December 25, 2013

The American Red Cross - A Legacy of Corruption

The Red Cross money extracting scam

October 21, 2013

Balkan Chronicle - The International Red Cross is an Elite-controlled front organization whose true purpose is the complete opposite from its stated purpose.

The moment a 'natural' disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake or the Japanese Tsunami occurs; the Red Cross floods the airwaves with ads seeking donations. With music full of pathos playing in the background, the announcer tells us that the Red Cross is 'always there in time of need' and now that the poor victims are suffering terribly, 'won't you please open your heart and wallet?'

These people have totally mastered the science of extracting money from the unthinking masses. For example, the dust from the World Trade Center demolition had not even settled (literally) before the Red Cross were appealing to us all to give blood and money to help the families of the victims of the 'terrorist' attack. Thousands of people gave blood and even more gave millions of dollars to the Red Cross. Perhaps, it would have been pertinent to ask 'blood for whom'? Everyone was dead (there were few injuries, relatively speaking) so why was the Red Cross asking for blood donations day and night for a week or longer?

The answer is reflective of the true purpose of the Red Cross. Sad to say the Red Cross is a disaster 'racket,' which is in the business of making money from people's misery, especially with totally engineered disasters such as 9/11. They sell the blood on, of course, but they apparently also use the blood for other things to which the public is generally not privy and one could legitimately ask where does all the money go and to whom?

For the most part, they keep it for themselves as do the vast majority of major, household-name charities. The families of the victims of 9/11 had to badger, harass and threaten the Red Cross in an attempt to obtain $11 million that they would not release to the families, as long as one year after the event - and that is just what we were told in the media, so my guess is that the actual figure was much, much higher than this.

The CEO of the Red Cross and other senior administrators receive obscene salaries and massive perks, all of which are paid directly from contributions. At the time of writing, the salary of the current president is almost $700,000 per annum and the total revenue of the Red Cross is well in excess of $3bn!


In Sept. 2005, Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones wrote:
"As the aftermath of hurricane Katrina continues to wreak mayhem and havoc amid reports of mass looting, shooting at rescue helicopters, rapes and murders, establishment media organs are promoting the Red Cross as a worthy organization to give donations to. The biggest website in the world,, displays a Red Cross donation link prominently on its front page. Every time there is a major catastrophe the Red Cross and similar organizations like United Way are given all the media attention while other charities are left in the shadows. This is not to say that the vast majority of Red Cross workers are not decent people who simply want to help those in need".
In fact, the Red Cross has been caught 'red-handed' withholding money in the wake of terrible disasters that require immediate funds. In the name of the 'Liberty Fund' for 9/11 family relief, the Red Cross collected $564 million in donations yet only actually distributed around $150 million.

The then Red Cross President Dr. Bernadine Healy arrogantly proclaimed:
"The Liberty Fund is a war fund. It has evolved into a war fund. We must have blood readiness. We must have the ability to help our troops if we go into a ground war. We must have the ability to help the victims of tomorrow." (She resigned under fire in Dec. 2001, and died in 2011. )
On Jan 3, 2005, CNN reported:
"Charities swung into action after the September 11 terrorist attacks, raising more than $1 billion. But questions are being raised about where and how and how much of that money is being distributed. Bearing the brunt Tuesday during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight panel was outgoing Red Cross President Dr. Bernadine Healy. Healy was hammered by one New York official for the Red Cross' decision to put aside nearly half of the money raised for future needs that may include terrorist attacks. 'I see the Red Cross, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars that was intended by the donating public to be used for the victims of September 11 -- I see those funds being sequestered into long-term plans for an organization,' New York Attorney general Eliot Spitzer testified."

In fact the Red Cross has a long, long sordid history of stealing cash donations intended for disaster relief.

Following the disastrous San Francisco earthquake in 1989, the Red Cross donated only $10 million of the $50 million that had been raised, and kept the rest.Similarly, following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the Red River flooding in 1997 many donations were also withheld. Even as far back as the Korean War, the Red Cross was plundering soldiers' relief packages, the famous 'Red Cross Parcels' from home.

The Red Cross is very adept at stealing money and looting mail and has been exposed in this respect many times but it has been allowed to escape sanctions, punishment or exposure because the organization is so closely allied with and indeed is inextricably linked with the Elite establishment. It is without doubt an organization run by Elite insiders whose purpose is to gather intelligence and steal from the poor, underprivileged and needy to further line the pockets of the rich.

Several minor charities that were involved with the 2004 Tsunami relief project expressed outrage in public to say that large charities like Red Cross and Oxfam were engaged in secret negotiations that resulted in a large amount of the public-donated money being withheld from those most affected by the disaster. See Red Cross Hasn't Spent $200 million Raised for S. Asian Tsunami

The message here should be clear to all. Under no circumstances donate money to major charitable organizations unless you would like your money to go to benefit the Elite's expansion of their empires and the fast-developing police state in your own backyards. Find smaller independent charitable organizations that you know to be reliable and make your donations to them.

IRS form 990 for the American Red Cross for calendar year 2011

According to their IRS form 990 for 2001, the America RedCross spent eight times more on salaries and compensation for employees than they did on their cause (programs and services for people affected by disaster).

Of the $3.2 billion the Red Cross received in contributions for 2011, 99% ($3.1 billion) was spent on salaries and other expenses, which left only l % ($38 million) of contributions for the cause: helping victims of disaster relief (they used reserve funds to supplement the $38 million remaining after salaries and other expenses to fund programs and services, for total grants of $212 million).

An organization’s cause should be where the majority of contributions go, not for salaries and other administrative costs (there are more than a million American Red Cross volunteers who work for nothing). In 2011, the American Red Cross spent nearly $2 billion compensating 30,000 employees and spent over $3 billion for other expenses, and only made disaster relief payments of $66 million (of the $212 million total paid out in grants).

If a charity spends most of its contributions on salaries and other expenses rather than its mission, it is inefficient and ineffective.
Total Revenue 2011: $3.2 billion
Revenue Paid Out in Grants for Its Cause: $212 million (1% of revenue plus 6% borrowed from reserves)
Revenue Spent on Salaries & Compensation: $1.7 billion (54.64% of revenue)
Revenue Spent on Other Expenses: $1.4 billion (44.17% of revenue)
Total Expenses: $3.3 billion ($175 million in the red)
Net Assets or Fund Balances at Year End: $1.6 billion
CEO’s salary: $591,122 plus $37,386 in “other compensation” per IRS Form 990 (Forbes reported her salary as $1,032,022)
1,359 employees receiving more than $100,000 in compensation
57 independent contractors receiving more than $100,000 in compensation
The Red Cross operated in the red in 2011 by $175 million (spending 6% more than revenue after paying administrative costs and salaries), which is why the figures above add up to more than a 100%. However, they are not broke – they ended the year with assets or fund balances of $1.6 billion. Plus, in 2011, they had a large endowment fund worth $828 million, securities worth $563 million, and land, buildings and equipment worth $1.1 billion.

On schedule I of their 990 form, the American Red Cross noted that they made disaster relief payments of $66 million in 2011 and “did not make specific financial assistance to any one individual during the fiscal year exceeding $5,000.”

On their IRS 990 filing for 2011, the Red Cross listed the “reported compensation” for their president and CEO, Gail J. McGovern, as $591,122 plus $37,386 in “other compensation.” However, Forbes reported in 2010 that her pay at the Red Cross was $1,032,022.

Top Person: Gail J. McGovern
Top Pay: $1,032,022
Fiscal Year ending on 06/30/10

Gail J. McGovern joined the American Red Cross as president and CEO on April 8, 2008. Prior to joining the Red Cross, McGovern was a faculty member at the Harvard Business School and served as president of Fidelity Personal Investments, a unit of Fidelity Investments, responsible for half a trillion dollars of assets under management. She was also executive vice president for the Consumer Markets Division at AT&T, the $26 billion residential long-distance organization and largest business unit. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Columbia University, and has since been recognized as alumna of the year from both universities. McGovern is currently a member of the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University and the board of directors of DTE Energy. In February 2013, she joined the board of directors of The Weather Company, which operates The Weather Channel, and other services. McGovern was recognized by Fortune magazine in 2000 and 2001 as one of the top 50 most powerful women in corporate America.

Seven years after the 2004 tsunami, billions in private contributions still had not been distributed by the Red Cross.
Major humanitarian crises in the past decade have prompted unprecedented amounts of private donations: the tsunami that caused widespread devastation across the Indian Ocean in December 2004 saw US$3.9 billion raised in private aid; the response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti generated at least US$1.2 billion in contributions from the general public; and US$450 million was channelled in response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan.
Based on a conservative estimate, at least US$18 billion was raised from private donors in response to humanitarian needs between 2006 and 2010.
The report below is from 2011.
Should You Donate to the Red Cross?
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Should you heed the calls to donate to the Red Cross to help Japan? Maybe not. Here’s an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed from January of this year:
When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the world community came to its aid. Millions of private citizens in this country and around the world reached into their household budgets and gave generously to the Haitian people who were grappling with the devastation…
Despite billions of dollars pledged from private citizens and world governments, a serious health scare has arisen. With poor sanitation, malnutrition, little safe drinking water and no sewage systems, the crowded temporary housing tent communities provide ideal breeding grounds for cholera.
One independent report has conservatively estimated that there is one toilet for every 273 people in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Throughout Haiti, a year after we opened our hearts and wallets, the latrines are not cleaned on a regular basis and human waste spreads into the streams by the frequent rains. Now, a year later, limited water distribution continues, with little development of sustainable, municipal water-filtration systems.
In the face of these conditions, Haiti remains the non-governmental organization (NGO) capital of the world. Before the earthquake, there were more than 5,000 organizations on the ground in Haiti. From the International Red Cross to any number of church and civic organizations, Haiti is replete with people of good will who are there to make it a better place to live. Each of these organizations conducted their own fundraising campaigns after the earthquake and collected millions of dollars.
With millions of dollars at our disposal do we really lack the ability to support basic sanitation and clean water? Do we lack the ability to stop a preventable, deadly water-borne disease right off our coast? What happened to the money?
Many of the charities on the ground have reported they are setting aside a portion of their donations (sometimes up to 70 percent) for the “reconstruction” period.
It’s clear from the outpouring of support many of those who donated from their own scarce family budgets believed they were giving to save lives immediately. In the face of a preventable public health emergency, like cholera, many will be surprised that more than half of their donations continue to sit in U.S. banks.
My organization has attempted for nearly a year to get the Red Cross to account for the money they collected for Haiti. In a recent meeting, I was told that 70 percent of their donations remain in “reserve” for longer-term reconstruction.
So here’s my question for any readers out there who know more about these things than I do (which isn’t much). Who deserves our donations? I’ve heard that Doctors Without Borders is on the ground early after disasters, has low overhead, and delivers immediate relief.
I’m also open to the possibility that the op-ed above is wrong, or that there are credible responses to or justifications of the points it raises. But I’d like to see those responses. It’s hard to fathom why the Red Cross would have 70 percent of Haiti donations still sitting in the bank a year later, while the country battles preventable disease outbreaks caused by poor sanitation.

December 21, 2013

Federal DHS Agent Arrested After Daytime Shooting at Boca Raton Mall

Federal agent arrested after daytime shooting at Boca Raton mall

September 26, 2013

Sun Sentinel - A Pompano Beach man whose car was allegedly shot at by an off-duty federal agent said Thursday it's a "miracle" that nobody in the car — including his 2-year-old son — was hit by the bullet.

Alla Juma, 27, said he thinks Boca Raton police did the right thing by initiating the arrest of Angel Echevarria, a Department of Homeland Security special agent assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service.
"I don't really have a reaction, I just know that justice has been served," Juma said of the arrest. "You can't just take out your gun and start shooting at people."
Juma said he was driving with his brother, 18, and toddler son on Glades Road at about 1:30 p.m. Sept. 7, heading to the Town Center at Boca Raton mall to pick up his wife when he found himself in a dispute with another driver.

The driver, later determined to be Echevarria, unlawfully fired his service weapon at Juma's Toyota, according to police.
"If you're a federal agent you should act better than that; you shouldn't act like a Rambo," Juma said.
Echevarria, a special agent with Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, surrendered at the Palm Beach County Jail late Wednesday, said Boca Raton Police Officer Sandra Boonenberg. Police on Monday had filed a probable cause affidavit seeking Echevarria's arrest.

He faces three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to court records.

Echevarria's attorney, Bruce Lehr, said he couldn't say much about the allegations, but said his client has the right to self-defense whether he's on duty or not.
"As a law enforcement officer, he does not lose his right to defend himself and his family," Lehr said.
Lehr said it wasn't clear what Echevarria's job status is now that his client is facing charges.

Calls to the Department of Homeland Security were referred to the department's Office of the Inspector General, whose mandate is to provide independent oversight of the department.
"As a matter of policy, we do not discuss ongoing investigations," said an email from the office's public affairs branch.
According to a Boca Raton police probable cause affidavit, Echevarria honked his horn at Juma's car after Juma cut him off near the Town Center mall.

In response, Juma shot up his middle finger. Officers wrote in the affidavit what happened next:

Echevarria, driving with his wife and five children, tried to follow Juma's red Toyota but crashed into the back of another car. Echevarria signaled to the other car to follow him into the mall parking lot. In the mall parking lot near the Nordstrom store, Echevarria saw Juma's car and parked his black Honda Pilot nose-to-nose with it.

The special agent, dressed in civilian clothes, got out of his car, pointed a .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun at Juma's car, and announced he was a police officer.

Echevarria said Juma sped away, bumping Echevarria and Echevarria's wife as he drove off, according to the affidavit. The agent fired one round at the Toyota, police said, with the bullet lodging in the rear driver's side wheel well.

The special agent's wife was treated at a local hospital. Her injuries included an abrasion to a finger, a red mark on her knee, and a small mark on her ankle. Echevarria didn't show any obvious signs of injury, according to the affidavit.

Juma told police he drove away from the confrontation because he feared for his safety and the safety of everybody in his car, according to the affidavit.

The officer wrote that although Juma cut off Echevarria, that was a traffic infraction, and a time lapse occurred between the initial incident and the confrontation in the parking lot. He wrote that Echevarria was a "civilian and had no lawful or legal authority to discharge his firearm at an occupied vehicle."

Why Have Police in America Turned into Such Ruthless Thugs?

Why Have Police In America Turned Into Such Ruthless Thugs?

EndOfTheAmericanDream - Just this week, there have been stories about police killing a baby deer at an animal shelter, about police killing a 95-year-old World War II veteran in a retirement home, and about police using legal technicalities to “legally” steal massive amounts of money from innocent citizens.

Why are police acting like this?  Why have police in America turned into such ruthless thugs?

In the case of the baby deer that was killed, 13 armed agents stormed the animal shelter up in Wisconsin where it was being cared for.  Is this really the kind of country that we want our children to grow up in?  A country where Bambi is hunted down by armed thugs working for the government?  Sadly, the story about that deer is not an isolated incident.  The truth is that police all over the country kill animals every single day. 

In fact, police in Chicago have shot 488 animals since 2008.  No wonder people are so afraid to have the police come to their homes.

Increasingly, police departments all over the United States are being transformed into military-style units.  These days, even very minor violations of the law can result in a SWAT team raid.  The following is from a recent article by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute
Consider that in 1980, there were roughly 3,000 SWAT team-style raids in the US. By 2001, that number had grown to 45,000 and has since swelled to more than 80,000 SWAT team raids per year. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. In fact, there are few communities without a SWAT team on their police force today. In 1984, 25.6 percent of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team. That number rose to 80 percent by 2005.
But it is not just local police departments that are being militarized.  This is happening on the federal level as well.  In fact, according to Whitehead even the Department of Education and NASA now have their own SWAT teams…
When it comes to SWAT-style tactics being used in routine policing, the federal government is one of the largest offenders, with multiple agencies touting their own SWAT teams, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Consumer Product Safety Commission, NASA, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the US National Park Service, and the FDA.
What in the world does NASA need a SWAT team for?

The police culture in America has fundamentally changed.  In the old days, most police officers were extremely helpful and would give you directions or help you get your cat out of a tree.

But if you stop and ask a police officer for help today, you will be lucky if all you get is some dirty language.  These days, police all over the nation are actually being trained to bark orders at you and to respond to the least bit of resistance with overwhelming force.

The results of this kind of training can often be extremely tragic.  Just the other day, a 95-year-old World War II veteran living in a retirement home near Chicago was murdered by police just because he did not want to undergo high-risk surgery…
A 95-year-old man who served his country during World War II is now dead after police stormed his retirement home with riot shields, Tasered him and shot him with bean bag rounds – all because he adamantly refused to undergo high-risk surgery.
U.S. Army Air Corps veteran John Wrana, who was honorably discharged as a sergeant after he served in the India-Burma campaign, used a walker because family members said he was “wobbly” on his feet, according to the Chicago Tribune. The elderly veteran was shot down by enemy fire during the war.
On July 26, a doctor reportedly told Wrana if he survived surgery, he would likely be put on life support. The elderly man refused the operation, and paramedics attempted to involuntarily transport him for medical treatment. He was sitting in a chair, holding a cane and a shoe horn when police arrived at the Victory Centre senior living facility located just south of Chicago.
Why did the police have to act like that?

Is there any police officer out there that cannot physically handle a 95-year-old man?
That 95-year-old veteran survived fighting the Japanese, but he was not able to survive the thuggish behavior of our own police.

And most Americans don’t realize this, but when police pull you over they can take cash and property from you even if you have not done anything wrong.  It is called “civil forfeiture” and it is one of the worst things about U.S. law.  Civil forfeiture was described in a recent article by Becket Adams
Did you know that the police can confiscate items such as cash and property from people who have never been convicted of a crime?
It’s true, and it’s all because of a little-known police tactic called civil forfeiture.
A product of the so-called “war on drugs,” civil forfeiture was part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 passed by Congress 29 years ago. The bill gives law enforcement officials a portion of the assets seized during drug raids and similar investigations.
The following are some examples of the abuse of civil forfeiture that were detailed in a recent article in the New Yorker

-Police took the home of an elderly couple in Philadelphia because their son allegedly sold $20 worth of marijuana on their front porch.

-Police in Virginia pulled over a speeder and took $28,500 that was intended to be used to purchase a new parcel of land for a Pentecostal church.

-One town in Texas has actually been caught threatening to take children away from innocent couples if they don’t sign over the cash that they are carrying to the police…

The county’s district attorney, a fifty-seven-year-old woman with feathered Charlie’s Angels hair named Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later. Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services.
“Where are we?” Boatright remembers thinking. “Is this some kind of foreign country, where they’re selling people’s kids off?” Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.
If you have not read the new article in the New Yorker that goes into great detail about all of this, you can find it right here.

So why are police all over America acting like this?

Well, one of the primary factors is that they are just following the example that is being set on the federal level.

The entire country is rapidly being transformed into a “Big Brother” police state, and most Americans seem to like it that way.

And with each passing year, it just gets even worse.  For example, we were originally told that the TSA would only be hassling us at our airports, but now they are everywhere.  As the New York Times recently reported, TSA “VIPR teams” are now being deployed almost everywhere there are large gatherings of people…
With little fanfare, the agency best known for airport screenings has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals.
This “VIPR team” program is “growing rapidly”, and apparently these “VIPR teams” conducted 8,800 “unannounced checkpoints” last year…
The program now has a $100 million annual budget and is growing rapidly, increasing to several hundred people and 37 teams last year, up from 10 teams in 2008. T.S.A. records show that the teams ran more than 8,800 unannounced checkpoints and search operations with local law enforcement outside of airports last year, including those at the Indianapolis 500 and the Democratic and Republican national political conventions.
So where is the outrage?

A small minority of the American people have been sounding the alarm about NSA snooping and other abuses, but most Americans don’t really seem to care about these things very much.

In fact, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 47 percent of all Americans don’t even want the media to report on secret government surveillance programs.

So not only do they not want the surveillance to stop, 47 percent of all Americans do not even want to hear anything about it on the news.

How sickening is that?

Sadly, this is not the first survey that has produced this kind of a result.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "19 Surveys Which Prove That A Large Chunk Of The Population Is Made Up Of Totally Clueless Sheeple."

In the end, we will get the government that we deserve.  And according to the New York Times, at this point our government is even willing to manufacture fake terror threats in order to distract us from their surveillance activities…
Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the N.S.A.’s data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better.
What in the world is happening to America?

Is there any hope for us?

DHS Training and Desensitizing Agents to Kill Fellow Americans

Department of Homeland Security Preparing their Agents to Kill Pregnant Women…..

Dare to Differ - Why are the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other Federal law enforcement agencies putting their agents through, what can only be described as “desensitization training”? Training that will better equip agents mentally, to kill American citizens, if needed. Citizens like, pregnant women, small children, and elderly men, to name a few. The DHS has purchased what they call “No Hesitation” targets. Very realistic targets, with pictures of everyday citizens holding a gun. No-hesitation means, child with a gun, don’t hesitate, shoot. Pregnant woman holding a gun, don’t hesitate, shoot. Young mother at the park with her 2 pre-school age children, holding a gun, don’t hesitate, shoot.

What does desensitize mean? The dictionary says “to make indifferent, unaware, or the like, in feeling.” The agents are being trained, to shoot a child, a pregnant woman, an elderly man, without hesitation, and not even care or feel guilt. Even the product descriptions on the shooting targets sold at Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., the contracted, DHS supplier, confirms they are, intended to condition police and armed agents to fire on people without hesitation,

Why do they need this training unless they intend to use it?

Retired City of Houston police officer T.F. Stern reacted to the issue by remarking,
“There’s something wrong, seriously wrong here. If we start to desensitize law enforcement officers, have them disregard humanity, to feel nothing’s wrong in shooting a pregnant woman or an old man with a shotgun inside his own home…then what kind of society have we become? How will police officers react after they no longer believe they are part of the society which they have been charged with policing, when they have become used to shooting pregnant women and old men?”
The DHS, a federal non-military agency has purchased 2 billion rounds of ammunition in a little less than a year: “that is enough rounds to kill every American citizen of the United States 5 (five) times over,” says Blain Cooper. Our troops were using 5.5 million rounds per month, in Iraq. DHS now has enough ammunition for a 24 year Iraq war.

Radio show host Mark Levin states:
“The Obama Administration says the ammunition is for “mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions”.
This is not normal ammunition; these are expensive, hollow-core bullets. These are not what you would use for “quarterly qualifications and other training sessions.” Hollow-core bullets are not “training bullets”; they are “people stoppers.”
Still not convinced something might be going on with the Feds?

In October of last year 2012, the DHS purchased at least 7,000 fully automatic assault rifles. The very rifles they are trying to ban. When questioned about what the rifles are for, their response: “Personal Defense Weapons.” The very reason Citizens are trying to keep them but the government tells us they are not effective as “Personal Defense Weapons.”

Why would they do this? They’re getting prepared, stocking up. They’re preparing, because our country is facing an “Economic Meltdown”. The downfall of our entire financial system; and when an economy crashes, what comes with it?

Radio show host, Mark Levin says it best,
“I’ll tell you what I think: they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses. I suspect that just in case our fiscal situation, our monetary situation, collapses, and following it the civil society collapses, that is the rule of law, they want to be prepared. I know why the government’s arming up: It’s not because there’s going to be an insurrection; it’s because our society is unraveling.”
Think it’s paranoia, that it would never happen? Do some research of your own, it’s not a matter of, “it would never happen”…….it’s already happening.

Older woman with gun DHS targetSchool Age Girl DHS targetOld man in his home DHS targetyoung mother on playground  dhs targetPregnant Woman DHS Target
Smll boy target dhs-crp

Homeland Security is an Inefficient Use of Taxpayer Money and Infringes on American Rights and Civil Liberties

6 reasons to close the Homeland Security office

The department seemed necessary after the Sept. 11 attacks. Now it's an inefficient use of taxpayer money.

July 16, 2013

Kim Peterson - Is it time to shut down the Department of Homeland Security?

This arm of the federal government is bloated and ineffective, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, writes in a column for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Kenny makes the case that DHS should just be put out of its misery and that now is a good time to do it with Janet Napolitano's resignation from the top spot.

From his piece, here are six reasons Homeland Security should be put to bed:

1. No one's running the show. There are now 15 vacant positions at the highest levels of the department.

2. Terrorism doesn't kill many Americans. You have a higher chance of drowning than dying in a terrorist attack. You have a much higher chance of being killed by a gun.

OK, now is about the time when you might be saying, "Wait, maybe terrorism doesn't kill many Americans precisely because Homeland Security is so good." Unfortunately, that's not the case, because . . .

3. DHS hasn't stopped many large terrorist attacks. Check out the Heritage Foundation's list of 50 terrorist plots that federal authorities have stopped since Sept. 11. One guy wanted to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge with that most deadly of weapons: a blow torch. And these are just alleged plots, Kenny writes. The list of plausible plots or actual crimes is much smaller.

It's also important to note on this list how many plots were foiled by the FBI. That agency is doing amazing work on its own.

4. DHS is a cash hog. It received $20 billion in 2002, which seemed like a lot back then. Now it's getting some $60 billion a year, and spending is out of control. Consider the half a million dollars that went to North Pole, Alaska, for homeland security rescue and communications equipment, Kenny writes. The population of North Pole: 1,570.

5. It goes too far with U.S. citizens. From seizing a GI Joe doll's gun at the airport to putting in expensive full-body scanners to conducting random searches on the highways, the DHS "gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification," Kenny writes.

6. It's bloated. The DHS also includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which doesn't have the best track record. The department also includes the U.S. Secret Service, which just spent an estimated $100 million to provide security for President Obama's trip to Africa. There are so many resources in Homeland Security that agents were out arresting drunk drivers in Tennessee last Labor Day weekend. While Tennessee authorities may have appreciated the help, is that really DHS' duty?

Finally, we leave you with this: The government can't even define "homeland security." A recent report from the Congressional Research Service and picked up by Wired noted that 10 years after Sept. 11, the government "does not have a single definition for homeland security." That may "impede the development of a coherent national security strategy," the report said.

DHS Training Local Police to Enforce Martial Law

DHS Training Local Police to Enforce Martial Law

May 19, 2013 - Bakersfield, CA. resident, David Silva, was executed for being drunk in his own home. He was executed by the Kern County Sheriff’s Department. What happened to Silva was clearly an abuse of power but is representative of what the federal government has in store for all of America in which the people are the enemy of  law enforcement and will treated accordingly.
dhs fascism 

The Tenth Amendment provides for the division of power and law enforcement between the federal, state and local governments. Unfortunately, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is changing the face of local law enforcement.

dhs vipr pervert

DHS’ Original Mission In the aftermath of 9/11, DHS was created to protect the “Homeland” from further terror attacks from foreign born terrorists. DHS kept us safe at the airports by goosing granny. They also protected us from the trauma of natural disasters, through the use of FEMA, with such stellar performances like the one in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. And of course, FEMA has been instrumental in creating a multitude of so-called FEMA Camps which they say is to house a sudden influx of illegal aliens. Newsflash, there are 30 million illegal aliens here - you might want to roll back the covers and keep the soup warm. Of course, the camps are not for the illegals - they are for the citizens of this country who are deemed to be a threat to the roll out of martial law. Meanwhile, the real terrorists, al-Qaeda are being funded by the CIA in places like Libya and Syria.

DHS’ Real Mission

Meanwhile, back in reality, DHS was only created to pretend to thwart a foreign terror threat. The real reason that DHS has been created is now becoming obvious to all. With the advent of the MIAC Report which listed gun owners, Second Amendment supporters, Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Veterans and Christians as “domestic terrorists.” This was the real reason why DHS was created.

Recently, DHS sponsored a self-study entitled, “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission," in which DHS proclaims that they are no longer concerned with foreign inspired terrorism. They are only going to focus on domestic terrorism, ostensibly, against the American people. Does the DHS purchase of 2.2 billion rounds of ammo, the acquisition of 2700 armored personnel carriers, and the beta test of martial law in Boston last April begin to make any sense?

Obfuscation of DHS’ Original Charter 

Incredibly, DHS says that other agencies can deal with what once was the omnipresent and all-encompassing threat of terrorism that was initially used to justify DHS’s creation, powers and huge budget. The report went on to say that:

There are enough agencies pursuing the terrorist adversary to allow DHS to build a new analytic foundation that emphasizes data, analytic questions, and customer groups that are not the focus for other agencies…”

Subsequently, the real purpose behind the creation of this domestic East German Stasi secret police was to monitor and control the American population. Unfortunately, DHS has shared its high tech toys with most local police departments and Sheriff’s Departments and has, as a result, co-opted their local function. In other words, the federalization of local police forces, in violation of the 10th Amendment, is well underway. The early returns on this process are in and the results are extremely ugly.

The DHS trains police that Christians and Libertarians want to kill them, as do the returning veterans. The DHS is training local law enforcement that the people are their enemy. DHS has even gone so far to use pregnant women, old people and children as cut out targets for their drills. In short, they are being trained to attack America. Local law enforcement are being trained to use deadly force, even when its use is not warranted, against average Americans.

Salt Lake City: The Federalization of Our Police 

Under the creation of the Unified Police Department (UPD) in Salt Lake City, Utah, local jurisdictions and municipalities which were previously controlled by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office was reallocated to UPD. The UPD is a regional police force. They answer to no mayor, no city council and no county commissioners. The UPD is Salt Lake City’s new police department and serves as the model for the program which is being implemented in other police departments across the nation.

It is clear that the police departments are being trained as the local enforcers of the coming marital law and they also being trained to use horrific brutality.

The Murder of David Silva by the Kern County Sheriff’s Department

There is a new gang in Bakersfield, CA. No, it is not the Bloods, the Crips nor is it the Zetas. The new gang in town is the Bakersfield Sheriff’s Department as they did their best imitation last week as eight Deputies beat an unarmed David Silva to death while he was lying prone on the ground. Silva’s crime was that he was drunk in his own home.

police militarized

Six sheriff’s deputies and the sergeant involved in last week’s incident were placed on paid administrative leave, primarily for their own safety due to several email threats which have been sent to the department

All the non-cop witnesses are saying that Silva didn’t resist and the cops just murdered him should give you a clue. That, and the fact the cops confiscated the better videos from local citizens.
Here is what the witnesses are saying about the murder of innocent civilian, David Silva.

Film Cops and Get Life In Prison Michael Allison, recorded police officers on duty in his front yard inspecting vehicles he was repairing. The police cited Allison for failing to properly register his vehicles, and so he requested an ordinance review hearing. Allison now faces five felony counts, with each count carrying a penalty for 15 years in prison. For videotaping police and a court proceeding, Allison faces an unbelievable total of 75 years, or the rest of his life in prison under Illinois new eavesdropping statutes.

Look at the out of control stampede herd of thugs belonging to the NYPD at the 135th Street subway station when Clive Utter allegedly jumped the turnstile. Utter was slammed into the wall, dropped onto the floor and cuffed by a mob of at least 25 officers.

A bystander exercising his constitutionally protected right to film this act of police brutality was forced out to the street and was manhandled in the process. Utter was charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass, theft of service, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Can you imagine what would have happened to him if he picked pocketed a wallet or snatched a purse? Utter, like Silva, would likely be in the morgue.

What’s Next? Rendition Centers for Jaywalkers? America, we are living in unparalleled times. With the portion of the country awaiting a barrage of false flag attacks and the roll out of martial law, to be followed by war with Russia over Syria and Iran, these are uneasy times. If we had any hope that our police would defend the people from federal tyranny in the coming days and months, think again. The people are almost out of options, and options are something I will discuss in the next article.

December 17, 2013

Judge Who Issued NSA Ruling has a Long Record of Taking on Executive Branch Actions

Judge who issued NSA ruling often bucks executive

This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia shows Richard Leon, the judge who declared that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional, has a long record of taking on executive branch actions. (AP Photo/U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

December 17, 2013

AP - Richard Leon, the judge who declared that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional, has a long record of taking on executive branch actions.

Leon, a blunt-spoken, bowtie-wearing appointee of President George W. Bush, has ruled against the federal agencies on issues from drugs used for executions to warnings on cigarette packages.

The 64-year-old judge writes with flair, occasionally using exclamation marks to amplify a point. In a 2009 ruling ordering the release of a Guantanamo detainee, he wrote in response to a government argument, "I disagree!" In Tuesday's ruling, he wrote that "there is the very real prospect that the (NSA) program will go on for as long as America is combatting terrorism, which realistically could be forever!" 

His bluntness was on display at a hearing in the NSA case last month, before he decided how he would rule.

"I mean, I am not kidding myself," he told both parties, predicting the case would go to the Court of Appeals and probably the Supreme Court after that. "It doesn't matter, however I rule."
At a previous hearing, Leon admonished a government lawyer who noted that a deadline set by the judge fell on a federal holiday.
"We work 24/7 around this courthouse, my friend, 24/7," Leon said. "I don't want to hear anything about vacations, weddings, days off. Forget about it. This is a case at the pinnacle of public national interest, pinnacle. All hands 24/7. No excuses."
He has decided several Guantanamo Bay cases, including one in 2008 in which he ordered the release of five detainees after concluding that the government's evidence linking the men to al-Qaida was not credible as it came from a single, unidentified source.
"To allow enemy combatancy to rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court's obligation," Leon said.
But in a ruling the following year, Leon said the government could continue to hold an assistant cook for Taliban fighters.
"After all, as Napoleon himself was fond of pointing out, an army marches on its stomach," Leon said in issuing the ruling.
Leon, a native of South Natick, Mass., and graduate of Harvard Law School, had previous stints including the Justice Department, Capitol Hill and private practice before joining the court in 2002.

Bobby Burchfield, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery who has known Leon since his days on Capitol Hill, said he wasn't surprised that Leon would be willing to issue a ruling that would have a big impact on the government.
"He comes from a prosecutorial background, so it isn't that he has it in for the government," Burchfield said in a telephone interview. "Knowing him, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he looked at it carefully and found something that bothered him."
Last year, Leon blocked the importation of a drug used in executions, ruling that the Food and Drug Administration ignored the law in allowing it into the U.S. 
"Few in our society are more vulnerable than a death row inmate facing lethal injection," he wrote.
In another ruling, he blocked a federal requirement that would have forced U.S. tobacco companies to put large graphic images on their cigarette packages to show the dangers of smoking, ruling that it violated the First Amendment.

Gift and Estate Tax Shelters Have Saved $100 Billion in Federal Taxes for the Wealthy Since 2000

Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion

December 17, 2013

Bloomberg - Sheldon Adelson makes no secret of his disdain for the estate tax.
"How many times do you have to pay taxes on money?" the casino magnate asks, leaning on a blue cane on the cobblestones of Wall Street on a crisp October morning.
A gravel-voiced man whose accent recalls his blue-collar Boston roots, Adelson, 80, has just rung the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of his Las Vegas Sands Corp. are at a five-year high, making him one of the world's richest men, worth more than $30 billion.

Federal law requires billionaires such as Adelson who want to leave fortunes to their children to pay estate or gift taxes of 40 percent on those assets. Adelson has blunted that bite by exploiting a loophole that Congress unintentionally created and that the Internal Revenue Service unsuccessfully challenged.

By shuffling his company stock in and out of more than 30 trusts, he's given at least $7.9 billion to his heirs while legally avoiding about $2.8 billion in U.S. gift taxes since 2010, according to calculations based on data in Adelson's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Hundreds of executives have used the technique, SEC filings show. These tax shelters may have cost the federal government more than $100 billion since 2000, says Richard Covey, the lawyer who pioneered the maneuver. That's equivalent to about one-third of all estate and gift taxes the U.S. has collected since then.

Easy Bypass

The popularity of the shelter, known as the Walton grantor retained annuity trust, or GRAT, shows how easy it is for the wealthy to bypass estate and gift taxes. Even Covey says the practice, which involves rapidly churning assets into and out of trusts, makes a mockery of the tax code.
"You can certainly say we can't let this keep going if we're going to have a sound system," he says with a shrug.
Covey's technique is one of a handful of common devices that together make the estate tax system essentially voluntary, rendering it ineffective as a brake on soaring economic inequality, says Edward McCaffery, a professor at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law.

Since 2009, President Barack Obama and some Democratic lawmakers have made fruitless proposals to narrow the GRAT loophole. Any discussion of tax shelters has been drowned out by the debate over whether to have an estate tax at all, McCaffery says.

‘Campaign Donors'
"From the Republican side of the aisle, you're committed to killing the thing," he says, adding that Democrats don't want to tackle an issue affecting a handful of people. "And that handful are all in the class of campaign donors."
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., are among the business leaders who have set up GRATs, SEC filings show.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. helps so many clients use the trusts that the bank has a special unit dedicated to processing GRAT paperwork, says Joanne E. Johnson, a JPMorgan private-wealth banker.
"I have a client who's done 89 GRATs," she says.
Goldman Sachs disclosed in a 2004 filing that 84 of the firm's current and former partners used GRATs. Blankfein has transferred more than $50 million to family members with little or no gift tax due, according to calculations based on data in his SEC filings.

Charles Ergen, chairman of Dish Network Corp., and fashion designer Ralph Lauren passed more than $300 million each, calculations from SEC filings show.

Blankfein, Ergen, Lauren and Zuckerberg declined to comment.

Devising Strategies

Congress enacted the estate tax in 1916 to apply to large fortunes at death. Eight years later, it added the related gift tax to cover transfers made before death. Both rates are currently 40 percent, and the first $5.25 million of an individual's wealth is exempt; the amount is $10.50 million for couples.

For as long as such levies have been on the books, lawyers have been devising strategies to get around them.

Congress created the GRAT while trying to stop another tax-avoidance scheme that Covey developed. In 1984, Covey, a lawyer at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP in New York, publicized an estate-tax shelter he'd invented called a grantor retained income trust, or GRIT.

Covey figured out how to make a large gift appear to be small. He would have a father, for example, put investments into a trust for his children, with instructions that the trust should pay any income back to the father. The value of that potential income would be subtracted from the father's gift-tax bill.

Growth Stocks

Then, the trust could invest in growth stocks that paid low dividends so that most of the returns still ended up going to his kids. 

Six years after Covey started promoting this technique, Congress termed it abusive and passed a law to stop it. The 1990 legislation replaced the GRIT with the GRAT, a government-blessed alternative that allowed people to keep stakes in gifts to their children while forbidding the abuse Covey had devised.

Covey studied the law and found an even bigger loophole.
"The change that was made to stop what they thought was the abuse, made the matter worse," he says.
Fredric Grundeman, who helped draft the bill while he was an attorney at the U.S. Treasury Department and is now retired, says the framers didn't recognize the new law's potential for abuse.

Flawed Thinking
"How do I say it?" Grundeman says. "When Congress enacts a law, it isn't always well thought out."
Covey, 84, a Missouri native and former U.S. Marine Corps basketball player who earned a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1955, uses the words "romantic" and "beautiful" to describe the most elegant tax maneuvers.

Covey recognized that a client could use the 1990 legislation to avoid gift taxes if he did something that would otherwise make no sense: put money in a trust with instructions to return the entire amount to himself within two years. Because he doesn't have to pay tax on a gift to himself, the trust incurs no gift tax. Covey calls the trust "zeroed out."

Because the client isn't paying any tax upfront, the transaction amounts to a can't-lose bet with the IRS. If the trust's investments make large enough gains, the excess goes to heirs tax-free. If not, the only costs are lawyer's fees, typically $5,000 to $10,000, Covey says.


Three years after the new law took effect, Covey created a pair of $100 million zeroed-out GRATs for Audrey Walton, the former wife of the brother of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton. The IRS, which had banned such GRATs through regulation, demanded taxes and took her to court.

In 2000, the U.S. Tax Court found in Walton's favor, determining the 1990 law didn't prohibit a "zeroed-out" GRAT. Covey had won a rare prize: an official seal of approval for a tax shelter.

Two years after Covey's court victory, Adelson set up a GRAT called the "Sheldon G. Adelson 2002 Two Year LVSI Annuity Trust," Adelson's SEC filings show. By 2009, he was juggling chunks of his fortune in as many as 10 GRATs at a time, filings show.

Adelson once discussed his approach to inheritance taxes in a legal deposition.
"Listen, the law says you can avoid taxes but you can't escape taxes," Adelson testified as part of a 1997 lawsuit over an unrelated business dispute. "We just want to do what is right, but it is prudent and it's wise to prepare your estate to save taxes."
Political Donations

The son of a cabdriver from Lithuania, Adelson started his first business at the age of 12, selling newspapers with the help of a $200 loan. He got rich in the 1980s as the owner of a company that organized computer trade shows. Later, he bought the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

A globe-spanning casino and resort empire followed. He drew national attention in 2012 by donating more than $90 million to groups that supported Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney, the presidential nominee and an estate-tax opponent.

In November 2010, Adelson sat for an interview with a Bloomberg News reporter in Las Vegas Sands' corporate boardroom, tucked inside the palatial Venetian resort. He spoke of the perks of being gambling's richest man: His weekend home in Malibu, California; the homes in Israel and the south of France; the six jets that ferry his family between them.

‘Extremely Gratifying'

Adelson had recently rescued Las Vegas Sands from the brink of bankruptcy. His company's stock, which lost more than 90 percent in 2008, had recovered almost half of its value. That was good news for his place on the list of the world's richest people, a ranking that he follows closely.
"I don't need to pat myself on the back to say, look at all the good things I did," he said. "But the success and the comeback that I've enjoyed, and the company's enjoyed, have been extremely gratifying."
The share gains were also good for Adelson's tax shelters. That's because after Sands stock plunged in 2008, Adelson plowed even more of his fortune into new GRATs, the SEC filings show. When the stock rebounded, those GRATs swelled in value.

A few days after the interview, he would pour $725 million from one of his GRATs into trusts for the benefit of his family. If he'd given the same amount to family members without using a GRAT, it would have resulted in a gift-tax bill of more than $250 million.

25 GRATs

In all, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have created at least 25 GRATs. At least 14 of the 25 trusts were zeroed out, according to the calculations based on SEC filings. Those trusts transferred at least $7.9 billion to family members, an amount that would otherwise have incurred gift taxes of $2.8 billion.

Adelson has six living children, including two teenage sons. By early 2012, more than a third of Adelson's stake in the Sands -- worth more than $10 billion today -- had already passed through GRATs to trusts overseen by his wife for the benefit of his family.

The titles of some of those trusts start with the first letters of his children's names. Later, more GRATs added another $3 billion to the heirs' trusts.

Outside the stock exchange in October, Adelson declined to comment on GRATs. Later, he passed a message along through Ron Reese, his publicist.
"Mr. Adelson did tell me to tell you that he has no intention of ever dying," Reese says. ‘So the estate-planning conversation is moot.''
Lawyers Tweak

Since Covey's triumph in the Walton case, lawyers have tweaked his technique to generate even more tax savings. One idea, used by former Aetna Inc. CEO John W. Rowe, puts corporate stock options into a GRAT.

Another, championed by Goldman Sachs banker Stacy Eastland in presentations at estate-planning conferences, envisions a husband funding a GRAT with the proceeds of an options bet with his wife.
"It's very common," Rowe says, referring to the use of GRATs. "It's become standard practice in estate planning."
Charles Dolan, whose family controls the New York Knicks basketball team and who is chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp., has repeatedly swapped Cablevision shares out of his GRATs and replaced them with IOUs, his SEC filings show.

The technique multiplies the potential tax savings, according to a 2008 report by analysts at AllianceBernstein Holding LP. Through a spokeswoman, Dolan declined to comment.

Not Pressing

The GRAT loophole is unlikely to be plugged anytime soon. President Obama has included a proposal to limit the GRAT technique in each of his annual budget plans but hasn't pressed Congress to act on it, says Kenneth Kies, a Republican tax lobbyist.

Committees in the House and Senate are working on what they call comprehensive tax overhaul bills. Neither plans to address estate or gift taxes.

Covey suggests one reason for the lack of action: Wealthy donors to politicians, both Democratic and Republican, want to keep the loophole in place.
"I've done a lot for Democratic contributors," he says with a smile.
No one knows for sure how much all of these GRATs cost the U.S. government. The IRS estimates the number of gift-tax returns filed in connection with new GRATs each year; there were about 1,946 in 2009, according to the most recent publicly available data.

Taxpayers don't have to report how much each GRAT ultimately passes to heirs.

It's as if Covey built an invisible highway bypass that carries some of the biggest fortunes past the tax man's tollbooth. He marvels at the billions that flow along this route.
"It boggles the mind," he says.

Russia Says Syria Chemical Attack was 'Staged'

Russia: Aug. 21 Syria chemical attack was 'staged'

December 17, 2013

AP - Russia on Monday lashed out at the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council over who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria this year.

Russia's ambassador told the council that the dramatic Aug. 21 attack that led to Syria agreeing to give up its chemical stockpile was "staged" and a "large-scale provocation."

Vitaly Churkin compared it to the "manipulation of public opinion" that led up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He read reporters the statement he read to council members.

The current council president, French Ambassador Gerard Araud, told reporters only that members had an "acrimonious exchange."

The spirited session came as the council received its first briefing from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the final report of a U.N. inspection team that last week said chemical weapons probably were used in Syria several times.

The team did not have the mandate to say whether the Syrian government or opposition fighters were responsible for the attacks.

Russia is Syria's most powerful ally, and it has used its veto power in the council in the past to block actions against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The British ambassador to the U.N., Mark Lyall Grant, tweeted after Monday's session,
"Russia uses Giant Squid Defence - squirt lots of ink in attempt to muddy waters on regime culpability. Doesn't work."
Churkin did not explicitly mention the United States in his accusation over the Aug. 21 chemical attack in Ghouta, in which the U.S. government said more than 1,400 people were killed.

But Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said of the U.S. and its efforts to prepare all sides for peace talks next month in Geneva, 
"You cannot be an arsonist and a fireman at the same time."
Ban on Monday again demanded that those responsible for the chemical weapons attacks be held accountable.

He told the council that it has a "primary role in bringing perpetrators to justice" because it repeatedly has said the use of weapons of mass destruction is a serious threat to international security.

But how that would happen is not clear. Araud said the issue was not discussed at Monday morning's session.

The U.N. inspection team concluded that chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria, in addition to the confirmed use of the deadly nerve agent sarin in Ghouta, near Damascus, in August.

Chief inspector Ake Sellstrom last week said "more intrusive methods" than those authorized for his investigation are needed to pinpoint the perpetrators.
"I could speculate ... but I don't have information that will stand up in court," he said.
A commission created by the U.N. Human Rights Council has already determined that both sides have committed heinous war crimes during the Syrian conflict. The Geneva-based commission is producing a confidential list of suspected criminals.

Ukrainians Rally Against Government, Fearing a Return of the Soviet Union

Ukrainians rally against govt, EU suspends trade talks

* Thousands pour into Kiev for fourth anti-Yanukovich rally

* EU suspends work on trade deal with Ukraine

* Opposition warns against Moscow "sell-out"

* U.S. Senator McCain: "Your destiny is with Europe"
December 15, 2013

Reuters - Thousands rallied on Sunday against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich just days before he heads for a meeting in the Kremlin and opposition leaders told him not to bother coming back if he "sells out" Ukraine.

Minutes before the rally, EU enlargement chief Stefan Fuele said on Twitter he had told Ukraine he was suspending work on a trade and political deal, which should have been signed two weeks ago, saying Kiev's arguments to improve terms had "no grounds in reality".

Fuele's words suggested the European Union has lost patience with Kiev's demands for financial aid and was irritated at the way the bloc was being forced to take part in a 'bidding war' with Russia over Ukraine.

The focus was now on a visit Yanukovich is due to make to Moscow next Tuesday to tie up trade agreements with the Kremlin to help the distressed Ukrainian economy, but which the opposition fears will slam the door on integration with the European mainstream.

In particular, they fear he may take the first steps towards joining a Moscow-led customs union, together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, which they see as an attempt by Putin to re-create the Soviet Union.
"He might as well stay in Moscow and not come back to Kiev if a customs union agreement is signed," declared former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, one of the opposition leaders. "We'll give him a really warm welcome if he sells out Ukraine."
"The Kremlin wants to take its revenge on Ukraine, divide Ukraine and drown it in blood," said far-right nationalist leader Oleh Tyahnybok. "We forbid this president to sign anything in Moscow that contradicts the interests of the Ukrainian state."
Yanukovich may be attempting to keep the attention of both Moscow and Brussels to strike as good a deal as possible to handle its huge debt and outstanding gas payments to Moscow. But it is a hazardous manoeuvre running the risk of alienating both parties.

Opposition leaders called for another mass rally on Tuesday to monitor Yanukovich's trip to Moscow and any deals made there.


Earlier, U.S. Senator John McCain galvanised the 200,000 or so people on Kiev's Independence Square, telling them their destiny lay in Europe.
"We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe," said McCain, a leading Republican voice on U.S. foreign policy.
Street protests erupted after Yanukovich's decision on Nov. 21 to walk away from the agreement with the EU, after years of careful preparation, and turn to Moscow, Kiev's Soviet-era overlord, for aid to save Ukraine's economy.

Yanukovich's policy swerve, while backed by many in Russian-speaking east Ukraine which is his powerbase, sparked huge disappointment and anger in western and central areas where people see Europe as their proper place.

The presence of McCain at the anti-government rally after a weeks-long stand-off between demonstrators and the authorities further highlighted the geo-political East-West tug-of-war which Ukraine is once again at the centre of.

The Republican senator is the latest of a string of European and American dignitaries to tour the sprawling protest camp set up behind barricades of benches, metal barriers, supermarket trollies and wire netting on the square - known locally as the 'maidan'.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has accused Western politicians of "crude" meddling in Ukraine's affairs.

The movement began as a low-level pro-EU protest.

But after a police crackdown on a group of mainly students and a later face-off between police and protesters last Wednesday, it has broadened into an outpouring of anger against perceived sleaze and corruption in the country Yanukovich has led for four years.


Protesters characterise it as a battle for Ukraine's soul.

McCain, who met opposition leaders - the former boxing champion Vitaly Klitchko as well as Yatsenyuk and Tyahnybok - said:
"We ... want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States."
Speaking to journalists after addressing crowds, he said it was disturbing to hear that the EU may be suspending talks with Ukraine on the trade and political agreement.

Yanukovich, whose allies hold a majority in parliament and who still appears to command loyalty in the security forces, seems likely to hang on to power despite the strength of peaceful rallies and opposition calls for early elections.

But much may depend now on what sort of deal he can cut with Putin next Tuesday on cheaper gas and credits, how well he can present it to his people and how quickly any help will trickle down to Ukraine's creaking economy.

But any step by Yanukovich towards the Moscow-led customs union, which the opposition sees as a return to the Soviet Union, will be a dangerous one for him to take.

Whatever the outcome, his popularity has suffered hugely from the crisis, the opposition has been re-energised, the faith of key stakeholders such as the oligarchs has been shaken and he can no longer assume re-election in 2015 is in the bag.

Klitschko's UDAR party called on Sunday for the dismissal of Andriy Kluyev, one of Yanukovich's closest security aides, whom the opposition says was behind past attempts to break up the protests by force.

On Sunday, the crowds gathered on Independence Square were smaller than a week before but no less determined.
"I am here against the criminal authorities, joining Europe is a secondary goal," said Oleksander Vdovin, 25, an engineer in Kiev wrapped in a Ukrainian flag.
Yanukovich's supporters have also staged rival rallies nearby on Saturday and Sunday.
"We are here because an effort to destabilise the country has begun. I voted for the president, I'm here to back him," said Nikolai, 61, who works in the southern Ukrainian port of Kherson.

U.S. Military Reveals Laser can Down Drones and Mortars

US military reveals laser can down drones, mortars

December 14, 2013

AFP - The US Army has for the first time successfully tested a vehicle-mounted laser that managed to shoot down incoming mortar rounds and drone aircraft, officials said Thursday.

Installed in a dome-shaped turret atop a military vehicle, the high-energy laser hit more than 90 mortar bombs and several small unmanned planes over a six-week test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The experimental weapon, dubbed the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), likely would not be operational until 2022 if the Army decides to purchase the system, according to officials.

The weapon, with three to five lasers, is designed to protect remote bases from mortar, artillery or rocket fire. Such attacks were frequent against "forward operating" bases in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

The laser used in the test this month had a strength of 10 kilowatts (kW), but the program will next use more powerful lasers of 50 kW and then, finally, 100 kW, officials said.
"If you're engaging a target at the same range, a 100 kW laser will destroy the target in one-tenth of the time than the 10kW would," said Terry Bauer, a program manager at Boeing, the lead contractor on the project.
In the test at White Sands, the laser was fired at 60mm mortar rounds, which have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 yards (1,800-2,700 meters).

Without providing a detailed account, officials said the laser scored a "significant success" against the mortar rounds and several drones.
"The system is capable of rapidly acquiring with the radar these very small targets and point a laser beam about the size of a quarter and destroy the targets while they're flying," said Mike Rim, a second program manager at Boeing.
A more advanced version of the weapon will eventually be able to knock out objects moving much faster than the mortar rounds, such as cruise missiles, according to military officials.

The military has invested in a variety of laser weapons over the past several years with mixed results.

The US Navy is due in 2014 to equip a ship converted into a "floating base," the USS Ponce, with a laser capable of destroying small boats or surveillance drones.

Christians in U.S. Military Ordered to Go on Record with Views About Homosexuality

AF sgt. claims he was fired for religious views on gays

August 16, 2013

Military Times - A 19-year Air Force veteran says he was relieved of duties at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in a dispute with his commanding officer over same-sex marriage.

The case of the senior master sergeant is exactly what some lawmakers are trying to prevent by seeking changes in military policies on diversity, tolerance and religious freedom that would allow service members with strong religious or moral objections to homosexuality to speak their minds without fear of reprisal.

Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, assigned to the 37th Training Wing, said Friday he was relieved July 26 of his duties as first sergeant of a training squadron and forced to take leave because he disagreed with his commanding officer’s position on gay marriage. He says his commander is openly lesbian.

A spokeswoman for the wing, Collen McGee, said Monk was “not removed from duty.”

The training squadron commander who Monk claims fired him does not intend to issue a statement, McGee said.

Monk, an evangelical Christian, said the issue came up when he was advising his commander about a situation involving a staff sergeant who had expressed opposition to homosexuality on religious grounds — an opinion shared with trainees that might be a violation of an Air Force policy barring the use of a position of authority to promote personal religious beliefs.

Monk said he wanted the incident to be treated as a learning experience, but the commander wanted to do more. Monk said this led to a discussion in which the commander pressed him into saying he also had a moral objection to gay marriage.

Monk said it was a “very, very contentious” discussion, with the commander pressing him to agree that opposition to gay marriage was an act of discrimination. Monk said he told her: “I cannot answer your question because of my convictions.”

In the end, Monk said the staff sergeant received a letter of counseling, an official notice of infraction. Monk did not identify the staff sergeant.

Monk said he was subsequently relieved of his duties at the unit, and had to request permission to return in order to collect personal items. “I was relieved of my position because I do not agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” he said.

He acknowledged that he was due for a reassignment, but the dispute with the commander led to his being abruptly removed from a leadership position and leaves open a question about whether he will receive a Meritorious Service Medal for which his commande had recommended him in late June.

Not receiving the medal could hurt his career, Monk said, because it would “send a message to whomever is reviewing” his military records.

Monk is now assigned to the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland, a position he said is commensurate with his rank and experience.

He is receiving legal advice from the Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal group that concentrates on religious freedom issues. Attorney Mike Berry, who is advising Monk, said it is not clear if a lawsuit will be filed. “We are keeping our options open,” Berry said.

Monk’s treatment was a “drastic departure from the norm,” Berry said, adding it is highly unusual for someone “to be reassigned in hours.”

Air Force spokeswoman McGee said the move was not unusual. “For several months, he’s been scheduled to rotate out of his unit to another unit at Lackland. Once his replacement began duty, the individual moved to his new unit.”

In a statement, Liberty Institute litigation director Hiram Sasser described Monk as “a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He should not have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve.”

Last year, Congress approved so-called “rights of conscience” for military members, allowing them to express their personal beliefs without fear of punishment. The law, section 533 of Public Law 112-239, says the military must accommodate “conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the member and, so far as practicable, may not use such beliefs as the basis for any adverse personnel action.”

It defines adverse actions as discrimination in or denial of promotion, schooling, training or assignment.
However, the law does allow disciplinary action for actions or speech that threaten good order and discipline.

Air Force policy, similar to that of the other services, holds that the government is neutral on religion. Air Force Instruction 1-1, a pocket guide to Air Force standards and culture, requires military leaders, officer and enlisted, to “avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”

The policy warns leaders that to promote their personal religious beliefs “may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity.”

The Air Force policy further states: “All airmen are able to choose to practice their particular religion, or subscribe to no religious belief at all. You should confidently practice your own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own.”

And, it cautions, “your right to practice your religious beliefs does not excuse you from complying with directives, instructions and lawful orders.”

The pending House and Senate versions of the 2014 defense authorization bill would expand the conscience rights. The Senate version would allow service members to express personal opinions unless the expression has an adverse impact on readiness, unit cohesion or good order and discipline. The House version allows expression of views unless it creates “actual harm,” not just the possibility of harm.

The Obama administration opposes the House provision but has not yet commented on the Senate proposal. In a statement of administration policy, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget says the House proposal goes too far.

“By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment,” the policy statement says.

Airmen say Air Force is punishing evangelical Christians

September 30, 2013

Todd's American Dispatch - Evangelical Christian airmen at Lackland Air Force Base are facing severe threats and retribution for their religious beliefs and some personnel have been ordered to publicly express their position on gay marriage.
“There is an atmosphere of intimidation at Lackland Air Force Base,” said Steve Branson, the pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church in San Antonio. “Gay commanders and officers are pushing their agenda on the airmen. There is a culture of fear in the military and it’s gone to a new level with the issue of homosexuality.”
Branson tells me at least 80 airmen attended a private meeting at the church where he heard them voice their concerns about religious hostilities at the Air Force base. It was a standing-room only crowd.
“The religious persecution is happening,” the pastor said. “It’s getting bigger every day. Gay and lesbian airmen can talk about their lifestyle, but the rest have to stay completely quiet about what they believe.”
One airman was told that even thinking that homosexuality is a sin is discriminatory.

Among those at the church meeting was Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk. The 19-year veteran was punished after he refused to tell his lesbian commander his position on gay marriage. I was the first reporter to tell his story.

Monk disagreed with his commander when she wanted to severely reprimand a new instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality.

The senior master sergeant was relieved of his duties after he refused her order to disclose his personal opinion about gay marriage.

Monk, who had a spotless record, filed a religious discrimination complaint against the Air Force. When he showed up for a meeting about the complaint, he was accused of giving false statements to me – and was subsequently read his Miranda Rights.

Monk is now facing a possible court martial.

So far, Monk is the only airman willing to go on the record. Others are terrified that they will face similar repercussions. But that’s not stopping them from speaking off-the-record.
“All the guys who are active say they want to speak but they are still afraid because they see what happened to Phillip,” the pastor told me. “Guys who are good men are afraid to do anything because it will hurt them, cost them their career.”
One airman was told that even thinking that homosexuality is a sin is discriminatory.
“A commander told him, ‘Don’t you understand discrimination – that your thought process is discrimination?’” Pastor Branson said. “The commander actually pulled up the definition of discrimination on Wikipedia and read it to him in front of everyone so he would understand what it was.”
The parent of a 19-year-old Christian airman said their son was directed to disclose his religion during Basic Training.
“What’s your religion, little boy?” a master sergeant asked the young man. When he answered “Christian” he had to repeat Basic Training.
One member of the military was written up for having his Bible out – while a Muslim was allowed to publicly display a prayer rug.

A colonel told the pastor that officers are being ordered to publicly affirm and promote homosexuality.
“The colonel told me he hasn’t been asked to do so, but if it did, he would refuse the order,” the pastor said.

“They’re getting mirandized several times a month – but most of the accusations never stick,” Branson tells me. “Branson said he’s getting email and letters from military personnel across the country – telling him their stories of religious persecution – and asking for help.
Gen. Jerry Boykin (ret.) told me he’s not surprised to hear about the assault on religious liberty within the Armed Forces.
“It reinforces what we’ve been saying,” Boykin told me. “There is an orchestrated attack on Christians in the military and at this stage the Air Force is the worst.”
Pastor Branson told me he fears there may soon be a mass exodus of Christians from the military. “The consensus at our meeting was that if things don’t change, good men will be leaving the military,” he said. “It will be a tragedy for our country and our military.”

As for Master Sgt. Monk – he’s facing what could be a long and difficult road – that could eventually lead to a court martial.
“They picked the wrong guy with Monk,” the pastor said. “This is one good, strong man. He’s willing to pay the price.”
A two-star general called the pastor and urged him to “keep stirring the stick.” But he also made a dire prediction.
“He said Monk will be a casualty of the war,” Branson said. “And the general feared the persecution is going to get worse.”
I’ve had a chance to talk at length with Master Sgt. Monk. He’s a soft-spoken man – an introvert, not a religious zealot. He’s a good-hearted person with a strong sense of right and wrong.

He told me that he was taking a stand because he wanted his sons to see “a man who stands upright and stands for integrity.”

The persecution of Master Sgt. Monk and the countless unnamed individuals at Lackland Air Force Base should serve as a warning to all Americans.

If the Obama administration’s Pentagon can take away their religious liberty – they can take away ours.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.