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5/31/2006

The Purpose Driven Life Takers :.

Imagine all the good, little "christians" in their HDTV enabled, Satanic worship centers, doped up on soda, Ritalin and Jesus. Take what's left of their lizard brains, and turn them into Crusaders:

Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life.

The game, slated for release by October 2006 in advance of the Christmas shopping rush, has been previewed at video game exhibitions, and reviewed by major newspapers and magazines. But until now, no fan or critic has pointed out the controversial game's connection to Mr. Warren or his dominionist agenda.

...

The game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, is based on scenes from the first four novels in the series. The game was developed by a publicly-traded company called Left Behind Games, according to SEC records. The developers obtained the license from Tyndale House, the Christian publisher of Left Behind.


Related: Onward, Christian Soldiers


5/30/2006

Dollar Plunges on Paulson Appointment :.

Dollar holders: move it or lose it:

The US dollar fell sharply on Tuesday as Hank Paulson, Goldman Sachs' chief executive, was named as the new US Treasury secretary, replacing the increasingly pressurised John Snow.

...

"China has not taken kindly to pounding the pulpit and speakers who seem to convey an antagonistic approach," said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at Bank of New York. "Mr Paulson has considerable experience in China and is well regarded over there. He could reinvigorate the discussions over currency policy."

He added: "Paulson represents a window of opportunity to accomplish a soft landing to a rapidly growing global imbalances problem. If anyone is capable of carrying this off, he is one of the best placed. The 'strong dollar' policy may quite quickly have an epitaph written for it: 'rest in peace'."



Computer Techs Join Fight Clubs :.

My former PHB could have kicked all of our asses... at once!

They may sport love handles and Ivy League degrees, but every two weeks, some Silicon Valley techies turn into vicious street brawlers in a real-life, underground fight club.

Kicking, punching and swinging every household object imaginable -- from frying pans and tennis rackets to pillowcases stuffed with soda cans -- they beat each other mercilessly in a garage in this bedroom community south of San Francisco.

Then, bloodied and bruised, they limp back to their desks in the morning.


Research Credit: EG


5/29/2006

Waste in NZ: Compost, Reuse, Recycle... or Pay

How about having to pay to throw your trash away? That's right. In most of New Zealand, waste/trash/rubbish works like this:

If you don't compost it, reuse it, or recycle it, you have to pay to dispose of it.

For the average, throw-it-out American, I think this would be one of the most jaw-dropping aspects of New Zealand.

As Becky and I were making a recycling run, I couldn't help but to be amazed at how matter-of-fact people were about doing this. Young and old. Male and female. Better off and less better off. People separated their plastics, glass, aluminum and cardboard, and put them all in the appropriate bins.




Becky and I compost, reuse and recycle everything we can. As a result, we have generated only three grocery-store-sized bags of landfill waste since I got here in March, or about one bag per month. Even though most of what we eat is made from bulk-bin purchased dry goods and vegetables, that are carried in reused bags, the waste we are generating is almost all food related packaging that can't be recycled. We will be generating even less waste as we ramp up food production here on our farmlet.

As a small, island nation, the problems associated with profligate waste became a national security matter for New Zealand sooner than it might have for other countries. But even in NZ, there's a long way to go.

Related: Zero Waste New Zealand


5/27/2006

U.S. Marines Executed Iraqi Civilians :.

Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed as many as 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them "execution-style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha after a roadside bomb killed an American in November, officials close to the investigation said Friday.

The pictures are said to show wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, who included several women and six children. Some were shot in the head and some in the back, congressional and defense officials said.

One government official said the pictures showed that infantry Marines from Camp Pendleton "suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results."

The case may be the most serious incident of alleged war crimes in Iraq by U.S. troops. Marine officers have long been worried that Iraq's deadly insurgency could prompt such a reaction by combat teams.



Mike Farrell on "Baghdad ER" :.

I loathe the people who have created this monstrosity. I want the criminals who lied and cheated and pretended and twisted and perverted reality - and those who rationalized their crimes - so they could send over 2400 servicemen and woman to their death, nearly 18,000 to come home torn - some never to be whole again - thousands more to suffer mental damage, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians to be swept into the garbage can of "collateral damage," to pay. These bastards and their apologists should be stripped naked and forced to walk the main streets of America, allowing every city and town that has lost a loved one to injury or death in this shameful catastrophe to heap on them the scorn they deserve.



AT&T Leaks Sensitive Info in NSA Suit :.

I love it:

Lawyers for AT&T accidentally released sensitive information while defending a lawsuit that accuses the company of facilitating a government wiretapping program, CNET News.com has learned.

AT&T's attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable (click here for PDF).

But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple Computer's OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11.


Related: Cryptome Coverage


5/25/2006

The Dollar's Evil Twin :.

Deconsumption is finding good ones:

No-bid contract money-pits, drug money, petro-dollars, money-laundering schemes, off-shore hidey-holes, safety-deposit boxes full of gold, numbered Swiss bank accounts, artificial money creation, the outrageous use of credit, Enron-style boondoggles. . . . If you add in all these shadow sources of revenue, NOW the booming U.S. economy makes sense. Holy sheep dookie. "That means that corruption and nepotism and cronyism and bribes and embezzlement and money-laundering and drugs are holding our economy together!"



Joe Cell :.

I've been quietly watching the Joe Cell phenomenon for a few weeks, lurking in private discussion groups, noting developments. Instead of fading away, it's gaining momentum. In the groups, people are saying this is working.

Now, before you squeal like you're stuck in a fence and send me a hot email about why this can't work, along with a copy of your doctoral dissertation on thermodynamics, just relax!

I'm not saying that it's working. I'm not saying that it's not working, either. And yes, I know how nuts it sounds, and yes, I know about the _______ <--- fill in the blank with the free energy scam of your choice.

How is the Joe Cell different?

It's totally open source. The people working on it are just individuals trying to see if there's anything to it. To me, it seems like the Joe Cell is going to be declared BS or not BS pretty soon. It would be nice to have more eyes on it when that day comes, one way or the other.


5/24/2006

Just One of Those Mysteries: The CIA Plane Carrying 5.5 Tons of Cocaine :.

The "mystery" of Porter Goss' resignation last month as CIA Director is apparently directly related to the huge seizure in Mexico several weeks earlier of over 5.5 tons of cocaine, according to government documents recently obtained by the The MadCowMorningNews.

After Goss's surprise resignation last month he told reporters his reason for resigning was "just one of those mysteries," offering no other explanation for his sudden departure after almost two years on the job.

Goss' resignation appears to be connected to the unprecedented withholding by the Federal Aviation Administration of the registration records for the DC9 (N900SA) which more than six weeks ago was caught carrying a cargo of five-and-a-half tons of cocaine, neatly packed into 126 identical black suitcases at a jungle airstrip in the Yucatan.



Lou Dobbs Unfurls on CNN :.

Never before in our country's history have both the president and Congress been so out of touch with most Americans. Never before have so few of our elected officials and corporate leaders been less willing to commit to the national interest. And never before has our nation's largest constituent group -- some 200 million middle-class Americans -- been without representation in our nation's capital.



TeenScreen :.

I thought TeenScreen was a hoax, at first. Nope. It's real:

Schools are implementing screening tools like Wested, and TeenScreen and a host of other programs to identify kids with problems.. even if they don't really have one. And no one seems to take notice that these programs were funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry in order to get more customers and sell more medication. Additionally, databases are being set up to keep track of information. Parents are being coerced into putting their children into treatment. Some lose custody and their children become wards of the state.



RUSSIAN RUBLE BASED OIL AND GOLD TRADING BEGINS JUNE 8?! :.

Well, if Iran couldn't/wouldn't do it, maybe Russia will!

The Russian Trading System, Russia's premier stock market, announced Monday that it would start trading in gold, oil and oil products on June 8.

The announcement comes in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address May 10, when he said Russia, as a leading oil exporting nation, should establish its own oil exchange to trade crude and petroleum products for rubles.

"The first trading in contracts for gold will commence in Russia on June 8," the RTS said in a statement.

The stock exchange also said it would start trading in futures and options on oil and oil derivatives, including Urals brand, diesel fuel, jet fuel and fuel oil. Trade will be in rubles based on prices calculated by the Platts agency. The settlement period for a contract is one month and the minimum security guarantee on a contract is 10% of its overall value.

The derivatives section of the RTS, known by its Russian acronym Forts, will trade futures and options on gold in rubles based on the London Stock Exchange evening fixing rate. The settlement period for a contract is one month and the minimum security guarantee on any contract is 5% of its overall value.

The statement said RTS would collect a 1-ruble commission for each concluded contract.



Cryptogon Readers Contribute $25 and $20

GW, as you guys may have noticed, sent $25 at the beginning of the month. She's back with another $25 at the end of the month! Thanks, GW! She writes:
What a timesaver. All the stuff I'm interested in is covered on your site, from encroachments on our Bill of Rights to chook tractors. One stop shopping -- woo hoo. My family and I are awaiting permanent residence [in New Zealand] and are headed to the South Island. Will do some WWOOFing first and then purchase a rural property.
That's great news, GW! Cryptogon reader and contributor, DG, is headed to the South Island as well. Becky and I will have to get down there at some point. We're all the way up in the Far North, near Kaitaia.

Then we have Mr. MW. Month after month, he sends contributions. For years, he has supported Cryptogon, making sure it stays freely accessible to all. Thanks, MW.

I get emails from people all the time thanking me for Cryptogon. Don't thank me! It's people like GW, MW and the people you see on the right side of the screen in the 'Support Received' column each month who make Cryptogon possible.

Because of the incredible outpouring from you guys, Becky and I decided to begin the process of ditching Telecom completely and switching over to a satellite Internet provider called Farmside.co.nz.

In order to get the Farmside connection for only NZ$90 per month, including installation and hardware, we were required to join one of three farming organizations. We went with Combined Rural Traders, even though we live in the North. We have to deposit NZ$200 with them, which is fully refundable if we decide to end our membership.

So, in May, donations to Cryptogon have gone toward:

* The purchase of Bill Mollison's Tagari collection, an invaluable library of permaculture books

* Our shares with CRT, an organization dedicated to helping farmers stretch their precious dollars

* And the second month of broadband satellite service with Farmside (because, as CRT members, the first month is free)!

Cryptogon contributors have clearly upped the ante! Support at these levels tells me that people want to see results, and they're willing to shell out cold hard cash to help. As such, these contributions are helping Becky and me build a small farm that will hopefully serve as an example that others would like to follow. That would be a good thing, in our opinion.

You know the old saying, "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." Over the years, Cryptogon has been mostly about cursing the darkness. Becky and I, however, are glad to have your help in lighting more candles.



MIT's $100 Laptop, Don't Drink the Water :.

I wonder if the intended recipients of these laptops have access to clean drinking water...

* sigh *

How much better off would children be, in general, if the resources that went into making these cheap laptops were instead used to design and build inexpensive, village sized solar water distillation units?

After all, what's the leading cause of death in the world?

It's not a cheap laptop deficiency:

The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases, making it the leading cause of disease and death around the world. Most of the victims are young children, the vast majority of whom die of illnesses caused by organisms that thrive in water sources contaminated by raw sewage. VOA's Jessica Berman has more on the story.

A report published recently in the medical journal The Lancet concluded that poor water sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water take a greater human toll than war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combined.

According to an assessment commissioned by the United Nations, 4,000 children die each day as a result of diseases caused by ingestion of filthy water. The report says four out of every 10 people in the world, particularly those in Africa and Asia, do not have clean water to drink.



KNBC TV in Los Angeles on Chemtrails: Toxic Sky? :.

It's a quiet mountain community, but some residents claim something's happening in the sky that's making them sick --

Mystery clouds and unusual contrails ...

Is it a weather experiment on a massive scale?

In a Channel 4 News investigation, Paul Moyer looks into why some say the government is manipulating the weather.

Watch "Toxic Sky?" at 11 p.m. Tuesday. Look for the Web report on NBC4.tv on Wednesday at 9 a.m.


5/23/2006

Timely Tidbits :.

Interesting post over at Deconsumption on collapsing global stock markets, the bursting real estate bubble and "the emerging water industry."

In any strategic relocation plan, the primacy of water cannot be understated. Water quality and availability should be at the top of your list when considering a property purchase.



Cryptogon Reader Signs Up With Blue Host

Cryptogon receives $65!

Thanks to samadhisoft.com for choosing to host with Blue Host via Cryptogon!

I've exchanged many emails with DG, the person who just signed up. He's a long time Cryptogon reader and contributor. He's a wise dude, and I'm sure the rest of the Cryptogon community will be interested in his work.

Related: Hosting With Blue Host


5/22/2006

ATT/NSA Intercept Docs Released :.

They can't disappear this now, but I saved it locally anyway:

A file detailing aspects of AT&T's alleged participation in the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic wiretap operation is sitting in a San Francisco courthouse. But the public cannot see it because, at AT&T's insistence, it remains under seal in court records.

Related: Whistle-Blower's Evidence, Uncut



U.S. Sets Up £ 215m Deal for Afghan Arms - From Russia :.

Sustainable war, endless death.

The part about the Bush regime being concerned about a Democrat shutting down the carnage is laughable.

But it's good to laugh. Laughing is healthy! Oh, yeah, and maybe this massive arms order from Russia will vanish too. HA HA HA. Get it? Some conspiracy theorists might wonder where "the terrorists" were getting their brand new AK-47s from!? HAHA. Stupid conspiracy theorists. One more, one more: The arms will be used to fight the Afghan drug lords!!! HAHAHA! Get it? Get it? HAHAHA!

Why aren't you laughing?

American defence officials have secretly requested a "prodigious quantity" of ammunition from Russia to supply the Afghan army in case a Democrat president takes over in Washington and pulls out US troops.

The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells - equivalent to about 15 times the British Army's annual requirements.

The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan.

...

Defence specialists said Russian arms chiefs at first "fell about laughing" because they thought the order was a joke when it arrived this month.

But with the Americans said to be pressing for a price and earliest delivery date, the request is being rapidly processed and exports could begin before the end of this year.

The "decade's worth" of ammunition will give the Afghan National Army a vast arsenal to deal with Taliban or drug warlords if Washington withdraws its troops.

It would allow Kabul to defend its borders against outside interference but could also be used for offensive operations against neighbours such as the old enemy, Pakistan.

"This is a request for a price indication from the Pentagon to the Russians," said an arms source connected to Russia. "After that comes back they will look at their budget and turn it into an order - and it will be an order of huge magnitude.

"The operations and planning staff at the Pentagon came up with numbers for their wish list.

"The final order may be more or may be less but the broad aim is to spend the budget while they can. They want to stack the country up with ammunition.

"It's the equivalent of buying yourself a plane to fly to Le Touquet for lunch and you get yourself a 747 jumbo instead of a light aircraft."

All of the material will come from Rosoboron Exports, the sole state intermediary agency for Russia's military exports.



Sherman Skolnick Dead :.

I used to read lots of Skolnick's stuff, even though his allegations were usually not verifiable. If you can tolerate his writing style, his massive body of work is worth looking through:

Mr. Skolnick's most spectacular victory came in 1969, when he found that two judges on the state Supreme Court accepted a gift of stock in a Chicago bank from a defendant whose case they were to decide-and for whom they ruled favorably.

Skolnick's findings led to a blue-ribbon investigative commission and finally to the resignations from the court of Chief Justice Roy J. Solfisburg Jr. and Justice Ray Klingbiel.



Markets 'Are Like 1987 Crash' :.

Yeah, but now we have the Plunge Protection Team. That thing will save us!

Right?

CONDITIONS in the financial markets are eerily similar to those that precipitated the "Black Monday" stock market crash of October 1987, according to leading City analysts.

A report by Barclays Capital says the run-up to the 1987 crash was characterised by a widening US current-account deficit, weak dollar, fears of rising inflation, a fading boom in American house prices, and the appointment of a new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

All have been happening in recent months, with market nerves on edge last week over fears of higher inflation and a tumbling dollar, and the perception of mixed messages on interest rates from Ben Bernanke, the new Fed chairman.



Democratic Congressman on Videotape Accepting $100,000 in $100 Bills :.

No hookers?! What the hell kind of bribery case is this?

A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.

At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa.

As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker's family might receive, the congressman "began laughing and said, 'All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching,'" according to the affidavit.


5/21/2006

Former U.S. Army Ranger Describes Executing Iraqi Civilians :.

UPDATE: The Entire Thing Is BS

UPDATE: The producers have taken down the clip pending verification of Macbeth's story. I had requested access to Jessie Macbeth, the day this story broke, to ask the questions the producers should have asked in the first place. I was told I would get the chance to ask those questions.

It turns out that lots of other people had a few questions for Jessie Macbeth.

I got this email this morning:
From: randyro - comcast - net
Subject: removing Jessie Macbeth interview from our site
Date: May 23, 2006 12:34:12 PM PDT


I just got off the phone with Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW), who have asked us to remove the Jesse Macbeth interview from our site. Lambert will remove it as soon as he gets home, this evening, which is as soon as we can do it. (Lambert spent hours getting it up on the site just last night--before that it was only on Terry, on our man in Vancouver,'s peacefilms.org site. Terry is removing it from that site as well.)

IVAW is going to put some kind of statement up on their website, they are formulating it now.

Here's what has happened:
We met Jesse at a rally where he, along with other IVAW members were holding an IVAW banner, giving speeches as IVAW members, and talking to the press. We made arrangements to interview him the next day, which formed the basis of the piece we did. The piece went out on our show, and Terry put the interview part up on his peacefilms.org website.

Once Dahr sent out the link to the video, there was a LOT of attention on the video. Right away it came under attack for being lies, a fake, jesse was never a soldier etc. This was a "swiftboating," in my opinion, and similar to the attacks leveled against the Vietnam generation of veteran who came back from the war and tried to bring their experience out to the public. (It was these sorts of attacks which prompted VVAW to hold the now-famous Winter Soldier investigations, where they got many vets to testify about their experiences.)

Some big media people were interested in our video and the Jesse story but they, rightfully so, wanted verification of the story, so they could run with it. After all, the news these days is about a Marine squad who are accused of exactly this same behavior. Jesse's story would clearly show the Marine story to be common policy, rather than a squad of loose cannons in an otherwise proper war. So it is BIG news, if it can be subjected to the extra-normal journalistic scrutiny needed for really big stories.

Jessie, a troubled youth, who joined the army to avoid further prison time, and who has suffered from severe PTSD after serving in Iraq, with resultant criminal convictions, isn't a great witness. I knew all this when we did the interview, but felt that his story rang true, had lots of details, and that we should go with it, because I know that the soldiers who can tell these sorts of accounts are the most likely to have mental problems, precisely because of the experiences they had. ALL the My Lai massacre soldiers went crazy, it goes with the territory.

Big media backed away from the story, because Jesse does have mental problems and a marginal life. Much pressure has been leveled at IVAW. Jessie told me on the phone yesterday that "Stars & Stripes," the military newspaper, called him and told him that the Pentagon was denying that he had ever even been in the military. In the face of this, IVAW asked Jessie yesterday to verify his military service etc, and Jessie did fax them some VA paperwork and his DD214, but they felt that there were discrepancies in his DD214, enough so that they don't think they can vouch for him without further verification.

So they are, as I mentioned before, formulating a public statement about the situation. What it will say, I don't know, but it sounds like they may distance themselves from Jesse. And their national coordinator called me, asking us to remove the video from the website (which implies we should also stop distribution of it).

Without the blessing of IVAW, we can't really keep the video up. IVAW is all over the video in the lower thirds, etc. and Jesse is identified right up front as a member of that organization, which he has been for quite some time. I still feel that Jesse's story is true, but we don't have the ability to verify any of this, and we have to respect IVAW's wishes, and their greater ability to verify what can be verified.

So, we will remove the video from our site, and Lambert will put up a notice saying we have removed it at the request of IVAW, pending their further investigation, directing people who want more info to the IVAW site.

We may see this play out in a big way yet, not the least of which may be for the right wing to attack us for having a story that IVAW won't back. This is all unfolding as I type this, and I have no idea where it will all lead, but be aware that there is a lot of attention on us as a video collective. Jesse just called to tell me that NBC has contacted him and they are doing a big "smear" story about all this. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, I was just on a 3-way call with Jesse and another one of the national IVAW leadership, who seemed to think they were going to keep working through this, that they weren't going to distance themselves from him, etc, so there seems to be two opinions among IVAW leadership on how to proceed. Jesse has promised to provide the original of his DD214, which his case manager has, as well as details about his unit, names of other soldiers in the unit, etc to help with the verification. Nonetheless, it was the IVAW national coordinator who called earlier, asking us to take down the video, so we have to do it.

Earlier in the week, before this all came up, I sent the Jesse piece, carried first on IP#193, out to our stations again, as IP#201, because the Marines story is back in the news. I guess I have to ask our various locations to hold the show, if possible.

Randy
Stay tuned.

Former U.S. Army Ranger and Iraq War Vetran, Jessie Macbeth:

"When we were doing the night raids in the houses, we would pull people out and have them all on their knees and zip-tied. We would ask the man of the house questions. If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head. We would keep going, this was our interrogation. He could be innocent. He could be just an average Joe trying to support his family. If he didn't give us a satisfactory answer, we'd start killing off his family until he told us something. If he didn't know anything, I guess he was SOL."


5/20/2006

Cryptogon Reader Signs Up With Blue Host!

Cryptogon receives $65!

Thanks to theunionjack.net for choosing to host with Blue Host via Cryptogon!

Man, you guys are kicking @ss with the Blue Host sign ups! If this keeps up, Becky and I will start having visions of weird wind, hydro and solar power projects, and maybe the great broadband bird in the sky....

Don't get me wrong, I love New Zealand, but we're being ripped off in a couple of ways: electricity and telecommunications. We're paying between NZ.21 and NZ.23 per KW/h for power. This seems so stupid, with all the hydro, wind and solar options we have on this property. I try not to think too much about it because it makes me so wild! At a minimum, next Summer, we're shutting off the hot water heater and going with some sort of [email protected] black pipe/watertank/outdoor shower thing. I fantasize about just doing it up right with evacuated tube solar collectors. But that's going to cost a few ducats. More then a few, actually.

Then there's the Telecom nightmare. The one thing I miss about the U.S. is my all-you-can eat 3.5 megabit/second cable modem connection. I miss broadband. You don't want to get me started on how bad the broadband situation sucks in New Zealand. We're thinking about going with a BayCity/Farmside satellite program, but it's NZ$90 per month and requires a !THREE YEAR! commitment. Dialup out here in the wop-wops is crippling; it only gets up to 28.8 most of the time. :(

Even though the NZ government finally woke up and went Medieval on Telecom, nobody knows when, or even if, unbundling will result in broadband in very rural areas (like where we live). Well, if these signups continue, the great broadband bird in the sky will allow us to shed all of our earthly bonds to Telecom... and allow me to digest the requisite grist for this Cryptogon mill in a far more efficient manner.

Related: Hosting With Blue Host



Port Scanner of Mass Destruction :.

Drop that PERL script! Step away from the keyboard! This is your last warning:

IT and security professionals who make network monitoring tools publicly available or disclose details of unpatched vulnerabilities could be convicted under a proposed UK law, experts have warned.

Related: UK Government to Force Handover of Encryption Keys



Peak Food :.

Forget Die Off theories. It's the Kill Off theories that make me nervous:

The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years.

Rising population, water shortages, climate change, and the growing costs of fossil fuel-based fertilisers point to a calamitous shortfall in the world's grain supplies in the near future, according to Canada's National Farmers Union (NFU).

Thirty years ago, the oceans were teeming with fish, but today more people rely on farmers to produce their food than ever before, says Stewart Wells, NFU's president.

In five of the last six years, global population ate significantly more grains than farmers produced.

And with the world's farmers unable to increase food production, policymakers must address the "massive challenges to the ability of humanity to continue to feed its growing numbers", Wells said in a statement.



Sunny Delight Spilled Into River Kills Fish :.

Yummy!

It has become a big no-no in school lunchboxes because of its unhealthy reputation.

But it seems that Sunny D, formerly known as Sunny Delight, is not half as bad for children as it is for fish.

Around 8,000 litres of concentrate used to make the drink leaked into a watercourse on Wednesday morning, turning the river bright yellow.

Dozens of fish were found floating on the surface, poisoned by the lurid mixture.

The spill of 'sub-standard' juice was a category one pollution incident, the most serious kind, according to the Environment Agency.


5/19/2006

Couple Arrested for Asking for Directions :.

File this one under Mad Pig Disease, or With Cops Like This, Who Needs Terrorists?

They hate us for our freedom!

Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions.

WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins said Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook, of Chantilly, Va., got lost leaving an Orioles game on Saturday. Collins reported a city officer arrested them for trespassing on a public street while they were asking for directions.


5/18/2006

UK Government to Force Handover of Encryption Keys :.

INCREDIBLE! Absolutely incredible. The UK is trying to give China a run for its money to see who can set up the most diabolical police state on the planet.

Are the British people this beaten? Will they actually go along with this?

Businesses and individuals may soon have to release their encryption keys to the police or face imprisonment, when Part 3 of the RIP Act comes into effect.

The UK Government is preparing to give the police the authority to force organisations and individuals to disclose encryption keys, a move which has outraged some security and civil rights experts.

The powers are contained within Part 3 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). RIPA was introduced in 2000, but the government has held back from bringing Part 3 into effect. Now, more than five years after the original act was passed, the Home Office is seeking to exercise the powers within Part Three of RIPA.

Some security experts are concerned that the plan could criminalise innocent people and drive businesses out of the UK. But the Home Office, which has just launched a consultation process, says the powers contained in Part 3 are needed to combat an increased use of encryption by criminals, paedophiles, and terrorists.

"The use of encryption is... proliferating," Liam Byrne, Home Office minister of state told Parliament last week. "Encryption products are more widely available and are integrated as security features in standard operating systems, so the Government has concluded that it is now right to implement the provisions of Part 3 of RIPA... which is not presently in force."

Part 3 of RIPA gives the police powers to order the disclosure of encryption keys, or force suspects to decrypt encrypted data.

Anyone who refuses to hand over a key to the police would face up to two years' imprisonment.



Global Markets Take a Pounding :.

Stock markets fell heavily around the world on Thursday, with Tokyo shares hitting a two-month low, as investors were spooked by big losses in U.S. stocks and bet interest rates would keep rising.

Some $64 billion was wiped off the market value of the 30 companies that make up the Dow industrial average on Wednesday, giving the blue-chip index its biggest one-day points drop in three years.

European shares also suffered their biggest points fall since October 2002 to close at a more than three-month low.



We Just Bought the Bill Mollison Tagari Package :.

Becky and I just invested some of our precious capital in Bill Mollison's Tagari Package of books. The titles included are:
PERMACULTURE: A Designer's Manual

Introduction to Permaculture

Permaculture Two -- Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture

The Permaculture Book of Ferment & Human Nutrition

The Power of Duck - Integrated Rice and Duck Farming
We have been coveting those books for a long time, and tonight, we decided to take the plunge.

Thanks to May's Cryptogon contributors, who helped make this strategic purchase possible.


5/17/2006

Genetically Engineered Rice Contains Human Genes :.

If these criminals were actually concerned with helping children in developing countries they would work on clean drinking water projects, not pHarming rice containing human genes!

Ventria's rice produces two human proteins found in mother's milk, saliva and tears, which help people hydrate and lessen the severity and duration of diarrhea attacks, a top killer of children in developing countries.

But farmers, environmentalists and others fear that such medicinal crops will mix with conventional crops, making them unsafe to eat.



DOW SUFFERS BIGGEST ONE-DAY LOSS IN THREE YEARS :.

UPDATE: THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD ONE

File this one your Illuminati Loki Freak Phenomena folder:

Question: How old is the New York Stock Exchange?

Answer: Today, May 17, 2006, is the NYSE's 214th birthday.

Question: How much was the Dow down today?

Answer: 214 points.

Bonus Question: How much was the NASDAQ down today?

Answer: 33 points.

Oh yeah, anyone who thinks that this is anything but a total coincidence is obviously nuts.

That is all.

Related: NY Lottery Numbers: 911 - S&P Futures Close At: 911

Research Credit: You really don't want to know... Ok, here you go.

- - - - -

A child could have spotted this short. Too bad I'm no longer a betting man, speculator or whatever you want to call it:

Blue chips led a broad selloff Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average posting its biggest single-day loss in three years, after a stronger-than-expected consumer inflation report re-ignited fears of inflation.

Related: European Shares Suffer Biggest Fall Since 2002



Sustainable War :.

Clean, green death:

"Ramadi, Iraq. The most dangerous location in Iraq, where gun battles rage several times a day, and incoming mortar and rocket fire requires close attention to the nearest bunker. Trust me; I had to run for one today. Yet, even here, there is a Green Movement afoot."

"The Army, granted, driven more by cost than environmentalism, is ramping up a serious change to rechargeable batteries from the old standard disposables. Now that the new LiIon versions of the ubiquitious "5590" radio battery have arrived, soldiers can get almost as much runtime from a rechargeable as they can from an $80, toxic, LiSO2 disposable. Not only will the military save tens of millions of dollars in purchase and logistics costs per year, but the reduction in landfill waste will be huge.

But it doesn't stop there. Serious research is being conducted into alternative methods of power generation on the battlefield, including solar powered battery chargers for the military batteries, which, yes, we'll be trialing in two weeks.



Makram Chams and Titan Corp :.

Hopsicker is still belting it out down there in Florida:

Makram Chams owned a Kwik-Check convenience store in Venice, where the biggest overseas money transfer to the terrorists, $70,000 from the UAE., was sent, according to the testimony of FBI agents during the 9.11 Commission hearings.

...

Strangely, Chams left town soon after the 9.11 attack, abandoning a thriving convenience store which has stood vacant ever since.

...

No one knew where he was, or why he'd left. But now Chams has re-surfaced in Saudi Arabia, where he worked in an unlikely capacity: as a contractor for American defense firm Titan Corp.

...

It has since been revealed that Titan trains mercenaries, and provides mercenaries for operations. Current operations. Ongoing operations...

Disclosures in the Duke Cunningham scandal lead directly to Titan. Before it is done, this may present someone with some very thorny problems.


5/15/2006

Cryptogon Reader Signs Up With Blue Host!

Cryptogon receives $65!

Thanks to boonenc.org for choosing to host with Blue Host via Cryptogon!

Related: Hosting With Blue Host



Laura Bush Doesn't Believe President's Low Poll Numbers :.

That's ok, Laura. Your husband assumed power through fraud, so who cares about those polls anyway:

U.S. First lady Laura Bush said, on Sunday, that she does not believe opinion polls showing President Bush's approval ratings touching its lowest point in his five-year presidency.

The ratings are also among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.



Chavez: Oil for No One if Iran Attacked :.

Bomb him! Bomb him! Terrorist! Bommmmmmmmmmmmmmb him!!!

Oh, sorry, can I get an order of freedom fries with my Jesus fish?

Rome, May 12 - Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said here on Thursday in case of a military attack against Iran, no country in the world would have access to crude oil.

Chavez made the remark at a press conference, adding, "as Iran's President Ahmadinejad has reiterated, if Tehran would come under attack, oil would get scarce for everyone."

He also said that the American President George W. Bush should be put to trial at the International Court of Justice for having launched genocide in Iraq.

The Venezuelan president added, "for all the horror it has created around the globe in the course of the past century, the United States' war machine should be dismantled, since under the current conditions it is a threat against the entire mankind, particularly against our children."

Chavez added, "the North American empire is the most cruel murderer regime that has ever come to power in world history and a serious threat for all nations."



Tower Block Floors Shut After Brain Tumour Alert :.

What could possibly we wrong with sitting under a microwave transmitter? And smoking is good for you, right?

THE top floors of a Melbourne office building were closed down yesterday and 100 people evacuated after a seventh worker in as many years was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

But Telstra insisted the mobile phone towers on the roof of the 17-storey RMIT University building were not linked to the cancer cluster.

Five academics - who worked on the top floor - and two general staff have suffered brain tumours since 1999. Six of the seven staff had worked at the Bourke Street premises for more than a decade. Two of the cases were malignant.



Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling :.

Can you imagine how utterly clueless you would have to be to deal with matters involving state secrets over an open telephone line? And these are the reporters who are allegedly bringing us the news?

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.



Hosting With Blue Host

I've been hosting Cryptogon on Blue Host for just over a year. I've been so impressed with the service that I personally started referring people to them. I know that five of these people went on to sign up for hosting.

Here's the bad news: I missed out on $65 EACH time one of these folks signed up for hosting with Blue Host.

Here's the good news: I'm now an affiliate, so now I will make $65 each time a Cryptogon reader/fan/supporter signs up for hosting with Blue Host.

I searched long and hard for a reliable and reasonably priced host for Cryptogon (after repeated disasters with other hosting companies). Check out Blue Host's features and reputation. You'll see why I went with them.

And I don't need to tell you about their reliability.

How often has Cryptogon been down over the past year? You, the Cryptogon reader, should know.

Exactly! It's never down. (Well, it may have been down once for about two hours, but I don't remember if that was their fault or mine... It was probably mine.)

So, if you're looking for the best hosting possible for a reasonable price AND you want to support Cryptogon, it's simple: Blue Host.

PLEASE NOTE: Sadly, there is some confusion about how I receive Blue Host referral payments.

IN ORDER FOR ME TO RECEIVE CREDIT, YOU MUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS TO BLUE HOST FROM CRYPTOGON.COM AND SIGN UP FROM THERE. If you just go to Blue Host, without clicking a link from Cryptogon, and sign up, I won't and can't get credit for it after the fact. So far, this has happened twice.

It's my fault for not making this explicitly clear in the first place. Sometimes, computer people, like me, assume things that shouldn't be assumed. This was one of those cases.


5/14/2006

Markets Braced for the Worst :.

Just more joy and happiness:

Global markets are bracing for turmoil today after an ominous slide in the US dollar and a slump in equity and bond prices late last week sent tremors through the global financial system, evoking memories of the 1987 crash.

...

The dollar has slumped 6pc against the euro and 8pc against the yen this year as the markets anticipate an end to interest-rate rises by the US Federal Reserve, switching attention back to America's debt mountain and current account deficit of 7pc of GDP.

Volkmar Hable, chairman of Samarium Technology, said the world was now on the brink of a dollar crisis.

"The crash in the autumn of 1987 started with a massive dollar and bond decline in the spring. We are experiencing exactly the same now," he said.

Ominously, bonds are no longer viewed as a safe haven, a sign of fear that inflation is gaining a foothold in the major economies.

Interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds have jumped from 4.36pc to 5.19pc since February, in part because Asian investors are demanding a higher premium for holding risky dollar investments. The 10-year bond is the benchmark for economic activity in the US, setting corporate borrowing rates and the cost of most mortgages.

The bond slide is exacting a toll on the US property market, where the price of new homes has fallen for five consecutive months. A half-year inventory of unsold houses now hangs over the market.



Seven-Eleven Japan to Sell Canned Oxygen :.

Japanese convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan has breathed fresh air into its product lineup by announcing it will add cans of oxygen to its shelves.

The firm said it would make an entry into the rapidly expanding oxygen market and begin selling cans of oxygen on May 24.



Aquygen: A Gaseous Combustible Form of Water :.

UPDATE: US Patent Application # 20060075683

In the original entry, I wondered what Santilli's connection was to Aquygen. Reader DF provided the answer. Thanks's DF!

Klein and Santilli are both named on the Aquygen patent:
US Patent Application # 20060075683
Apparatus and Method for the Conversion of Water into a New Gaseous and Combustible Form and the Combustible Gas Formed Thereby
( 13 April 2006 )
Dennis J. KLEIN & Ruggero M. SANTILLI
(Source)

- - - - -

At first, I thought this was Magnegas (aka Bingofuel). Nope. It's different. Magnegas has a carbon component. Aquygen doesn't have a carbon component. The Aquygen molecule is HHO (not the H20 that you drink, but pretty similar) and it's generated with some sort of proprietary electrolysis process.

I was wondering what Professor Santilli thought about all of this, since it seemed pretty similar to his invention. That's just about when I stumbled upon a page where Professor Santilli himself, inventor of Magnegas, has written a technical paper on the Aquygen gas, a gaseous combustible form of water!

Is Santilli working for Hydrogen Technology Applications? Is Hydrogen Technology Applications using Santilli technology? I'm just trying to get the story straight.

So, what's the point?

You can run your car on these clean gases.

Anyway, watch the video.

Hint: The video makes it seem like the car is literally just running on water. Nope. The machine that makes the gas requires electricity. If Toshiba would just release that new lithium ion battery, we could skip the gas-as-battery phase in which we seem to be heading.


5/13/2006

Bill Clinton Bows Down Before George Bush :.

TR Sends: "What is thy bidding, my master?"

I hope all the dumbsh*t limousine liberals and KoolAid swilling Democrats like it. Yep, I'd say this one is suitable for framing. The black robes are a nice touch:

What is thy bidding, my Master?

Former President Bill Clinton bows to former President George H. W. Bush after he receives a honorary degree during the Tulane University Commencement in New Orleans on Saturday May 13, 2006. Former President Clinton also received a degree.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)



Fool Me Once: Iran: Euro to Replace Dollar as Oil Currency :.

This is definitely one for the I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It file, after repeated nonsense taunts out of Iran re: the oil bourse. If they're going to do it, they should stop saying they're going to do it, and do it.

But who knows what has been happening in the back channel? The U.S. hasn't attacked Iran and the oil bourse hasn't opened... Maybe it's a Mexican standoff, involving China and Russia as well.

In any case, the latest utterances out of the Iranian regime indicate July for the opening of the oil bourse.

Go figger':

In July Iran will ditch the dollar in favour of the euro as the currency in which it will accept payments for its oil and natural gas exports, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Friday.

The switch, first mooted months ago, was expected but Ahmadinejad's decision comes just as Washington is stepping up pressure on other United Nations Security Council members to act against Tehran for flouting agreements taken with the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Ahmadinejad's announcement, made in Baku, Azerbaijan where the Iranian leader is attending a regional economics conference, appears aimed at weakening the United States' resolve to seek sanctions against Iran if it does not comply with the UN International Agency for Atomic Energy's demands.

Some observers beleive the Iranian move could deal a severe blow the the American currency as many central banks from oil importing nations could choose to stock up their currency reserves with euros rather than dollars.



Feds Want Hacker's Genetic Code :.

I miss the Adrian Lamo stories from the old days, when you couldn't be sure if the guy was even real:

Hacker Adrian Lamo is in trouble again, this time for failing to give the federal government his DNA.

On Tuesday, federal probation officer Michael Sipe filed a notice of violation in a Northern California court accusing Lamo of refusing to submit a blood sample, in violation of Sipe's instructions and a 2-year-old federal law.

"He reported to the probation office as instructed; however, he refused to provide a blood sample for DNA testing, in violation of the general condition of supervision requiring compliance with federal law," the filing reads.

Lamo is nearly 18 months into a two-year probation sentence for hacking The New York Times in 2002.



Military Plans Tests in Search for an Alternative to Oil-Based Fuel :.

It's easy to think, "the military is full of idiots" for looking at alternatives that include natural gas. As any Peaknic will tell you, natural gas is a dead end. My guess is that this is just a dog and pony show, and it strengthens the argument that They already have a more viable solution that They will role out at Their whim.

Coal... HA! That's a good one. The U.S. knows all about turning coal into oil! After all, who do you think taught the Nazis how to do it? (The U.S. would probably have to use nuclear power to pull it off properly, though, at this late stage in the energy game.) Germany couldn't have menaced the world without American coal-into-oil technology during World War II. And since the U.S. is now taking so many pages from the Third Reich's playbook, maybe the choice of coal to fuel war efforts makes sense:

The Air Force may not be in any danger of suffering inconveniences from scarce or expensive fuel, but it has begun looking for a way to power its jets on something besides conventional fuel.

In a series of tests - first on engines mounted on blocks and then with B-52's in flight - the Air Force will try to prove that the American military can fly its aircraft by blending traditional crude-oil-based jet fuel with a synthetic liquid made first from natural gas and, eventually, from coal, which is plentiful and cheaper.



The U.S. Dollar Takes Pounding Over Deficit :.

The US dollar suffered a severe sell-off on Friday, taking it to its weakest level against a trade-weighted basket of currencies since October 1997, in a tumble that helped to trigger falls across world equity markets.

Worries about US inflation, which have intensified since the US Federal Reserve's rate-setting open market committee met on Wednesday, sparked further sharp losses for US stock markets.


5/12/2006

Bush Expected to Send National Guard Troops to the U.S.-Mexico Border :.

Why now? Maybe it's to make sure that the narcotics trafficking doesn't get botched up by the citizen militia:

President Bush is expected to announce plans Monday to send thousands of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to help stop illegal immigration.

Details were still under discussion at the White House Friday evening, but administration officials said Bush was considering deploying at least several thousand troops as part of a broader effort to beef up border security. The president will outline his plans on Monday night in a prime time TV address to the nation.



Rove Informs White House He Will Be Indicted? :.

On the one hand, I'll believe it when I see it. On the other hand, who cares?

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.



Bush Motorcade Aims Assault Rifles At Protesters In Florida :.

Oh yeah, keep waving those signs! It's really making a difference!



Satan is My Co-Pilot :.

A weird new survey shows that one in five Americans actually believes The Devil is responsible for books and movies that poke holes in Christianity.

Related: The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster



NSA Whistleblower: "People Are Going to Be Shocked." :.

No. Not really. If they were going to be shocked, Tice would have already been executed, along with his family and probably his dog.

But why bother with all of that wet work!?

Rather, allow Tice to do his thing, sit back and watch as the zeitgeist in Jesusland casually drifts back to Freedom Fries and Amerikan Idol.

Tice will have his say, his life will be ruined (at best) and nobody will care. In fact, the most creepy NSA projects will probably have their budgets doubled next year.

This is the mistake that idealistic individuals make... If 'the people' only knew _________, they would be shocked into taking action...

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong:

A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said Thursday he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens...

[Tice] said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. ... "I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It's pretty hard to believe," Tice said. "I hope that they'll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn't exist right now." ...

Tice said his information is different from the Terrorist Surveillance Program that Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts this week that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. "It's an angle that you haven't heard about yet," he said.



Poll: Most Americans Support NSA's Efforts :.

It was nice knowin' ya, America. Well, not really:

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

A slightly larger majority--66 percent--said they would not be bothered if NSA collected records of personal calls they had made, the poll found.



New Zealand Firm Makes Bio-Diesel from Sewage :.

A New Zealand company has successfully turned sewage into modern-day gold.

Marlborough-based Aquaflow Bionomic yesterday announced it had produced its first sample of bio-diesel fuel from algae in sewage ponds.

It is believed to be the world's first commercial production of bio-diesel from "wild" algae outside the laboratory - and the company expects to be producing at the rate of at least one million litres of the fuel each year from Blenheim by April.


Research Credit: PV



You Consented to Have Your Records Turned Over to NSA :.

One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers "have consented to that" when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request.

"It is within their terms of service because you have consented to that," the lawyer said. If the company also consents, "and they do it voluntarily, the U.S. government can accept it."


Related: Original Washington Post Article



NSA Kills Inquiry Into NSA :.

Wednesday, H. Marshall Jarrett, of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, notified Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York that his staff was ending its investigation into the NSA, because the very same agency refused to grant them security clearance.

"We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program," Jarrett wrote in a fax.

Jarrett says that beginning in January he and his staff made repeated requests for clearance. On Tuesday they were denied.

"Without these clearances, we cannot investigate this matter and therefore have closed our investigation," Jarrett wrote.


5/11/2006

Dow Tumbles 130 Points in Afternoon Trade :.

I didn't do it:

Stocks plunged Thursday as surging oil and commodities prices fueled investors' uncertainty about inflation and higher interest rates, sending the Dow Jones industrial average falling 130 points.

Related: Nasdaq Has Worst Day Since January



BARRICK GOLD MINE OUTPUT TO FALL 50% :.

Holy sh*t. Now this is starting to get good:

Gold production from the world's largest deposit, a South African mine run by Barrick Gold Corp., will be 50 per cent lower than forecast this year because of damage to the main shaft at the site, its partner in the project said.

"Initial estimates are that the main shaft will be out of commission for nine to 12 months," Gill Marcus, chief executive officer of Western Areas, which owns the other half of South Deep, said yesterday from Johannesburg. The mine was forecast to produce about 562,000 ounces of gold this year and is currently producing at half its planned rate through an older shaft, she added.

The accident will slash output at a time when gold breached $700 an ounce for the first time in 25 years. Developed by Western Areas and Placer Dome Inc. before it was bought by Barrick, South Deep cost more than $1-billion (U.S.) and was three years late starting production. At more than three kilometres, it's Barrick's deepest mine, making it more dangerous to operate than shallower pits.



NSA has Massive Database of Americans' Phone Calls :.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans - most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made - across town or across the country - to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.


5/10/2006

The New Road to Serfdom and the Coming Real Estate Collapse :.

If you have an electronic version of this article, kindly email it to me. Reader AS is the man! Thanks AS!

The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse
by
Michael Hudson
Harper's, May 2006




U.S. SHIPMENT OF 200,000 AK47 ASSAULT RIFLES: VANISHED :.

Looks like "the terrorists" are going to be furnished with some new smoke poles, courtesy of Uncle Sam (and your tax money)!

Gather 'round children, you're about to see the veil between worlds become thin:

SOME 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.

The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.

Orders for the deal to go ahead were given by the US Department of Defense. But the work was contracted out via a complex web of private arms traders.

And the Moldovan airline used to transport the shipment was blasted by the UN in 2003 for smuggling arms to Liberia, human rights group Amnesty has discovered.

It follows a separate probe claiming that thousands of guns meant for Iraq's police and army instead went to al-Qaeda.

Amnesty chief spokesman Mike Blakemore said: "It's unbelievable that no one can account for 200,000 assault rifles. If these weapons have gone missing it's a terrifying prospect." American defence chiefs hired a US firm to take the guns, from the 90s Bosnian war, to Iraq.

But air traffic controllers in Baghdad have no record of the flights, which supposedly took off between July 2004 and July 2005. A coalition forces spokesman confirmed they had not received "any weapons from Bosnia" and added they were "not aware of any purchases for Iraq from Bosnia". Nato and US officials have already voiced fears that Bosnian arms - sold by US, British and Swiss firms - are being passed to insurgents. A Nato spokesman said: "There's no tracking mechanism to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands. There are concerns that some may have been siphoned off." This year a newspaper claimed two UK firms were involved in a deal in which thousands of guns for Iraqi forces were re-routed to al-Qaeda.


Related: Two British SAS Soldiers Dressed as Arabs, Shoot at Iraqi Police

Not Quite Forgotten: Italy Seizes 8,000 Kalashnikovs Headed to U.S.



GOLD CONTINUES RISE, SHRUGS OFF FED RATE HIKE :.

The profit taking round could be brutal. I'd look for support around $685. Anyone considering strategic shorts on the Dow?

The price of gold rose to a fresh 25-year high Wednesday as investors sought a safe haven amid a weakening U.S. dollar and worries over the West's confrontation with Iran.


5/9/2006

Mushroom Cloud Blast in Nevada Delayed :.

The federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency claims the explosion will help design a weapon to penetrate hardened and deeply buried targets. Critics have called it a surrogate for a low-yield nuclear "bunker-buster" bomb.



U.S.: HIV Tests for All! What's HIV? :.

Tell me another one!

Federal health officials say they would like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check.

The guidelines for routine testing would apply to every American ages 13 to 64, according to the proposed plan by the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention.


Must Read: Vaccine for HIV? What's HIV?

Must Read: No FDA Approved HIV Test



The Housing Bubble Has Popped :.

Don't get caught without a chair when the music stops:

The story went on to note that many formerly hot markets in California, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Florida are now "languishing without buyers or even prospects. Many once-booming markets are seeing double-digit declines in sales." The magnitude of the drop in Florida home prices (once the frothiest market in the country) is striking. Single-family home sales declined 20% in February, year-over-year. Similarly, California sales dropped 15%. Some of the hottest towns in those states were off twice as much.

I loved the point that what seems to be really alarming is how "real-estate agents in some of these formerly red-hot markets have been surprised at how suddenly (my emphasis) market conditions have deteriorated in the past few months." Of course, that's what happens when manic markets and bubbles turn. Prices change radically and, seemingly, for no reason.

...

After having leveled off for a while, the real-estate market is now starting to slide. We're seeing signs of sales slowing and inventory accumulating, which are all quite classic, even though the timing of when this would begin was not possible to predict in advance.



GOLD $701, PLATINUM, COPPER, ALUMINUM RECORDS :.

Gold spiked up to a new 25-year high above $700 an ounce on Tuesday on dollar weakness, while platinum set a new record on strong industrial demand and fund buying.

Other precious metals also gained from the bullish environment in commodities, which saw copper setting a new record and aluminum surging to an 18-year peak.


Related: U.S. Dollar Dump



Who Killed the Electric Car? :.

I'm suffering from activist-produced-documentary fatigue, but I would love to see this, for the sheer entertainment value. Hopefully, this film will show up in New Zealand some day.

Related: Trailer



Flying Robot Attack "Unstoppable" :.

HA! That's actually the headline. I didn't make it up.

Why would the "terrorists" play around with remote control toys when they could easily deliver a strategic blow to the United States by targeting the undefended information infrastructure that allows corporations to swindle?

Makes you wonder about who the "terrorists" really are:

It may sound like science fiction, but the prospect that suicide bombers and hijackers could be made redundant by flying robots is a real one, according to experts.

The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available -- and, experts say, virtually unstoppable.


More: Forum Topic

I posted this in the forum, maybe it belongs out here, on the main page:

I've noticed, since moving to a beautiful, rural area, that all of this nonsense, fear inducing crap, means nothing to me now. I post the stories on Cryptogon and my wife asks, "What did you post about?" and I have to scratch my head and think about it. I can't even remember. Then we go for a walk and look at the cows.

If you live in a place with stop lights and 711s and smog, spend some time in a green place, where it rains, with clean air, and then read the news.

Doom, blah, Apocalypse, blah, Fear, blah.... I laugh and say to myself, "Gee, that's nice, I think I'll go turn the compost pile."



HELEN CLARK: WORLD NEAR PEAK OIL PRODUCTION, IF NOT ALREADY THERE :.

That's a head of state saying it.

New Zealand is probably going to take the initial hits when things start to collapse, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.

Research Credit: Becky


5/8/2006

Electronic Smog :.

Invisible "smog", created by the electricity that powers our civilisation, is giving children cancer, causing miscarriages and suicides and making some people allergic to modern life, new scientific evidence reveals.

The evidence - which is being taken seriously by national and international bodies and authorities - suggests that almost everyone is being exposed to a new form of pollution with countless sources in daily use in every home.


5/7/2006

Email to Wrightspeed :.

Do you have any plans to produce a more affordable, pure electric vehicle?

While the grotesque whims of wealthy people make for profitable endeavors, as you have no doubt determined, you must also know that there isn't a single affordable pure EV on the market. People with modest incomes are in desperate need of an affordable pure EV. Why not step into that massive market?

Thanks,
Kevin
cryptogon.com



Even Mr. Bill Knew the Levees Wouldn't Hold :.

This is almost one for Jeff, but I couldn't help it:
MR. BILL: Gee, kids, I'm not sure we can do our show today because it looks like Hurricane Sluggo is headed right for us here in America's wetlands.

WALTER WILLIAMS, MR. BILL CREATOR: That's right, Mr. Bill. And since New Orleans is below sea level, if a hurricane hit us directly, it could push the water over the levees and fill it to the top.

BILL: Well then we'd better leave.

WILLIAMS: Well it's too late to evacuate since all the roads are jammed and under water.

BILL: Then where can we go that's safe?

WILLIAMS: Here this should work.

BILL: Gee, I hope it doesn't get much higher.

WILLIAMS: Well, Red, the alligator, doesn't seem too worried.

BILL: Yes, that's because he can swim. You know I don't do that too well.

WILLIAMS: Well in that case, Red says he'll have one of his buddies come and give you a lift.

BILL: That's OK. Maybe you could mind the water wings or something. Oh, get me out of here! No, wait, no, no, ohhh!

WILLIAMS: Let's act now before it's too late.



A Day No Pigs Would Die and Robert Peck's Faker Shakers

My Mother in Law checked out, A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck, from the library and gave it to me to read. Perhaps she saw the bacon post...

Becky only vaugely remembered the story from her childhood, so we decided to read it together.

I was enjoying the book, but I didn't know anything about the Shakers. They made chairs, or something, right!? Literally, that was the extent of my Shaker knowledge. The book constantly refers to The Book of Shaker. I thought I'd look it up online and find out a bit more about Shakers, in general.

Long story short, Peck's portrayal of Shakerism is a total fabrication. The only thing it shares in common with real-life Shakers is the name. There is no Book of Shaker, and Shakers, in reality, behaved nothing like Peck's Shakers. I won't go into all of the problems of Peck's portrayal of Shakers, but if you're interested, read Robert Newton Peck and Shaker Beliefs:
A Day the Truth Would Die
.

What I find most interesting is the absorption of the meme, by the general public, that the book, though fictional, provides an accurate portrayal of Shakerism! I read reviews on Amazon that said things like, the book seems to provide an accurate portrayal of what it was like to grow up in a Shaker household.

Say what!?

This book, I learned, is read by millions of elementary school kids. Are the teachers even aware of the fact that the descriptions of the Shakers in the book have nothing to do with Shakerism?

It's fiction. Who cares? Right?

Yeah, but people come away from reading that book believing a total crock of nonsense about a real organization with an easily verifiable history. As a naturally inquisitive adult, I got to the bottom of Peck's Shaker fraud---which the book's dust cover helps perpetrate---in a matter of about two minutes with the help of the Internet. What about the millions of kids who read the book? Will they do the same thing? I don't know, but the kids probably have a better chance of sorting it out than the teachers who assign this book.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Maybe, but this is where the disturbing thoughs started to creep into my mind. (And this is my main point, in case you were wondering.) If millions of people read this book and thought they were getting an accurate picture of Shaker life, imagine what they could be made to believe when targeted by profesionally engineered proprganda and disinformation.

I think I'll just go read some more of Peck's faker Shaker pig story.



Vatican Astronomer: Creationism Dismissed as Paganism :.

I wonder how this will go over in Jesus Land:

BELIEVING that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism, the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno claimed yesterday.

Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a "destructive myth" had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies.

He described creationism, whose supporters want it taught in schools alongside evolution, as a "kind of paganism" because it harked back to the days of "nature gods" who were responsible for natural events.


5/6/2006

Bush Warns Graduates on Technology Dangers :.

HA! Tell me another one:
President Bush advised college graduates on Saturday to use technology but not become enslaved by it.
In other news, Pentagon Prepares to Build $133 Billion Robot Army.



Meet the New Boss :.

The new CIA director will be a secretive henchman of Dick Cheney who's behind the illegal spying on millions of Americans.

Late Friday night, word leaked out that Gen. Michael Hayden is the White House choice to take over CIA duties from suddenly-fired spook insider Porter Goss.

Hayden, a 61-year-old Air Force general, was the "human face" of the National Security Agency's criminal spying on Americans that actually began before the convenient 9/11 attacks.



Suitcases of Cash, (Male?) Hookers... and Poker :.

It's just one of those mysteries:

CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned yesterday amid allegations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman.

Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, the No. 3 official at the CIA, could soon be indicted in a widening FBI investigation of the parties thrown by defense contractor Brent Wilkes, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randall (Duke) Cunningham, law enforcement sources said.


Related: Bodies of Intelligence


5/4/2006

John Pilger Detects the Salvador Option :.

The real news, which is not reported in the CNN "mainstream", is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush's administration.

Original Exclusive Coverage: THE SALVADOR OPTION IDENTIFIED BY CRYPTOGON



GOLD $681... Copper Record :.

Where she stops, nobody knows...

Pray for the shorts.

July copper closed at an all-time high of $3.4795 per pound, up 17.45 cents for the session. Prices reached a record intraday high of $3.505 earlier on concerns about tight copper supplies.



50-Year Mortgage Debuts in California :.

Man, They are trying to wheeze a few more dying gasps into this bubble. Why not a multiple lifetime mortgage? HAHA! I love it! Oh yeah, I'll take a double order of supersized freedom fries with that! HAHAHAHA!

Live it up, America:

The Methuselah of mortgages has arrived: the 50-year home loan.

Think of it as a mortgage that has been supersized. Like that other supersizer, McDonald's, the massive mortgage was born in Southern California's San Bernardino County. Statewide Bancorp of Rancho Cucamonga began offering the loan in late March, to California residents. Advertisements have yielded a lot of phone calls and "quite a few applications," says Alex Diaz Jr., vice president of Statewide.

Half of first-time home buyers are 32 or older, according to the National Association of Realtors. If those buyers get 50-year mortgages and never refinance or make extra payments, they won't pay off their loans until they're well into their 80s. Would they be crazy to get loans that amortize or pay off the balance over 50 years instead of the standard 30 years? Not at all, Diaz says.

Getting a 50-year loan is a perfectly rational way to avoid an interest-only or payment-option adjustable-rate mortgage, he says.

. . .

Regulators and consumers worry that foreclosures will surge in coming years, especially among homeowners who got interest-only and payment-option ARMs. The 50-year loan is a lifeline for them, Diaz says.


In Other News: California Foreclosure Activity Hits Highest Level in Two Years

Research Credit: TR


5/3/2006

Cryptogon Reader Contributes $25

Thanks to all contributors for showing their appreciation of Cryptogon in April!

Reader GW is starting off May with $25. Thanks GW!


5/2/2006

OIL KISSING $75, GOLD $670

Are we getting close to the breaking point on oil?

Keep in mind, nothing has happened yet! There's no immediate crisis threatening supplies (of course, there's the ever present Peak Oil crisis overshadowing this mini-crisis). These catastrophic oil prices are based on speculation driven by fear over the Iran situation.

There's chatter out there that the Iran thing is just saber rattling nonsense that is intended to drive up the price of oil. So far, this seems like a pretty decent explanation.

Cui bono from all of this?

If so much as a fly fart starts to actually affect supplies, though, the fear will be translated into a tangible, oh sh*t, in-your-face crisis. At $100 per barrel, I might even consider signing off because I'll be too busy digging in.

No matter what you believe re: Peak Oil, there will be a serious crisis by the time we reach $100 per barrel. And even though this crisis has been allowed to happen, even engineered to happen, that fact won't provide much in the way of consolation.

I woke up this morning thinking about waterwheels. Those were nice thoughts.



United Nuclear Raided by U.S. Government :.

Inventors can't be allowed to provide viable alternatives to hydrocarbon derived gasoline directly to the public. It just can't (and will not) be allowed. If you try it, men wearing black ski masks will show up, point guns at your head and steal your plans, records and computers.

They hate us for our freedom!

People who make jokes about "conspiracy theories" should try this one on for size:

Instead of moving forward with our research, 100% of our time and money is now being spent on fighting a legal battle with the U.S. Government.

Some time ago, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) recruited the SWAT team and other Government agencies to raid our facility confiscating all papers, plans and computers.

They are attempting to block all sales and use of the chemicals used in our Hydrogen storage system.

The materials in question are common Oxidizers and have never been illegal to own or purchase and are not even classified as hazardous materials.


Previous Cryptogon Link: United Nuclear: Hydrogen Fuel System

Research Credit: DR


5/1/2006

Bolivia Nationalizes Natural Gas Industry :.

Soldiers guarded natural gas fields and refineries after Bolivia's leftist president ordered the nationalization of the sector, threatening to evict foreign companies unless they give Bolivia control over production within six months.

President Evo Morales announcement Monday fulfils an election promise to increase state control over Bolivia's natural resources, which he says have been "looted" by foreign companies.




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:. Reading

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell Readers will come to see that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest" - fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors such as E. coli and "mad cow disease" find their way into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff from factory farms poison our rivers and groundwater; fatal to genetic diversity, as farmers rely increasingly on high-yield monocultures and genetically engineered crops; and fatal to our farm communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate farms.

Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Myron Gross This is a relatively short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward; the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of 'friendly persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans through what Gross refers to as friendly fascism.

The Good Life
by Scott and Helen Nearing
Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.

Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollierd In Silent Theft, David Bollier argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we collectively own—publicly funded medical breakthroughs, software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative works, and even the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Too often, however, our government turns a blind eye—or sometimes helps give away our assets. Amazingly, the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed because we have lost our ability to see the commons.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide by John Seymour The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more.

When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten When Corporations Rule the World explains how economic globalization has concentrated the power to govern in global corporations and financial markets and detached them from accountability to the human interest. It documents the devastating human and environmental consequences of the successful efforts of these corporations to reconstruct values and institutions everywhere on the planet to serve their own narrow ends.

The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener This expansion of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended for the serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes practical and sustainable ways of growing superb organic vegetables, with detailed coverage of scale and capital, marketing, livestock, the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.