CISPA, or the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act, passed the House yesterday. The bill is full of problematic intrusions into individual privacy and online liberty, and yet those members of the House who associate themselves with limited government were largely responsible for its passage.
“For those tricky with the math,” Cahalan continues, “this means 88% of the overall GOP members (casting a vote) voted yea, 23% of the Dems (casting a vote) voted yea, and 71% of the Tea Party (casting a vote) voted yea (Paul and Pence didn’t cast a vote).”
Worse still, the bill underwent some last minute changes, which may have made CISPA even worse than in previous iterations.
TechDirt’s Leigh Breadon points out that under the final version of CISPA the, “government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime”. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all.”
One important thing to glean from this, especially when held up in contrast with the defeat of SOPA and PIPA, two bills aimed at combating online piracy, is that once you tack the word “security” onto a bill it becomes far more toxic to oppose.
The Tea Party may be the small government wing of the Republican Party, but when it comes to national security suddenly limiting the state becomes far less critical. If SOPA had been billed as a cybersecurity law, it may have found a great deal more support in congress, and had a better time resisting internet backlash. For opponents of anti-piracy laws, this is an important thing to bear in mind.
Furthermore, internet companies that recoiled at the intellectual property implications of SOPA were much more agnostic when it came to CISPA, with some actively supporting the bill. Though many civil liberties groups these companies allied themselves with in opposing SOPA were as incensed by CISPA as well, many internet companies remained largely on the sidelines.
In other words, CISPA doesn’t threaten the bottom line of these big tech companies the way SOPA did, even if it is just as noxious for other reasons.
Their mission is to safeguard the United States from weapons of mass destruction through the marvels of modern technology.
And now, if you don’t mind, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency – commonly known as the DTRA – would like a newly designed high-tech uniform they can literally piss on.
The DTRA has released instructions for contractors interested in submitting proposals to the DoD. Along with calls for a compact high intensity x-ray generator and circuit boards that can withstand extremely high thermal activity, the US military is asking developers to design a uniform that will generate real-time vital statistics using urine samples collected within the suit.
The DTRA is calling on experts from the chemical defense and biomedical industries to help develop what they are calling“Intelligence clothing for rapid response to aid wounded soldiers”and, according to the proposal, the camouflage commode could be the difference between life and death. The objective, explains the agency, is to add to the military’s arsenal a type of uniform that will use integrated sensors built into the fabric that would measure various medical statistics, as well as determine the location of bullets that may have entered the fabric. Additionally, the DTRA is seeking the capability of being able to calculate what, if any, CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosive) agents the clothing may have been exposed to through the suit’s sensors, which would also be equipped with a GPS device for easy tracking.
Somewhere in there is the part where it needs to be pee-proof.
The World Trade Center will once more tower over the City of New York on Monday, taking its spot as the highest point on Manhattan’s iconic skyline.
This afternoon, winds and weather permitting, the first steel column of One World Trade Center’s 100th floor will be hoisted atop the skyscraper’s current structure, bringing the building to a height of 1,271 feet — 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building.
The new building won’t reach its final height for several more months, but when it does the tower will stand 1,368 feet at rooftop level – identical in height to the original World Trade Center tower it is designed to replace. The antenna, which will bring the total height to 1,776 feet, won’t be finished for about another year.
One of the most important articles I have read this week comes from Forbes contributor Gordon Chang. In it he states that China is preparing to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran by paying for oil with gold. Not only that but he also mentions that China has already been bartering with Iran to get a hold of petroleum. He states:
So how can Beijing keep both Iran’s ayatollahs and President Obama happy at the same time? Simple, the Chinese can avoid the U.S. sanctions through barter. China has already been trading its produce for Iran’s petroleum, but there is only so much gai lan and bok choy the Iranians can eat. That’s why Iran is also accepting, among other goods, Chinese washing machines, refrigerators, toys, clothes, cosmetics, and toiletries.
The barter trade works, but Iran needs cash too. As it is being cut off from the global financial system, the next best thing is gold. So we should not be surprised that in late February the Iranian central bank said it would accept that metal as payment for oil. Last year, China imported $21.7 billion in Iranian oil and exported $14.8 billion in goods and services. As the NDAA goes into effect, look for Beijing to ship gold to Iran to make up the difference.
Thus, the leadership in America in its infinite stupidity has actually accelerated the demise of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. After its “kinetic action” in Libya succeeded in toppling the regime there, Washington’s geopolitical hubris grew and it has attempted to muscle Iran into a corner. Instead, all it has done is alienated our “allies” that need Iranian oil to survive and in the process quickened a move away from the dollar to settle certain transactions. Read Gordon’s article here.
In a similar move on a more micro level, the government of Spain in a similar desperation has banned the use of cash transactions above 2,500 euros (read this great article here on it). How do you think citizens are going to respond to this? People are already in the streets. They are not pleased with what is going on. Then the government is going to tell them they can’t use cash amongst themselves so that the authorities can track every single thing they do and bleed them with taxes until they are slaves on a banker plantation. Everything is going to go black market and to a barter system. It will happen country by country as governments get increasingly desperate and the authoritarian clamp down continues. It will happen on an increasing level until all of these house of cards bureaucratic states fail and something new is reborn. In case you haven’t seen it yet, this one town in Greece is already leading the way. This story outlines what will be a mega trend globally over the next decade.
Last year I broke down a report from the Homeland Security Policy Institute which not only lent support for increasingly harsh and widespread police state measures, but also served to shift attention away from the supposed threat posed by foreign terrorist groups towards the alleged threat of domestic terrorists.
One of the prime targets for demonization by both the establishment media and law enforcement has been the so-called “sovereign citizen” movement, something which I have written about previously here at End the Lie.
This is all part of a concerted effort to turn almost everything into a sign of potential terrorist activity while breeding a culture of delusional paranoia, citizen spying and ubiquitous surveillance.
Now U.S. government officials have said that al Qaeda’s core organization cannot carry out another attack like the horrific events of September 11, 2001 and the likelihood of a chemical, biological, atomic or radiological attack over the next year are minimal.
Interestingly, this view expressed by the deputy director of U.S. National Intelligence Robert Cardillo conflicts with the ludicrous claims made recently about al Qaeda potentially planning another 9/11 in an attempt to justify an extended American military presence in Afghanistan.
Cardillo and other anonymous U.S. officials described their assessments on a conference call with journalists during which they claimed that the Arab Spring is also helping weaken the “core” al Qaeda organization.
However, al Qaeda has been quite vocal in showing support for Western-backed uprisings in Syria and Libya, which is hardly surprising when one is aware of what al Qaeda actually is and what purpose they serve, especially in the current events in the Middle East.
Mark Hosenball reports for the Associated Press that, “More worrying to U.S. counterterrorism officials and their allies abroad is the possibility of home-grown extremists, or “lone wolves,” who are radicalized over the Internet or in small cells, but who also now are being given encouragement by media outlets connected to al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
The officials would not go as far as to say that al Qaeda is on the brink of “strategic defeat,” since this would completely eradicate the primary justification for the American police state along with the Department of Homeland Security’s massive operations, the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, etc.
The following are from a report published last week by the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
They’re projections that assume today’s trends will continue in one direction only — which may not be the case.
1. India will have more people than China.
2. The richest nations will see their middle classes decline, while the middle classes of all other regions increase.
3. There will be less oil used and more use of gas & renewables.
4. The Millennium Development Goals will not be reached on schedule, but poverty will still decline.
5. Water continues to run dry.
Earlier this week, space startup Planetary Resources announced its existence to the world. Promising to vastly expand the presence of business in space, the company announced its long-term intention, which was to mine asteroids for water and precious metals.
To me, even more audacious than the claim that the company will mine asteroids was co-founder Peter Diamandis’ claim that Planetary Resources is already “a positive cash-flow company.”
So when I had a chance to discuss the technology and business of asteroid mining with Chris Lewicki, the company’s President and Chief Engineer, one of my first questions was about that statement – is it true that Planetary Resources is already making money?
“That’s correct,” he said. “When we started the company, one of the first things we did was to identify the roadmap that would get us from now until we got to the asteroids. That way, we could identify who would be interested in the things we’d be developing along the way. We already have contracts with NASA, some private companies, and even a few private individuals.”
America sees the’ looting’ of the US Treasury, and the money given to a Wall Street ‘criminal class’, journalist Chris Hedges told RT. He adds that ordinary people are caught in the vice of unregulated corporate capitalism – with no escape.
John Peel‘s record collection is about to go online. Starting on Tuesday, the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts will begin uploading details of the late DJ’s cherished vinyl, unveiling 2,600 albums over the next six months.
Every week, the Centre will expand the scope of its virtual museum, adding another 100 records, covering everything from Appalachian mountain music to zouk. “It’s a very personal look at John’s collection,” producer Charlie Gauvain said. According to Sheila Ravenscroft, Peel’s widow, curators will highlight one artist from each batch, picking through more than 65,000 items in his archive. Peel kept meticulous files about his records: each sleeve was given a typed filing card, with all sorts of information.
“There’ll be information about the record sleeve, front and back, all the information about the record itself, as well as whether John rated the album or not,” Ravenscroft explained. Although copyright prevents the centre from streaming the records, links will be included, when available, to purchase or stream the music on Spotify and iTunes. “I think people are going to be very interested as to what’s in the collection,” Ravenscroft said. “They will be amused and intrigued by it.”
Besides the details of Peel’s records, the virtual museum will also include videos, and incorporate Peel’s own home movies. Producers discovered 30 hours of footage at his home in Suffolk, with everything from clips of bands to footage from Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. The website will apparently launch with John Peel’s Suffolk Comforts, a 1989 film “that’s never been broadcast before”, Gauvain said. “It’s a real gem … [with] some really personal things in it.”
As previously reported, Peel’s virtual museum is part of the Space, a digital arts service funded by the British Arts Council and the BBC.
In March, Fukushima government conducted thyroid test for under 18 in 13 cities and towns such as Minamisoma city, Namiemachi, Iidatemura, Tomiokamachi etc..
The result shows thyroid nodules ( 5.0mm) or cyst (20.0mm) were seen in 13,460 from 38,114 people (35.3%).
Compared to their pre-test result of January, it increased from 29.7% to 35.3%. (↑ 5.6%)
The General Electric-designed nuclear reactors involved in the Japanese emergency are very similar to 23 reactors in use in the United States, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission records.
The NRC database of nuclear power plants shows that 23 of the 104 nuclear plants in the U.S. are GE boiling-water reactors with GE’s Mark I systems for containing radioactivity, the same containment system used by the reactors in trouble at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. The U.S. reactors are in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
In addition, 12 reactors in the U.S. have the later Mark II or Mark III containment system from GE. These 12 are in Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington state. See the full list below.
(General Electric is a parent company of msnbc.com through GE’s 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal and Microsoft are equal partners in msnbc.com.)
What a wonderful time to be rich in Britain! Another 5 per cent has been added to the fortunes of our wealthiest people; last year, their combined worth surged by a fifth and, in 2010, a record 30 per cent was added to their wealth.
At a cool £414bn, the uber-rich are now better off than they were before Lehman Brothers went belly-up. No wonder, then, that market researchers at Ledbury Research project that spending on luxury goods such as expensive jewellery, flash cars and fine wine will soar from £6.5bn last year to £9.4bn by 2015. Recession? What recession?
Of course, it remains a very serious crisis for the real wealth-creators: and by that, I don’t mean those who shuffle money around for a living, but the workers who keep our country ticking on a daily basis. Thousands of predominantly low-paid workers are being thrown out of their homes because of housing benefit cuts; nurses, teachers and bin-collectors face an average real-terms pay cut of 16 per cent by the time of the next election; and our poorest sixth-form students have had their educational maintenance allowance confiscated. JCB’s owner Sir Anthony Bamford may have enjoyed a leap in wealth from £1,500m to £3,150m, but the average Briton faces the biggest slide in living standards since the early 1920s.
Boom time for the wealthy; crisis for everybody else. How are they getting away with it? The simple answer is because they can. Trade unions provide a means of securing for working people more of the wealth sloshing around. But they were battered in the 1980s, and their membership is nearly half of what it was in 1979. As their power has declined, the share of our national income going to the wealthiest 1 per cent has gone from 6 per cent in the late 1970s to over 14 per cent today.
It is said that clawing back wealth – for example, with higher taxes – is a recipe for ruin. There has been no satisfactory answer for why, then, Britain experienced its best ever sustained growth in the initial decades after World War Two, with no major recession, despite high taxes on the rich, strong unions and large-scale state intervention.
In the absence of major challenges to their position, the wealthiest can sit out a major economic crisis, leaving it to everybody else to pay for it. It is unjust – but it is not inevitable.
But new documents from the Lehman bankruptcy case reveal the extraordinary compensation bestowed on dozens of the bank’s employees in the years leading up to its demise in September 2008.
Wall Street critics blame the outsize salaries of bank employees as a core reason for the global financial crisis, arguing that the promise of large pay packages led to excessive risk taking. While the compensation for a handful of Lehman executives like Mr. Fuld had previously been known, the documents reveal the compensation for the 50 highest-paid employees.
Robert Millard, the head of Lehman’s proprietary trading operations — the group that traded the bank’s own money — was in line to make $51.3 million in 2007, making him the highest-paid employee on a list of the top-50 paid employees that year. The list shows that he was paid $44.5 million in 2006 and $3.8 million in 2005. Mr. Millard now runs Realm Partners, a hedge fund in New York.
The $51.3 million paid to Mr. Millard approximates the pay package received by Mr. Fuld that year, which, depending on how it was calculated, was worth $40 million to $51.6 million.
No. 2 on the employee list was Marvin Schwartz, the low-profile, legendary money manager at Lehman’s Neuberger Berman unit. He was paid $31.2 million in 2007, $27 million the year before and $14.8 million in 2005. Mr. Schwartz is still at Neuberger, which spun out of Lehman and is now an independent, privately held company.
The bronze medal for Lehman employee pay in 2007 was Jonathan Hoffman, who is listed as trading “global rates,” which is trading in government bonds and more complex instruments including derivatives tied to interest rates. It is unclear where Mr. Hoffman works today.
The bankruptcy documents also include a presentation to the board’s compensation committee in January 2008 and the compensation review process for the firm’s equity research personnel. It is unclear how much of this compensation was paid in Lehman stock, which soon turned out to be worthless.
The documents were earlier reported on by The Los Angeles Times. A Lehman spokeswoman had confirmed their authenticity to DealBook.
One year after a U.S. Supreme Court decision gave corporations free rein to block class action lawsuits, judges have used the decision to prevent at least 76 potential class-action suits from going forward, a new report by Public Citizen and the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) has found.
The report, “Justice Denied,” tracks the anti-consumer effects of AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could block consumers’ rights to sue collectively—even in the 19 states that have laws protecting such rights.
What began as a dispute over $30 between Vincent and Liza Concepcion and AT&T has turned into a legal monster worth millions of dollars to corporate bottom lines. The corporate lawyers and the court put profits before people, and a year later, we are seeing the ripple effects, as people seeking fairness are losing their legal rights.
Why has Big Pharma failed to produce new antibiotics for deadly infections like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), C. Difficile and Acinetobacter baumannii even as they leap from hospital to community settings? Because there is no money in it.
Pharma executives “have shown less interest in medicines like antibiotics that actually cure disease than in those that only treat symptoms,”writes Melody Petersen, author ofOur Daily Meds. “Most blockbusters are pills for conditions such as anxiety, high cholesterol or constipation that must be taken daily, often for months or years. They are designed for rich Americans who can afford to buy them.” Nor are medicines for tropical diseases like malaria, which kills a child every 30 seconds, a priority, notes Petersen. They also lack ka-ching.
Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in the late 1990s, the number of people on prescription drugs — especially prescription drugs for life — has ballooned. Between 2001 to 2007 the percentage of adults and children on one or more prescriptions for chronic conditions rose by more than 12 million, reports the Associated Press and 25 percent of US children now take a medication for a chronic condition. Seven percent of kids take two or more daily drugs. Who says advertising doesn’t work?
Of the top-selling drugs in 2011, led by Lipitor, Nexium, Plavix, Advair Diskus, Abilify, Seroquel, Singulair and Crestor, none is taken occasionally, or “as needed” and the treatment goal is never to get off the drug, like an antibiotic. Why would Pharma deal itself out of the game?
THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts
But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.
When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.
This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.
Carefully orchestrated sting operations usually hold up in court. Defendants invariably claim entrapment and almost always lose, because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents. To underscore their predisposition, many suspects are “warned about the seriousness of their plots and given opportunities to back out,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. But not always, recorded conversations show. Sometimes they are coaxed to continue.
Undercover operations, long practiced by the F.B.I., have become a mainstay of counterterrorism, and they have changed in response to the post-9/11 focus on prevention. “Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn’t in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in,” said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counterterrorism, and for good reason.
“Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu continue to make provocative statements aimed at aggravating the situation in Syria and harming bilateral ties,” Makdisi said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“It is disturbing that Erdogan threatened to bring in NATO to protect its borders with Syria. This demonstrates a lack of a genuine commitment to the terms of the (Kofi) Annan plan and policies of good neighborliness.”
On April 12, Erdogan said Turkey has “several options” in response to possible spillover effects of the conflict in Syria over the Syrian-Turkish border.
“First of all, there is an option of invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty,” Erdogan said, referring to a NATO clause which stipulates that an attack against a NATO member state is considered an attack against all members.
The Turkish foreign minister also said on April 26 that Ankara is considering “all possibilities in order to protect national security” regarding the situation in Syria.
Makdisi made the remarks days after a truce backed by the United Nations took effect in Syria on April 12.
Documents found in the house where Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago show a close working relationship between top al-Qaida leaders and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, including frequent discussions of joint operations against Nato forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan.
The communications show a three-way conversation between Bin Laden, his then deputy Ayman Zawahiri and Omar, who is believed to have been in Pakistan since fleeing Afghanistan after the collapse of his regime in 2001.
They indicate a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence”, a Washington-based source familiar with the documents told the Guardian.
The news will undermine hopes of a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, where the key debate among analysts and policymakers is whether the Taliban – seen by many as following an Afghan nationalist agenda – might once again offer a safe haven to al-Qaida or like-minded militants, or whether they can be persuaded to renounce terrorism.
One possibility, experts say, is that although Omar built a strong relationship with Bin Laden and Zawahiri, other senior Taliban commanders see close alliance or co-operation with al-Qaida as deeply problematic.
Western intelligence officials estimate that there are less than 100 al-Qaida-linked fighters in Afghanistan, and last year the United Nations split its sanctions list to separate the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Both David Cameron and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton have said that some kind of political settlement involving the Taliban is key to the stability of Afghanistan once most western troops have withdrawn by 2014.
Some communications in the documents date back several years but others are said to be from only weeks before the raid on 2 May last year in which Bin Laden died.
Shahzad Akbar, the director of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, told Press TV on Saturday that only 170 of the people killed in the aerial attacks on the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan have been identified as militants.
That means that “over 2,800 people were civilians, whose identities are not known, and they have just been killed on suspicion of being militants,” he added.
US President Barack Obama publicly confirmed for the first time in late January that drone aircraft have struck targets inside Pakistan.
Obama said “a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA”, the acronym for Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Pakistan contends that the drone strikes are counterproductive
I have never had the patience for long-winded novels, and much less for memoirs, but I am glad I persuaded myself to read Imran Khan’s Pakistan: A Personal History. Now that Tehreek-e-Insaaf, the political party founded and led by Imran Khan, gathers momentum – after many years in the political wilderness – and may yet grow to challenge the established political parties in the next elections, it is time to take a closer look at the man who leads this party, and promises to restore justice and dignity to Pakistan’s long-suffering but mostly passive population.
Syrian rebel gunmen in inflatable dinghies have attacked a military unit on the Mediterranean coast, with deaths on both sides, state media report.
It is thought to be the first rebel assault from the sea. Separately, Lebanon says its navy has seized weapons destined for the rebels.
Clashes between security forces and deserting troops left heavy casualties near Damascus and Aleppo, reports say.
The violence comes despite a shaky ceasefire in force since 12 April.
After experiencing the traumatizing death of her daughter to kidney failure just three days after her daughter was born, Sofia Gatica from Argentina became determined to find out what killed her daughter. Her conclusion? Monsanto’s genetically modified soy fields that surrounded her neighborhood, laced with damaging insecticides negatively affecting nearby neighborhood children and adults alike.
Gatica began to detail how her small town was plagued with astronomically high birth defect rates, respiratory disease, and even infant mortality. From this point, the courageous mother decided to take on Monsanto.
Amazingly, she is not alone in her struggle against the biotechnology colossus when it comes to causing birth problems, as a large group of farmers — also from Argentina — have launched a lawsuit against Monsanto for causing ‘devastating birth defects‘ in children. Gatica was initially alone, however, when she first began her uphill battle.
Forming a group of concerned mothers in her local area of Ituzaingó after hosting an event at her home to discuss her experiences, the mother would be one of the very few who has actually beat Monsanto.
After sharing her story with local mothers who were also concerned for the safety of their children and families as a whole, Gatica co-founded the Mothers of Ituzaingó — an action group of 16 mothers collaborating to end Monsanto’s rampant chemical usage. The team took to the streets, going door to door to create what was the first epidemiological study of the area, only to discover that the effects of Monsanto’s concoctions were dramatically affecting many families in the town of Ituzaingó.
With cancer rates 41 times the national average, something had to be done.
As a result of the serious campaign to eradicate Monsanto, the mothers were rewarded. Argentina’s Supreme Court not only banned chemical spraying near populated areas, but demanded that the government, as well as soy manufacturers, now prove that these chemicals are safe.
Sofia Gatica is now being honored for her great environmental work with the Goldman Environmental prize, a major environmental award given to activists. The story shows just how serious activism can take down most any threat — even Monsanto.
Max Mosley, the motor racing multi-millionaire, is bankrolling a plan to expose potential blackmail and intimidation against politicians by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group. Mr Mosley said in an interview with The Independent that he was funding legal assistance for MPs to reveal their experiences of the country’s largest newspaper group – in an attempt to demonstrate its secret power in British politics.
In explosive evidence this week, the Leveson Inquiry revealed the existence of secret contacts between the office of the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and a lobbyist at News International’s parent company, News Corp, aimed at furthering its controversial takeover of the broadcaster BSkyB.
After the release of the 161 pages of emails, Mr Hunt’s special adviser, Adam Smith resigned, but Mr Hunt is still clinging to his post.
Mr Mosley – who won £60,000 damages from the News of the World in 2008 over false allegations he had taken part in a “Nazi” orgy – believes at least 10 MPs may have important evidence about the behaviour of News International towards politicians.
He said: “Organisations like Hacked Off are trying to make sure that everything that should be put in front of Leveson will be – and that’s particularly important where there have been a large number of cases where News International have set out to intimidate, even blackmail, members of Parliament and other people in positions of authority.
“So as far as it’s possible to do so, those facts have to be brought to Leveson and I’m trying to help in a modest way. I am making legal advice available.”
MPs fearful of disclosing embarrassing evidence could give their evidence anonymously, the 72-year-old said, adding that intermediaries were contacting current and ex-MPs on his behalf to assess whether they wished to come forward.
For years, News International has been suspected of exerting a powerful influence behind the scenes in politics by exploiting the power and electoral endorsements of its newspapers: The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the now-closed News of the World.
Very few MPs have so far publicly claimed that they have been targeted, though it is known that the News of the World hacked the phones of several Cabinet ministers, including John Prescott (while he was Deputy Prime Minister), David Blunkett and Mr Hunt’s forerunner, Tessa Jowell.
As of 2010, 50-70% of all stock trades were done by high frequency trading computer algorithms.
And many other asset classes are dominated by high frequency trading as well.
High-frequency trading distorts the markets. And see this, this and this. And it lets the big banks peak at what the real traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this,this, and this.
Morgan Stanley has just shown (via the Financial Times) that the percentage of high frequency trading in the stock market has skyrocketed to 84%:
Trading by “real” investors is taking up the smallest share of US stock market volumes [since Morgan Stanley started keeping track 10 years ago.]
The findings highlight how US trading activity is increasingly being fuelled by fast turnover of shares by independent firms and the market-making desks of brokerages, many using high-frequency trading engines. [actually all of the market-making desks are using it.]
The proportion of US trading activity represented by buy and sell orders from mutual funds, hedge funds, pensions and brokerages, referred to as “real money” or institutional investors, accounted for just 16 per cent of total market volume in the form of buying, and 13 per cent via selling in the final quarter of last year, according to analysis by Morgan Stanley’s Quantitative and Derivative Strategies group.
It’s not just the U.S. High frequency trading dominates in the U.K. as well.
Given the dominance of the machines, do flesh-and-blood traders have a chance?