This blog began in 2007, focusing on anthrax vaccine, and later expanded to other public health and political issues. The blog links to media reports, medical literature, official documents and other materials.
Here we go again. Twenty-five years ago, the US intelligence community did not know that the USSR was about to fall. Since then, many hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent by the intelligence agencies, but they still missed the boat on the invasion of Crimea--a subject that should have been of utmost importance.
According to the Wall Street Journal, our spies did not know that Russia was about to invade Crimea. Even when they saw troops positioning, they failed to overhear phone calls that discussed the invasion. They had no clue the Russians were communicating using methods we hadn't tapped. They had no idea they were missing something.
Can NSA stop wasting money and talent on the easy targets (like you and me) and actually do what is supposedly (for no one without a very high clearance has ever seen NSA's charter) the job for which NSA was created: to protect the US from foreign enemies? "No statute establishes the NSA," former Senate intelligence committee chairman Frank Church reported, "or defines the permissible scope of its responsibilities." That is not very comforting. And whatever happened to HUMINT? Why did we have no spies on the ground in Crimea? From the WSJ:
U.S. military satellites spied Russian troops amassing within striking distance of Crimea last month. But intelligence analysts were surprised because they hadn't intercepted any telltale communications where Russian leaders, military commanders or soldiers discussed plans to invade.
America's vaunted global surveillance is a vital tool for U.S. intelligence services, especially as an early-warning system and as a way to corroborate other evidence. In Crimea, though, U.S. intelligence officials are concluding that Russian planners might have gotten a jump on the West by evading U.S. eavesdropping.
"Even though there was a warning, we didn't have the information to be able to say exactly what was going to happen," a senior U.S. official says...
U.S. officials haven't determined how Russia hid its military plans from U.S. eavesdropping equipment that picks up digital and electronic communications...
Inside Crimea, Russian troops exercised what U.S. officials describe as extraordinary discipline in their radio and cellphone communications. Remarks that were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies revealed no hint of the plans...
European Command officials again asked for more intelligence-collection resources. The military increased satellite coverage of Ukraine and Russia but couldn't steer too many resources away from Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and other hot spots, U.S. officials say. (With hundreds of orbiting satellites we couldn't do better?--Nass)
There were no Americans on the ground in Crimea to check reports of Russian military movements, U.S. officials say. The U.S. also didn't have drones overhead to gather real-time intelligence, officials say. That increased the U.S.'s reliance on satellite imagery and information gleaned from an analysis of social media, which was muddled by Russian disinformation. State Department officials declined to discuss any technical-intelligence activities.
If Mr. Putin decided to launch a takeover, many U.S. intelligence analysts thought he would use troops participating in the military exercises. Officials now say they underestimated the quality of Russian forces inside Crimea...
Meryl, enjoying spotting animals in the Thai jungle
Visiting tigers (inside the cages) in Chiang Mai
I think I'm in the wrong cage...
Night shot of a wild elephant
Canoodling at Elephant Nature Camp, Thailand
5 and 7 month olds playing
Mum and her 5 month old infant
Dusky Langur, curious about us humans in his territory
Self-satisfied Dusky Langur, after he relieved himself on me
Rhesus macaque: "I need three hands for this meal"
After swimming with dolphins at Key Largo, they checked me out at the edge of the pool
Visiting a Bhutanese Dzong, the regional seat of both government and religion (and a fort for good measure)
Why am I blogging?
Because life is meant to be lived! The left side of this blog has photos of some peak experiences. And the right side contains information about which I am passionate.
Too many peoples' lives are characterized by lack of authenticity, and fear of acknowledging and expressing their true nature. Employees cannot say what they think at work, and in the corporate system we must squish ourselves into square holes when we are round pegs. We thus lose touch with our souls, becoming cogs in a soulless, profit-driven machine.
The culture of political correctness has meant, in medicine, that we ignore how the foundations of our science are being undermined by commercialism. Clinical data generated or presented by the manufacturers of drugs, vaccines and devices cannot be trusted: there are hundreds of studies proving this. But this fraudulent information continues to be the only data informing the approval and use of vaccines, drugs and devices.
Unless scrupulous ethical conduct is demanded of physicians and biological scientists, our lack of meaningful standards will carry the medical-pharmaceutical system down the path of increasing irrelevance.
Medicine and its tools need to be affordable. The current medical-industrial milieu, characterized by contempt for science, countless ways for insiders to achieve wealth due to failure of good governance, and regulatory agency-to-industry revolving doors, has ushered in stratospheric pricing... further kicking us down that path to irrelevance.
Why is our new health care plan a giveaway to health industries instead of to health consumers? Wha won't it cover all Americans? Why was the "public option" never an option for the Obama administration?
So many of our leaders carry a heavy burden of mendacity and avarice. If they instead got in touch with their own souls (perhaps by exposure to the natural world), or made their decisions by maximizing the amount of good that results, our leaders might find real meaning and value in their lives.
Until that happens, the only way to straighten out the current mess is to demand accountability and impose penalties on unethical/dishonest leaders. Both political parties enjoy bounteous hors d'oeuvres from Pharma's table, making it unlikely the existing political "process" will provide relief--as we've seen in the demoralizing healthcare reform drama.
Until then, I'll continue to "call it as I see it" in this blog -- working and living the way life should be, in rural Maine, far from the centers of power.
Ellen Byrne has created several designs encapsulating aspects of the FBI's ridiculous case against Bruce Ivins. They can be purchased on T-shirts and coffee mugs. All proceeds will be donated to the the Frederick County chapter of the American Red Cross, a favored charity of Dr. Bruce Ivins.