February 2, 2012
By Mike M. Ahlers
“Way to go TSA. You are doing great work.” –KTRN
A New York airport screener who removed two pipes from a traveler’s bag and set them aside Monday morning prompted a security scare six hours later when the next shift saw the pipes and feared they might be pipe bombs, local and federal officials said.
The incident at New York’s LaGuardia Airport began at 11:30 a.m. when a screener discovered unidentifiable items inside a passenger’s carry-on bag. The officer screened the item for explosives, determined them not to be a threat and cleared the passenger through the checkpoint, a Transportation Security Administration official said.
But the officer prevented the metal item from going through because of its “material and appearance,” a TSA official said.
When the next shift arrived, one officer saw the items and mistakenly believed they were test objects, used to check screener proficiency. When that officer later learned they were not test items, the officer alerted others, and the TSA contacted the Port Authority Police Department, responsible for protecting the airport.
“No one could give a good account of what it was, so we did the safe thing and called (the) NYPD bomb squad,” Port Authority Police Department spokesman Al Della Fave told CNN.
November 14, 2011
By Zachary Roth
“Long live the USA. Long live war.” –KTRN
The Cold War ended more than two decades ago. But the United States still has more than 5,000 atomic warheads scattered around the country or on submarines around the world. And President Obama’s push for a nuclear-weapons-free world is moving at a frustrating, glacial pace.
More than likely, there’s highly radioactive nuclear material not too far from you right now. The hair-raising map above, compiled by Mother Jones magazine using data from the Defense Department and nuclear watchdog groups, lets you see just where those warheads are–while also showing civilian nuclear facilities, as well as the far-flung labs and factories that make up the American weapons complex. Our scattered system for making and storing weapons is needlessly expensive and dangerous, watchdog groups have said.
December 21st, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
Getting through the airport security line with dangerous weapons is far easier than most people might think, according to a recent ABC News report. Undercover government agents testing the effectiveness of common U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security protocols found that the majority of the time, TSA agents completely missed obvious weaponry like bombs and loaded handguns stowed in luggage.
In the case of Farid Seif, an Iranian-American businessman who travels frequently out of Houston Airport, agents failed to identify a loaded Glock pistol in Seif’s bag that he allegedly forgot had been left inside. After he arrived at his destination, Seif was shocked to find that he has made it through the screening process and onto the airplane with a loaded handgun, and immediately let airport security officials know about the security failure.
And according to the same ABC News report, Seif’s case is hardly isolated. Undercover agents who conducted a test at Newark Liberty International Airport in 2006 found that they were able to get concealed bombs through the screening system more than 90 percent of the time. And similar outcomes have occurred at various other airports as well, including Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has refused to release any more specific data about the checkpoint breaches, but insists they highlight the need for increased security measures. However, some say that the release of this new information is nothing more than propaganda to defend the invasive new enhanced pat-downs and back-scatter X-ray protocols that have received much flack in recent weeks for violating personal and civil liberties.
July 8, 2010
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have become the main weapon used against international and Afghan forces fighting to end an insurgency increasingly seen as bogged down in favour of the Taliban.
The equipment was “at least doubling” current counter-IED capacity as forces did not have all they needed to take on an escalating threat, said Ashton Carter, US undersecretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics.
The new equipment, including tethered surveillance blimps, heavily armoured vehicles and detection machinery such as robots and mine detectors, would arrive in Afghanistan in the coming months, he told reporters.
Carter said the equipment would be accompanied by about 1,000 counter-IED experts, including laboratory technicians, intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials.
“This is an enormous plug of extra effort,” he said, adding that the equipment would be shared with coalition and Afghan forces.
IEDs are the biggest threat facing troops engaged in the war in Afghanistan, now well into its ninth year.
The bombs are difficult to detect, often buried by roadsides and remotely detonated to devastating effect.
Many of the foreign soldiers killed so far this year have died as a result of IED attacks. Others often suffer life-changing injuries.
Two NATO soldiers died Thursday in the east and south of the country, one by a roadside bomb, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, taking to 341 the number of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan this year.
June saw more than 102 foreign troops deaths, a monthly record since the war began with the 2001 US-led invasion to overthrow the Taliban regime.
A June UN report marked an “alarming” 94 percent increase in IED incidents in the first four months of this year compared to 2009, as the military says intensifying efforts against the Taliban are being matched by more attacks.
Afghan authorities had banned the use of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and were tightening the border to restrict its flow into Afghanistan, Carter said.
“As Pakistan itself begins to suffer from the same homemade IEDs… their willingness to act is growing. This is a very, very welcome sign given how much of this stuff comes over the border from Pakistan,” he said.
Pakistan has long been implicated in the violence in Afghanistan, with the government’s intelligence arm and its military blamed for supporting and collaborating with militant groups based on its side of the border.
Afghanistan’s national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta this week called on Pakistani authorities to take action against the groups, which he said included Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
Afghan officials have blamed a number of major attacks on militant groups that have carved out havens in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt.
Carter attributed a recent spike in casualties among international troops to greater efforts against the insurgents.
“It is fair to say we have been intensifying our operations so much in the last few months, this is the cause of the lion’s share of increased IED activity.”
Detection and controlled detonation of IEDs had risen considerably, Carter said, though he conceded that the size of the bombs and the magnitude of the damage caused by them was increasing.
The United States and NATO have more than 140,000 troops in Afghanistan. Another 10,000 are to deploy in coming weeks in an effort to drive the Taliban from their strongholds, mainly in southern provinces Helmand and Kandahar.
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March 15, 2010
Street clashes broke out between rioting youths and police in central Athens today as tens of thousands demonstrated during a nationwide strike against the cash-strapped government.
Hundreds of masked and hooded youths punched and kicked motorcycle police, knocking several off their bikes, as police responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades.
The violence spread after the end of the march to a nearby square, where police faced off with stone-throwing anarchists and suffocating clouds of tear gas sent patrons scurrying from open-air cafes.
Police say 16 suspected rioters were detained and two officers were injured.
Rioters used sledge hammers to smash the glass fronts of more than a dozen shops, banks, jewelers and a cinema.
Youths also set fire to rubbish bins and a car, smashed bus stops, and chopped blocks off marble balustrades and building facades to use as projectiles.
Organisers said some 60,000 people took part in the protest. But an unofficial police estimate set the crowd at around 20,000 – including those that took part in a separate, peaceful march earlier Thursday. Police do not issue official crowd estimates for demonstrations.
Thursday’s strike – the second in a week – brought the country to a virtual standstill, grounding all flights and bringing public transport to a halt.
State hospitals were left with emergency staff only and all news broadcasts were suspended as workers walked off the job for 24 hours to protest spending cuts and tax hikes designed to tackle the country’s debt crisis.
Riot police made heavy use of tear gas during the start-and-stop clashes throughout the demonstration, including outside Parliament.
Strikers and protesters banged drums and chanted slogans such as ‘no sacrifice for plutocracy,’ and ‘real jobs, higher pay.’
People draped banners from apartment buildings reading: ‘No more sacrifices, war against war.
The demonstrators included hundreds of black-clad anarchists in crash helmets and ski masks, who repeatedly taunted and attacked riot police with stones and petrol bombs, at one point spraying officers with brown paint.
Shopkeepers along the demonstration route hastily rolled down their shutters, while a few blocks away, people sat at outdoor restaurants, nonchalantly continuing their meals.
Tear gas wafted through the city center’s streets, sending businessmen in suits scurrying for cover, their eyes streaming.
Minor clashes also broke out in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where about 14,000 people marched through the center.
Fears of a Greek default have undermined the euro for all 16 countries that share it, putting the Greek government under intense European Union pressure to quickly show fiscal improvement.
It has announced a raft of savings through public sector salary cuts, hiring and pension freezes and consumer tax hikes to deal with its ballooning deficit, but the measures have led to a new wave of labor discontent.
The cutbacks, added to a previous austerity plan, seek to reduce the country’s budget deficit from 12.7 percent of annual output to 8.7 percent this year. The long-term target is to bring overspending below the EU ceiling of 3 percent of GDP in 2012.
The new plan sparked a wave of strikes and protests from labour unions whose reaction to the initial austerity measures had been muted.
October 1, 2009
By Tim Talley
The FBI says it did not edit videotapes of the aftermath of the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building before turning them over to an attorney who is conducting an unofficial inquiry into the bombing.
The FBI turned over more than two dozen tapes taken from security cameras on buildings and other locations around the federal building to Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who obtained them through the federal Freedom of Information Act. Trentadue said the tapes are blank at various times in the minutes before the blast.
“They have been edited,” Trentadue said Wednesday.
The soundless recordings show people rushing from nearby buildings immediately after a 4,000 pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and injuring hundreds more.
Some show people fleeing through corridors cluttered with debris. None shows the actual explosion that ripped through the federal building.
Trentadue said the absence of footage before the blast indicates something was on the tapes that the FBI did not want to make public.
“They don’t do anything by accident,” he said.
A spokesman for the FBI in Washington, Paul Bresson, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the agency did not edit the tapes before turning them over to Trentadue.
Bresson said the FBI identified 26 videos in its files in response to an April request by Trentadue for video from security cameras in 11 different locations. FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the federal building itself.
“The FBI made no edits or redactions in the processing of these videos,” Bresson said. “The tapes are typical security cameras – the view switches camera to camera every few seconds.”
Bresson declined to expand on the FBI’s e-mail statement when contacted Wednesday.
Trentadue began looking into the bombing after his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, died at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995. Kenneth Trentadue was a convicted bank robber who was held at the federal prison after being picked up on an alleged parole violation at his home in San Diego in June 1995.
He was never a bombing suspect, but Jesse Trentadue alleges guards mistook his brother for one and beat him to death during an interrogation. The official cause of Kenneth Trentadue’s death is listed as suicide, but his body had 41 wounds and bruises that Jesse Trentadue believes could have come only from a beating.
A judge in 2001 awarded Kenneth Trentadue’s family $1.1 million for extreme emotional distress in the government’s handling of his death.
Some images turned over to Jesse Trentadue were used as evidence at bomber Timothy McVeigh’s trial. McVeigh was convicted on federal murder and conspiracy charges and executed in 2001. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving life in prison on federal and state bombing convictions.
August 18, 2009
By S.L. Baker
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a malignant disease of the bone marrow, is the most common cancer diagnosed in children. In fact, nearly one third of all pediatric cancers are cases of ALL. Although this form of cancer can be cured in many cases, in the worst case scenarios the cancer crowds out normal cells in the bone marrow, metastisizes to other organs and takes the lives of about 15 percent of the youngsters it attacks. What triggers so many kids, usually between the ages of three and seven, to develop this cancer in the first place? A new study just published in the August issue of the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring raises the suspicion that commonly used household pesticides are the cause.
Previous studies in agricultural areas of the US have shown strong associations between pesticides and childhood cancers but this is the first research conducted in a large, urban area to look at the connection. The study, conducted between January of 2005 and January of 2008, involved 41 pairs of children with ALL and their mothers and a control group of 41 matched pairs of healthy children and their mothers. The volunteer research subjects were all from Lombardi and Children’s National Medical Center and lived in the Washington metropolitan area.
Urine samples collected from the children and their mothers were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look for metabolites that provide evidence of household pesticide exposure. Specifically, the scientists were looking for metabolites associated with the pesticides known by their chemical name as organophosphates (OP). The researchers found evidence of the pesticides in the urine of more than half of all the participants, but levels of two common OP metabolites, diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP), were significantly higher in the children who suffered from cancer. What’s more, the mothers who participated in the study filled out questionnaires that revealed more moms whose kids had cancer used pesticides (33 percent) than did the mothers in the control group (14 percent) whose youngsters were cancer-free.
“We know pesticides — sprays, strips, or ‘bombs,’ are found in at least 85 percent of households, but obviously not all the children in these homes develop cancer. What this study suggests is an association between pesticide exposure and the development of childhood ALL, but this isn’t a cause-and-effect finding,” the study’s lead investigator, Offie Soldin, PhD, an epidemiologist at Lombardi, said in a statement to the media. “Future research would help us understand the exact role of pesticides in the development of cancer. We hypothesize that pre-natal exposure coupled with genetic susceptibility or an additional environmental insult after birth could be to blame.”
While the scientists aren’t ready to flat out say pesticides cause cancer, when you look at the big picture and see what is already known about the havoc pesticides appear to cause in the human body, it makes sense for parents and parents-to-be to ditch pesticides — for their own health and for the health of their children. For example, NaturalNews has previously reported on the link between residential pesticides and childhood brain cancer, and the strong association between a serious pre-cancerous blood condition and exposure to pesticides.