfully reached the peak, described the difficulty of passing incapacitated people as he ascended, including a man wrapped “like a mummy with ropes tied to him”. He wrote: “The climber was non-responsive and I never saw him open his eyes.”

Further up he saw a man “holding his chest and bent over”. Gaston said: “I waited for a moment and after he didn’t move, I approached him. He said he was having a hard time breathing, even though I saw his oxygen mask was fine. He was in really bad shape, pale faced, not coherent and shaking … I’m sad to say I heard he passed, that night on the mountain.”

Ten more people have died in the past month while trying to climb other Himalayan mountains, bringing the overall death toll to 21.

An Australian climber was found unconscious on the peak and was identified on Tuesday as Gilian Lee. The Canberra man, who survived the 2015 avalanche on the mountain, was attempting it for the fourth time without the use of supplementary oxygen when he was discovered on Wednesday by a Nepali team, said Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks. A yak carried Lee about 1,000 metres down the mountain to a vehicle stationed at about 5,600 metres. He was flown to hospital in Kathmandu and placed in intensive care.

Lee wrote of his experience in 2015 when the mountain was hit by an avalanche, on 25 April, triggered by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. “I felt the ground shake, around 20cm lateral movement that unbalanced me inside the tent. We could hear an avalanche starting and it kept building … The biggest wall of vertical snow (guess 50m high of white fluff) was heading right towards us uphill.”

 Ameesha Chauhan, from India, who survived dangerous overcrowding on Mount Everest, in hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The deaths have restarted a debate over whether better regulation is needed for Everest, especially on the Nepalese side, where 381 climbing permits were issued this year.
The number of people seeking to scale Everest has exploded in recent years, driven by surges in climbers from India and China. Dozens of cut-rate climbing companies have also sprung up in the past 10 years, with some accused of cutting corners or lowering requirements for clients’ fitness and experience levels.

 Why I won’t be joining the queue at the top of Everest

Peter Beaumont

Alan Arnette, an experienced climber and chronicler of the mountain, said that climbers waiting for hours on overcrowded peaks – putting pressure on oxygen supplies – was probably responsible for five of the 21 deaths so far this season; the remainder could have been due to poor training, inexperience, hidden health issues and inadequate support from guides.

“It is mainly due to the carelessness of climbers,” said a sherpa. “The government should ensure that prospective climbers should have prior experience of climbing peaks before trying to conquer the mighty Mount Everest.”

Saikaly said it may have been his last ascent of the mountain. “I was really turned off this year and I’m just worried,” he said. “I’m really worried for the years ahead of us and what the state of the mountain will be and how much more lives will be lost.
“I’m not sure if I’ll head back. I certainly know that as I was climbing up I was certainly doubting whether or not I would ever return.”

Harrods London United Kingdom 

 Ameesha Chauhan, from India, who survived dangerous overcrowding on Mount Everest, in hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Photograph: Niranjan Shrestha/AP - FacebookTwitterPinterest

Nirmal Purja’s picture of the overcrowded approach to the summit of Everest last week. Photograph: Nirmal Purja/Project Possible/AFP​ - A long queue of climbers on Mount Everest, 22 May 2019. Photograph: AP

Monsanto Guilty Verdict Is Only Beginning By F. William Engdahl
15 August 2018

Monsanto Is Poisoning You - GMO

​Photo Credit: Waywuwei 

A jury trial in California has resulted in a guilty verdict against the agrichemical and GMO giant, Monsanto, now Bayer/Monsanto. The judge has ordered Monsanto to pay damages of USD 289 Million to former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His lawyer argued it was caused by Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed-killerRoundup. Not surprisingly Monsanto plans to appeal the verdict. The impact of the ruling, regardless the outcome of the appeal, will unleash worldwide consequences that spell huge problems for the entire GMO agrochemicals business model .

The Johnson trial, Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co., CGC-16-550128, in California Superior Court in San Francisco,is the first of more than 5,000 such cases across the United States awaiting trial for claims that Roundup ingredients cause cancer.

Johnson, age 46, is a former pest control manager for a California county school system, where he applied Roundup and Monsanto’s Ranger Pro on school grounds across the county up to 30 times per year for more than two and a half years.

According to the magazine Insurance Journal, the guilty verdict could influence the outcome of thousands of similar cases against Monsanto glyphosate-based Roundup. Notably, the same law firm, California-based Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC is involved as part of the legal team in many of the other cases awaiting trial.

Monsanto Exposed in Trial

Robert Kennedy Jr, co-counsel in the case against Monsanto wrote a summary of the court cross-examinations by plaintiff lawyers as well as Monsanto lawyers. It revealed a devastating pattern of Monsanto suppression of negative carcinogenic test results, lies and huge payments to their “expert” scientific witnesses to support unproven Monsanto safety claims that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide was allegedly no carcinogen.

In one of the more damning admissions, Monsanto toxicologist, Donna Farmer, was forced to admit, when confronted with an internal Monsanto e-mail, that her primary concern was regulatory compliance rather than public health. Farmer was also forced to admit that she orchestrated the ghostwriting of articles for supposedly independent scientists who agreed to defend glyphosate. Her reply: “There’s nothing wrong with that…”

Another paid Monsanto witness, Dr. Warren Foster, was forced to admit he had never done study of glyphosate or its carcinogenity before Monsanto paid him to testify against the animal studies used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency, which determined glyphosate a “ probable carcinogen ” in 2015. The IARC ruling was a major blow against Monsanto’s claims that its Roundup, with some 31% glyphosate, was not harmful to animals or humans.

Another Monsanto toxicologist, Dr. Mark Martens, was asked why Monsanto dropped research by an independent toxicologist, Dr. James Parry, in 1999, after praising him as a top expert. When Parry’s research concluded that the complex and non-disclosed formulation of Roundup could cause genetic mutations, a potential cancer precursor, Monsanto dropped him and refused to let independent scientists review Parry’s studies, nor did Monsanto give the Parry studies to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Another Monsanto “expert witness,” Dr. Lorelei Mucci, a cancer epidemiologist and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), admitted that Monsanto paid her $100,000 for her testimony.
When Monsanto attorneys attempted to discredit toxicology expert, Dr. Christopher Portier, by confronting Portier with the statement that the EPA had concluded, contrary to the IARC, that glyphosate was “not likely” carcinogenic to humans, Portier, under oath, declared that both the EPA in the USA and the EU’s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) missed 15 tumors in various rodent studies on glyphosate because the agency used the wrong methodology. He said:“My entire career been about using scientific evidence to make decisions, primarily about the carcinogenicity of compounds, and we’ve worked for years and years to do that appropriately. This was just so amazingly wrong in the way they were doing it.”
In testimony from Dr Charles Benbrook, the point was made that the insistence of the EPA to only discuss glyphosate, separate from the adjuvants or surfactants added to glyphosate to compose Roundup, was a fraud designed to cover up the more pressing question of, “whether the Roundup formulation itself , not just a single ingredient, is toxic and carcinogenic.”

In sum, what came out in the trial in San Francisco was a documented pattern of lies, coverup, a secret war to discredit independent toxicologists whose researches contradicted Monsanto safety claims for Roundup.

Seralini rat study

In a peer-reviewed scientific paper published on February 26, 2016 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a team of toxicologists led by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the Institute of Biology, University of Caen in France and AndrásSzékács, Director of the Agro-Environmental Research Institute of Hungary’s National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, tested the most commonly used glyphosate-based herbicides including Monsanto Roundup. They tested the complete cocktail, including the co-formulants and formulations used in combination with glyphosate.
Their tests concluded among other things that the compounded herbicides using glyphosate as base, but including undisclosed “formulations” or surfactants, were vastly more toxic than glyphosate when tested alone, up to 2000 times more toxic to cells than glyphosate alone.Monsanto has never revealed its trade secret co-formulants, neither to the US Government as it is compelled to by law, nor to the public.
The results of the latest San Francisco court ruling against Monsanto are clearly but the beginning of a groundswell of opposition to toxic and carcinogenic agrochemicals, most sold by Monsanto and now, Bayer/Monsanto. Concerned citizens around the world are beginning to connect the dots and to realize we are being played not only for fools but played in a play with potentially deadly consequences.
In Argentina, in a just-published study, scientists determined that “exposure to environmentally relevant doses of a glyphosate-based herbicide during pregnancy has been found not only to impair female fertility in rats, but to induce foetal growth retardation and malformations, including abnormally developed limbs, in their second-generation offspring.” The study was done after people living in an Argentine town in the heart of the GMO soy and maize growing area, where glyphosate-based herbicides are sprayed in large amounts, were documented to suffer birth defects at twice the national average rate. 
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

One hundred and twenty years ago, Australian soldiers — including more than a dozen from the northern beaches — took part in what would prove the third-most costly war in this nation’s history. READ MORE HERE.

I still remember the moment I first learned about Bitcoin [BTC] and blockchain technology. I was finishing up college at Ohio State University and came across an article about Bitcoin and a White Paper [released: 31 October, 2008] written under the pseudonymous name, Satoshi Nakamoto.
It was later that day when I had my first conversation about this new technology with a friend. Each of us contemplated this proposal that value could be created through a protocol [language], math, & computer bits. It was one of those moments in time that a person never forgets where they were.
This moment changed my entire life. Immediately, I began to immerse myself in every article and online video that existed about this innovative tech. At the time, content about this profound socio-economic experiment was scarce. However, I had an inclination that this was going to change the world for the better even from the onset of my discovery. Today, a decade has passed since the White Paper’s release to the public and Satoshi’s identity is still as much a mystery as it was then. Yet, by the nature of Bitcoin’s distributed system it doesn’t really matter who Satoshi is, or was, and fewer seem to care than ever.
Bitcoin has forged itself into the mainstream and just last week more than 30,000 retail stores announced they’ll be accepting Bitcoin for payments.
With less than 4 million BTC left to mine and the next halving 364 days away, it appears it is now in a new bull market cycle. These cycles vary in duration but typically can last for up to 3 years in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has a finite supply of 21 million coins and every 3 years the block-reward is cut in half for the effort of mining new coins, validating transactions and therefore securing the network. This halving will reduce the block reward from 12.5 coins to 6.25 coins. Bitcoin was borne out of a revolutionary spirit; you can feel the passion when you read the White Paper. The creator, Satoshi, even embedded the now infamous Times of London Article from 2008, ‘Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks’.
Detailed in this paper is how peer to peer money would be the first application of the Bitcoin blockchain and how for the first time in human history the Byzantine Generals Problem in relation to digital transactions had been mastered. This entails how future application of this protocol would deny the ability to double-spend a transaction; moreover, Satoshi had created the first trust-less system of digital value transfer with no third-party mediate.
I’m going to use this space to educate and keep the readers of this site up to date on the most important and life altering innovations of this technology and its’ applications. We are only in the first inning of what this experiment holds but already it is saving lives.
Today in Venezuela, their people are suffering from hyperinflation from state failures in monetary policy. There, citizens are using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies not only as a medium of exchange but also a store of value. Bitcoin is already saving lives.
Though the space is merely 10 years old, the promise is vast.  This innovative technology has the power to create truly free-markets again and return society to productive levels not seen in the U.S. since the Industrial Revolution. It has the potential to improve humanity and societies world-over.
The first decade was to prove this experiment could work. Over the next decade this will all become very obvious looking back, much like the internet does today. I look forward to documenting the advancements of this technology and I’m happy to be onboard CD Media to share my take on this monetary revolution with everyone.
Also See: Global Oil Markets Brace For Trade War Fallout and Capitalism As The New Socialism

UK Eurostar services initially ran from London's Waterloo station.  Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

Countdown to EU top jobs:
May-June: Consultations between EU leaders and parliamentary groups
20-21 June: European Council decisions
July: European Parliament votes on nominee for Commission president
1 November: New Commission president takes office, along with new High Representative and ECB president
1 December: New European Council President takes office

Obama, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood   By F. William Engdahl
25 December 2018  There is a great uproar over the recent decision by US President Trump to pull US troops out of Syria, announcing his reason for doing so is that ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, has largely been defeated. What lies behind the decision and more important, what was behind the surprise emergence of ISIS across Syria in 2014 brings the spotlight to yet-classified documents of the Obama term. If the reorganized Justice Department is compelled to make these documents public in lawsuits or Freedom of Information requests, it could rock organizations such as the CIA and many in the Obama camp ...
To read further, click here

Just after midday on 20 June 2008 she paid £925 at the underwear and socks counter.
One hour and three minutes later, the Cartier jewellery till received a payment for £433,389.79 - the largest clearly identifiable spend on the schedule.
Then, rounding off the day, she paid £374 for a "men's designer" item.
Days later she was back to spend £8,387 on the Israeli designer Elie Tahari, and £847 on perfume. Having taken a day or so off, she returned on 26 June to spend £17,000 in three purchases at a luxury watches counter.

Disney makeovers?

The most curious payment is £99,000, which went through the till at "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" - Disney's then exclusive boutique in the store.
It's not clear what this is for, given that the boutique charged £1,000 an hour for a prince or princess children's make-over.
That mystery aside, she was not short of credit that particular day - another £160,000 went on Boucheron jewellery.
And so it went on - six figure spends at Cartier and Boucheron, five figure outlays to top designers and then visits to Harrods' cafes, restaurants and food halls.
Not all of the spending was on herself - she once paid £1,371 on gift-wrapping in a single trip (and almost £6,200 over all) and would regularly buy men's luxury goods. The mother of three also spent £250,000 in the Harrods toy department - where the gifts are so exclusive they may not be on sale anywhere else in the world.
The grand total?

She blew £16,309,077.87 in Harrods between 29 September 2006 and 14 June 2016 - and almost £6m of it could be directly linked back to 35 credit cards issued by the bank her husband is accused of ripping off. She apparently used 54 credit cards.
More on the UK's first Unexplained Wealth Order:
£1 million diamond ring seized in Harrods mega-shopper probe
Woman who spent £16m in Harrods released on bail
BBC wins fight to name Unexplained Wealth Order target Zamira Hajiyeva

Did Harrods have any suspicions?
In her statement to the court, NCA financial investigator Nicola Bartlett said Mrs Hajiyeva's spending was "significant" in light of the allegations that Mr Hajiyev abused his position at the International Bank of Azerbaijan by issuing credit cards to relatives which would ultimately never be repaid.
So did any of this raise the alarm at Harrods? Did the store have suspicions?
In a statement Harrods told the BBC that it "assisted and co-operated fully with the investigation" and "goes above and beyond" in implementing stringent anti-money laundering policies.
"Harrods compliance with, and adherence to, the strongest anti-money laundering policies is a fundamental principle of the company's operations," said a spokesman.
"There has never been any suggestion that Harrods has operated in any way other than in full compliance with the highest regulatory and legal standards."Type your paragraph here.

Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE ambassador to the United States, attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 6, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Early Eurostar trains suffered from delays on the UK end of the route.  DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images

‘Vegan’ tuna upsets fishing industry - Tuno_Vegan_Style_Tuna by Jessica Haynes

Zamira Hajiyeva: How the wife of a jailed banker spent £16m in Harrods

French and English workers shake hands after a giant drilling machine broke through the last section of the tunnel in 1991.
AFP/Getty Images

Alex Emmons, Matthew Cole  June 10 2019
IN JANUARY 2017, three days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a businessman from the United Arab Emirates was invited to a lavish dinner planned by Trump’s longtime ally Thomas J. Barrack Jr., who was chair of the president’s inaugural committee. The guest list placed Rashid al-Malik, a onetime business associate of Barrack’s, amid more than 100 foreign diplomats and top members of the incoming administration. The president-elect himself made a surprise appearance at the gathering.
Al-Malik’s name later surfaced in connection with a federal probe into potential illegal donations to Trump’s inaugural fund and a pro-Trump Super PAC by Middle Eastern donors. Al-Malik was interviewed by members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and was “cooperating” with prosecutors, his lawyer told The Intercept last year. The New York Times recently reported that investigators are looking into “whether Mr. al-Malik was part of an illegal influence scheme,” although no details of that potential scheme have been made public.
In fact, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that al-Malik served as a paid intelligence source for the UAE throughout 2017, The Intercept has learned.
Al-Malik reported to UAE intelligence about aspects of the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, according to a former U.S. official and documents viewed by The Intercept. The National Intelligence Service of the UAE gave al-Malik a code name and paid him tens of thousands of dollars a month to gather information, a role for which his investment business would have provided a convenient cover.
After he was interviewed as part of the Mueller investigation, al-Malik left Los Angeles, where he’d been based for several years, and went back to the UAE.
A former Dubai aerospace executive and chair of the investment firm Hayah Holdings, al-Malik was tasked to report to his Emirati intelligence handlers on topics of consequence to the UAE, such as attitudes within the Trump administration toward the Muslim Brotherhood; U.S. efforts to mediate the ongoing feud between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar; and meetings between senior U.S. officials and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose rise to power has been loudly championed by the UAE and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed.
Al-Malik also told his handlers that he had approached unnamed U.S. individuals about a possible business venture that was indirectly associated with Trump. It is not clear what the undertaking was, who al-Malik was talking to, or whether any deal was made.
Al-Malik “is not an intelligence operative,” his attorney, Bill Coffield, of Berliner Corcoran & Rowe, told The Intercept. “Mr. al-Malik is a businessman involved in many business projects, and he is regularly paid for business consulting,” Coffield wrote in an email. “He has NEVER been paid to report on the Trump Administration. He has never been ‘tasked’ to deliver information about the inner workings of the Trump administration.”
U.S. counterintelligence officials regularly monitor foreign governments’ efforts to influence U.S. policy, but an operation by the UAE would be particularly sensitive for the Trump administration, and would underscore the hazards posed by a president whose ongoing business ties expose him to potential conflicts of interest. The Trump Organization has made millions per year off a Trump-branded golf course in Dubai. Shortly after he was elected, Trump bragged that he turned down a $2 billion deal from his Dubai-based business partner, Hussain Sajwani.
It is against the law for anyone other than a diplomatic or consular official to operate inside the United States on behalf of a foreign government without first notifying the Justice Department, though the law includes exceptions for “officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored” foreign government representatives and those “engaged in a legal commercial transaction.” Earlier this year, Russian national Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to form “backchannel” connections between conservative U.S. officials and the Kremlin as an undisclosed agent of the Russian government. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and will be deported when she has completed her sentence.
The White House declined to comment, referring questions to the CIA and the Justice Department, both of which also declined to comment. The UAE Embassy did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Among the Emirati government officials overseeing al-Malik was Ali al-Shamsi, director of the Emirati National Intelligence Service, according to The Intercept’s sources. A source who knows al-Shamsi described him as “more than just a spy. He’s also a discreet messenger” for Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, and his brother Tahnoun bin Zayed, the UAE’s national security adviser.
“Al-Shamsi and the Emirati government clearly think they can influence Trump by doing business with him,” said a person with direct knowledge of UAE intelligence operations who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Al-Malik, “to his knowledge, has never discussed any business deal with ‘UAE intelligence,’” Coffield wrote in his email to The Intercept, noting that al-Malik’s “thoughts about U.S. policy and relations with the UAE are broadly shared with all his contacts.” Coffield declined to respond to questions about whether al-Malik has communicated with al-Shamsi or other UAE intelligence officials or whether he was paid a monthly stipend by Emirati intelligence.
“Mr. al-Malik is a businessman who loves the UAE and the U.S.,” Coffield wrote. “He is always looking to build a stronger relationship between the two. He has openly shared his beliefs that the best way to forge a stronger bond is through economic prosperity.”
Al-Malik “has, on numerous occasions, discussed various business ideas for UAE projects in the U.S.,” Coffield continued. “He has consistently discussed highlighting the economic benefits of UAE investment in the U.S., with an emphasis on job creation, as a way to foster a better relationship between the citizens of both countries. His discussions also included the benefits for both countries’ leadership.”
A tiny country of fewer than 10 million people, the UAE does not have a robust intelligence service, but has used businesspeople and wealthy citizens with personal relationships with its royal families as assets to carry out secret intelligence-gathering missions for the government, according to former U.S. intelligence officials.
Al-Malik was likely enlisted as a spy “because he has pre-existing access, a natural role,” said the person with knowledge of UAE intelligence operations.
Coffield did not respond to The Intercept’s request to interview al-Malik.
Whether or not al-Malik’s efforts succeeded, the small, oil-rich Gulf nation has indisputably triumphed during the Trump presidency, as its top foreign policy goals have repeatedly won Trump’s personal backing. In 2017, Trump tweeted in support of Saudi and UAE efforts to isolate their Gulf rival Qatar, publicly contradicting his own cabinet. With Congressional opposition holding up arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE after Saudi dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered by a hit team in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Trump administration invoked an obscure emergency provision to allow the deals to go forward. Trump also vetoed a resolution that would have ended U.S. military support for the Saudi- and UAE-led intervention in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians; his White House has pushed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, a move that has long been sought by the UAE and its Gulf allies.
LITTLE IS PUBLICLY known about al-Malik, who began his career as a pilot for Emirates, Dubai’s government-owned airline. He came to the U.S. in 1998 to study aviation at Western Michigan University and was honored by the UAE Embassy in Washington for scholastic achievement in the program, according to a profile on an industry website. But he left the university in 2000 without receiving a degree, according to the Western Michigan registrar’s office.
Al-Malik worked as an Emirates pilot from 2000 to 2006, according to his LinkedIn page, before becoming an executive at Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, a government-funded company that leases aircraft. Al-Malik left that job in 2008, and now runs Hayah Holdings.
It is unclear when and how al-Malik met Barrack, a billionaire investor who was one of Trump’s top fundraisers during the 2016 campaign. But in 2013, al-Malik and Barrack, who is executive chair of Colony Capital, Inc., tried to partner on a real estate deal to revitalize downtown Oakland and possibly build new sports stadiums and hotels. Colony Capital and Hayah Holdings formed a joint investment venture called Bay Investment Group LLC, but the deal ultimately fell through.
The grandson of an immigrant from what is now Lebanon, Barrack speaks Arabic and is known for his extensive business ties to Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. The Times reported last summer that Barrack’s company has raised more than $7 billion in new investments since Trump won the Republican nomination, with roughly a quarter of the money coming from Gulf states.
Barrack has also cultivated a friendly relationship with Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s powerful ambassador to the United States. In April 2016, months after then-candidate Trump proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” al-Otaiba wrote to Barrack saying that “confusion about your friend Donald Trump is VERY high” and “has many people extremely worried,” according to email correspondence published by the Times and other outlets.
Barrack sought to reassure al-Otaiba, saying that Trump “also has joint ventures in the U.A.E.!” He added, “We can turn him to prudence – he needs a few really smart Arab minds to whom he can confer – u r at the top of that list!”
Al-Otaiba was also on the guest list for the Chairman’s Global Dinner, the extravagant inaugural event to which al-Malik was invited. The dinner was unusual not just because of its opulence but because it seated so many foreign businesspeople and diplomats alongside future cabinet-level officials, providing direct access to members of the incoming administration.
A week after Trump won the election, al-Otaiba sought insider information from Barrack. “If you have any insights about postings to places like state, DOD, CIA and national security adviser, I would be grateful,” al-Otaiba emailed Barrack on November 16, 2016, according to Middle East Eye. “I would only brief my bosses. Any indicators would be highly appreciated.”
Barrack responded, “I do, and we’re working through them in real time and I have our regional interest in high profile. When you get a chance let’s talk by phone.”
Barrack told the Washington Post that he was offered a job in the Trump administration. Instead, he stayed with his investment firm, which contemplated a plan to channel his foreign connections into lucrative deals that would support Trump administration policy.
Earlier this year, ProPublica published a February 2017 memo from Barrack’s firm, Colony Capital, then known as Colony Northstar, outlining the scheme to leverage connections to the Trump administration and foreign VIPs for profit. The plan was reportedly written by Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s longtime associate, who served as deputy chair of the inaugural committee and then as a Colony consultant. Gates was fired by Colony after being indicted in the Mueller probe; he ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
“The purpose of the Washington DC office is to expand Colony Northstar’s global footprint and build a bridge to where government and business intersect globally,” the memo says. “The key is to strategically cultivate domestic and international relations while avoiding any appearance of lobbying.” The memo notes that no other company “can currently match the relationships and resources that we possess.” A Colony spokesperson told ProPublica that the plan was “never acted upon or implemented.”
A source close to Barrack told The Intercept that al-Malik and Barrack spoke several times in 2018, but that Barrack did not have any current business deals with al-Malik.
There is no indication that Barrack knew about al-Malik’s intelligence role. But Tommy Davis, a former chief of staff to Barrack who represents him as a spokesperson, was aware that al-Malik had connections to the UAE government.
“I know for a fact that Rashid has been on retainer since the day I met him, and he’s always been clear about that,” Davis told The Intercept. “That’s who pays for his car, that’s who pays for where he lives. And his job is to be on retainer and to find and consummate real estate deals in the United States.”
Hayah Holdings does not appear to have a website or a physical address in Dubai, but documents from the city of Oakland described it as a “a private investment company based in Dubai with strong financial ties in the Gulf region.”
“Mr. Malik formed Hayah Holdings to help identify investment and development opportunities in established markets such as the United States and Europe,” according to a 2013 document from the Oakland city administrator’s office. “Their focus has primarily been on large mixed-use real estate developments, especially those of a transformational nature and with a significant sport, entertainment content and infrastructure related opportunities [sic].”
Jean Quan, who was mayor of Oakland when the deal was being considered, said she was told that the financing came from Emirati royals. “What was conveyed to me at the time was that the money for the deal was going to come from the Dubai royal family,” Quan told The Intercept.

Mrs Hajiyeva's home in west London, a short walk from Harrods

William Engdahl: Are French Protests a Color Revolution and is Trump the Real Deal? 

Geopolitics & Empire  - Published on Dec 12, 2018

Strategic risk consultant and best-selling author F. William Engdahl discusses his latest book "Manifest Destiny" describing US-sponsored democratic regime change operations known as "color revolutions" which utilize civil society organizations such as USAID, Soros' Open Society Foundations, and NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). He provides his analysis on whether or not the French "Yellow Vest" revolution is sponsored by the U.S. and discusses his change of mind on whether President Trump is an authentic patriot fighting against globalism. *Support/Donate to Geopolitics & Empire: Patreon PayPal Bitcoin Transcript: Websites Books About William Engdahl F. William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst, strategic risk consultant, author, professor and lecturer. He has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years. His various books on geopolitics—the interaction between international power politics, economics and geography—have been translated into 14 foreign languages from Chinese to French, from German to Japanese. His most recent works trace the strategies and events that led to the rise of the US as an international superpower. He describes the emergence after 1945 of an American power as a new kind of Empire not based upon sole military occupation of land, but control of vital resources. Domination was through creation of an informal empire where control of finance, of the basic food chain, of energy—above all of oil, would be the basis for what would become the greatest concentration of power in history, an American Sole Superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Born in Minnesota, William Engdahl grew up in Texas. After earning a degree in politics from Princeton University, and graduate study in comparative economics at Stockholm University, he worked as an economist and investigative freelance journalist in New York and Europe. He has lectured on contemporary geopolitics as Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology and delivers talks and private seminars around the world on different aspects of economics and politics with focus on political risk. He has given talks at the Ministry of Science and Technology Conference on Alternative Energy, Beijing; London Centre for Energy Policy Studies of Hon. Sheikh Zaki Yamani; Turkish-Eurasian Business Council of Istanbul, Global Investors' Forum (GIF) Montreaux Switzerland; Bank Negara Indonesia; the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies; the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economics. F. William Engdahl also contributes regularly to a number of international publications on economics and political affairs including Asia Times,,, The Real News, OpEdge, RT TV, Asia Inc.,, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Foresight magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Grant', European Banker and Business Banker International, Globus in Croatia, and has been interviewed on various geopolitical topics on numerous international TV and radio programs including USA Coast-to-Coast with George Noory, Al Jazeera, CCTV and (China), Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and Channel 1 Russian TV. William is a Research Associate of Michel Chossudovsky's Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada and member of the editorial board of Eurasia magazine. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing and giving interviews on current events, consults as a political risk economist for various private organizations, major European banks and private investor groups. Why the "F." in F. William Engdahl? That's an interesting question.

Underwhelming: Gare du Nord station in Paris.   THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

London teens sent to Africa to escape knife crime
By Sean ClareBBC Victoria Derbyshire programme   28 May 2019

Jamal Hassan: "In Kenya, you don't have to look over your shoulder"
Hundreds of British teenagers are being sent by their parents to East Africa to avoid knife crime in the UK, representatives of the Somali community say. Why are they taking this drastic choice?
Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the interviewees.
"In those few years I was doing my A-levels it was tough. Just seeing people being dropped every other day, being stabbed," Yusuf tells the Victoria Derbyshire programme from his new home in Kenya.
"London's not the place to be for a teenager."
Yusuf was born and raised in London but moved to Nairobi after a close friend in his neighbourhood was stabbed to death.
It is a decision an increasing number of parents are taking, for their children's safety.
Of the 100 people stabbed to death in the UK so far this year, 8% were of Somali heritage, according to the Rise Projects which works with young British Somalis in north London.
Jamal Hassan mentors young men in London, many from Somali families. He explains parents "want to protect that child by all means necessary".
"If it means that child doesn't finish school, college, university or he will not have a good job by the time you come for them the future is not really important.
"What's important is that child's life."
One mother who had sent her child to Africa told him she could now sleep at night, because she knew any police sirens she heard were not for her son.

'Sense of freedom'

Albanian Opposition Holds Another Protest Demanding Prime Minister’s Resignation
by Tsarizm StaffMay 27, 2019
Tsarizm Newspaper- Honest • In-Depth • Revealing

Albania’s opposition is holding another protest today, demanding Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation, a transitional government and free and fair elections.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in front of Prime Minister’s Office chanting “Rama, go!”

The extended area around Rama’s office was surrounded with metal fence, and heavy police presence was seen on the ground, including riot and special police forces.
Protesters launched sky lanterns reading “Go!” and lighted their phone flash lights while opposition leader Basha spoke to the crowd.
Basha said that Albanians are simply demanding free and fair elections, as they are held in other European countries. Rama, he claimed, is captured by crime and can only guarantee “monist elections” where only his party participates, which the opposition is not going to let happen. Basha repeated his refusal to seat in talks with Edi Rama as Prime Minister, as well as opposition’s assessment that there cannot be elections without the opposition participation.

Following Basha’s speech, peaceful protesters walked to the parliament building, and then to the Democratic Party headquarters.

Speaking to the crowd of supporters, Basha said that the coming days and weeks are decisive for the future of the country. He stated that the opposition is open for a political solution to the crisis and that such solution will come soon after Edi Rama resigns as prime minister. Basha added that the international community is also aware of the need for a political solution. 
Local elections in Albania are set to be held on June 30. Rama has claimed that his Socialist Party will win in all cities. The opposition will not participate in local elections and has warned that it won’t let any elections take place while Rama is prime minister. 
This is the fifth national protest organized by the opposition since February, while several are smaller protests have taken place in Tirana. The protesters have called for the resignation of Rama, as well as electoral reform, a transitional government, and free and fair elections.
Tsipras Hints At Possible Different Decisions On Albania And N.Macedonia On EU Accession Talks

Thaçi And Rama Take Over Plan For Exchange Of Territories Between Kosovo And Serbia After Vučić Gives Up


Washington Not Happy About New China Focus on Central America   By F. William Engdahl
24 April 2019 As it becomes clear that the Trump Administration support, so far unsuccessful, for regime change in Venezuela is also very much about targeting the huge financial presence of China with the Maduro regime, recent news of a major Chinese oil success in Cuban waters will clearly deepen the geopolitical tensions. And it involves not only Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil ... To read further, click here ...

Tom Barrack, founder of Colony Capital LLC and chair of then-President-Elect Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, speaks to members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 10, 2017.

Jane Lovell says the labelling of Tuno verges on being false and misleading. Photo: ABC

Son of Frankenstein? UK Body Backs Human Embryo Gene Editing
By F. William Engdahl
23 July 2018

Though the announcement is couched in terms that make it seem humanitarian, as potentially a huge advance in science, an agency tied to the British government is encouraging efforts in gene-editing of the DNA of human embryos. It belongs in the category of eugenics. Not surprisingly, the footprints of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller eugenics circles, and major pharma groups as well as GMO seed companies are found here .

Following a well-placed article by Microsoft founder and major GMO supporter Bill Gates in the prestigious New York Council on Foreign Relations magazine, Foreign Affairs, strongly endorsing the development of so-called genetic editing, the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a part Government-funded advisory body, has now released a report titled Genome Editing and Human Reproduction.

The report and the people behind it, including the Government’s Medical Research Council, indicate that a major push is underway to convince the public that genetic manipulation of human embryo DNA, so-called gene editing, is desirable and beneficial.

Among its conclusions the report states, “use of heritable genome editing interventions to influence the characteristics of future generations could be ethically acceptable.” It adds that, “research should be carried out on the safety and feasibility of heritable genome editing interventions to establish standards for clinical use.”

With many sentences stressing that the decision should only be licensed “on a case-by-case basis subject to assessment of the risks of adverse clinical outcomes for the future person,” by a national competent authority; and “strict regulation and oversight,” the report opens a Pandora’s box of eugenics issues, the long-standing agenda of circles such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller University, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others.

The focus is use of new technologies for gene editing, including CRISPR-Cas9, to “alter a DNA sequence(s) of an embryo, or of a sperm or egg cell prior to fertilisation. The aim would be to influence the inherited characteristics of the resulting person.” They elaborate, “We refer to these as ‘heritable genome editing interventions’ since the altered DNA may be passed to future generations…” They suggest that “One use of heritable genome editing interventions would be to have a child while excluding a particular heritable disorder that the child might have inherited from their biological parents.”

The person heading the new study is Birmingham University Prof. Karen Yeung, a professor not of biology, but of law and ethics and an expert in Artificial Intelligence. Yeung told the UK Guardian, “It is our view that genome editing is not morally unacceptable in itself. There is no reason to rule it out in principle .”

The issuance of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report marks a major advance to creation of radical new laboratory interventions into human embryos to create what critics call “designer babies.”

The problem is that the technology of gene editing is anything but precise, contrary to what its advocates like Bill Gates may claim. The methodology of manipulating a specific part of a DNA chain to change human embryos is based on flawed scientific reductionism, which ignores the complexity of biophysical reality and of the fundamental laws of nature.

Risk to future generations

Take the statement from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report: “We refer to these as ‘heritable genome editing interventions’ since the altered DNA may be passed to future generations…” The altered DNA may be passed to future generations?… And what if the altered DNA goes awry and that too is passed to future generations?

The scientist who first suggested developing gene drives in gene editing, Harvard biologist Kevin Esvelt, has publicly warned that development of gene editing, in conjunction with gene drive technologies, have alarming potential to go awry. He notes how often CRISPR messes up and the likelihood of mutations arising, making even benign gene drives aggressive. He stresses, “Just a few engineered organisms could irrevocably alter an ecosystem.” Esvelt’s computer gene drive simulations calculated that a resulting edited gene, “can spread to 99 percent of a population in as few as 10 generations, and persist for more than 200 generations.”

He was discussing gene editing of mosquitoes. Now the debate is moving on to gene editing of human embryos.

UK Francis Crick Institute

The experiments have already begun, though researchers rush to stress they are with “donated embryos,” not implanted after into the womb of a woman, but killed after several days of lab experimenting. Two years ago, researchers in China used human embryos given by donors of embryos that could not have resulted in a live birth, to edit a specific gene. The results were a bad failure. The tested cells failed to contain the intended genetic material. Lead researcher Jungiu Huang told Nature, “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature .”

Two years prior to the recent call by the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics to, in effect, give a broad green light to experiments with gene editing of human embryos, the UK Government’s so-called “fertility regulator,” the Orwellian-sounding Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), gave permission to scientists at London’s Francis Crick Institute to do limited experiments involving gene editing modification on human embryos.

The HFEA is part of the UK Department of Health and Social Care. It was the first time a national government approved use of the DNA-modification technique in human embryos. The researchers reportedly alter genes in donated embryos, which will be destroyed after seven days .

The Francis Crick Institute opened that same year, 2016, so the gene editing of human embryos was one of its first projects. Notably, the institute has 1,500 staff, including 1,250 scientists, and an annual budget of over £100 million, making it the biggest single biomedical laboratory in Europe. Among its first donors was the UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, giving funding and personnel .

Also notable is the CEO and Director of the Francis Crick Institute, Sir Paul Nurse, geneticist and former President of the Rockefeller University in New York. In 2009 Nurse hosted an exclusive meeting at the Rockefeller University of hand-picked billionaires, invited by Bill Gates and David Rockefeller, to discuss the problem of “over-population.” They reportedly called their group The Good Club, and it included, according to reports, billionaire financiers Warren Buffett, George Soros and Michael Bloomberg .

Grave Concerns

The fact that today the same Sir Paul Nurse heads one of the world’s largest and best financed biomedical laboratories where they are doing gene editing of “donated” human embryos, suggests that a very dangerous agenda is being advanced under the banner of gene editing. And the fact that Bill Gates and his huge foundation, a major investor of Monsanto (now Bayer AG), have been funding experiments in gene editing for more than a decade, including CRISPR, suggests that gene editing could soon become a new name for human eugenics .

Gene editing itself is hugely flawed and unregulated by governments. It has been shown repeatedly that only a small minority of cells into which CRISPR is introduced, usually by a virus, actually have their genomes edited as intended. Indeed, the risks of human embryo gene editing are such that an open appeal published in Nature magazine from Edward Lanphier, Fyodor Urnov and a number of other leading gene editing researchers declared, “Don’t edit the human germ line.”

The appeal of the scientists stated, “There are grave concerns regarding the ethical and safety implications of this research… In our view, genome editing in human embryos using current technologies could have unpredictable effects on future generations. This makes it dangerous and ethically unacceptable. Such research could be exploited for non-therapeutic modifications.” The gene scientists added the alarming warning, “The precise effects of genetic modification to an embryo may be impossible to know until after birth. Even then, potential problems may not surface for years .”

They called for a voluntary scientific moratorium on human gene editing.

The term “non-therapeutic modifications” might very well include genetic editing of certain “undesirable” human races, to program them for biological extinction, the eugenics ultimate dream for over a century. Is that unthinkable? Not to some minds to be sure.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Three more dead on Everest amid overcrowding concerns
SAPHORA SMITH - May 24th 2019 11:13AM
LONDON — The deaths of three more climbers on Mount Everest have raised concerns that a traffic jam of mountaineers near the summit is making the ascent even more treacherous.
Officials and mountaineering agencies confirmed to NBC News Friday that three Indian nationals died on Thursday while trying to climb the world's highest mountain, which sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet, an autonomous region of South-west China.
Nihal Bagwan, 27, died after collapsing from exhaustion on the balcony area of the mountain where he was waiting in a line to reach the summit, according to Krishma Poudel of Peak Promotion, a mountaineering agency in Nepal.

RELATED: Striking photos of Mount Everest expeditions

Anjali Kulkarni, 54, and Kalpana Das, 49, also died while descending the mountain on Wednesday, according to Mira Acharya, the director of Nepal's Department of Tourism. Their cause of deaths is not yet known, she added.
The news comes after it was confirmed that an American man from Utah also died on Wednesday having reached the summit and fulfilling his life's dream, his children told NBC affiliate KSL-TV. Don Cash, 55, was a passionate climber who had left his job to join the "Seven Summits Club," — in which climbers attempt to summit the highest mountain on every continent.
Five climbers have died on Mount Everest since the beginning of the climbing season which started on May 14, according to Acharya. She said the fifth climber was a 28-year-old Indian national, Mr. Ravi, who died on May 17.

Tweeting a picture of a long line of climbers waiting to get to the summit on Wednesday, the British broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle, the U.N. Patron of the Wilderness, called on the countries that share Everest to limit the number of climbers on the mountain suggesting instead for a marathon-style lottery system for climbing permits.

Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of the mountain in 1953, attempting the 29,029 ft peak has become more and more popular. Expeditions can cost tens of thousands of dollars, according to the British Mountaineering Council.
Poudel explained the mountain was busy during peak season. "There's a long queue during the summertime as there's a limited window to climb — a lot of people tried to summit yesterday and day before," she said, using a British word for line.

Poudel said that lines to reach the summit started from the balcony area of the mountain but said she did not know how long Bagwan had been waiting there. "Before you reach the summit you have to wait and every minute counts at the height," she explained, but cautioned that she could not say if waiting there had caused Bagwan's death.
"You've been walking since 8 a.m. the day before without eating or a proper rest and exposed to that temperature there's a high risk of being frostbitten and hypothermia," she added.
Poudel said that Bagwan was barely conscious when Sherpas brought him down to Camp 4 — the last pit-stop ahead of what is commonly referred to as the "death zone" before the summit. He died there at around 11.30 p.m. Wednesday night, she added.
She would not comment on whether officials should limit the number of climbers on the mountain but acknowledged that if there were fewer people it would reduce the risk that they suffer from exhaustion in the line. "Waiting for hours at that kind of height really takes a toll," she said.

Acharya, of the Department of Tourism, said she could not comment on the question of whether the lines were dangerous for climbers.