Sandra Finley

Jan 082019
 

The Guardian plunged in my estimation, when it published the fake story about meetings between Julian Assange and Paul Manafort.

2018-11-27  The Guardian is caught out, I would say. Ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort denies meeting with WikiLeaks’ Assange

 

So what were the consequences for the journalist responsible, Luke Harding?  . . .  None!

And did he improve his journalism?  . . .  No.

In Western media, publishing fake news about Russia is a good career move… with no consequences

(Several examples are cited.)

Jan 082019
 
Amazon is the world’s biggest cloud provider.
Someone (Apple?) tries to force me onto the cloud.
I use an iPad (Apple) mostly for its camera capability; the settings are set to prohibit transfer of information off my iPad.  Nonetheless, information (photos) were appropriated and transferred “up there”.  For some time (? two years, ?more) I have been receiving messages that tell me my cloud storage is full;  I have to buy more storage.
Well, I never authorized ANY of my information to be uploaded to the cloud.  I always tried to buck it.  Be damned, my cloud storage is full.  You may guess:  I always just delete the message.
The article speculates on why Wikileaks would publish the information about the locations of Amazon data centres.
I say:  thank-you to Wikileaks!  Should not the public know – –
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS’s work for US intelligence agencies and its leading position in the race to secure a $10 billion cloud services contract the (U.S.) Department of Defense is currently shopping (for)?
= = = = = = = =  = = = ==
WikiLeaks Publishes a List of Amazon Data Centers

https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/amazon/wikileaks-publishes-what-it-says-list-amazon-data-centers

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

WikiLeaks has published a document it says lists all Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers and their addresses.

It’s unclear how accurate the information in the document is. It lists data centers by code name, addresses, and in many cases names of the colocation providers operating the facilities. According to the document, the data is recent as of October 2015. Amazon has launched more data centers since then.

It lists 38 buildings in Northern Virginia; eight in Seattle; eight in the San Francisco Bay Area; seven in northeastern Oregon; seven in Dublin, Ireland; three in Luxembourg; four in Germany; nine in China; 12 in Japan; six in Singapore; eight in Australia; and six in Brazil.

An AWS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

If the information in the document is real, it would be the most detail about AWS data centers ever released to the public. Unless they’re data center providers, companies are usually extremely secretive about their data center locations, and AWS is more secretive than most others.

The world’s biggest cloud provider only makes public geographic regions where its server farms are located, but never the specific cities, let alone street addresses. Its biggest competitors, the likes of Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google Cloud, practice the same.

It’s unclear what WikiLeaks is trying to accomplish by making the information public. Its press release announcing the leak mentions AWS’s work for US intelligence agencies and its leading position in the race to secure a $10 billion cloud services contract the Department of Defense is currently shopping around.

In 2010, AWS pulled the plug on hosting services it had been providing to WikiLeaks, causing the organization to switch providers. The move was viewed as a reaction to US government pressure on Amazon to stop providing services to WikiLeaks because it published classified documents, which the company denied.

AWS said it had closed the account because WikiLeaks had violated its terms of service, which prohibit customers from hosting content they don’t own or otherwise control the rights to. Amazon also argued that the hundreds of thousands of classified documents WikiLeaks had published could not have been redacted in a way that guaranteed the information wouldn’t “put innocent people in jeopardy.”

From the AWS statement at the time:

We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.

WikiLeaks fired back on Twitter, saying if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.”

It’s possible that with its data center leak WikiLeaks is trying to influence the DoD’s decision about which vendor to hand the big cloud contract to. It published the document one day before the current October 12 deadline for vendors to submit formal proposals for the contract and pointed out the date in its announcement.

It also pointed out that other cloud providers, namely IBM and Oracle, have complained about the proposal requirements allegedly favoring Amazon.

Jan 062019
 

Chronology:

2018

September 20
Robert F Kennedy Jr & Rolf Hazelhurst petition
 Inspector General Horowitz of the DOJ  (American Dept of Justice)
 to investigate allegations of fraud & obstruction of justice by two DOJ lawyers
 in proceedings (2007) at the Vaccine Court.

October 17

Kennedy & Hazelhurst are re-directed:

” . . .  Accordingly, we are required by law to refer your allegations to the OPR. . . .”   (Office of Professional Responsibility)

 

October 23  – – Kennedy sends out an ACTION ALERT:

” . . . Please ask him (Corey Amundson, Director, Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of the DOJ)  to investigate the Kennedy/Hazlehurst allegations of fraud and obstruction of justice.”

 

2019, January 6,  UPDATE

News story,  Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

http://fullmeasure.news/news/cover-story/the-vaccination-debate    

Today we investigate one of the biggest medical controversies of our time: vaccines. There’s little dispute about this much– vaccines save many lives, and rarely, they injure or kill. A special federal vaccine court has paid out billions for injuries from brain damage to death. But not for the form of brain injury we call autism. Now—we have remarkable new information: a respected pro-vaccine medical expert used by the federal government to debunk the vaccine-autism link, says vaccines can cause autism after all. He claims he told that to government officials long ago, but they kept it secret.Yates Hazlehurst was born February 11, 2000. Everything was normal, according to his medical records, until he suffered a severe reaction to vaccinations. Rolf Hazlehurst is Yates’ dad.

Rolf Hazlehurst: And at first, I didn’t believe it. I did not think that, I did not believe that vaccines could cause autism. I didn’t believe it.

But there’s a hard reality for Yates. The trademark brain disease, pain and inability to communicate that’s common with severe autism.

In 2007, Yates’ father sued over his son’s injuries in the little known Federal Vaccine court. It was one of more than 5000 vaccine autism claims.

Congress created vaccine court in 1988, in consultation with the pharmaceutical industry. In the special court, vaccine makers don’t defend their products—the federal government does it for them, using lawyers from the Justice Department. Money for victims comes from us, not the pharmaceutical industry, through patient fees added onto every vaccine given.

Denise Vowell: Our hearings are all closed to the public. And that’s statutory.

In 2007, Yates’ case and nearly all the other vaccine autism claims lost. The decision was based largely on the expert opinion of this man, Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a world-renowned pediatric neurologist shown here at a lecture.

Dr. Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism. The debate was declared over.

But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information. He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out.

Hazlehurst: And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and United States government, the Department of Justice suppressed his true opinions.

Hazlehurst discovered that later when Dr. Zimmerman evaluated Yates as a teenager. That’s when he partnered with vaccine safety advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Junior—who has a voice condition.

Kennedy: This was one of the most consequential frauds, arguably in human history.

Kennedy was instrumental in convincing Dr. Zimmerman to document his remarkable claim of the government covering up his true expert opinion on vaccines and autism.

Dr. Zimmerman declined our interview request and referred us to his sworn affidavit. It says: On June 15, 2007, he took aside the Department of Justice—or DOJ lawyers he worked for defending vaccines in vaccine court. He told them that he’d discovered “exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.” “I explained that in a subset of children, vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation did cause regressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder.”

Kennedy: This panicked the two DOJ attorneys and they immediately fired Zimmerman. That was on a Friday and over the weekend they called Zimmerman and said his services would no longer be needed. They wanted to silence him.

Days after the Department of Justice lawyers fired Dr. Zimmerman as their expert witness, he alleges, they went on to misrepresent his opinion to continue to debunk autism claims. Records show that on June 18, 2007, a DOJ attorney Dr. Zimmerman spoke to told vaccine court, “We know [Dr. Zimmerman’s] views on the issue…There is no scientific basis for a connection” between vaccines and autism. Dr. Zimmerman now calls that “highly misleading.”

The former DOJ lawyer didn’t return our calls and emails. Kennedy has filed a fraud complaint with the Justice Department Inspector General, who told us they don’t “comment on investigations or potential investigations.”

Meantime, CDC—which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety– never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded vaccines can cause autism – and to this day public health officials deny that’s the case.

Dr. Anne Schuchat: “Based on dozens of studies and everything I know as a physician and a scientist, there’s no link between autism and vaccines.”

CDC declined our interview request. In addition to filing a fraud complaint, Kennedy has delivered Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit to leaders on Capitol Hill. But there he claims, is another key part of this story: roadblocks set up by the pharmaceutical industry—or PhRMA.

Kennedy: But everybody takes money from PhRMA so they’ve all been corrupted. And it’s almost impossible to get anything done on Capitol Hill.

Kennedy, a Democrat, isn’t the only one claiming vaccine industry money rules the day. We spoke to 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who claim they faced pressure, bullying or threats when they raised vaccine safety questions. Several of them agreed to appear on camera.

Burton: There’s no question in my mind whatsoever that the pharmaceutical industry had a great influence with people over at the CDC and FDA. There’s no question in my mind.

Republican Dan Burton—former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee—has an autistic grandson.

Burton: I am not against vaccinations.

He pursued vaccine investigations in the early 2000s. Beth Clay was one of his staffers.

Clay: There was a lot of pressure from people on the Hill.

When you say people on the hill were exerting pressure, what kind of people? Colleagues?

Clay: Colleagues, there were pharmaceutical lobbyists. The pharmaceutical lobbyists had, you know, they are the same people that have been entrenched. They can walk into any office in Capitol Hill, and they’ll talk to staff, they’ll talk to members and they’ll encourage them to discourage, our investigation.

Sharyl: At the risk of stating the obvious why did they have that kind of access to members?

Clay: It’s money. And if you look at the donations over the last 20 years, the pharmaceutical industry, and Republican and Democrat, they’re nonpartisan. They put money everywhere.

Former Congressman, Dr. Dave Weldon, a Republican, says he got the message loud and clear.

Sharyl: If you would want to hold a hearing on an issue like vaccines and autism, your own leadership might fight you on that because of the financial influence, the pharmaceutical industry

Dave Weldon: They wouldn’t fight you. They’d kill it. It’s dead. They don’t even want to discuss it. It’s dead on arrival. If you, if you as an individual member want to take on the pharmaceutical industries. It’s forget it.

Sharyl: Can you describe an incident or just how it, how that would go?

Weldon: It would typically be in a hallway or the street and people would come up to you and say, “You know, you really need to, you know, back off on this. It could be, it could be bad for the community or bad for the country or bad for you.”

Weldon says he’s generally pro-vaccine, depending on the patient and the shot—and gives flu shots to adults. We asked him to review Dr. Zimmerman’s new affidavit.

Weldon: I found his affidavit and testimony through that affidavit to be consistent with my opinions. That some children can get an autism spectrum disorder from a vaccine.

Republican Bill Posey is a current member of Congress.

Rep. Bill Posey: I don’t have to tell you that industry is a very, very powerful industry. Matter of fact, I don’t know of anyone more powerful than that industry.

Posey says his own party leaders twice promised to hold hearings on the topic, only to scuttle them in the end.

Hazlehurst – who happens to be a criminal prosecutor– was scheduled to be a witness at one such Congressional hearing. Two weeks before the hearing in 2013, he briefed Congressional staff.

Hazlehurst: I presented at that Congressional briefing and I explained in that hearing, if I did to a criminal in a court of law what the United States Department of Justice did to vaccine injured children, I would be disbarred and I would be facing criminal charges. I think that scared the hell out of them.

The hearing was abruptly cancelled. Meantime, Dr. Zimmerman – the one-time expert used to debunk vaccine autism claims—now says several of his own patients got autism from vaccines. They include Yates Hazlehurst.

Today, with intensive treatment, Yates is doing better. His dad hopes the new testimony from a most unlikely source will get new attention.

Hazlehurst: A child that was unnecessarily sacrificed and hopefully some good, will come from his suffering.

The lobby group representing the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t agree to an interview but told us they’re working with Congress and other stakeholders on the importance and safety of vaccines to support the health and safety of individuals and communities.

Jan 042019
 

Ref: Book “The Haida Gwaii Lesson; A Strategic Playbook for Indigenous Sovereignty”, by Mark Dowie, 2017. 

Pages 110-116 are specifically related to the court case, Haida Nation v. British Columbia. The book itself is an eye-opener for Canadians.

When time permits, I’ll try to post more about the book.  In the meantime,  here’s an introduction to the Haida Lawyer, Terri-Lynn Williams,  who argued the case at the Supreme Court of Canada, and won.

I read “The Haida Gwaii Lesson“,  a short book, and was amazed that I didn’t know its content. 

The Haida Gwaii story served well, followed by the remarkable story recorded in:

2016 “Unsettling Canada, A National Wake-up Call”, by Arthur Manuel & Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson 

“Unsettling Canada”, excerpts; Also, the obituary of its’ author Arthur Manuel.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

NOTE:  links below may show as invalid (a line through them).  They are NOT invalid – – they work.

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

Alumni Profiles

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

Class of 1996

I’m a member of the Haida Nation and a member of the Raven Clan. In our oral traditions, Raven was Originally white. There’s days and days of stories of Raven as he … haphazardly brings the world into existence as we know it. Through that process he steals the sun and the moon from their caretakers, flies through the smoke hole in the longhouse and brings light to the world. And when he flew through the smoke hole, he became black. Some people view the white raven as being Raven in his truest form, having to undergo challenges and sacrifices to bring about better good for people. That’s the work I focus on … and also it’s a personal crest of mine that I’ve associated with for about 12 years. So I thought it was fitting for my law corporation.

You wouldn’t be out of line to see the law as having been an instrument of the oppression of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. But when Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson formed White Raven Law Corporation immediately after her call to the bar, she tied her shield to the law and began to use it as an instrument of reconciliation and healing among the people of the Haida Gwaii.

“I wanted to go to law school when I was in grade 5,” Williams-Davidson laughs now. A trip through the United States years later further illuminated that path for her. “Seeing different land battles, and seeing elders taking up arms against uranium mining, I decided that I would commit to go to law school and work on protecting the land.”

Her undergraduate work focused on economics, commerce and computer science, all of which have informed her approach to the practice of law. “I embrace technology,” she says. In gathering evidence over the past several years for an Aboriginal title case of the Haida, she says, “We’ve scanned in and OCR’d a lot of documents in preparation for an electronic trial.”

Williams-Davidson’s goal in her work is to “arrive at a reconciliation process that is sustainable environmentally, culturally and economically,” she says. “Those are the main components that we have to balance in the cases that we present in court.”

In considering the economic component, Williams-Davidson realized soon after forming White Raven that “Aboriginal Peoples have been in effect dispossessed through the laws and regulations and the allocation of lands … so First Nations don’t have the financial ability to bring the kind of litigation at the scale we need to ensure the development of Aboriginal law.” Inspired by the Native American Rights Fund, a registered charity in the US, and by Sierra Legal Defense Fund, where she articled, Williams-Davidson co-founded EAGLE in 1997—Environment-Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education. Mandated to protect the natural environment for all people through the provision of legal services to Aboriginal peoples, EAGLE raises funds for salaries for lawyers and support staff and provides community workshops on the state of Aboriginal-Environmental law.

Along with Louise Mandell (class of 1975), UBC Law Professor Michael Jackson and others, Williams-Davidson and EAGLE represented the Haida Nation in a landmark victory to protect the old-growth forests of Haida Gwaii (2004). “As the Parties work through accommodation of pre-proof rights, we’re at about 50 percent of the land protected,” says Williams-Davidson. “That’s a significant amount, given that under the BC treaty process, the limit the province places is five percent.”

With Haida, the Haida Nation and Williams-Davidson saw the potential for litigation—conventionally an adversarial process—to bring about a better result than might otherwise have occurred. “That case was about challenging MacMillan Bloedel’s and Weyerhaeuser’s logging rights,” she explains. “The community that was employed by Weyerhaeuser … Port Clements … actually intervened in favour of the Haida Nation at the Supreme Court of Canada to say that speaking and working directly with the Haida would provide a brighter future and more long-term sustainable community than if they continued with the province’s existing tenure system. This is different than just a decision. It’s a much fuller outcome for everyone in that everyone’s involved in shaping the future. It’s strange to think that litigation would encourage a new kind of dialogue!”

Williams-Davidson served as EAGLE’s Executive Director for eight years and as Managing Lawyer for another year before turning the full force of her focus back to White Raven. Now, she is General Counsel for the Haida Nation, bringing forward their Aboriginal title case for Haida Gwaii challenging the exercise of the Crown’s underlying authority under various legislation. The case will address title to the seabed—in this instance, offshore oil and gas development in Hecate Strait and tanker traffic through the port of Prince Rupert—for the first time anywhere in the world. “An important part of the case, though,” says Williams-Davidson, “is that we’re not just seeking a declaration of title. One of our objectives is to look at, ‘How do we live together with the land? How do we reconcile Aboriginal title with Crown title? How can we achieve that balance?’”

Williams-Davidson went to law school to learn to protect the land, but she knew that part of what she was attempting to do was to protect—and preserve—the people’s relationship to the land. Her people. And by extension, all people. “Our culture is so directly a mirror of the land,” says Williams-Davidson. “If the land isn’t protected, then we can’t sustain our culture.” She is speaking of First Nations peoples, but with an understanding that she is speaking for us all. We are all in this together, and the law, so long an accomplice in our treatment of this land and its first peoples, may yet prove to be our way forward.

“Law is really about our relationships with each other,” says Williams-Davidson, “and with Aboriginal law, it’s really about our relationship to the land.”

– – – – – – – – – – –

White Raven Law

White Raven Law Corporation Home Our Firm Our Team Careers Our Office Practice Areas Publications Contact ☎ (604) 536-5541

Publications Written by White Raven Law Associates
 

wrlc_logo-green2.png

 “TOWARDS LINKING ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND SCIENCE”

(Facets Journal, Simon Fraser University, 2018)
Written by Jonathan W. Moore, Linda Nowlan, Martin Olszynski, Aerin L. Jacob, Brett Favaro, Lynda Collins, G.L. Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson and Jill Weitz.

“The Stories Art Tells: Lessons from the Charles Edenshaw Exhibit”

(Huffington Post, January 2014)
Written by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

“weaving together our future: the interaction of haida laws to achieve respectful co-existence”

(Indigenous Legal Orders and the Common Law, Continuing Legal Educations Society of British Columbia, November 2012)
Written by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

“sacred objects, art and nature in a global economy”

Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Economic Globalization (San Francisco: International Forum on Globalization; republished by Sierra Club Books, 2006).
Written by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

“Forest People: First nations lead the way towards a sustainable future

Sustaining the Forests of the Pacific Coast: Forging Truces in the War in the Woods (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press)
Written by David R. Boyd and Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson

“cultural perpetuation: repatriation of first nations cultural heritage”, (1995)

Special Issue, University of British Columbia Law Review, 183.
An examination of the indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives of cultural heritage, with a critical evaluation of museums and other institutions and the need for co-management of cultural heritage. The role that repatriation can have in cultural sustainability.
Written by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

“applying haida ethics in today’s fishery”

Just Fish: Ethics and Canadian Marine Fisheries (St. Johns: ISER,2000; excerpt reproduced in Celebration 2000: Restoring Balance through Culture (Juneau: Sealaska Heritage Foundation, 2000)). A description of the Haida worldview, an exploration of how it may be applied to the modern fishery and how “justice” according to law is redefining the relationship between indigenous peoples and Canada.
Written by Russ Jones and Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson


Media About White Raven Law Associates

“on the front cover: terri-lynn Williams-Davidson”

The Advocate Magazine. 335 Vol.70, part 3, May 2012. Published by the Vancouver Bar Association.
Written by Michael Jackson, Q.C.

“walk gently on the land, intimate portraits of alumni contributors to aboriginal law in canada: terri-lynn williams-davidson, class of 1995”

UBC Law Alumni Magazine, Winter 2008. (Vancouver: UBC Faculty of Law), at pp. 28-29.
Written by Diane Haynes.

Jan 022019
 
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate
Einstein, Albert in Living Philosophies Simon and Schuster, New York 1931
– –

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men —above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellowmen, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.

I do not believe we can have any freedom at all in the philosophical sense, for we act not only under external compulsion but also by inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying— “A man can surely do what he wills to do, but he cannot determine what he wills”—impressed itself upon me in youth and has always consoled me when I have witnessed or suffered life’s hardships. This conviction is a perpetual breeder of tolerance, for it does not allow us to take ourselves or others too seriously; it makes rather for a sense of humor.

To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

Without the sense of collaborating with like-minded beings in the pursuit of the ever unattainable in art and scientific research, my life would have been empty. Ever since childhood I have scorned the commonplace limits so often set upon human ambition. Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or team work. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the year

 

 

 

Dec 302018
 
Starkest warning yet about nitrites that turn cured products pink
A pile of bacon rashers.
Lovers of a fry-up will be dismayed to learn that chemicals regularly used by the meat industry have been linked to cases of bowel cancer. Photograph: Alamy

The reputation of the meat industry will sink to that of big tobacco unless it removes cancer-causing chemicals from processed products such as bacon and ham, a coalition of experts and politicians warn today.

Led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the UK government’s investigation into the horse-meat scandal, and Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, the coalition claims there is a “consensus of scientific opinion” that the nitrites used to cure meats produce carcinogens called nitrosamines when ingested.

It says there is evidence that consumption of processed meats containing these chemicals results in 6,600 bowel cancer cases every year in the UK – four times the fatalities on British roads – and is campaigning for the issue to be taken as seriously as sugar levels in food.

“Government action to remove nitrites from processed meats should not be far away,” Malhotra said. “Nor can a day of reckoning for those who dispute the incontrovertible facts. The meat industry must act fast, act now – or be condemned to a similar reputational blow to that dealt to tobacco.”

Other coalition members include Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson; former shadow environment secretaries Mary Creagh and Kerry McCarthy; the Tory chair of parliament’s cross-party group on food and health, David Amess; the Liberal Democrat vice-chair of Westminster’s cross-party children’s group, Joan Walmsley; nutritionist Dr Chris Gill; the Cancer Fund for Children, and John Procter MEP, who sits on the European parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee.

In a statement issued today, the coalition warns “that not enough is being done to raise awareness of nitrites in our processed meat and their health risks, in stark contrast to warnings regularly issued regarding sugar and fattening foods”.

In 2015 the World Health Organisation published evidence that linked processed meats to 34,000 cases of colorectal cancer worldwide each year – and identified nitrites and nitrosamines as the likely cause.

Two studies published this year have also raised concerns. Glasgow University researchers collated data from 262,195 British women that suggested reducing processed meat consumption could cut a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. And a John Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US study suggested a direct link between nitrites and the onset of mental health problems. Its 10-year analysis of more than 1,000 people found patients taken to hospital with manic episodes were three times more likely to have recently eaten nitrite-cured meat.

The coalition says the meat industry claims nitrites are essential to combat botulism and infection. But Malhotra said Parma ham producers have not used nitrites for 25 years.

Nitrites give cured products such as bacon and ham their attractive pink colour. Some companies are substituting these with natural alternatives. A year ago, Northern Irish company Finnebrogue launched the “first truly nitrite-free bacon”, with fruit and spice extracts. It is stocked by many major supermarkets. Ocado also sells nitrite-free streaky bacon fromNorthamptonshire-based Houghton Hams and a nitrite-free prosciutto from Unearthed.

Dec 302018
 
NOTE:  The first part of the article will be a “review” for many.   You may wish to start reading at the heading:

Contagious act of resistance

— Counter Currents

THIS has been the seventh year that WikiLeaksfounder Julian Assange spent Christmas in confinement inside Ecuador’s London embassy. For nearly a decade, the US government’s aggressive witch-hunt of truthtellers has trapped him in the UK.

– – –
Assange claimed political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 to mitigate the risk of extradition to the US, relating to his publishing activities. He has been unlawfully held by the UK government without charge, being denied access to medical treatment, fresh air, sunlight and adequate space to exercise. In December 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange was being ‘arbitrarily deprived of his freedom and demanded that he be released.’ Yet the UK government’s refusal to comply with the UN finding has allowed this unlawful detention to continue.

– – –
This cruel persecution of Assange represents a deep crisis of western democracy. As injustice against this western journalist prevails, the legitimacy of traditional institutions has weakened. The benevolent democracy that many were taught to believe in has been shown to be an illusion. It has been revealed as a system of control, lacking enforcement mechanisms in law to deal with real offenders of human rights violations, who for example illegally invade countries under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Under this managed democracy, the premise of ‘no person is above laws’ is made into a pretense that elites use to escape democratic accountability. Media has become the ‘Guardian’ of ruling elites that engage in propaganda to distort truth.

Dictatorship of the west

ASSANGE’S plight, his struggle for freedom revealed a dictatorship in the West. There have been changes in Ecuador’s treatment of Assange ever since a new President Lenin Moreno took office in May 2017. Contrary to the former President Rafael Correa, who courageously granted the publisher asylum, Moreno has shown total disregard for this Australian journalist who has become a political refugee and also a citizen of Ecuador since December 2017.

– – –
This Ecuadorian government’s shift in attitude had to do with western governments’ bullying this small nation of South America. It was reported that the US has pressured Ecuador over loans, making it act illegally in violation of international laws as well as its own constitution. At the end of March, one day after a high level US military visit to Ecuador, this new Ecuadorian president unilaterally cut off Assange from the outside world, by denying his access to internet, prohibiting him from having visitors and communicating with the press. Assange has been put into isolation, which Human Rights Watch general counsel described as being similar to solitary confinement.

– – –
In mid October, in the guise of restoring his internet access, Ecuador issued a “Special Protocol” that perpetuates this silencing of Assange. By further restricting his freedom of expression and requiring him to pay for medical bills and phone calls, Moreno government seeks to break Assange. He is forcing him to leave the embassy on his own accord and get arrested by UK authorities, who are refusing to give him assurances to not extradite him to the US.

US imperialism

ASSANGE has met the fury of empire by exposing US government war crimes having the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people dripping from its hands. He has become a political prisoner, being treated as an enemy by the most powerful government in the world. Last month, US prosecutors mistakenly revealed secret criminal charges against Assange under file in the Eastern District of Virginia.

– – –
James Goodale, First Amendment lawyer and former general counsel of the New York Times, commented on the danger of US government’s efforts to charge a journalist possibly under espionage who is not American and did not publish in the US:

A charge against Assange for “conspiring” with a source is the most dangerous charge that I can think of with respect to the First Amendment in almost all my years representing media organisations.’

The Espionage Act of 1917 is a US federal law, created after World War I to prosecute spies during wartime. This law is still in effect today and can be used to go after even those outside of US territory, due to a later amendment that removed this wording from the act: ‘within the jurisdiction of the United States, on the high seas, and within the United States.’

Obama’s justice department was eager to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents, but chose not to do so, due to concerns that it would set a precedent which could strip away the First Amendment protection for the press. After WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 publication in March 2017 detailing CIA capabilities to perform electronic surveillance, the US government showed its appetite to abuse this outdated law to criminalise journalism.

– – –
In April 2017, the then Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that the arrest of Assange is a priority. This threat on press freedom increased in the following months, as he showed his determination to prosecute media outlets publishing classified information. Trump’s Secretary of State and the former CIA director, Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks ‘a non-state hostile intelligence service’, claiming that the organisation tries to subvert American values and it needs to be shut down. As the Trump administration tries to claim that it has a right to prosecute anyone in the world in their assault on free press, top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill showed their bipartisan support. They signed a letter demanding Pompeo urges Ecuador to evict Assange.

Contagious act of resistance
THE secret indictment against Assange opened a sad era for democracy. Barry Pollack, WikiLeaks founder’s Washington DC based attorney noted that this Trump administration’s attempt to prosecute ‘someone for publishing truth is a dangerous path for democracy to take.’ David Kaye, UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression stated that ‘prosecuting Assange would be dangerously problematic from the perspective of press freedom’ and should be resisted.

– – –
Top human rights organisations have been showing strong opposition against the extradition of Assange. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the UK government not to extradite him to the US. More than 30 Parliamentarians of the German parliament and EU parliament wrote to UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Assange can travel to a safe third country.

– – –
Now, significant support for Assange has emerged from one of the European nations. On December 20, two German parliamentarians came to London to visit Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. Germany that once suffered the suppression of civil liberty under a terrifyingly totalitarian state, has in recent years become a safe haven for western dissidents who were forced to flee their countries against their governments’ persecution. In the aftermath of Snowden revelations of the ‘United Stasi of America’, support for the safety of whistleblowers and journalists who report on government surveillance has increasingly grown.

– – –
WikiLeaks investigative editor Sarah Harrison, who helped to secure asylum for the NSA whistleblower found her refuge for her exile from the UK in Berlin. Germany’s major centre-left political party, SPD recognised her political courage, demonstrated in her work with WikiLeaks and the organisation’s extraordinary source protection. Harrison was given an award, named after a journalist and the former West German chancellor Willy Brant who escaped the Nazis and was exiled before returning to Germany.

– – –
Last week, two German politicians who traveled to visit Assange, carried out an act of urgent diplomacy to represent this country’s commitment to the value of freedom of speech. At the press conference outside of the embassy after their visit, the pair who has been eager to see Assange for months, but were not allowed to do so until now, stood with Assange’s father and called for an international solution to western government’s persecution of Assange. Sevim Dagdelen, member of the Left Party, emphasised that Assange’s injustice is an exceptional case, noting how ‘there is no other publisher or editor in the western world who has been arbitrarily detained’ and this is a betrayal of western values about human rights. Heike Hansel, vice-chairman of the Left parliamentary group, urged people to resist US government’ extraterritorial prosecution of Assange.
The courage of individuals inside democratic institutions, striving to uphold civil liberties, became contagious. Just before Christmas Eve this year, UN experts reiterated their demand for the UK to honour its international obligations and allow Assange to leave the embassy without fear of arrest and extradition. Chris Williamson, a sitting UK member of parliament has endorsed the UN’s statement that Assange should be compensated and be made free.While elected officials are standing up for the principle of democracy, concerned citizens around the world day and night stand watch over Assange outside of the embassy in London.

Restoring rule of law

AS 2018 comes to an end, the legitimacy of the West and its entire fabric of institutions is now being tested. Democracy birthed in ancient Athens, was people’s aspiration to organise a society through their direct participation in power. In modern times, it got uprooted from the original imagination and quickly degenerated into a form of ‘elective despotism’ that Thomas Jefferson once predicted.

– – –
In the institutional hierarchy of western liberal democracy, what was regarded as the force for progress began to decay, from inside out. A system of representation that is purported to make those who are capable and intelligent to use their skills for public service, has been abused. Now, the rich and powerful began to inflict harm on those whom they are supposed to represent.

– – –
WikiLeaks, the world’s first global Fourth Estate, has come to existence as response to this crisis of democracy. With a pristine record of accuracy in its publications, the whistleblowing site brought a way for citizens around the world to transform this hollow democracy that has devoured ideals that once inspired the hearts of ordinary people.

– – –
From the 2007 release of the Kroll report on official corruption in Kenyathat affected the outcome of the national election, to the exposing of the moral bankruptcy of Iceland’s largest bank in 2009, WikiLeaks publications helped awaken the power of citizenry in many countries. Released documents sparked global uprisings, transforming pervasive defeatism and despair into collective action on the streets. US diplomatic cables leak shared through social media in 2010 unleashed a powerful force that finally toppled the corrupt Tunisian dictator Ben Ali.

– – –
Months after the Arab Spring, informed by WikiLeaks cables, people in Mexico launched a peaceful youth movement against the political corruption of the media. Revelations of Cablegate also affected the course of a presidential election in Peru, and transformed the media in Brazil. In 2016, the DNC leaks and publication of Podesta emails educated American people about how their political system works.

– – –
Julian Assange, through his work with WikiLeaks, engaged in that type of vibrant journalism that revitalized the impulse for real democracy. By publishing vital information in the public interest, he defended public’s right to know, empowering ordinary people to actively participate in history.
Now, it is our responsibility to respond to this crisis of democracy through solidarity. Can each of us step up to the challenge to solve the problems that our leaders have created? Efforts to free Assange urge us all to claim and exercise the power inherent within that can restore justice to end this prosecution of free speech.

Countercurrents.org, December 30. Nozomi Hayase, PhD, is a writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency and decentralized movements.

Dec 222018
 
US Embassy Shopping List,  from Wikileaks Website
21 December 2018

Today, 21 December 2018, WikiLeaks publishes a searchable database of more than 16,000 procurement requests posted by United States embassies around the world.

All US embassies post requests for quotations and job listings on their websites when they need to purchase goods or services. In some cases, these requests may hint at covert activities performed by US agencies in the country. For example, in an August 2018 procurement request for “Tactical Spy Equipment“, the US embassy in El Salvador asked vendors to provide 94 spy cameras, most disguised as everyday objects such as ties, caps, shirt buttons, watches, USB drives, lighters, and pens. Similar spy cameras were also requested by the US embassy in Colombia.

The majority of the procurement requests focus on mundane activities required for the day-to-day operation of embassies and consulates, such as construction projects, laundry service, and gutter cleaning. In one case, the US consulate in Guayaquil, Ecuador lost track of the number of fish in its fishpond and needed someone to count the fish and clean the pond. Interspersed among these banal requests are documents that provide insight into the priorities and agenda of the US Government abroad. For example, to promote trade interests in China, the US consulate in Shanghai requested the production of “three marketing and promotional videos that highlight U.S. beef quality”.

Even the banal requests may be worth scrutiny because numerous secret programmes are operated out of US embassies. WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 publications showed that the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence runs a covert hacking base out of the US consulate in Frankfurt and the documents disclosed by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and CIA jointly operate a covert signals intelligence programme called the Special Collection Service, which uses US embassies around the world as bases for interception of communications and clandestine operations. These procurement documents do not appear to include details related directly to these programmes, but they do include information about the actual activities of the divisions used as cover for CIA programmes, note which jobs require security clearance, and provide clues about the existence of infrastructure that may be potentially useful to US intelligence services operating abroad, such as the data center at the Frankfurt consulate.

While these procurement requests are public information, they are only temporarily linked to from US embassy websites while the request is open. But even after the links to the requests are removed, the files remain online. This is because all US embassies use WordPress and the procurement documents are stored in their WordPress uploads folder. So although older procurement documents may not be obviously available, the WordPress uploads can be searched via both the search function on the embassy’s website and third-party search engines. The US Embassy Shopping List preserves these requests and makes them more accessible by collecting the documents uploaded to US embassy websites, filtering for the procurement-related files, and presenting them in a searchable database.

Dec 222018
 

I am interested in Corruption, and the effectiveness of Canadian courts.   Need to do follow-up.  What happens?  Does the $2.6 billion ever get paid out?  Who are the players?

2012 –  accountancy Ernst & Young, one of the firm’s auditors, agreed to pay C$117 million to settle its part in a shareholder class action involving the firm. It later agreed to pay an C$8 million penalty to the Ontario Securities Commission, but admitted no wrongdoing, for its audits of Sino-Forest.

What are the consequences for Ernst & Young?   (“EY”)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_%26_Young  

2013 – EY agreed to pay federal prosecutors $123 million to settle criminal tax avoidance charges stemming from $2 billion in unpaid taxes from about 200 wealthy individuals advised by four Ernst & Young senior partners between 1999 and 2004.[18]

Ernst & Young (doing business as EY) is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.

Revenue Increase US$34.8 billion (2018)[3]
Owner Ernst & Young LLP.

The overall “owner” is a law firm.  That’s convenient.  I wonder how many other “settlements” have been negotiated for the criminal elements in the overall organization?

EY operates as a network of member firms which are separate legal entities in individual countries. It has 250,000 employees in over 700 offices around 150 countries in the world. It provides assurance (including financial audit), tax, consulting and advisory services to companies.[4]

 

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Canadian court awards $2.6 billion in Sino-Forest fraud case, Reuters

Matthew Miller

3 Min Read

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Canadian court has awarded plaintiffs $2.63 billion in a civil case against Sino Forest Corp co-founder and CEO Allen Chan, a decision that’s certain to lead to more litigation over one of the biggest cases of securities fraud by a listed Chinese firm.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny, in a 174-page judgment handed down late Wednesday, found that Chan engaged in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. He awarded damages in the amount of $2.63 billion. He also awarded $5 million in punitive damages.

Chan “abused his unique position” to “orchestrate an extremely large and complex fraud, resulting in the loss by Sino-Forest of billions of dollars”, wrote Justice Penny.

Sino-Forest, the failed timber firm, was a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, before short seller Muddy Waters LLC published a report in 2011 accusing the company of being a Ponzi scheme riddled with fraud, theft and undisclosed related-party transactions.

Between 2007 and 2010, the company raised more than $2.1 billion and C$800 million in Canada’s debt and capital markets.

Sino-Forest’s collapse became the symbol for a series of offshore-listed Chinese firms accused of similar fraud that subsequently collapsed, including most recently China Huishan Dairy Holdings (6863.HK).

Wednesday’s judgment is the first to definitively state that Sino-Forest was a fraud headed by Chan.

“Mr. Chan, rather than directing Sino-Forest’s spending on legitimate business operations, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into fictitious or over-valued lines of business where he engaged in undisclosed related-party transactions and funneled funds to entities that he secretly controlled,” Justice Penny wrote.

The litigation was brought in 2014 by Cosimo Borrelli, who was appointed Trustee of the SFC Litigation Trust and argued that Chan and executives Albert Ip, Alfred Hung and George Ho organized a massive fraud.

Borrelli did not respond to a request to comment on Thursday. But a source close to the case said that the Canadian court decision would facilitate other legal claims against the auditors, valuers, and other directors of the company.

In 2012, accountancy Ernst & Young, one of the firm’s auditors, agreed to pay C$117 million to settle its part in a shareholder class action involving the firm. It later agreed to pay an C$8 million penalty to the Ontario Securities Commission, but admitted no wrongdoing, for its audits of Sino-Forest.

Wednesday’s decision followed a July ruling by the Ontario Securities Commission that Chan and his top executives “engaged in deceitful or dishonest conduct” that they knew constituted fraud and violated securities law.

Reporting by Matthew Miller; Editing by Stephen Coates