Monthly Archives: June 2008

South American Union Created May 23, 2008

From the Associated Press
May 24, 2008

BRASILIA, BRAZIL — A South American union was born Friday as leaders of the region’s 12 nations set out to create a continental parliament.

Some see the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, as a regional version of the European Union. Summit host Brazil wants Unasur to help coordinate defense affairs across South America, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calls it a counterweight to the United States.

Chavez said the U.S. is “trying to generate wars in South America” to “divide and conquer.”

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, invited other Latin American and Caribbean nations to join the venture.

“Unasur is born, open to all the region, born under the signs of diversity and pluralism,” he said.

But leaders found their own reasons for division. Unasur’s first secretary-general, Rodrigo Borja, resigned Thursday before the organization formally met. He complained that some leaders had balked at his vision of putting other regional trade blocs, including Mercosur and the Andean Community, under Unasur.

Leaders were also split over plans for a regional defense council that would resolve conflicts, promote military cooperation and possibly coordinate joint weapons production.

Colombia is the only nation that opposes joining such a council, saying “the terrorist threat” it faces at home, amid 40 years of civil conflict, precludes military cooperation. But, a government statement said, “Colombia does not oppose the creation of a working group to study the theme.”

At the summit Friday, Lula urged wealthier nations to cut farm subsidies and import tariffs, and he defended biofuels, including ethanol, which critics blame for rising food prices.

“We should not be fooled one bit by the arguments of those who, for protectionist or geopolitical motives, feel uncomfortable with our industry, our agriculture and with the realization of our energy potential,” Lula told the leaders.

Unasur could ease political tensions, promoting development on a continent where intra-regional trade in 2006 topped $72 billion, experts say.

South America’s economy is expected to grow by 4.7% this year, according to the United Nations’ Economic Commission on Latin America.

South American Nations To Seek Common Currency After Forming South American Union


RIO DE JANEIRO, May 26 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that South American nations will seek a common currency as part of the region’s integration efforts following the creation of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) last week.

“We are proceeding so as, in the future, we have a common central bank and a common currency,” said Lula in his weekly radio program, noting that this process will “not be fast.”

The president highlighted the importance of helping the group’s more “economically fragile” members, such as Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.

“We have to help them because the stronger the countries in South America economically are, the more tranquility, peace, democracy, trade, companies, jobs, incomes and development,” he said.

The Brazilian leader said the creation of Unasur will allow cross-nation construction of railroads, highways, bridges and transmission lines connecting the region, while the alliance will make negotiations with other blocs easier.

The president said changes will be made on the proposal to create a regional defense council, which the South American leaders failed to agree during a summit in Brasilia on Friday.

A working group is expected to analyze the revised proposal in August, he said.

Lula plans to visit Colombia in July and meet Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Colombia was the only member that opposed the plan to build the regional defense council designed to resolve regional conflicts, promote military cooperation and possibly coordinate joint weapons production in the region.

Uribe has said Colombia is experiencing a difficult time in its fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest rebel group in the country, and such a regional defense body would not offer solutions to Colombia’s problem.

The heads of state of 12 South American countries — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela — signed a treaty last Friday in Brasilia on the creation of Unasur aimed at boosting economic integration and political cohesion in the region.

Raytheon’s Pain Ray: Coming to a Protest Near You?

By Michael Dickinson, CounterPunch. Posted May 29, 2008.

How long before the “Holy Grail of crowd control” is used to quell domestic dissent?

Coming soon, from the folks who brought you the microwave — Raytheon! After more than ten years in the making and at a cost of over 40 million dollars, ‘Silent Guardian’, or Active Denial System, (ADS, in it’s formal mood), is almost ready for public release!

Yes, Raytheon — manufacturer of the 100 bunker buster bombs kindly flown by America to Israel at the height of their bombardment of Lebanon, and supplier of electronic equipment for the apartheid wall built on Palestinian land; — Raytheon — with its 73,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of 20 billion dollars has gone and done it again!

For, Raytheon — the world’s largest producer of guided missiles, and fifth largest defense contractor in the world, provider of aircraft radar systems, weapons sights and targeting systems, communication and battle-management systems, and satellite components — has come up with a system which could scatter a crowd in a trice without a drop of blood being spilled.

Yes, folks, originally designed to protect military personnel against small-arms fire without the use of lethal force, Silent Guardian, ADS, the Pain Ray, call it what you will, (Raytheon would prefer you not to use the latter however), will finally soon be here!

Transmitted at the speed of light over a 700 yard distance, the Pain Ray is a millimeter-wave beam that penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin, causing the water molecules there to bubble, producing an intense burning sensation, said to feel like being burnt by molten lava or a hot iron. Its delivery system attached to a Humvee and aimed right, the Pain Ray makes people run away — fast.

Tests conducted at Kirtland Air Force Base south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, employ realistic combat scenarios to determine its potential effectiveness in a deployed environment, the first to expose an entire test subject to the ray.

The Defense Department want to use it for protecting Defense resources, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions and other situations in which the use of lethal force is undesirable, but already there have been inquiries from other institutes and wealthy individuals about using it to protect private property.

Testing, conducted on human volunteers and animals by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate continues, and although it has not been proved that exposure to the ray can cause cancer, it has been ascertained that the corneas of Rhesus monkeys can be damaged.

Deployment of the system is slated to begin in Iraq in 2010, but there are rumors that it has already been tested there.

Raytheon congratulates itself on having developed a non-lethal weapon which has been described as “Holy Grail of crowd control,” but their Silent Guardian also has its critics. One, author Richard Hunter asks:

“But what happens if the people faced with such a weapon can’t just run away? What happens if they’re trapped in a crowd, and the crowd can’t move? How much pain must that crowd endure? How long can any member of the crowd be exposed to that weapon before his or her skin — or their eyes — simply cook off? What happens if the devices are used deliberately in a manner designed to cause maximum harm — say, by training the device on prisoners trapped in prison cells until they literally go mad with pain?

What happens if the system operator turns up the power? A little bit works well, why not try a lot?

What happens if the scientists didn’t test the devices thoroughly, and they turn out to render anyone touched by them blind, or impotent, or sterile?”

And the National Lawyers Guild of the US has accused Raytheon of being “implicated in the commission of war crime.”

One critical group, the Derry Anti-War Coalition, occupied the Raytheon weapons factory in Ireland in 2006 to protest at the production of guided missile components there.

Said a spokesman:

“We are calling for arms components manufacturers to be shut down all over Ireland — North and South. It is disgraceful that so many companies in Ireland are profiteering from the maiming and murder of peaceful and innocent civilians in the Middle East. We are calling for and supporting non-violent occupation of all weapons manufacturers that supply arms to the Israeli Military.”

The protestors were arrested and charged with damaging Raytheon property. They await conviction. The cheeky blighters have got up a petition to sign to support them!

As if you would!

They wouldn’t have been able to get into the building if a Silent Guardian had been in action. A tiny squirt of the Pain Ray would have quickly sent them yelping away.

Roll on the ADS! Coming soon! To a street near you!

Police Taser Man Suffering Diabetic Seizure, Charge Him With DUI
by David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) Police in Ozark, Alabama, Tasered and arrested an unconscious, sober man who was having a diabetic seizure on November 6, then charged him with drunk driving and resisting arrest.

James Bludsworth, 54, was pulling a trailer in his black Nissan truck when he began to have a diabetic seizure. Bludsworth promptly pulled over to the side of the road, where he passed out.

After receiving a call about the truck and trailer parked on the side of the road, three police cruisers responded to the scene. When Bludsworth failed to respond to their commands, the officers fired Tasers at his unconscious body three times.

A Taser is a type of electroshock weapon that fires small metal darts attached to the gun by wires, then administers an electric shock that disrupts nerve and muscle function and induces severe pain.

Bludsworth was then taken to the Dale County Jail and charged with resisting arrest, drunk driving and a towing infraction. He was not given medical attention.

After posting $1,000 bail and scoring 0.00 blood alcohol on a breathalyzer test, Bludsworth was released. The towing infraction was dropped, but the criminal charges against him remain.

Ozark Deputy Police Chief Myron Williams defended the officers’ response to the situation, saying that the unconscious man was “combative.”

“The officers were looking for a medical alert bracelet that would signify some medical condition, and he didn’t have one,” Williams said. “The officer asked [Bludsworth] how much had he been drinking and he said ‘a whole lot.’ The officer also asked him did he need an ambulance and he said ‘no.'”

One of the responding officers now says that he smelled alcohol on Bludsworth’s breath at the time.

The officers involved in the incident will not be disciplined. Bludsworth has another court date in December, at which point his arresting officer will have the option to recommend that the charges against him be dropped.

Mason, Ohio Disaster Drill Mistake Panics Parents

Reported by: Deb Silverman
Web produced by: Ian Preuth

Eight hundred Mason, Ohio families got a call Tuesday afternoon that there was a disaster at Mason Heights Elementary and their children should be picked up at the school. Turns out, nothing had happened at the school. It was part of a disaster drill.

The district spokeswoman Tracy Carson apologized for the panic it created. She said the call should have started out explaining it was a drill. A letter did go home to parents last week notifying them a drill was going to happen in the district.

Parents said they panicked when they got the recorded call that a boiler exploded at the school and to pick up their children.

One mother told 9News she realized while she was in her car on the way to the school that a letter had warned parents of the drill. A few minutes later the district sent out another call to all Mason Heights parents telling them it was part of a drill.

The drill was designed to help teachers and emergency officials prepare for a disaster on school grounds.

Carson sent the following letter to parents on Tuesday:

I sincerely apologize for causing undue panic today during our district’s emergency drill.

The order of my calls was absolutely incorrect, and I understand the confusion that it caused.

As a parent, I know that nothing causes our hearts to race faster than the thought that our child is in danger. And, so from the bottom of my heart, I deeply apologize for any stress or heartache I may have caused today.


Tracey Carson

Insane NY Bill Makes All Federal Vaccines Mandatory


Act now to stop the worst vaccine law ever proposed in New York since the invention of the mandatory schedule. Assembly Bill 10942 would make all vaccines recommended by the CDC mandatory for all children to attend school and, and for the first time vaccines would become mandatory for infants and toddlers.
The bill was introduced in Rules Committee at the request of Richard Daines, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. The Rules Committee in the personal committee of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).
A-CHAMP is calling for rejection of this bill and is demanding the passage of A5468/S3031, a bill that would give individuals a right to a philosophical exemption from vaccine mandates. This is no time to transfer vaccine decisions away from individuals and elected officials answerable to the voters and give it to obscure bureaucrats with financial ties to the vaccine industry.
Here are a few features of the proposed bill:
* Our elected New York representatives would no longer determine the mandatory schedule of vaccines to attend school; decisions made by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would automatically become mandatory.
* All children, infants and toddlers included, in New York would be required to get all vaccines recommended by the ACIP according to the ACIP schedule
* All children in New York up to age 18 would be required to get annual flu shots.
* All girls in New York would be required to get a human papilloma virus shot.
* All junior high school children and college students would be required to get meningococcal shots.
* Doctors would be required to issue certificates for every shot given and parents would be required to maintain the records and provide them to school and other authorities.
* The rules committee claims that the new laws would have no fiscal impact on the state despite the necessity of the state to spend tens of millions on purchasing new vaccines, a vast increase in mandatory record keeping and enforcement for schools, and a huge increase that could be expected in the number of cases of neurological damage, Guillian Barré syndrome and other vaccine-caused injuries.
We only have a few weeks to defeat this bill. Let your Assemblymember and State Senator know immediately that a vote for this bill guarantees that you will do everything you can to get them un- elected. In addition to emailing and calling your local representatives, please call Speaker Sheldon Silver and let his staff know, politely, that this is a disastrous idea. While you are at it please call Governor David Paterson and let his staff know, politely, that this is a horrible law.
Governor David Paterson (518) 474-8390
Speaker Sheldon Silver (518) 455-3791

City Eyes ‘Virtual’ Prisons To Help Clear Jammed Jails

By the fall, hundreds of convicted criminals could get sprung from Philadelphia’s crowded jails and instead be under the “virtual lockdown” of a global positioning system.

But instead of a guardian angel crooning advice into their ears, a voice barking orders from their ankle – like a modern-day version of Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone – would scold offenders who ventured someplace forbidden.

That’s the vision of Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison, who plans to have a pilot program in place this fall in which more than 200 offenders would wear GPS-tracking anklets embedded with two-way speakers so that guards could immediately detect wayward wearers – and warn them to quit their wrongdoing or risk returning to jail.

The program would alleviate crowding in the city’s jammed jails by removing nonviolent inmates, already sentenced for misdemeanors and “light felonies,” and hooking them up to the GPS trackers, Gillison said.

Only one-fifth of the 9,300 inmates in city jails are there for violent offenses, a recent study found. About 37 percent of them already have been sentenced, prisons spokesman Robert Eskind said.

GPS monitoring also would save money, Gillison said. Inmates cost the city about $91 a day; Gillison estimates that GPS monitoring would cost $9 to $18 per day, per offender.

“You can’t just lock people up and throw away the key; that mentality has pervaded our criminal-justice system for too long,” said Gillison, who also is exploring alternatives like day-reporting, which would allow low-risk participants to be employed.

Gillison, Mayor Nutter’s public-safety chief, has been meeting with companies offering the GPS technology and plans to put the plan out for bid soon. Not all companies include the speakers – which use cellular technology – with the GPS trackers.

About 800 offenders in Philadelphia already are electronically monitored, Court Administrator Dave Lawrence said. Under electronic monitoring, authorities know when offenders venture beyond defined areas.

The GPS technology allows authorities to know where offenders are at all times.

That capability has some critics questioning whether the technology is too Orwellian. Others worry that offenders might become temporarily impossible to track if they pass through “dead zones” unreachable by the satellite technology.

District Attorney Lynne Abraham said yesterday that she hadn’t seen Gillison’s plan but that it needs “a lot of discussion.”

Such discussion, she said, should include making sure that a fair and adequate assessment is in place to determine who qualifies for GPS tracking and ensuring enforcement so that violators return to jail.

A prison also cannot overrule a court order, Abraham added, so Gillison’s plan couldn’t allow the release of inmates deemed serious offenders and sentenced to incarceration.

“Public safety is our overarching concern,” she said. “Nobody who’s smoking a joint goes to prison. These people [jail inmates] are candidates who create certain concerns for public safety.”

Such concerns haven’t stopped more than 350 jurisdictions nationwide from contracting with Utah-based SecureAlert, said Peter Derrick, a company spokesman.

In perhaps the device’s most famous application, authorities last year used one to monitor the post-arrest movements of former astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was accused of driving across country and of donning a disguise in an ill-fated plot in February 2007 to kidnap and kill her perceived rival in a reported love triangle. The case remains unresolved. Derrick said SecureAlert is the only company offering the speaker technology.

It also frees up corrections personnel, because offenders’ movements are tracked by Secure-Alert staffers who notify local authorities if violations occur, Derrick said.

One prisoners’ advocate applauded the technology as a positive alternative to incarceration.

“There are a number of viable alternatives to locking somebody into a hard cell, and GPS is one,” said Bill DiMascio, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society.

“We’ve been resistant to using some of these alternatives, for fear of being perceived as being soft on crime. But instead, they’re a very smart way to deal with this growing and very costly problem [of crowded prisons].”