Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reaction: Swine flu spreads

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHO raises the level from a 4 to a 5

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is There A Swine Flu Cover Up?

Is the seriousness of Swine Flu being downplayed? Did a Florida hospital try to cover up a case of the Swine Flu?


Listen to the latest Worldview podcast to find out. Here is the link:

Podcast

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Newly Discovered Minor Planet







The following is from the, Earth Changes Media Newsletter:


A newly discovered "minor planet" with an elongated orbit around the Sun may help explain the origin of comets, researchers said on Monday. The orbit of 2006 SQ372 is an ellipse four times longer than it is wide, said University of Washington astronomer Andrew Becker, who led the research team.

The new object is about 60 miles in diameter. "It's basically a comet, but it never gets close enough to the Sun to develop a long, bright tail of evaporated gas and dust," Becker said in a statement.

Here is an additonal report:


WASHINGTON - A newly discovered "minor planet" with an elongated orbit around the Sun may help explain the origin of comets, researchers said on Monday.

The object, known as 2006 SQ372, is starting the outward portion of a 22,500-year orbit that will take it 150 billion miles away from the Sun.

The icy lump of rock is just over 2 billion miles from Earth, a bit closer than the planet Neptune, researchers told a symposium on Monday. They will publish their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

The orbit of 2006 SQ372 is an ellipse four times longer than it is wide, said University of Washington astronomer Andrew Becker, who led the research team. Sedna, a distant, Pluto-like dwarf planet discovered in 2003, is the only other object with a similar orbit, but not nearly as stretched out.

The new object is about 60 miles in diameter. "It's basically a comet, but it never gets close enough to the Sun to develop a long, bright tail of evaporated gas and dust," Becker said in a statement.

University of Washington graduate student Nathan Kaib said it is unclear how the object formed, "It could have formed, like Pluto, in the belt of icy debris beyond Neptune, then been kicked a large distance by a gravitational encounter with Neptune or Uranus," Kaib said in a statement.

More likely, he said, it came from the Oort Cloud, a distant reservoir of icy, asteroid-like bodies that orbit the Sun at distances of several trillion miles (km).

"One of our goals is to understand the origin of comets, which are among the most spectacular celestial events. But the deeper goal is to look back into the early history of our solar system and piece together what was happening when the planets formed," Kaib said


Here is the link to the original report: Planet




Link to an additional story: Planet

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Update

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Update

I just recorded a new podcast dealing with the Swine Flu outbreak: You can listen to it at this link:

Flu










Recent news stories:


US declares public health emergency for swine flu


WASHINGTON – The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.

Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can't yet explain why.

"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're going to see more severe disease in this country."

At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.

Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.

Napolitano called the emergency declaration standard operating procedure — one was declared recently for the inauguration and for flooding. She urged people to think of it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness."

"Really that's what we're doing right now. We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size of seriousness of this outbreak is going to be."


E-mail reports from Mexico



I'm a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.
Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

I am a doctor and I work in the State of Mexico. I don't work in the shock team; I am in the echocardiography team, but I do get some news from my colleagues in the hospital. There have been some cases of young people dying from respiratory infections, but this happened before the alert and they were not reported because the necessary tests weren't done. We doctors knew this was happening a week before the alert was issued and were told to get vaccinated. I went to buy some anti-virals for my husband, who is also a doctor, because he had contact with a young patient who presented influenza symptoms and died. I don't think pharmacies stock enough anti-virals.

I understand the government doesn't want to generate panic, but my personal opinion is that they issued the alert too late. Still now, the population is not getting the information they need. We have been out in the street and some people are not wearing face masks and are not taking any preventive measures.

You can read more reports at this link: E-mails



Please send me any reports you come across. My e-mail is tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

I will record another podcast later today.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu Podcast

I just posted the latest episode of the Worldview podcast. The subject is the Swine Flu. Here is the link to the program:

Flu

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Swine Flu Cannot Be Contained-CDC

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - An unusual new flu virus has spread widely and cannot be contained, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Saturday.

"It is clear that this is widespread. And that is why we have let you know that we cannot contain the spread of this virus," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters on a conference call.

The strain of swine flu is suspected of killing as many as 68 people in Mexico and infecting more than 1,000 more, including eight in the United States. (Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Link to original story: Flu

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Beatbox chef

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wrong: Depeche Mode







Wrong, wrong, wrong!

I was born with the wrong sign
In the wrong house
With the wrong ascendancy
I took the wrong road
That led to the wrong tendencies
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
On the wrong day of the wrong week
I used the wrong method with the wrong technique

Wrong
Wrong

There's something wrong with me chemically
Something wrong with me inherently
The wrong mix in the wrong genes
I reached the wrong ends by the wrong means
It was the wrong plan
In the wrong hands
With the wrong theory for the wrong man
The wrong lies, on the wrong vibes
The wrong questions with the wrong replies

Wrong
Wrong

I was marching to the wrong drum
With the wrong scum
Pissing out the wrong energy
Using all the wrong lines
And the wrong signs
With the wrong intensity
I was on the wrong page of the wrong book
With the wrong rendition of the wrong hook
Made the wrong move, every wrong night
With the wrong tune played till it sounded right yeah

Wrong, wrong
(Too long)
Wrong (Too long)
Wrong (Too long)
Wrong (Too long)
Wrong (Too long)

I was born with the wrong sign
In the wrong house
With the wrong ascendancy
I took the wrong road
That led to the wrong tendencies
I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
For the wrong reason and the wrong rhyme
On the wrong day of the wrong week
I used the wrong method with the wrong technique

Wrong!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship

















The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship: An Examination of Epistemic Autocracy, From the 19th to the 21st Century (Paperback)


Here is the story of how the criminal elite hijacked science and transformed it into a weapon against the masses. This examination includes: (1.) The occult Origins of Darwinism. (2.) Nominalism and radical empiricism as instruments of epistemological manipulation. (3.) Eugenics and population control. (4.) Scientistic cults and religious engineering. (5.) Echelon, PROMIS software, and other technologies of the Panopticon Singularity. (6.) Neoconservativism as a continuation of Technocracy and Jacobinism. (7.) Transhumanism, Singularitarianism, and other futurist variants of the elite's occult religion. (8.) The unfolding endgame between scientific dictatorships.

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Many of us are familiar with U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech to the nation on January 17, 1961, in which he warned the American public to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence" of the "military-industrial complex." A less known quote from the same speech sets the tone for the Collins brothers' incredibly erudite tome: "... we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

This book discloses exactly who these technological elite (technocrats) are; that they've been working behind the scenes for centuries, and public policy has indeed become its captive. Its aspiration has always been the implementation of a sociopolitical, technocratic utopian world order.

The breadth and scope of Philip and Paul Collins' massive study is nothing short of dazzling. "The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship" is a meticulous examination of a shared ideological construct centuries in the making. This elite circle of technocrats hasn't simply carried forth a unified grand master plan, however; the Collins brothers stress the fact that what we are dealing with is a "conspiracy of ideas," whose adherents have developed into a powerful "epistemological cartel."

Reading "The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship" is to embark on an intellectual journey of the highest order. The Collins brothers effortlessly discuss a wide range of philosophical concepts, all of which are integral to understanding the thinking and development of those behind the formation of a would-be technocracy. There simply isn't any other book that is even in the same league. "The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship" penetrates the core concepts of Gnosticism, Rosicrucian mythos, Baconian utopianism, Freemasonry and the Royal Society of London; from Darwinism to scientism, population control, eugenics and Malthusian propaganda; Jung, Hegel, Wells and Huxley; Fabian socialism, world government, evolutionary pantheism, and the deification of man. The reader is privy to the fact that there is genuine continuity between Illuminism, Jacobinism, Socialism, and Marxism; that the dialectical manipulation of society is symptomatic of "the Hegelian nexus where Darwin, Marx, and Hitler intersect." The Collins brothers are equally at ease with diverse concepts such as Bentham's Panopticon, sociocracy, semiotic manipulation, "sci-fi predictive programming," transhumanism and the techno-eugenic movement - and the implications thereof. Other books that have attempted only a fraction of what is discussed in this book seem haphazard in comparison.

I highly doubt it is even possible to convey the scope of the book in a simple review: with the range of topics discussed, along with judicious quotations from a dizzying array of sources - the breadth of "The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship" is simply mind-numbing. This book is the definitive statement identifying the significance behind the political concept of a New World Order. "Worth its weight in gold" really does apply in this case - and, of course, as is customary with such scholarly endeavors, the bibliography is worth the price alone


To order the book or to read more information, follow this link: Book

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Bangkok on brink of anarchy

We have been focusing on Somalia and the Pirates and I believe that we need to continue to watch that part of the world. However, there are some other parts of the world that we need to take some time to look at:

With Thailand on the brink of anarchy after another day of violence, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra called for a revolution last night.

He said now was the 'golden time' for protesters to rise up against the government, and he could return from exile to lead them.

His call came after Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva fled Bangkok and declared a state of emergency as protesters stormed the interior ministry and roamed the streets of the capital.

Troops fired in the air as red-shirted demonstrators surrounded and attacked the car carrying the Prime Minister away from the ministry.

The protests against 'rigged elections' come just a day after a summit of Asian leaders was brought to a halt in similar scenes.

There was a tense stand-off between riot police and supporters of Shinawatra with the government threatening 'tough measures' and hospitals on stand-by to take casualties.

The Foreign Office today urged Britons planning to travel to the 'Land of Smiles' to 'urgently review' their plans.

Political tensions have simmered since Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption.

He remains highly popular, however, in the impoverished countryside.

In Bangkok today troops fired at least four shots in the air as about 50 protesters broke through security at the ministry in Bangkok with the Prime Minister Abhisit inside.

Bands of anti-government protesters roamed areas of Bangkok as the emergency decree was announced, with some beating up motorists who hurled insults at them.

The emergency decree bans gatherings of more than five people, forbids news reports considered threatening to public order and allows the government to call up military troops to quell unrest.

But there were initial signs that the government might not be able to contain the protesters.

Reporters saw red-shirted demonstrators swarm over two of three armored personnel carriers outside a shopping mall in downtown Bangkok, while police stood by as a furious crowd beat a car in which they thought Abhisit was riding with poles, rocks and even flower pots.

It's apparent that we will be surrounded and suppressed by military force. Tear gas and military personnel have been prepared. So we told our people to be ready and be prepared,' said Jakrapop Penkair, a key protest leader.

'If they use force, the people will be our weapon. We are not scared. Abhisit must be ousted immediately.'

Prime Minister Abhisit suffered a political humiliation when the summit he had presented as a sign of the country's return to normality had to be cancelled yesterday after red-shirted supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra broke into the venue, sending Asian leaders fleeing by helicopter.

To read the rest of the reports and see pictures follow this link: Report

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Somali Pirates Update





How the U.S. Navy ended Somali pirate drama

(Reuters) - U.S. Navy special forces shot dead three Somali pirates on a lifeboat off Somalia and freed American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips on Sunday in a dramatic end to a five-day standoff, officials said.

Here are answers to some key questions about the incident, mainly from information provided to reporters by Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet.

HOW DID THE NAVY END THE STANDOFF?

Navy SEALs, elite special operations troops, on the USS Bainbridge shot dead the pirates in the lifeboat after the Bainbridge's captain determined that Phillips' life was in imminent danger because a pirate pointed an AK-47 rifle at him.

Navy sailors then sailed to the lifeboat in a small inflatable craft and rescued Phillips, who was tied up inside the 18-foot-long lifeboat. He was later transferred to the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship.

A U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said special operations forces had tried to approach the lifeboat earlier in the standoff, but the pirates had fired at them.

A fourth pirate who surrendered before the end of the standoff was aboard the Bainbridge when Phillips was freed.

The pirate had sought medical treatment for a stab wound to the hand, inflicted by a member of the Maersk Alabama's crew when the gang tried to hijack the ship, the official said.

The pirate was being transferred to the Boxer.

OW WERE SEA CONDITIONS AT THE TIME?

Conditions were deteriorating and the USS Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat in search of calmer waters at the time of the incident. The lifeboat was about 80 to 100 feet away from the Bainbridge when the Navy SEALs opened fire on the pirates.

The lifeboat was about 20 miles off the coast of Somalia when the standoff ended. U.S. military officials were determined to prevent the lifeboat from reaching the Somali shore.

WHAT IS PHILLIPS' CONDITION?

Phillips is in good health, Gortney said. The former hostage declined an offer of food after his rescue and has called home. President Barack Obama also called the Boxer to speak to him.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE FOURTH PIRATE?

The Navy says it is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to determine how to hold the pirate accountable for his crimes. He could be prosecuted in the United States or in Kenya, Gortney said.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE INCIDENT?

U.S. officials insist they did not want the stand-off to end violently. Somali pirates have generally not harmed their hostages and officials fear they could now act more violently.

"This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it," Gortney told reporters at the Pentagon on a conference call from his headquarters in Bahrain.

Link to original article: Q&A


Somali pirates vow retaliation after captain freed

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali pirates on Monday vowed to retaliate for the deaths of three colleagues who were shot dead by U.S. Navy snipers hours before in a daring nighttime assault that freed a 53-year-old American captain.

The Navy Seals late Sunday rescued freighter Capt. Richard Phillips, who had been held by pirates on a lifeboat that drifted in the Indian Ocean for five days.

"Every country will be treated the way it treats us," said Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town.

"In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying," he told The Associated Press by telephone. "We will retaliate for the killings of our men."

He gave no details and it was not clear in what way the pirates could retaliate, though some fear they could take their revenge on the hundreds of other foreign nationals they hold on seized ships.

The rescue dealt a blow to pirates who regularly seize passing ships and hold them captive until multimillion dollar ransoms are paid. But it is unlikely to help quell the region's growing pirate threat, which has turned the Gulf of Aden and the waterways along Somalia's coast into some of the most dangerous shipping lanes on the planet.

Pirates currently hold more than a dozen foreign ships, most moored along the Horn of Africa nation's long coast, with about 230 foreign sailors from Russia to the Philippines.

The American rescue followed a similar operation Friday carried out by French navy commandos, who stormed a pirate-held sailboat, the Tanit, in a shootout at sea that killed two pirates and freed four French hostages. The French owner of the vessel was also killed in the assault.

Residents of the Somali town of Harardhere said tensions were growing there.

Abdullahi Haji Jama, who owns a clothing store in the town, said: "We fear that the pirates may retaliate against the foreign nationals they are holding."

But he also said people feared "any revenge taken by the pirates against foreign nationals could bring more attacks from the foreign navies, perhaps on our villages."

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said the American operation "could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it."

Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told The Associated Press that the three pirates' deaths were "a painful experience." Speaking from the pirate hub, Eyl, he added: "this will be a good lesson for us."

"From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them," Habeb said. "Now they became our number one enemy," he said of U.S. forces.

So far, at least, it has been rare for Somali pirates to harm captive foreign crews.

Several years ago, a crew member of a Taiwanese fishing boat hijacked for six months was killed by pirates, but no reason was given but it appeared to be an isolated incident, according to Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No reason was given but it appeared to be an isolated incident, he said.

Somalia has been engulfed in fighting and anarchy since the 1991 overthrow of Siad Barre, and remains today a country with no effective government, a nation ruled by tribal clans.

The piracy scourge appears to have evolved partly out of an attempt by Somali fishermen to protect their waters against illegal foreign trawlers who were destroying their livelihoods. Some of the vigilantes morphed into pirates, lured by the large profits they could win in ransoms.

Somalia's prime minister welcomed the U.S. Navy's operation Sunday.

"The Somali government wanted the drama to end in a peaceful way, but anyone who is involved in this latest case had the choice to use violence or other means," Abdulkhadir Walayo, the prime minister's spokesman, told The Associated Press. "Anyway, we see it will be a good lesson for the pirates or anyone else involved in this dirty business."

Pirates were defiant though, vowing the events would not stop them form seizing more ships.

One pirate vowed the events would not stop them from targeting more ships.

"The mere killing of three and capturing one will not make us change our mind," said one pirate holding a German ship anchored in the Somali town of Harardhere who refused to give his name. "We are determined to continue our business regardless of the recent killings and arrests."

Link to original report: Retaliation


Books about Somali and Piracy: Read

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pirates hijack US tugboat

NAIROBI, Kenya – The head of a Kenyan seafarers' program said Saturday that Somali pirates had hijacked an American-owned tugboat with 16 crew in the Gulf of Aden.

Nairobi-based Italian Ambassador Pierandrea Magistrati said he only could confirm that "there is a boat that has been hijacked, I believe by Somali pirates."

The hijacking took place as the American captain of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama was still being held hostage on a lifeboat being watched by two U.S. warships.

The head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, Andrew Mwangura, said maritime industry sources had informed his organization that the Italian-flagged U.S. tugboat was towing two barges when it was attacked. He said it was unclear if the attack took place off the coast of Somalia or further north near Yemen. He said did not know what was on the barges.

Mwangura said the attack was launched around 11 a.m. (0800 GMT) Saturday.

More U.S. warships were trying to stop Somali pirates from sending reinforcements to the lifeboat where the American captain was being held for a fourth day hundreds of miles from land, a diplomat said Saturday.

The Nairobi-based diplomat, who receives regular briefings on the situation, said the four pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips in a lifeboat under the close watch of U.S. warships some 380 miles off shore had tried to summon other pirates from the Somali mainland.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said that pirates had been trying to reach the lifeboat. A Somali who described himself as having close ties to pirate networks also said the pirates were trying to reach the lifeboat.

The Somali told The Associated Press that pirates had set out in four commandeered ships with hostages from a variety of nations including the Philippines, Russia and Germany. The diplomat told the AP that large pirate "motherships" and skiffs were heading in the direction of the lifeboat.

A second Somali man who said he had spoken by satellite phone to a pirate piloting a seized German freighter told the AP by phone Saturday that the pirate captain had reported being blocked by U.S. forces and was returning Saturday to the pirate stronghold of Harardhere.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, he said the pirate told him the ship was in sight of a U.S. Navy destroyer Saturday morning local time, received a U.S. warning not to come any closer and, fearing attack, left the scene without ever seeing the lifeboat.

A Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations said in Washington Saturday morning that there had been no developments overnight. He declined to comment on the report that the U.S. Navy had turned back the pirates.

The diplomat said from Nairobi that at least two American ships and U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft had been attempting to deter pirate ships and skiffs from contact with the lifeboat but he did not know if the pirates and Navy ships had come into contact.

The Somali man said the pirate also told him that two other commandeered ships from Taiwan and Greece that were trying to reach the lifeboat feared a showdown with the U.S. Navy and returned to Eyl, a port that serves as a pirate hub, on Friday night. It was not immediately possible to contact people in Eyl Saturday.

The Somali man said the fourth ship that had tried to reach the lifeboat was a Norwegian tanker that was released Friday after a $2 million ransom was paid. The owner of the Norwegian tanker Bow Asir confirmed Friday that it had been released two weeks after it was seized by armed pirates off the Somali coast, and all 27 of its crew members were unhurt.

Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was seized Wednesday when he thwarted the takeover of the 17,000-ton U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama, which was carrying food aid for hungry people in Somalia, Rwanda and Uganda. He told his crew of 20 to lock themselves in a cabin, crew members told stateside relatives.

Phillips surrendered himself to safeguard his men. The crew later overpowered some of the pirates but the Somalis fled with the captain to an enclosed lifeboat, the relatives said.

The Alabama was heading toward the Kenyan port of Mombasa — its original destination — with 20 American crew members aboard. It was expected to arrive Saturday night, said Joseph Murphy, whose son is second-in-command of the vessel.

On Friday, Phillips jumped out of the lifeboat and tried to swim for his freedom but was recaptured when a pirate fired an automatic weapon at or near him, according to U.S. Defense Department officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the sensitive, unfolding operations.

Negotiations had been taking place between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who was getting direction from FBI hostage negotiators, the officials said.

Sailors on the USS Bainbridge, which has rescue helicopters and lifeboats, were able to see Phillips but at several hundred yards away were too far to help him. The U.S. destroyer is keeping its distance, in part to stay out of the pirates' range of fire.

The lifeboat has some gas and the ability to move, according to U.S. defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive details.

U.S. sailors saw Phillips moving around and talking after his return to the lifeboat, and the Defense Department officials said they think he is unharmed.

The Bainbridge was joined Friday by the USS Halyburton, which has helicopters, and the huge, amphibious USS Boxer was expected soon after, the defense officials said. The Boxer, the flagship of a multination anti-piracy task force, resembles a small aircraft carrier. It has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hospital, missile launchers and about two dozen helicopters and attack planes.

The vice president of the Philippines, the nation with the largest number of sailors held captive by Somali pirates, appealed for the safety of hostages to be ensured in the standoff.

"We hope that before launching any tactical action against the pirates, the welfare of every hostage is guaranteed and ensured," said Vice President Noli de Castro. "Moreover, any military action is best done in consultation with the United Nations to gain the support and cooperation of other countries."

France's navy on Friday freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by other pirates, but one of the hostages was killed.

France's defense minister promised an autopsy and investigation into the death of the hostage killed during the commando operation, which freed four other captives and was prompted by threats the passengers would be executed.

The pirates had seized the sailboat carrying Florent Lemacon, his wife, 3-year-old son and two friends off the Somali coast a week ago.

Two pirates were killed, and Lemacon died in an exchange of fire as he tried to duck down the hatch. Three pirates were taken prisoner in the operation, and are to be brought to France for criminal proceedings.

Piracy along the anarchic and impoverished Somali coast, the longest in Africa, has risen in recent years.

Somali pirates have been seizing ships with many hostages and anchoring it near shore, where they have quickly escaped to land and begun negotiations for multimillion-dollar ransoms.

They hold about a dozen ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a piracy watchdog group based in Malaysia. The bureau lists 66 attacks since January, not including the Alabama.


Link to the original report: hijack

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:33 AM   1 comments links to this post

Modern Day Pirates

































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Somalia Standoff Update

Here is the latest information about the situation near Somalia


Somalia Standoff Generates Debate US Policy Debate

The standoff between the U.S. Navy and pirates off the coast of Somalia is generating debate within the Obama administration over policy toward the Horn of Africa nation.

The Washington Post has a report Saturday on how U.S. officials are discussing the more general Somalia problem, and the potential terrorist threat of the Somali extremist group, al-Shabab

National security officials were quoted as saying a debate is taking place on whether a preemptive missile strike against al-Shabab is warranted.

U.S. officials said the group, which controls parts of Somalia, poses a dilemma. They point to its rapid expansion, ties between its leaders and the al-Qaida terror network, and the presence of Americans and Europeans within its ranks. But they said there is no evidence the group is planning attacks outside Somalia.

They were also quoted as saying the Obama administration differentiates itself from the former Bush administration by taking a more cautious, and less aggressive approach, on such security matters.

Previous administrations have also grappled with Somalia as a failed state.

In 1993, then President Bill Clinton ordered U.S. troops to track down a Somali warlord, leading to a long firefight in which 18 American soldiers were killed. The battle led to the book and movie called Black Hawk Down.

Link to original report: Debate


U.S. Warships Converge On Pirates


(CBS/AP) U.S. warships are trying to stop Somali pirates from sending reinforcements to a lifeboat where an American captain is being held hostage as the high-seas standoff off Africa's eastern coast entered a fourth day Saturday.

Underscoring the high stakes involved, France's navy on Friday freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by other pirates, but one of the hostages was killed.

A Nairobi-based diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said the pirates have summoned assistance but at least two American ships and U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft are deterring pirate ships and skiffs from contact with the lifeboat.

The pirates have threatened to kill their American hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, if the U.S. attacks them, according to a Somali who has been in contact with the pirates.

The Somali said the pirates had called in four commandeered ships with hostages from a variety of nations including the Philippines, Russia and Germany.

The vice president of the Philippines, the nation with the largest number of sailors held captive by Somali pirates, appealed Saturday for the safety of hostages to be ensured in the standoff.

"We hope that before launching any tactical action against the pirates, the welfare of every hostage is guaranteed and ensured," said Vice President Noli de Castro. "Moreover, any military action is best done in consultation with the United Nations to gain the support and cooperation of other countries."

U.S. rules of engagement prevent the Americans using their vastly superior fighting power to engage the pirates if there is any danger to civilians.

The situation is new for the pirates. Normally, they seize a ship with many hostages and get it anchored near shore, where they can quickly escape to land, and then begin negotiations for multimillion-dollar ransoms. Left with only Phillips and a lifeboat that is out of fuel, they are in a vulnerable position.

According to CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips, reports out of Somalia this morning say that a group of clan elders may be trying to mediate in this standoff.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer will join two other Navy ships - the USS Bainbridge and the USS Hallyburton, which has helicopters - which are near the lifeboat 200 miles off Somalia.

The Boxer is the flag ship of a multination anti-piracy task force that resembles a small aircraft carrier. It has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hospital, missile launchers and about two dozen helicopters and attack planes.

Negotiations had been taking place between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who was getting direction from FBI hostage negotiators, the officials said.

The dangers of taking action were underlined by an attempt by the French Navy to rescue the people aboard the yacht Tanit. Four hostages, including a small child, were freed and two pirates killed when French commandos moved in on the yacht, but the yacht's captain was also killed.

So for now, the U.S. Navy appears to be working on the assumption that time is on its side.

Meanwhile, the Maersk Alabama headed toward the Kenyan port of Mombasa - its original destination - with 20 American crew members aboard. It was expected to arrive Saturday night, said Joseph Murphy, whose son is second-in-command of the vessel.


Negotiating With High-Seas Bandits

"The issue is going to be claustrophobia, sea sickness, heat, boredom," Rick Gurnon, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, told CBS News. "I think after a few more days in the lifeboat, the Somalis will think going to prison for two years is trading up."

At least that's the hope, said CBS' Phillips. The pirates are demanding their safety be guaranteed should they release the American ship's captain - in addition to, of course, a reported $2 million ransom.

"I'm sure the emotional level on all sides is raised with the warships on the scene," Hugh McGowan, a former commanding officer with the New York City Police Hostage Negotiating Team, said on CBS News' The Early Show. "I'm sure for the hostage takers, they assumed they were going to be in and out and get away without any problems, so now it's much more complicated."

On Friday, Phillips jumped out of the lifeboat and tried to swim for his freedom but was recaptured when a pirate fired an automatic weapon at or near him.

Discussing Captain Phillips' failed attempt to escape, McGowan said such actions are dangerous.

"You never want to be critical of what the hostage does because they're in isolation," McGowan said. "And he probably thought he could make his escape. When we talk to people about, you know, being held hostage, we really recommend that they not try something like this unless they're really 100% - maybe 1,000% - sure they're going to be successful. Even then, think about it two or three more times before you try it, because the rescue is on the way and that's the best way of getting out of it."

Piracy along the anarchic and impoverished Somali coast, the longest in Africa, has risen in recent years. Somali pirates hold about a dozen ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a piracy watchdog group based in Malaysia. The bureau lists 66 attacks since January, not including the Alabama.

Current TV correspondent Kaj Larson, who has produced a documentary on modern day piracy, said that Somali pirates in recent years has been reluctant to harm their hostages.

"That's because they have such a good business model going and they're making so much money - between $50 million and $150 million in ransom money last year - it's not in their best interest to hurt the hostages. That's certainly helping the situation right now.

"That being said, these are certainly violent men who are well-armed, and the potential [for hostage deaths] always exists."

Larson said the experience of the French commando raid Friday will affect how the crisis involving the American hostage plays out. "You're going to see the U.S. Navy being patient and being steady and waiting and playing the waiting game, waiting these pirates out."

McGowan, likewise, believes the Navy will not the fire upon the pirates. "Unless the circumstances call for it, I don't see them doing that. They're being advised by the FBI, and our advice always is to be patient."

Link to original report: Warships

Books about Somalia and Piracy: Books

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:31 AM   0 comments links to this post

Dutch TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden

BERLIN -- A Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

The Netherlands, home to "Big Brother" creator Endemol, is known for being on the cutting edge of format-based television. But even for Dutch standards, "Devil's Advocate," from Amsterdam production house AVRO, pushes the envelope.

The show features star defense attorney Gerard Spong standing up for some of the world's worst criminals.

In the latest show, Spong was able to convince the jury that bin Laden's connection to Sept. 11 was a product of "Western propaganda." The jury also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove bin Laden was the real head of terrorist network al-Qaida. However, the jury did rule that bin Laden is a "terrorist who has misused Islam."

The show is certain to provide further ammunition in the already heated Dutch debate over immigration and the country's large Muslim minority. The Netherlands saw a sharp rise in anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiment after the 2004 murder of Dutch director Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist.

Spong has been at the center of the debate, supporting legal action against anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders.
Dutch TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden
'Devil's Advocate' jury finds no proof he was behind Sept. 11

By Scott Roxborough

April 9, 2009, 12:37 PM ET
BERLIN -- A Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

The Netherlands, home to "Big Brother" creator Endemol, is known for being on the cutting edge of format-based television. But even for Dutch standards, "Devil's Advocate," from Amsterdam production house AVRO, pushes the envelope.

The show features star defense attorney Gerard Spong standing up for some of the world's worst criminals.

In the latest show, Spong was able to convince the jury that bin Laden's connection to Sept. 11 was a product of "Western propaganda." The jury also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove bin Laden was the real head of terrorist network al-Qaida. However, the jury did rule that bin Laden is a "terrorist who has misused Islam."

The show is certain to provide further ammunition in the already heated Dutch debate over immigration and the country's large Muslim minority. The Netherlands saw a sharp rise in anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiment after the 2004 murder of Dutch director Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist.

Spong has been at the center of the debate, supporting legal action against anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders.

Here is the link to the original report: Osama


Additional reports:

TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden

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Friday, April 10, 2009

US hostage fails in escape bid from Somali pirates

An American skipper held hostage by pirates tried to swim to freedom Friday but was recaptured seconds later when the bandits opened fire within view of a U.S. destroyer.

Four Somali pirates, who are demanding a ransom, were ready to kill Capt. Richard Phillips if they are attacked, according to a Somali in contact with the captors.

The high seas drama turned more complex and potentially deadly in its third day as both pirates and American forces rushed reinforcements to the scene several hundred miles off the coast of Somalia. The crisis stemmed from a thwarted attempt to take over the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama freighter and is testing the new Obama administration.

The pirates summoned reinforcements, calling in four commandeered ships with hostages from a variety of nations including the Philippines, Russia and Germany, according to the Somali in touch with the pirates.

The U.S. was also bolstering its force by dispatching other warships to the scene several hundred miles off the Somali coast, which already was under watch by the destroyer USS Bainbridge — named after William Bainbridge, an American naval officer who fought pirates off the Barbary Coast in the early 19th century.

Piracy along the anarchic and impoverished Somali coast, the longest in Africa, has risen in recent years. Somali pirates hold about a dozen ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a piracy watchdog group based in Malaysia. The bureau lists 66 attacks since January, not including the Alabama.

Underscoring the high stakes involved, France's navy freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by other pirates, but one of the hostages was killed, along with two of the bandits. Three pirates were captured. In Paris, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Jean-Louis Georgelin dismissed the notion that there was any coordination between the French and Americans on the two incidents.

Phillips, of Underhill, Vt., was seized Wednesday after he thwarted the pirates' bid to hijack the Alabama, which was carrying food aid for hungry people in Somalia, Rwanda and Uganda.

Around midnight Friday local time, Phillips jumped off the covered lifeboat where he was being held and began swimming, said Defense Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about sensitive, unfolding operations.

One of the pirates then fired an automatic weapon, the officials said, although it was not clear if shots were fired at Phillips or into the air, and he returned to the lifeboat.

He was in the water only a matter of seconds — not enough time for sailors aboard the Bainbridge to do much to help him, the defense officials said. Because both the lifeboat and the Bainbridge are moving, no swimmers or divers could have been standing by in the water, the officials said.

The Bainbridge stays a minimum of 200 yards away — too far to send its own lifeboat to pick up the captain in just a few seconds, and it has no helicopter on board, they said.

Its sailors were able to see Phillips moving around and talking after his return to the lifeboat, and the Defense Department officials believed he was unharmed.

Tom Coggio, Phillips' brother-in-law, said word of the escape attempt and his captivity has stressed his family.

"Now this is just really taking a toll on all of us," Coggio said in Richmond, Vt.

In a statement from the Maersk Line Ltd. shipping company, Phillips' wife, Andrea, thanked "our neighbors, our community, and the nation for the outpouring of support. ... My husband is a strong man and we will remain strong for him. We ask that you do the same."

The Somali in contact with the pirates holding Phillips said they are trying to link up with colleagues who are holding Russian, German, Filipino and other hostages in ships near the coast. Their goal is to get Phillips to Somalia, where they could hide him in the lawless country and make a rescue difficult, the Somali said.

That would give the pirates a stronger negotiating position to discuss a ransom.

The Somali, who helped negotiate a ransom last year to pirates who seized a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. He said he has talked with a pirate leader in Somalia who helped coordinate the failed effort to seize the Alabama.

He said the pirate leader had been in direct contact with the lifeboat via a satellite phone but lost contact after Phillips' captors threw the phone — and a two-way radio dropped to them by the U.S. Navy — into the ocean, fearing the Americans were somehow sending messages to the captain via the devices. They acted after Phillips' failed escape attempt.

Negotiations had been taking place between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who is getting direction from FBI hostage negotiators, the U.S. officials said. The captors had been communicating with other pirate vessels by satellite phone, they said.

Mohamed Samaw, a resident of the pirate stronghold in Eyl, Somalia, who claims to have a "share" in a British-owned ship hijacked Monday, said four foreign vessels held by pirates were headed toward the lifeboat. A total of 54 hostages — from China, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the Philippines, Tuvalu, Indonesia and Taiwan — are on two of the boats.

"The pirates have summoned assistance — skiffs and mother ships are heading towards the area from the coast," said a Nairobi-based diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Samaw said two ships left Eyl on Wednesday. A third sailed from Haradhere, another pirate base in Somalia, and the fourth was a Taiwanese fishing vessel seized Monday that was already only 30 miles from the lifeboat.

He said the ships include the German cargo ship Hansa Stavanger, seized earlier this month. The ship's crew of 24 is made up of five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians, two Filipinos and 12 from Tuvalu.

Another man identified as a pirate by three residents of Haradhere also said the captured German ship had been sent.

"They had asked us for reinforcement, and we have already sent a good number of well-equipped colleagues, who were holding a German cargo ship," said the man, who asked that only his first name, Badow, be used to protect him from reprisals.

"We are not intending to harm the captain, so that we hope our colleagues would not be harmed as long as they hold him," Badow said. "All we need, first, is a safe route to escape with the captain, and then (negotiate) ransom later."

The U.S. sent additional warships, including the guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton and the USS Boxer, flagship for a multination anti-piracy task force. The Boxer resembles a small aircraft carrier and has a crew of more than 1,000, a mobile hospital, missile launchers and about two dozen helicopters and attack planes.

The show of force will strengthen surveillance of the area and may dissuade pirates from seizing another ship, but there are not enough for a blockade in the danger zone that sprawls across 1.1 million square miles, said a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss operational matters.

The head of Somalia's near-powerless transitional government, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, appealed to leaders in piracy hubs to work for Phillips' release. The government "wants to see this piracy problem come to an end in a peaceful manner," he said in a statement.

President Barack Obama, who is getting regular updates on the standoff, made no public comment about it Friday for a third day.

Phillips, 53, thwarted the takeover of the 17,000-ton Alabama by telling his crew of about 20 to lock themselves in a room, the crew told stateside relatives.

The crew later overpowered some of the pirates but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his men, and the Somalis fled with him to the lifeboat, the relatives said.

Capt. James Staples, a classmate of Phillips at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, said he was not surprised by the escape attempt.

"That just shows me that Richie's still ... strong, he's thinking, he's alert," Staples said. "He's going to take every opportunity he can to, to make the situation a lot better for himself and probably get home as quick as he can."

Link to original article: Hostage


Related report:

Ships held by Somali pirates


At least a dozen ships and more than 200 crew members are currently being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau and NATO. Four of the pirate-held ships are believed heading toward the lifeboat on which bandits are holding the American captain of the U.S.-flagged Maesrk Alabama, in an effort to provide assistance, according to sources close to the pirates and diplomats. A look at some of recent hijackings:


Ships currently held off the Somalia coast and the dates they were seized:

April 9: Yemeni fishing boat Shugaa Almadhi with 13 crew hijacked.

April 6: British-owned bulk carrier, the Malaspina Castle, hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. It is carrying iron and has a crew of 24 from Bulgaria, the Philippines, Russia and Ukraine. Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit says the ship is owned by Navalmar U.K. Ltd and managed by BNavi SpA of Italy.

April 4: German 20,000-tonne freighter Hansa Stavanger seized 400 miles off the Somali coast. It has 24 crew members on board: 5 Germans, 3 Russians, 2 Ukrainians, 2 Filipinos and 12 Tuvalus. It is owned by Hamburg-based Leonhardt & Blumberg Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co.KG. Two men who are either pirates or affiliated with pirates have said the Hansa Stavanger is one of four vessels pirates have directed toward the Maesrk Alabama.

April 4: Taiwanese ship, Win Far 161, seized near the Seychelles islands. It has a crew of 30, including 17 Filipinos, six Indonesians, five Chinese and two Taiwanese. Two men who are either pirates or affiliated with pirates have said the Win Far 161 is one of four vessels pirates have directed toward the Maesrk Alabama.

March 25: Panama-registered, Greek-owned Nipayia with 18 Filipino crew members and a Russian captain is seized by pirates. The Nipayia is managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping.


Two ships hijacked by pirates were released or freed Friday:

The 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned Bow Asir, captured March 26 250 miles (400 kilometers) off the Somali coast with a crew of 27 from Philippines, Poland, Russia and Lithuania. Salhus Shipping AS owns the ship, but the company does not say whether it paid a ransom for the release.

French naval forces storms the French yacht Tanit, which had been held by pirates since April 4. The assault, triggered by threats the captive passengers would be executed, frees four French tourists, including a child, but one hostage and two pirates die in the operation.

Link to the original report: Ships


An update to this story and a number of video reports an now be found at this link: Video


To do in-depth study on Somalia and the issue of Piracy I recommend these books: Read

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:44 PM   5 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Adam Lambert — Mad World

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:23 PM   0 comments links to this post

Population Control

I received the book, Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati today. I made it to page 9 when I read this,

Thomas Malthus, born in 1776, a major influence on Darwinism, population control and the eugenics movement. Malthus became deeply concerned with the growing mismatch between people and resources and in 1798 put his thoughts to paper with his Essay on Population. This seminal work made him world-famous, and it has been studied and argued about ever since. To Mathus the greatest danger facing the human species was the difference between population increase and food production: "that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". Malthus argued that population grows via multiplication (even at a relatively low rate of reproduction, 2 make 4, make 8, make 16 etc.); on the other hand, food and resource production could only increase via addition (with the resultant pressure for tilage and arable land necessarily leading to catastrophe).

His gloomy forecasts called for "periodic wars, famines or plagues to reduce the surplus population, or we would soon be standing shoulder to shoulder".

Malthus promoted "hygienically unsound practices amongst impoverished populations," believing "that the undesirable elements of the human herd could be naturally culled by various maladies. The spread of disease could be further assisted through discriminative vaccination and zoning programs"


continuing to discuss the topic of population control, on page 11 there is this:

"One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size".

Wow, that is a lot to think about!

After reading that I did some research and found this:

Will Malthus Be Right?
His forecast was ahead of its time, but nature may still put a lid on humanity

Malthus was right. So read a car bumper sticker on a busy New Jersey highway the other day, and it got me thinking about the Rev. Thomas Malthus, the English political economist who gave the "dismal science" its nickname. His "Essay on the Principle of Population," published in 1798, predicted a gloomy future for humanity: our population would grow until it reached the limits of our food supply, ensuring that poverty and famine would persistently rear their ugly faces to the world.

The most casual cruise on the Internet shows how much debate Malthus still stirs today. Basically, the Pollyannas of this world say that Malthus was wrong; the population has continued to grow, economies remain robust - and famines in Biafra and Ethiopia are more aberrations than signs of the future. Cassandras reply that Malthus was right, but techno-fixes have postponed the day of reckoning. There are now 6 billion people on Earth. The Pollyannas say the more the merrier; the Cassandras say that is already twice as many as can be supported in middle-class comfort, and the world is running out of arable land and fresh water. Despite a recent slowdown in the growth rate, the U.N. Population Division expects the world population to reach 9.5 billion by the year 2100.

What's missing from the debate is an understanding of the changing relationship between humanity and nature. For it is how humans fit into the natural world that will settle whether Malthus was right or wrong. He was wrong in 1798. But if he had been writing 10,000 years earlier, before agriculture, he would have been right. And were his book being published today, on the brink of the third millennium, he would be more right than wrong. Let me explain.

To read the rest of the article follow this link: Malthus


Thomas Malthus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS (13 February 1766 – 23 December 1834[1]) was an English scholar who did influential work in political economy and demography.

Malthus came to prominence for drawing attention to the potential dangers of population growth: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". As an Anglican clergyman, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour: he regarded optimistic ideas of social reform as doomed to failure.[3] He thus presented to the reader a dystopian, negative, view of the world, in contrast to the eutopias of writers such as Rousseau and William Godwin. A disaster occurring as a consequence of population growth outstripping resources is known as a Malthusian catastrophe.

Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. He criticised the Poor Laws,and (alone among important contemporary economists) supported the Corn Laws, which introduced a system of taxes on British imports of wheat. He thought these measures would encourage domestic production, and so promote long-term benefit.

Malthus became hugely influential, and controversial, in economic, political, social and scientific thought. Many of the later evolutionary biologists read him, particularly Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, for whom Malthusianism became an intellectual stepping-stone to the idea of the survival of the fittest. Malthus remains a writer of great significance.

Modern commentators generally refer to him as Thomas Malthus, but during his lifetime he went by his middle name, Robert.

Between 1798 and 1826 Malthus published six editions of his famous treatise, An Essay on the Principle of Population, updating each edition to incorporate new material, to address criticism, and to convey changes in his own perspectives on the subject. He wrote the original text in reaction to the optimism of his father and his father's associates, (notably Rousseau) regarding the future improvement of society. Malthus also constructed his case as a specific response to writings of William Godwin (1756-1836) and of the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794).

Malthus regarded ideals of future improvement in the lot of humanity with scepticism, considering that throughout history a segment of every human population seemed relegated to poverty. He explained this phenomenon by pointing out that population growth generally preceded expansion of the population's resources, in particular the primary resource of food.

In evaluating Malthus one can usefully distinguish between his primary (and virtually irrefutable) axioms, and the consequences he drew from the axioms, which have not always met with consensus agreement.

Primary theory: the axioms
"The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison with the second."


Secondary theory: the consequences
"Yet in all societies, even those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment is so strong that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition."

"The way in which, these effects are produced seems to be this. We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population... increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food therefore which before supported seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress. The number of labourers also being above the proportion of the work in the market, the price of labour must tend toward a decrease, while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer therefore must work harder to earn the same as he did before. During this season of distress, the discouragements to marriage, and the difficulty of rearing a family are so great that population is at a stand. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land, to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage, till ultimately the means of subsistence become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out. The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened, and the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness are repeated."

Malthus also saw that societies through history had experienced at one time or another epidemics, famines, or wars: events that masked the fundamental problem of populations overstretching their resource limitations:

"The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world."

The following passage suggests that techniques of animal husbandry could apply to humans, anticipating the idea which, in 1883, Francis Galton called eugenics:

"It does not... by any means seem impossible that by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement, similar to that among animals, might take place among men. Whether intellect could be communicated may be a matter of doubt; but size, strength, beauty, complexion, and perhaps longevity are in a degree transmissible... As the human race, however, could not be improved in this way without condemning all the bad specimens to celibacy, it is not probable that an attention to breed should ever become general."


Proposed solutions
"Malthus argued that population was held within resource limits by two types of checks: positive ones, which raised the death rate, and preventative ones, which lowered the birth rate. The positive checks included hunger, disease and war; the preventative checks, abortion, birth control, prostitution, postponement of marriage, and celibacy."

In the second and subsequent editions, with his name on the title page, Malthus put more emphasis on moral restraint. By that he meant the postponement of marriage until people could support a family, coupled with strict celibacy (sexual abstinence) until that time. "He went so far as to claim that moral restraint on a wide scale was the best means—indeed, the only means—of easing the poverty of the lower classes." This plan appeared consistent with virtue, economic gain and social improvement.

This train of thought makes Malthus's stand on public assistance to the poor especially interesting. He proposed the gradual abolition of poor laws by gradually reducing the number of persons qualifying for relief. Relief in dire distress would come from private charity. He reasoned that poor relief acted against the longer-term interests of the poor by raising the price of commodities and undermining the independence and resilience of the peasant.[citation needed] In other words, the poor laws tended to "create the poor which they maintain".

It offended Malthus that critics claimed he lacked a caring attitude towards the situation of the poor. He wrote in an addition to the 1817 edition:

"I have written a chapter expressly on the practical direction of our charity; and in detached passages elsewhere have paid a just tribute to the exalted virtue of benevolence. To those who have read these parts of my work, and have attended to the general tone and spirit of the whole, I willingly appeal, if they are but tolerably candid, against these charges ... which intimate that I would root out the virtues of charity and benevolence without regard to the exaltation which they bestow on the moral dignity of our nature...

Some, such as William Farr and Karl Marx,argued that Malthus did not fully recognize the human capacity to increase food supply. On this subject Malthus wrote: "The main peculiarity which distinguishes man from other animals, is the means of his support, is the power which he possesses of very greatly increasing these means.


You can read the entire entry at this link: Malthus


Here is a link to the books about population by Thomas Mathus: Books

More books: Population Control

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:25 PM   2 comments links to this post

Red Cross says doctors helped CIA "torture"

The following was reported by Reuters


MIAMI (Reuters) - Health workers violated medical ethics when they helped interrogate terrorism suspects who were tortured at secret CIA prisons overseas, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The medical workers, thought to be doctors and psychologists, monitored prisoners while they were mistreated at CIA prisons and advised interrogators whether to continue, adjust or halt the abuse, the ICRC said in a report based on interviews with 14 prisoners in 2007.

One prisoner alleged that medical personnel monitored his blood oxygen levels while he was subjected to waterboarding, a simulated drowning designed to induce panic and widely considered to be torture, the ICRC said.

Other prisoners said that as they stood shackled with their arms chained above their heads, a doctor regularly measured the swelling in their legs and signaled when they should be allowed to sit down.

The ICRC interviewed 14 men who had been held in secret CIA prisons overseas before being sent to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.

The 14 are considered by the United States to be "high-value" al Qaeda suspects who plotted or carried out mass murders, including the September 11 attacks and the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. They had been held by the CIA, most for more than three years, in extreme isolation and had not been allowed contact with each other when the ICRC interviewed them at Guantanamo in November 2007.

The ICRC said their claims had credence because they gave similar accounts of their treatment, including the actions of medical monitors whose names they never learned.

The ICRC monitors compliance with the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war captives and keeps its reports secret, sharing them only with the detaining government.

The report, written in 2007, was posted on the New York Review of Books website on Monday night by journalist Mark Danner, who has not said publicly how he obtained it.

"VIOLATED ETHICAL DUTY"

He first published excerpts last month, including a portion in which the ICRC concluded the al Qaeda captives' treatment in the CIA prisons "constituted torture" and violated international law.

The report alleges collars were placed around some prisoners' necks and used to slam their heads against the walls, and that they were forced to stand with their arms shackled above them for two or three days and left to urinate or defecate on themselves.

The prisoners told the ICRC they were beaten and kicked, left naked for long periods, subjected to sleep deprivation, loud music, cold temperatures, rape threats and forced shaving. Some said they were denied solid food unless they cooperated with interrogators and one said he was confined in a crouching position in a box too short to stand in.

A previously undisclosed portion of the report concluded that medical workers who monitored or took part in the interrogations had violated their ethical duty to do no harm, preserve dignity and act in patients' best interest.

The ICRC said "any interrogation process that requires a health professional to either pronounce on the subject's fitness to withstand such a procedure, or which requires a health professional to monitor the actual procedure, must have inherent health risks.

The rest of the report can be found here: torture


Additional reports on the story:

Report Outlines Medical Workers’ Role in Torture

Medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogation of terrorist suspects held overseas by the Central Intelligence Agency, including torture, and their participation was a “gross breach of medical ethics,” a long-secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded.

Here is the link to the entire report: Medical


Medically Assisted Torture

There was a great deal to be troubled by in a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross documenting the kinds of torture and abuse inflicted on terrorism suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency. One disturbing footnote is that medical personnel were deeply involved in facilitating the abuses, which were intended to coerce suspects into providing intelligence.

The report, prepared in 2007 but kept secret until it was published by The New York Review of Books, was based on Red Cross interviews in late 2006 with 14 “high-value detainees,” who include some of the most dangerous terrorists in custody. The prisoners’ complaints gain credibility because they described similar abuses and had been kept in isolation at different locations, with no chance to concoct a common story.

Here is the link for the rest of the story: Doctors


To read more about the CIA and Torture, see the list of books at this link: Read

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:32 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Somalia and Piracy

I have been posting articles about Somalia since June 10, 2006, You can read all the post related to Somalia at this link: News

The big story today is about another ship that has been taken by pirates.


Here is the information:

Somali pirates seized a Danish-owned and US-flagged ship off Somalia on Wednesday with 20 American crew on board, the US Navy and the shipowner said, in the sixth maritime hijacking in five days.

"A US-flagged Danish-owned ship was attacked at around 7:30 local time this morning, 240 nautical miles southeast of the Somali town of Eyl," Lieutenant Nathan Schaeffer, a spokesman for the navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet told AFP.

Maersk shipping line said the container vessel Maersk Alabama, belonging to the US subsidiary of Maersk, "was attacked by pirates and presumed hijacked" at around 0500 GMT.

"The US-flagged vessel has a crew of 20 US nationals and is owned and operated by Maersk Line, Limited in the US," a statement added.

The vessel was en route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa when it was attacked, Maersk said. The 155-metre-long (511-foot) vessel is carrying cereals and food supplies destined for, among others, the United Nations.

The United States underscored its concerns after the latest seizure.

"We've seen the reports," said Megan Mattson, a State Department spokeswoman in Washington. "Recent acts of piracy off the Somali coast are a continuing concern."

Only on Tuesday, the multinational naval task force working to protect shipping in the region warned merchant ships plying the waters off Somalia to increase their vigilance in the light of an increase in pirate attacks.

The warning, issued by the Fifth Fleet, highlighted attacks hundreds of miles from Somalia and said "merchant mariners should be increasingly vigilant when operating in those waters."

"We continue to highlight the importance of preparation by the merchant mariners and the maritime industry," US Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, said in a statement.

"We synchronise the efforts of the naval forces deployed to the region. However, as we have often stated, international naval forces alone will not be able to solve the problem of piracy at sea. Piracy is a problem that starts ashore."

Among attacks over the past few days, Somali pirates hijacked a British-owned cargo ship, a German container carrier, a Taiwanese fishing boat, a Yemeni tugboat and a small French yacht with a three-year-old boy on board.

"Despite increased naval presence in the region, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack. The scope and magnitude of problem can not be understated," the statement said.

It said the area involved covers an area roughly four times the size of Texas -- or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined.

But despite successful recent attacks, it said "merchant mariners have proven successes as first line defenders against pirates" with some having used "evasive manoeuvring and other defensive measures to protect their ships and their cargoes."

Some crew members had turned fire hoses on their attackers, fired flares at them or rigged barbed wire along the sides of the ship to prevent the pirates from boarding.

More than 130 attacks, including nearly 50 which were successful, were reported in 2008. Most were in the Gulf of Aden, where 16,000 ships enter and exit the Red Sea each year on one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes.

At least 18 ships and more than 250 hostages are now in pirate hands.

Despite the recent upsurge in hijackings, the number of attacks and their success rate has declined slightly since the start of the year, which is due to unfavourable sea conditions and an increased foreign naval presence in the Gulf.

Here is the link to the original story: Pirates


There has been a big break in the story. Here is the latest update:

The U.S. crew of a hijacked U.S.-flagged container ship in the Indian Ocean appears to have retaken control of the vessel, a Pentagon official told Reuters.

"It is our understanding that the crew is back in control of the ship," said the official, who asked not to be named. He said the shipowner would hold a news conference on the matter at 12:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) in Norfolk, Virginia.

Link to original source: Update

Hijacked US crew 'retake vessel'

The US crew of a ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia has retaken control of the vessel, according to Pentagon sources.

Unnamed US defence officials said one pirate had been captured by the crew of the Danish-owned Maersk Alabama, which was seized earlier in the Indian Ocean.

The status of the other pirates was unknown, but officials said they were "in the water".

It was the sixth hijack in recent days, including a British and Taiwanese ship.

The Associated Press quoted a defence official as saying: "It's reported that one pirate is on board under crew control - the other three were trying to flee."

Reports suggest the other three pirates jumped overboard.

The ship's owners, Maersk, have not confirmed that the ship has been retaken.

But the firm's chief executive, John Reinhart, told AFP news agency that the crew was safe.

The ship was attacked by several small boats in the early hours of Wednesday in an incident apparently lasting for about five hours.

Maritime officials said the vessel took all possible evasive action before it reported that the pirates had boarded.

More than 130 pirates attacks, including close to 50 successful hijackings, were reported in 2008, threatening one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

link to original report: Ship

I will continue to state that I believe Somalia is a place to watch!

Today I added a number of books to the Worldview store: The books cover this history of Somalia and modern day piracy.

Our bookstore is really Amazon.com however, when you buy the books through our page we receive a percentage of the purchase amount from Amazon. You do nothing different, you shop and purchase just like if you were on amazon.com. We do not receive any of your information. Everything is handled by Amazon.com We just benefit from it! So here is the link to the latest additions: Books

Thanks for shopping and enjoy the books!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:25 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 06, 2009

Children Discover Mysterious Creature

The following was reported by: Dumfries and Galloway Standard

CHILDREN from Loreburn Primary school got a shock last week when they discovered what appeared to be the remains of a crocodile in a river just outside Dumfries.

The primary six pupils were visiting the River Cairn with a teacher and staff from the Nith District Salmon Fishery Board to release Salmon fry when they made the startling discovery.

Douglas Creighton, the primary six class teacher said: “We were doing a river study. We were taking three or fours locations and their measurements when we rounded a corner.

“There was shouting, one from the front saying ‘there’s a crocodile’. We thought it would be a lump of wood.”

On closure inspection however it appeared to be the body of some form of reptile.

Debbie Parke, a staff member of the Nith District Salmon Fishery Board said: “We were releasing fry into the river and were walking down and one of the kids started going ‘there’s a crocodile, there’s crocodile’. We had a look and it was some sort of reptile. It definitely was a shock.”

Debbie later returned to the scene with a reptile expert to determine what species the body belonged too.

The mysterious reptile is believed to be 1.2m in length.

The expert suggested that the body was most likely that of an iguana.

However it was noted that the markings on the creature did not quite match those of an Iguana.

Debbie said: “It probably was an iguana that got too large for its tank and was released into the wild.

“But the markings on the back were quite different from that and the head was quite decomposed and had no jaw. So it was hard to tell if it was a crocodile or not.”

Douglas Creighton and his pupils were left just as stumped to the identity of the curious critter.

He said: “We have got a teacher in the school who keeps reptiles. She had a look at the photographs we took. On the back an Iguana has a similar appearance. It does look like a crocodile. It has the square patches like a crocodile behind the back legs.”

“The children weren’t scared though, they were very excited. It’s led to some very exciting writing in the school.”

Link to the original story: Mystery


Are you interested in the study of mysterious creatures? Then check out our Cryptozoology section in the bookstore: Books

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 2:54 PM   0 comments links to this post