Archive | January 30, 2016

New Zealand Police Intimidate Anti-TPP Activists in Their Homes*

New Zealand Police Intimidate Anti-TPP Activists in Their Homes*

The New Zealand government is labeling anti-TPP activists as radicals and a threat to national security, while polls show 61% of people oppose the deal.

Police arrest anti-TPP protestors in New Zealand. (Photo: Cameron Burnell/Fairfax NZ

The government of New Zealand has taken a hardline approach that is clearly an intimidation tactic against those who oppose the TPP by calling them radicals and a threat to national security, while ordering police to visit anti-TPP activists at their homes to interrogate them regarding protests later this week, the New Zealand Herald reported Thursday.

“Police are checking in on ‘known activists’ around the country ahead of TPP protests later this week,” the daily said.

Scout Barbour-Evans, an anti-TPP activist from Dunedin, New Zealand, told the newspaper that police knocked on their door at 10 a.m. Thursday.

​As the New Zealand Herald explained, Barbour-Evans is transgender and goes by the gender-neutral pronoun “they.”

They said the police were inquiring into what plans protesters had in regards to their anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership action in Dunedin.

Scout said what the government is doing today regarding anti-TPP activists is comparable to incidents that took place in the country in 1981, when the New Zealand national rugby team was headed to South Africa to play against a local team. But activists in New Zealand protested, saying the game was like condoning apartheid. About 1,500 people were arrested after 200 protests across the country.

​The activist also criticized the presence of armed police at Prime Minister John Key’s State of the Nation address on Wednesday.

Although saying monitoring those who oppose the highly controversial trade agreement was “entirely predictable,” the police measure shows the “disrespect the government has had throughout to people’s right to voice their dissent about this negotiation and this agreement,” said prominent anti-TPP protester Professor Jane Kelsey.

She said the government has carried out many attempts to shut down democratic participation within the country, and more notably against all opposition to the TPP.

“One of the problems they’ve had is that the opposition has been a groundswell throughout the country of ordinary people from ordinary communities. If you look at the people who’ve been engaged in the marches it’s been grandmas and grandpas and people with pushchairs,” the activist added, saying,

“That’s an image the prime minister I’m sure is quite desperate to dislodge.”

Kelsey highlighted the fact the government is making a law and order issue out of the opposition to the agreement, by going as far as calling anti-TPP activists radicals who pose a threat to national security.

​”We’ve been seeing them progressively rolling out this strategy, or this attempt to redefine and create a law and order issue out of it,” she said.

Civil liberties lawyer Michael Bott said the police measure could have a “chilling” effect on freedom of expression and the right to protest.

“These people haven’t committed any crime and yet the police are going to conduct a search or an interview, and there are legal concerns with that,” Bott said.

The measure exposes the concerns the government has surrounding protests, and the fact that they know it is highly unpopular in the country.

The public polls are also very revealing, as the most recent one published by shows that 61% oppose the agreement, while 30% expressed no opinion. Only 9% approved of it, although they did express some reservations.


Related Topics:

Protest Rally Ends with a Call for Fatwa against TPPA in Malaysia*

This is what TPP Looks Like: World Bank Demands Argentina Pay French Company*

Japan to Lift Duties Vegetables, Most Fishery Products under TPP*

TPP Preparedness: New Bolivian Law Forces Investor Disputes to Be Settled Locally*

Obama Delivers the U.S. on TPP Platter*

12 Nations Sold their Sovereignty to a Controversial TPP Deal in Atlanta*

Canada under Pressure from Obama for Quick TPP Approval*

Israeli Woman Faces Jail for Refusing to Serve in IDF*

Israeli Woman Faces Jail for Refusing to Serve in IDF*

By Jeffrey Phillips

A 19-year-old Israeli woman, imprisoned for 20 days for refusing to serve in the army because of violence against Palestinians, has been set free, sparking a mixed reaction with some praising her courage and others labelling her a “traitor.”
The young woman will have to report to the induction base on Sunday, where she again would be required to serve in the army. Should she refuse, Kaminer will be put back behind bars for another month, RT’s Paula Slier reports.

I think it is a stupid move by the government and the military authorities to force people to serve in contradiction to their beliefs. A girl declares that she has a conscience opposing the occupation and she wants to do an alternative service is being put in jail. That is just outrageous”, Kaminer’s father told RT.

Kaminer served a year of national service with the Israeli Scouts, where she volunteered with children who had suffered injuries in Israel’s Gaza wars. The experience prompted her to disobey Israeli’s orders of conscription.

“The children I worked with grew up in the heart of the conflict and have had extremely difficult experiences from a young age, experiences that caused them to feel hatred, which can be understood, especially when it comes from young children,” Kaminer wrote in her statement in the beginning of January.
“They convince us that the army has nothing to do with politics, but serving in the army is a political decision. Military jail frightens me less than our society losing its humanity,” the activist added.

“I realized I did not want to take part, nor to contribute to further hatred and fear, and not to take part in the occupation”, Kaminer said in a video posted on Facebook by the Jewish Voice for Peace.

While the woman has received an outpouring of support on social media, some have said that what she did was illegal and that her behaviour might encourage others to follow her suit.
Avichai Shorshan, co-founder of “My Truth” told RT,

“This is a democratic country and everyone has the right to be critical. But, there is a right way of doing things. What she did was illegal and if you try to legitimize it that is encouraging unlawful behaviour.”
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in on the issue of conscientious objectors in September 2014 after 43 Israeli reservists signed a letter refusing orders in protest against IDF military actions in the West Bank and Gaza. He said at the time,

“Refusing orders should be condemned and using it politically by voicing false accusations is not valid.”

Conscientious objectors are citizens of Israel who refuse to serve in the Israel Defense Forces on the grounds of religious and/or political beliefs, or disagreements with Israeli policy, such as the occupation of the Palestinian territories. Conscription is mandatory in Israel.


Related Topics:

Palestine Before Israel*

Watch Israeli Occupation Forces Shooting Palestinian Demonstrators*

U.S. Methodist Church Divests from Israeli Banks*

Ireland’s Largest Multinational Company Disinvests from Israel*

Monsanto Supplied Chemical Weapons to Israel*

How the Global Jewellery Industry is Funding Israeli Crimes against Humanity*

U.S. Silent on U.S. Citizens Engage in Violence against Palestinians*

Jewish NY High School Student Facing Legal Action for Supporting Palestine*

U.S, U.K., Israel, China, Saudia behind Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide*

Oregon State Police (Who Killed Lavon Finicum) Trained By Israelis*

Oregon State Police (Who Killed Lavon Finicum) Trained By Israelis*

The killing of rancher Lavoy Finicum by the Oregon State Police made international news Tuesday, and in a very unusual move, the FBI quickly released the video of the shooting yesterday, which was filmed by an FBI helicopter. Finicum, whose final post on Twitter was a lovely rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ hours before his death, was one the passionate protesters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for the past several weeks.

Not surprisingly, the Oregon State Police and other law enforcement agencies across Oregon have been admittedly trained by Israeli military and have gone to Israel for training seminars.

Even if you’re in the right, you have to be VERY careful any time you’re around our amped-up, Israeli-Trained police officers. To underestimate this grave danger is to your peril.

The Former Commissioner of the Oregon State Police Department Trained in Israel.

Commissioner Ron Ruecker of the Oregon State Police Department is listed in the official document of Law EnforcEmEnt ExchangE Program (LEEP) Participants in the JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) Israel Program for Law Enforcement Executives (2004-2009).

You can read the document here.

An official FBI Press release from January 2009 announced ‘Ronald C. Ruecker Named Assistant Director of Office of Law Enforcement Coordination’.

Excerpt (emphasis added):

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller today announced the appointment of Ronald C. Ruecker as Assistant Director of the FBI�s Office of Law Enforcement Coordination (OLEC). Mr. Ruecker replaces Louis F. Quijas, who retired from the FBI for a position in private industry in August after more than six years as the head of OLEC.Most recently, Mr. Ruecker was the Director of Public Safety for the City of Sherwood, Oregon. He is also the Immediate Past President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and was previously the General Chair of the IACP�s Division of State and Provincial Police. He served for more than 31 years with the Oregon State Police, concluding his tenure as Superintendent in December 2006. While there, he also served as Deputy Superintendent, Commander of two of the department�s three Bureaus, and Director of the Office of Professional Standards. Mr. Ruecker was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber as Oregon�s Homeland Security Advisor in 2001 and served in that role until 2004.

“Mr. Ruecker is a highly respected law enforcement leader who brings a wealth of experience and a record of accomplishment to the FBI,� Mueller said. �He will be a valuable asset in our continuing efforts to foster cooperation and strengthen relationships with our law enforcement partners.”

The OLEC was established by Director Mueller in 2002 to enhance coordination and communication between the FBI and its federal, state, local, county, tribal, and campus law enforcement partners. As Assistant Director of OLEC, Mr. Ruecker will advise FBI executives on ways to enhance the FBI�s working relationship with its partners and the use of state and local law enforcement expertise and resources in FBI investigations. OLEC is the FBI’s primary liaison for the national law enforcement associations and organizations and ensures the needs and concerns of state and local law enforcement agencies are being addressed within the FBI. Mr. Ruecker will also be responsible for liaison with the Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General�s Director of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Mr. Ruecker is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI’s National Executive Institute, and the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He and his wife, Ann, founded the Oregon State Police Foundation in 2001 and he has served on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Oregon since 2007.


Related Topics:

Pro-Israelis Finance U.S. Police Training*

Utah Police Responsible for More Killings than Criminals*

Chart of Deaths from Police Shooting*

Deputy Police Chief Identified as KKK by the FBI*

Widespread Police Brutality has Thousands March in Solidarity with Baltimore*

London’s Metropolitan Police and Operation Protective Edge*

Spanish Police also getting Training from Israel*

Zika Epicentre in Same Area GM Mosquitoes were Released in 2015*

Zika Epicentre in Same Area GM Mosquitoes were Released in 2015*

By Claire Bernish

The World Health Organization announced it will convene an Emergency Committee under International Health Regulations on Monday, February 1, concerning the Zika virus ‘explosive’ spread throughout the Americas. The virus reportedly has the potential to reach pandemic proportions — possibly around the globe. But understanding why this outbreak happened is vital to curbing it. As the WHO statement said:

“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes … is strongly suspected. [These links] have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

“WHO is deeply concerned about this rapidly evolving situation for 4 main reasons: the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes; the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector; the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas; and the absence of vaccines, specific treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests […]

“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty.”

Zika seemingly exploded out of nowhere. Though it was first discovered in 1947, cases only sporadically occurred throughout Africa and southern Asia. In 2007, the first case was reported in the Pacific. In 2013, a smattering of small outbreaks and individual cases were officially documented in Africa and the western Pacific. They also began showing up in the Americas. In May 2015, Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus — and the situation changed dramatically.

Brazil is now considered the epicentre of the Zika outbreak, which coincides with at least 4,000 reports of babies born with microcephaly just since October.

When examining a rapidly expanding potential pandemic, it’s necessary to leave no stone unturned so possible solutions, as well as future prevention, will be as effective as possible. In that vein, there was another significant development in 2015.

Oxitec first unveiled its large-scale, genetically-modified mosquito farm in Brazil in July 2012, with the goal of reducing “the incidence of dengue fever,” as The Disease Daily reported. Dengue fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquitoes which spread the Zika virus — and though they “cannot fly more than 400 meters,” WHO stated, “it may inadvertently be transported by humans from one place to another.” By July 2015, shortly after the GM mosquitoes were first released into the wild in Juazeiro, Brazil, Oxitec proudly announced they had “successfully controlled the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, by reducing the target population by more than 90%.”

Though that might sound like an astounding success — and, arguably, it was — there is an alarming possibility to consider.

Nature, as one Redditor keenly pointed out, finds a way — and the effort to control dengue, zika, and other viruses, appears to have backfired dramatically.

Juazeiro, Brazil — the location where genetically-modified mosquitoes were first released into the wild.


Map showing the concentration of suspected Zika-related cases of microcephaly in Brazil.


The particular strain of Oxitec GM mosquitoes, OX513A, are genetically altered so the vast majority of their offspring will die before they mature — though Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher published concerns in a report in September 2010 that a known survival rate of 3-% warranted further study before the release of the GM insects. Her concerns, which were echoed by several other scientists both at the time and since, appear to have been ignored — though they should not have been.

Those genetically-modified mosquitoes work to control wild, potentially disease-carrying populations in a very specific manner. Only the male modified Aedes mosquitoes are supposed to be released into the wild — as they will mate with their unaltered female counterparts. Once offspring are produced, the modified, scientific facet is supposed to ‘kick in’ and kill that larvae before it reaches breeding age — if tetracycline is not present during its development. But there is a problem.

Aedes aegypti mosquito. Image credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

According to an unclassified document from the Trade and Agriculture Directorate Committee for Agriculture dated February 2015, Brazil is the third largest in “global antimicrobial consumption in food animal production” — meaning, Brazil is third in the world for its use of tetracycline in its food animals. As a study by the American Society of Agronomy, et. al., explained,

“It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals and are excreted in waste.”

One of the antibiotics (or antimicrobials) specifically named in that report for its environmental persistence is tetracycline.

In fact, as a confidential internal Oxitec document divulged in 2012, that survival rate could be as high as 15% — even with low levels of tetracycline present.

“Even small amounts of tetracycline can repress” the engineered lethality. Indeed, that 15% survival rate was described by Oxitec:

“After a lot of testing and comparing experimental design, it was found that [researchers] had used a cat food to feed the [OX513A] larvae and this cat food contained chicken. It is known that tetracycline is routinely used to prevent infections in chickens, especially in the cheap, mass produced, chicken used for animal food. The chicken is heat-treated before being used, but this does not remove all the tetracycline. This meant that a small amount of tetracycline was being added from the food to the larvae and repressing the [designed] lethal system.”

Even absent this tetracycline, as Steinbrecher explained, a “sub-population” of genetically-modified Aedes mosquitoes could theoretically develop and thrive, in theory,

“capable of surviving and flourishing despite any further” releases of ‘pure’ GM mosquitoes which still have that gene intact. She added,

“the effectiveness of the system also depends on the [genetically-designed] late onset of the lethality. If the time of onset is altered due to environmental conditions … then a 3-4% [survival rate] represents a much bigger problem…”

As the WHO stated in its press release, “conditions associated with this year’s El Nino weather pattern are expected to increase mosquito populations greatly in many areas.”

Incidentally, President Obama called for a massive research effort to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, as one does not currently exist. Brazil has now called in 200,000 soldiers to somehow help combat the virus’ spread. Aedes mosquitoes have reportedly been spotted in the U.K. But perhaps the most ironic — or not — proposition was proffered on January 19, by the MIT Technology Review:

“An outbreak in the Western Hemisphere could give countries including the United States new reasons to try wiping out mosquitoes with genetic engineering.

“Yesterday, the Brazilian city of Piracicaba said it would expand the use of genetically modified mosquitoes …

“The GM mosquitoes were created by Oxitec, a British company recently purchased by Intrexon, a synthetic biology company based in Maryland. The company said it has released bugs in parts of Brazil and the Cayman Islands to battle dengue fever.”


Related Topics:

Washington Targets Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina*

GM Mosquitoes Causing Dengue Fever*

Scientists Warn “Supercharged” GMOs Could be Used as Bio-weapons*

This Sri Lankan Newspaper REPELS Mosquitoes

Scientists Warn “Supercharged” GMOs Could be Used as Bio-weapons*

7.3 Quake and Multiple Aftershocks Strike Russia’s Far East*

7.3 Quake and Multiple Aftershocks Strike Russia’s Far East*

A strong, deep 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Saturday, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake hit 106 kilometres north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital city of Russia’s Kamchatka Krai.

The depth of the earthquake was reported at 153 kilometers. There have been no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. No tsunami warning has been issued.

The area was hit with at least seven aftershocks since the event, Kamchatka’s Geophysical Service said. Five of them measured 2.0 and above, according to a spokesman. The remaining too – 4.5 and 5.2, respectively.

Rescue crews are searching and inspecting buildings, TASS quoted an emergency services spokesperson as saying. “There have been no reports of damage yet,” Yulia Ananyeva said.

“We saw furniture and doors shake as well as swinging chandeliers. Our office is one the first floor.”

She added that the buildings in the area were built to withstand a magnitude 9 quake.

Meanwhile on social media, frightened witnesses posted descriptions of the strong tremors felt in the region.

Terrified shoppers quickly evacuated one of the local malls when people felt tremors from the quake. One resident andre_prilepsky posted a picture showing people waiting outside in the snow without coats on.

Ksenya Maksimova tweeted about the “unpleasant feeling … when everything is shaking,” while several other young Twitter users said they “almost died of fright.”

Others were more enthusiastic about their first time in a strong earthquake.

“Cool earthquake! Our telly nearly fell over!” Senya Mikhaylitskaya tweeted, adding that she and her friend were about to rush into the street when it all ended.

“The earthquake broke our bottle of Bacardi,” stated Marina Brovkina, posting a pic of the shattered bottle of booze.

On Instragram, shamans_wood described the events as “action Kamchatka-style,” saying that the quake actually felt different in different parts of the city – from the sights and sounds of bouncing cars, wailing sirens, and even visibly shaking houses, to almost no noticeable effect.

When a journalist posted a comment asking user svetakov1 if she had any video of the quake, she replied:

“Taking a video is the last thing you think about in such moments. I was thinking about whether I should pull my cat from under the cupboard [if] she’s dying there quietly … I hate those quakes.”

Source *

Related Topics:

The Earthquake that Stopped Before Hitting Ukraine and Russian Borders*

Why did Afghanistan Get an Earthquake?*

Is there a Link between CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and Recent Earthquakes?*