Thursday, April 27, 2017


Dementia Linked To Beverage Drunk By 50% Of People Every Day - PsyBlog

Dementia Linked To Beverage Drunk By 50% Of People Every Day - PsyBlog: "Both sugary and artificially sweetened ‘diet’ drinks are linked to dementia by two new studies.

People who drink sugary beverages tend to have poorer memories, smaller brains and a smaller hippocampus (an area vital for learning and memory).

Diet sodas, though, don’t seem much safer.

A follow-up study found that people who drink diet sodas are three times more likely to develop dementia and stroke, compared to those who drink none.

Both studies show associations, so it doesn’t prove cause and effect."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Can Spinal Adjustments Relieve Lower Back Pain?


By Dr. Mercola

The American Chiropractic Association states at any one time, nearly 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain.1 In 2012, the American Physical Therapy Association surveyed and found more than one-third of adults were affected, but two-thirds of them chose not to seek treatment.2

As the population of the U.S. was nearly 313 million at the time of the survey,3 an estimated 103 million were suffering lower back pain, and both national and state level estimates of the prevalence of lower back show it's rising. On any given day, 2 percent of the U.S. population is disabled by back pain.4

Chronic back pain may occur consistently, or you may experience times of remission when the pain dissipates and you move about freely without discomfort. Chronic back pain, defined as being present for 12 weeks or more,5 occurs in approximately 20 percent of people.6

Most cases of lower back pain are related to a mechanical issue. In other words, the pain is related to a musculoskeletal condition, and not the result of an underlying medical condition such as kidney stones, cancer, arthritis or fracture.7

Fortunately, many musculoskeletal issues may be successfully addressed without the use of surgery or dangerous drugs. A recent study has demonstrated the average person experienced a one-point reduction in lower back pain following spinal manipulation.8

Spinal Manipulation May Reduce Lower Back Pain and Improve Function

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was a meta-analysis of 26 medical studies involving 1,700 patients with lower back pain between 2011 and 2017.9

The spinal manipulation was performed by a variety of professionals, including chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths and massage therapists.10

The results from this study demonstrate a modest improvement in pain following a spinal manipulation, which is approximately the same amount of pain relief as over-the-counter pain relievers or non-inflammatory non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications.

The researchers also found spinal manipulation had an effect on overall function. The average person reported greater ease and comfort in their day-to-day activities, such as walking, sleeping or turning in bed.

These results are not considered "clinically meaningful improvement," according to Dr. Wolf Mehling, from Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.11

However, while these results appear to be modest in nature, it is important to recognize the results are an average, and that the participants only underwent manipulation.

In other words, they were not given any additional rehabilitative exercises designed to maintain functional movement of the spine gained after manipulation, or to reduce inflammation in the area of pain.

None of the studies found serious side effects from the treatment. Some patients did experience slight muscle stiffness or headache following the adjustment.12 Dr. Richard Deyo, an internist and professor of evidence-based medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University, wrote an accompanying editorial, saying:13

"Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a controversial treatment option for lower back pain, perhaps in part because it is most frequently administered by chiropractors.

Chiropractic therapy is not widely accepted by some traditional health care practitioners. This may be, at least in part, because some early practitioners of chiropractic care rejected the germ theory, immunizations and other scientific advances."

Early traditional medical practitioners also rejected germ theory, immunizations and other scientific advances.

The controversy may also be, in part, due to the fact that chiropractors often rely on nutrition and exercise to alleviate musculoskeletal issues, rather than prescribing dangerous drugs or surgery that may do more harm than good.

What Causes Back Pain?

Determining the cause of your back pain is as important as the treatment you choose. If you don't treat the underlying cause of the pain, it may simply return.

One common cause is an imbalance of muscle contraction and stretching that results from long hours of sitting at your job, commuting and relaxing at home in the evening hours.

Sitting shortens the iliopsoas muscles that connect your bones in the lumbar region of the spine to the top of your femur. This may cause severe pain when standing, as the change in position pulls your lower back forward. Many end up going through medical procedures to "fix" this problem, or taking drugs for long periods of time.

Pain can also be triggered by a simple activity or movement, such as bending over to pick up an object from the floor. However, this type of pain often originates in the prior months from poor posture, obesity or poor physical condition facilitated by inactivity.

Each of these factors places stress on the lower back that it was not designed to withstand. Over time, like any other overuse injury, the area becomes weakened and the muscles inflamed, triggering pain and discomfort.

One way to help prevent lower back pain triggered by weak muscles or poor posture is to develop firm abdominal muscles that act like a built-in corset, holding your gut and stabilizing your spine and discs.

This is an effective method of treating the cause of lower back pain, instead of just the symptom of pain. Using drugs to mask pain, or muscle relaxers to mask an inflammatory response, will not change the cause and it's likely you'll experience recurring pain.

Spinal Fusion is Not the Answer

Spinal fusion surgery rarely cures chronic back pain. In the past 15 years, the number of spinal fusions performed has exploded by nearly 600 percent, while the rate of success has actually plummeted.14 Insurance reimbursement for procedures and rising cost of surgical hardware have contributed to the financial growth.

A case study in Florida demonstrated how fees for this procedure grew from $47 million a year to $2 billion, adjusted for inflation.15 Originally, fusions were used to treat an unstable spine after a catastrophic accident that left the spine fractured, so patients were not bedridden for two months while the vertebrae healed.

At some point in the 1980s the surgery was also used for degenerative disc disease, to stabilize the area through a period of instability. Lower back pain associated with degenerative disc disease is often linked with excessive stress on the spinal discs, resulting in tearing or bulging and pain.

Triggers include excess weight, poor posture and cigarette smoking.16 However, eliminating motion in the area of disc degeneration does not affect the original cause and therefore you remain at risk for continued damage to your spine.

Dangers of Using Drugs to Mask Back Trouble

Traditional health practitioners are often quick to prescribe pain medications, including NSAIDs and even opioids, for chronic back pain. While the drugs may provide immediate pain relief, the effect is temporary.

Unfortunately, the pain relief may tempt you to over exert inflamed muscles and, in some cases, you may suffer hyperalgesia, or an increased sensitivity to the pain. Drugs and opioids mask the pain, but do not address the cause of the problem, leaving you in worse shape than before you took the medication.

While there is reason to use a short-term course of medication in severe cases, the best form of treatment is to address the cause and change the way you use your body to affect a long-term improvement.

Moreover, drugs come with severe side effects, even those dispensed over-the-counter. NSAIDs may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems, as well as severe gastrointestinal bleeding, increased blood pressure and kidney damage.17

As significant as those side effects are, opioid prescriptions come at an even higher cost. Opioid painkillers, like OxyContin, commonly prescribed for back pain, are highly addictive and one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs today.

Back pain has actually become one of the primary triggers for the growing opioid addiction epidemic.

The bottom line is that painkillers come with severe health risks, especially when combined with other medications, such as muscle relaxers and anti-seizure medication. Using pain medications also potentially sets up a vicious cycle, during which you may over exert yourself while the pain is masked, causing more injury to inflamed muscles.

Effective Strategies to Reduce Back Pain Without Drugs

There are effective strategies to reduce your risk of developing lower back pain, or preventing further damage, all without using drugs. Your physician may recommend painkillers to dull the ache in your lower back, but without making permanent changes to the way you use your back, you'll likely not get rid of the underlying problem.

Spinal manipulation has been a safe and effective practice used for the last century.18 While it is an effective means of reducing pain in your lower back, a full evaluation and follow-up exercises may also help prevent lower back pain as you learn how to use your back and lower extremities properly, including lifting, walking, sitting and standing.

Even if you aren't currently experiencing back pain, I would advise you to consider the following treatment strategies to prevent an occurrence or recurrence of lower back pain:

Regular stretching

I strongly advise you to engage in a regular stretching program. My favorite is active isolated stretching (AIS), developed by Aaron Mattes. It's completely different from the traditional type of stretching, and is a great way to get flexibility back into your system.

Stop smoking

Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine, increasing the risk of disc degeneration.

Optimize your vitamin D level

Get enough vitamin D from sun exposure daily, as vitamin D helps keep your bones, including your spine, strong.

Maintain optimal weight

Carrying extra weight, especially around your middle, increases stress on the lower back and changes your center of gravity, also changing your posture.

Protect your back

You use your back muscles with most body movements, so it is important to protect your spine, especially while lifting. Do not bend forward to lift, but rather lower your body to the ground by bending your hips and knees while keeping your back straight. Use the muscles in your thighs and hips to rise again, holding the object close to your body to distribute the weight more evenly.

Don't lift a heavy object above your shoulder level and avoid twisting your body while carrying a heavy object.

Mind your posture

You also protect your back by using good body mechanics to sit, stand, walk and sleep. It may feel like it is second nature to perform these daily activities, but when done incorrectly, you may be increasing chronic stress to your lower back.

Practice proper posture while sitting and standing every hour. Pay careful attention to consciously suck in your belly and rotate your pelvis slightly up.

At the same time, keep your head back, with your ears over your shoulders and your shoulder blades pinched. This posture will keep your spine in proper alignment. Do this every hour while sitting and standing, holding muscles tight, for several minutes.

Stay hydrated

Your muscles and spinal discs depend on water to maintain good health and reduce inflammation.

Wear low-heeled shoes

High heels may make a fashion statement, but you'll likely pay the price after just a short time as high heels put your hips and lower back into poor alignment, placing stress on your lower back.

Switch positions

Remaining in place for long periods of time can increase the experience of stiffness in your muscles and reduce flexibility in your joints. Switch positions in your chair frequently; check your posture and don't stay standing in one position for very long.

Two Highly Effective Treatment and Preventive Strategies

Two highly effective means of preventing lower back pain are closely related — staying active and practicing interrupted sitting may help to improve muscle strength and coordination, reduce stiffness and improve blood flow. Exercise and movement are two ends of the same spectrum. Exercise is important to raise your heart rate and improve muscle strength, while non-exercise movement is important for overall health.

Both are also important to your back health. The benefits of exercising for 30 minutes or more each day may actually be counteracted by sitting for long periods of time. While you may not be able to avoid sitting at your desk at work, it is important to make accommodations to improve your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. At this time I believe it is important to be standing as much as possible during the day.

Consider a modified desk at work where you can stand to work 50 minutes and sit for 10 minutes an hour, instead of standing 10 minutes and sitting 50. Balance boards can increase the amount of work your muscles do and increase circulation while standing. The benefits of standing and walking as much as possible during the day, using good posture, cannot be overstated. In fact, using these strategies was exactly how I eliminated my own back pain.

Foundation Training Hits Back Pain Where It Starts

I am convinced that non-exercise movement, or the way you move your body when doing everyday activities, may be the most important component of exercise. Dr. Eric Goodman is an expert in structural biomechanics. He developed Foundation Training, based on exercises that teach you how to optimize posture and reduce body pain. In this interview he discusses the importance of body position to your overall health.

The secret to the program is simplicity — you don't need a gym or specialized equipment. By incorporating this series of powerful movements into your daily routine, you learn how to move better and use your body the way it was designed to be used. This reduces pain and discomfort, and significantly reduces your risk of overuse injuries.

A major contributor to back pain is sitting for eight to 10 hours each day. Walking with good posture can maximize the benefits of movement and is foundational for optimal health. Using simple body weight exercises, you integrate muscle movement and elongate your core and posterior chain. These are the muscles that connect your pelvis through your lower back and up to your trapezius muscles in your upper back.

By improving the power, coordination and integration of these muscles, you may alleviate many chronic musculoskeletal pain issues, including your lower back. This means Foundation Training will not only help lower back pain, but also train your muscles to work functionally and may help reduce other pain that results from poor posture or improper use. In the video below, Goodman walks you through three simple Foundation exercises to improve your posture.

Related Articles:


Government Study Finds Babies Who Receive Vaccines 10x More Likely To Die


by Sean Adl-Tabatabai, Your News Wire:

A study funded by the Danish government has found that infants who receive the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine are ten times more likely to die than their unvaccinated peers.

According to a team of Scandinavian scientists, lead by Dr. Soren Wengel Mogensen, African children who were inoculated with the DTP vaccine in the early 80’s had a 5-10 times greater mortality rate than anyone else.

The study, published in January in EBioMedicine, suggests that vaccines overall weaken the immune systems of children. reports:

The scientists term the study a “natural experiment” since a birthday-based vaccination system employed for the Bandim Health Project (BHP) in Guinea Bissau, West Africa had the effect of creating a vaccinated cohort and a similarly situated unvaccinated control group. In the time period covered by this study, Guinea-Bissau had 50% child mortality rates for children up to age 5. Starting in 1978, BHP health care workers contacted pregnant mothers and encouraged them to visit infant weighing sessions provided by a BHP team every three months after their child’s birth. Beginning in 1981, BHP offered vaccinations at the weighing sessions. Since the DPT vaccine and OPV (oral polio) immunizations were offered only to children who were at least three months of age at the weighing sessions, the children’s random birthdays allowed for analysis of deaths between 3 and 5 months of age depending on vaccination status. So, for example, a child born on January 1st and weighed on April 1st would be vaccinated, but a child born on February 1stwould not be vaccinated until their following visit at age 5 months on July 1st.

In the primary analysis, DTP-vaccinated infants experienced mortalities five times greater than DTP-unvaccinated infants. Mortalities to vaccinated girls were 9.98 times those among females in the unvaccinated control group, while mortalities to vaccinated boys were 3.93 times the controls. Oddly, the scientists found that children receiving the oral polio vaccine simultaneously with DTP fared much better than children who did not. The OPV vaccine appeared to modify the negative effect of the DTP vaccine, reducing mortalities to 3.52 times those experienced among the control group. Overall, mortalities among vaccinated children were 10 times the control group when children received only the DTP.

Mogensen and his colleagues hypothesize that the DTP vaccine might weaken a child’s immune system against non-target infections. They conclude, “Though protective against the target disease, DTP may increase susceptibility to unrelated infections… DTP was associated with 5-fold higher mortality than being unvaccinated. No prospective study has shown beneficial survival effects of DTP.”

The Mogensen study supports the conclusions of previous investigations into child survival following vaccination. An earlier study by Dr. Peter Aaby, of the introduction of DTP in rural Guinea-Bissau, indicated a 2-fold higher mortality among vaccinated children (Aaby et al. 2004a). The Aaby report is one of several early studies that documented vaccination status and followed children prospectively. All of them indicated that DTP-vaccinated children died at rates far exceeding mortality amongst the control group. A meta-analysis of all eight known studies found a two-fold higher mortality for DTP-vaccinated compared to DTP-unvaccinated (Aaby et al. 2016) (Appendix A).

In 2014, The World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) conducted its own literature review of the potential non-specific effects (NSEs) of several vaccines, including DTP, and found that the majority of studies reported a detrimental effect of DTP (Higgins et al., 2014; Strategic Advisory Group of Experts of Immunization, 2014) due to its penchant for increasing susceptibility to unrelated infections. SAGE recommended further research.

Moreover, Mogensen and his colleagues observe that the studies reviewed by SAGE probably underestimated the lethal effect of the DTP vaccine because of unusually high mortality in the control groups, ”Unvaccinated children in these studies have usually been frail children too sick or malnourished to get vaccinated and the studies may therefore have underestimated the negative effect of DTP”. The Mogensen study sought to avoid this pitfall by using controls selected by birthday and by eliminating underweight children and orphans from both the study group and the control group. It included only children who were breastfed. All the infants were healthy at the time of vaccination. Nevertheless, the Mogensen authors point out that, even in their study, the unvaccinated children had slightly worse nutritional status and travelled more – biases that would tend to increase mortality. They conclude that, “The estimate from the natural experiment may therefore still be conservative.”

Read More @


Vaccine skepticism is rooted in rational science, while vaccine zealotry is pushed under the “cult of scientism”


Ever notice how every attack on so-called “anti-vaxxers” (a demeaning medical slur, the equivalent of the “N word” in science) begins with the assumption that they must be completely crazy?

That’s a tactic. It’s designed to dismiss the rational science behind vaccine skepticism, even as the evidence keeps mounting that toxic vaccine ingredients are incredibly dangerous to human health.

Being skeptical about injecting children with mercury is rooted in rational science. Questioning why the vaccine industry has absolute legal immunity from lawsuits arising from defective products that cause hospitalization, paralyzation, seizures and even death is also rooted in rational thinking.

Yet vaccine fanatics want everyone to believe that any person who dares question even a single ingredient used in vaccines is crazy by default. Therefore, they insist, no debate is needed because anyone who doesn’t blindly agree with every claim and assertion made by the toxic vaccine industry is obviously “anti-science” and therefore not even worth listening to. This is how the so-called “science” of vaccines has now turned into a kind of religious science fundamentalism that can only protect itself from scrutiny by silencing all debate or dismissing legitimate questions about safety, toxicity and legal responsibility. It’s also called the “cult of scientism.”

Fox News, by the way, dared to feature Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in a recent Tucker Carlson interview, where RFK openly challenged the safety of many vaccine ingredients, including mercury, a potent neurotoxin. No doubt Fox News is now being heavily pressured by the pharmaceutical drug cartels to ban RFJ Jr. from future interviews. You can view his video clip at this link.

The vaccine industry is to science what UC Berkeley is to free speech

Ultimately, the vaccine industry discredits the entire scientific establishment by abandoning the very process of scientific inquiry. Through an insistence that, by definition, all those who question the safety of vaccines are automatically “anti-science,” the vaccine industry demonstrates how it treats debate in exactly the same way UC Berkeley treats free speech: BAN ALL DISSENT.

At UC Berkeley, “tolerance” is defined as welcoming all those of different skin color as long as they uniformly profess absolute conformity to a very narrow set of ideas and beliefs (i.e. “liberalism”). Any who might challenge those beliefs are immediately decried as “fascists” who are guilty of “hate speech” which Berkeley students ridiculously define as a form of violence. Invoking that twisted logic, such students then openly argue for the killing of individuals before they can speak as a means of halting such “violent speech” before it can take place. This is then defined as “tolerance.”

In the vaccine industry, “science” is defined as a very narrow set of beliefs which are accepted as a matter of absolute faith (such as the absurd belief that vaccines never harm anyone and carry zero risk of harm). Any who might question those faith-based beliefs are derided as “anti-science” and attacked, ridiculed or demeaned, all in an effort to “defend science” against anyone who might ask a question that the high priests of “science” don’t want to hear. This is precisely what Neil DeGrasse Tyson argues when he demands that every person stop thinking for themselves and instead surrender to the totalitarian decrees of the scientific establishment, which he says are the only ones who are qualified to think rationally about climate change. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, by the way, is a religious science fundamentalist who believes, much like radical Islam, that all those who don’t subscribe to his faith-based beliefs must be silenced and destroyed. No evidence that contradicts his “faith” may be tolerated, just like the beliefs of liberal students at UC Berkeley.

As explained on

The scientific method has another large limitation: conclusions derived solely by experimentation are always susceptible to falsification by just one aberrant observation. For this reason and others, even wide consensus among scientists should be met with at least some skepticism before the heavy hand of the government gets involved.

In 1992, the government, backed by the scientific community, told you that you needed 6-11 daily servings of bread, cereal, rice, and/or pasta to maintain good nutrition (and that saturated and animal fats are to be avoided). Many government policies and public school food offerings were based on this recommendation, including, suspiciously, agricultural subsidies and import tariffs. But then, years later, new information revealed this to be terrible advice, after a big jump in diabetes diagnoses and obesity rates.

Or, consider the government’s attempts at alleviating malaria. The National Malaria Eradication Program sprayed DDT in 4,650,000 homes and overhead by aircraft. Later, it was realized that DDT is carcinogenic and the spraying had a severe effect on the environment and wildlife, birds in particular. Birds of prey like the bald eagle are not considered endangered species anymore, and the ban on DDT is considered a major factor in their recovery. Even this conclusion is in question, including whether or not DDT is carcinogenic for humans, but the point is that the government itself backtracked on its own science-based solution to a problem. It banned a chemical it once sprayed indiscriminately.

The vaccine industry’s dismissal of evidence of harm is Science’s version of burning books

The vaccine industry, in other words, believes in destroying the freedom to think. Its actions — and sociopathic medical violence pushers like Dr. David Gorski — reflect the kind of destruction of knowledge we’ve all witnessed throughout history when evil regimes burned books in order to control the official narrative. (Dr. Gorski is a high-level editor at Wikipedia and writes all the entries involving vaccines, chemotherapy and cancer surgery, blocking all dissenting facts or information he doesn’t like.)

There is no question whatsoever that vaccines cause widespread harm and death, yet this simple, irrefutable fact is not even allowed to be debated today due to the coordinated, pharma-funded effort to absolutely destroy any person who even asks a simple question about vaccine safety or vaccine ingredients. As a simple demonstration, witness this article describing a vaccine science study that found a 212% increase in infant mortality among infants who received DTP vaccines vs. those who didn’t. As this article reveals, some vaccines actually kill far more babies than they save. Yet this very idea is ridiculed as “anti-science” by religious science fundamentalists, even when the conclusion is precisely backed by peer-reviewed, published science.

Note: We’ve just launched a new website called Natural News Reference that lists the ingredients for over 60 popular vaccines. Go there now to view vaccine insert sheet ingredients lists and see for yourself what vaccines are really made of.

The coordinated effort to smear William Shatner for daring to tweet the truth about vaccine zealot David Gorski

As a perfect example of the silencing of dissent (and the complete abandonment of scientific debate on the vaccine issue), consider the fact that legendary actor William Shatner recently tweeted a link to the website’s profile of rabid vaccine zealot Dr. David Gorski, one of the vaccine industry’s most malicious attack dogs who routinely slanders the Health Ranger and Natural News with wholly fabricated smears rooted in his own mental instability. (See Shatner’s link below.)

Dr. Gorski is a breast cancer surgeon who preys upon black women in the Detroit area and is a colleague of Dr. Farid Fata, a cancer fraudster who was arrested by the feds, indicted for massive medical fraud, and is now serving 20+ years in federal prison. They both worked in the same facility, and Dr. David Gorski has been reported to the FBI for possible conspiracy involvement in criminal schemes involving medical malpractice and the high-profit maiming of innocent women for profit.

When Shatner tweeted the URL to, which exposes the astonishing history of deceit, distortions and abandonment of medical ethics by Dr. Gorski, he was roundly blasted by the coordinated efforts of the vaccine establishment, which incessantly seeks to silence all dissent:

You can read about what happened next at this Natural News article, which details the vaccine mafia’s war against Shatner, who isn’t even anti-vaccine in the first place!

Bottom line: Vaccine skepticism is rational; vaccine zealots are dangerous villains

Above all, remember that vaccine skepticism is rooted rooted in rational thinking and genuine science. Many vaccine ingredients — such as mercury, aluminum, MSG and formaldehyde — are undisputed as known neurotoxins. The CDC confirms that some vaccines include ingredients such as diseased African Green Monkey kidney cells, and aborted human fetal tissue is also commonly used in many vaccines, including the chickenpox vaccine.

This video animation explains how vaccine are really made, and efforts have already been made to try to BAN this video from the internet:

Stay informed. Stay vigilant. Refuse to be bullied by the sociopathic vaccine zealots whose actions resemble Jihad more than science.





Feds plan on arresting WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange; Shouldn’t they also arrest these reporters from NY Times, WaPo, The Guardian and CNN?



After years of looking for a way to silence WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose site has been responsible for publishing revelation after revelation about the back-handed deals and illegal activity undertaken by political organizations, public figures and governments, the U.S. government appears set to arrest him and charge him with espionage.

Only, if that happens, the government should also be charging several “mainstream media” reporters who also published sensitive intelligence information given to them by various Deep State sources.

As reported by CNN, a formal probe of Assange began in 2010 during the Obama administration, which sought some form of legal retribution after WikiLeaks published thousands of documents provided by a former junior U.S. intelligence analyst, then known as PVT Bradley Manning, but who now goes by Chelsea Manning. (RELATED: Are the Feds going to arrest Wikileaks’ Julian Assange?)

But the problem Obama prosecutors ran into was constitutional: The First Amendment, they believed, prevented the government from going after the publisher of classified data, in part because such information had also, in the past, been published by U.S. newspapers, networks and news sites as well. CNN noted:

During President Barack Obama’s administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn’t alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to US officials involved in the process then.

Now, however, prosecutors in the Trump Justice Department believe they have found a way to proceed against Assange. The view of Assange and WikiLeaks by the U.S. government started to change somewhat after prosecutors claimed to have found collusion between WikiLeaks and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked volumes of classified data about the U.S. intelligence community’s spying on American citizens, as well as other violations of the law.

What role Assange allegedly had has not been made clear, but he has stated on numerous occasions that WikiLeaks is merely a vehicle for such information, a repository and publisher – and does not collude with potential leakers to help steal sensitive data.

That said, last week CIA Director Mike Pompeo was more specific than any previous U.S. official in describing that alleged role, claiming WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.”

Continuing, Pompeo added: “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

CNN went on to push the discredited fake narrative that Russia used WikiLeaks to push negative information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – another charge that Assange has repeatedly denied – but the government’s planned prosecution of Assange raises another question: What to do with the reporters who also colluded with the leakers to publish their blockbuster stories?

They would include Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and his colleague, Ewen MacAskill, who both ‘aided and abetted’ Snowden by interviewing him and allowing him to pass them the information he stole from the NSA.

It would also include Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras of The Washington Post, who ‘aided and abetted’ Snowden by publishing top secret details about ongoing NSA programs. They were aided by reporters Aaron Blake and Greg Miller, among others, in subsequent reporting.

For that matter, what about The New York TimesMichael S. Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo for ‘aiding and abetting’ the improper and likely illegal unmasking of former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn? (RELATED: If Trump Is A Putin Stooge, Then How Come Russia Benefitted So Much During The Obama Presidency?)

Or CNN’s Evan Perez and Jim Sciutto, for also publishing highly sensitive information involving Flynn?

Didn’t all of these journalists do what Assange did – serve as a public conduit for sensitive intelligence information that was illegally leaked to them?

What form of collusion did they engage in to get their stories and information? Does anyone seriously think these veteran reporters were chosen at random?

If the Justice Department is going to hold Assange accountable for being an intelligence information clearing house, then they should also hold individual journalists and their publications equally accountable. They’ve both done the same thing.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.



Award Given by REAL Syria Civil Defense Recognises Work of Vanessa Beeley


1 RSCD_Beeley_MG_5558
British journalist Vanessa Beeley with the REAL Syria Civil Defense crew at award ceremony in Latakia, Syria this week (Photo: Patrick Henningsen @21WIRE)

21st Century Wire 

This week British journalist Vanessa Beeley was recognized by the REAL Syria Civil Defense and Fire Brigade for her work in helping to raise awareness about their organisation internationally.

Beeley had been at the facility to follow up on her story on the REAL Syria Civil Defense, and was surprised to have her Q & A session interrupted for a snap award ceremony.

“I was completely overwhelmed by this award, totally unexpected, and its still sinking in. These Real Syria Civil Defence are the unsung heroes in the 6 year war being waged against Syria,” said Beeley.

Back in September 2016, Beeley broke the story of the existence of the REAL Syria Civil Defense – a story which was completely ignored by the global mainstream media. Her investigation further exposed US and UK-backed efforts to delegitimize Syria’s legitimate civil agencies through the creation of western and gulf-financed shadow NGOs like the “White Helmets.” Since 2013, western media outlets have continued to ramp-up expensive public relations efforts designed to artificially elevate the White Helmets, a pseudo ‘search and rescue NGO’ who ripped-off the title “Syria’s Civil Defense” in order to lend it some legitimacy for western audiences, and for expensive PR and crowd-funding campaigns run out of New York City and London – all the while as the White Helmets continued to receive hundreds of millions of dollars primarily by the governments of the UK, US and EU member states.

Because of the terrorist affiliation of many of their alleged ‘volunteers,’  the White Helmets are now regarded by well-read and objective observers as ‘al Qaeda’s Civil Defense.’

Beeley immediately recognized the importance of this story, and has been credited with bringing awareness of the real organization’s existence to an international audience. Unlike the terrorist-linked US-UK clandestine creation the White Helmets, the REAL Syria Civil Defense is an actual member of the International Civil Defense Organisation (ICDO) based in Geneva.


After the ceremony, Beeley explained the significance of recognising the real organisation, as opposed to the cut-out creation:

“It has been an honour for me to be able to spend time with them and to get to know them as the brave, humble human beings they are. Real Syrians saving Real Syrians. The fight to raise awareness must not falter while they fight so hard to protect the Syrian people against economic, media and military terrorism. We all have a duty to raise awareness of their existence and to expose the White Helmets as the, primarily, UK funded, created, promoted Nusra Front ‘civil defence,’ responsible for the majority of false flags that have threatened to escalate the conflict and further exacerbate the suffering of the Syrian people.”

“I am very moved to have been given this award and proud to be considered worthy of it by the true heroes in Syria, the REAL Syria Civil Defence, whose simple motto is: Discipline, Courage, Redemption.”

Dr. Malek Rifai, head of Latakia’s Ministry of Information was also also in attendance to facilitate the event.

2 RSCD_Beeley_MG_5575
Vanessa Beeley pictured here with Dr. Malek Rifai, Latakia’s head of Ministry of Information, and Civil Defense first responders crew, at the governorate’s regional branch of the REAL Syria Civil Defense and Fire Brigade in northwest Syria (Photo: Patrick Henningsen @21WIRE)

The event came to a quick halt however, when the station received an emergency call, and crews and trucks were scrambled to deal with a breaking situation near the city limits. Watch, as 21WIRE caught the tail end of their emergency ‘113’ call:

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files



Monday, April 24, 2017

Japan Made Secret Deals with the NSA that Expanded Global Surveillance


It began as routinely as any other passenger flight. At gate 15 of New York City’s JFK Airport, more than 200 men, women, and children stood in line as they waited to board a Boeing 747. They were on their way to Seoul, South Korea’s capital city. But none would ever make it to their destination. About 14 hours after its departure, the plane was cruising at around 35,000 feet not far from the north of Japan when it was shot out of the sky.

The downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 occurred on September 1, 1983, in what was one of the Cold War’s most shocking incidents. The plane had veered off course and for a short time entered Soviet airspace. At Dolinsk-Sokol military base, Soviet commanders dispatched two fighter jets and issued an order to “destroy the intruder.” The plane was hit once by an air-to-air missile and plummeted into the sea, killing all passengers and crew. President Ronald Reagan declared it a “crime against humanity,” marking the dawn of a volatile new chapter in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Soon, tensions would escalate to a level not seen since the Cuban missile crisis, which 20 years earlier had brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Sisters of Lee Chul-Kyu, a passenger on the Ill-fated Korean-Air Lines 747 jetliner, weep, Sept. 2, 1983, as South Korean government spokesman Lee Jin-Hie announced in Seoul, that it was “almost certain” the jetliner had been shot down en route to Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Chon-Kil)

Sisters of a passenger on Korean Airlines Flight 007 weep as a South Korean government spokesman announced that it was “almost certain” the jetliner had been shot down en route to Seoul on Sept. 2, 1983.

Photo: Kim Chon-Kil/AP

As the international confrontation between the two adversaries played out publicly, behind closed doors another problem — which has never before been revealed — was developing. The U.S. and one of its closest allies, Japan, were embroiled in a dispute involving secret surveillance. Soviet officials were flat-out denying they had any role in shooting down the jet. At a spy base on Japanese territory, however, communications had been intercepted proving the Soviet military was the perpetrator. The U.S. wanted to obtain copies of the tapes but had to first receive approval from the head of a shadowy Japanese surveillance organization known as the “G2 Annex.”

After some bureaucratic wrangling, the Japanese eventually signed off on the release and the highly sensitive recordings were sent to Washington. From there, the tapes were forwarded to New York City, where U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick brought them to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. On September 6 — just five days after the Korean Airlines jet was shot down — Kirkpatrick attended a meeting at the U.N. Security Council where she blasted the Soviet Union for telling “lies, half lies and excuses” about its involvement in the downing of the plane. She then proceeded to play the copy of the intercepted conversations, stating that the evidence was being presented in “cooperation with the government of Japan.”

The case Kirkpatrick put forward against the Soviets was irrefutable and damning. But Japan’s spying capabilities had now been exposed — and the country’s officials were not pleased about it. The G2 Annex received new orders limiting its cooperation with the U.S., which affected the NSA’s relationship with its Japanese counterparts for the better part of a decade, at least until the Cold War ended in the early 1990s.

The details about the Korean Airlines case are revealed in classified National Security Agency documents, obtained by The Intercept from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents, published Monday in collaboration with Japanese news broadcaster NHK, reveal the complicated relationship the NSA has maintained with Japan over a period of more than six decades. Japan has allowed NSA to maintain at least three bases on its territory and contributed more than half a billion dollars to help finance the NSA’s facilities and operations. In return, NSA has kitted out Japanese spies with powerful surveillance tools and shared intelligence with them. However, there is a duplicitous dimension to the partnership. While the NSA has maintained friendly ties with its Japanese counterparts and benefited from their financial generosity, at the same time it has secretly spied on Japanese officials and institutions.

The NSA declined to comment for this story.

View of the radioactive plume from the bomb dropped on Nagasaki City, as seen from 9.6 km away, in Koyagi-jima, Japan, August 9, 1945. The US B-29 superfortress Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb nicknamed 'Fat Man,' which detonated above the ground, on northern part of Nagasaki City just after 11am. (Photo by Hiromichi Matsuda/Handout from Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/Getty Images)

View of the radioactive plume from the bomb dropped on Nagasaki City, as seen from 9.6 km away, in Koyagi-jima, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945.

Photo: Hiromichi Matsuda/Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/Getty Images

On August 14, 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender just days after U.S. Air Force planes dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, killing more than 100,000 people. The war was over, but as part of the peace agreement, Japan agreed to U.S. military occupation. American forces — led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur — drafted a new Japanese constitution and reformed the country’s parliamentary system. In April 1952, Japan’s sovereignty was restored, but the U.S. continued to maintain a major presence in the country — and that is where the NSA’s story begins.

According to the agency’s documents, its relationship with Japan dates back to the 1950s. NSA’s presence in the country was for many years managed out of a “cover office” in the Minato area of downtown Tokyo, within a U.S. military compound called the Hardy Barracks. From there, NSA maintained close relations with a Japanese surveillance agency that it refers to as Japan’s Directorate for Signals Intelligence, or SIGINT.

At first, the NSA appears to have kept a low profile in Japan, concealing details about its presence and operating undercover. But as its relationship with the country developed, that changed. By 2007, the agency had determined that “cover operations are no longer required” and it relocated its main office in Japan to a space within the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. “NSA’s partnership with Japan continues to grow in importance,” the agency noted in a classified October 2007 report, adding that it planned to take the country “to the next level as an intelligence partner with the U.S.”

Beyond Tokyo, NSA has a presence today at several other facilities in Japan. The most important of these is located at a large U.S. airbase in Misawa, about 400 miles north of Tokyo. At what it calls its “Misawa Security Operations Center,” the agency carries out a mission under the code-name LADYLOVE. Using about a dozen powerful antennae contained within large golf-ball-like white domes, it vacuums up communications — including phone calls, faxes, and internet data — that are transmitted across satellites in the Asia-Pacific region.

Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, reviews his notes, while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 1, 2007, before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, reviews his notes while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 1, 2007.

Photo: Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

As of March 2009, Misawa was being used to monitor “over 8,000 signals on 16 targeted satellites,” one NSA document noted. At the same time, the agency was working on beefing up the spy hub’s systems, so that it could meet a challenge set by then-Director Keith Alexander to “collect it all” — meaning, to sweep up as many communications as possible. Misawa’s NSA employees responded to Alexander’s call by developing technology to automatically scan and process more satellite signals. “There are multitude of possibilities,” one Misawa-based NSA engineer reported, predicting that the base would soon be “one step closer to ‘collecting it all.’”

Strategically, Japan is one of the NSA’s most valuable partners. Because of its close proximity to major U.S. rivals like China and Russia, it has been used as a launching pad to spy on those countries. But NSA’s operations in Japan are not limited to monitoring the communications of nearby adversaries. At Misawa, the NSA deployed programs called APPARITION and GHOSTHUNTER, which pinpoint the locations of people accessing the internet across the Middle East and North Africa. NSA documents detailing GHOSTHUNTER’s deployment at the NSA’s British base Menwith Hill state the program was used to facilitate lethal strikes, enabling “a significant number of capture-kill operations” against alleged terrorists. One November 2008 document noted that Misawa had proved particularly useful in tracking down terror suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was also being used in an effort to identify targets in Indonesia.

Over the past decade, the NSA’s tactics have evolved dramatically — and it has rolled out new and more controversial methods. By 2010, with the internet surging in popularity, the agency was continuing to focus on long-established spying tactics like eavesdropping on phone calls, but it was increasingly adopting more aggressive methods, such as hacking into its targets’ computers.

At Misawa, the NSA began integrating hacking operations into its repertoire of capabilities. One such method it deployed at the base is called a “Quantum Insert” attack, which involves monitoring the internet browsing habits of people targeted for surveillance, before covertly redirecting them to a malicious website or server that infects their computers with an “implant.” The implant then collects data from the infected computer and returns it to the NSA for analysis. “If we can get the target to visit us in some sort of web browser, we can probably own them,” an NSA employee claims in one document describing the hacking techniques. “The only limitation is the ‘how.’”

epa04756429 US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircrafts are sitting on the tarmac at US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma surrounded by overcrowded residential areas in Ginowan on Okinawa Island, southwestern Japan, 19 May 2015. Japanese government just announced on May 12 that CV-22 Ospreys would be deployed to the U.S. Air Force's Yokota base on the outskirt of Tokyo. CV-22 Ospreys is for special operations forces, engage in low-altitude and nighttime flights, and the accident rate is three times higher than Marines MV-22 Ospreys. Japanese four local cities' leaders in Tokyo surrounding US Air Force's Yokota Base have expressed deep concern over the deployment of CV-22 Ospreys in 2017, as Pentagon announced on 18 May 2015 it had no plan to change Osprey operations in Japan after a CV-22 Osprey crash in Hawaii killing one and injuring 21 on last weekend. EPA/HITOSHI MAESHIRO

U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircrafts sit on the tarmac at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa Island, Japan, on May 19, 2015.

Photo: Hitoshi Maeshiro/EPA/Redux

The Yokota Air Base, another U.S. military facility, sits at the foothills of Okutama mountains near the city of Fussa. The base is about a 90-minute drive west from central Tokyo and houses more than 3,400 personnel. According to the U.S. Air Force, Yokota’s function is to “enhance the U.S. deterrent posture and, if necessary, provide fighter and military airlift support for offensive air operations.” But it also serves another, more secret, purpose.

NSA documents reveal that Yokota is home to what the agency calls its Engineering Support Facility, which supplies equipment used for surveillance operations across the world. In 2004, the agency opened a major new 32,000 square foot building at the site – about half the size of a football field – for the repair and manufacture of surveillance antennas it said would be used in places like Afghanistan, Korea, Thailand, the Balkans, Iraq, Central and South America, and Cyprus. The construction cost $6.6 million, which was paid almost entirely by the government of Japan, a July 2004 NSA report stated. Within the facility, Japan would finance the staff as well, the report noted, including seven designers, machinists, and other specialists, who were collectively receiving salaries worth $375,000.

About 1,200 miles southwest of Yokota is the NSA’s most remote Japanese spying station, located on the island of Okinawa at a large U.S. Marine Corps base called Camp Hansen. It, too, has greatly benefited from a massive injection of Japanese money. In the early 2000s, NSA constructed a state-of-the-art surveillance facility on the island, paid for in full by Japan at a cost of some $500 million, according to the agency’s documents. The site was carved out of a “dense, hilly area” called Landing Zone Ostrich that the Marines had previously used for jungle training. The facility, built to include an “antenna field” for its spying missions, was designed to be low-profile, blending in with the landscape. It replaced a previous spy hub NSA had maintained on Okinawa that the island’s Japanese residents had complained was unsightly. The role of the remote eavesdropping station is to collect high-frequency communications signals as part of a mission called STAKECLAIM. The NSA does not appear to have a large number of employees stationed on the island; instead, it remotely operates the Okinawa facility from a “24-hour collection operations center” in Hawaii.

Hiroshi Miyashita, a former Japanese government data protection official, told The Intercept that Japan’s funding of U.S. intelligence activities is withheld from public disclosure under a state secrecy law, which he criticized. “It’s our money — Japanese taxpayers’ money,” he said. “We should know how much was spent for intelligence activities in Japan.” Miyashita, now an associate professor at Chuo University in Tokyo, said it was his understanding that NSA operates in the country outside Japan’s legal jurisdiction due to an agreement that grants U.S. military facilities in Japan extraterritoriality. “There is no oversight mechanism,” Miyashita said. “There is limited knowledge of activities within the bases.”

NAHA, Japan - Members of the U.S. Marine Corps test fire M110 rifles, the newest model, at Camp Hansen in Okinawa Prefecture on Jan. 12, 2011. (Kyodo)

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps test fire M110 rifles at Camp Hansen in Okinawa Prefecture on Jan. 12, 2011.

Photo: Kyodo via AP

As recently as 2013, the NSA claimed to maintain “robust” working relations with its Japanese counterparts. The agency has two surveillance partners in Japan: the Directorate for SIGINT, and the Japanese National Police Agency. Japan has collaborated closely with the NSA on monitoring the communications of neighboring countries, and it also appears to rely heavily on U.S.-provided intelligence about North Korean missile launches. As of February 2013, the NSA was increasingly collaborating with its Japanese counterparts on cybersecurity issues. And in September 2012, Japan began sharing information with the NSA that could be used to identify particular kinds of malicious software being used by hackers. This was the first time the country had shared this kind of data and the NSA viewed it as highly valuable, potentially leading to the prevention or detection of hacking attacks on “critical U.S. corporate information systems.”

“Japanese citizens know almost nothing about Japanese government surveillance. It is extremely secret.”

In return, the NSA has provided Japanese spies with training, and it has also furnished them with some of its most powerful spying tools. An April 2013 document revealed that the NSA had provided the Japanese Directorate for SIGINT with an installation of XKEYSCORE, a mass surveillance system the NSA describes as its “widest reaching” for sweeping up data from computer networks, monitoring “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.”

Igeta Daisuke, a Japanese lawyer who specializes in civil liberties cases, said that the XKEYSCORE revelation was “very important” for the country. The Japanese government’s use of the system could violate Japan’s Constitution, which protects privacy rights, Daisuke told The Intercept. He added that Japan has a limited legal framework covering surveillance issues, largely because the scope of the government’s spying has never before been disclosed, debated, or ruled upon by judges. “Japanese citizens know almost nothing about Japanese government surveillance,” said Daisuke. “It is extremely secret.”

The Japanese government’s defense ministry, which oversees the country’s surveillance capabilitites, did not respond to requests for comment.

Tokyo, JAPAN: This photo shows the Bank of Japan (BOJ) building in Tokyo, 14 July 2006. Japanese share prices fell sharply in the morning trading before its central bank was widely expected to end over five years of zero interest rates. AFP PHOTO/Kazuhiro NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Bank of Japan building in Tokyo on July 14, 2006.

Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

The NSA works with a diverse range of counterparts in countries across the world – from the United Kingdom and Sweden to Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. But the agency’s partnership with Japan is one of its most complex and seems tainted by a degree of distrust, highlighted by the dramatic aftermath of the Korean Airlines incident in 1983.

In a November 2008 document, one of NSA’s then most senior officials in Japan offered an insight into the relationship. He described the Japanese as “very accomplished” at conducting signals intelligence but lamented that they were excessively secretive. The country’s spies were “still caught in a Cold War way of doing business,” the official wrote. “They treat SIGINT as a special-access program — the most sensitive program they have. The result is that they are rather stove-piped, somewhat like NSA was 10-or-more years ago.”

The NSA participates in a group called the SIGINT Seniors Pacific, which has included surveillance agencies from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, India, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, and Singapore. The group keeps tabs on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region — issues of great interest to Japan, given its geographic location. Yet the country refused to join the meetings. “Japan was the only nation who was actually offered membership but turned it down,” wrote one NSA employee in a March 2007 document. “At the time, Japan expressed concerns that unintended disclosure of its participation would be too high a risk and had other reasons as well.”

Some of the difficulties have directly impacted the NSA’s operations. According to the agency’s documents, for many years Japan participated in a surveillance program called CROSSHAIR, which involved sharing intelligence gathered from high-frequency signals. However, in 2009, the country abruptly ceased its participation in the program.

Four years later, the issue was still causing NSA concern. Ahead of a February 2013 meeting the agency had scheduled with the deputy director of Japan’s Directorate for SIGINT, it prepared a briefing document that outlined the CROSSHAIR problem and warned of a “potential landmine” associated with the discussions. “In the past, the partner has mistakenly perceived that NSA was trying to force [the Directorate for SIGINT] to use U.S. technical solutions in place of their own,” the memo stated. “When this occurred, the partner reacted in a strong, negative manner.”

But while NSA employees may walk on eggshells with Japan during face-to-face meetings, they have taken a different approach on a covert level. An NSA document from May 2006 indicated that a division of the agency — called Western Europe and Strategic Partnerships — was spying on Japan in an effort to gather intelligence about its foreign policy and trade activities. Moreover, as of July 2010, the NSA had obtained domestic court orders enabling it to conduct surveillance on U.S. territory of Japanese officials and the Bank of Japan, which has offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

The NSA’s covert eavesdropping operations give it an insight into the Japanese government’s private negotiations and dealmaking. As was the case in late May 2007, during a secret meeting at the luxury Hotel Captain Cook in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.

Delegates from more than 70 countries listen to proceedings during the International Whaling Commission meeting 29 May 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska. The fate of the great whales hung in the balance as officials from 75 nations opened talks amid pressure, notably from Japan, to reverse a ban on commercial hunting of the mammals. AFP PHOTO/Michael CONTI (Photo credit should read Michael Conti/AFP/Getty Images)

Delegates from more than 70 countries listen to proceedings during the International Whaling Commission meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, on May 29, 2007.

Photo: Michael Conti/AFP/Getty Images

The 59th annual gathering of the International Whaling Commission was being held in the hotel — and Japan was lobbying to end a moratorium preventing countries from hunting whales for commercial purposes. U.S. officials supported maintaining the moratorium and called in the NSA to help spy on Japan’s representatives ahead of a crucial vote. The agency worked with its New Zealand counterparts to conduct the surveillance. “New Zealand had the target access, and collected and provided insightful SIGINT that laid out the lobbying efforts of the Japanese and the response of countries whose votes were so coveted,” noted an NSA document from July 2007, which outlined the operation.

One morning into the four-day gathering, at 7 a.m., an NSA employee arrived in a taxi at the agency’s Alaska Mission Operations Center, a 20-minute drive from the hotel. She collected printed copies of the intelligence that had been gathered from the Japanese communications. She then returned to the hotel with the information stored in a locked bag, and brought it to a private conference room in the hotel. There, the material was shared with two U.S. delegates from the Department of Commerce, two officials from the State Department, two representatives from New Zealand, and one from Australia. The officials read the material in silence, pointing and nodding while they studied it.

The 77-member commission voted at the meeting to allow aboriginal whaling for indigenous people in the U.S., Russia, and Greenland. Japan put forward a proposal that it should be permitted to hunt minke whales for similar reasons, claiming that doing so has been part of its culture for thousands of years. But it failed in its efforts; at the end of proceedings in Anchorage, the moratorium stood and Japan was not granted any special exemptions.

Japan’s representatives were furious and threatened to quit the commission altogether. “This hypocrisy leads us to seriously question the nature by which Japan will continue participating in this forum,” complained Joji Morishita, Japan’s deputy whaling commissioner. As far as NSA was concerned, however, it was a job well done. Whatever intelligence the agency had gathered during the meetings — the specifics of which are not revealed in the document — it had apparently helped sway the vote and scupper Japan’s plans. “Was the outcome worth the effort? The Australian, New Zealand, and American delegates would all say ‘yes,’” noted one agency employee who was involved in the covert mission. “I believe the whales would concur.”

Top photo: An event is held at the U.S. Yokota Air Base in suburban Tokyo on April 25, 2013.

Documents published with this article:

The post Japan Made Secret Deals with the NSA that Expanded Global Surveillance appeared first on The Intercept.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Two new studies suggest both diet and regular soft drinks may increase risk of stroke and dementia


The findings of two new studies add to the growing body of evidence that links soda to serious health problems.Excess sugar – especially the fructose in sugary drinks – might damage your brain, the new research suggests.If you think drinking diet soda puts you in the clear, think again: One of the studies found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.The first study, published in ...


Paradigm shift: RFK Jr goes off on vaccine safety live on TV


... no one attacks himWhen Robert F. Kennedy Jr was a guest this week on Tucker Carlson’s show, he said it was only the second show he’d ever been allowed to discuss the topic of vaccination dangers. The reason why, he says, is because shows are paid billions per year by pharmaceutical companies in advertising dollars and they don’t want his message to be discussed.RFK Jr., like many others, is sounding the alarm with respect to childhood vaccinations. Many of the vaccines are ...


No joke: U.N. elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission


... for 2018-2022 termThe Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia, “the world’s most misogynistic regime,” to a 2018-2022 term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive ...


11 Facts That Prove That The U.S. Economy In 2017 Is In Far Worse Shape Than It Was In 2016


There is much debate about where the U.S. economy is ultimately heading, but what everybody should be able to agree on is that economic conditions are significantly worse this year than they were last year.  It is being projected that U.S. economic growth for the first quarter will be close to zero, thousands of retail stores are closing, factory output is falling, and restaurants and automakers have both fallen on very hard times.  As economic activity has slowed down, commercial and consumer bankruptcies are both rising at rates that we have not seen since the last financial crisis.  Everywhere you look there are echoes of 2008, and yet most people still seem to be in denial about what is happening.  The following are 11 facts that prove that the U.S. economy in 2017 is in far worse shape than it was in 2016…

#1 It is being projected that there will be more than 8,000 retail store closings in the United States in 2017, and that will far surpass the former peak of 6,163 store closings that we witnessed in 2008.

#2 The number of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2017 has already surpassed the total for the entire year of 2016.

#3 So far in 2017, an astounding 49 million square feet of retail space has closed down in the United States.  At this pace, approximately 147 million square feet will be shut down by the end of the year, and that would absolutely shatter the all-time record of 115 million square feet that was shut down in 2001.

#4 The Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now model is projecting that U.S. economic growth for the first quarter of 2017 will come in at just 0.5 percent.  If that pace continues for the rest of the year, it will be the worst year for U.S. economic growth since the last recession.

#5 Restaurants are experiencing their toughest stretch since the last recession, and in March things continued to get even worse

Foot traffic at chain restaurants in March dropped 3.4% from a year ago. Menu prices couldn’t be increased enough to make up for it, and same-store sales fell 1.1%. The least bad region was the Western US, where sales inched up 1.2% year-over-year and traffic fell only 1.7%, according to TDn2K’s Restaurant Industry Snapshot. The worst was the NY-NJ Region, where sales plunged 4.6% and foot traffic 6.3%.

This comes after a dismal February, when foot traffic had dropped 5% year-over-year, and same-store sales 3.7%.

#6 In March, U.S. factory output declined at the fastest pace in more than two years.

#7 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not a single person is employed in nearly one out of every five U.S. families.

#8 U.S. government revenues just suffered their biggest drop since the last recession.

#9 Nearly all of the big automakers reported disappointing sales in March, and dealer inventories have now risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#10 Used vehicle prices are absolutely crashing, and subprime auto loan losses have shot up to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#11 At this point, most U.S. consumers are completely tapped out.  According to CNN, almost six out of every ten Americans do not have enough money saved to even cover a $500 emergency expense.

Just like in 2008, debts are going bad at a very alarming pace.  In fact, things have already gotten so bad that the IMF has issued a major warning about it

In America alone, bad debt held by companies could reach $4 trillion, “or almost a quarter of corporate assets considered,” according to the IMF. That debt “could undermine financial stability” if mishandled, the IMF says.

The percentage of “weak,” “vulnerable” or “challenged” debt held as assets by US firms has almost arrived at the same level it was right before the 2008 crisis.

We are seeing so many parallels to the last financial crisis, and many are hoping that our politicians in Washington can fix things before it is too late.

On Monday, the most critical week of Trump’s young presidency begins.  The administration will continue working on tax reform and a replacement for Obamacare, but of even greater importance is the fact that if a spending agreement is not passed by Friday a government shutdown will begin at the end of the week

Trump has indicated that he wants to tackle the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and introduce his “massive” tax plan in the next week, all while a shutdown of parts of federal government looms Friday.

By attempting three massive political undertakings in one week, investors will have a sense of whether or not Trump will be able to deliver on pro-growth policies that would be beneficial for markets.

If Trump can pull off the trifecta, it could restore faith that policy proposals like tax cuts and infrastructure spending are on the way. If not, look out.

Members of Congress are returning from their extended two week spring vacation, and now they will only have four working days to get something done.

And I don’t believe that they will be able to rush something through in just four days.  The Republicans in Congress, the Democrats in Congress, and the Trump administration all want different things, and ironing out all of those differences is not going to be easy.

For example, the Trump administration is insisting on funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are saying no way.  The following comes from the Washington Post

President Trump and his top aides applied new pressure Sunday on lawmakers to include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a must-pass government funding bill, raising the possibility of a federal government shutdown this week.

In a pair of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats for opposing the wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it “at a later date,” despite his repeated campaign promises not including that qualifier. And top administration officials appeared on Sunday morning news shows to press for wall funding, including White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said Trump might refuse to sign a spending bill that does not include any.

And of course the border wall is just one of a whole host of controversial issues that are standing in the way of an agreement.  Those that are suggesting that all of these issues will be resolved in less than 100 hours are being completely unrealistic.  And even though the Trump administration is putting on a brave face, the truth is that quiet preparations for a government shutdown have already begun.

The stage is being set for the kind of nightmare crisis that I portrayed in The Beginning Of The End.  The stock market bubble is showing signs of being ready to burst, and an extended government shutdown would be more than enough to push things over the edge.

Let us hope that this government shutdown is only for a limited period of time, because an extended shutdown could potentially be catastrophic.  In the end, either the Trump administration or the Democrats are going to have to give in on issues such as funding for Obamacare, the border wall, Planned Parenthood, defense spending increases, etc.

It will be a test of the wills, and it will be absolutely fascinating to see who buckles under the pressure first.