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March 2013

I think we’ve all heard about the controversy regarding vaccines and whether they are good for your kids. In fact, most people know people on both sides of the aisle, parents who vaccinate their kids and think people who do not are nuts, as well as people who wouldn’t vaccinate their child in a million years and would prefer to take their chances.

I personally know people on both sides of this issue, and they all make valid points that are right for their families. I honestly never really paid too much attention to this issue, until I decided to have kids of my own. When you have to decide one way or the other on vaccinating your child, you truly feel like you are taking their health into your hands, no matter which way you lean.

It is hard to know which end is up in this debate since there are so many different viewpoints and no real evidence that can be proven as fact.

No wonder everyone is so confused, even the medical community seems completely clueless about what the truth really is. Even doctors who are on the side of vaccinating your children usually say it is because the alternative, serious illness is a terrible alternative. But what about the fact that chances are your child would never get any of these illnesses anyway? Or that the vaccinations themselves may cause life changing medical problems that are more terrible than the illnesses they are trying to prevent? The chances are small enough that many parents are deciding to take that risk.

In the United States people get in line yearly for their flu shots and all kinds of other vaccines with complete trust that they will be protected from illness. In all actuality, some vaccines may be riskier than the diseases themselves. In the 70’s, the last time there was a true mass epidemic of the swine flu, the vaccination caused more deaths than the flu itself.

Sure, the rates of serious illnesses that we are vaccinated for can be clearly shown to have decreased over 90% since vaccinations have been used. While this number is remarkable, we don’t live in a third world country where these diseases are prevalent. We don’t even hear of most of these diseases anymore, and the risks are lower than ever.

Current studies show that approximately 50% of Americans are fearful of vaccinations. Naturally parents are hesitant before vaccinating their babies without fully understanding the risks, but they are often not given the facts or a choice in the matter by their doctors.

Many doctors, parents and others in the medical community feel strongly that there is a clear link between vaccines and autism. Just think, 30 years ago most people had never heard of autism, but now approximately 1-2 % of children will be diagnosed with autism in their lives. There has to be something to this.

So while some people say this is just coincidence, the real shock is when you look at entire communities that do not use vaccines at all, like the Amish community, where there are actually no cases of Autism, at all. While some believe they are just not diagnosed, many others think it is because they stay away from vaccinations and the dangerous mercury that vaccinations include.

Many vaccines actually have viruses in them. Seriously. You are injecting yourself with a live virus to try to avoid catching an alternative disease, which you may not have any chance of catching in the first place. Does this sound crazy to you too? One vaccine for cervical cancer has been found to actually kill or cripple people who have taken it.

So it is hard to imagine that the medical community in the United States tells people that vaccines are safe and encourage parents to vaccinate their kids.

In many cases, the risk of side effects or other illnesses as a result of a vaccine is significantly higher than the cases out there of what you are being vaccinated for. Often these are severe, but extremely rare diseases that have not been around for years that are virtually no risk. Why would you put your children in harm’s way for such a slim chance?

Flu shots which include mercury, are toxic. The National Institute of Health admits that mercury is toxic, even in very small amounts, but it remains in vaccinations. Just the flu shot contains ingredients that cause symptoms like:  allergic reactions, death, neurological problems, dementia, convulsions, speech problems, respiratory problems, issues with intestines or liver, skin disorders, cancer cells, and more.

There are numerous cases where children were developing normally until they received these vaccinations, when their behavior almost immediately changed. These children went from being engaged, happy 12- 16 month old children, and then after receiving vaccinations, their speech and other abilities declined, eventually leading into autism. There are thousands of reports of this happening, so it is far from a standalone case.

Many parents who have sworn off vaccinations are also reporting that their kids are healthier than other kids who have been vaccinated overall, lessen chances of regular day to day illness.

So why on earth would anyone intentionally put these chemicals into their children when the risks are not there? Don’t just listen to your doctor and do what everyone else does because it is the recommended procedure. Do the proper research and understand the risks of all vaccinations and the chances that your child may wind up with autism.

For example, there have been absolutely zero cases of polio in the United States since 1979. Are you worried that your child will become the first to catch polio in over 20 years; worried enough to get a potentially harmful vaccine to prevent it, when there are such low risks to be worried about?

While autism and other diseases have not been directly tied back to vaccinations as the 100% solidified cause, vaccinations and the prevalence of mercury are so apparent and obvious lines have been drawn to show that vaccinations should be avoided. Every parent needs to make their own decision, but before trusting your doctor that vaccinations are the way to go, get multiple opinions and truly consider your risk before doing so.


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Nobody Knows What Happens When You Inject People with GM Vaccines

There have been some fair warnings, though. In 2006, researchers wrote in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health:

“Genetically modified (GM) viruses and genetically engineered virus-vector vaccines possess significant unpredictability and a number of inherent harmful potential hazards… Horizontal transfer of genes… is well established. New hybrid virus progenies resulting from genetic recombination between genetically engineered vaccine viruses and their naturally occurring relatives may possess totally unpredictable characteristics with regard to host preferences and disease-causing potentials.

…There is inadequate knowledge to define either the probability of unintended events or the consequences of genetic modifications.”

Though this was six years ago, little has changed even as the technology has advanced. Today we have several different types of GM vaccines in production, development or research phases, such as:

DNA vaccines: DNA for a microbe’s antigens are introduced into the body, with the expectation that your cells will take up that DNA, which then instructs your cells to make antigen molecules. As the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (a division of the National Institutes of Health) put it, “In other words, the body’s own cells become vaccine-making factories.”

Naked DNA vaccines: A type of DNA vaccine in which microscopic particles coated with DNA are administered directly into your cells.

Recombinant Vector vaccines: Similar to DNA vaccines, but they use a virus or bacteria to act as a vector (or “carrier) to introduce microbial DNA into your cells.

There are experimental GM vaccines being developed that use tumorigenic cancer cells and cells from humans, dogs, monkeys, cows, pigs, rodents, birds and insects. What happens when foreign DNA is inserted into the human body is a mystery. Will it trigger undesirable changes in human cells or tissues? Will it combine or exchange genetic material with human DNA? Will it transfer to future generations? No one knows…

“We don’t know what portion of the [GM] DNA can be incorporated into our own genome, we don’t know what portion could be inheritable to our children, we also don’t know what happens when the immune system is exposed to DNA that has been recombined in lots of ways that the human body, through the course of time, has never had any exposure to… what diseases of the immune system may occur because of these exposures,” Debold said.

“Use of foreign DNA in various forms has the potential to cause a great deal of trouble, not only because there is the potential for it to recombine with our own DNA, there is the potential for it to turn the DNA ‘switches,’ the epigenetic parts of the DNA, on and off.”

Vaccine Adjuvants Used in GM Vaccines May be Even More Toxic Than Usual

An adjuvant is added to a vaccine in order to boost the body’s immune reaction to the viral or bacterial antigen contained in a vaccine. Under ideal circumstances, the antigen is what your body responds to and makes antibodies against (e.g. the lab altered viral or bacterial organisms being injected). By boosting your body’s immune response in this artificial way, the vaccine manufacturer can use a smaller amount of antigen, which makes production less expensive and the product more profitable (although definitely not safer, as adjuvants are usually foreign substances, metals or chemicals which can cause the immune system to overreact and attack the host body.)

Aluminum is a common vaccine adjuvant and also a well-known neurotoxin that can cause chronic inflammation in the body, including the brain. Although aluminum adjuvants have been added to inactivated vaccines used for decades in the U.S., aluminum-based adjuvants are not strong enough for GM vaccines, according to Debold, so drug companies are primarily interested in using oil-based adjuvants, like squalene, and other substances that can hyper-stimulate the body’s immune response.

While oil-based vaccine adjuvants like squalene have been proven to generate powerful acute inflammatory immune responses that stimulate increased production of antibodies, they have also been associated with unresolved, chronic inflammation in the body that can cause brain and immune system dysfunction, including autoimmune diseases. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far not licensed any vaccines distributed in the U.S. that contain squalene as an adjuvant, squalene adjuvants are used in some vaccines sold in Europe and other countries.

GM Vaccines You May Have Given to Your Kids…

Many are unaware that, despite the completely unknown long-term health consequences, GM vaccines are already in use and have been administered to American infants, children and adults for many years. Among them:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine: An inactivated recombinant DNA vaccine licensed for newborn infants and children in 1991, in which parts of the hepatitis B virus gene are cloned into yeast
  • Rotavirus vaccine: Live attenuated vaccines first licensed for infants and children licensed in 2006, which either contain genetically engineered human rotavirus strains or human-bovine hybridized reassortment rotavirus strains
  • HPV vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix): A recombinant vaccine licensed in 2006, which is prepared from virus-like particles (VLP’s) and may also include use of an insect-cell Baculovirus expression vector system for production

Then there are those “hybrid” vaccines that cross the (very narrow) threshold into the GM food realm… for instance, goats are being genetically engineered to become “pharm animals” that carry vaccines in their milk. If the experiments being conducted by researchers from Texas A&M are successful, they will produce an “edible” malaria vaccine, with the ultimate goal being that children drinking the milk will become vaccinated in the process. If vaccines in your milk sounds a bit to “out there,” it shouldn’t, as there are many connections between the companies that make GM food and those that make GM vaccines.

The Close Ties Between GM Foods and GM Vaccines

The companies that make vaccines and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are deeply intertwined, only recently spinning off or merging to specialize in one or the other. Most vaccine revenues are earned by five companies that together held nearly 80 percent of the market in 2010:

  • Sanofi Pasteur
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Merck & Co.
  • Pfizer
  • Novartis

These companies, which use genetic engineering to produce vaccines, are also primarily responsible for the introduction of genetic engineering into the food supply. For instance:

  • Genetic engineering giant Syngenta (third in total sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market) is the progeny of parent companies Novartis and AstraZeneca.
  • In 2001, Bayer CropScience became a leading genetically engineered crop producer with its purchase of Aventis’ agribusiness division.
  • In 2004, Aventis merged with and into Sanofi. The new Sanofi-Aventis Group became the world’s 3rd largest pharmaceutical company. Aventis Pasteur, the vaccine division of Sanofi-Aventis Group, changed its name to Sanofi Pasteur. Sanofi Pasteur is the vaccines division of Sanofi Group. It is the largest company in the world devoted entirely to vaccines.
  • Prior to splitting its genetically engineered crop business from its vaccine business, Aventis was known primarily for the StarLink corn debacle (a type of GM corn grown for use in animal feed that contaminated the U.S. food supply in 2000). Bayer now sells Aventis’s Liberty Link crops, engineered to tolerate high doses of the company’s toxic herbicide called Liberty (glufosinate).
  • Stauffer Seeds was a spin-off of Stauffer Chemical, formerly a division of Novartis. Stauffer Seeds and Prodigene conducted clinical trials on pigs using an edible vaccine for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) expressed in corn.
  • Prodigene was caught contaminating the food supply with its edible vaccine and the company went out of business, but not before it received a $6-million investment from the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, chaired by Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Vilsack, now the Obama Administration’s USDA Secretary, didn’t want any restrictions placed on experimental pharma crops. In reaction to suggestions that pharma crops should be kept away from food crops, Vilsack argued that ‘we should not overreact and hamstring this industry.’0
  • Prior to 1997, Monsanto (the world leader in GM crops) operated under three parts, the Ag Business (for agricultural products), the Chemicals Business, and the Pharmaceuticals Business, which is now Pharmacia, a subsidiary of Pfizer, the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world and the largest manufacturer of vaccines for food animals.
  • GlaxoSmithKline, while producing few products for food or agriculture, has been genetically engineering plants, animals and microorganisms for use in vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medical research.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet Supporting Propagation of Both Vaccines and GMOs

The most influential, and, of course, richest advocates for genetic engineering and vaccines are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. They have business as well as philanthropic interests in these technologies and their Gates Foundation (Buffet has donated over $1.5 billion to the Foundation) allows them to mix business with philanthropy.

They  –  and the corporations they invite to join them – use the tax shelter of a non-profit organization to invest in for-profit enterprises. Gates & Buffet get tax write-offs for putting money in their foundation, but their foundation can give money (both as grants & investments) directly to for-profit corporations creating for-profit products.

This, obviously, creates huge conflict of interests.

For instance, Monsanto and other biotech companies have collaborated with the Gates Foundation via the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to promote the use of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa. The Gates Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to AGRA, and in 2006 Robert Horsch was hired for the AGRA project. Horsch was a Monsanto executive for 25 years. In a nutshell, the project may be sold under the banner of altruism and ‘sustainability,’ but in reality it’s anything but. It’s just a multi-billion dollar enterprise to transform Africa into a GM-crop-friendly continent. The Foundation has also invested heavily in Monsanto stock, purchasing over $23 million worth in 2010.

The Gates Foundation is also closely partnered with Big Pharma, to whom Bill Gates pledged $10 billion to distribute and administer multiple vaccines to children around the world. This, too, is billed as a humanitarian effort to save lives, but what children living in poverty in developing countries need most is healthy, plentiful  food, clean water, better sanitation and improved living conditions. These are the keys to preventing the spread of infectious disease, and they appear to be wholly ignored by Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and non-profit organizations with financial ties to Big Pharma – at the children’s expense.

The Gates Foundation is even funding surveillance of anti-vaccine groups, and the following vaccine companies are supported by the Foundation through both investments and philanthropic projects:

  • Sanofi
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Novartis

Important Movements on the Horizon for Both GM Foods and Vaccines

It’s important to get all the facts before making your decision about vaccination; and to understand that in many state public health laws you still have the legal right to opt out of using a vaccine that you or your child do not want to receive. At present, all 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination (medical exemptions must be approved by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and 17 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.

However, Washington state now requires parents to obtain the signature of a medical doctor or state-designated medical worker to obtain a philosophical exemption to vaccination. That is because non-medical vaccine exemptions have been restricted in Washington and Vermont and are under attack in California and New Jersey, while there is evidence that medical trade association lobbyists will be working to eliminate or severely restrict vaccine exemptions in Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Colorado and many other states.

Health liberty in America is being threatened by forced vaccination proponents employed by federal and state health departments, who are working with pharmaceutical companies and with Pharma-funded non-profit organizations to encourage government-enforced implementation of “no exceptions” one-size-fits-all vaccine laws. If you want to protect YOUR freedom to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions in America, you need to take action today. (National vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact).

Signing up to be a user of NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal at gives you access to practical, useful information to help you communicate with your elected state legislators and become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen, you will be put in contact with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard.

I also recommend that you join NVIC on facebook, and if you can contribute monetarily, doing so at

As for GM foods, you can help to pass the United States’ first GMO labeling law – Proposition 37 – that will require labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients – and ban the routine industry practice of labeling and marketing such foods as “natural.” Prop 37 is the best chance we have of defeating the corporate agri-giants, and of forcing food manufacturers to stop hiding dangerous ingredients in our food, without our knowledge.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.

  • No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
  • If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
  • For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
  • Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

Dr. Mercola interviews Vicky Debold about GMO Vaccines (click on this link)


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Colorado and Washington are racing to meet deadlines for setting up a framework to regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use, even as federal authorities weigh the future of the new industry.

Colorado has given its Revenue Department until July 1 to draft rules for pot farming, distribution and retailing after voters legalized possession by adults and sales in stores. Washington has set Dec. 1 as its deadline to have regulations in place.

 Enlarge image
States Legalizing Pot Race to Define Regulation for Market
States Legalizing Pot Race to Define Regulation for Market

Dean J. Koepfler/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT/Getty Images

Washington state has a proposed law that will allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana under government control and taxation.

Washington state has a proposed law that will allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana under government control and taxation. Photographer: Dean J. Koepfler/Tacoma News Tribune/MCT/Getty Images

Legalized Pot Spurs New Gold Rush to Washington

March 6 (Bloomberg) — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn talks with Bloomberg’s Alison Vekshin about the city’s preparations for the legal sale of marijuana.     In November Washington voters approved a ballot initiative making it legal for those 21 and older to have marijuana, allowing commercial storefronts to sell it. (Source: Bloomberg)
Legalized Pot Fever Spurs New Gold Rush to Colorado

March 6 (Bloomberg) — Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney, talks with Bloomberg’s Jennifer Oldham about the possible impact of the legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana in Colorado on the state’s economy.     Colorado voters approved an initiative and Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order that allows adults 21 and over to possess an ounce of marijuana.  (Source: Bloomberg)

“This is brand new and unprecedented,? said Colorado state Representative Dan Pabon, appointed to Governor John Hickenlooper’s task force to devise how to implement the law. “There’s not a lot of evidence we can look to, other than using deductive reasoning, to determine the best course.?

Both states are proceeding knowing they could be stopped at any point by the federal government, which deems marijuana a controlled substance and cracked down on state-sanctioned medical-marijuana operations in California in 2011.

“We are considering what the federal response to those new statutes will be,? U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today. “We will have the ability to announce what our policy will be relatively soon.?

In a letter to the committee, nine former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs urged “federal intervention and preemption? to stop legalization in Colorado and Washington to protect the nation’s health and safety.

$35 Billion Market

Estimates for the market, if legalized nationwide, vary from $10 billion to $120 billion a year, with $35 billion to $45 billion being likely, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Tax collections from such sales could reach $9 billion to as much as $20 billion, according to Brad Barker, a Bloomberg Industries analyst, who cited projections by the Cato Institute, a nonprofit research group, and the Congressional Research Service in a March 1 report.

Save prostitution in Nevada, few examples exist of industries that are legal at the state level while restricted by federal law. State officials are without a framework for building a legal industry out of an underground one.

The closest parallel is Prohibition, an era ushered in by the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in 1920 forbade the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol. It was repealed in 1933 under the 21st Amendment, which gives states authority to regulate the sale of alcohol within their borders.

One key difference is that infrastructure, such as former bars and breweries, remained in place for use when alcohol was allowed again.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana dispensaries in both states are interested in converting their business into distributors of recreational pot. Colorado is home to about 500 dispensaries. Washington has no estimate, according to Donn Moyer, a spokesman for the state health department.

Shy Sadis, 40, founder and chief executive officer of The Joint, a Seattle-based medical-marijuana dispensary opened in 2010, wants to transform his shop to a retail store once the new rules go into effect.

“We want to be for-profit instead of nonprofit,? he said. “It’s going to make my sales jump tremendously.?

Attorneys, real estate agents, insurers and accountants also are tapping in.

“We predict the market will be four to five times bigger than the current market,? said Brian Vicente, a Denver-based lawyer who said he has advised many of Colorado’s medical- marijuana dispensary operators. “There are about 500,000 people who admit to using medical marijuana once a month, so quite a few people who are not medical marijuana patients will be going to these new stores.?

Growth Expectations

Vicente, who co-authored Amendment 64, the Colorado initiative that legalized recreational marijuana use, said he tripled his office space in February to deal with an influx of new business when he moved from a cramped third-story walk-up into a brick mansion across the street.

“We’re at the dawn of a new industry,? Vicente said. “We’re looking essentially at going from an annual business of zero to an annual business of hundreds of millions of dollars in just a few years.?

In Washington, Robert McVay, a lawyer with Seattle-based Harris & Moure PLLC, which has helped open medical-marijuana dispensaries in the state, said the new law is conservative about retail pot sales and use.

Not Amsterdam

“People want to open things like Amsterdam-style cafes, but frankly it’s not allowed under current law,? he said. “A lot of these extravagant and unique business ideas that are brought to us — we have to rain on people’s parades.?

Adults ages 21 and older already can legally possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for recreational use in the two states. Marijuana sales remain illegal until the new rules are put in place.

A Colorado task force of state officials and legislators, dispensary representatives and residents completed work last week on plans to recommend that lawmakers draft bills to allow purchases by out-of-state visitors, restrict advertising, include the drug in a ban on smoking at bars and restaurants, and require labels on potency.

Colorado’s legislature, which adjourns May 8, is required under the ballot initiative to revise the criminal code so adults 21 and over can possess an ounce of marijuana and consider how to impose a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales.

Industry Taxes

In Washington, where producers, processors and retailers will each pay a 25 percent tax on their selling price to the state liquor board, licenses for marijuana growers may be available by midyear and at year-end for retailers.

The state liquor board is seeking public input through forums that have been standing room only, said Brian Smith, an agency spokesman.

“There’s a lot of passion about this issue,? Smith said. “Many would like to see it limited to small growers.?

Seattle also favors opportunities for small, locally owned companies over bigger firms, said Mayor Mike McGinn, who backs the measure and spoke at his first marijuana trade association meeting in January.

Mayoral Support

“This is kind of stock and trade for mayors to go to trade associations and talk to them about what’s happening in government and how we can help their business — first time ever for marijuana,? McGinn said in a telephone interview. “And what was unusual about it is it was just like all the other trade-association meetings I’ve been to.?

In Denver, the City Council will decide in April whether to opt out of Amendment 64, joining scores of other Colorado communities in forsaking recreational marijuana.

The question of whether the federal government will prevent implementation of the new laws is creating uncertainty for state regulators. Colorado’s Hickenlooper, 61, is in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver on the matter, said Eric Brown, a spokesman. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, 62, met in January with Holder to discuss the issue. Both governors are Democrats.

Other obstacles include a provision in the federal tax code that prevents state-licensed, medical-marijuana businesses from deducting expenses including advertising, rent and payroll costs, said Vicente, the Denver lawyer.

Bank Interest

U.S. banks, which are supervised by federal agencies and subject to federal rules, can’t offer services to the industry, including business loans.

Some banks “would welcome the opportunity to offer the services but they can’t because of the federal government,? said Robert Rowe, senior counsel at the American Bankers Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. “They’re afraid of what would happen if they tried to do something.?

Congress must remove the controlled substance designation from marijuana for banks to work with pot businesses, Rowe said in a telephone interview.

A proposal to make that change was introduced yesterday in Congress by U.S. Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat.

In Seattle, The Joint’s Sadis predicts the city will become the next Amsterdam.

“People are going to be coming here and when they come here they’re going to want to get off the plane and experience cannabis,? said Sadis, who said he plans to expand his business.

“It’s such a great feeling to be one of the pioneers of this industry and seeing where it’s going to go in the future,? Sadis said.

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FOR the first time since 2009, there may be signs of a break in the deadlock over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran entered the latest talks with a slightly softened position. That is good news, but the United States will have to change its negotiating strategy to take advantage of it.

Economic sanctions are biting hard in Iran. Meanwhile, its strategic position is crumbling because of the turmoil in its ally Syria and the rise of militant Sunni Islamism throughout the Arab Middle East. Together, these forces seem to have forced Iran to reconsider its own bargaining position.

So rather than strengthen sanctions another notch, America should give Iran a little tit for tat: begin negotiating directly, and put on the table the prospect of lifting sanctions, one by one, as bargaining chips.

The United States should shift from trying to further intimidate Iran to trying to clinch an agreement. The sanctions have given America leverage, and we should use it to seek a deal that would finally restrict Iran’s ability to make bomb fuel, rather than ratchet up the pressure in the hopes of getting either a broader deal now or a total surrender later.

The problem with just standing tough is that it is likely to backfire; Iran is understandably nervous, and if it thinks America is intransigent, it might double down on its nuclear program, speeding it up past a point of no return.

Hints of progress were seen at the round of talks in Kazakhstan last month. The United States, negotiating together with Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, proposed only small steps that would slightly ease American-imposed restrictions (allowing Iran to again trade in gold and silver, and to obtain spare parts for civilian aircraft), while insisting on stringent demands that Iran give up its ability to highly enrich uranium and use it to build nuclear weapons. Somewhat surprisingly, Iran said the proposal was welcome but not enough — and that it would respond in a few weeks. That contrasted with its previous pattern of flatly rejecting the other side’s proposals.

In 2009 and 2010, Iran sent another signal, in the form of a proposal worked out with Brazil and Turkey, that it might agree to export much of its more highly enriched uranium in exchange for being allowed to enrich it to a level suitable for nuclear power and medical uses. But the United States and its partners dismissed the offer as propaganda, largely because Iran had not made it directly, and because Iran would have still retained enough fuel to start building bombs later.

The new pressures on Tehran, its milder tone in the talks and its past signals that it might consider restricting enrichment levels suggest that Iran may be ready for productive bargaining. So the United States should be open to that possibility when talks resume in the coming days, and make new proposals to determine how serious the Iranians are.

Since 2003, Washington has relied on sanctions to bring Iran to the international bargaining table. But the Bush and Obama administrations have done more sanctioning than negotiating — partly because putting pressure on Iran is popular in America, while making deals with Iran is not. Rather than pushing for a negotiated solution to the crisis, Washington has often seemed to be holding out for Iran to simply capitulate.

But that only undermines the original purpose of the sanctions — to resolve the crisis without war — because sanctions can be a two-edged sword. The more pressure they exert, the more suspicious Iran’s leaders get about America’s real intentions. The more suspicious they are, the more they want a nuclear program. And the closer they get to their nuclear goals, the more they feel able to resist new pressure.

Iran’s leaders already suspect that America’s real goal is to overthrow their Islamic republic; at the same time, their citizens bitterly resent the sanctions, and generally support the idea of an Iranian nuclear program. Their leaders remember the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein violated international law by using chemical weapons and was never punished for it. Iran’s leaders concluded that they were vulnerable to aggression by their better-armed Arab neighbors, and that international agreements offered no protection.

In other words, insecurity drives Iran’s nuclear ambition, and it leaves Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, convinced that if he were to give up Iran’s nuclear program entirely, as Libya did in the last decade, he would only invite the fate of Muammar el-Qaddafi. That logic — if Iran is going to face sanctions anyway, better to face them with the bomb than without — has produced a saying in Tehran these days: “Better to be North Korea than Iraq.? Still, Iran’s leaders and citizens clearly want the sanctions lifted, and they may now be signaling a way out of the deadlock.

It’s time for the United States to test the leaders’ real intentions and offer them a path to rejoining the international community.

The committee of six nations involved in the Iran talks has achieved its original goal: to confront Iran with a united front. So the other five, whose differing agendas inevitably complicate the bargaining, should step aside and leave the United States to one-to-one talks with Iran.

And rather than offering only vague promises that serious concessions might be rewarded someday by dropping all the sanctions as a package, Washington should offer to do away with specific sanctions, piece by piece, in exchange for specific Iranian concessions. In that way, both sides might begin dismantling the most dangerous aspects of Iran’s nuclear program in incremental, verifiable ways.

Of course, Iran might lose enthusiasm for negotiations as the sanctions disappear. But by then, if its first concessions had been substantial, it would have given up critical pieces of its nuclear program, leaving the world a little safer.

By: Vali Nasr, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of the forthcoming book “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat.?

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By: PF Louis

Aaron Dykes of Prison Planet recently gave an insightful TV news presentation analyzing The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s influence over the media to promote their “world health and agriculture” agendas while soft pedaling the downside of all they’re doing.

Such items as “Gates using his money to save lives … etc” have been appearing in several news outlets, including ABC news (2). Meanwhile, items that question Gates’ “philanthropic” endeavors are muffled or marginalized. Those endeavors deal with vaccinations, sterilization, and GMOs. These are depopulation favorites.

The Gates Foundation donated $1.5 million to ABC’s News Project “Be the change; Save a Life,” extolling the virtues of ensuring Africans don’t starve. The NY Times mentioned Gates as the principal private funding source and adviser for world food policy and agricultural development.

What’s really behind this media shell game

An audience tittered respectfully as Bill Gates once announced how vaccination programs could help reduce the world population by 15%. Those with megabucks tend to be idolized in this culture. They have an edge with getting away with such statements and also lying publicly. (Video Source 1 & 5) While defending childhood vaccinations in a TV interview, Gates lied so obviously about Dr. Andrew Wakefield that he had trouble speaking for a couple of moments. (Video Source 3)

Gates also promotes how GMOs will prove themselves in time, even as thousands of Indian farmers commit suicide because they’re trapped by Monsanto terminator seeds’ low cotton yields and terrible financial terms.

In addition, small farmers in other third world countries as well as in North America suffer negative consequences from Monsanto’s technology and mafia like policies. It’s no secret that Bill Gates has 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock, valued at $27 million.

This is an investment, not a grant, that gives him some say with Monsanto. A French/German public TV alliance did a great documentary in English a few years ago called “The World According to Monsanto.” How come so few world leaders and mainstream journalists ignore this gem? (Video Source 4)

Bill is shrewd enough to offer 78 grants at smaller amounts, $100,000 each, to cover as many depopulation tactics as possible. They include research for vaccine delivery mosquitoes to ultrasonic mechanisms for reducing human sperm counts (

Partners in crime

The Gates Foundation is in step with the Rockefeller foundation. At the turn of the 20th century, the original Rockefeller, John D. and family, managed to create the allopathic medical system and Big Pharma dominance that have become today’s Medical Mafia for profit and power. They were also and still are depopulation eugenicists.

Both foundations are financially linked with the evil Monsanto, Cargill (a large multinational food distributor), the Doomsday Seed Vault, AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunization).

America’s Green Revolution was initially funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1940s. It led to Big Ag’s mass monoculture farming that has depleted topsoil while demanding toxic pesticides and herbicides along with synthetic fertilizers that, in turn, help provide fluoride poisons for public water supplies.

All this farming and food distribution has fallen into fewer hands. Among them is Cargill. Control the food and you control the people. Of course, Cargill wants in on the action to exploit Africa with AGRA and Monsanto, the new “green revolution” group.

Just in case these billionaires destroy the food chain for most of the world, they’ll have the Doomsday Seed Bank for their future farming needs.

Along the way, Gates promoted and funded vaccinations that will assist the depopulation agenda through disease and infertility (5). Gates is now also partnered with Gardasil manufacturer Merck for research into creating infertility vaccines (

Sources for this article include:






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Untold thousands of people from nearly all 50 U.S. states have continued to flood hospital emergency rooms in recent weeks due to widespread outbreaks of flu-like symptoms. And because many of these people have already been vaccinated for the flu this season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is basically having to admit that the flu shot is not nearly as effective as we have all been told it is — but be sure to get it anyway (they continually say).

As reported by CBS News, the most recent statistics show that at least 24 states and New York City are experiencing “high activity of influenza-like illness,” and another 16 states are reporting moderate activity, despite the warmer-than-normal winter in many places throughout the country. And since it is so early into the so-called “flu season,” officials are scrambling to make sense of the situation, especially as it is becoming painfully obvious that flu shots simply do not work.

Even though about 65 percent of adults 65 years of age and older get a flu shot every year, this age group continues to be the most hard hit by influenza. Even children are falling victim to the flu, as more than 20 children from across the U.S., according to FOX News, have died in recent weeks due to flu complications. As reported by various news sources, many of these children and others had been vaccinated for the flu, illustrating its ineffectiveness.

“[T]hese early [vaccine effectiveness] estimates underscore that some vaccinated persons will become infected with influenza,” admitted CDC researchers in a new study published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This same report admits that flu vaccines are also only about 60 percent effective at preventing the flu, based on infection rates in recent years.

Flu vaccine is actually less than two percent effective, based on the figures

But as we reported back in 2011, the data the CDC is using to claim even a 60 percent effectiveness rate for the flu shot is largely misinterpreted. Only about 2.7 in 100 adults gets the flu every year on average, according to the Lancet published meta-analyses that the CDC is referring to with its 60 percent effectiveness claim. But when you introduce vaccines into the picture, that number only drops by 1.5 percent.

In other words, flu vaccines have an effectiveness rate of only about 1.5 percent, according to the Lancet study that health authorities now routinely use to claim that flu vaccines are effective. When you take into account possible margins of error and other discrepancies, the true effectiveness of the flu shot is negligible, based on all available data.

What this means, of course, is that the CDC and various other major mouthpieces for public health are struggling to maintain the flu vaccine lie, as no matter how many people get the flu shot, flu outbreaks only continue to intensify. If anything, this shows that widespread malnutrition, lack of vitamin D, and toxic environments, and not a lack of flu shots, is to blame for the current flu epidemic.

To learn more about how to prevent and beat the flu naturally, check out this helpful article by Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D., of the Center for New Medicine:

Sources for this article include


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Poison On The Platter looks at the GM issue through the lens of activists, scientists and ordinary citizens. It brings alive the various shades of the GM issue such as the scientific evidences against GM food from lab rat studies, the GM disasters such as L-Tryptothan, the story of Bt Cotton and farmer suicides in India and protests across the world against GM food.


In fact the overwhelming consensus of the FDA’s own scientists, were that genetically engineered foods were unsafe and could lead to allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. The person in charge of policy who overruled and ignored the scientists had been recruited to the FDA from Monsanto’s law firm and later became Monsanto’s vice president.

I’m not against genetic engineering per say. Genetic engineering can be applied to human gene therapy. It can be creating medicines in the laboratory under very carefully watched conditions. But we should not feed the products of infant science to millions of people or release into the environment where it can never be recalled. We don’t understand the language of the DNA. Yes, I am for DNA research. Genetic engineer in laboratories in carefully controlled condition, but not in my intestines, not in my environment.

Soy allergies skyrocketed in the UK soon after GM soy was introduced into the country.

This is one of the most dangerous technologies ever introduced on Earth and it is being deployed in our food supply.

NEW YORK – So the Dow Jones industrial average broke a record this month. Now what?

It’s impossible to predict how the Dow, that popular barometer of the stock market, will zig and zag from here. The only thing certain about the market is that there will be more peaks and valleys ahead, and that’s about as specific as a fortune cookie.

But we can look at the previous times the Dow burst through a record, and measure how long it kept rising and why it eventually stopped — ending the bull market.  And what does history show?

After it broke one record, the Dow kept rising for nearly nine years. After another, it rose for seven years, and after another, for five. But after one, it topped out just two months later. In most cases, the bull run ended because inflation and interest rates were rising and investors feared a recession loomed. Those conditions don’t exist today.

The Dow closed at 14,253.77 on March 5, beating its October 2007 record by 89 points. In the eight trading days since, it has risen on seven of them, setting a record each time. Its only down day was Friday.

So far, its highest close ever was Thursday, when it reached 14,539.14.

Here are previous long-held Dow records since World War II, when they were broken and what happened after. Jamie Farmer, a managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, helped with the calculations.

_RECORD DAY: Nov. 23, 1954. The Dow breaks the record that had stood since September 1929, closing at 382.74.

_RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for seven years, gains 92 percent and peaks at 734.91 on Dec. 13, 1961.

The Dow’s record-breaking day in 1954 was a long time coming. It had been 25 years since the index hit 381.17 on Sept. 3, 1929, when the Roaring Twenties were still roaring.  The Dow plunged in the Great Depression and bottomed at 41.22 in 1932 — down an astonishing 89 percent from the 1929 peak. For the rest of the 1930s, it never came close to regaining all its losses. The highest it reached was 194.40 in 1937 — still down nearly 50 percent from the 1929 high.

During World War II, from 1941 to 1945, the Dow rose to 174. Peacetime spurred it even higher, helped by a baby boom and a desire to spend after years of rationing. The U.S. became the world’s powerhouse economy because the economies of Europe and Japan were wrecked by the war.

After a late ’40s bear, the Dow went on a bull market run that lasted from 1949 to 1961, its longest ever.

On Dec. 13, 1961, the Dow finally peaked at 734.91, and then it languished. In the spring of 1962, President John F. Kennedy’s fight with Big Steel over the industry’s price increases made businesses nervous about how they’d fare under his tenure. Their apprehension deepened when Kennedy famously said, “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it til now!” (He said later that he didn’t mean to refer to the entire business community.)

By June 26, 1962, the index had fallen 27 percent from the previous year’s record, to 535.76.

_RECORD BREAKER: Sept. 5, 1963. The Dow breaks the record that had stood since 1961, closing at 737.98.

_RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for almost two and a half years, gains 35 percent and peaks at 995.15 on Feb. 9, 1966.

The Dow bounced back from its so-called “Kennedy Crash,” and on Sept. 5, 1963, it set a new all-time high, up 38 percent from its low in June 1962. President Kennedy had taken pains to reach out to businesses and promised lower taxes. The standoff with the Soviet Union in October 1962, a fight that came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, ended without war, which gave the market license to rise again.

On February 9, 1966, the Dow hit 995.15 and stopped rising. Investors went from planning Dow 1,000 celebrations to worrying that inflation was about to creep up and that the Vietnam War would drag on.

After the February 1966 record, the Dow fell 37 percent over about four years. It bottomed out on May 26, 1970, in the middle of a recession, at 631.16.

_RECORD BREAKER: Nov. 10, 1972. The Dow breaks the record that had stood since 1966, closing at 995.26.

_RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for two months, gains 6 percent and peaks at 1,051.70 on Jan. 11, 1973.

A new bull market began in May 1970, and the Dow rose 58 percent in two and a half years. By late 1972, cease-fire talks were under way for Vietnam, and investors were hopeful that the U.S. would soon pull out. Inflation had cooled to about 3 percent. Richard Nixon had just been re-elected in a landslide a few days before, beating George McGovern in every state but Massachusetts as well as D.C.

The New York Times captured the gleeful mood as the market approached its next goal post. “Tapewatchers around the nation,” the newspaper wrote, describing the Nov. 10, 1972, record day, “rooted with the zest of football fans.” Four days later, the index closed above 1,000 for the first time.

But the celebrations were short-lived. The Dow topped out two months later, on Jan. 11, 1973, at 1,051.70.  The crisis in Vietnam continued, inflation took off again, and oil prices soared that fall, triggered by an embargo against the U.S.

By Dec. 6, 1974, the country was stuck in recession and the Dow was down to 577.60, 45 percent below the record it had set the year before.

_ RECORD BREAKER: Nov. 3, 1982. The Dow breaks the record held since 1973, closing at 1,065.49.

_ RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for almost five years, gains 156 percent and peaks at 2,722.42 on August 25, 1987.

The Dow had to struggle to break the 1973 record. A severe recession hit in the mid ’70s and New York City veered near bankruptcy. Jimmy Carter, running for president in 1976, summarized the state of the economy by emphasizing the “misery index” — the inflation rate plus the unemployment rate. By 1980, things had yet to improve, and Carter lost his re-election bid. (Inflation was at nearly 13 percent in November 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the White House.)

In August 1982, another bull market began. By November of that year, the Dow finally beat the 1973 record. Reagan’s tax cuts were taking effect. Over the next five years, unemployment and inflation fell, and the economy grew rapidly. Baby boomers were buying homes, raising kids and spending. In 1987, the Dow had 55 record-breaking days. Its last was August 25, when it peaked at 2,722.42

Things unraveled quickly after that. On Oct. 19, 1987, investors panicked over whether the recent stock gains were just a bubble, and the Dow plunged 23 percent to 1,738.74. The fall was so abysmal that it remains the index’s biggest one-day percentage loss ever.

By the end of Black Monday, as it came to be known, the Dow was down 36 percent from the record it had set just two months before.

_RECORD BREAKER: August 24, 1989. The Dow breaks the record held since 1987, closing at 2,734.64.

_RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for almost a year, gains 10 percent and peaks at 2,999.75 on July 16, 1990.

The Dow recovered quickly from its Black Monday in 1987.

The Federal Reserve reassured investors by immediately cutting interest rates, a move meant to spur borrowing and lending, and declaring that it was ready “to support the economic and financial system.” Reagan insisted the economy was fundamentally sound. Soon enough, investors began to think of the one-day panic as a sign of scared stock traders and unwieldy computer trading, rather than an indictment of the broader economy.

Through 1988 and 1989, the economy kept expanding and unemployment stayed low. On Aug. 24, 1989, the Dow was up 57 percent from its Black Monday disaster and broke its August 1987 record.

It kept rising for almost a year. In the summer of 1990, it came agonizingly close to a 3,000 close, ending at 2,999.75 on both July 16 and 17. On the second day, traders at the New York Stock Exchange tossed paper in the air in celebration at the end of the day_ then realized, when the final figures were tallied, that the celebration was premature.

That same day, Saddam Hussein warned that Iraq would retaliate against other oil-exporting countries unless they curbed their production. Two weeks later, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Oil prices surged.

As the Gulf War ramped up, the Dow entered a brief bear market from July to October 1990, falling 21 percent.

_RECORD BREAKER: April 17, 1991. The Dow breaks the record held since 1990, closing at 3,004.46.

_RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for almost nine years, gains 290 percent and peaks at 11,722.98 on Jan. 14, 2000.

In October 1990, a new bull run began, one that would last through 2000. Its length was second only to the bull market that spanned the 1950s.

An early milestone of this bull run happened on April 17, 1991: The Dow reached 3,004.46, passing its July 1990 high and posting its first close above 3,000.

The index was up 27 percent from its October 1990 low during the Gulf War.

New technology like email, cell phones and, especially, personal computers, fueled a new era in workplace productivity. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, an encouragement to American investors. The Dow took off, and when there were unsettling developments in other parts of the world, like the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and crises in Russia and Brazil the following year, it kept rising anyway. The index cracked the 10,000 milestone in March 1999, and 11,000 barely a month later.

On Jan. 13, 2000, President Bill Clinton visited the New York Stock Exchange and told traders that he liked the way the market was looking. The next day, the Dow hit another record, 11,722.98.

The Dow started to fall the next trading day. The bubble made by technology stocks soon burst. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, uncertainty about the wars that would follow, and accounting scandals at companies like Enron, WorldCom and Tyco left investors shell-shocked.

By Oct. 9, 2002, the Dow had fallen to 7,286.27, down 38 percent from the 2000 record.

_ RECORD BREAKER: Oct. 3, 2006. The Dow breaks the record held since 2000, closing at 11,727.34.

_ RISE CONTINUES: It keeps rising for another year, gains 21 percent and peaks at 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007.

In October 2002, the Dow started another bull run. The market had gotten over the tech bubble bursting and was being fueled by an overexpansion of another sort, in the housing market. Low interest rates and easy access to credit enticed borrowers to buy homes they couldn’t afford. Banks and other lenders repackaged the mortgage loans into securities and dumped them on investors, freeing themselves up to make even more loans. Speculative buyers also helped push home prices unsustainably higher.

On Oct. 3, 2006, the Dow broke its 2000 record and closed at 11,727.34, up 61 percent from its October 2002 low.

It kept rising for another year, finally hitting 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007. But by then, hints of the financial crisis were emerging. The Fed was already cutting interest rates, a sign that it was worried about the economy. Home prices were cooling. Subprime mortgage giant New Century had collapsed that spring.  Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince was a month away from losing his job.

By fall 2008, the financial crisis was obvious. Wachovia, Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch were pushed into rescue mergers with other banks, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were basically taken over by the government.

The panic deepened. On March 9, 2009, as rumors flew that the banking industry would be seized by the government, the Dow fell to 6,547.05, down 54 percent from its 2007 record.

_RECORD BREAKER: March 5, 2013. The Dow breaks the record held since 2007, closing at 14,253.77.

By now, the cold fear of the financial crisis has receded, even if its effects linger. The recession has been over, technically anyway, for nearly four years.

Unemployment, if still high, is falling. The economy, while growing slowly, at least isn’t shrinking. Inflation is still low.

The Dow record doesn’t necessarily mean that investors believe the economy is fully healed. Rather, they’re confident that the Fed is willing to keep pumping money into it. They’ve learned to ignore budget fights in Washington.

It’s impossible to predict how long the bull run could continue. But so far, there aren’t all the tell-tale signs that it’s about to run out.


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A UN investigation into the legality and casualties of drone strikes has been formally launched, with a leading human rights lawyer revealing the team that will carry out the inquiry.

The announcement came as the latest reported US drone strike in Yemen was said to have mistakenly killed two children.

Ben Emmerson QC, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, told a London press conference that he will lead a group of international specialists who will examine CIA and Pentagon covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Emmerson press conference - copyright Bureau of Investigative Journalism 2013

Ben Emmerson QC addresses reporters in London (Photo: TBIJ)

The team will also look at drone strikes by US and UK forces in Afghanistan, and by Israel in the Occupied Territories. In total some 25 strikes are expected to be examined in detail.

The senior British barrister will work alongside international criminal lawyers, a senior Pakistani judge and one of the UK’s leading forensic pathologists, as well as experts from Pakistan and Yemen. Also joining the team is a serving judge-advocate with the US military ‘who is assisting the inquiry in his personal capacity.’

Emmerson told reporters: ’Those states using this technology and those on whose territory it is used are under an international law obligation to establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.’

But in the absence of such investigations by the US and others, the UN would carry out investigations ‘in the final resort’, he said.

Related story – UN team to investigate civilian drone deaths

Early signs indicate Emmerson’s team may have assistance from relevant states. He told journalists that Britain’s Ministry of Defence was already co-operating, and that Susan Rice, the US’s ambassador to the United Nations, had indicated that Washington ‘has not ruled out full co-operation.’

Those states using this technology and those on whose territory it is used are under an international law obligation to establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.’ Ben Emmerson QC

The UN Human Rights Council last year asked its special rapporteurs to begin an investigation after a group of nations including Russia, China and Pakistan requested action on covert drone strikes. Emmerson told the Bureau: ‘It’s a response to the fact that there’s international concern rising exponentially, surrounding the issue of remote targeted killings through the use of unmanned vehicles.’

Related story – Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

Emmerson said he expects to make recommendations to the UN general assembly by this autumn. His team will also call for further UN action ‘if that proves to be justified by the findings of my inquiry’.

He added: ‘This is not of course a substitute for effective official independent investigations by the states concerned.’

One area the inquiry is expected to examine is the deliberate targeting of rescuers and funeral-goers by the CIA in Pakistan, as revealed in an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times.

In October 2012 Emmerson said: ‘The Bureau has alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns [UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing] … has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.’

The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the UN inquiry, and called on the US to aid investigators. ‘Whether it does or not will show whether it holds itself to the same obligation to co-operate with UN human rights investigations that it urges on other countries,? said Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Programme.

Who’s who on the UN’s team

Dr Nat Cary – One of the UK’s most respected forensic pathologists, Cary is the president of the British Association of Forensic Medicine and has worked on high-profile cases including the second autopsy of Ian Tomlinson and that of Joanna Yeates. He is an expert in injuries caused by explosions.

Imtiaz Gul – Gul is an eminent observer of terrorism and security in Pakistan. The executive director of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies, which tracks terrorist activity and violence throughout Pakistan, he is also a prominent journalist. He has written four books on al Qaeda, the Taliban and Pakistan’s militants, and is a regular contributor to both Pakistani and international titles.

Abdul-Ghani Al-Iryani – A long-established analyst of and commentator on Yemeni politics, Iryani also leads the Democratic Awakening Movement. This campaign group, formed as President Saleh’s regime weakened during the Arab Spring, campaigns for human rights, strong civil society and the rule of law in Yemen.

Professor Sarah Knuckey – Human rights lawyer Knuckey runs the Global Justice Clinic at New York University’s law school. Last year she co-authored a major study into the impact of drones on civilians, Living Under Drones, which found that the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan had a ‘damaging and counterproductive’ effect on those who lived within the strike zone.

Lord Macdonald QC – A former director of public prosecutions for the UK government, Liberal Democrat peer Ken Macdonald is a leading defence barrister at Matrix Chambers, where Emmerson also practices. He has authored a major review of governmental counter-terrorism policy. He is chair of legal charity Reprieve’s board of trustees.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC – A war crimes specialist, Nice spent eight years as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, culminating in leading the team that prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic. Many of his cases still centre on international law and war crimes – and last year he caused controversy by questioning whether Sudan’s President Bashir was responsible for genocide in Darfur.

Captain Jason Wright – The US Army lawyer who defended Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in his trial for plotting the September 11 attacks, Wright spoke out about his client’s torture in Guantanamo Bay. He is now a judge-advocate with the US military and is assisting the inquiry in a personal capacity, Emmerson noted at the investigation’s launch.

Justice Shah Jehan Khan Yousafzai – Yousafzai has spent two decades as senior judge in the circuit of Peshawar high court, working in towns and cities adjacent to the Pakistani tribal regions that have been the epicentre of covert drone warfare. Peshawar high court has heard high-profile legal challenges to the drone campaign.

Jasmine Zerini – A former diplomat, Zerini is a specialist in Pakistan and Afghanistan, having worked as deputy director for South Asia for the French foreign ministry.


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Parents whose children are harmed or killed by allegedly defective vaccines  can’t sue the manufacturers for damages in state court and must instead accept  no-fault compensation from a national tribunal for vaccination injuries, a  federal appeals court ruled.

The Ninth U.S.  Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of a suit by a Las Vegas couple  whose baby son suffered seizures and died after an immunization shot, saying  such suits were precluded by a 1986 federal law.

The law established a “vaccine court” where those who claimed injuries from  vaccination must file their claims. If a hearing officer determined that the  harm was consistent with the vaccine’s known side effects, the victim would be  awarded compensation without having to prove that the manufacturer caused the  harm or acted negligently.

Vaccine makers who comply with Food  and Drug Administration requirements for product ingredients and labeling  are protected by the law from additional damage claims by the victim, or by the  heirs of a victim who died.

The law provided “easier and more certain compensation in exchange for  limited remedies within the traditional (court) system,” said Judge Sidney  Thomas in the 3-0 ruling.

He said Congress passed the law after hearing testimony that vaccines harmed  a very small number of people, but the resulting lawsuits were “threatening the  stability of the nation’s vaccination program.”

In this case, the child’s estate received $250,000, the maximum award for a  vaccine-related death, but far less than the damages typically awarded to heirs  in a wrongful-death suit. Lawyers for the parents argued that the law did not  apply to them, because only the child or his estate – not his heirs – can file  claims in the vaccine court, but the Ninth  Circuit disagreed.

Robert  Murdock, a lawyer for the parents, said the ruling unfairly denies  compensation to parents for the grief they suffer at the loss of a child. He  said his clients, Erin and Shawn  Holmes, would ask the full appeals court for a rehearing and take their case  to the Supreme  Court if necessary.

Nine days after the Holmes’ 1-year-old son, Jacob, was given a vaccine,  manufactured by Merck & Co., for measles, mumps and rubella, he started  suffering seizures and brain disorders known as encephalopathies. He died six  months later, in October 2002.

In their lawsuit, the parents claimed Merck had failed to warn families about  the danger of encephalopathies.

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