Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Venezuelan Authorities Link Crashed Plane Carrying Drugs to Mexican Government

By Z.C. Dutka | Venezuelanalysis | April 7th, 2015

Boa Vista – A wrecked plane, discovered on 2 April in a Western region of Venezuela, was carrying nearly a ton of cocaine and was registered with the official fleet of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office.

Three bodies and 999 kilos of cocaine were found in the Cessna Conquest 441, which crashed on Thursday.

The remains of Norberto Filemon Miranda Perez and Francisco Javier Engombia Guadarrama were confirmed by the Commanding General of Venezuela’s Armed Forces on Saturday.

Miranda Perez, believed to be the pilot, was a regional director of the General Prosecutor’s Aerial Services, a branch of the justice department responsible for investigating federal and state crimes. He held office during the presidency of Felipe Calderon.

The third individual has not yet been identified, though documents naming a Bernardo Lisey Valdez were also found in the wreck.

Built in 1981 in the United States, the aircraft belonged to the Colombian firm Aerotaxi Calamar in the late 1990s, until it passed into Mexican ownership under unknown circumstances, eventually appearing as part of the Attorney General fleet in 2000 under the code XB-KGS.

No records indicating the Cessna’s transfer to private hands have been located, though a photo on jetphoto.com shows what may be the same aircraft in the Benito Juarez airport of Mexico City in 2007, with a new code – indicating new ownership.

According to Venezuelan authorities, the plane may have been downed by military efforts. Information was recorded of a bullet impacting an aircraft of similar characteristics that day, in the nearby region of Apure.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement yesterday indicating the government’s intent to collaborate with Venezuelan authorities to uncover the details of the crash.

April 9, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pharmageddon: America’s bitter pill

RT | December 27, 2011

The United States has a passion for pills, being the world’s biggest users of psychotropic drugs, consuming 60 per cent of them. And pharmaceutical firms are keen to keep cashing in on the multibillion-dollar market, even if it costs people’s health.

America is regarded as a country with a prodigious appetite for consumption. Today, a widespread fondness for pharmaceuticals has turned the US into a nation of pill-poppers.

With over $14 billion in annual sales, antipsychotics remain the top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the US.

Dr. Harriet Fraad believes Big Pharma has manufactured a climate of insanity by manipulating and even creating illness for capital gain.

“One of the things that drives Big Pharma is to find a diagnosis that is very vague, so that everybody can fall into that,” she told RT. “Everybody is sad sometimes. There are good reasons. The point is to market pharmaceuticals. And the advertising strategy is to have vague diagnosis and then find wiggle room so that they apply to everyone.”

The US is the only Western country that allows direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. For example, an ad for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder warns that untreated patients will likely end up divorced. Another commercial promises to make you happier, but side-effects may include dry mouth, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, diarrhea, nausea and sleepiness.”

Critics also say Big Pharma uses its financial muscle to ply doctors with gifts, cash kick-backs and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs.

Harriet Fraad says there is a whole network of doctors hustling these drugs.

“If a patient comes in with a knee injury and says, ‘I’m so sad.’ Oh, are you depressed? Hey write a prescription! They’re given out like M&Ms.”

Last year, prescription drug abuse became the number one cause of accidental death, with more than 30,000 Americans overdosing.

For instance, Seroquel, medication for bi-polar disorder, generated $4.4 billion in sales last year.Listing all its side-effects requires 49 seconds of air-time.

The number of children consuming antipsychotic medication has doubled in the past decade. Millions of American adolescents are taking drugs like Adderall, doled out by doctors to treat hyperactivity.

Author of Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic, psychologist Bruce Levine, told RT that, “All these drugs are very similar to illicit or illegal drugs, except they’re more dangerous. Marijuana is a little safer. But kids have no choice.”

Pfizer, America’s most profitable multinational pharmaceutical company makes anti-depressants not only for people, but also for animals. In 2009, the pharmaceutical giant paid $2.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over illegally marketing one of its drugs. It was the largest healthcare fraud settlement and criminal fine in US history.That being said, the fine amounted to less than three weeks of Pfizer’s drug sales.

“The money is so huge that the fines are immaterial. They’re not thinking about the social effects of what they’re doing. They’re thinking about the profits they accrue,” says psychotherapist Harriet Fraad.

The pharmaceutical industry remains the most profitable business in the US. More success and financial gain for the companies will always remain possible as long as more Americans are encouraged to take drugs.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

FDA fails to report fraud in clinical trials – study

RT | February 10, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely fails to report evidence of fraud or misconduct when it inspects the way researchers conduct clinical trials, leaving the public unaware of which research is credible and which isn’t.

Researchers at New York University found that in dozens of published papers where the FDA had uncovered faults in clinical trials, only three ever indicated that violations occurred. In a stem cell trial, for example, all patients were said to have experienced improvement – despite one having a foot amputated.

The New York University study examined 57 clinical trials that received a notice of violation from the FDA for poor record keeping, false information, and poor patient study. Researchers found that findings from those clinical trials were used in 78 published papers – but only in three instances were the faults in the clinical trials mentioned in the papers.

In the other cases, none of the published papers containing data from faulty trials were corrected or retracted.

“These are major things,” Professor Charles Seife, the study’s author, told Reuters. “No one really knows unless you go through these documents that anyone is question the integrity of the trials.”

In one case, an entire clinical trial was considered unreliable by the FDA, but the published paper didn’t mention the violation at all. In another trial, researchers covered up a patient’s death.

Of the 57 published clinical trials, 39 percent had evidence of false information, 25 percent reported adverse events, 61 percent had record keeping problems, and 35 percent failed to protect the safety of the patient or had issues with oversight or informed consent.

“The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market,” Seife wrote at Slate. “For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.”

Seife said his team could have uncovered even more instances from the 600 clinical trials mentioned in the documents, but most of the documents obtained from the FDA were heavily redacted. “In some cases, you can’t even tell which drug is being tested,” he said.

Every year, the FDA inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of violations of good clinical practices and misconduct. The study said, however, that the FDA has no systematic method for communicating these findings to the scientific community, and its findings go unremarked in peer-reviewed literature.

In a statement to Reuters, the FDA said it is “committed to increasing the transparency of compliance and enforcement activities with the goal of enhancing the public’s understanding of the FDA’s decision, promoting the accountability of the FDA, and fostering an understanding among regulated industry about the need for consistently safe and high-quality products.”

READ MORE:

US spends most on this drug… and no one knows how it works

GMO potato seeks FDA approval, opponents say safety risks remain

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battlefield USA: American police ‘excessively militarized’ – ACLU study

RT | June 24, 2014

Inheriting both the weapons and the mindset of the US military, police are becoming militarized and ‘hyper aggressive’ in their approach to maintaining security on the streets of America. A new study calls on police not to treat people as ‘wartime enemies’.

The tragic story of Jose Guerena, 26, who served as a Marine in the Iraq War, only to be killed by ‘friendly fire’ at his home in Tucson, Arizona, is becoming a disturbingly familiar one across the country.

On the morning of May 5, 2011, Guerena’s wife alerted him when she heard strange sounds and the silhouette of a man standing outside their home. Guerena got his wife and child into a closet, grabbed his rifle, and went to investigate. This proved to be a deadly mistake. A SWAT team opened fire on Guerena, who died on his kitchen floor with multiple wounds and without medical attention.

As it later emerged, the SWAT unit raided a number of residences in the neighborhood, turning up nothing more than a small bag of marijuana. No drugs were found in the Guerenas’ home.

Created in the late 1960s as “quasi-militaristic” units designed to handle emergency situations such as riots, hostage scenarios, and active shooter situations, the number of SWAT squads have since surged, and are “used with greater frequency and, increasingly, for purposes for which they were not originally intended—overwhelmingly to serve search warrants in drug investigations,” according to an ACLU report, entitled ‘War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.’

The report examines 818 SWAT operations from July 2010 to last October, which were conducted by more than 20 law enforcement agencies in 11 states.

Today, paramilitary squads are better equipped to fight terrorists in foreign lands [occupations] than serve and protect US civilians at home, and are becoming a dark chapter to America’s newfound capacity for “needless violence” and treating its citizens like “wartime enemies,” it said.

The 98-page document details the militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies, courtesy of expensive federal programs, which are dispensing “weapons and tactics of war, with almost no public discussion or oversight.” Although explicitly aimed at fighting drugs, the strategy is backfiring, sowing fear and discord among citizens, many of whom are starting to fear police as much as criminals.

As the United States winds down its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, local police forces are getting the used ‘hand-me-downs’ from the US military. This makes some American communities resemble the latest occupied zones with police dressed in combat fatigues and driving MRAPs and carrying AR-15s down Main Street.

“Using these federal funds, state and local law enforcement agencies have amassed military arsenals purportedly to wage the failed War on Drugs… But these arsenals are by no means free of cost for communities. Instead, the use of hyper aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties,” according to the report.

One bit of curious hardware being distributed to local police forces from the government’s military closet is the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, which gives troops protection from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Using media sources, ACLU put the number of towns that now possess the armored carriers at around 500. Among the lucky recipients, Dallas, Texas, has one, as does Salinas, California and even the Utah Highway Patrol.

The report noted that even the Ohio State University Police own one of the MRAPs in order to give a sense of “presence” on big football game days.

The results of the report revealed a worrying trend: “If the federal government gives the police a huge cache of military-style weaponry, they are highly likely to use it, even if they do not really need to.”

Case in point: Gwinnett County, Georgia, which received at least 57 semi-automatic rifles, mostly M-16s and M-14s. One-third of the county’s SWAT deployments dealt with drug investigations; in half of them, the SWAT team broke down the door to get inside, “and there was no record in any of the reports that weapons were found.”

Other examples were provided in Concord, Keene, and Manchester, quaint New Hampshire towns in close proximity to each other, yet each took advantage of DHS grants to buy the military-grade armored BearCat (the amount of grants received by these agencies ranged from $215,000 to $286,000). Justifications for the need to acquire such vehicles pointed to weapons of mass destruction and the threat of terrorism.

The Keene police department, for example, cites in its application (which trumps Ohio State University’s need for armored vehicles to provide “presence” at big football games), the annual pumpkin festival as a potential terrorism target that requires the assistance of an APC.

Military-style mentality invades police

Another leftover from America’s military adventures abroad is the peculiar military mindset that allows US personnel to survive in hostile lands. Equally unsettling as spotting armored vehicles winding through the tree-lined streets of otherwise quiet American neighborhoods is the spectacle of local police officers receiving military-style combat training.

The US Department of Justice described the boot-camp conditions being used to train new police recruits.

According to a Bureau of Justice Report, “the majority of police recruits receive their training in academies with a stress-based military orientation. This begs the question: is this military model—designed to prepare young recruits for combat—the appropriate mechanism for teaching our police trainees how to garner community trust and partner with citizens to solve crime and public order problems?”

As a result, a so-called “warrior” mentality inside local police forces is “pervasive and extends well beyond hostage situations and school shootings, seeping into officers’ everyday interactions with their communities,” the report said.

The report describes a PowerPoint presentation that was delivered to Cary, North Carolina, SWAT team members entitled “Warrior Mindset/Chemical Munitions” for all Emergency Response Team personnel.

The National Tactical Officers Association (according to its website, the NTOA “strives to provide our members with the tools they need to protect an increasingly dangerous society”) urges trainees to “Steel Your Battlemind” and defines “battlemind” as “a warrior’s inner strength to face fear and adversity during combat with courage. It is the will to persevere and win. It is resilience.”

The question, however, is whether such an approach to policing is conducive to creating peace on the streets of America? An escalation of police operations going awry are growing cause for concern among civil rights groups.

In early June, for example, a toddler was severely burned and left unable to breathe on his own when a Georgia SWAT team tossed a flashbang grenade in his crib during a drug raid – over a single meth sale of $50. Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old, was asleep in his portable crib in the same room as his parents and three older sisters, when police opened the door to the converted garage and threw the stun grenade in.

In the ACLU’s study, SWAT units forced entry into a person’s home using a battering ram or other breaching device in 65 percent of drug searches.

As the report emphasizes, the training documents do not suggest that SWAT teams “should constrain their soldier-like tactics to terrorism situations.” Moreover, the majority of SWAT raids examined for the report “took place in the context of serving search warrants at people’s homes—not in response to school shootings or bombings.”

The survey discovered that 62 percent of SWAT missions were for drug searches. Some 79 percent involved raids on private homes, and a similar proportion were carried out with warrants authorizing searches. However, just 7 percent of the incidents fell into those categories for which SWAT was originally designed to handle, such as hostage situations or shootings.

It is this type of military mindset, compounded with excessive firepower, which is turning many American communities into veritable tinderboxes, which only requires the slightest provocation to spiral into senseless violence and death.

The survey, which provided a small picture of the overall trend, reported seven cases where civilians died in connection with the deployment of SWAT units, two of which appeared to be suicides. Another 46 individuals were injured, often as the result of physical force by officers.

Background: ‘It’s a war zone in the US’ – Interview with Indiana sheriff

Update: ACLU sues Mass. SWAT agency for refusing to release records

June 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment