Mexico: Twitter feeds and blogs tell hidden story of drug wars

• Death threats and murders silence traditional reports

• Catalogue of horror posted by bloggers and on Twitter

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Soldiers carry the coffin of one of 72 migrants killed by drug traffickers in Tamaulipas, Mexico, last month. Photograph: Reuters

A small army of bloggers and tweeters is filling the gaps left by traditional media in Mexico that are increasingly limiting their coverage of the country’s drug wars because of pressure from the cartels.

“Shots fired by the river, unknown number of dead,” read one recent tweet on a busy feed from the northern border city of Reynosa, #Reynosafollow. “Organized crime blockade on San Fernando road lifted,” said another. “Just saw police officers telling a group of narcos about the positions of navy checkpoints,” ran a third.

Nothing of this kind appeared in the city’s papers which, along with most media outlets in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas, have become better known for what they do not publish than for what they do.

Tamaulipas is one of the most intense battlegrounds of the drug wars being fought in Mexico between the federal forces and at least seven cartels.

Gun fights lasting hours, grenade attacks in shopping streets, military swoops on suspected kingpins – all ignored. Six local journalists in one city disappeared in two days, and there was hardly a word from their terrified colleagues.

One editor on a regional paper – who does not want to be named for security reasons – has meticulously followed directives from the dominant local traffickers ever since a story she published about a shoot-out, based on an official report, earned her a death threat a couple of months ago.

She does not even dare complain too openly about this to colleagues, in case they are in the pay of the gang. But every now and then she cannot resist tweeting. “Sometimes the emotion of a story gets to me and I put it on Twitter,” she says. “Especially when I know it won’t get out otherwise.”

Earlier this month, she revealed the kidnapping of a former local mayor who is also a cousin of Mexico’s biggest media magnate.

Read moreMexico: Twitter feeds and blogs tell hidden story of drug wars

Paul Craig Roberts – It’s Official: The US Is A Police State

See also:

Paul Craig Roberts: Death of the First Amendment – The Nazification of the United States


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that “the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are ‘seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.‘”

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) Secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that-the old view.” The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home.”

“Violent extremism” is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI’s foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with “the material support of terrorism,” just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism.

Anti-war activist Mick Kelly, whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests.

I wonder if Kelly is under-estimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

“Material support” is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.

As this initial FBI foray is a softening-up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time.  But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a “terrorist group” set up by the CIA that will incriminate him.

Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared “enemy combatants” and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state-Canada perhaps-to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.

Read morePaul Craig Roberts – It’s Official: The US Is A Police State

FBI Raids War Protesters’ Homes

Minneapolis agents search for connections to Colombia, Mideast terrorists

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The FBI raided the homes of five political activists and an office Friday in Minneapolis as part of an investigation into possible links between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

An FBI spokesman said agents were “seeking evidence related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

“There is no imminent threat to the community, and we’re not planning any arrests at this time,” said FBI Special Agent Steve Warfield of the Minneapolis office.

The homes of Anti-War Committee organizers Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched. The organization’s office also was searched.

“I have no idea what all this is about,” said Kelly’s attorney, Ted Dooley. “Mr. Kelly is an activist; he’s a socialist or perhaps a communist and has been forever. He never hides his political views. They’re fishing. They’re casting big nets into the sea of political activism.”

Sundin said none of the people whose homes were raided had provided material support for terrorism.

“They can harrass us until the cows come home but we will not stop,” she said Friday at a news conference outside her home amid about 50 supporters carrying signs – with statements that included “Stop FBI harassment” and “Working for justice is not a crime.”

Read moreFBI Raids War Protesters’ Homes

Queen Tried to Use State Poverty Fund to Heat Buckingham Palace

Ministers were asked if money earmarked for schools, hospitals and low-income families could be used to meet soaring fuel bills

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Documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to “adverse publicity” for the Queen and the Government.

Aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the Queen’s gas and electricity bills, which had increased by 50 per cent that year, stood at more than £1m a year and had become “untenable”.The Royal Household also complained that the £15m government grant to maintain the Queen’s palaces was inadequate.

In search of more money-saving schemes, the Queen’s deputy treasurer wrote to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ask whether the Royal Household would be eligible for a grant to replace four combined heat and power (CHP) units at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

He asked: “Community Energy can fund up to 40 per cent of the capital costs of implementing a community heating scheme… Since we are already grant-in-aid funded [the Queen receives £15m a year for the upkeep of her palaces] we would like to know whether the Household [would] be able to benefit from these grants. I look forward to your comments.”

Click the following links to see the Palace request for a poverty grant: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

Under this scheme administered by the Environment department, schools, hospitals, councils and housing associations have been awarded £60m for heating programmes which benefit people on low incomes.

Taxpayers already contribute £38m to pay for the Royal Family. Yet some of the buildings which would have benefited from the energy grant were occupied by minor royals living in grace and favour accommodation on the royal estates. Surprisingly the Government offered no resistance to the proposed application and cleared the way for the Queen to take advantage of the handout.

Read moreQueen Tried to Use State Poverty Fund to Heat Buckingham Palace

New ‘Intelligent’ CCTV Camera Scans People Like A Human Eye

The ‘intelligent’ CCTV camera that works like a human eye to scan a crowd for potential trouble

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The Smart Eyes system can focus on areas of action which differ from the norm or which have been flagged up as being potential trouble


Separating jubilant fans from scuffling hooligans at a football match is difficult even for the most experienced security personnel.

And  constantly scanning live CCTV footage looking for trouble can be tiring.

But a new ‘intelligent’ CCTV camera that works just like the human eye promises to be able to spot trouble in large crowds.

The Smart Eyes device records and analyses a scene in real time and flags up anything that is out of the ordinary to a human operator.

Just like the human eye Smart Eyes is able to distinguish different objects, even if they are moving on front of a busy background.

‘That is invaluable for video surveillance of public buildings or places’, said Dr. Martina Kolesnik, research scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology, which developed the system.

‘In certain circumstances the capabilities of a human observer are limited.

‘Ask someone to keep an eye on a certain stand in a football stadium and they are bound to miss many details.

‘That same person can only carefully monitor certain sections of the whole area and will quickly get tired. That’s where Smart Eyes clearly comes into its own.

Read moreNew ‘Intelligent’ CCTV Camera Scans People Like A Human Eye

Make Bono History

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Bono: ‘guilty of stadium-filling hypocrisy’ (Photo: PA)

There was a humdinger of a story about Bono in the New York Post earlier this week that the Mail has picked up on this morning. According to the Post, Bono’s anti-poverty ONE foundation received $14,993,873 in donations from philanthropists in 2008, of which just $184,732 was distributed to three charities. (ONE is an “advocacy organisation” whose main purpose is to change policies, not support charities, it says.) So what happened to the rest? More than $8 million was spent on executive and employee salaries.

This isn’t gossip. The Post‘s figures are taken directly from the organisation’s 2008 tax return, the latest year for which records are available. This story follows hot on the heels of the revelation that Edun, Bono’s fashion label, has shifted some of its production base from Africa to China. A perfectly acceptable business decision, were it not for the fact that Edun is an “ethical” fashion house that was set up to aleviate poverty in … Africa.

This isn’t common-or-garden, run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, this is hypocrisy on an epic scale – stadium-filling hypocrisy. Bono browbeats Western governments for not spending more money on aid – taxpayers’ money – while doing his best to avoid paying tax himself. He chastises the private sector for not investing in African businesses, then moves his own business out of Africa. He persuades kind-hearted souls to donate money to charity, then stands by while his own foundation pays its employes 43 times as much as it gives to good causes.

Not long ago, I proposed to my writing partner Lloyd Evans that we write a modern version of The Man Who Came to Dinner, Kaufman and Hart’s classic comedy. In the original, a famous literary critic is invited to dine at the house of a rich industrialist, injures his hip on the front steps and ends up staying for several weeks. The tycoon and his family are initially tickled pink to have such a distinguished house guest, but the scales gradually fall from their eyes as they realise what a monstrous egotist he is. In our version, the literary critic would become a philanthropic rock star, but otherwise we would stick closely to the original.

Read moreMake Bono History

US Census Bureau Reports Highest Poverty Rate Since 1994: 14.3 Percent

The nation’s poverty rate jumped to 14.3% in 2009, its highest level since 1994, and the 43.6 million Americans in need is the highest number in 51 years of record-keeping, the government said Thursday.

The Office of Management and Budget defined the poverty threshold level as less than $21,954 for a family of four in 2009 and $10,956 for an individual. The poverty rate increased for all racial groups except Asians.

The jump, reported as part of a regular annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and health insurance, was not unexpected. The U.S. economy went through a very rough 2009.

“The Census Bureau released data that illustrates just how tough 2009 was, ” President Obama said in a statement.

“Even before the recession hit, middle class incomes had been stagnant and the number of people living in poverty in America was unacceptably high, and today’s numbers make it clear that our work is just beginning,” the president added.

Read moreUS Census Bureau Reports Highest Poverty Rate Since 1994: 14.3 Percent

The Secret Lives of Big Pharma’s ‘Thought Leaders’

From the article:

Perhaps the most remarkable recent exchange with a KOL emerged in an investigation of Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University. In a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Biederman was accused of promising positive research results to the company in exchange for funding. A hint of Biederman’s self-opinion emerged in a deposition, where a lawyer asked him about his academic ranking.

Biederman: “To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professor you move to full professor.”

Lawyer: “Full professor?”

Biederman: “Mm-hmm.”

Lawyer: “What rank are you?”

Biederman: “Full professor.”

Lawyer: “What’s after that?”

Biederman: “God.”

Lawyer: “Did you say God?”

Biederman: “Yeah.”

Can’t make this up!


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Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle Review

In the early 1970s, a group of medical researchers decided to study an unusual question. How would a medical audience respond to a lecture that was completely devoid of content, yet delivered with authority by a convincing phony? To find out, the authors hired a distinguished-looking actor and gave him the name Dr. Myron L. Fox. They fabricated an impressive CV for Dr. Fox and billed him as an expert in mathematics and human behavior. Finally, they provided him with a fake lecture composed largely of impressive-sounding gibberish, and had him deliver the lecture wearing a white coat to three medical audiences under the title “Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education.” At the end of the lecture, the audience members filled out a questionnaire.

The responses were overwhelmingly positive. The audience members described Dr. Fox as “extremely articulate” and “captivating.” One said he delivered “a very dramatic presentation.” After one lecture, 90 percent of the audience members said they had found the lecture by Dr. Fox “stimulating.” Over all, almost every member of every audience loved Dr. Fox’s lecture, despite the fact that, as the authors write, it was delivered by an actor “programmed to teach charismatically and nonsubstantively on a topic about which he knew nothing.”

Read moreThe Secret Lives of Big Pharma’s ‘Thought Leaders’

US: Georgia Man Fined for Growing Too Many Vegetables On His Own Land

An Atlanta-area man is facing fines of up to $5000 for growing too many vegetables on his land.

Steve Miller (not Steve Miller of classic rock fame), has had an organic vegetable garden on his property for years. He grows food for himself and has even sold some of his bounty at local farmers markets.

He received his first citation from code enforcement back in January and has since incurred $5000 in fines. The tricky thing here is that after citations in January and February, Miller got his property rezoned to allow his garden. The county is still suing him for the fines related to the earlier charges.

Here is an interview with Miller and his attorney from WSBTV:

The question I have is how did code enforcement find out about Miller’s garden in the first place? Code enforcement isn’t in the habit of randomly dropping in on properties – did someone complain?

Have you guys run across zoning laws that prevent large-scale gardens? I know many areas have laws restricting things like backyard chickens, but this is the first case I’ve heard involving edible plants.

Source: WSBTV

September 14, 2010

Source: Eat Drink Better