Published on Friday, June 27, 2014 by Common Dreams
US Still Won’t Commit to Banning Landmines
US announces steps to stop amassing stockpile of pernicious weapons, but makes no target to join global treaty
– Andrea Germanos, staff writer
A poster from a landmine museum captures the horror of landmines. (Photo: Nathan Nelson/cc/flickr)In a move met with cautious praise, the United States announced Friday that it would not produce or add to its stockpile of antipersonnel landmines (APL), and would work towards becoming party to a treaty described as “the only solution to eliminate the suffering” the weapons cause.
The U.S. “will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines (APL) in the future, including to replace existing stockpiles as they expire,” reads a statement from National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, adding that the country is “diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention,” referring to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.
A U.S. delegation made the announcement in Maputo, Mozambique at a conference that convenes parties to the treaty. The U.S. attended as an observer.
The U.S. thus far has failed to join 161 nations that are party to the mine ban treaty.
Though the last known use of landmines by the U.S. was in 1991 in Iraq and Kuwait, according to the Landmine Monitor Report, the U.S. still maintains the right to use self-destructing, self-deactivating antipersonnel mines anywhere. It is believed to hold 9 million self-destructing APLs in its stockpikle.
“With this announcement, the U.S. has changed its mine ban stance and has laid the foundation for accession to the treaty,” said Steve Goose, International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) Head of Delegation and arms director at Human Rights Watch. “The message to the international community is clear, the Mine Ban Treaty is the only solution to eliminate the suffering caused by landmines,” he said.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has pressed for years for the U.S. to ban landmines, also welcomed the announcement, calling it “incremental” but “significant.”
Yet, with no target date or commitment to accede to the treaty, and potential use by the U.S. of landmines within its stockpiles, the ICBL and US Campaign to Ban Landmines stress that the announcement falls short.
“It makes no sense for the U.S. to acknowledge the weapons should be banned because of the humanitarian harm they cause while retaining the option to use them for years to come,” Goose stated.
“An obvious next step is for the Pentagon to destroy its remaining stockpile of mines, which do not belong in the arsenal of civilized nations,” Sen. Leahy said.
The anti-landmine coalition is calling on the U.S. to ban the use of APLs, become party to the treaty and begin to eliminate its stockpiles.
IRS Official Whose Emails Were “Lost” Visited White House More Than 30 Times
Katie Pavlich | Jun 20, 2014
Last night on The Kelly File Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulo revealed that the former chief of staff to former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Nikole Flax, visited the White House 35 times after talking with former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner about working to criminally prosecute conservative tea party groups for “lying” about political activity. At the White House, Flax met with a top Obama aid during some of those visits. This entire exchange is worth your time.
The email discussed in the segment above is detailed in this previously reported story, along with Lerner’s contact with Democrat Elijah Cummings and suggestions from former FEC Attorney Larry Noble and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that conservative groups should be targeted for criminal prosecution in order to “make an impact and they [conservative groups] wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.”
“I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS,” Lerner wrote in a May 8, 2013 email to former Nikole C. Flax, who was former-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller’s chief of staff.
“I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?” Flax responded on May 9, 2013.
“As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff,” she wrote. “So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
The White House denied any involvement in the IRS targeting scandal and responded to revelations of “lost” emails as a normal computer crash.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will testify today in front of the House Ways and Means Committee about the “lost” emails.
via IRS Official Whose Emails Were “Lost” Visited White House More Than 30 Times – Katie Pavlich.
SWAT Teams Claim ‘Corporate’ Exemption From Public Scrutiny
ACLU hits brick wall after issuing public records requests for information about deadly force, incident reports, and more.
– Sarah Lazare, staff writer
SWAT Team (Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr Creative Commons)
Operators of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams comprised of tax payer-funded police and sheriffs in Massachusetts claim they are immune to public records requests about deadly force, incident reports, and more because they are private “corporations.”
In addition to SWAT teams run by individual towns, many of these military-style domestic policing units in Massachusetts are operated by regional “law enforcement councils,” which are bankrolled by tax-payer money and comprised of publicly-funded police and sheriffs. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, approximately 240 of the 351 police departments in Massachusetts belong to these LECs.
Some of these LECs have become incorporated with 501(c)(3) status—a classification they say makes them exempt from public records requests.
Jessie Rossman, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, told Common Dreams that her organization issued records requests to “a couple of LECs” to obtain information about their policies for a recent report on the militarization of local police. “We got responses from individuals claiming to speak on behalf of the LECs saying they would not be responding because they do not believe they are subject to public records law,” she explained.
This is despite the SWAT teams’ possession of automatic weapons and combat gear, as well as their military-style “counter-insurgency” tactics, which, according to the ACLU of Massachusetts report, turn communities into “war zones.”
As Washington Post writer Radley Balko points out, Massachusetts SWAT teams have an ugly history of brutality and excessive force, including a litany of deaths in botched drug raids. In their report, the ACLU of Massachusetts notes that “unjustifiable force and SWAT raids against people in their homes most often target people of color and the poor.”
In response, the ACLU of Massachusetts announced this week it is suing the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council for information about its SWAT teams, after NEMLEC refused a public records request. NEMLEC possesses a combat-level vehicle and weapons for “military style operations,” according to a statement about the lawsuit.
“NEMLEC can’t have it both ways,” said Rossman. “The same authority that allows them to participate in high risk warrant service, forced entry, and arrests of individuals also means they must be subject to public records law.”
via SWAT Teams Claim ‘Corporate’ Exemption From Public Scrutiny | Common Dreams.
This week Americans will enjoy Independence Day with family cookouts and fireworks. Flags will be displayed in abundance. Sadly, however, what should be a celebration of the courage of those who risked so much to oppose tyranny will instead be turned into a celebration of government, not liberty. The mainstream media and opportunistic politicians have turned Independence Day into the opposite of what was intended.
The idea of opposing — by force if necessary — a tyrannical government has been turned into a celebration of tyrannical government itself!
The evidence is all around us.
How would the signers of the Declaration of Independence have viewed, for example, the Obama Administration’s “drone memo,” finally released last week, which claims to justify the president’s killing American citizens without charge, judge, jury, or oversight? Is this not a tyranny similar to that which our Founders opposed? And was such power concentrated in one branch of government not what inspired the rebellion against the English king in the first place?
The “drone memo,” released after an ACLU freedom of information request, purports to establish the president alone as the arbiter of who is or is not a terrorist subject to execution by the US government. There is no due process involved, just the determination of the president. Thus far the only American citizens killed by the president are Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenaged son, but the precedent has been established, according to the memo, that the president has the authority to kill Americans he believes are terrorists.
Even the New York Times, which generally backs whatever US administration is in power, is troubled by the White House’s legal justification to claim the authority to kill Americans. A Times editorial last week concluded that:
…the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result.
I agree with the New York Times’ conclusion that, “[t]his memo should never have taken so long to be released, and more documents must be made public. The public is still in the dark on too many vital questions.”
Coincidentally, in addition to the “drone memo” released last week, a broader study of the US use of drones was also released by the Stimson Center. The study, co-chaired by Gen. John Abizaid, former U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander, concluded that contrary to claims that drones help prevent wider conflicts by targeting specific individuals, the use of drones “may create a slippery slope leading to continual or wider wars.”
In fact, the study concluded, the use of drones overseas is likely counterproductive. “Civilian casualties, even if relatively few, can anger whole communities, increase anti-US sentiment and become a potent recruiting tool for terrorist organizations,” the study found.
Seven years ago I wrote in an Independence Day column:
Only the safe-guards and limitations that are enshrined in a constitutionally-limited republic can prohibit a nation from lurching toward empire…I hope every person who reads or hears this will take the time to go back and read the Declaration of Independence. Only by recapturing the spirit of independence can we ensure our government never resembles the one from which the American States declared their separation.
On Independence Day we should remember the spirit of rebellion against tyranny that inspired our Founding Fathers to set out our experiment in liberty. We should ourselves celebrate and continue that struggle if we are to keep our republic.
GMO Insulin Causes Type 1 Diabetes in Type 2 Diabetics, Study Finds Posted on: Saturday, June 28th 2014 at 7:00 am Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder
A groundbreaking new study finds synthetic (GMO) insulin is capable of rapidly producing type 1 diabetes in type 2 diabetics.
Last year, we reported on the dangers of insulin therapy for type 2 diabetics, following the publication of a study comprised of almost 85,000 type 2 diabetic patients that found insulin monotherapy doubled their risk of all-cause mortality, in addition to significantly increasing their risk for diabetes-related complications and cancer. Insulin monotherapy resulted in:
- 2.0 times more myocardial infarctions.
- 1.7 time more major adverse cardiac events
- 1.4 time more strokes
- 3.5 times more renal complications
- 2.1 time more neuropathy
- 1.2 times more eye complications
- 1.4 times more cancer
- 2.2 times more deaths
Now, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism titled, “Insulin administration may trigger type 1 diabetes in Japanese type 2 diabetes patients with type 1 diabetes high-risk HLA class II and the insulin gene VNTR genotype,” is shedding light on a possible explanation for why insulin treatment may accelerate morbidity and mortality in type 2 diabetics. The study revealed that giving genetically susceptible type 2 diabetes patients recombinant insulin can trigger their bodies to target their own insulin producing cells for autoimmune destruction, effectively producing ‘double diabetes’: type 1 and type 2, as a result.
The Japanese study took 6 patients (4 men and 2 women) with type 2 diabetes, none of whom had previously received insulin therapy nor had markers for autoantibodies to their own insulin (e.g. GAD65). All patients were found to have the type 1 diabetes susceptibility gene known as type 1 diabetes high risk HLA class II (IDDM1), which is considered to play a role in up to 50% of type 1 diabetes cases, and the insulin gene VNTR genotype (IDDM2), believed to play a key role in susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.
After recombinant insulin administration their blood glucose control deteriorated, and their own insulin producing beta cells – as measured by declining C-peptide levels (a marker for the production of natural insulin) – decreased insulin production to a deficiency levels commonly found in type 1 diabetes patients. The average time it took for the patients to develop full blown type 1 diabetes was 7.7 months, with one patient developing the condition within 1.1 months.
Further tests revealed that the patients had antibodies against their own pancreatic islet cells (the cells responsible for producing insulin), insulin allergy or increased levels of insulin antibody. Additionally, 2 of 4 cases were found to have GAD-reactive and insulin peptide reactive Th1 cells, typical markers of autoimmunity induced type 1 diabetes.
The researchers concluded from their findings:
“The findings suggest that insulin administration may have triggered TIDM in patients with T2DM. IDDM1 and IDDM 2 as well as autoreactive T cells may contribute to the development of T1DM. Developing insulin-triggered T1DM if a patient’s blood glucose control acutely deteriorates after insulin administration should be carefully considered.”
The researchers also pointed out that there are a number trials underway to produce vaccines containing insulin intended to induce a ‘tolerogenic immune response’ and therefore ameliorate autoimmune type 1 diabetes. Clearly, however, their findings run contrary to this expectation, revealing that it is possible that introducing exogenous forms of insulin may stimulate the opposite reaction and induced autoimmunity against the hormone, or the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing it.
Discussion: GMO Insulin Not the Same As Animal Derived Insulin
A possible explanation for these results lies in the difference between today’s synthetic insulin and insulin purified from animals such as pigs (porcine insulin), which is no longer available in countries like the U.S.
Insulin was actually the first protein to be synthesized with recombinant DNA (GMO) technology in the late 1970s, and today, products like Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection) dominate the market. According to Sanofi, Lantus’ manufacturer their form is produced “by recombinant DNA technology utilizing a non-pathogenic laboratory strain of Escherichia coli (K12) as the production organism.” Synthetic insulin is classified as an insulin analog that differs significantly from human insulin in its primary amino acid structure: “Insulin glargine differs from human insulin in that the amino acid asparagine at position A21 is replaced by glycine and two arginines are added to the C-terminus of the B-chain.” Lantus’ formulation also contains various ‘inactive ingredients,’ such as:
- hydrochloric acid
- sodium hydroxide (lye)
- m-cresol (a coal tar derivative)
- polysorbate 20
The simultaneous injection of these antigenic ingredients along with synthetic insulin could be responsible for hypersensitizing the immune system against insulin in the same way that inactive and adjuvant ingredients in vaccines induce exaggerated immune reactions against the ‘active’ vaccine antigen (e.g. the viral or bacterial antigen) which sometimes results in the immune system attacking self-structures (autoimmunity).
[The structure of insulin. The left side is a space-filling model of the insulin monomer. On the right side is a ribbon diagram of the insulin hexamer (6 insulin molecules conjoined), believed to be the stored form. Source: Wikipedia]
According to a 1993 paper on recombinant human insulin, “Bacterially expressed proteins normally lack any secondary structure or post-translational modifications” – a highly significant fact, considering that complex proteins such as hormones actually have four levels of folding complexity: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary, all of which together determine the protein’s natural structure and therefore its function. In fact, this complexity is so immense that Levinthal’s paradox states a fully folded protein (i.e., one that has attained its native conformation) must pass through such a large number of degrees of freedom to reach its native state that there is not enough time in the universe for it to move through all possible configurations to the one it was designed by nature to assume. Obviously, if synthetic insulin is not capable of obtaining the same 3-dimensional structure as natural insulin, nor is modified post-translationally through epigenetic regulatory processes, it cannot behave in the same way as natural insulin in the body, and would likely be identified as ‘other’ by the immune system, if not also cellular insulin receptors.
Research dating back to the early 1980s compared synthetic E. Coli derived insulin with porcine (pig) derived insulin in diabetic children and found that porcine insulin was more effective at lowering HbA1 values (a marker of damage associated with elevated blood sugar), superior at reducing fasting glucose concentrations, and less antibody reactive to insulin than synthetic insulin.  While pig derived insulin has its limitations, especially considering there are limits to how much can be produced, clearly it is more appropriate than synthetic versions if it is true that the latter is incapable of reproducing the same therapeutic outcome for diabetics.
Natural Approaches To Diabetes Prevention and Treatment are the Future
In a previous article on natural interventions for type 1 diabetes, 10 Natural Substances That Could Help Cure Type 1 Diabetes, we focused on the biomedical literature supporting the role of beta cell (insulin producing cell) regenerating foods and natural substances in addressing one of the root causes of type 1 diabetes.
The future of medicine will look to identifying and removing the causes of conditions like diabetes, instead of employing patented synthetic drugs and synthetic replacement therapies (which feed the deficiency), palliatively — especially considering the new research indicating they actually make the patient far worse. Also, diet is the #1 factor in the pathogenesis of most chronic conditions that afflict the modern world; more specifically, the consumption of foods or food-like products that deviate from our ancestral diets generate the physiological conditions that produce disease in the first place. Addressing the dietary causes and incompatibilities and many ‘diseases’ decelerate and may even regress.
For additional research on the topic of regenerative medicine and diabetes you can consult the articles 6 Bodily Tissues that Can Be Regenerated Through Nutrition and Diabetes: An Entirely Preventable and Reversible Disease. Or, visit our Health Guide on Blood Sugar Disorders.
Also, if you missed the author’s presentation on “What Medical Science Says About Reversing Diabetes” for the Reversing Diabetes World Summit, the all access digital package is still available here.
 Harrison LC, et al Antigen-based vaccination and prevention of type 1 diabetes. Curr Diab Rep . 2013;13:616–623.
 N P Mann, et al Human insulin and porcine insulin in the treatment of diabetic children: comparison of metabolic control and insulin antibody production. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). Nov 26, 1983; 287(6405): 1580–1582.
CALIFORNIA BORDER PATROL SEIZES NEARLY $1M DRUGS IN 2 HOURS
by DANIEL NUSSBAUM 27 Jun 2014, 8:38 AM PDT 0 POST A COMMENT
In three separate incidents on Wednesday, Border Patrol agents in Murrieta and Indio, California seized $964,530 worth of drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. All three seizures occurred in under two hours.
At 10:30 a.m., Murrieta sector Border Patrol agents stopped a 41-year-old U.S. woman in a Ford Expedition on I-10. After drug-sniffing dogs gave a “positive alert” to the agents, they searched her car and found 51.36 pounds of cocaine, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release. Authorities estimated the street value of the cocaine at $667,680.
Just 15 minutes later, at 10:45 a.m., the same agents stopped another Ford Expedition, driven by a 59-year-old U.S. woman. The agents got permission from the woman to search her car, where they found four packages of drugs hidden in an ice chest; 1.10 pounds of methamphetamine, 5.09 pounds of cocaine, and just under a pound of heroin. The combined estimated street value of all three drugs in that seizure is $87,650.
Both women were arrested and face drug smuggling charges. The cars were seized by Border Patrol.
A third incident occurred at 12:15 p.m., just an hour and a half later, according to a separate CBP press release. Border Patrol agents at the Indio Station in El Centro Sector stopped a 21-year-old man and 48-year-old woman, both Mexican nationals, when drug-sniffing dogs alerted agents to narcotics in their car. During the agents’ search, they found a hidden compartment built into the frame of the car; inside were 18 packages of cocaine, weighing a combined 20.96 pounds. The estimated street value of the cocaine is $209,600.
The two suspects, the drugs, and the car were all turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for further investigation.
via California Border Patrol Seizes Nearly $1M Drugs in 2 Hours.
DAVE DEFEATED: CAMERON PROVES BRITISH EU INFLUENCE IS WORTHLESS AS JUNCKER GETS THE NOD
by M.E. SYNON 27 Jun 2014, 8:32 AM PDT 19 POST A COMMENT
European Union leaders gathered in Brussels have nominated Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next president of the European Commission, dismissing Prime Minister David Cameron’s warnings that putting the euro-zealot Juncker in the top job in Brussels would push Britain further towards an exit from the EU.
Cameron said Juncker is “a face from the 80s” and is not the man to lead the reform Britain says the EU needs. The prime minister is reported to have warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that if Juncker were to become the president of the commission, which is the EU’s executive branch, he may be forced to bring forward the referendum on EU membership he has promised the British.
Cameron admitted before the meeting of the European Council, made up of the heads of government of member states, that “the odds are stacked against me” but he would continue to fight Juncker’s nomination.
In fact, Cameron’s style of personal attack on Juncker may have swayed some former allies to back Juncker.
One argument by the prime minister, that the European Parliament has seized control of the selection by insisting their candidate Juncker be chosen, could have swayed support among some reform-minded prime ministers who are uneasy about a “coup” by forces at the parliament.
However, Cameron’s insistence that Juncker was too much of a “federalist” for the job and a “has been” sounded like a personal attack, when the other prime ministers knew that any other candidate for the job at the commission would be bound to be as much a euro-enthusiast as Juncker, if perhaps rather more diplomatic in style.
Also, Continental politicians are likely to have found the British newspaper accounts on Juncker’s alleged heavy drinking, though not officially connected with Number 10 or any British diplomats, to have been intrusive and extreme, and may well have reacted against a debate that degenerated into a British personal smear campaign.
So now what the appointment of Juncker may be, besides a humiliation for Cameron and a display of British diplomatic impotence in the EU institutions, is a subtle victory for Merkel.
The nomination of Juncker to the top post at the commission, delivered by Merkel despite widespread doubts about his abilities, ensures that the Chancellor now has a half-lamed president who can be pushed into following the Berlin line.
What has often been overlook in Britain is that in the years following the banking crash and the euro crisis, the European Commission under Barroso has become less of an independent executive arm of the EU and more the servant of the European Council. Merkel has shown herself to be the strongest force on the council, leaving Germany’s former equal partner France long behind, doing intergovernmental deals when it suited her to control events without the agreement or cooperation of the elite eurocrats at the commission.
Now the (perhaps) wine-sodden and bruised (but triumphant) Juncker knows to whom he owes his new €321,000 (£257,000) a year job, his private plane, his 24-hour personal television camera crew, his entertainment allowance, his fabulous pension, his staff of flunkies, his thousands of euros in allowances. He owes it all to Merkel.
And he owes Cameron less than zilch.
via DAVE DEFEATED: Cameron Proves British EU Influence Is Worthless as Juncker Gets the Nod.
Mariam Ibrahim, who is facing death threats, and her two children given refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum.
http://www.zengardner.com/cloaked-perpetrators-rule-shadows/#comment-95316 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkjmhoZ0PdM&w=700&h=420]