28 November 2009

Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist

This makes me sick. Why do these brave men bother to endure some very hard training and then are deployed to places that most of are lucky enough to never have to experience and their lives are in constant danger, when authorities punish them for allegedly punching a terrorist. It seems the terrorists get more rights than the brave men and woman protecting the innocent here and abroad.  If this continues, it will come to a point where no one will want to serve and protect their country, for fear of being prosecuted for doing their job.

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called a captain's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.
Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.
Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.
Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.
Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.
Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

Neal Puckett, an attorney representing McCabe, told Fox News the SEALs are being charged for allegedly giving the detainee a “punch in the gut.”
“I don’t know how they’re going to bring this detainee to the United States and give us our constitutional right to confrontation in the courtroom,” Puckett said. “But again, we have terrorists getting their constitutional rights in New York City, but I suspect that they’re going to deny these SEALs their right to confrontation in a military courtroom in Virginia.”
The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7. Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged.
FoxNews.com obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.
The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.
"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."
Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.
United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told FoxNews.com that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.
The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time."
The Fallujah atrocity came to symbolize the brutality of the enemy in Iraq and the degree to which a homegrown insurgency was extending its grip over Iraq.
The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.
Intelligence sources identified Abed as the ringleader, but he had evaded capture until September.
The military is sensitive to charges of detainee abuse highlighted in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The Navy charged four SEALs with abuse in 2004 in connection with detainee treatment.

A Puzzling Way To Lose Weight

Mental exercises such as puzzles and quizzes are said to burn an average of 90 calories every hour – more calories than are contained in a jammy dodger or a chocolate hobnob.

Mental agility expert Tim Forrester from brain training website cannyminds.com which published the claims, said giving the brain a workout burns calories in the same way that giving the body a workout does.

Superdiets 'based on myths' "Our brains require 0.1 calories every minute simply to survive," he said. "When we do something challenging such as a puzzle or a quiz we burn through 1.5 calories every minute."

The brain is made up of millions of neurons which communicate with other neurons, transmitting messages to the body.

Neurons produce chemicals called neurotransmitters to relay their signals.

These neurons extract 75 per cent of the sugar glucose, available calories and 20 per cent of the oxygen from the blood to create these neurotransmitters.

So undertaking activity such as difficult crosswords or challenging sudoku’s means your brain will need more glucose and more calories.

Eight-time World Memory Champion Dominic O'Brien said brains needs work outs just as much as bodies.

"Just as you need to continually exercise your body to stay fit and healthy you also need to exercise your brain and memory to remain mentally agile," he said.

* Snacks you can enjoy which have the same calories as an hour's brain workout include:
A chocolate chip cookie = 56 calories
A jammy dodger = 85 calories
A custard cream = 57 calories
A chocolate hobnob = 79 calories

* But if you carried on for two hours with a puzzle you could enjoy:
A pack of Hula Hoops = 175 calories
A bag of Maltesers = 186 calories
A creme egg = 173 calories
A bag of jelly babies = 180 calories

27 November 2009

Is it a Cone, a Hat, an ice-cream cornet, no it's Poole's new Christmas tree!

The tree that normally costs £500 has been replaced by a £13,000 fake amid fears it would fall over in strong winds.
The new 10m (33ft) tall variety has no branches and decorations, is sturdier and doesn’t have to be cordoned off to keep people away, authorities claim.
But residents say it looks more like a gigantic traffic cone, a witch’s hat, an ice-cream cornet or even something out of Doctor Who.
And they questioned the cost during a recession, especially after officials scaled back the town’s Christmas lights.

‘I think it looks like something that has just landed from out of space. It looks nothing like a Christmas tree,’ said shopper Michelle James.
The tree is the brainchild of Poole’s town centre management board, an organisation made up of businesses and the council.
Although a real tree is about £500, it costs another £3,500 for specialists to decorate, light and install, officials said.

Richard Randall-Jones, the town centre manager, defended the new fake tree. ‘People think you can just go into the woods, chop down a tree and put it up in the high street. But if it blows over and kills someone then somebody is liable for it,’ he said.

24 November 2009

Britain - Slowly but surely turning into a STATE run country

Here's an interesting article I just came across. Another great example of how the Government is slowly but surely getting their sticky little fingers into every aspect of your lives.
I have been reading several different articles of late, explaining what the current Government is up to and it reminds me so much of the film, "VENDETTA". If you haven't seen this film, do so, if the Government continues on its' path unhinderred, maybe that film isn't too much out of reality of what could happen in the future.

Throughout the 12 years since New Labour began its assault upon our civil liberties, the response to those of us who publicly vented our dismay was straightforward: 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.'
So, by that logic, we were invited to embrace the ugly stacks of CCTV cameras that crawled across our High Streets and which, surprise, surprise, did nothing to reduce general levels of crime and lawlessness.
By the same token, we were encouraged to say 'Amen' to the multi-billion-pound ID cards scheme, or 'entitlement cards' as Tony Blair's old flatmate Lord Falconer used soothingly to call them when he was a minister in the Home Office.
This gigantic New Labour bung to foreign-owned IT companies is now discredited, though still being 'rolled out' as a voluntary scheme in Manchester to save the Government's face.


But the most grotesque and brazen undermining of our freedoms, we now know, is the theft of our very essence. This week we have learned that police are routinely arresting innocent people specifically to secure their DNA samples.
Britain now boasts the largest DNA database in the world, with samples logged from 5.6 million people, of whom almost a million are known to be entirely innocent of any offence.
The authorities who monitor the database are fully aware of these people's innocence, yet they resist at every turn any attempt to have those samples erased.
And those innocent people who, once arrested and released with no legal stain on their character, might reasonably want to have their DNA wiped off the database are required to pay £200 and wait for months and months for the police to do so.
'It is now the norm to arrest offenders for everything if there is a power to do so,' a retired superintendent told the Human Genetics Commission.
'It is apparently understood by serving police officers that one of the reasons, if not the reason, for the change in practice is so that the DNA of the offender can be obtained.'

It is said, though the figures are disputed, that up to three- quarters of black men aged 18 to 35 are recorded on the DNA database.
How odd that this blatantly discriminatory statistic does not appear to trigger any sort of challenge under that other great New Labour achievement, the Human Rights Act, which is supposed to guarantee our rights to privacy, private life and equality under the law.
The evidence is now clear: step by step, sample by sample, the DNA database is expanding into a national register not just of criminals but of each and every one of us.
Let us be clear here. It is perfectly possible to construct a reasonably plausible argument that all of us, at birth, should have our DNA recorded and applied to a gigantic national database which, besides assisting in crime detection, would perform all manner of ingenious medical profiling.
There is a case that such a database might help in research into diabetes, dementia and various genetic conditions.

'A most grotesque and brazen undermining of our freedoms'

It is conceivable that the public would go along with this scheme. Large parts of the electorate might still trust the Government not to abuse the information it holds about us on trust. Many misguided people still believe in the essential goodness of the State.
Yet my guess is that if the question were ever directly put to the voter, British cussedness would scupper the idea. I suspect that the majority of voters would bridle at handing over their most intimate information to a government that has proved itself incapable of either holding on to it securely or using it within strict limitations.
New Labour knows this culture of mistrust. This is why people such as Lord Falconer, Jack Straw, Patricia Hewitt and others with impeccable, self- declared attachment to abstract notions of rights and privacy, have gone along in a covert scheme to nationalise our identities by stealth, on a scale that would make the Stasi green with envy.
A British government can no longer presume to run the steel or car industry as it did a generation ago, so instead New Labour has nationalised the individual, without once consulting us directly on the matter.
The deliberate policy to create a comprehensive national DNA database is one of those public policy matters which, like the introduction of ID cards and the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, is deemed too important to be opened up to any sort of democratic scrutiny. It is policy-by-creep.
Indeed, the real scandal is that the exact implementation of the database has been passed down to unelected police commissioners who make up policy on the hoof about whose DNA should be retained and then whose should be erased.


It is not unreasonable for police officers to want to create a 'belt and braces' approach to catching future or potential criminals; but it is up to politicians to rein them in when our collective liberties are being encroached. Instead, New Labour has tacitly encouraged them all the way.
Nor are such issues confined to the DNA database alone. This week I received a letter from our daughter's primary school inviting us to give consent to an undisclosed 'team of health professionals' to supervise her medical well-being henceforth.
The letter from our North London council asserts that it is 'important that the school holds a complete health record for your child'. Why? Is that not what we and our GP are supposed to do?
The letter adds, with a comical lack of confidence in its own competence, that: 'We aim to keep personal information confidential.'
My wife worries that our four-year-old daughter will feel left out if she cannot join group discussions with health professionals about her medical and psychological anxieties, but I'm afraid I have put my foot down and counted her out.
The Government's DNA database is expanding not just for criminals but for everyone


Leaving aside my visceral dislike of Ed Balls, I cannot see why I should agree that our daughter's medical records should be passed on to various undeclared parties including 'other agencies such as the Children, Schools and Families Department', any more than I would wish her DNA to be placed on the national database.
Indeed, I found myself wondering whether the two areas might be connected in some way.
The problem for those of us who worry even slightly about our privacy is that the horse has already bolted. We now know that a government which introduced the Data Protection Act allows the DVLA in Swansea routinely to sell car registration details to cowboy car park clampers charging £150 to release vehicles.
We know that the Inland Revenue 'lost' the banking and personal details of everyone who claims child benefit; we know, too, that a CD with the DNA details of 4,000 murderers and rapists on the run was lost after being left lying around in an office for 12 months by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Even if we believed in a beneficial purpose for the DNA database, why should we trust this Government to keep our most sacred details secret when it shows in its behaviour a blithe lack of concern about our privacy?
It is high time that those of us who are sceptical about big government find our voice in speaking up for traditional English liberty.
We need to say that just because we have nothing to hide, we don't need to explain why we have nothing to fear from an ever- expanding, ever more intrusive state.

Let us turn the argument around and ask the State: what do you have to fear from us?

Government Interference at its' worse...

Britain's new Internet law -- as bad as everyone's been saying, and worse. Much, much worse.

The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it's perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the "three-strikes" rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).

So it's bad. £50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that's just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he's planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson's successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn't in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain's poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media -- BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees -- to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.

Lobby organisation The Open Rights Group is urging people to contact their MP to oppose the plans.
"This plan won't stop copyright infringement and with a simple accusation could see you and your family disconnected from the internet - unable to engage in everyday activities like shopping and socialising," it said.
The government will also introduce age ratings on all boxed video games aimed at children aged 12 or over.
There is, however, little detail in the bill on how the government will stimulate broadband infrastructure.

Government lays out digital plans (Thanks, Lee!)

BREAKING: Leaked UK government plan to create "Pirate Finder General" with power to appoint militias, create laws

Brits: send a message to Mandelson and fight "three strikes ...
Brits: sign petitition to kill proposal to disconnect accused ...
Open Rights Group forum on proposal to cut British households off ...
Brit business secretary promises to punish accused file-sharers ...
UK govt proposes idiotic two-strikes-and-you're-out Internet ...

Mandelson suddenly became interested in this after a David Geffen funded trip to Corfu. He denies the connection between paid excursion and policy changes but it's hard not ask questions about what exactly they discussed over dinner. He is unelected. He has had to resign TWICE in the past for his activities. Not just once. Twice. HE IS COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY CORRUPT AND YET IT IS BEING IGNORED.

21 November 2009

Corporate Greed Is Alive and Well In America

Here's an article I came across today. It just goes to show that some large companies haven't learnt any lessons over the past year or so and clearly show they don't care about the public, all they want is to have huge profits at the expense of people's lives, kicking them, while they are down.
Don't get me wrong, any company needs to make a profit, but many financial companies have taken Government bailouts to survive, but still do little to nothing to help its' customers.  This mentality of GREED, is what caused the recession in the first place and clearly isn't getting better for main street.

Millions of Americans already battling the suffocating economy are getting a flurry of mail from credit-card issuers telling them, just in time for holiday shopping, that their interest rate is headed skyward.
For many, the rates are doubling, even tripling, leaving cash-strapped and credit-starved Americans staring at harder times ahead.
Still others are seeing longtime fixed rates flipped to variable rates tied to a market index that's likely to pitch them into double-digit interest in no time.
Much of the activity — rate hikes, lower credit limits, boosts of minimum monthly payments among them — seems to be pegged to new federal rules set to kick in gear in late February that will severely constrain banks and credit-card issuers from predatory practices of the past, according to experts who track the industry.
The trend is bearing out in several new consumer surveys that say credit-card users are increasingly faced with unsavory choices ranging from accepting near-impossible credit terms on accounts with already high balances, to closing accounts and limiting consumers' credit availability.
A survey from Rasmussen Reports found that half of its respondents have been slapped with rate hikes in the past six months. Another by Credit.com found that nearly a third of Americans had rates boosted unexpectedly, nearly double the number from a previous analysis just six months ago.
And at a time when banks have suffered a severe setback in consumer confidence, those actions are not being greeted warmly, industry experts say.
"It seems like they're hurting the customers they need the most," said Travis Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group. "What the industry needs most is trust, having lost it to the traps and tricks they've used for years, but they seem to be betraying it even further."
Some tricks now include designing notices of interest-rate changes as junk mail.
"There's no law that mandates a standard on how those notifications are to be sent out," said Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research at CreditCards.com. "The banks love nothing more for it to be thrown away."
Fearful the rules might hamstring banks' ability to make money — profits from credit-card penalty fees are expected to top $20.9 billion this year alone — card issuers are being pushed to increase rates quickly. Though the national average is at 13.7 percent, according to the Federal Reserve, that's now changing.
And everyone is being affected, from those with the poorest credit to those with the best.
"It's not just counterintuitive but shortsighted," Plunkett said. "People who have really done nothing wrong are finding themselves with higher rates."
The new laws are to begin in February, though some rules kicked in this summer. The law — the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or Credit CARD Act — is designed to provide consumers with access to credit on terms that are fair and more easily understood.
It bans abusive credit-card practices, enhances disclosure to cardholders and protects underage consumers. It also protects consumers by barring unreasonable interest-rate increases and fees, and requires monthly disclosures of how much interest you've paid to date.
Efforts to push the effective date to December passed the House last week but stalled this week in the Senate.