Tag Archives: homeland security

Obama Freezes Food Programs, Exempts Military Budget

Obama to Seek Freeze on Some Spending to Trim Deficits

President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit, administration officials said Monday.

The officials said the proposal would be a major component both of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday and of the budget he will send to Congress on Monday for the fiscal year that begins in October.

The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks.

But it would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security, as well as the entitlement programs that make up the biggest and fastest-growing part of the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The payoff in budget savings would be small relative to the deficit: The estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.

The initiative holds political risks as well as potential benefits. Because Mr. Obama plans to exempt military spending while leaving many popular domestic programs vulnerable, his move is certain to further anger liberals in his party and senior Democrats in Congress, who are already upset by the possible collapse of health care legislation and the troop buildup in Afghanistan, among other things. Full Story

Scientists Urging Friends and Family Not to Take Vaccine

The swine flu vaccine is now being offered in the United States, but many people are worried about the vaccine’s potential side effects. Many say that the vaccine could be linked to the guillain barre syndrome. RT’s contributor and investigative journalist Wayne Madsen attended the international swine flu conference in Washington D.C. and talks about what he learned.

Swine flu vaccine could have major medical side effects

Boy Scouts – from Square Knots to Terrorist Training

Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More
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Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.

The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.

“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.

It is all quite a step up from the square knot.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out “active shooters,” like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

“Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

…Cathy Noriego, also 16, said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns — known as airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets — in the training exercises, and sometimes they shoot real guns on a closed range.

“I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

…the Explorers have faced problems over the years. There have been numerous cases over the last three decades in which police officers supervising Explorers have been charged, in civil and criminal cases, with sexually abusing them. Full Story

Why all the Hype, and What’s the Real Story on the Flu?

So far, only 7 of Mexico’s more than 150 reported flu deaths have been definitely confirmed to be from the new hybrid strain. Many others are probable or suspected and much still remains unknown.

According to the CDC 36,000 people die in the U.S. each year from flu. In a report from CNN – Regular flu has killed thousands since January. So why all the hype?

Health Officials: Nations Must Prep for Pandemic

Congressman Paul on the Recent Swine Flu Scare

Swine Flu: Man Made

Will the Swine Flu Provoke a Global Quarantine?

Interesting that Mexico City has shut down for ten days, yet air travel between the United States and Mexico is still permitted. If the flu is human-to-human contact, wouldn’t it make logical sense to close the airports in Mexico?

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Swine Flu Fears Prompt Global Quarantine Plans

Mexico’s Calderon Declares Emergency Amid Swine Flu Outbreak

Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an emergency in his country’s swine flu outbreak, giving him powers to order quarantines and suspend public events.

Authorities have canceled school at all levels in Mexico City and the state of Mexico until further notice, and the government has shut most public and government activities in the area. The emergency decree, published today in the state gazette, gives the president authority to take more action.

“The federal government under my charge will not hesitate a moment to take all, all the measures necessary to respond with efficiency and opportunity to this respiratory epidemic,” Calderon said today during a speech to inaugurate a hospital in the southern state of Oaxaca.

At least 20 deaths in Mexico from the disease are confirmed, Health Minister Jose Cordova said yesterday. The strain is a variant of H1N1 swine influenza that has also sickened at least eight people in California and Texas. As many as 68 deaths may be attributed to the virus in Mexico, and about 1,000 people in the Mexico City area are showing symptoms of the illness, Cordoba said.

Obama’s Visit

The first case was seen in Mexico on April 13. The outbreak coincided with the President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico City on April 16. Obama was received at Mexico’s anthropology museum in Mexico City by Felipe Solis, a distinguished archeologist who died the following day from symptoms similar to flu, Reforma newspaper reported. The newspaper didn’t confirm if Solis had swine flu or not.

The Mexican government is distributing breathing masks to curtail the disease’s spread. There is no vaccine against the new strain of swine flu, health authorities said. Full Story

U.S. declares public health emergency as swine flu spreads

The United States government declared a public health emergency Sunday as the number of identified cases of swine flu in the nation rose to 20.

The declaration is part of a “standard operating procedure” that will make available additional government resources to combat the virus, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at the White House.

Additional cases of swine flu are expected to be reported in the coming days, added Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No one has died in the U.S. from swine flu, officials said Sunday.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said eight students at St. Francis Prepatory School in Queens have tested positive for swine flu. More than 100 students at the school were absent with flu-like symptoms last week, he said.

State public health officials in Ohio confirmed one case of swine flu on Sunday. There have been seven confirmed cases in California, two in Kansas, and two in Texas, Besser said.

The World Health Organization advised all countries to be on the lookout for “unusual” outbreaks of flu, after an emergency meeting Saturday as the seriousness of the outbreak became clear.

By Sunday, 81 deaths in Mexico had been deemed “likely linked” to swine flu. Viral testing has confirmed 20 cases, said Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Mexico’s health secretary.

In Mexico City, the massive downtown Cathedral of Mexico City was open but Masses were not scheduled. Dozens of worshippers put on masks and went inside the church anyway to pray on their own.

The H1N1 strain of swine flu is usually associated with pigs. When the flu spreads person-to-person, instead of from animals to humans, it can continue to mutate, making it a tougher strain that is harder to treat or fight off. Full Story

Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu

The swine flu outbreak is likely to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thomson Reuters Private Equity Week reported on Friday.

Shares of the two public companies in the firm’s portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies — BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX.O) and Novavax (NVAX.O) — jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.

The World Health Organization said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche’s (ROG.VX) flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine.

Shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG closed up 3.48 percent after falling sharply earlier in the week on a cancer drug disappointment, while shares of U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), which gets royalties from Roche on Tamiflu sales, slipped 10 cents to $45.80 on Friday.

But BioCryst, a maker of drugs that block key enzymes in viral diseases, jumped more than 26 percent on Friday to $2.21 per share. Viral vaccine maker Novavax rose more than 75 percent to $1.42 per share. Full Story

Army: 3 vials of virus samples missing from Maryland facility

Missing vials of a potentially dangerous virus have prompted an Army investigation into the disappearance from a lab in Maryland.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of the vials. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the command, said this latest investigation has found “no evidence of criminal activity.”

The vials contained samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, a virus that sickens horses and can be spread to humans by mosquitoes. In 97 percent of cases, humans with the virus suffer flu-like symptoms, but it can be deadly in about 1 out of 100 cases, according to Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. There is an effective vaccine for the disease and there hasn’t been an outbreak in the United States since 1971.

The vials had been at the research institute’s facility at Fort Detrick, home of the Army’s top biological research facility, for more than a decade. The three missing vials were among thousands of vials that were under the control of a senior scientist who retired in 2004. When another Fort Detrick scientist recently inventoried the retired scientist’s biological samples, he discovered that the three vials of the virus were missing. The original scientist’s records about his vials dated back to the days of paper-and-pen inventories. Full Story

Virus mix-up by lab could have resulted in pandemic

It’s emerged that virulent H5N1 bird flu was sent out by accident from an Austrian lab last year and given to ferrets in the Czech Republic

before anyone realised.

As well as the risk of it escaping into the wild, the H5N1 got mixed with a human strain, which might have spawned a hybrid that could unleash a pandemic.

Last December, the Austrian branch of US vaccine company Baxter sent a batch of ordinary human H3N2 flu, altered so it couldn’t replicate, to Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, also in Austria. In February, a lab in the Czech Republic working for Avir alerted Baxter that, unexpectedly, ferrets inoculated with the sample had died. It turned out the sample contained live H5N1, which Baxter uses to make vaccine. The two seem to have been mixed in error.

Markus Reinhard of Baxter says no one was infected because the H3N2 was handled at a high level of containment. But Ab Osterhaus of Erasmus University in the Netherlands says: “We need to go to great lengths to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.”

Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences. While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus

The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.

And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.

“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.

“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”

The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.

Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a “serious error” on Baxter’s part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.

On Friday, the company’s director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected.

“It was live,” Christopher Bona said in an email.

The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic. Full Story

Mexico flu: Your experiences

Readers in Mexico have been emailing the BBC describing the sense of fear gripping the country as a result of a flu virus outbreak, which has so far claimed more than 80 lives.

The World Health Organization says the virus has the potential to become a pandemic.

Read a selection of BBC readers’ comments below.

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here. Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

I am a doctor and I work in the State of Mexico. I don’t work in the shock team; I am in the echocardiography team, but I do get some news from my colleagues in the hospital. There have been some cases of young people dying from respiratory infections, but this happened before the alert and they were not reported because the necessary tests weren’t done. We doctors knew this was happening a week before the alert was issued and were told to get vaccinated. I went to buy some anti-virals for my husband, who is also a doctor, because he had contact with a young patient who presented influenza symptoms and died. I don’t think pharmacies stock enough anti-virals.

I understand the government doesn’t want to generate panic, but my personal opinion is that they issued the alert too late. Still now, the population is not getting the information they need. We have been out in the street and some people are not wearing face masks and are not taking any preventive measures. Guadalupe, Mexico City

Read Reader Experiences

Introduction of Bill to Establish Military ‘Emergency Centers’

Bill creates detention camps in U.S. for ’emergencies’
Sweeping, undefined purpose raises worries about military police state

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.

The bill also appears to expand the president’s emergency power, much as the executive order signed by President Bush on May 9, 2007, that, as WND reported, gave the president the authority to declare an emergency and take over the direction of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments without even consulting Congress.

As WND also reported, DHS has awarded a $385 million contract to Houston-based KBR, Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary, to build temporary detention centers on an “as-needed” basis in national emergency situations.

Full Article
Text of H.R. 645: To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish national emergency centers on military installations.

The Reality of FEMA Camps And The Martial Law Appartus

There is no doubt that the government is preparing a nationwide system of detention facilities under the guise of emergency management that could be used to house large quantities of Americans during a time of civil strife. Many think that it is a conspiracy theory, but it is not. It is a fact that the federal government has many facilities right now that can be used to house large numbers of political dissidents if the need arises.

During World War II, the U.S. government through an executive order by FDR forced many Japanese-Americans to move into internment camps. In 2006, George W. Bush signed legislation to preserve these camps. Why would he do this unless there was a chance that they would be used in the future?

In addition, KBR the engineering and construction arm of Halliburton was recently awarded a $385 million contract to build detention facilities under the guise that they would be used to house illegal immigrants.

This news broke at a time in which outrage against illegal immigration was at an all-time high and covered extensively in the media which in essence made the announcement less controversial. There is also a great deal of anecdotal and video reports of detention facilities in many areas around the nation that have been posted on the Internet by concerned citizens.

With all of this in mind, it is additionally disturbing that institutions like the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command have been incrementally moving this country into a militarized police state through a wide variety of initiatives and programs.

With the economy unraveling on a day to day basis the possibility of civil strife becomes greater and greater and the possibility of the establishment needing these types of facilities continually increases.

Full Story

See Also:

Ex-Hitler youth’s warning to America

Gerald Celente: “There’s Really No Way Out”

YouTube video of audio interview with Gerald Celente on the Lew Rockwell show. While Gerald gives a sobering view of things to come, for which he says “there’s really no way out”, he says there is hope in the secessionist movements, that america is a very flexible and resilient country. He warns that until the People decide not to vote for a lesser of two evils any longer and only take a new route can things truly Change.

Part I

Part II