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US and UK using radioactive weapons
  Dec 14, 2016
For the past 25 years the United States and its allies have routinely used radioactive weapons in battle, in the form of warheads and explosives made with depleted, undepleted or slightly enriched uranium. While the Department of Defense (DOD) calls these weapons conventional (non-nuclear), they are radioactive and chemically toxic. In Iraq, where the United States and its partners waged two wars, toxic waste covers the country and poisons the people. U.S. veterans are also sick and dying.Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps officer in Iraq and United Nations weapons inspector, said: “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its nonexistent WMD. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.” The weapons were first used in 1991 during Desert Storm, when the U.S. military fired guided bombs and missiles containing depleted uranium (DU), a waste product from nuclear reactors. The DOD particularly prized them because, with dramatic density, speed and heat, they blasted through tanks and bunkers.Within one or two years, grotesque birth defects spiraled—such as babies with two heads. Or missing eyes, hands and legs. Or stomachs and brains inside out. Keith Baverstock, who headed the radiological section of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Center of Environment and Health in the 1990s, explained why: when uranium weapons explode, their massive blasts produce gray or black clouds of uranium oxide dust particles. These float for miles, people breathe them, and the dust lodges in their lungs. From there, they seep into the lymph system and blood, flow throughout the body and bind to the genes and chromosomes, causing them to mutate. First, they trigger birth defects. Within five or more years, cancer. Organs, often the kidneys, fail.At one Basra hospital, leukemia cases in children up to age 14 doubled from 1992 to 1999. Birth defects also surged, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001. Leukemia—cancer of the blood—develops quickly. Chris Busby, a British chemical physicist, explains: “Blood cells are the most easily damaged by radiation and duplicate rapidly. We’ve known this since Hiroshima.” Dai Williams, an independent weapons researcher in Britain, says the dust emits alpha radiation—20 times more damaging than the gamma radiation from nuclear weapons. The military insists the dust is harmless because it can’t penetrate the skin. They ignore that it can be inhaled.Fast-forward to 2003. When the United States reinvaded Iraq, it launched bunker-busting guided bombs, cruise missiles and anti-tank missiles. It also fired new thermobaric warheads—much stronger explosives with stunningly large blasts. Many of these, says Ritter, contained some type of uranium, whether depleted, undepleted or slightly enriched. Williams says thermobaric weapons explode at extremely high temperatures and “the only material that can do that is uranium.” He adds that while today’s nuclear weapons are nominally subject to international regulations, no existing arms protocol addresses uranium in a non-nuclear context.
While the U.S. government has cleaned up some contaminated sites at home—such as a former uranium munitions plant in Concord, Massachusetts—it has yet to acknowledge the mess in Iraq. “Iraq is one large hazardous waste site,” Ritter says. “If it was the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency would declare it a Superfund site and order it be cleaned.”Fallujah (population 300,000) is Iraq’s most contaminated city. The U.S. military attacked it twice in 2004, and in the November siege, troops fired thermobaric weapons, including a shoulder-launched missile called the SMAW-NE (NE means “novel explosive”). Ross Caputi was there with the U.S. 1st Battalion 8th Marines: “We used the SMAW-NE, and guys raved about how you could fire just one round and clear a building.” Concrete bunkers and buildings were instantly incinerated and collapsed. The DOD was not disappointed.Cancers in Fallujah catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005. In a 2010 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait. Busby sampled the hair of Fallujah women with deformed babies and found slightly enriched uranium. He found the same thing in the soil.These numbers are probably low. Iraqi women whose children have birth defects feel stigmatized and often don’t report them. Besides the cancers and birth defects, an Irish pathologist (who asked for anonymity) said an unusually high number of children near the city of Hawija have cerebral palsy. “I was skeptical when Iraqi doctors told me, but I examined 30 and saw it was classic CP. I don’t know what caused this, but the increase is almost certainly war-related.”It is often argued that uranium occurs in nature, so it’s impossible to link soil and other samples to the weapons. But when experts examine a site, they take samples, study them in a special lab and can easily tell the difference between uranium that is natural and that which was chemically processed. “The idea that you can’t link soil samples to weapons because of the presence of natural uranium is ludicrous. It’s done all the time by experts in the International Atomic Energy Agency and within the nuclear programs of all major nuclear powers,” Ritter says.In addition to the weapons’ lethal dust, Iraqis and coalition troops were exposed to poisonous smoke from huge open burn pits, some stretching 10 acres. From 2003 to 2011, U.S. military bases burned waste in the pits around the clock—spewing toxic clouds for miles. Two were near Fallujah. Caputi says, “We dumped everything there. Our plastic bottles, tires, human waste and batteries.” Rubber, oil, solvents, unexploded weapons and even medical waste were also tossed into the pits. As a 2008 Army Times article noted, Balad Air Base burned around 90,000 plastic bottles a day.When plastic burns, it gives off dioxin—the key ingredient in Agent Orange, which caused malformations and cancer in Vietnam. Burn pits also produce hydrogen cyanide gas which U.S. prisons used in their execution chambers from the mid-1920s until 2010, and which the Nazis used at the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps. Moreover, pits burning uranium-tinged debris produce uranium oxide dust.When U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) inspectors visited bases in 2010, they found much to criticize. Contractors running the pits—U.S. companies such as KBR and Halliburton—didn’t collect data on what they burned. (KBR said it wasn’t in its contract.) Few separated out toxic materials. Most burned plastics, although that is banned by regulations. The GAO wrote that the fumes could irritate the eyes and lungs; damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system; and cause cancer, depending on how much is inhaled and for how long. Troops breathed them 24/7 during their tours, which were usually one year. Iraqis breathed them for eight years.The now-closed Balad Air Base burned up to 200 tons of waste a day, and many U.S. troops stationed there now have diseases that mirror the diseases suffered by the Iraqis. Some have already died from brain and lung cancers, or leukemia. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) X-rayed Captain LeRoy Torres’s lungs and diagnosed a disease of “unknown etiology.” When more veterans presented similar symptoms, the DOD asked Dr. Robert Miller, Vanderbilt’s chief of pulmonary diseases, to study them.Miller said: “We biopsied 200 veterans’ lungs and found they had constrictive bronchiolitis, a very debilitating disease. The DOD didn’t like that we biopsied them and that we found the disease was caused by what they were exposed to—which included the burn pits. After that, it didn’t send us more veterans to evaluate.” Even as evidence mounts, the DOD and VA steadfastly deny the health effects of the weapons and pits. The Defense Health Agency website states, “No human cancer of any type has been seen as a result of exposure to either natural or depleted uranium.”In a 2011 DOD report, “Exposure to Toxins Produced by Burn Pits,” the VA adds, “The effects from burn pits are only temporary and the negative health effects dissipate once a soldier is removed from the source.” In 2014, the VA website assured veterans that “so far, no health problems have been found in veterans exposed to DU.” While the military admits it used DU in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, it has downplayed the extent. U.S. Marine Corps Captain Dominic Pitrone said: “The only weapons with DU in the USMC inventory were 120 mm tank rounds.” As for the new SMAW-NE warhead, he said it does not contain uranium.Ritter says these claims are disingenuous. Though other DU munitions, such as aerial bombs and 25 mm cannon rounds, may not have been in the USMC inventory, they were still available to and used by USMC units in Iraq. And while the USMC may not label the SMAW-NE and thermobaric Hellfire missile as uranium weapons, Ritter says that this doesn’t resolve whether the shaped-charge warheads inside them make use of uranium-enhanced liners.U.S. coalition partners—such as Britain, which also used uranium weapons—echo the denials. So too do the WHO and the Iraq Ministry of Health, which concluded in 2012 that Iraq had fewer birth defects and cancers than developed countries. But Hagopian says the ministry surveyed households instead of using hospital records. Last November, the American Public Health Association asked the military to ban burn pits and fund research on their health effects. It also asked the WHO to rethink its conclusion.Researchers tell of attempts by authorities to quash investigations. In 1991, for example, the United States tried to keep the WHO from “surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers,” said Hans von Sponek, a former U.N. official. Karol Sikora, a British oncologist who headed the WHO’s cancer program in the 1990s, told me his supervisor (who focuses on non-communicable diseases) warned him that they shouldn’t speak publicly about the cancers and birth defects “because this would offend member states.”Similarly, Baverstock says, “I was on a WHO editorial committee, and I warned about the uranium weapons’ geno-toxicity effect on DNA. My comments were rejected—probably because the WHO monograph didn’t include this.” Horst Gunther, a German physician, went to Iraq to study the spiking diseases. He saw children play with DU shells on Basra’s battlefield, took one to Germany to study and found it was extremely radioactive. He told German authorities and was arrested for possessing it.In 2003, Chief Justice Y.K.J. Yeung Sik Yuen of Mauritius, a delegate to the U.N. subcommission on human rights, wrote of “the cavalier disregard, if not deception, on the part of the developers and users of these weapons regarding their effects.” After he refused to reverse his position that DU weapons are illegal and violate the Geneva Convention, the U.S. and Britain campaigned against his re-election to the subcommission. He lost.Hagopian says researchers can’t study the uranium weapons’ effects because “the U.S. won’t fund the work.” Why can’t the DOD, VA, Iraqi government and WHO come clean? Ritter says, “The DOD doesn’t want the public to know about the toxic dust, because of the liability. As for Iraq, it will agree with the U.S. as long as it depends on the U.S. for financial and military support. As for the WHO, the U.S. contributes more to U.N. agencies and the WHO than any other country.”Williams adds that there’s growing international concern about uranium weapons, since they’re radioactive. As early as 1991, Army Lieutenant Colonel M.V. Ziehm warned in a memo that because DU weapons “may become politically unacceptable,” after-action reports must “keep this sensitive issue at mind.” In other words, don’t tell. Media coverage of uranium weapons and the spiraling sickness has been meager. Malak Hamden said when she and colleagues published the 2010 Fallujah study, “CNN said something, but no newspapers touched the story.” A BBC reporter told Williams the public doesn’t want to know about uranium weapons.In the meantime, the United States continues to build them. Williams notes that U.S. Patent Office records show Lockheed Martin and Raytheon hold patents for enhanced bombs and cruise missile warheads that include uranium options. Today, with the U.S., Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Russia bombing Syria, and with the Saudis bombing and the U.S. firing drones into Yemen—with some of the same kinds of weapons unleashed in Iraq—it is likely that the people living there, along with fleeing refugees, will suffer just as the Iraqis and veterans have.As Busby notes, uranium oxide dust is like a bomb that keeps going off. “People’s genes are damaged for generations. Scientists found this in 22 generations of mice, after Chernobyl. The only way mutated genes disappear is when carriers don’t have children.”Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Warfare|
CRISPR Front opens with BDFL defeat
  Nov 25, 2016
On 28 October, a team from Sichuan University in Chengdu injected a patient with cells containing genes that were edited using the revolutionary CRISPR–Cas9 technique. The patient, suffering from aggressive lung cancer, was taking part in a clinical trial conducted at the West China Hospital. The trials are part of the process of understanding how the bleeding edge gene editing technique can boost the ability to combat cancer and mutations, as well as manipulate stem cells.The researchers removed immune cells from the recipient’s blood and then disabled a gene in them using CRISPR–Cas9, which combines a DNA-cutting enzyme with a molecular guide that can be programmed to tell the enzyme precisely where to cut. This disabled gene codes for the protein PD-1, which normally puts the brakes on a cell’s immune response: cancers take advantage of that function to proliferate. The team then cultured the edited cells, increasing their number, and injected them back into the patient, who has metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. The hope is that, without PD-1, the edited cells will attack and defeat the cancer.An aspect that makes it interesting is that the Chinese team beat their US counterparts to the clinical trial stage by months. The first planned CRISPR trials at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, for which regulatory clearance was received earlier this year, are unlikely to begin until 2017. "I think this is going to trigger Sputnik 2.0, a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States, which is important since competition usually improves the end product," said Carl June, a clinical researcher in immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. June is the scientific adviser for the planned US trial, which is being funded by The Parker Institute, created by Facebook billionaire Sean Parker to battle cancer. Google and Bill Gates are also invested in CRISPR through Editas Medicine but trial of their technology on humans is similarly projected to happen only in 2017.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Source War Chronicles|
Universe Splitter
  Nov 25, 2016
Universe Splitter is an application approved by Sean Carroll that, according to many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, allows its user to split the Universe. It works similar to flipping a coin, with important differences. As soon as you press the button, the program will immediately contact a laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland and connect to a quantum device which releases a single photon into a partially-silvered mirror. Each photon will simultaneously bounce off the mirror and pass through it—but in separate universes.When you flip an actual coin, you split all the universes where it happened into a huge number of universes, some of which would have the coin landed heads, and some tails. Your subjective probability of finding yourself in one of those groups is proportional to the square of the number of the universes. So if there were X universes in which the coin landed heads, and 2*X of those where it landed tails, you would have a much higher probability of seeing tails.Instead of flipping an enormously huge coin possessing lots of possible microstates, Universe Splitter flips one photon so it can only be in one of two configurations, so the universe splits exactly in half. One of those configurations shows up on your screen as heads, another as tails, forever decoupling those two universes so far away that they never interact anymore. There will be a universe where you made one choice, and a universe where you made another, and they will have the same probability of being observed.The uses of this are limited. For example, one could enumerate all possible strategies and go through them according to the results of the application, so that there is at least one universe where one has picked the most optimal strategy and won. However, probably all of such uses wouldn't work, unless you have some homebrew scientific knowledge, which NSA could have. If so, closed sourcers can maximize their victories.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Science|
Timothy Dexter
  Nov 25, 2016
Timothy Dexter (1747–1806) was an American businessman noted for his writing and eccentricity. Dexter had little schooling and worked as a farm laborer at the age of 8. In 1769, he moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Frothingham, a rich widow, and bought a mansion. Some of his social contemporaries considered him unintelligent. Many of them gave him bad business advice to discredit him and make him lose his fortune.At the end of the American Revolutionary War he bought large amounts of depreciated Continental currency that was worthless at the time. After the war was over, the U.S. government made good on the dollars. By the time trade connections resumed, he had amassed a fortune. Dexter built two ships and began an export business to the West Indies and to Europe. Because he was largely uneducated, his business sense was considered peculiar. He was inspired to send warming pans (used to heat sheets in the cold New England winters) for sale to the West Indies, a tropical area. His captain sold them as ladles for the local molasses industry and made a good profit. Next, Dexter sent wool mittens to the same place, where Asian merchants bought them for export to Siberia.People jokingly told him to "ship coal to Newcastle". He did so during a miners' strike at the time, and his cargo was sold at a premium. At another time, practical jokers told him he could make money shipping gloves to the South Sea Islands. His ships arrived there in time to sell the gloves to Portuguese boats on their way to China. He exported Bibles to the East Indies and stray cats to Caribbean islands and again made a profit; eastern missionaries were in need of the Bibles and the Caribbean welcomed a solution to rat infestation. He also hoarded whalebone by mistake, but ended up selling them profitably as a support material for corsets.Members of the New England high society rarely socialized with him. Dexter decided to buy a huge house in Newburyport from Nathaniel Tracy, a local socialite, and tried to emulate them. His relationships with his wife, daughter, and son also suffered. This became evident when he started telling visitors that his wife had died (despite the fact that she was still alive) and that the woman who frequented the building was simply her ghost. In one notable episode, Dexter faked his own death to see how people would react. About 3,000 people attended Dexter's mock wake. Dexter did not see his wife cry, and after he revealed the hoax, he caned her for not grieving enough.Dexter also bought an estate in Chester, New Hampshire. He decorated his house in Newburyport with minarets, a golden eagle on the top of the cupola, a mausoleum for himself and a garden of 40 wooden statues of famous men, including George Washington, William Pitt, Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson, and himself. He continually changed the names of his great men, and the General Morgan of yesterday might become the Bonaparte of today or the Nelson of tomorrow. It had the inscription, "I am the first in the East, the first in the West, and the greatest philosopher in the Western World".
Aged 50, Dexter wrote a book about himself—A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress—in which he also complained about politicians, the clergy and his wife. The book contained no punctuation and its capitalization seemed random. At first, he handed his book out for free, but it became popular and was reprinted for sale eight times. In the second edition, Dexter added an extra page which consisted of 13 lines of punctuation marks with the instructions that readers could distribute them as they pleased.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Weirdos|
  Nov 25, 2016
A flatulist, fartist, or professional farter is an entertainer (sometimes considered a comedian) whose routine consists solely or primarily of passing gas in a creative, musical, or amusing manner. There are a number of references to ancient and medieval flatulists, who could produce various rhythms and pitches with their intestinal wind. Saint Augustine in City of God (De Civitate Dei) mentions some performers who did have "such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at will, so as to produce the effect of singing." The professional farters of medieval Ireland were called braigetoír. They are listed together with other performers and musicians in the 12th century Tech Midchúarda, a diagram of the banqueting hall of Tara. As entertainers, these braigetoir ranked at the lower end of a scale headed by bards, fili, and harpers.One late medieval flatulist is mentioned in an entry in the 13th-century English Book of Fees. It lists one Roland the Farter, who held Hemingstone manor and 30 acres (12 hectares) of land in the county of Suffolk, for which he was obliged to perform "Unum saltum et siffletum et unum bumbulum" (one jump, one whistle, and one fart) annually at the court of King Henry II every Christmas. The Activa Vita character in the 14th century allegorical poem Piers Plowman appears to number farting among the abilities desirable in a good entertainer in general, alongside storytelling, fiddling, or playing the harp. This poem translates to "As for me, I can neither drum nor trumpet, nor tell jokes, nor fart amusingly at parties, nor play the harp."In Japan during the Edo period flatulists were known as "heppiri otoko" (farting men). They are depicted in scrolls like the He-Gassen (fart competitions). The scroll, which was created around 1846, consists of roughly 15 different scenes depicting people directing their farts at other people or objects, along with people farting while riding horses, people combating farts with fans, bags of farts being released, trees and cats blown away by farts. The scroll culminates with a gust of flatulence knocking over a ceremony and causing complete chaos. Similar drawings were used to ridicule westerners towards the end of the Edo period, with images depicting the westerners blown away by Japanese farts.Le Pétomane was the stage name of the French flatulist Joseph Pujol (1857–1945). He was famous for his remarkable control of the abdominal muscles, which enabled him to seemingly fart at will. His stage name combines the French verb péter, "to fart" with the -mane, "-maniac" suffix, which translates to "fartomaniac". It is a common misconception that Joseph Pujol actually passed intestinal gas as part of his stage performance. Rather, Pujol was able to "inhale" or move air into his rectum and then control the release of that air with his anal sphincter muscles.When he was young, he had a strange experience while swimming in the sea. He put his head under the water and held his breath, whereupon he felt an icy cold penetrating his rear. He ran ashore in fright and was amazed to sense water pouring from his anus. While serving in the army, he told his fellow soldiers about his special ability, and repeated it for their amusement, sucking up water from a pan into his rectum and then projecting it up to several meters. He found that he could suck in air as well.
Pujol appeared at the Moulin Rouge cabaret in 1892, soon after it was founded in 1889. Some of the highlights of his stage act involved sound effects of cannon fire and thunderstorms, as well as playing "'O Sole Mio" and "La Marseillaise" on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus, as well as using the tube to smoke cigarettes. He could also blow out a candle from several meters away. His audience included Edward, Prince of Wales; King Leopold II of the Belgians; and Sigmund Freud.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: History|
Spain and Russia versus Brexit and Gibraltar
  Sep 19, 2016
From America’s first major overseas military intervention in 1801 against the Barbary States to today’s on-going military presence in the region, the United States has often relied on a tiny piece of the United Kingdom located in the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar, commonly referred to simply as “the Rock,” is a rocky headland covering just over 2.7 square miles on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is strategically located at the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, where the strait between Europe and Africa spans a mere 7.7 nautical miles at its narrowest point.After being captured from the Moors in 1462, Gibraltar was part of Spain until it was captured in 1704 by a joint Anglo-Dutch-Catalan force during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Rock was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in 1713 as part of the Treaty of Utrecht “…forever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever.” Since losing Gibraltar in 1704, the Spanish have sought to take it back. Examples abound through the last three centuries. They unsuccessfully laid siege to Gibraltar on three separate occasions in the 18th century and have since used a combination of military, diplomatic, economic, and plain harassing tactics in an attempt to get the Rock back. More recently, after the Gibraltarians approved a new constitution in 1969, Spain’s fascist dictator Francisco Franco closed the land border and blocked telecommunications between Spain and Gibraltar until the border was reopened in 1985.Gibraltar is one of 14 British Overseas Territories around the world. Like all other British Overseas Territories (and unlike colonies), Gibraltar has chosen to be self-governing while maintaining the British monarch as its head of state. Aside from defense and foreign policy, Gibraltar is self-supporting. As a British Overseas Territory, the Rock’s inhabitants have the right of self-determination. In two recent referenda, Gibraltar’s 30,000 inhabitants, a large majority of whom are British citizens, have shown overwhelmingly that they do not want to be part of Spain.In light of the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, Spain is redoubling its efforts to regain control of the Rock. The day after the vote acting Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo quickly pounced, suggesting that the United Kingdom and Spain should agree to “joint sovereignty” over Gibraltar. The implications of this are more than political. There are security implications, especially for the United States. If the Rock becomes Spanish, or even put under joint sovereignty, the United States would not enjoy the same level of cooperation and use of Gibraltar as it has since 1801 under British control. In 2002, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government came very close to agreeing to joint sovereignty with the Spanish over Gibraltar. There was concern, however, about what this would mean for future use of Gibraltar by the U.S. military. With the rise of ISIL and a resurgent Russia—both of which demand more robust military operations in the Mediterranean littoral—those concerns should be even more acute today.
Gibraltar remains the most accessible and available port for U.S. nuclear-powered submarines in the Mediterranean, due to burdensome security and administrative requirements for such visits in other NATO countries in the region. The mission and location of America’s nuclear-powered submarines is highly classified information. At Gibraltar, U.S. submarines can dock with little or no prior notice. Conversely, U.S. submarines can dock at Spanish and other bases that NATO uses in Mediterranean only with prior notice, which requires sharing sensitive information about submarine operations, such as how many people are getting on and off the vessels, what is being removed and added to them, when it is leaving, and where it is going.The Rock has other maritime advantages too. It stores a type of intermediate fuel oil required by some U.S. Navy ships that is not readily available in other ports in the region. Its deepwater port has provided a secure docking area as well as vast amounts of safe anchorage for U.S. warships. In 1990 and 1991, an estimated 193 U.S. Navy ships used Gibraltar’s waters in support of operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The topography and geographical location of Gibraltar makes intelligence gathering a core function there.Throughout history many of America’s military operations in the region have relied on Gibraltar. In 1818, during the Second Barbary War against the Regency of Algiers, U.S. Navy task force was assembled at Gibraltar under the command of Commodore Stephen Decatur. In 1899, U.S. Admiral George Dewey stopped in Gibraltar to resupply his ships after his defeat of the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War. None of this would have been possible had the Rock been Spanish soil. In 1909, the Great White Fleet made its final stop in Gibraltar to resupply coal before heading back to the U.S. during its famous around-the-world trip.During World War I Gibraltar was a meeting point for many Allied convoys before crossing the Atlantic. In 1917 the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard joined British forces at Gibraltar and operated together as part of the so-called Gibraltar Barrage—an Anglo-American naval squadron tasked with keeping German submarines from passing from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic after the surrender of Austria and Turkey. Spain was neutral during the war, so under Spanish control it is likely that Gibraltar would not have been available.During World War II, Gibraltar played an even more important role for the United States and United Kingdom. During the war, the Rock became an impregnable fortress: an airfield was constructed, the bay was filled with Allied ships, and at its peak 37,000 American and British troops were based there. Most importantly, General Dwight Eisenhower used Gibraltar as his headquarters to plan Operation Torch, the 1942 Allied invasion of North Africa. The use of Gibraltar during World War II was only possible because it was not under Spanish control. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco proclaimed Spain to be neutral, but politically he was leaning toward the Axis. Today, Spain is an important ally and home to several U.S. military installations, but its recent behavior toward Gibraltar is unbecoming of a NATO member. Madrid’s actions also have a direct impact on the effectiveness of U.S. military operations in the Mediterranean.Spain routinely and provocatively violates Gibraltar’s territorial waters, making hundreds of illegal incursions each year. Spanish ships from the paramilitary Guardia Civil (similar to the French National Gendarmerie or Italian Carabinieri) have dangerously harassed U.S. ships entering Gibraltar’s port. Most recently this occurred with the submarine USS Florida when the Royal Navy had to fire warning shots at the approaching Spanish vessels. Even though Spain is a NATO member, Madrid bans visits by U.S. ships or planes coming directly from—or headed directly to—Gibraltar. For example, if a U.S. plane wants to fly from the U.S. base at Rota, Spain to Gibraltar it must first touchdown in a third country (often Morocco or Portugal). Spain, like other southern European members of NATO, benefits greatly from the security offered by the presence of the U.S. Navy and Air Force in the region. Madrid’s restrictions on the movement of military assets in the region potentially undermines the operational capabilities of the United States.Further, Spain has developed a close relationship with the Russian Navy, raising eyebrows across Europe. Since 2011, at least 58 Russian Navy ships have called into the Spanish port of Ceuta just across the strait from Gibraltar. At least 21 Russian naval vessels have refueled and resupplied in Spain since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in March 2014 and the European Union imposed economic sanctions against Moscow. The most recent Russian ship to visit Spain, the frigate Ladny, is even part of the Black Sea Fleet participating in the occupation of Crimea.The United States recognizes the right of self-determination for the Rock’s inhabitants, a principle on which America was founded. Due to the access the U.S. military enjoys in Gibraltar, the strategic value of its geography to NATO, and the close relationship America has with the United Kingdom, it matters that Gibraltar remains British. Spain may not like it, but they will have to deal with it.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: International Security|
Feminist infiltration of software
  Sep 17, 2016
In 1956 Khrushchev delivered his famous speech that denounced Stalin. Later that year archaeologist Marija Gimbutas released the book named "The Prehistory Of Eastern Europe" where she discussed Pre-Indo-European Europe. Also that year The Traitorous Eight gathered together in Shockley Semiconductor (they would leave the next year to form Fairchild). What do these events have in common? The unexpected answer is their influence on the development of New Left.While the role of Khrushchev's speech in regard to this is obvious (communist parties worldwide started to crumble and transform away from Stalinist winter), The Traitorous Eight may seem completely unrelated to New Left. But regular reader already knows from previous articles how in due time fairchildren merged with Discordians. One can remember the later "1984" Apple commercial: a healthy young woman breaks the sick male authoritarian regime after which the Apple's old LGBT ranbow logo is shown on screen. Marija Gimbutas's work also symbolically destroyed the establishment. The book written by a Lithuanian WW2 refugee described how in 3000 BC the continent was a peace-loving egalitarian community that was conquered by the cavalry hordes of the Proto-European Kurgan Empire coming from the East. It's hard not to see parallels with the geopolitical situation of the time, with communist tank armies impending over remnants of freedom on the western edge. Partly because of this the book and its ideas turned out to be hugely popular on American college campuses.However, its success didn't stop there. In the beginning of the 60s amidst the blooming counterculture Gimbutas moves from East Coast to California. One of the ideas in the book is that Old Europe was matriarchal in contrast to the warlike patriarchal Proto-Europeans. This was immediately caught up by the feminists of the second wave and with time it caused the birth of the Goddess Movement with its barely hidden claims of female superiority. In 1963 Gimbutas starts to teach at UCLA, the same year two unknown Californian authors released the seminal book of Discordianism. Discordianism is about worshipping the Ancient Greek goddess Eris. The book's original title was "Principia Discordia Or How The West Was Lost", in later editions the title was changed to a long sentence that starts with "Principia Discordia Or How I Found Goddess". Curiously, one of the authors was acquainted with Lee Harvey Oswald and has written a book about him before he committed the infamous Kennedy assassination.All these ideas fused together with anti-Vietnam protests and the hippie movement. Young people looked up at the reconstructed past of white society with a hope of abolishing wars. Destruction of old values under the academically-sanctioned process of cultural studies has led to the general embrace of Neopaganism (which later produced such excesses as mythical satanic ritual abuse and the more real burnings of churches by Norwegian black metal fanatics). These are the same people who embraced tolerance and multiculturalism and created a decadent drug paradise with abhorringly small fertility rate under the slogan "make love, not war". Events that followed have been discussed on SAGE previously: to recap, after the merge Discordians have continued to influence the other numerous Traitorous Eight offshoots and eventually managed to find their way into the UNIX scene through OS X. That's where commercialized use of socialist symbolics by open source companies comes from (for example, for-profit Mozilla Corporation's brands), which at the same time stuff their libre products with spying modules just as if an occult hand would stuff a Christmas turkey with armed grenades.
Fast-forward to 2016—considering all the aforementioned information it should now come as no suprise that Tor Project is overtaken by sex-crazy social justice warriors or that there is a transboot scandal around FSF ongoing. The last piece of this puzzle is that the alphabet soup organizations had calculated the danger to themselves emanating from the counterculture and have infiltrated different feminist movements with their own agents decades ago. Infiltration of infiltrators—that is how big boys play.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Source War Chronicles|
NSA destroys Tor leader
  Jun 06, 2016
Six months ago SAGE has warned that a sexual attack on notable OSS people will be attempted in near future. And so it happened. Feminist movement, which has been for a long time inifltrated by intelligence agents, recently accused one of key Tor leaders Jacob Appelbaum with rape and similar charges. Jacob Appelbaum has already been kicked out of Tor Project. We will keep you updated on this and other manifestations of the Source War. Fortunately, public domainers are better protected against such attacks because of "paranoia". Stay safe, and reread previous articles on SAGE about how Intelligence Community may attack you. Intelligence Community's budget is over $60 billion, so public domain must work hard to not lose in the ongoing multipolar war against closed and open sources. Donate to SAGE, because we can't protect you otherwise—the "free" stuff like Tor is actually paid for by US Governors. Below is an edited post about the accident which is reprinted from Tor developers' announcement. Note how they say they won't disclose any other information on this case in the future. RIP Tor, overtaken by Maya marketers and pseudo-feminists.
>Over the past several days, a number of people have made serious, public allegations of sexual mistreatment by former Tor Project employee Jacob Appelbaum. These types of allegations were not entirely new to everybody at Tor; they were consistent with rumors some of us had been hearing for some time. That said, the most recent allegations are much more serious and concrete than anything we had heard previously.
>We do not know exactly what happened here, do not have all the facts, and we are undertaking several actions to determine them as best as possible. We're also not an investigatory body, and we are uncomfortable making judgments about people's private behaviors. After we talked with some of the complainants, and after extensive internal deliberation and discussion, Jacob stepped down from his position as an employee of The Tor Project.
>We have been working with a legal firm that specializes in employment issues including sexual misconduct. They are advising us on how to handle this, and we intend to follow their advice. This will include investigations of specific allegations where that is possible. We don’t know yet where those investigations will lead or if other people involved with Tor are implicated. We will act as quickly as possible to accurately determine the facts as best we can. Out of respect for the individuals involved, we do not expect results to be made public.
>People who believe they may have been victims of criminal behavior are advised to contact law enforcement. We recognize that many people in the information security and Internet freedom communities don't necessarily trust law enforcement. We encourage those people to seek advice from people they trust, and to do what they believe is best for them.
>Going forward, we want Tor community to be a place where all participants can feel safe and supported in their work. To that end, we will be working earnestly to develop policies designed to set up best practices and to strengthen the health of the Tor community. In our handling of this situation, we aim to balance between our desire to be transparent and accountable, and also to respect individual privacy.
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|Reply in: Tor|
Linux terminal XSS
  Jun 01, 2016
This is a very old bug, but it is not widely known. Moreover, many of those who do know about it, think it has been closed, and this is false. The gist of the issue stems from the retarded nature of the web. Have you encountered situations when a newspaper website changes what you copy from the page, so that when you paste the copied piece of information, it may also contain additional stuff like copyright? This is usually done with Javascript, but, like many "classical" bugs (obligatory mention of the infamous history hack), Javascript is not required for changing your clipboard. It can be done with CSS and HTML, or even pure HTML. Here's what happens in the latter cases: a hacker composes a specially crafted message that uses different symbols and control characters invisible in the user interface of the browser, but present in the source code; the victim copies some command from the web page and pastes it in the terminal; when copying happens, not just visible parts get copied, but also invisible—this leads to arbitrary code execution. This works not only in bash, but in other software too, for example, vim. You can check if your terminal is vulnerable by trying the following code in a webpage: <div>git clone<span style="position: absolute; left: -100px; top: -100px">/dev/null; clear; echo -n "Hello ";whoami|tr -d '\n';echo -e '!\nThat was a bad idea. Don'"'"'t copy code from websites you don'"'"'t trust!<br>Here'"'"'s the first line of your /etc/passwd: ';head -n1 /etc/passwd<br>git clone </span>git://</div>You can protect from this with any reasonably modern terminal. For that, you need to enable support for the feature. In bash, this means setting the following preference: "set enable-bracketed-paste on". Bracketed mode helps with this attack by enveloping the paste in special symbols, and if they contain stuff like newlines, it doesn't get executed automatically. However, it has deficiency in that it doesn't care if the pasted text itself contains those special enveloping symbols. So the hacker may include the ending symbol and go beyond the envelope, thus bypassing the protection. You can check it with the second example: <div>git clone<span style="position: absolute; left: -100px; top: -100px">[201~/dev/null; clear; echo -n "Hello ";whoami|tr -d '\n';echo -e '!\nThat was a bad idea. Don'"'"'t copy code from websites you don'"'"'t trust!<br>Here'"'"'s the first line of your /etc/passwd: ';head -n1 /etc/passwd<br>git clone </span>git://</div>So, here comes the interesting part: how to protect from the filter bypass? And the answer is... protection is severely limited, despite this issue being known for at least a decade. First, you could use another mode called quoted paste mode. But it works only in xterm and not all software supports it, though some, like zsh, does. Second, you could write a wrapper over terminal or you could write a script for clipboard manager to detect harmful content. And third, the easiest and at the same time the hardest: don't paste anything in the terminal. Yes, Linux is broken... but do not forget: Windows is much more broken. Linux is the lesser of two evils, not a panacea against NSA.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
|Reply in: Information Security|
NSA pheromone database
  May 20, 2016
It is now possible to determine whether a movie scene is full of suspense, funny or somewhat boring, using chemistry. Scientists investigated how the composition of air changed when an audience watched movies from different genres such as comedies like "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "Buddy", or fantasy movies like "The Hobbit" and the science-fiction thriller "The Hunger Games." Using statystical analysis, researchers determined how the audience reacted to individual movies on a scene-by-scene basis. They were also able to reconstruct which scenes were playing at the time without seeing them by using reverse engineering. The chemical patterns were best defined during suspense or funny scenes.The chemical signature of "The Hunger Games" was very clear even when measurements were repeated with different audiences. The carbon dioxide and isoprene levels in the air always increased significantly as the heroine began fighting for her life. Isoprene is one of more than 800 chemical compounds typically exhaled by healthy persons in tiny amounts in addition to carbon dioxide. However, it is not yet known what physiological processes are causing the formation of the molecules. One explanation for the increasing carbon dioxide and isoprene levels is the fact that moviegoers tense up, become restless and breathe faster when watching scenes of suspense. Funny sequences consistently resulted in different molecular traces in the air than moments of excitement or suspense.Jonathan Williams and his team from Max Planck Institute for Chemistry are usually involved in the measurement of gases from the Amazon rainforest and were wondering whether it is possible to chemically differentiate between scenes in which different emotions are induced. They have been studying the exhaled air of large groups of humans for some time, and have used similar devices during football match. Previously they wanted to find out whether human breath has a significant impact on the concentration of trace gases, such as the greenhouses gases carbon dioxide and isoprene. According to the analysis in the soccer stadium, it does not, and hopes for characterizing the football crowds' chemical reaction to a goal were ruined as the match ended 0:0. Therefore Williams and his colleagues decided to analyze human emissions during emotional experiences in a more controlled environment and came up with movie screenings.The team's study included a total of 16 movies, which were shown multiple times to audiences of different sizes. The researchers attributed different objective labels to all scenes of all movies, in order to assign them to the 30-second measurement intervals. The researchers had each film scene assessed, e.g. as humor, dialog or a fight scene, independently by ten volunteers. A scene label was only assigned when the subjective assessments of several researchers corresponded.Researchers installed their devices in the movie theatre's technical room to record carbon dioxide and more than a hundred other chemical components exhaled by the audience in the movie theatre's exhaust air. They inserted into the ventilation system the inlet of a mass spectrometer, which took measurements every 30 seconds. This device ionizes chemical molecules and then accelerates them in an electrical field to determine the mass to charge ratio of the chemical species.
These exhaled air measurements have great potential for research into human respiration and with further characterization could allow to investigate human metabolism. Measuring the exhaled air of large groups of humans or "crowd breath" provides an alternative to studies of individuals, which are laborious and increasingly subject to ethical problems. There could be many practical applications for studies of air exhaled by large groups of people. The advertising industry could, for example, quickly and objectively measure how large groups of people react to emotional stimuli without having to conduct lengthy surveys.Please donate Bitcoin to this author: 1QFXJS8TeQUmgt97uFCWpjtu84vxcfcZAL
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