Tag Archives: israel

Gantz says Lebanon will pay if Hezbollah attacks


Gantz says Lebanon will pay if Hezbollah attacks

Israel will face elevated terror threat when rebels have ousted Syria’s Assad, says IDF Chief of Staff
By Elhanan Miller

Israel will respond to an attack from Hezbollah by striking Lebanese infrastructure, IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz said on Monday evening in a sharply worded warning to the Shiite group sitting on Israel’s northern border.

“We will know how to act with Hezbollah and with Lebanon, including its infrastructure,” Gantz told the audience of the Herzliya Conference, a local policy convention. “Lebanon cannot claim sovereignty but not bear responsibility. If a conflagration erupts, I would rather be an Israeli citizen than a Lebanese.”

Israel may even “find itself in a war tomorrow” Ganz warned, although it will not be the one to initiate it.

Gantz said that despite the semblance of security calm in Israel, “not a week goes by, not to say hardly a day, when I don’t have to deal with an issue that you didn’t even hear about, that could have resulted in a strategic threat.”

In the past, Gantz said, Israel used to be able to address threats emanating from Lebanon by exerting pressure on Syria. But that is no longer the case.

“Syria has become an exceptionally dangerous place,” he said. The likelihood of a Syrian conventional attack against Israel has dramatically decreased, but has been replaced by a terrorist threat along the Israeli-Syrian border.

“We will be next in line after Assad,” Gantz said, referring to the terror dangers to Israel the day after the expected ouster of the Syrian president.

To counter the new threats facing Israel, the IDF is now going on the offensive, Gantz said, ramping up the readiness of intelligence, land and air forces.

“We will need to operate at a much higher intensity,” he said, adding that Israel will need to strike a delicate balance between the moral imperative to preserve human life and the obligation to ensure the safety of its own citizens. A future war will require an Israeli military presence on the ground, mostly in urban areas, he added.

Gantz also spoke out against expected military budget cuts, noting that the military’s quality could suffer as a result.

“We must not become a hollow army,” Gantz said. “I prefer a smaller army of higher quality than a larger army which is rusty and hollow.” The reference to a smaller army came as potential coalition partners debated possible new legislation to require ultra-Orthodox young males to serve in the IDF.

Including the ultra-Orthodox needed to be a slow and gradual process, Gantz said, adding that the recruitment of the ultra-Orthodox had “been good” thus far, and that those recruited had contributed a great deal to the army. They “come in “ultra-Orthodox and leave ultra-Orthodox,” he said, addressing the notion that ultra-Orthodox troops might be subverted during the IDF experience and become less devout.

“We have to ensure that the right people are in the right places at the right times,” Gantz added.SOURCE

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accuses the West of destroying Iran’s rain clouds


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accuses the West of destroying Iran’s rain clouds

By Robert Tait

The Iranian president made the assertions in a speech on Monday addressing the problems caused by low rainfall trends, which experts say is threatening Iran’s agriculture.

“Today our country is moving towards drought, which is partly unintentional due to industry and partly intentional, as a result of the enemy destroying the clouds moving towards our country and this is a war that Iran is going to overcome,” Mr Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the Caspian Sea city of Gonbad-e Kavus to mark its registration as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Although Iran is recognised as having one of the world’s driest climates, the comments were the latest in a series of allegations by officials of a Western conspiracy to turn its water shortage into a major crisis.

In July, Hassan Mousavi, head of Iran’s cultural heritage organisation and one of Mr Ahmadinejad’s vice-presidents, urged meteorological experts to investigate the possibility that the west was engineering a draught in southern Iran, traditionally one of the country’s most parched regions.

“I feel that the world arrogance and colonisation (Iranian official code language for the US and its allies) by using their technologies, are affecting the environmental situation in Iran,” he said.

Specialists have recently warned that low rainfall has reached “undesirable levels”, producing officially-designated draught conditions in more than three-quarters of the country.

Previously, Mr Ahmadinejad has accused European nations of deliberately emptying clouds to produce torrential storms in their own countries that would lead in turn to rain shortages in the Middle East. He said Iran would pursue the matter through international legal channels.

Earlier this year, the Iranian leader accused Western states of creating the HIV to weaken the developing world and create a market for pharmaceuticals.


SOURCE

Who says Hate has no benefit?

Palestinians design solar car not to buy petrol from Israel

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Necessity is the mother of invention, and for Palestinians living on the West Bank trying to break their dependence on Israel for energy has resulted in a new solar powered vehicle.

­The four-seater is covered in solar panels to convert the suns rays into energy to power a small electric motor which pushes the vehicle along at 20 Kph for about 10 hours. And if the sun doesn’t shine it can be plugged into the wall, and the battery recharged from the mains.

It looks a bit like an over-sized golf cart and took the Royal Industrial Trading Company around two months and $5000 to develop.

“This car was the first step, and now we are working on two other cars. If the work is successful, then we will do a lot of cars and sell them”, says Nabel Az-Zagheer, chairman of the Royal Industrial Trading Company.

Based in the town of Al-Khalil, the company specialises in sanitation and water supply products, and adapted them to create the new vehicle.

A greater use of solar energy could help the people of the West Bank escape escalating energy prices.

Israel has control over the fuel supply to the Palestinian population, and according to the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian Authority is obliged not to sell its gasoline for less than 15 percent of Israel’s market price, reports the The Electronic Intifada.

“Such supply monopolies are a form of power. They provide easy ways to exert political pressure on the Palestinian Authority and ordinary Palestinians and to enforce their compliance with Israel’s interests”, Charles Shamas, a founder of the Mattin Group, a Ramallah-based research and advocacy organization told the Middle East Media Center.

The Palestinians are also heavily dependent on electric power provided by Israel. A power station in Gaza provides some 40% percent of the Strip’s electricity; the rest has to be purchased from Israel. Some small amounts are also sold by Egypt and Jordan.

“We want to lower as much as possible our dependence on Israel, because we won’t be able to reach a reasonable level of national security if Israel can, at any point, disconnect our electricity, and even harm the power plant in Gaza, as it did in 2006 as punishment for the abduction of Gilad Shalit,” Hanna Siniora, chairperson of the Palestinian-American Chamber of Commerce, has told Al-Monitor.com

Constantly rising fuel prices affect the cost of basic foodstuffs such as maize, vegetable oil and bread.

Palestinian efforts to reduce its dependency on Israeli energy have met strong opposition from Tel Aviv.

In March RT reported on Israel’s plans to bulldoze eight solar panels in the West Bank. They were donated by a number of international charities in 2009, yet have were deemed “illegal” by Israeli authorities due to the lack of an appropriate building permit.

The 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel is not connected to the national energy grid. On the other hand, the Jewish settlements in the area are connected to national energy and water grids, reports the Guardian.

“We saw a systematic targeting of the water infrastructure in Hebron, Bethlehem and the Jordan valley. Now, in the last couple of months, they are targeting electricity. Two villages in the area have had their electrical poles torn down. There is a systematic effort by the civil administration targeting all Palestinian infrastructure in Hebron. They are hoping that by making it miserable enough, they [the Palestinians] will pick up and leave,” an anonymous UN expert told the Guardian.

SOURCE

Russian attack submarine sailed in Gulf of Mexico undetected for weeks, U.S.


Russian attack submarine sailed in Gulf of Mexico undetected for weeks, U.S.
officials say

BY: Bill Gertz

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.

The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.

The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.

The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said.

The officials who are familiar with reports of the submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico said the vessel was a nuclear-powered Akula-class attack submarine, one of Russia’s quietest submarines.

A Navy spokeswoman declined to comment.

One official said the Akula operated without being detected for a month.

“The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews,” said a second U.S. official.

“It’s a very stealthy boat so it can sneak around and avoid detection and hope to get past any protective screen a boomer might have in place,” the official said, referring to the Navy nickname for strategic missile submarines.

The U.S. Navy operates a strategic nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia. The base is homeport to eight missile-firing submarines, six of them equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles, and two armed with conventional warhead missiles.

“Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,” said naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist Norman Polmar.

“Like the recent deployment of a task force led by a nuclear cruiser into the Caribbean, the Russian Navy provides him with a means of ‘showing the flag’ that is not possible with Russian air and ground forces,” Polmar said in an email.

The last time an Akula submarine was known to be close to U.S. shores was 2009, when two Akulas were spotted patrolling off the east coast of the United States.

Those submarine patrols raised concerns at the time about a new Russian military assertiveness toward the United States, according to the New York Times, which first reported the 2009 Akula submarine activity.

The latest submarine incursion in the Gulf further highlights the failure of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy of conciliatory actions designed to develop closer ties with Moscow.

Instead of closer ties, Russia under President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB intelligence officer who has said he wants to restore elements of Russia’s Soviet communist past, has adopted growing hardline policies against the United States.

Of the submarine activity, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “It’s a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow. While the president is touting our supposed ‘reset’ in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether it’s in Syria or here in our own backyard.”

The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity.

The Obama administration’s defense budget proposal in February cut $1.3 billion from Navy shipbuilding projects, which will result in scrapping plans to build 16 new warships through 2017.

The budget also called for cutting plans to buy 10 advanced P-8 anti-submarine warfare jets needed for submarine detection.

In June, Russian strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft conducted a large-scale nuclear bomber exercise in the arctic. The exercise included simulated strikes on “enemy” strategic sites that defense officials say likely included notional attacks on U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.

Under the terms of the 2010 New START arms accord, such exercises require 14-day advanced notice of strategic bomber drills, and notification after the drills end. No such notification was given.

A second, alarming air incursion took place July 4 on the West Coast when a Bear H strategic bomber flew into U.S. airspace near California and was met by U.S. interceptor jets.

That incursion was said to have been a bomber incursion that has not been seen since before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

It could not be learned whether the submarine in the Gulf of Mexico was an Akula 1 type submarine or a more advanced Akula 2.

It is also not known why the submarine conducted the operation. Theories among U.S. analysts include the notion that submarine incursion was designed to further signal Russian displeasure at U.S. and NATO plans to deploy missile defenses in Europe.

Russia’s chief of the general staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, said in May that Russian forces would consider preemptive attacks on U.S. and allied missile defenses in Europe, and claimed the defenses are destabilizing in a crisis.

Makarov met with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in July. Dempsey questioned him about the Russian strategic bomber flights near U.S. territory.

The voyage of the submarine also could be part of Russian efforts to export the Akula.

Russia delivered one of its Akula-2 submarines to India in 2009. The submarine is distinctive for its large tail fin.

Brazil’s O Estado de Sao Paoli reported Aug. 2 that Russia plans to sell Venezuela up to 11 new submarines, including one Akula.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow’s military is working to set up naval replenishment facilities in Vietnam and Cuba, but denied there were plans to base naval forces in those states.

Asked if Russia planned a naval base in Cuba, Lavrov said July 28: “We are not speaking of any bases. The Russian navy ships serve exercise cruises and training in the same regions. To harbor, resupply, and enable the crew to rest are absolutely natural needs. We have spoken of such opportunities with our Cuban friends.” The comment was posted in the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

Russian warships and support vessels were sent to Venezuela in 2008 to take part in naval exercises in a show of Russian support for the leftist regime of Hugo Chavez. The ships also stopped in Cuba.

Russian Deputy Premier Dmitri Rogozin announced in February that Russia was working on a plan to build 10 new attack submarines and 10 new missile submarines through 2030, along with new aircraft carriers.

Submarine warfare specialists say the Akula remains the core of the Russian attack submarine force.

The submarines can fire both cruise missiles and torpedoes, and are equipped with the SSN-21 and SSN-27 submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as SSN-15 anti-submarine-warfare missiles. The submarines also can lay mines.

The SSN-21 has a range of up to 1,860 miles.

SOURCE

New modesty glasses for Orthodox Jewish men blur women out of their line of sight

New modesty glasses for Orthodox Jewish men blur women out of their line of sight

JERUSALEM — It’s the latest prescription for extreme ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who shun contact with the opposite sex: Glasses that blur their vision, so they don’t have to see women they consider to be immodestly dressed.

In an effort to maintain their strictly devout lifestyle, the ultra-Orthodox have separated the sexes on buses, sidewalks and other public spaces in their neighborhoods. Their interpretation of Jewish law forbids contact between men and women who are not married.

Walls in their neighborhoods feature signs exhorting women to wear closed-necked, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts. Extremists have accosted women they consider to have flouted the code.

Now they’re trying to keep them out of clear sight altogether.

The ultra-Orthodox community’s unofficial “modesty patrols” are selling glasses with special blur-inducing stickers on their lenses. The glasses provide clear vision for up to a few meters so as not to impede movement, but anything beyond that gets blurry — including women. It’s not known how many have been sold.

For men forced to venture outside their insular communities, hoods and shields that block peripheral vision are also being offered.

The glasses are going for the “modest” price of $6.

Read more: SOURCE

Israel Attacked A US Navy Ship 45 Years Ago Killing Dozens Of Sailors — Survivors Want To Know Why

Israel Attacked A US Navy Ship 45 Years Ago Killing Dozens Of Sailors — Survivors Want To Know Why

Robert Johnson

It’s understandable if you’ve never heard of the USS Liberty and the more than 200 sailors who were wounded and lost their lives the day she was attacked in the summer of 1967.

That was the Summer of Love, when nearly 100,000 American youth descended on Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, and the Vietnam War was really getting into the ugly abyss it would become. Nearly 13,000 American’s died in the jungle in 1967, less than half the number who would fall in 1968.

So, it’s understandable if amid all that carnage, loss, and revolution the lives of a couple hundred Liberty sailors fell to the heap of history and were forgotten.

What’s still not understandable is why the Liberty was ambushed by Israeli gunships, that efforts to rescue dying sailors were called off, and a massive cover-up trailed the incident’s wake.

Elizabeth Flock at U.S. News reminds us of the incident in a piece honoring this Friday’s Liberty memorial service to be held at Arlington National Cemetery in D.C.

Flock points to lingering outrage and concern of a cover up that has prompted a Facebook page asking people to sign a petition calling for a renewed investigation of the incident, which apparently went down something like this:

Three days into Israel’s Six-Day War, the Liberty was parked off the coast of Egypt collecting communication signals in international waters.

While initially some concern was given about the ship getting too close to shore, or mistaken for an enemy vessel, those misgivings seem to have vanished when Israeli planes flew in for a visual inspection at about 6:00 a.m. local time as the mist was still burning off the surface of the Mediterranean.

American sailors say the Israel aircraft flew so closely that they rattled the Liberty’s steel plating and the ship’s crew waved to the planes pilots, who did the same in return.

All morning and into the afternoon the Liberty went about her mission unmolested when at 1:40 p.m., unknown to the Liberty crew, an Israel torpedo boat reported wan “unknown vessel” traveling at speeds only attributable to warships.

Twenty minutes later two, Mirage II fighters rattled down over the Liberty and made two visual inspection passes at 3,000 feet. The Mirage pilots radioed command that the ship looked like a non-Israeli destroyer and orders came back over the airwaves to attack.

The Liberty’s command knew the planes were Israeli so the ship’s crew were all on “stand down” mode, non-defensive, with no helmets or even life jackets at the ready.

The twin Mirage’s pounded the Liberty with all the cannons, rockets, and bombs at their disposal during three separate runs. When they depleted their ammunition they were replaced by two Dassault Mysteres filled with napalm bombs that tore into the Liberty engulfing it in a raging inferno from the bridge to the deck.

When it was all over 34 sailors were dead, 174 were injured and Israel claimed they’d mistaken America’s most distinctive ship for an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport half the Liberty’s size with a completely different profile.

Israel apologized, made reparations to the U.S. and the sailor’s families, and then according to many — the incident was swept under the rug and a whitewashing of the facts came in to preserve Israel’s reputation

A letter to Congress from USS Liberty veterans, asking for the renewed investigation, also says that rescue efforts to save the Liberty’s crew were somehow called off, and that makes even less sense to them than anything else about the whole, tragic, and nearly forgotten fiasco.

The most detailed version of the incident and all that followed may be found here in the NSA's de-classified documents.

Read more:SOURCE

Jerusalem hospital shows off vaccine that destroys cancer in 2 shots.

Jerusalem hospital shows off vaccine that destroys cancer in 2 shots.

Early human test results suggest a vaccine can train cancer patients’ bodies to seek out and destroy tumour cells.

The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of cancers, eventually could provide an injection that would allow patients’ immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

The first results of trials in people, at the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, suggest the vaccine can reduce levels of disease. The human work is so preliminary it has yet to be published in a scientific journal.The scientists behind the vaccine hope to conduct more extensive trials to prove it can be effective

against a range of cancers. They believe it could be used to fight small tumours if they are detected early or to help prevent the return and spread of disease in patients who have undergone conventional treatment.

In the safety trial at Hadassah, 10 patients with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, received the vaccine. Seven have finished the treatment and the developer, drug company Vaxil Biotherapeutics, reported all had greater immunity against cancer cells compared with before they were given the vaccine. Vaxil added that three patients were free of detectable cancer following the treatment.

Cancer cells usually evade a patient’s immune system because they are not recognized as a threat. While the immune system usually attacks foreign cells such as bacteria, tumours are formed of the patient’s own cells that have malfunctioned.

Scientists have discovered that a molecule called MUC1, which is found on the surface of cancer cells, can be used to help the immune sys-tem detect tumours. The new vaccine, ImMucin, developed by Vaxil and researchers at Tel Aviv University, uses a section of the molecule to prime the immune system so it can identify and thus destroy cancer cells.

Vaxil suggested that if large-scale trials prove as successful, the vaccine could be available within six years. Initial research on the vaccine, in mice, was published in the journal Vaccine, and suggested the treatment induced “potent” immunity in mice and increased their survival from cancer.
Cancer charities gave the vaccine a cautious welcome. Dr. Kat Arney, at Cancer Research UK, said: “These are very early results that are yet to be fully published, so there’s a lot more work to be done to prove that this particular vaccine is safe and effective in cancer patients.”

SOURCE

ATF Preparing to Outlaw Shotguns

ATF Preparing to Outlaw Shotguns

The Constitution states that Congress and the federal government shall not infringe upon the right to bear arms. However, we know in the past the federal government has trampled this liberty. Remember the assault weapons ban that banned AR-15s and other rifles?

It appears the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is preparing to pass its own law leaving Congress out of the equation and clearly ignoring the Constitution. This time its shotguns that are under attack.

The Greeley Gazette
notes of the ATF’s coming ban:

The ATF completed a study regarding the importability of certain shotguns. The basis for a possible ban is based on a loosely defined “Sporting Purpose” test. Using the vague definition almost all pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns could be banned as they are all capable of accepting a magazine, box or tube capable of holding more than 5 rounds. Other characteristics determined to be “military” by the ATF can also be used as a basis for a ban.

Ironically, many shotguns with “military” features are currently being used in shooting competitions held by the USPSA, IDPA and IPSC. The rules could also result in obscure regulations where an individual would be unsure if he is violating them or not.
Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said if the ATF succeeds with the banning of tactical shotguns it “will be the most dangerous interpretation of the 1968 Gun Control Act ever envisioned and will outlaw thousands of perfectly legitimate home defense shotguns.”

The ATF is currently allowing public comments on the study until the end of the month. Those wishing to express concerns about the study can send an email to [email protected]

SOURCE

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

by Jonathon M. Seidl Jonathon M. Seidl

What’s the definition of a “shotgun?” According to Dictionary.com it’s “a smoothbore gun for firing small shot to kill birds and small quadrupeds, though often used with buckshot to kill larger animals.” For the gun enthusiasts, that’s only partly true, as there is also the option of using slugs. But what if there’s another addition that will soon be added to the definition? How about, illegal.

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

In a series of fascinating, and eerie, posts over at the blog Beregond’s Bar (and linked on Redstate.com), author “Tom” pens a four-part series on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and their new campaign to change the definition of the term “shotgun.” A change, based on a recent study,* that could soon make some of them illegal. But as Tom points out, the implications for all guns are chilling.

Could Your Shotgun Soon be Outlawed? Maybe, If the ATF Has Its Way

Below are excerpts from the series. Click on the appropriate link to read more.

Part 1, which focuses on changing the term “sporting use” in order to ban certain shotguns:

The Obama administration is seeking once again to do via regulation what they would never be able to do via legislation. This time shotguns are in the crosshairs, specifically certain popular imported weapons.

[…]

Sporting use is one of the three main thrusts of gun control efforts in America. The other two are racism and those who openly advocate complete bans except for military and police. (The complete ban advocates often hide under cover of sporting use, but that and the racist history of gun control are topics for another day.
Click here to find out more!

Sporting use was how the original distinction was made about what weapons would be subject to a special tax in the National Firearms Act (NFA) in 1934, and again in Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The congressional power to tax was used selectively to make ownership of weapons the government didn’t like burdensome and expensive. This was gun control via the back door, as even the ATF admits. As would become the pattern, politicians found that actually dealing with crime and criminals was difficult and expensive. Blaming guns and passing a law to look like they were doing something about it was much simpler.

Part 2, which notes that the administration and the ATF’s definition of “sporting use” includes a list of things that cannot apply to such use. Things that are common in hunting and self-defense:

In this case the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is seeking to master the definition of the term “sporting use” to “traditional” sports, things similar to what might have been found in 1934 when the Treasury Department first began regulating firearms. The ATF “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns” (PDF) limits “sporting purpose.”

However, consistent with past court decisions and Congressional intent, the working group recognized hunting and other more generally recognized or formalized competitive events similar to the traditional shooting sports of trap, skeet, and clays.

In order to decide what shotguns fit the “sporting purpose” definition the study comes up with a list of characteristics that aren’t sporting. Nobody has yet taken to bayoneting deer or skeet as far as I know, so I’m not going to raise a big stink about bayonet lugs being on the list of features that aren’t particularly suited for sporting purposes. (Please stop shouting that the Constitution of the United States says nothing about “sporting purpose.” We’ll look at why the “sporting purpose” rule violates the constitution in Part 3.)

One major problem (aside from the constitution) is that many of the features the ATF study group settled on make a shotgun particularly useful for self defense, especially home defense. Here are the characteristics that the study has decided are unsuitable for sporting use:

(1) Folding, telescoping, or collapsible stocks;

(2) bayonet lugs;

(3) flash suppressors;

(4) magazines over 5 rounds, or a drum magazine;

(5) grenade-launcher mounts;

(6) integrated rail systems (other than on top of the receiver or barrel);

(7) light enhancing devices;

(8) excessive weight (greater than 10 pounds for 12 gauge or smaller);

(9) excessive bulk (greater than 3 inches in width and/or greater than 4 inches in depth);

(10) forward pistol grips or other protruding parts designed or used for gripping the shotgun with the shooter’s extended hand.

Some of these features, such as folding stocks and larger capacity magazines clearly are useful in sports if you include practical shooting sports.

Part 3, which looks at how “sporting use” stacks up to the Constitution and how it came into use:

But there is a far more basic objection that must be raised to this new attempt at regulatory gun ban- Nowhere in the constitution of the United States is there anything about a “sporting purpose.” The second amendment says:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Like all rights of Americans, the rights exist because you are a person. The Constitution is a contract we have with the central government to protect those rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic. One of the enumerated rights is the right to keep and bear arms. Nary a “sporting purpose” in sight in the entire document. So where did it come from?

And finally, Part 4, which shows that the ATF’s “sporting use” definition puts all guns, not just certain shotguns, at risk of being outlawed:

One factor that jumps out from the current ATF study is that it differs from the Clinton gun ban in a critical way. The Clinton ban looked at guns and said if it could accept a high capacity magazine and had any 2 other characteristics then it was banned. Thus you could have a magazine and a pistol grip, or a magazine and night sights, and still be legal. Few people missed having a bayonet lug, and grenade launchers and grenades had essentially been banned from civilian hands since the NFA became law in 1934. The current study says that any ONE item on a list, including a magazine that holds more than five rounds or a place to attach a flashlight so you can see the burglar in your home, and the gun is banned.

So the problem doesn’t end with shotguns. The current study refers to the conclusions drawn in prior ATF studies of rifles in 1989 and 1998, and handguns in 1968. It also draws on the NFA and the GCA (Gun Control Act of 1968) to justify the “sporting purpose” test, and the narrow interpretation that the ATF places on the test. The justifications are all linked together, like a knitted sweater. Pull on the piece of yarn called “imported shotguns” and you find when it’s unraveled enough that you’re tugging on the “domestic shotguns” yarn. Only now the “imported rifle” bit of yarn is hanging loose, just begging for someone to tug on it. Unravel that a bit and you reach “domestic rifles.” A similar bit of unraveling is likely to happen with the piece of yarn labelled “handgun.”

Each piece is well worth the time it takes to read it. Meanwhile, the ATF is taking comments on its study. Tom lets you know how here.

But here’s the catch: in order to let the ATF know what you think, you have to give it your mailing address.

Interesting.

*According to Tom, the study “spends a lot of time showing that hunting, trap and skeet, and target shooting are sports, but plinking and practical shooting sports are not REALLY sports, and therefore guns that are particularly suitable for, or readily adaptable to those sports shouldn’t be allowed into the country.

UPDATE:

Jack Minor of the Greeley Gazette covered the ATF’s study, too. He puts in terms of “military”-style shotguns vs. others. But, he notes, according to the specifications used, “military” could apply to so many shotguns:

The ATF completed a study regarding the importability of certain shotguns. The basis for a possible ban is based on a loosely defined “Sporting Purpose” test. Using the vague definition almost all pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns could be banned as they are all capable of accepting a magazine, box or tube capable of holding more than 5 rounds. Other characteristics determined to be “military” by the ATF can also be used as a basis for a ban.

Ironically, many shotguns with “military” features are currently being used in shooting competitions held by the USPSA, IDPA and IPSC. The rules could also result in obscure regulations where an individual would be unsure if he is violating them or not.

Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said if the ATF succeeds with the banning of tactical shotguns it “will be the most dangerous interpretation of the 1968 Gun Control Act ever envisioned and will outlaw thousands of perfectly legitimate home defense shotguns.”

The Most Powerful Man in the World: The Black Pope

The Most Powerful Man in the World: The Black Pope


Black Pope Adolfo Nicolas, Superior General of the Society of Jesus Diabolical Plan for a New World Order.

1. The Superior General of the Jesuits The Black Pope, Adolfo Nicolas and his 6 generals control the “White Pope” Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican.
2. The Illuminati, Zionists, globalist Elites, Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg group, Freemasons, Council of 300 and the evil Council of Trent.
3. The Jesuits control the Knights Templar, Knights of Columbus and the Knights of Malta.
4. The CIA, FBI, NSA, ASIO, MI5, MI6, NCIS, FSB, DGSE, Mossad and every intelligence agency in the world are masonic and controlled by the Jesuits.
5. The Jesuits have infiltrated all governments & Leaders like Obama, Rudd, Blair, Jintao, Sarkozy, Peres are only puppets that carry out Jesuit orders.

The”NEW WORLD ORDER” is the GLOBAL TOTALITARIANISM dream that a BANKER called Mayer Amschel Rothschild, helped revive in 1760?s to protect his private bank from global government regulation. His grand blue print is best described by his paid social engineer called Dr. Adam [Spartacus] Weishaupt, Professor of Canon Law in the university of Ingolstadt. Weishaupt adopted the term “Illuminati.” This nightmare is still sought after today by their family’s decedents. Below is the ‘outline’ Weishaupt set out for his banker financier master! Carefully notice the similarities between Karl Marx’s 10 Plank’s of his Communist Manifesto and Weishaupt’s outline. Also, please read Communism & The New World Order.

The blue print for the NWO is:
* Abolition of all ordered governments
* Abolition of private property
* Abolition of inheritance
* Abolition of patriotism
* Abolition of the family
* Abolition of religion
* A global population of 500 million
* Creation of a world government

Mayer Amschel Rothschild 1828 “Allow me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who writes the laws.” [Even a 4 year old can understand that people with control of money…write the laws!]

“Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” – Woodrow Wilson

So who is this subtle, complete organized power that Wilson is talking about? The answer to that my friends is the Jesuits.

Who are the Jesuits you may ask? Arent they just missionaries, priests and general do-gooders who establish schools, universities and pride themselves in being pillars in the community? If so, then why was The Jesuit Order abolished in over 80 countries in 1773? J.E.C. Shepherd states that “Between 1555 and 1931 the Society of Jesus [i.e., the Jesuit Order] was expelled from at least 83 countries, city states and cities, for engaging in political intrigue and subversion plots against the welfare of the State, according to the records of a Jesuit priest of repute [Thomas J. Campbell]. Practically every instance of expulsion was for political intrigue, political infiltration, political subversion, and inciting to political insurrection.” They are overlords of chaos. In a nut shell the Jesuits are Warlords, Assassins, Teachers, Infiltrators, Tyrants. They tried their hand at global domination with the “League of Nations” but it failed, now they are trying again, under a new name…The United Nations, and its about to work!

What people are not understanding is that the Jesuits command the White Pope and the Vatican City, Obama /Bush’s/ Clinton’s / Blair’s / Peres/ Rudd / Jintao / Sarkozy / Medvedev (and frankly every government on earth) including the the evil Council of Trent, CFR, Illuminati, the Zionists, the Bilderberg group, the Freemasons, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights Templar, Council of 300, and every intelligence organization in the world all have ties to the Jesuit Order and more specifically, the Superior General of the Jesuits known as The Black Pope Adolfo Nicolas who as of January the 19th, 2008 succeeded Peter-Hans Kolvenbach as the 30th Superior General of the Jesuit Order.

Additional Information:
http://wikicompany.org/wiki/911:Vatican_%26_Jesuits
http://wikicompany.org/wiki/911:Military_Order_of_Malta
http://wikicompany.org/wiki/911:Pilgrim_Society

SOURCE

Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran’s Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack

Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran’s Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack

F. Michael Maloof, G2 Bulletin

WASHINGTON – The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.

Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.

Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran.

“Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.

Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.

The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.

Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.

The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”

This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.

Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.

Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say.

“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”

With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say.

The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.

Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.

“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.

In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran.

These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information.

“The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters,” according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.

Russian sources say that the Russian military believes that if the U.S. goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces into Georgia and warships in the Caspian Sea with the possible help of Azerbaijan, which since has stated that it will not allow its territory to be used by Israel to launch an attack on neighboring Iran.

There had been speculation that given the improved relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, the Jewish state may use bases from which to launch air attacks on neighboring Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel recently agreed to sell Azerbaijan $1.6 billion in military equipment.

A further irritant to Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili is the prospect that Russian assault airborne troops, or VDV units, with helicopters could be moved into Georgia’s two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two provinces were taken by the Russian military during the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Initially they were declared by Moscow to be independent countries, but now the Kremlin is indicating they may be annexed to Russia.

Similarly, Lt. General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the VDV, has announced that Russian troops in Armenia will be reinforced by paratroopers, along with attack and transport helicopters.

“The Russian spearhead (from the Transcaucasia region) may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of U.S. bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets,” Felgenhauer said.

“By one swift military strike, Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse,” he said.

“At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement ‘for fair elections,’ and as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.”

Putin has made no secret that he despises Saakashvili and with his return to the presidency, he may consider taking out the Georgian president as unfinished business. Just as in 2008, Putin will not have much to worry about if he sends Russian troops into Georgia, since there was muted reaction from the U.S. and the European countries to the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation

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Why Is The Department Of Homeland Security Buying 450 Million New Bullets?

The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets
Eloise Lee

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an “indefinite delivery” of an “indefinite quantity” of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK.

U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to a press release on the deal.

The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer “optimum penetration for terminal performance.”

This refers to the the bullet’s hollow-point tip that passes through barriers and expands for a bigger impact without the rest of the bullet getting warped out of shape: “this bullet holds its jacket in the toughest conditions.”

We’ve also learned that the Department has an open bid for a stockpile of rifle ammo. Listed on the federal business opportunities network, they’re looking for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo to be exact. The .223 is almost exactly the same round used by NATO forces, the 5.56 x 45mm.

The deadline for earlier this month was extended because the right contractor just hadn’t come along.

Looks like the Department of Homeland Security means business.

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Queen Elizabeth accused of profiting from drug trafficking


UK queen accused of drug trafficking


A part of the fortune of the Queen of England comes from drug trafficking.


Jacques Cheminade, candidate for the 2012 French presidential election

Britain’s financial regulator has fined the British queen’s bank for money laundering failures as a French presidential candidate has said part of the queen’s fortune “comes from drug trafficking.”

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined the British queen’s bank, Coutts Bank, 8.75 million pounds for failing to carry out correct checks on “politically exposed persons” and prevent money laundering.

“The failings at Coutts were serious, systemic and were allowed to persist for almost three years. They resulted in an unacceptable risk of Coutts handling the proceeds of crime,” the FSA said in a statement posted on its official website.

The news comes less than a week after a fringe candidate for April’s French presidential election said the British queen owed her fortune to drugs money laundered by “Jewish bankers in The City.”

On 21 March, Jacques Cheminade, an independent presidential candidate running in the French election, said, “a part of the fortune of the Queen of England comes from drug trafficking.”

“No, not any property, there are several other sources. But it is a series of trafficking in which, yes, there is trafficking drugs,” Cheminade said on television LCP French National Assembly.

Known as the British queen’s banker, Coutts was criticised for “significant, widespread and unacceptable” failures, as described by Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime.

“The size of the financial penalty demonstrates how seriously we view its failures,” McDermott said.

SOURCE

Supreme irony?

Supreme irony? Top court poised to throw out Obamacare in echo of case Obama made against Hillary Clinton

It is a tad unfortunate that just days after the White House embraced the term “Obamacare” – previously regarded on the Left as a pejorative label – a majority of the nine Supreme Court justices have given strong indications they will rule it unconstitutional.

Even more ironic is that the justices, or five of them at least, look like they might force President Barack Obama back to the drawing board partly on the basis of the argument one Senator Obama made against then Senator Hillary Clinton in 2008.

At issue today was the so-called ‘individual mandate” – the federal government’s act of compelling Americans to buy health insurance. It is the centrepiece of the Affordable Health Care Act – aka Obamacare – which is the signature achievement of Obama’s presidency thus far.

But back during the 2008 campaign, Obama argued strenuously against the individual mandate. In a debate in South Carolina, he said: “A mandate means that in some fashion, everybody will be forced to buy health insurance. … But I believe the problem is not that folks are trying to avoid getting health care. The problem is they can’t afford it. And that’s why my plan emphasises lowering costs.”

In February 2008, he said that you could no more solve the issue of the uninsured with an individual mandate than you could cure homelessness by ordering people to buy a home:

This was one of the policies that allowed him to differentiate himself from Clinton and John Edwards, the serial sleazeball who (believe it or not given what we now know he was up to) had a pretty good shot at winning the Democratic nomination.

Obama felt so strongly about the issue that he even cut an ad attacking Clinton for her support of the individual mandate. “Hillary Clinton’s attacking, but what’s she not telling you about her health care plan?” the April 2008 ad asked. “It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”

Once in office, Obama changed his mind, telling CBS in July 2009: “During the campaign I was opposed to this idea because my general attitude was the reason people don’t have health insurance is not because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it. And if you make it affordable, then they’ll come. I am now in favour of some sort of individual mandate as long as there’s a hardship exemption.” This volte face merited a “full flop” rating from Politifact.

Fast forward to today and there were five justices who appeared to be dead set against the idea of an individual mandate. Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t asked a question in the court for six years but as the most conservative lawyer on the court is a safe “no”. You can find a transcript of the oral arguments here and audio can be downloaded here.

Justice Antonin Scalia asked the flailing Solicitor General Donald Verrillii: “Could you define the market? Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”

Chief Justice John Roberts queried: “So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services?”

Justice Samuel Alito jabbed: “All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, ‘You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else’. Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing?”

Worst of all for Obamacare supporters, Justice Anthony Kennedy, always viewed as the swing vote on the court, sounded like one of the most sceptical of all. “The reason this is concerning, is because it requires the individual to do an affirmative act,” he said at one point. “In the law of torts our tradition, our law, has been that you don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger.

At other junctures he asked “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?” and “So the Federal government says everybody has to join an exercise club?”

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor seemed on the side of upholding the mandate – though in the case of Sotomayor there was, surprisingly, some doubt. The only hope for liberals appears to be that Roberts, who is known to be leery of the court being seen as overly political, comes down on their side after some of his questions gave them a modicum of encouragement.

If Obamacare is thrown out it is likely to be a political disaster for Obama, and could very well be a nail in the coffin of his re-election hopes. Some Democrats believe such an outcome could allow Obama to run against a right-wing Supreme Court as well as a right-win, do-nothing Congress.

But it would be difficult to portray Justice Kennedy is an obstructionist Republican, just as it will be hard to run against a Congress that is controlled in one chamber by the Democrats. And running as an outsider while living at 1600 Pennsylvania? Good luck with that.

Given Obama’s open mic gaffe – “After my election, I have more flexibility” – yesterday, the potential for creating a narrative that the President is a slippery, disingenuous campaigner is very real. American Crossroads, the Republican super PAC, has already been quick off the mark with this web ad on Obama as a health care flip flopper:

But the most fundamental problem for the President is that if the heart of Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional then he will be left empty-handed after spending two years and virtually all his political capital on jamming through the bill without a single Republican vote.

In short, it will make him look like a loser – not a quality Americans value in their presidents. And the fact that the Republican nominee will be able to quote Obama’s own criticisms of the individual mandate against him will be the icing on the cake

SOURCE

What is happening to Airline Pilots?

Passengers subdue ‘screaming’ JetBlue captain as mid-air rant diverts flight

By BILL SANDERSON and PEDRO OLIVEIRA Jr.

A JetBlue flight captain had to be tackled by passengers today after he ran up and down a packed flight screaming about “terrorism” and “al Qaeda” in a terrifying mid-air outburst.

“Say your prayers!” the crazed pilot screamed as he ran up and down the aisle, a passenger told The Post.

“Someone next to me said he was saying something about bombs,” recounted the passenger, Tiffany Lee, a 26-year-old Las Vegas resident.

The Amarillo Globe-News also quoted passengers on board saying the pilot was screaming about al Qaeda.

“Iraq, al Qaeda, terrorism — we’re all going down,” he yelled, according to witnesses.

Laurie Dhue, a former FOX News Channel anchor who was on board the flight, told the network passengers could hear the pilot using the words “Afghanistan” and “Israel” during the tirade.

The crazed captain’s outburst came after he was booted from the cockpit, passengers said.

He banged on the cockpit door asking to be let back in before passengers subdued him, said authorities.

Four passengers, including a retired NYPD sergeant jumped up and held the man down, Fox 5 reported.

“It was so scary,” said Lee. “People around me were freaking out a little bit. The girl next to me was saying, ‘Oh my god, what If I never talk to my fiancé again?’ ”

JetBlue Flight 191 — an Airbus A320 that can hold 150 people — made its emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas at 10:11 a.m. local time.

The flight had departed from JFK at 7:28 a.m.

Grainy YouTube footage purportedly taken by one passenger aboard the flight after its landing showed a scrum at the front of the plane as an attendant reminded them to stay seated and scolded people for taking video, saying, “We don’t need pictures of this, please.”

JetBlue said in a statement that the captain had a “medical situation” and was taken to an Amarillo hospital.

He was replaced on the flight deck by an off-duty captain who happened to be on the plane, the airline said.

The FBI is investigating the incident.

In August 2010, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater gained national attention when he grabbed some beers, deployed his JetBlue plane’s emergency chute on the JFK tarmac and slid right off his job after an argument with a testy passenger.

‘I’ve had it! To the passenger who called me a motherf—-r, f–k you! . . . I’m done!” Slater bellowed into the plane intercom before taking the slide.

Two weeks ago, an American Airlines flight attendant had to be restrained after a “mental episode” where she began ranting over the public-speaker system that the plane was going to crash.

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Science Baffling Illness Strikes Africa, Turns Children Into Mindless “Zombies”

Science Baffling Illness Strikes Africa, Turns Children Into Mindless “Zombies”
Jason Mick

World Health Organization is on high alert about new Ugandan outbreak, cause is not fully known

Added commentary from Jason Oh, a Johns Hopkins Univ. public health studies student who is currently in Uganda studying the disease post-conflict transformation. Mr. Oh described some of the symptoms in more detail, and offered different perspective from the CNN reporters’ experience.

CNN has also reworded their report to tone down the suggestion of violent behavior.

It’s called the “nodding disease” and it’s a baffling illness that has struck thousands of children in northern Uganda. The illness brings on seizures, violent behavior in some (debated), personality changes, and a host of other unusual symptoms.

I. Mental Degradation: Child Victims Have no Cure, no Future

Grace Lagat, a northern Uganda native, is mother of two children — Pauline Oto and Thomas — both of whom are victims of the disease. For their safety, when she leaves the house, she now ties them up, using fabric like handcuffs. She recalls, “When I am going to the garden, I tie them with cloth. If I don’t tie them I come back and find that they have disappeared.”

Reportedly the children gnaw at their fabric restraints, like a rabid animals — or “zombies” of popular fiction — in an attempt to escape. (This is based on CNN’s commentary.)

(Jason Oh points out that the restraints are intended to protect the chidlren from harm, and from starting fires.)

The effort to restrain the children is not unwarranted. In one of the most bizarre symptoms of this tragic illness, children with the disease are reportedly setting fire to buildings in their communities. Coupled with the aimless wandering this disease provokes in victims, this is a deadly combination. More than 200 people have been killed in fires believed to be set by the zombified children.

(According to Jason Oh, there have been few reports of violent behavior. It is unclear where our primary source CNN received this information, though a reader suggested that a CDC report indicated that 10 to 15 percent of children were found to exhibit increased aggression. We were unable to locate this report.)


Nodding disease zombie child

The disease leaves child victims in an often-violent “zombiefied” state. [Image Source: CNN]

The disease is not new. It popped up in the 1960s in Sudan. From there it slowly spread to Libya and Tanzania.

The Uganda infections, though, are a new outbreak — a troubling sign. The jump into a new region could be pure coincidence, or it could indicate the disease has become more virulent or found a new transmissions vector.

Africa map
Uganda is located in central Africa [Image Source: U of Tex., Modifications: Jason Mick]

Infected children typically have regular seizures, which are proceeded by a repetitive nodding of the head. This characteristic symptom has given rise to the unofficial title for the malady.

II. World Medical Organizations Racing for a Cure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have been tracking the spread of this frightening ailment. Dr. Joaquin Saweka says the scene in Uganda is horrific, stating, “It was quite desperate, I can tell you. Imagine being surrounded by 26 children and 12 of them showing signs of this. The attitude was to quickly find a solution to the problem.”

Yet the WHO and CDC are not fully sure what is causing the illness, which cripples children and turns them into mindless, violence-prone zombies. The best clue they have is that most of the cases occur in regions inhabited by “Black flies”, which carry the parasitic worm Onchocerca Volvulus. That worm is responsible for another dangerous disease dubbed “river blindness”, the world’s second leading cause of infectious blindness.

(Jason Oh states that CNN misunderstood this reference. While it’s true the cause of the disease is unknown and the literature papers on the topic indicate an overlap with part of the river blindness afflicted regions, but he feels this reference was only intended to “state the obvious”, not hypothesize causation.)

Black Fly and worm
The illness may have something to do with Black flies (left, center) and their parasitic worm (right). [Image Source: WHO (left), Wikimedia Commons (center), Human Healths (right)]

However 7 percent of infected children live in regions not inhabited by the Black fly, so a link is speculative at best.

Children with the disease also frequently exhibit vitamin B6 deficiency, leading medical experts to believe that the disease may be nutrition related. However, infections by microbes, parasites, fungi, or even fungi/microbes carried by a parasitic host, can all lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Dr. Scott Dowell, director of global disease detection and emergency response at CDC, says the race is on to determine the cause and a cure. He states, “At first we cast the net wide. We ruled out three dozen potential causes and we are working on a handful of probabilities. We know from past experience an unknown disease could end up having more global implications.”

In the current cases children as old as 19 have been found to be stricken, with the majority of the worst symptoms being spread over the 3-11 age range.

One mystery surrounding the disease is the seizures themselves. While typically seizures are either randomly occurring or follow some singular cue/pattern, the nodding disease seems to have multiple triggers, including eating new foods, changing weather, and other changes.

(Jason Oh says CNN reporters messed up and that it’s familiar foods trigger the seizures, not unfamiliar ones like bars of chocolate.)

Seizure often leave the children soiled with urine and drooling. Local nurses are afraid to touch the infected. States local nurse Elupe Petua, “I feel, because I don’t know what causes it, I don’t even know how it transmits, when I touch them I feel that I can also get the infection because I don’t know what causes it.”

III. Medication is Ineffective

Anti-epileptic medication slows the onset of symptoms, but is unable to stop the progression of the disease. The seizures eventually leave many children unable to walk, only able to drag their bodies along the ground as flies tried to attack them.

Nodding disease
The current treatment approach of anti-epileptics has done little to halt the illness.
[Image Souce: CNN]

(Jason Oh says that the diseases offers a tragic, slow mental degradation, taking years to develop. Affected children, embarassed about the nodding and afraid of infecting classmates often drop out of school, while still mentally capable. Eventually the seizures lead to the more severe symptoms mentioned in the intro — loss of speech, partial paralysis, personality changes, and — according to CNN — violence.)

The government of Uganda has come under criticism for not being vocal enough in addressing the tragedy and demanding foreign aid/research expertise. Local politicians have taken to transporting victims from affected villages by bus to city hospitals in order to force the issue into the eyes of the more affluent city-dwellers.

(Jason Oh adds some perspective writing, “Uganda had asked the CDC to investigate in 2009. Most of the backlash against the government is because the Ministry of Health has been slow to use emergency funds that the Parliament made available. They’ve established many local centers for Nodding Syndrome, but they are under-staffed and under-equipped. The kids are being referred to and transported to Mulago Hospital (famous for being in The Last King of Scotland) so the top doctors at Makerere University and in Kampala can monitor them.”)

The issue is yet another woe for a nation in which the impoverished majority was terrorized for years by warlord Jospeph Kony’s militia, dubbed the “Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Mr. Kony is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court on multiple counts of violent war crimes, including rape and murder. These offenses are punishable by death (life in prison), if he is ever brought to trial. (Jason Oh clarified that under the new Rome Statute of 2002, the ICC is not allowed to seek the death penalty, even in murder cases.)

IV. What if the “Nodding Disease” Found a Way to Reach the U.S.?

Dr. Saweka says that for all the hand-waving by the government about using better anti-epileptics and offering more funding, he appreciates and shares in the villagers frustration. He states, “People complain that it looks like the lives in developing countries have less value than the lives in the western countries. When you know the root cause, you address the cure. Now you are just relieving the symptoms. We don’t expect to cure anybody.”

Ugandans
Ugandans, grief stricken, feel somewhat abandoned by the government and the wealthy developed “First World”. [Image Source: CNN]

While the “First World” may not be focused on — or even aware of — the zombification that is leaving children in these African nations violent (debated), crippled shells of their former selves — tied like dogs — it is an issue that must be addressed. After all, viruses, bacteria, parasites thanks to the wonders of evolution can mutate and adapt to new environments and new transmission vectors.

Thus this zombie virus While reports of violence or strange behavior — like biting — are disputed, the disease is very serious. It may seem like a foreign issue to regions like the U.S. and EU who are struggling with their own financial crisises. But if the illness finds a way to broaden its spread, this outbreak could cripple children across the globe.

(A word of clarification… CNN has reworded their report slightly to tone down the suggestion of violent behavior. The reports of fire starting stand, but in the new context it’s possible these were just innocent accidents triggered by the childrens’ loss of coordination.

Source: CNN

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