July 19th, 2011
By: Amelia Hill, James Robinson and Caroline Davies
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbusiness reporter who was the first named journalist to allege that Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead .
Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, was said to have been found at his Watford home.
Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”
There was an unexplained delay in the arrival of forensics officers at the scene.
Neighbours said three police cars and two ambulances arrived at the property shortly before 11am. They left around four hours later, around 3pm, shortly after a man and a woman, believed to be grieving relatives, arrived at the premises. There was no police presence at the scene at all for several hours.
The curtains were drawn at the first-floor apartment in a new-build block of flats.
At about 9.15pm, three hours after the Guardian revealed Hoare had been found dead a police van marked “Scientific Services Unit” pulled up at the address, where a police car was already parked. Two officers emerged carrying evidence bags, clipboards, torches and laptop-style bags and entered the building. Three officers carrying cameras and wearing white forensic suits went into the flat at around 9.30pm.
Hoare was in his mid-40s. He first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World. He told the newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the hacking, but he also actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.
In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged he was personally asked by his editor at the time, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson’s insistence he did not know of the practice was “a lie, it is simply a lie”. At the time a Downing Street spokeswoman said Coulson totally and utterly denied the allegations; he had “never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where hacking took place”.
Hoare said he was once a close friend of Coulson’s, and told the New York Times the two first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said, he continued to inform Coulson of his activities. He “actively encouraged me to do it”, Hoare said. In September last year he was interviewed under caution by police over his claim the former Tory communications chief asked him to hack into phones when editor of the paper, but declined to make any comment.
Hoare returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the NoW were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals, in exchange for payments to police officers. He said journalists were able to use “pinging”, which measured the distance between a mobile handset and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.
Hoare gave further details about “pinging” to the Guardian last week. He described how reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: “Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say ‘Right, that’s where they are.’”
He said: “You’d just go to the news desk and they’d come back to you. You don’t ask any questions. You’d consider it a job done.
“The chain of command is one of absolute discipline, and that’s why I never bought into it, like with Andy saying he wasn’t aware of it and all that. That’s bollocks.”
He said he stood by everything he told the New York Times of “pinging”. “I don’t know how often it happened. That would be wrong of me. But if I had access, as a humble reporter … ”
He admitted he had had problems with drink and drugs, and had been in rehab. “But that’s irrelevant,” he said. “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.”
Hoare named a private investigator who he said had links with the News of the World, adding: “He may want to talk now, because I think what you’ll find now is a lot of people are going to want to cover their arse.” Speaking to another Guardian journalist last week, Hoare repeatedly expressed the hope that the hacking scandal would lead to journalism in general being cleaned up, and said he had decided to blow the whistle on the activities of some of his former NoW colleagues with that aim in mind.
He also said he had been injured the previous weekend while taking down a marquee erected for a children’s party. He said he broke his nose and badly injured his foot when a relative accidentally struck him with a pole from the marquee. Hoare also emphasised that he was not making any money from telling his story.
Having been treated for drug and alcohol problems, Hoare reminisced about his partying with former pop stars and said that he missed the days when he was able to go out on the town.
On Monday evening the curtains were drawn at his home, a first-floor apartment in a new-build block of flats.
A neighbour living opposite, Nicky Dormer, said three police cars and two ambulances arrived at the property at 11am; police left at 3pm, shortly after a man and a woman, believed to be grieving relatives, arrived at the premises.
She and another neighbour described Hoare as a jovial man who would often sit on his balcony, overlooking the block entrance, and talk to residents. They said he lived in the block with his partner, a woman called Jo, who they believed had been away on holiday. Neither had seen Hoare for a few days.
Paul Pritchard, 30, another neighbour, said Sean Hoare was “the most sociable” resident, and they would regularly see him watering the communal front lawn.
“It is just such a shock. About a month ago he said he felt unwell and he said he went to the doctors for a checkup. Then I saw him again and he seemed well.”
Forensic Evidence Emerges That European E.coli Superbug Was Bioengineered to Produce Human Fatalities
June 9th, 2011
By: Mike Adams
Even as the veggie blame game is now under way across the EU, where a super resistant strain of e.coli is sickening patients and filling hospitals in Germany, virtually no one is talking about how e.coli could have magically become resistant to eight different classes of antibiotic drugs and then suddenly appeared in the food supply.
This particular e.coli variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains are almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibiotics in order to provide the “mutation pressure” that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.
So if you’re curious about the origins of such a strain, you can essentially reverse engineer the genetic code of the e.coli and determine fairly accurately which antibiotics it was exposed to during its development. This step has now been done (see below), and when you look at the genetic decoding of this O104 strain now threatening food consumers across the EU, a fascinating picture emerges of how it must have come into existence.
The genetic code reveals the history
When scientists at Germany’s Robert Koch Institute decoded the genetic makeup of the O104 strain, they found it to be resistant to all the following classes and combinations of antibiotics:
• nalidixic acid
• amoxicillin / clavulanic acid
In addition, this O104 strain posses an ability to produce special enzymes that give it what might be called “bacteria superpowers” known technically as ESBLs:
“Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs) are enzymes that can be produced by bacteria making them resistant to cephalosporins e.g. cefuroxime, cefotaxime and ceftazidime – which are the most widely used antibiotics in many hospitals,” explains the Health Protection Agency in the UK.
On top of that, this O104 strain possesses two genes — TEM-1 and CTX-M-15 — that “have been making doctors shudder since the 1990s,” reports The Guardian. And why do they make doctors shudder? Because they’re so deadly that many people infected with such bacteria experience critical organ failure and simply die.
Bioengineering a deadly superbug
So how, exactly, does a bacterial strain come into existence that’s resistant to over a dozen antibiotics in eight different drug classes and features two deadly gene mutations plus ESBL enzyme capabilities?
There’s really only one way this happens (and only one way) — you have to expose this strain of e.coli to all eight classes of antibiotics drugs. Usually this isn’t done at the same time, of course: You first expose it to penicillin and find the surviving colonies which are resistant to penicillin. You then take those surviving colonies and expose them to tetracycline. The surviving colonies are now resistant to both penicillin and tetracycline. You then expose them to a sulfa drug and collect the surviving colonies from that, and so on. It is a process of genetic selection done in a laboratory with a desired outcome. This is essentially how some bioweapons are engineered by the U.S. Army in its laboratory facility in Ft. Detrick, Maryland.
Although the actual process is more complicated than this, the upshot is that creating a strain of e.coli that’s resistant to eight classes of antibiotics requires repeated, sustained expose to those antibiotics. It is virtually impossible to imagine how this could happen all by itself in the natural world. For example, if this bacteria originated in the food (as we’ve been told), then where did it acquire all this antibiotic resistance given the fact that antibiotics are not used in vegetables?
When considering the genetic evidence that now confronts us, it is difficult to imagine how this could happen “in the wild.” While resistance to a single antibiotic is common, the creation of a strain of e.coli that’s resistant to eight different classes of antibiotics — in combination — simply defies the laws of genetic permutation and combination in the wild. Simply put, this superbug e.coli strain could not have been created in the wild. And that leaves only one explanation for where it really came from: the lab.
Engineered and then released into the wild
The evidence now points to this deadly strain of e.coli being engineered and then either being released into the food supply or somehow escaping from a lab and entering the food supply inadvertently. If you disagree with that conclusion — and you’re certainly welcome to — then you are forced to conclude that this octobiotic superbug (immune to eight classes of antibiotics) developed randomly on its own… and that conclusion is far scarier than the “bioengineered” explanation because it means octobiotic superbugs can simply appear anywhere at any time without cause. That would be quite an exotic theory indeed.
My conclusion actually makes more sense: This strain of e.coli was almost certainly engineered and then released into the food supply for a specific purpose. What would that purpose be? It’s obvious, I hope.
It’s all problem, reaction, solution at work here. First cause a PROBLEM (a deadly strain of e.coli in the food supply). Then wait for the public REACTION (huge outcry as the population is terrorized by e.coli). In response to that, enact your desired SOLUTION (total control over the global food supply and the outlawing of raw sprouts, raw milk and raw vegetables).
That’s what this is all about, of course. The FDA relied on the same phenomenon in the USA when pushing for its recent “Food Safety Modernization Act” which essentially outlaws small family organic farms unless they lick the boots of FDA regulators. The FDA was able to crush farm freedom in America by piggybacking on the widespread fear that followed e.coli outbreaks in the U.S. food supply. When people are afraid, remember, it’s not difficult to get them to agree to almost any level of regulatory tyranny. And making people afraid of their food is a simple matter… a few government press releases emailed to the mainstream media news affiliates is all it takes.
First ban the natural medicine, then attack the food supply
Now, remember: All this is happening on the heels of the EU ban on medicinal herbs and nutritional supplements — a ban that blatantly outlaws nutritional therapies that help keep people healthy and free from disease. Now that all these herbs and supplements are outlawed, the next step is to make people afraid of fresh food, too. That’s because fresh vegetables are medicinal, and as long as the public has the right to buy fresh vegetables, they can always prevent disease.
But if you can make people AFRAID of fresh vegetables — or even outlaw them altogether — then you can force the entire population onto a diet of dead foods and processed foods that promote degenerative disease and bolster the profits of the powerful drug companies.
It’s all part of the same agenda, you see: Keep people sick, deny them access to healing herbs and supplements, then profit from their suffering at the hands of the global drug cartels.
GMOs play a similar role in all this, of course: They’re designed to contaminate the food supply with genetic code that causes widespread infertility among human beings. And those who are somehow able to reproduce after exposure to GMOs still suffer from degenerative disease that enriches the drug companies from “treatment.”
Do you recall which country was targeted in this recent e.coli scare? Spain. Why Spain? You may recall that leaked cables from Wikileaks revealed that Spain resisted the introduction of GMOs into its agricultural system, even as the U.S. government covertly threatened political retaliation for its resistance. This false blaming of Spain for the e.coli deaths is probably retaliation for Spain’s unwillingness to jump on the GMO bandwagon.
That’s the real story behind the economic devastation of Spain’s vegetable farmers. It’s one of the subplots being pursued alongside this e.coli superbug scheme.
Food as weapons of war – created by Big Pharma?
By the way, the most likely explanation of where this strain of e.coli was bioengineered is that the drug giants came up with it in their own labs. Who else has access to all the antibiotics and equipment needed to manage the targeted mutations of potentially thousands of e.coli colonies? The drug companies are uniquely positioned to both carry out this plot and profit from it. In other words, they have the means and the motive to engage in precisely such actions.
Aside from the drug companies, perhaps only the infectious disease regulators themselves have this kind of laboratory capacity. The CDC, for example, could probably pull this off if they really wanted to.
The proof that somebody bioengineered this e.coli strain is written right in the DNA of the bacteria. That’s forensic evidence, and what it reveals cannot be denied. This strain underwent repeated and prolonged exposure to eight different classes of antibiotics, and then it somehow managed to appear in the food supply. How do you get to that if not through a well-planned scheme carried out by rogue scientists? There is no such thing as “spontaneous mutation” into a strain that is resistant to the top eight classes of brand-name antibiotic drugs being sold by Big Pharma today. Such mutations have to be deliberate.
Once again, if you disagree with this assessment, then what you’re saying is that NO, it wasn’t done deliberately… it happened accidentally! And again, I’m saying that’s even scarier! Because that means the antibiotic contamination of our world is now at such an extreme level of overkill that a strain of e.coli in the wild can be saturated with eight different classes of antibiotics to the point where it naturally develops into its own deadly superbug. If that’s what people believe, then that’s almost a scarier theory than the bioengineering explanation!
March 8th, 2011
By: The Associated Press
DNA confirmed that a man arrested Friday in Connecticut is the East Coast Rapist suspected of terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island over 12 years, police said Saturday.
Lt. Julie Johnson said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab confirming 39-year-old Aaron Thomas was the East Coast Rapist.
New Haven police have a warrant charging Thomas with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor and he was being held on $1 million bond, Johnson said. Authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, are charging him with being a fugitive as well as rape and abduction charges and use of a firearm while committing a felony.
The East Coast Rapist is wanted for 17 rapes and other attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia that began in 1997. The cases were linked by DNA.
Authorities recently put up electronic billboards in the states where the attacks occurred and neighboring states. U.S. Marshal Joe Faughnan said a tip from Prince William County, Virginia, directed them to Thomas.
“Although the information and investigation of Thomas developed quickly over the last week or so, we should point out that investigators worked tirelessly for years pursuing this case,” Johnson said. “This was truly a joint collaboration on all levels. We are proud of our investigation and hope the arrest of Aaron Thomas brings some closure to our victims and our communities.”
Thomas could not be reached for comment; it was not known if he had legal representation. Thomas is scheduled to appear Monday in New Haven Superior Court.
Johnson did not take questions during the brief news conference.
A neighbor said Thomas was dating a woman in a yellow colonial house in one of New Haven’s finest neighborhoods. The woman, who refused to give her name, said Saturday that Thomas is a truck driver and parked his tractor trailer in the residential neighborhood, but he seemed to be unemployed and would offer to paint or rake leaves for neighbors.
Thomas was known to ride his bicycle around the neighborhood, the neighbor said. She said there were children at his girlfriend’s house.
Police would not allow a reporter to knock on the door.
At a two-family house listed as Thomas’ address, a police officer in uniform answered the door Friday night and said nobody wanted to make a statement. The house, in a densely populated New Haven neighborhood, has a large porch and a white picket fence with a sign warning the premises are protected by a security company.
A neighbor, 39-year-old Tom Chambers, said he often saw Thomas coming and going but he did not know him well.
“He was just normal,” Chambers said.
Thomas was not entirely unknown to law enforcement: He had been arrested in September in Woodbridge, Conn., on a larceny charge and was released on $1,000 bond, according to public records.
He had lived previously at addresses in Maryland and Virginia, according to public records.
The assailant eluded police even though the crimes were often committed outdoors, law enforcement officials say.
In some instances, the attacker wore a mask or hooded sweat shirt to conceal his face. He typically approached women outdoors on foot and threatened them with a knife, screwdriver or a handgun, investigators say.
The only attack in New Haven came on Jan. 10, 2007. Police said the suspect entered a 27-year-old woman’s bedroom through an open window and threatened to kill her sleeping infant son before assaulting her.
The last known attack occurred on Halloween night in 2009, when two teenagers on their way home from trick-or-treating in Woodbridge, Va., were raped, authorities say.
April 6, 2010
The Raw Story
New York forensic experts will start a major new search Monday through debris from the World Trade Center for remains of people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack, officials said.
About 844 cubic yards (645 cubic meters) of material recovered from the reconstruction site at Ground Zero will be combed for bones and other remains of the 2,752 people killed when hijacked airliners slammed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
“That material is going to be sifted to see if there are any human remains,” said Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We’re taking every step we can to recover the remains of 9/11 victims.”
Experts, including anthropologists, will hand check the material in the 1.4-million-dollar operation, which could go on as long as three months at a closed location at a landfill on Staten Island.
Previous searches through the mountain of rubble from the World Trade Center, which collapsed as a result of the aircraft strikes, have already turned up 1,772 pieces of potential human remains, according to the mayor’s office.
Many of those remains belonged to already identified victims.
The following video is a series of aerial photos of the Fresh Kills landfill, where an earlier forensic investigation of the 9/11 rubble was carried out. The photos are from 2002.
January 29, 2010
By David Gutierrez
Scientists from the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company Nucleix have demonstrated that it is possible to create fake DNA samples and plant them as evidence at a crime scene, in a paper published in the journal Forensic Science: International Genetics.
“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said lead researcher and Nucleix co-founder Dan Frumkin. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”
In addition to having developed a method of fabricating DNA evidence, Nucleix has also developed a method of detecting faked DNA that it plans to sell to forensics labs.
The scientists have developed two different ways to manufacture DNA samples in order to fool law enforcement. The first involves using DNA profiles from law enforcement databases, which record the code at 13 different spots on a person’s genome. Using a pooled library of DNA samples from a number of different people, the geneticists were able to physically construct DNA that was identical to a suspect’s DNA at those 13 points. It would take only 425 different DNA snippets to be able to construct every possible permutation, the researchers said.
The second method involved collecting actual DNA from the person whose genetic material was to be faked, such as by collecting a strand of their hair or saliva from a cup they had used.
In both cases, the DNA was then reproduced in large quantities using a technique called whole genome amplification. This DNA was inserted into red blood cells, which were then passed off as a real DNA sample.
A normal blood sample would contain both red and white blood cells, and the red blood cells would contain no DNA. In addition to this difference from a normal sample, amplified DNA lacks certain molecules contained by normal DNA. Forensics labs are unlikely to test for either of these anomalies without cause, however.
“DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,” said Tania Simoncelli of the American Civil Liberties Union, in response to the study. “We’re creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.”
The researchers warned that their techniques could also be used to replicate enough of a person’s DNA to carry out genetic testing on them without their consent, thus violating their right to genetic privacy.