June 3, 2008 - The Constantine Report    
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

A Sleepy Horse Farm in Lexington, KY and a Series of Deadly Psyops

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

See: http://truthmovecom.blogspot.com/2008/06/path-to-911-part-twelve-farish-family.html

Christopher Tarnovsky shows Wired.com the tricks behind smart-card hacking. Steve Raines/Wired.com

By Kim Zetter

SAN DIEGO — Christopher Tarnovsky feels vindicated. The software engineer and former satellite-TV pirate has been on the hot seat for five years, accused of helping his former employer, a Rupert Murdoch company, sabotage a rival to gain the top spot in the global pay-TV wars.

But two weeks ago a jury in the civil lawsuit against that employer, NDS Group, largely cleared the company — and by extension Tarnovsky — of piracy, finding NDS guilty of only a single incident of stealing satellite signals, for which Dish was awarded $1,500 in damages.

“I knew this was going to come,” Tarnovsky says. “They didn’t have any proof or evidence.”

The trial was years in the making, yet raised more questions than it answered. It came down to testimony between admitted pirates on both sides who accused each other of lying. Now that it’s over Tarnovsky, who was fired by NDS last year, is eager to tell his side of the story.

Dressed in loose jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt, Tarnovsky, 37, spoke with Wired.com by phone and in an air-conditioned lab in Southern California where he’s been running a consultancy since losing his job. Surrounded by boxes of smart cards and thousands of dollars worth of microscopes and computers used for researching chips, he talked excitedly at lightning speed about his strange journey, which began in a top-secret Pentagon communications center, and ended with him working both sides of a heated electronic war over pay TV.

His story sheds new light on the murky, morally ambiguous world of international satellite pirates and those who do battle with them.
The stakes are high: Earnings in the satellite-TV industry reach the billions.

In the first quarter of this year alone, U.S. market leader DirecTV announced revenue of $4.6 billion from more than 17 million U.S. subscribers. Dish Network earned $2.8 billion from nearly 14 million subscribers. Although satellite piracy has greatly diminished from its peak seven to 10 years ago when the events detailed in the civil lawsuit took place, the two companies lost millions in potential revenue, and spent millions more to replace insecure smart cards used in their systems and track down dealers selling pirated smart cards.

Those smart cards are at the center of the controversy over NDS, a British-Israeli company and a majority-owned subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corp.

The company makes access cards used by pay-TV systems, most prominently DirecTV — itself a former Murdoch company. Nagrastar, a plaintiff in the case and NDS’s chief competitor, makes access cards used by Dish Network and other runners-up in the market.

According to allegations in the lawsuit, in the late ’90s NDS extracted and cracked the proprietary code used in Nagrastar’s cards, a fact that NDS doesn’t contest. What happened next, though, is hotly disputed. Nagrastar says Tarnovsky used the code to create a device for reprogramming Nagrastar cards into pirate cards, and gave the cards to pirates eager to steal Dish Network’s programming. Tarnovsky was also accused of posting to the internet a detailed road map for hacking Nagrastar’s cards.

Nagrastar says NDS had an obvious motive for these antics: Their own chip, the so-called P1 or “F Card,” had already been thoroughly cracked by pirates, and the company wanted to level the playing field with its competitors.

NDS denied the allegations at trial. The company declined to comment for this article or to confirm details of Tarnovsky’s employment other than to say it was pleased that the verdict “ended in a resounding affirmation of NDS and its business ethics and proper conduct.”

Tarnovsky began his pirating career in the ’90s while serving in the U.S. Army. He had a top-secret SCI security clearance working on cryptographic computers in Belgium for NATO headquarters, and spent a year at Ft. Detrick in Maryland providing support to the National Security Agency for satellite transmissions to Europe.

In 1996, he was stationed in Germany when his colonel sold him a used satellite-TV system, along with two pirated access cards, neither of which worked. Tarnovsky began posting on online pirate forums, and developed contacts in the community, ultimately learning how to fix the cards to access English-language programs from Sky in the United Kingdom.
After leaving the Army and returning to the States, he got a call from Ron Ereiser, a Canadian pirate who’d heard about him through the grapevine.

Pirates had found a back door in the P1 card and were vigorously exploiting it to get DirecTV content. But the cards kept failing. In a game of pirate pingpong, DirecTV periodically deployed electronic countermeasures, or ECMs, in the satellite stream that killed the cards in their set-top boxes. Ereiser needed someone to fix the cards. There was serious black-market money on the line. In Canada, where pirating of U.S. satellite services wasn’t considered illegal until 2002, syndicates of dealers did enough business that they could afford to chip in about $50,000 to hire a programmer to reverse engineer the latest cards.

Pirate cards would sell for about $200 each, with the profit split between the investors and engineers. Tarnovsky claims Canadian pirate dealers could make $400,000 in a weekend; when Reginald Scullion, a notorious pirate in Canada, was raided in 1998, authorities seized $5.5 million from his bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes, though not all of it was from piracy.

Ereiser, who now works as a consultant to Nagrastar, concedes that the money from piracy was good, but insists that nobody became an overnight millionaire. “It was lucrative,” he said in a telephone interview. “But to suggest that millions were being made in a month is an absolute crock.”

DirecTV’s countermeasures were a nagging drag on this lucrative trade. Every time an ECM was deployed, Ereiser and other dealers would be harangued by customers demanding to have the cards fixed and their TV programs restored.

Tarnovsky, who was known online as “Big Gun,” says Ereiser offered him $20,000 to fix cards that were killed by ECMs, and he agreed. Each time NDS created a countermeasure, Tarnovsky would analyze the code and find a way to circumvent the countermeasure. He did it while working full-time as a software engineer for a semiconductor company in Massachusetts.

“I’d be at work and I’d check the IRC (channel) to see if they’d launched their Thursday countermeasure yet,” he says. “It was like a chess game for me. I couldn’t wait for them to do a countermeasure because I would counter it in minutes.”

Tarnovsky suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which he says helped with the detailed work.

“I think so fast,” he says.

It wasn’t long before NDS came courting. Tarnovsky had a contact at the company to whom he’d begun passing information about holes in its software, even supplying patches to fix them. NDS offered him a job earning $65,000 a year. By the time the company fired him last year, he was earning about $245,000 in salary and bonuses and had another $100,000 in stock options, he says. The company set him up in a lab in Southern California equipped with a computer, some DirecTV set-top boxes, sample DirecTV cards and NDS source code. There was no fancy equipment at first, but his relationship with NDS and the lab grew over the decade he worked with them. Tarnovsky says the job was a dream come true. While living in Europe he’d once seen a news report showing an engineer at a French satellite company writing countermeasures, sitting in a lab with smart cards piled around him on his desk.

“I always thought it would be so cool to be that guy,” Tarnovsky says. “Finally I got the chance.”

Tarnovsky had two roles at NDS — to find holes in its software and work undercover with pirates to discover what they were doing against NDS technology. To conceal his relationship with NDS from pirates, few people at the company knew his identity. He used the name “Michael George” and for the first four years was paid through other companies, including, for about five months, HarperCollins, the Murdoch-owned book publisher.

“It was very hush-hush, because we didn’t know who could be an inside informant,” he says.

Part of his job was developing ECMs for NDS. He’d examine pirate NDS cards to determine how they worked, then send instructions to engineers in Israel to create a kill for them.

“I didn’t actually load the gun and pull the trigger but I got to make the bullet,” Tarnovsky says.

Among the countermeasures he says he created was one known among pirates as the “Black Sunday” kill — an elaborate scheme that destroyed tens of thousands of pirate DirecTV cards a week before Super Bowl Sunday in 2001.

Instead of being delivered all at once like other measures, the Black Sunday attack code was sent to pirate cards in about five dozen parts over the course of two months, like a tank transported piece by piece to a battlefield to be assembled in the field. “They never expected us to do this,” Tarnovsky says.

The kill didn’t last long before pirates found a way to jump-start the cards. But it holds an enduring position in pirate lore; for the first time, they could see a cunning mind at work on the other side.

While Tarnovsky was killing cards, however, he was also helping pirates fix them.

Days before Tarnovsky began working for NDS, the company began phasing in its latest-generation smart card, the P2, which was thought to be virtually uncrackable. But word reached the company that two Bulgarian hackers working for Ereiser had cracked the P2. On NDS’s instructions, Tarnovsky met with Ereiser undercover in Calgary to get the code. When he got there, Ereiser offered him $20,000 to work for him fighting whatever countermeasures NDS and DirecTV cooked up to thwart their P2 hack.

NDS considered it a great opportunity for Tarnovsky to maintain his pirate identity, but DirecTV insisted on some controls. Under “Operation Johnny Walker,” as they dubbed it, Tarnovsky gave Ereiser a program to create pirate NDS cards, but encrypted it so no one could copy it. The program worked only with a dongle attached to Ereiser’s computer and created a limited number of cards that could be killed at any time.

But, according to Nagrastar, Tarnovsky wasn’t just helping NDS fight piracy by working undercover and creating ECMs, he was also committing piracy against NDS’s competitors to weaken their place in the market.

After NDS engineers in Israel hacked the Nagrastar code in the late ’90s, Nagrastar says Tarnovsky created a “stinger” program that turned Nagrastar cards into pirate cards. He allegedly gave the program to a Canadian named Al Menard in 1999 who sold reprogrammed Nagrastar cards for $350 each. Then in December 2000, someone anonymously posted code and detailed instructions for hacking Nagrastar’s card to two websites, one of them run by Menard, exposing Dish Network to even more piracy. It was estimated in court testimony that between 100,000 and 165,000 pirated Nagrastar cards were released to the market in the wake of this posting.

Nagrastar says Menard began sending Tarnovsky cash from the sale of the pirate cards. At the end of August 2000, authorities acting on an anonymous tip seized two boxes destined for a mail drop Tarnovsky rented in Texas. Inside, they found a CD and DVD player with $20,000 and $20,100 concealed inside.

The boxes were sent from a phony address for “Regency Audio” in Vancouver to C.T. Electronics at Tarnovsky’s address. A customs form for a third package that wasn’t seized indicated that it was sent from Menard to Tarnovsky and also contained electronic goods.

Tarnovsky was in Israel at the time, and says he didn’t know anything about the packages until he was notified that they’d been seized. He thinks they were sent by someone in Nagrastar’s camp who was trying to frame him. He says Nagrastar’s accusations about the “stinger” program were baseless, and that he never gave Menard any software.

On Feb. 9, 2001, U.S. Customs agents appeared at his doorstep. On advice of a lawyer, he declined to let them search his house without a warrant. Tarnovsky was never arrested or charged with any crime, but suspicions against him were mounting. NDS gave Tarnovsky a polygraph test, but asked only two, self-interested questions that never touched on the Nagrastar accusations: Had Tarnovsky sold any modified NDS smart cards, or company secrets, since he’d been working for the company? Tarnovsky answered no, and passed the test.

He continued to work for NDS for six years. But then last year, Nagrastar confronted NDS with a sheriff’s report showing that fingerprints lifted from the seized electronics equipment sent to Tarnovsky’s Texas mail drop belonged to an associate of Menard, raising suspicions again that Tarnovsky might have sold pirate Nagrastar cards without NDS’s knowledge. NDS fired him.

Tarnovsky says his termination proves he and NDS weren’t conspiring against Nagrastar. Had they been, NDS would have done anything to keep him happy, and quiet. He says the fact that Nagrastar lost the case shows he wasn’t pirating on his own either.

“I’ve never sold a single Nagra card, ever,” he says.

Although he was angry at NDS for abandoning him, he told Wired.com before the trial ended that he hoped to work for the company again.

“I want to make sure that NDS wins this lawsuit because that will clear my name,” he said at the time.

When it was suggested that someone might view this as motivation for him to lie on NDS’s behalf, he disagreed.

“That’s crazy. I could go to jail,” he said. “I would never perjure myself for some company.”

Since NDS fired him he’s been consulting for two semiconductor companies and a manufacturer of dongle tokens, but he misses his life in electronic warfare. If NDS doesn’t want him, he says he’d be happy to work for Nagrastar — jumping sides once again.

“I could design a whole entire chip for them like I did for NDS,” he says. “NDS thinks today that their technology is superior to everybody else’s and it probably is, because they’re 17 years ahead of Nagra technologically. But Nagra could catch up overnight if they used my services.

“I’m a very valuable asset as far as smart-card technology goes,” he adds. “I know everything about (NDS) as far as their intellectual property models go.”
He offered his services to the company last year, while the lawsuit was pending. Nagrastar declined.

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2008/05/tarnovsky?currentPage=all

Written by Stephen Lendman
June 3, 2008

It’s called “Plan Mexico,” or more formally the “Merida Initiative,” and here’s the scheme. It’s to do for Mexicans what Plan Colombia has done to that nation since 1999, and, in fact, much earlier. Since then, billions have gone for the following:

* to establish a US military foothold in the country;

* mostly to fund US weapons, chemical and other corporate profiteers; it’s a long-standing practice; in fact, a 1997 Pentagon document affirms that America’s military will “protect US interests and investments;” in Colombia, it’s to control its valuable resources; most importantly oil and natural gas but also coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, emeralds, copper and more; it’s also to crush worker resistance, eliminate unions, target human rights and peasant opposition groups, and make the country a “free market” paradise inhospitable to people;

* it funds a brutish military as well; already, over 10,000 of its soldiers have been trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) – aka the School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, Georgia; its graduates are infamous as human rights abusers, drugs traffickers, and death squad practitioners; they were well schooled in their “arts” by the nation most skilled in them;

* it lets Colombia arm and support paramilitary death squads; they’re known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC); for more than a decade, they’ve terrorized Colombians and are responsible for most killings and massacres in support of powerful western and local business interests;

* it funds drug eradication efforts, but only in FARC-EP and ELN areas; government-controlled ones are exempt; trafficking is big business; laundering drugs money reaps huge profits for major US and regional banks; the CIA has also been linked to the trade for decades, especially since the 1980s; after Afghanistan’s invasion and occupation, opium harvests set records – mostly from areas controlled by US-allied “warlords;” the Taliban’s drug eradication program was one reason it was targeted; Colombia’s drug eradication is horrific; it causes ecological devastation; crop and forest destruction; lives and livelihoods lost; large areas chemically contaminated; bottom line of the program – record amounts of Colombian cocaine reach US and world markets; trafficking is more profitable than ever; so is big business thanks to paramilitary terror;

* it’s to topple the FARC-EP and ELN resistance groups; Latin American expert James Petras calls the former the “longest standing (since 1964), largest peasant-based guerrilla (resistance) movement in the world;” it’s also to weaken Hugo Chavez, other regional populist leaders and groups, and destabilize their countries; and

* it supports the “Uribe doctrine;” it’s in lockstep with Washington; its policies are hard right, corporate-friendly and militarized for enforcement.

Plan Colombia turned the country into a dependable, profitable narco-state. Business is better than ever. Violence is out of control and human rights abuses are appalling.

It gets worse. Two-thirds of Columbians are impoverished. Over 2.5 million peasant and urban slum dwellers have been displaced. Thousands of trade unionists have been murdered (more than anywhere else in the world), and many more thousands of peasants, rural teachers, and peasant and indigenous leaders have as well. Paramilitary land seizures are commonplace. Colombian latifundistas profit hugely. Wealth concentration is extreme and growing. Corruption infests the government. Many thousands in desperation are leaving. Colombia’s “democracy” is a sham. So is Mexico’s. Plan Mexico will make it worse. That’s the whole idea, and it’s part of the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership – aka the North American Union.

It’s planned behind closed doors – to militarize and annex the continent. Corporate giants are in charge, mostly US ones. The idea is for an unregulated open field for profit. The Bush administration, Canada and Mexico support it. Things are moving toward implementation. Three nations will become one. National sovereignty eliminated. Worker rights as well. Opposition is building, but moves are planned to quash it. That’s the militarization part.

Business intends to win this one. People are to be exploited, not helped. That’s why it’s kept secret. The idea is to agree on plans, inform legislatures minimally about them, get SPP passed, then implement it with as few of its disturbing details known in hopes once they are they’ll be too late to reverse.

SPP is ugly, ominous and hugely people destructive. Hundreds of millions in three countries will be affected. Others in the region as well. Plan Mexico is a contribution to the scheme. Below is what we know about it.

Plan Mexico – Exploitation Writ Large

The plan was first announced in October 2007 as a “regional security cooperation initiative.” It’s to provide $1.4 billion in aid (over three years) for Mexico and Central America on the pretext of fighting drugs trafficking and organized crime linked to it. FY 2008 calls for $550 million for starters with about 10% of it for Central America.

In fact, Plan Mexico is part of SPP’s grand scheme to militarize the continent, let corporate predators exploit it, and keep people from three countries none the wiser. Most aid will go to Mexico’s military and police forces with its major portion earmarked back to US defense contractors for equipment, training and maintenance. It’s how these schemes always work.

This one includes a menu of security allocations, administrative functions, and special needs like software, forensics equipment, database compilations, plus plenty more for friendly pockets to keep our Mexican cohorts on board.

After failing on May 15, House passage will likely follow the Senate’s approval on May 22 – below the radar. It’s one of many appropriations tucked into the latest Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental funding request, and its purpose is just as outlandish. It will militarize Mexico without deploying US troops. It will also open the country for plunder, privatize everything including state-owned oil company PEMEX, give Washington a greater foothold there, and get around the touchy military issue by allowing in Blackwater paramilitaries instead to work with Mexican security forces.

Only privatizing PEMEX is in doubt thanks to immense citizen opposition. Thousands of “brigadistas” were in the streets, protesting outside the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, as lawmakers considered ending PEMEX state-control. They paralyzed debate and brought it to a halt – temporarily putting off a final resolution of this very contentious issue. Big Oil wants it. Most Mexicans don’t. The battle continues. Mexico’s military may get involved.

The US State Department describes them as follows:

* ….”impunity and corruption (in Mexico’s security forces are) problems, particularly at the state and local levels. The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings; kidnappings; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the judicial system; (coerced) confessions….permitted as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women (often with impunity); violence, including killings, against women; trafficking in persons; social and economic discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor.”

Mexico’s military fares little better with promises Plan Mexico will worsen it. President Calderon now deploys troops around the country. People fear them when they come. They’re purportedly against drugs traffickers, but that’s mostly cover. Their real purpose may be sinister – a possible dress rehearsal for martial law when SPP is implemented.

Mexican soldiers are hard line. Their reputation is unsavory. People justifiably fear them. They commit flagrant human rights abuses and get away with them. The major media even report them. The New York Times, CNN, BBC, USA Today and others cite evidence of rape, torture, killings, other human rights abuses, corruption, extortion, and ties to drugs traffickers. Little is done to stop it. Government and military spokespersons often aren’t available for comment. They’re part of the problem, not the solution. Plan Mexico promises more of the same and then some. Billions from Washington back it.

Social protests in the country already are criminalized. Hundreds are filling prisons. Many languish there for years. Labor and social activists are most vulnerable. Injustice and grinding poverty motivate them. Plan Mexico ups the ante. Things are about to get worse.

Militarizing society is toxic. Police state enforcement follows. Accountability disappears. The rule of law no longer applies. Plan Mexico assures it. So does SPP for the continent. In classic doublespeak, the White House claims it will “advance the productivity and competitiveness of our nations and help to protect our health, safety and environment.” Its real purpose is to annex a continent, destroy its democratic remnants, lock in hard line enforcement, and secure it for capital.

SPP Backdrop of Plan Mexico

A detailed SPP explanation can be found on the 2007 article link. It’s titled The Militarization and Annexation of North America –

Plan Mexico is part of SPP. It will militarize and annex the continent. It was formerly launched at a March 23, 2005 meeting in Waco, Texas attended by George Bush, Mexico’s President Vincente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. They forged a tripartite partnership for greater US, Canadian and Mexican economic, political, social and security integration. Secretive working groups were formed to accomplish it – to devise non-negotiable agreements to be binding on all three nations.

Details are hidden. No public input is permitted. Pro forma legislative voting is approaching. It will try to avoid a NAFTA-type battle. Legislatures aren’t being fully informed. The worst of SPP is secret. It’s not a treaty, and the idea is to pass it below the radar and avoid a protracted public debate.

What’s known so far is disturbing, and considerable opposition has arisen but thus far too inadequate to matter. SPP, Plan Mexico, and a final continent-wide plan amount to a corporate coup d’etat against three sovereign states and hundreds of millions of people. It’s to erase national borders, merge three nations into one under US control, and remove all barriers to trade and capital flows. It’s also to militarize the continent, create a fortress-North America security zone, and have in place police state laws for enforcement. Billions will fund it. All for corporate gain. Nothing for public welfare.

SPP takes NAFTA and the “war on terrorism” to the next level en route to extending it further for more corporate plunder. It’s based on outlandish notions – that doing business, protecting national security, and securing “public welfare” require tough new measures in a very threatening world.

SPP bolsters US control. It enhances corporate power, quashes civil liberties, erases public welfare, and creates an open field for plunder free from regulatory restraints. It’s being plotted behind closed doors. A series of summits and secret meetings continue with the latest one in New Orleans from April 22 to 24.

Three presidents attended and were met by vocal street protests. They convened a “People’s Summit” and also held workshops to:

* inform people how destructive SPP is;

* strengthen networking and organizational ties against it;

* maintain online information about their activities;

* promote their efforts and build added support; and

* affirm their determination to continue resisting a hugely repressive corporate-sponsored agenda. Opponents call it Nafta on steroids.

Business-friendly opposition also exists. Prominent is a “Coalition to Block the North American Union.” The Conservative Caucus backs it. It has a “NAU War Room.” It’s the “headquarters of THE national campaign to expose and halt America’s absorption into a ‘North American Union (NAU)’ with Canada and Mexico.” It opposes building “a massive, continental ‘NAFTA Superhighway.’ ”

It has congressional allies, and on January 2007 Rep. Virgil Goode and six co-sponsors introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40. It expresses “the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in (building a NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada.”

The April summit reaffirmed SPP’s intentions – to create a borderless North America, dissolve national sovereignty, put corporate giants in control, and assure big US ones get most of it. Militarism is part of it. It’s the reason for fortress-North America under US command. The US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) was established in October 2002 to do it. It has air, land and sea responsibility for the continent regardless of Posse Comitatus limitations that no longer apply or sovereign borders easily erased.

Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also have a large role. So does the FBI, CIA, all US spy agencies, militarized state and local police, National Guard forces, and paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA. They’re headed anywhere on the continent with license to operate as freely here as in Iraq and New Orleans post-Katrina. They’ll be able to turn hemispheric streets into versions of Baghdad and make them unfit to live on if things come to that.

SPP maintains a web site. It’s “key accomplishments” since August 2007 are updated on it as of April 22, 2008. Its details can be accessed from the following link: It lists principles agreed to; bilateral deals struck; negotiations concluded; study assessments released; agreements on the “Free Flow of Information;” law enforcement activities; efforts related to intellectual property, border and long-haul trucking enforcement; import licensing procedures; food and product safety issues; energy (with special focus on oil); water as well; infrastructure development; emergency management; and much more. It’s all laid out in deceptively understated tones to hide its continental aim – enhanced corporate exploitation with as little public knowledge as possible.

Militarization will assure it, and consider one development up North. On February 14, 2008, the US and Canada agreed to allow American troops inside Canada. Canadians were told nothing or that the agreement was reached in 2002. Neither was it discussed in Congress or the Canadian House of Commons. It’s for “bilateral integration” of military command structures in areas of immigration, law enforcement, intelligence, or whatever else the Pentagon or Washington wishes. Overall, it’s part of the “war on terror” and militarizing the continent to make it “safer” for business and be prepared for any civilian opposition.

Congress may soon pass SPP, but with no knowledge of its worst provisions kept secret. It’s to assure enough congressional support makes it law. Nonetheless, federal, state and local opposition is building. It ranges from private activism to vocal lawmakers. In 2008, a dozen or more states passed resolutions against SPP. Around 20 others did it in 2007. Congress began debating it last year with opposition raised on various grounds – open borders, unchecked immigration, a NAFTA Superhighway System, and the idea of giving unregulated Mexican trucks free access to US roads and cities.

There’s also talk of replacing three national currencies with an “Amero.” Unfortunately, little is heard about trashing the Constitution or giving corporate bosses free reign. There’s even less talk about a militarized continent against dissent. SPP is a “new world order.” Companies are plotting to get it. People better hope they don’t. Disruptive opposition might derail them. It’s building but needs more resonance to matter. Time is short and slipping away. These schemers mean business. They want our future. We can’t afford to lose it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening any time.

http://atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/3993/32/

Source: Colombia Journal
Date: 01 Jun 2008
www.reliefweb.int

By Garry Leech

In a civil conflict such as the one in Colombia, propaganda is an important weapon. It is difficult for journalists and analysts to independently investigate the reality on the ground and so statistics and information are obtained from a variety of sources in order to draw conclusions. However, the mainstream media in the United States is often over-reliant on two sources: Colombian and US government officials. Not surprisingly then, it is the perspectives of the Colombian and US governments that inevitably dominate most news reports. By comparing conflict trends and human rights statistics with media coverage of Colombia’s violence, it is possible to understand why and how the public’s perception of the conflict has been distorted.

Combat Trends

After assuming office in August 2002, President Alvaro Uribe immediately set about strengthening the Colombian military and taking the offensive against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). There is little doubt that he has been successful on both counts. The question is: To what degree has he been successful? Most mainstream media reports suggest that the FARC has been pinned back and is on the defensive, even in its traditional rural strongholds; that the FARC’s ranks have shrunk by as much as half over the past five years; and that the amount of political violence perpetrated by the guerrillas has diminished dramatically, thereby making the country much safer. Some analysts even go so far as to suggest that the FARC is now on its last legs and the conflict will soon be over.

However, a review of available statistics suggests that the picture is not as clear-cut as Colombian and US officials and mainstream media reports suggest. Firstly, increased security in urban areas has dramatically curtailed common crime including murders, but much of the country’s political violence has traditional occurred in rural regions where the armed conflict is being fought. The Bogotá-based Center for Research and Popular Education (CINEP), a leading think tank that monitors Colombia’s conflict and political violence, recently released data on the intensity of the armed conflict between 1990 and 2007. The data shows the frequency of combat engaged in by government forces, the guerrillas and the paramilitaries. The statistics show a steady decline in the number of combat incidents between 2002 and 2006. However, as Adam Isacson of the Washington, DC-based Center for International Policy points out, ‘This decline only brought the intensity of the fighting back to levels seen in the late 1990s, not exactly a golden age of peace and security for Colombia.’[1]

And then, in 2007, a sharp upturn occurred in combat involving the Colombian military and the FARC. As a result, the frequency of combat last year surpassed all but two years (2001 and 2002) of the 18 years covered by the data. Media reports often imply that a principal difference in the nature of the combat occurring under the Uribe administration when compared to prior years is that much of the fighting is now initiated by the newly-strengthened military and that the guerrillas are primarily engaging in combat in order to defend themselves. CINEP’s data, however, suggests that this is only partially true. CINEP shows the number of combats initiated by each armed actor in each year of the data period. In 2007, the military was clearly on the offensive as it attacked the guerrillas on 713 occasions—more than in any of the previous 18 years with the exceptions of 2002 and 2003. However, the numbers suggest that the FARC was also on the offensive as it initiated combat on 653 occasions—more than in all but four years of the data period.[2] These statistics suggest that, while the military has indeed become more offensive-minded on the battlefield, the FARC is far from being defeated and is still capable of launching attacks in rural Colombia.

Human Rights Trends

Another interesting aspect of the CINEP data is its documentation of the number of violations of international humanitarian law (killings of civilians, forced displacements, disappearances, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, etc.) perpetrated by each armed actor. Throughout the 1990s, the paramilitaries were by far the largest violator of human rights, accounting for 53 percent of the 6,059 documented violations between 1990 and 1998 that were attributed either to them, the military or the FARC. During the same period, the FARC was responsible for 27 percent and the military for the remaining 20 percent—although the military and the paramilitaries regularly colluded with each other, according to human rights groups.[3]

During the ensuing four years, the number of violations by all three armed actors increased with the paramilitaries and the FARC showing the greatest proliferation. According to statistics reported by the Colombian NGO Fundación País Libre, the increase in human rights violations committed by the FARC coincides with a dramatic rise in kidnappings perpetrated by the guerrilla group and the handing over of a demilitarized zone to the rebels by the government of President Andrés Pastrana.[4] Interestingly, there was a significant decline in the number of kidnappings perpetrated by the FARC in 2003, the year following the Pastrana government’s termination of the peace process and the demilitarized zone.

The recent reduction in kidnappings by the FARC has largely been attributed to the security policies of the Uribe administration, but the timing of the increase and then decline in abductions suggests that the guerrilla group’s loss of a safe-haven in which to hide hostages was also a significant contributing factor. Meanwhile, according to CINEP, overall human rights violations perpetrated by the FARC declined from 40 percent of the national total in 2002—before the drop in kidnappings—to only 10 percent in 2006. These numbers suggest that kidnapping constituted the principal human rights abuse perpetrated by the guerrillas and its reduction meant that the FARC was responsible for fewer violations of international law in 2006 than in any year since 1990.

President Uribe’s first four-year term in office (2002-2006) also saw a significant decrease in human rights abuses perpetrated by paramilitaries, most likely as a result of the demobilization process the government initiated with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 2003. While the actual number of human rights violations perpetrated by paramilitaries more than halved between 2002 and 2006, the percentage of abuses that the right-wing militias were responsible for remained fairly constant—31 percent in 2002 and 29 percent four years later—even though they were supposedly engaged in a cease-fire and a demobilization during this period.

The Uribe administration claims that the paramilitaries have now demobilized, but according to many analysts the disbandment of the AUC represented little more than a restructuring of the militia group. The Bogotá-based Institute for Development and Peace Studies (INDEPAZ), for instance, reported in 2006 that 43 new paramilitary groups totaling almost 4,000 fighters had formed in 23 of the country’s 32 departments.[5] Meanwhile, the following year, the Organization of American States (OAS) estimated that there were 20 new paramilitary groups with 3,000 fighters operating in Colombia.[6]

While the Uribe administration dismisses these new militias as criminal organizations and not actors in the armed conflict, one of Colombia’s leading human rights lawyers, Alirio Uribe of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, disagrees: ‘There are forty-three new paramilitary groups but, according to the Ministry of Defence, these new paramilitary groups have nothing to do with the old ones. But the truth is, they are the same. Before they were the AUC, now they are called the New Generation AUC. They have the same collusion with the army and the police. It’s a farce.’[7]

Perhaps the most startling statistic with regard to violations of international humanitarian law is the dramatic escalation in the direct role played by the Colombian State. When President Uribe assumed office in 2002, the State was responsible for 17 percent of all human rights violations. Four year’s later—at the end of Uribe’s first term—the State was responsible for 56 percent of human rights abuses; almost double the number of violations perpetrated by government agents in 2002.[8]

Ultimately, in 2006, the Colombian State was responsible for 56 percent of the country’s human rights violations, with the paramilitaries and FARC accounting for 29 percent and 10 percent respectively.[9] These statistics often stand in stark contrast to the picture presented in the media where an endless stream of quotes by Colombian and US officials repeatedly refer to the ‘brutality’ of the FARC ‘terrorists.’

Media Portrayal of the Conflict

Whenever killings of civilians occur, Colombian officials immediately blame the FARC, and the mainstream media often then dutifully report the accusations without investigating the crimes for themselves. And in those cases in which evidence finally emerges that it was actually the Colombian military or the paramilitaries that committed the killings, the mainstream media rarely reports the new findings, thereby leaving the impression that the FARC was the guilty party.

This propaganda strategy utilized by the Colombian government—with the acquiescence of the mainstream media—has led to people’s perception of the conflict becoming disconnected from the human rights reality on the ground. People are overwhelmed with news stories about killings allegedly perpetrated by the guerrillas while there are significantly fewer accounts of ongoing abuses by the Colombian military and its paramilitary allies.

A study of the killings of civilians in recent years clearly illustrates the chasm between the reality on the ground and the media’s portrayal of the violence. During President Uribe’s first term in office (2002-2006), the New York Times published 21 news reports that referred to the killing of civilians in Colombia. Seventeen of the reports held the guerrillas responsible for the killings referred to in the respective articles while the paramilitaries were blamed in two cases, the military in one, and both the rebels and paramilitaries in the remaining instance. In every one of the seventeen articles in which the guerrillas were held responsible, the only sources cited were Colombian government or military officials.[10]

According to the Times’ articles, the guerrillas were responsible for 80 percent of the killings. Meanwhile, paramilitaries were responsible for 10 percent of the murders and the military for 5 percent. However, when compared to a report published last year by the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), the New York Times is presenting a skewed portrayal of the conflict in rural Colombia. According to the CCJ report, the guerrillas were responsible for 25 percent of the killings of civilians during President Uribe’s first term in office rather than the 80 percent suggested by the Times´ reporting. Meanwhile, the CCJ held the paramilitaries responsible for 61 percent of the deaths and the Colombian military for the remaining 14 percent.[11]

An over-reliance on official sources and the resulting distorted portrayal of the conflict is not unique to the New York Times; it is evident in most mainstream US media coverage. Official press junkets, regularly organized by the Colombian military and the US embassy, are a convenient way for all foreign correspondents based in Bogotá to visit remote rural regions affected by the civil conflict. The problem with this arrangement, however, is that the journalists are flown to a specific destination chosen by the authorities where they spend a few hours with officials and get presented with a pre-packaged story. Inevitably, the official line dominates the published account.

For their part, the Colombian government and the US embassy are fully aware of the mainstream media’s over-reliance on official sources, and as such, they regularly hold press conferences or dispatch officials to public events such as the launching of a new military operation. Government officials realize that the media will obediently cover these events because they provide convenient stories for reporters working under tight deadlines.

The foreign correspondents based in Colombia often attend the same event or press junket in order to avoid being the only reporter not covering that particular ‘story.’ Consequently, several almost-identical versions of the same article are frequently published the following day by various US media outlets. Government officials know that if they keep the media occupied daily with pre-packaged stories that portray government policy in a positive light, then reporters may be too busy to conduct deeper investigative journalism.

Consequently, in its coverage of Colombia’s conflict, the mainstream media has tended to reflect the perspective of the country’s dominant political, social and economic sectors. For example, the issue of kidnapping has received widespread media coverage because leftist guerrillas are the principal perpetrators and the victims are primarily politicians, members of the state security forces, and civilians from the urban middle and upper classes. While kidnapped Colombians are clearly victims of the country’s violence and their plight deserves attention, their numbers pale in comparison to the number of poor peasants who have been forcibly displaced by the military and right-wing paramilitaries.

In 2000, at the outset of Plan Colombia, approximately three thousand Colombians were being kidnapped annually. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of a million peasants were being forcibly displaced from their homes and land every year. And yet, most people were oblivious to the fact that Colombia had one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world. While the number of people kidnapped dropped to 521 in 2007, the number of Colombians being forcibly displaced has been rising.[12] According to the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), 305,966 people were forcibly displaced in 2007—a startling 38 percent increase over the previous year.[13]

Despite this reality, media coverage remains firmly focused on the plight of the kidnapped because the Uribe administration has successfully kept the spotlight on the FARC’s hostages and away from displaced Colombians, increasing numbers of who have been forced from their homes by the Colombian military’s counter-insurgency operations. As a result, the plight of Colombia’s rural poor has been mostly ignored.

Conclusion

There are large discrepancies between the portrayal of Colombia´s conflict provided by the Colombian and US governments and that presented by many NGOs, human rights groups and rural community leaders. Due to its over-reliance on official sources, the mainstream media is primarily responsible for ensuring that the official story is the dominant narrative, thereby distorting the reality of Colombia’s conflict.

Mainstream media correspondents in Colombia appear to view their journalistic responsibility in much the same way that New York Times reporter Judith Miller did in the lead up to the war in Iraq. When asked why her articles often did not include the views of experts skeptical of the Bush administration’s weapons of mass destruction claims, Miller replied: ‘My job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought of Iraq’s arsenal.’ Unfortunately, in many cases, the media has displayed a similar lack of inquisitiveness about some of the larger factors at play in Colombia’s civil conflict. And, as a result, has contributed to a significantly distorted portrayal of Colombia’s conflict.

Notes

1. Adam Isacson, ‘CINEP: Colombia’s Conflict Is Far from Over,’ Center for International Policy, April 10, 2008.

2. Ibid.

3. For an excellent report on military-paramilitary collusion during this period, see, ‘The Sixth Division: Military-Paramilitary Ties and US Policy in Colombia,’ Human Rights Watch, September 2001.

4. ‘Estadisticas secuestro a 2006,’ Fundación País Libre, 2007.

5. ‘Paramilitary Demobilization,’ U.S. Office on Colombia, 15 December 2007.

6. ‘Colombia’s New Armed Groups,’ International Crisis Group, May 10, 2007.

7. Interview with author, Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia, August 9, 2006.

8. Adam Isacson, ‘CINEP: Colombia’s Conflict Is Far from Over,’ Center for International Policy, April 10, 2008.

9. Ibid. The percentage of violations committed by the paramilitaries (29 percent), military (56 percent) and the FARC (10 percent) do not total 100 percent because the ELN and other small rebel groups were responsible for the remaining 12 percent of abuses in 2002 and the remaining 5 percent in 2006.

10. Review of the online archive of the New York Times conducted by the author in April 2007.

11. ‘Colombia 2002-2006: Situación de derechos humanos y derechos humanitario,’ Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (CCJ), January 2007.

12. Kevin Whitelaw, ‘Inside Colombia’s War on Kidnapping,’ US News and World Report, February 27, 2008.

13. ‘Departamentos de llegada, años 2006-2007,’ Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (CODHES), February 13, 2008.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/KKAA-7F89EE?OpenDocument

” … Strom’s arrest several months later shook the supremacist movement, which in recent years has seen several key activists arrested for embarrassing crimes, some of them sexual. … “

Extremist Crimes
SPLC Intelligence Report
Summer 2008

Kevin Strom, the longtime neo-Nazi leader, had a surprising revelation for the judge who was about to sentence him to almost two years in prison on federal child pornography charges: He was not, in fact, a child pornographer.

Never mind that Strom had pleaded guilty in January to federal child pornography charges, or that police said they’d found images of child porn on his computer, along with hundreds of photos of naked girls “in sexually suggestive positions.”

At his April 21 sentencing, Strom, 51, insisted that he had no taste for pornography. “I am not a pedophile,” he said. “I am the furthest thing from a pervert.”

Not only that, but Strom was indignant that anyone would call him a neo-Nazi. “I deeply resent the way I’ve been characterized in the press,” he huffed after entering his guilty plea in January. “I’m no more a white supremacist than the Dalai Lama is a Tibetan supremacist.”

The Dalai Lama comparison may be stretching it. For nearly two decades, the bespectacled, nattily dressed neo-Nazi served as right hand man to William Pierce, whose book The Turner Diaries became a blueprint for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. After Pierce died unexpectedly in 2002, Strom was passed over for leadership of Pierce’s neo-Nazi organization, the National Alliance. Strom eventually broke away to form the now defunct National Vanguard in 2005.

Strom’s public woes began on Jan. 4, 2007, when federal agents arrested him near his home in Stanardsville, Va. He was charged with possessing and receiving child pornography, enticing a minor to perform sex acts and intimidating a witness. U.S. District Judge Norman Moon dismissed the latter two charges at Strom’s first trial in October. He ruled that while Strom had followed and anonymously sent many gifts to a 10-year-old girl, he had not actually tried to have sex with her. The judge did note that there was “overwhelming evidence he was sexually drawn to this child.” He also found that Strom’s numerous legal complaints against his wife did not amount to intimidation.

This January, facing a second trial on unresolved charges, Strom struck a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. In exchange, multiple counts of receiving child porn were dismissed. During his sentencing on April 21, Strom said the child porn came from an online forum he’d visited and that he had not intentionally downloaded it onto his computer. Strom, who had already served more than one year in prison, asked Judge Norman Moon not to give him further time.

“Mr. Strom, you pled guilty to charges that now you’re saying you’re innocent [of],” Moon responded. “I prefer people plead not guilty than put it on me.”

Moon, who called Strom’s guilty plea “extremely serious,” sentenced him to 23 months in jail. Nonetheless, with time served, Strom could be free by the end of this year. He will be under supervised release for 15 years.

Though his critics lampooned his allegedly feminine mannerisms by nicknaming him “Weenie,” Strom’s intellectual persona gave him a veneer of respectability that stood in sharp contrast to the thuggish image of the white supremacist world. Then, in July 2006, he abruptly announced he was taking a leave of absence as chief of National Vanguard because of “family and health matters.” He acknowledged having “made mistakes, some of them serious ones,” but didn’t elaborate.

Strom’s arrest several months later shook the supremacist movement, which in recent years has seen several key activists arrested for embarrassing crimes, some of them sexual. After Strom’s sentencing in April, the neo-Nazi online forum Vanguard News Network featured a lively debate about whether or not he was innocent. Amid the abundance of conspiracy theories and speculations that Strom had pleaded guilty as a ploy to avoid jail time, many of his fellow white nationalists sounded like they’d had enough of him.

Wrote one member: “Kevin Strom is a weirdo and should not be allowed back into WN [white nationalist] circles. Period.”

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=920

” … great effort was made to create a situation in which Americans would not be affected by the war; it would be nothing more than a television program here, with the media there tightly controlled. For the first time in history taxes were reduced as a war was launched. Mercenaries were hired to conduct much of the war. The economy here benefited by the extensive us of contractors, formerly called war profiteers. … “

Originally posted at seattlepi.nwsource.com

As we all know the Iraq War was carefully orchestrated. The McClellan book calls attention to the propaganda campaign that preceded the war and continues throughout the campaign. The historical precedent that was probably examined for the use of media for manufacturing consent to the war, or the appearance of consent, was the Spanish-American War.

At the same time, great effort was made to create a situation in which Americans would not be affected by the war; it would be nothing more than a television program here, with the media there tightly controlled. For the first time in history taxes were reduced as a war was launched. Mercenaries were hired to conduct much of the war. The economy here benefited by the extensive us of contractors, formerly called war profiteers.

The military even manufactured stories to create warrior icons, insulting the family of Pat Tillman (which still fighting to get to the truth of the coverup) and embarrassing Jessica Lynch, who gave one of the most moving speeches imaginable to Congress when she disclaimed the lies that had been concocted about her. This was all part of an effort to re-engineer many of the social influences that contributed to the anti-war movement that brought an end to the Viet Nam War.

Perhaps the most significant factor in boosting the anti-war movement of forty years ago was the draft. College age men were forced to go to war, excluding people such as those comprising the current administration who exploited privilege or exemptions from service. Others went to Canada, prison or became conscientious objectors. The fabric of society was torn by the appropriation of people to fight the war. When the war affected the lives of most people here, there was a great deal more concern about it and the reasons for it. The volunteer army circumvents much of this.

Congressman Rangel is concerned that the volunteer army is disproportionately composed of the poor and people of color, people who do not have a strong voice in politics. Congressman McDermott wants a system where people will care about policies that result in the deaths of huge numbers of innocent people. Last week two independent surveyors estimated that over 1,200,000 innocent people have been killed in Iraq. In propaganda jargon this is “collateral damage.”

The founding fathers were quite aware of the damage to the society that could be done by an unpopular war. So they sought to built into their government’s framework structure that would avoid such a possibility. One measure was to forbid a standing army. This has gone into the historical dustbin. Another was to give Congress the duty of appropriating money for any war. James Madison in the Federalist Papers thought that this measure assured that there could never be an unpopular war in the United States. We have seen this aspect of governmental checks and balances fail.

Jim McDermott and Charles Rangel have sponsored a bill that is intended to create a structural impediment to unpopular war. Like the architects of the Iraq War, they used the Viet Nam War experience as a guide. Their bill will institute a two year period of national service, military or other service.

The bill would require people between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service of some sort for two years. McDermott at a speech at the University of Washington characterized the bill as an attempt to re-invest democracy in our society (where service is not born disproportionately by lower economic groups) and create a sense of community in the country.

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/northwestlaw/archives/140288.asp?from=blog_last3

London, UK – 24th March 2008
22:07 GMT
groups.google.com/group/holistic-quantum-relativity-hqr

Dear ATCA Colleagues

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

After 10 years of stem cell research, scientists are now facing difficulty with cell therapy from the present human embryonic stem cell experimentation.

The next phase involves human-animal combinations via Chimeras, Hybrids and Cybrids.

1. A Chimera is produced when a human embryo is fused with an animal embryo;

2. An Hybrid is produced when a human female egg is fertilised with animal sperm or vice-versa; and

3. A “Cybrid” is produced when an animal cell’s genetic material is removed and replaced with human genetic material.

Some key questions arise:

1. Should human genetic material be fused with animal cells to create clones of hybrids and cybrids for research?

2. Are human body replacement parts which are part human and part animal appropriate?

Whilst this human-animal combination may open up more potential for future cell therapy and cures for serious illnesses like cancer, there are clear asymmetric threats emerging for humanity. At the same time, it is not clear that if we create human-animal combinations as test beds for research into cancer or other deadly diseases, any success in identifying new treatments will necessarily replicate reliably in the context of the human species. We may indeed have found solutions for the artificially created human-animal synthetic species which may completely fail on the classic “human being.” Hence defeating the purpose of the entire exercise.

Reflects on the perils of creating human-animal synthetic organisms.
http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2008/03/humananimal_syn.html

Background problem

Why is there a rising need for human-animal combinations for biomedical research? Scientists are facing difficulty getting volunteers to donate human donor eggs for cell based research and therapeutic cloning as egg donation is a procedure which poses some risks to a healthy human female’s life. The fusion of human genetic material with animal ova is thought to produce cells which behave in a manner identical to human embryos obtained from in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In IVF obtained embryos, the inner cell mass (ICM) of these minute human embryos would normally differentiate to form various organs of the human body. But when the ICM is removed for human therapeutic cloning experiments including embryonic stem cell research, the human embryo must die. This is the major moral and ethical objection of therapeutic cloning in regard to human embryos.

Rabbit-human hybrid embryos

In August 2003, Hui Zhen Sheng of Shanghai Second Medical University, China, announced that rabbit-human ‘cybrid’ embryos had been created. Researchers fused adult human material with rabbit eggs stripped of their original genetic material and created rabbit-human hybrid embryos which developed to approximately the 100-cell stage, after about four days of development. Moreover, the scientists claimed to derive stem cells from these embryos similar to conventional human embryonic stem cells.

Historic attempts at human-ape

There are well-documented reports that a few scientists in the mid-1920s made serious attempts to create a half-human, half-chimpanzee. One of the Soviet Union’s top scientists, Professor Ilya Ivanov, tried to impregnate female chimpanzees with human sperm in Africa in order to create a human-chimpanzee hybrid (a humanzee). experiments were unsuccessful, but at the time many colleagues believed it was probably feasible in the future. The “Humanzee” is becoming possible in the 21st century.

Chimeras

A chimera of either form of hybrid will have both human and animal tissues. Examples of classic chimeras include the mule, which is a cross between a horse and a donkey. Mythical examples of chimeras include the Merlion (human and a fish) and Centaur (body of a horse and a human head).

The Asymmetric Threats from Human-Animal Synthetic Organisms

1. Medical science has repeatedly shown that animal diseases can be transmitted into humans by any remnant animal protein or genetic fragment, especially from animal protein or genetic material remaining in the egg of the animal. Such diseases can include cancer, leukaemia, or even Alzheimer dementia and mad cow disease by difficult-to-detect prion protein.

2. Serious animal infections, presently confined only to the animal kingdom, can cross the species barrier and infect humans. For example, the HIV virus was transmitted from chimpanzees to humans. It was absent prior to the 1950s but started appearing in Africa either when some tribes ate infected chimps or was passed by errant researchers using chimpanzee serum for human treatment. Chicken eggs may contain the fatal avian virus, and poultry hepatitis B viruses which cause liver cancer.

3. If a human being is created in the Chimera form, and then its life is terminated, this could be legally and ethically unjustifiable.

4. It may be said that any form of mixing violates natural boundaries — it breaks the species barrier. To pursue this, however, we need to increase our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the concept of species boundaries. Although it is rare for species to interbreed, the ‘barrier’ is in reality difficult to define.

5. If each species has a clearly defined genome, then mixing species means mixing up two distinct genomes. With the human genome, things are not that clear. To start with, around half the genes in human cells create proteins that keep cells alive and growing. These genes are found in many different living organisms where they vary only slightly, if at all, from the versions found in humans. This is why people quote figures such as “humans are 50% bananas!” It is therefore difficult to describe these so-called ‘housekeeper’ genes as belonging to any particular species.

The word ‘science’ derives from the Latin scientia, knowledge, and science is rightly concerned with ‘the systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment and measurement’. However, questions like whether to create human-animal embryonic combinations require more than knowledge, they require wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge tempered by judgment. Science cannot simply pursue the acquisition of knowledge without any consideration of the means involved; it must operate within legal and ethical boundaries. What if the human-animal combinations fail to find cures for any illness but unleash a whole series of new fangled problems and diseases in runaway chain reaction experiments? The regulatory system may fail at some point and the scheduled termination of human-animal synthetic organisms may not take place. What happens then? What if the new synthetic species grows in confinement to full form and escapes into the wider world?

ATCA is pro-science and we need to look for ways of conducting science within a legally and ethically justifiable framework for the long term. ATCA recognises that direct human and animal experimentation is becoming increasingly difficult for the scientific community in the current climate because of STRICT government restrictions enforced by tight legislation as well as human rights and animal rights groups.

Therefore, the scientific community is left with limited options such as pursuing research at a cellular level to create human-animal synthetic organisms in order to understand and to find cures for debilitating diseases. However, if the world’s scientific community were to make the brave decision not to pursue this particular direction of human-animal synthetic research, then new avenues would almost certainly open up and lead to alternative modes of finding cures and treatments. Rather than being a panacea the human-animal synthetic organisms could be the opening of the genetic equivalent of pandora’s box!

[ENDS]

http://groups.google.com/group/holistic-quantum-relativity-hqr/browse_thread/thread/e27a9cf9141bc8c9