Tag Archive: Olympic Games


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One of the many stray dogs in Sochi that need forever homes.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

February 22, 2014

It looks like more Sochi dogs will be finding a new home here in the U.S. A couple of athletes have brought a few of them home and now another familiar face is stepping up to help these cute pooches. According to People on Feb, 21. former “BacheloretteAli Fedotowsky has followed suit and is headed back to the States with an adorable puppy by her side.

Fedotowsky has been in Sochi covering the Olympics for E! News and she is also an animal lover. She has been tweeting on how hungry the homeless dogs are and she has taken it upon herself to feed them in the streets while she was there.

The stray pups have been in the news ever since it was reported that they have been roaming the streets near the Olympic buildings and authorities had started exterminating them. A couple of Olympians, skier Gus Kenworthy and snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, fell in love with a few of the dogs and started the ball rolling in bringing them back to the U.S.

Ali Fedotowsky has now joined in the efforts to find these canines their forever homes. She took to her Twitter to write her excitement about one of the sweet pups she had in hand.

“Got this little gal at a Sochi shelter. On my way to the vet to get her health certificate and passport so I can hopefully bring her back to the USA to be adopted,” the 29-year-old reality star wrote. “I can’t save them all, but I know someone in the states would love to have this little sweetheart!!!”

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PEOPLE

Ali Fedotowsky & Katherine Heigl Team Up to Rescue Strays in Sochi

02/23/2014 at 11:35 AM EST

Ali Fedotowsky & Katherine Heigl Team Up to Rescue Strays in Sochi
Ali Fedotowsky and Katherine Heigl

More celebrities are standing up for stray dogs in Sochi.

On Saturday afternoon, Katherine Heigl and her mother, Nancy, joined forces with Ali Fedotowsky to help find happy homes for two pups the former Bachelorette star fell in love with and brought back from Sochi (where she was an Olympic correspondent for E! News).

“This is Adler, which is a town next to Sochi,” Fedotowksy tells PEOPLE of one of the dogs she flew in with on Saturday afternoon. “She’s very playful.” A male dog, Sochi, had been ill on the flight and wasn’t so energetic.

Katherine, 35, and Nancy waited anxiously at Los Angeles International Airport to pick up the two dogs from Fedotowsky, 29, whose role in the rescue process was to get them to the United States safely. They heard of Sochi’s illness prior to his arrival: “Sochi hasn’t eaten in 15 hours and is throwing up so we are hoping that it’s just from the travel,” Katherine said as she arrived at LAX.

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PEOPLE

The Daily Treat: Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis to Bring Home Stray Dog from Sochi

02/18/2014 at 05:00 PM EST

Lindsey Jacobellis Bringing Stray Pup Home from Sochi: Photo
Lindsey Jacobellis and her new puppy
Courtesy Holly Brooks

Forget gold medals – dogs are the most coveted accessory in Sochi, Russia, right now.

Like U.S. Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is bringing one of the city’s stray dogs home to the United States.

“This Sochi Stray scored a one way ticket to the USA with [Lindsey],” Tweeted Jacobellis’s teammate, Holly Brooks, on Monday, sharing a photo of the snowboarder cuddling her adorable pup.

Canine cupid struck right around Valentine’s Day for the 28-year-old athlete, who posted an affectionate photo of her own to Instagram on February 15. “Me and my pup,” wrote Jacobellis, a self-described animal lover.

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Gus Kenworthy’s puppies: Olympian has ‘puppy love’ over Sochi’s strays

Gus Kenworthy is in love – with Sochi’s stray pups. The American freeskier who took the silver today is planning on returning home with more than just a medal to show off. Kenworthy hopes to fly back to Colorado with a family of Sochi’s stray puppies.

Yahoo! Sports said today that the 22-year-old, who picked up the silver medal as part of a U.S. podium sweep in the new Slopestyle sport, plans to rescue dogs – a mother and four pups – that live in a security tent near the Gorki Media Center, about two miles away from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park skiing venue.

“I’m doing all that I can to try and bring them back with me,” Kenworthy said. “They’re like the cutest things ever.”

Kenworthy, as well as many other Olympic athletes, have been buzzing over recent stories regarding thousands of Sochi stray dogs, who have been ordered rounded up and killed by city officials – an attempt to “clean up” the streets of Sochi for the games.

Sochi stray dogs: Dogs smuggled out of Sochi to prevent city contracted killing

“I’ve been a dog lover my whole life and to find the cutest family of strays ever here at the Olympics was just a fairy-tale way to have it go down,” Kenworthy said, shortly after winning his silver today.

He tweeted his intentions Wednesday and, as you might expect, was inundated with positive responses.

According to MSN on Wednesday, animal lovers and animal rights advocates are removing stray dogs and “smuggling” them out of the city before they are rounded up for mass euthanasia.

The International Olympic Committee has responded to the allegations that the city ordered thousands of strays exterminated by stating that no “healthy” dogs are being killed in Sochi, a report that those on the streets decry as being absolutely untrue.

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How to adopt a stray dog from Sochi

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SOCHI, Russia — If you want to adopt a stray dog from Sochi, the first thing you should probably do is get on a plane to Sochi.

It can be done over the phone and e-mail, said Humane Society International director for companion animals and engagement Kelly O’Meara, but it will require significant cooperation from a local and several layers of logistics that would be much less complicated in person.

The good news, though, is that any American already in Sochi or planning on coming during the Olympic Games can bring home one of the now-famous pups relatively easily and inexpensively in most cases.

SHELTER: For now, there is a home for some

The prevalence of stray dogs — and the local organizing committee’s decision to hire a pest control company to kill thousands of them — was a predominant story line in the lead-up to the Olympics. Since then, a temporary shelter backed by a Russian billionaire has opened up just outside of town, and the attention devoted to the issue has inspired many Americans to ask about how they can adopt one of the dogs that survived.

Typically, O’Meara said, the Humane Society encourages Americans to adopt pets domestically, since there are many who need homes. But with Sochi in the spotlight, HSI has posted a point-by-point guide on its Web page detailing how to bring one home from Russia.

“I think it’s a situation where everyone’s hearing about the very sad and terrible means of killing these dogs and people are feeling a bit helpless in what they can do,” O’Meara said in a phone interview Monday. “This is a life-or-death situation for many of them that are being seen in and around Sochi, and that’s why people are sort of jumping in and asking how they can help.”

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Olympics volunteers sit near two stray dogs outside the Gorki media center in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, Russia, Jan. 30, 2014.

Olympics volunteers sit near two stray dogs outside the Gorki media center in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, Russia, Jan. 30, 2014.

Reuters

Oleg Deripaska’s gesture could help save hundreds of dogs that are in danger of being rounded up and destroyed as the host city on the Black Sea tries to clear them off the streets.

It could also help keep Deripaska in Putin’s good books after speculation over the dogs’ fate threatened to undermine the Russian president’s hopes of using the Games to portray Russia as a tolerant, modern state.

“You don’t see what’s going on here [in Sochi]?” Sonya Turpyetkina, a veterinarian, said of the treatment of the many dogs that roam free. “I keep seeing poisoned bait. This is repulsive, they are dying in horrible pain.”

She is a volunteer at the shelter funded by Deripaska at Baranovka near Sochi. As she spoke to Reuters at the shelter, he was visiting the site, showing a group of people around.

The shelter houses only about 40 dogs in basic pens, but city officials say such protection offers the animals a chance of finding a permanent owner and home.

A Sochi city official said no healthy dogs were being killed in the city even though a local company says it has a contract to round them up, and the International Olympic Committee also has said only sick and dying dogs are being destroyed.

But animal rights activists have launched a campaign to save the dogs, which has attracted negative publicity to Sochi and appears to have prompted Deripaska to step in.

He has been quoted as saying he has loved dogs since he was a boy. But his act is far from his first that could be beneficial to the Games, which he says he believes can turn Sochi into a thriving modern resort.

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Stuxnet goes out of control: Chevron infected by anti-Iranian virus, others could be next

(AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan)

(AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan)

 

California-based Chevron, a Fortune 500 company that’s among the biggest corporations in the world, admits this week that they discovered the Stuxnet worm on their systems back in 2010. Up until now, Chevron managed to make their finding a well-kept secret, and their disclosure published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday marks the first time a US company has come clean about being infected by the virus intended for Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Mark Koelmel of the company’s earth sciences department says that they are likely to not be the last, though.

“We’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies,” says Koelmel. “So now we have to deal with this.”

Koelmel claims that the virus did not have any adverse effects on his company, which generated a quarter of a trillion dollars in revenue during 2011. As soon as Chevron identified the infection, it was taken care of immediately, he says. Other accidental targets might not be so lucky though, and the computer worm’s complex coding means it might be a while before anyone else becomes aware of the damage.

“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread,” Koelmel adds.

Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. Only as recently as this June, however, American officials with direct knowledge of the worm went public with Uncle Sam’s involvement.

In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. Coupled with another malicious program named Flame and perhaps many more, Stuxnet was waged against Iran as part of an initiative given the codename “Olympic Games.” Rather than solely stealing intelligence through use of computer coding, the endeavor was believed to be the first cyberattack that intended to cause actual hard damage.

“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael Hayden, the former chief of the CIA, explained to the Times earlier this year. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction.”

On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet. With American companies perhaps soon coming out of the woodwork to discuss how they were hit, though, the White House may have to finally admit that they’ve had direct involvement.

After the Times published their expose in June, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation to track down how the media was first made aware of America’s involvement in Olympic Games.

“I am deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks of classified information to the media, most recently regarding alleged cyber efforts targeting Iran’s nuclear program,” Feinstein said through a statement at the time. “I made it clear that disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security.”

When Feinstein spoke to DC’s The Hill newspaper, she said, “the leak about the attack on Iran’s nuclear program could ‘to some extent’ provide justification for copycat attacks against the United States.” According to the chairwoman, “This is like an avalanche. It is very detrimental and, candidly, I found it very concerning. There’s no question that this kind of thing hurts our country.”

Just last month, a shadowy Iranian-based hacking group called The Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for launching a cyberattack on the servers of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp., two of the biggest names in the American banking industry. Days earlier, Google informed some of its American users that they may be targeted in a state-sponsored cyberattack from abroad, and computer experts insist that these assaults will only intensify over time.

“We absolutely have seen more activity from the Middle East, and in particular Iran has been increasingly active as they build up their cyber capabilities,” CrowdStrike Security President George Kurtz told the Times.

Speaking of the accidental impact Stuxnet could soon have in the US, Chevron’s Koelmel tells the Journal, “I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.”

Obama secretly signs the most aggressive cybersecurity directive ever

RT

© Reuters/Rick Wilking

Six years after the White House first started running amok on the computer networks of its adversaries, US President Barack Obama has signed off on a top-secret order that finally offers blueprints for the Pentagon’s cyberwars.

Pres. Obama has autographed an executive order outlining protocol and procedures for the US military to take in the name of preventing cyberattacks from foreign countries, the Washington Post reports, once and for all providing instructions from the Oval Office on how to manage the hush-hush assaults against opposing nation-states that have all been confirmed by the White House while at the same time defending America from any possible harm from abroad.

According to Post‘s sources, namely “officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record,” Pres. Obama signed the paperwork in mid-October. Those authorities explain to the paper that the initiative in question, Presidential Policy Directive 20, “establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace.”

Confronting a threat may sound harmless, but begs to introduce a chicken-and-the-egg scenario that could have some very serious implications. The Post describes the directive as being “the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an ‘offensive’ and a ‘defensive’ action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism,” but the ambiguous order may very well allow the US to continue assaulting the networks of other nations, now with a given go-ahead from the commander-in-chief. Next in line, the Post says, will be rules of engagement straight from the Pentagon that will provide guidelines for when to carry out assaults outside the realm of what is considered ‘American’ in terms of cyberspace.

“What it does, really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyber operations,” one senior administration official tells the paper of the policy directive. “Network defense is what you’re doing inside your own networks. . . . Cyber operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes.”

When The New York Times published an exposé on the White House’s so-called Olympics Games program earlier this year, the world became fully aware for once of America’s involvement in international cyberwar, but much to the chagrin of Washington. Officials including members of Pres. Obama’s national security team spoke on condition of anonymity to tell the Times that his predecessor, then-Pres. George W. Bush, began the program in 2006 to target Iran’s nuclear facilities and then passed it along to the current administration to continue under the leadership of the current commander-in-chief.

“From his first months in office,” David Sanger wrote for the Times, Pres. Obama “secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.”

Congress has fought tooth-and-nail in the months since to plug any leaks that could potentially spill the beans regarding any further secrets with the potential of effecting national security, but those efforts appear unsuccessful given this week’s Post report on Presidential Police Directive 20.

Now take the example of Iran: according to the Post, Pres. Obama’s signature on last month’s directive means the US now has rules and regulations when it comes to protecting its own infrastructure from cyberattack, and can do so by means of launching what appear to be pre-emptive assaults of their own.

“It should enable people to arrive at more effective decisions,” a second senior administration official tells the Post. “In that sense, it’s an enormous step forward.”

That comment echoes US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s insistence earlier this year that “defense alone is not enough” in terms of keeping the country safe. But what it also seems to do is put on the books a presidential policy that equates an overzealous offense with a solid defense. While the US has cited Iranian hackers as the key players behind a recent attack on the websites of Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp., two of the biggest names in the American banking industry, the US has done little – on the record – to reveal any similar assaults from abroad. Instead, rather, it’s relied on fear-mongering to try and convince the country to accept a cybersecurity legislation that will assure American’s safety from foreign hackers, all for the small price of sacrificing their digital-age privacy.

While the Obama White House has failed to acknowledge the Olympic Games program or any involvement in the Stuxnet or Flames viruses linked to the initiative, computer researchers in both the US and Russia have tied Washington to the cripplingly malicious coding. Earlier this month, California-based Chevron, one of the world’s leaders in the oil sector, went public with claims that Stuxnet had infected – but not affected – their computers after the virus was unleashed.

The ability to slow down or speed up centrifuges in nuclear facilities from thousands of miles away made Stuxnet a virus that had very substantial powers. Refusing to speak of the Olympic Games program specifically, former CIA chief Michael Hayden told the Times, “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction.”

According to the Post‘s latest, though, future assaults by way of Stuxnet or similar worms could be considered by Washington as defense mechanisms to make sure Iran doesn’t retaliate for what America has long-been lashing out with. One source tells the Times that, before last month’s directive, severing any link between a US-computer and an overseas server by any means possible would be an act that would put America on the offensive. Now even a preemptive attack that disconnects other countries could be considered a defensive ploy according to the president.

“That was seen as something that was aggressive…particularly by some at the State Department,” one defense official tells the Post. With the signing of Pres. Obama’s latest order, though, the paper writes that the directive “effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks.”

It is thought that, through the directive, any systems linked even remotely with America’s can be fair game for an assault. Given the expansion of cloud computing and the ever-expanding interconnection of communities across the globe on the Web, though, that could essentially enable Uncle Sam’s cybersquad to get away with a whole new slew of tricks to try and topple adversaries of any kind that threaten the American way of life. When and where those actions are necessary, of course, remains another topic of discussion. Will those orders be signed in secrecy as well, though?

Beware the Alterverse of Willful Ignorance

by Zen Gardner

Let’s face it. This isn’t reality. It’s a fleeting world of voluntary make believe only adopted by self-numbing drones too afraid to even ask questions any more.

And they do it willfully. We all do.

Whatever any of us do is a willful act of varying degrees of either acceptance or non-compliance. As the old adage goes, “Either we’re part of the problem or we’re part of the solution.” Now apply that to all of the economic, societal, interpersonal and spiritual levels we operate on and there’s where we’ll find an inspiring and meaningful, or dead and conforming, life.

And none of us are that smart or enlightened to see it all. It’s a constant challenge to identify and expose these influences and illusory distractions.

And stay awake, aware, healthy, conscious, loving and on track.

None of This Has To Be

There are no poor, ignorant masses. Ignorant perhaps, but not so poor they can’t wake up. We all have the spiritual resources at any given time to have absolutely thrilling and fulfilling lives. In fact, the so-called poor are clearly often way wiser than the so called smart or educated.

The point is we choose our reality, even if one’s imposed on us. If it’s comfy cozy enough, the rut fits OK, or people are sufficiently intimidated and allow themselves to be dis-empowered, most will actually be happy to trudge through their assigned trench rather than stick their heads up even for a moment to wonder where they’re going and why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Oddly enough. But maybe we all do that to varying degrees?

And this apparent propensity for illusion rather than reality gets a lot of help. By whom? Not just those addicted to a sleepy “don’t rock the boat” way of life, but this tendency lays humanity wide open for conquest. Some smarty pants power pushers seem to know about this inclination to trust and follow rather than exercise discernment, critical thought and independent behavior.

And heck, like any good discovery or invention, as the ravenous corporo-fascist system teaches….”let’s take advantage of it and stick it to ‘em”.

The Weaponization of Ignorance

If some parasitic force was so self-serving as to actually live off of the inhabitants of a land or planet, what world would they create to better control the population? An awake and aware one that knew it was being used and harvested and kept from the truth of their potential? One where love and spontaneity and loving interaction created a utopian society with plenty for all, as it could and will be one day somewhere?

Would be nice, but I don’t think so. They would need their subjects to be “ignorant” of what’s truly going on.

If you want to know what psychopathic elitist power freaks would do, just look around at the world today. Something’s been completely and systematically laid out and reinforced at every level for a long, long time and mistakenly we think we have something to say about it.

All by design. Like politics, almost all discussion takes place within their prescribed parameters. Meaning? It won’t go outside their boundaries.

What it boils down to is the only freedom you think you have is virtually the freedom to roam around your psycho-social jail cell, and sometimes the mess hall and exercise yard.

Not a nice thought, but virtually true. But only for those who subscribe to it. Which is almost everyone, to varying degrees. And what makes this apparent approach so effective? Everyone thinks they’re free, but all within carefully defined and confined parameters.

And the sheeple have no idea.

Our Synthesized World

If you were to describe the way to herd a society, what would you create? I know, sounds Machiavellian, but that’s how these types think. You gotta realize there are people like this–they exist, they thrive on your energy, and they’re using you right now!

See if these few symptoms fit the world we live in:

–An inherent need for hierarchy. If the people assume there are those deemed to be their masters who know better and are somehow superior, be it the royalty scam, or the plethora of commercial, political and religious overlords, control is a slam dunk.

–Economic stranglehold in a world of scarcity. If there is a fear of not having enough in an imposed system of controlled means of exchange you can play the masses like a fiddle at the touch of their scrambling, fearful nervous systems.

–War brings peace and security. Ah, we do need a common enemy to keep the war machine churning out weapons, burning up fuel and money, and sending its youth to the meat grinder. That should keep everyone busy.

–Survival of the fittest and domination by the rich. Again, we deserve to be ruled over. Pound this one hard. And while you’re at it, dumb down your populace with drugs, altered food and a poison environment.

–Bread and circus. What, me worry? Everyone’s happy on Super Bowl Sunday! Bamboozled baboons belching beer and bratwurst while the world burns. “Just keep the coliseum operating and one day will follow the next while we rule their asses. Now, back to the Olympics….”

What If Everyone Just Woke Up?

This whole present day system we perceive is a smoke and mirrors charade consisting of manipulated levels of information to create a controllable, presupposed existence. That the great hoards of inhabitants sway to the same rhythms and participate in such things as barbaric wars, an obviously controlled banking and economic system, and blinding, debasing religious dogmas and rigamarole says it all.

Never mind crass materialism and self-image worship. Sick to the core.

And yes, you can argue it’s still a reality. So is the torturous world of someone who is mentally disturbed. Would you call that reality? If not, what in you is telling you it is something more than that poor tortured soul’s version? And to what degree are all of us tortured or deprived souls compared to some vastly greater and more wonderful reality?

Get the picture? It’s consciousness watching through us!

What happens when someone comes along to dare mention we’re looking at shadows in the cave versus the light, as Plato’s famous allegory taught? Aren’t these the very ones decried as troublemakers, whack jobs and conspiracy freaks?

It’s Time To Flee the Coop!

Ken Kesey’s classic “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” tells the story. The “live ones”, the truly sane, symbolized by Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the spirited non-conformist Randall McMurphy, are locked up and managed by psychopathic power freaks who will stop at nothing to control their subjects. Those who dare to challenge not only their authority but their whole viewpoint, as symbolized by the mental institution, will be given even greater doses of mind-numbing drugs, electric shock treatments and even lobotomies.

Mind you, this tale was inspired by Kesey’s psychedelic adventures and insights within actual test facilities, thanks to the CIA. But it’s essentially the conflict between freedom and self-determination vs societal repression…our current paradigm and challenge.

In the end, the silent Native American named Chief Bromden can’t stand to see his full of life liberating friend lay there in his eventual lobotomized state and performs a mercy killing. Thanks to McMurphy’s constant encouragement to his friend to make a break for freedom, in spite of the big Indian’s admitted tendency to just enjoy the comforts of security illustrated by his pretending he couldn’t speak, he then picks up a large piece of furniture, smashes it through the caged window, and runs to freedom.

That’s where we are today.

The Chief Made the Decision–Will You?

Don’t just stand there. Break out of the prison…physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s time.

To delay is to deny.

A beautiful, fully conscious Universal reality based in Love and Truth awaits, but we have to act on it. And it’s not some mental state. It’s whole-istic, meaning everything about us and our world needs to jump in however we’re led.

Get there. And soon. It’s your only refuge and place of protection and empowerment.

And if you’re still looking for specific instructions you’re missing the point altogether. Either you’re not heeding your heart, or you haven’t dug deep enough yet.

Find it. For life’s sake, find it.

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I’ll leave you with this poignant quote. Remember, there are many levels to this and it’s all relative. It’s never a “few dimensional” black and white.

We’re all learning.

“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.” – Bruce Lee

Love, Zen

www.zengardner.com

Olympics: Bhopal victims organize protest Games

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP)

Terra Daily

 

photo

clean up Bhopal now
unauthorized rally for Bhopal (Mumbai, India - 2002)

Disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India are to take part in a “Special Olympics” on Thursday to protest against London 2012 sponsor Dow Chemical.

The event is aimed at raising awareness about the legacy of birth defects and pollution from the accident at a factory owned by US chemical company Union Carbide, which was bought by Dow in 1999, organizers said Tuesday.

The plant leaked poisonous gas into neighboring slums in Bhopal, killing thousands instantly and tens of thousands more over the following years in the world’s worst industrial accident.

The “Bhopal Special Olympics” will see at least 100 physically and mentally disabled children compete on a sports field in the shadow of the defunct factory, which still contains toxic waste left untreated by local authorities.

The contests in Bhopal — the day before the London Games officially open — will include football, an “assisted walk” and a “crab walk”, in which participants unable to stand on two feet race on their hands.

“We are doing this mostly due to Dow’s attempt to greenwash its crimes,” Rachna Dhingra, a spokeswoman for the five survivors’ groups behind the initiative, told AFP.

“We all find it ironic that a corporation that has disabled people in Bhopal is sponsoring the Olympic Games.”

Organisers are also targeting Britain and its colonial crimes, particularly in India. The Bhopal Olympics “will open with songs and dances focusing on matters that British people could be ashamed of,” Dhingra said.

The decision by London 2012 organizers to stick by Dow Chemical has caused anger in Bhopal and led to complaints from the Indian government, which asked for the company to be dropped as a sponsor.

“Our biggest qualm with (British Prime Minister) David Cameron and (chief Olympics organizer) Lord Sebastian Coe is the simple reason that they never gave the survivors of Bhopal the chance to express themselves,” Dhingra said.

Dow bought Union Carbide more than a decade and half after the disaster and insists all liabilities were settled in a 1989 compensation deal that saw Union Carbide pay the Indian government $470 million.

The local and federal governments have also faced criticism in India for failing to clear the site and prevent further contamination of groundwater more than 25 years after the disaster.

Dhingra said the children in the Bhopal event were all willing participants.

“I would say 60 percent (of the children) have had training. This is part of their rehabilitation,” she said.

“This is what Dow has done. There is no better way to show their crimes.”

The organizers of the London Olympics and the International Olympic Committee have faced consistent questions over their choice of sponsors, including fast-food giant McDonalds and soft drink maker Coca-Cola.

After an outcry in India and speculation about a boycott by Indian athletes, London organizing officials said Dow’s branding would not appear on a giant fabric wrap around the main stadium in the east of the British capital.

 

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

 

 

 

 

Olympic organisers should consider the ethical, environmental and human rights records of multinational companies before awarding them lucrative sponsorship deals, according to London’s elected politicians.

The London Assembly today passed a motion criticising the International Olympic Committee’s selection of Dow Chemical Company as a worldwide partner, in a deal said to be worth $100m over 10 years.

The Assembly said that the decision to do business with Dow, which is the 100 per cent shareholder of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), whose Indian subsidiary was responsible for the world’s worst ever industrial disaster in Bhopal, had damaged the reputation of London 2012.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympics Games (Locog) was also criticised today for doing a ‘local deal’ with Dow, to provide decorative wrap for the main stadium which was described by one assembly member as a an “architectural nicety, but totally unnecessary.”

Dow, which denies that it has any responsibility for the Bhopal disaster or outstanding contamination of water and soil in the Indian city, bought UCC in 2001 – 17 years after the gas disaster claimed as many as 25,000 lives.

Several members of the London Assembly said Dow could not absolve legal or moral responsibilities with regards to Bhopal.

Darren Johnson, Green Party member, said: “Dow was not involved at the time and did not own the Union Carbide plant at the time. But it now owns the company wholly, including those subsidiaries involved the water contamination today, and so it cannot absolve those liabilities because of a take-over a deal.”

Labour’s Navin Shah, who proposed the motion, said: “The issues around Dow’s on-going court cases are complex but they are on-going and very real. The Olympics have become a big business, and money talks in the end. The IOC remains a faceless and shameless organisation, colluding with organisation involved in environmental and human rights abuses.”

Tory member Andrew Boff, whose Party members opposed the motion, accused his Assembly colleagues of relying on media reports rather than the facts. “The idea that Dow Chemicals has a responsibility for the tragedy does not meet the test for natural justice,” said Boff.

Concerns about other major sponsors and Olympic partner such as McDonalds, criticised on the basis of the obesity epidemic, were also raised during the debate. The world biggest McDonalds has been built in the London Olympic park.

Mr Shah said it was too late for London but that the IOC should act for future Games and “[have] criteria for partners that conform to their own priorities and keep out the likes of Dow Chemicals.”

Lib Dem Stephen Knight said the IOC was good at protecting the commercial brand of the Olympics, but not the ethical brand – which should be kept “sacrosanct”.

The following motion was passed with a majority of 16 to seven:

 

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Cloned horses may compete in the 2012 London Olympics, while anti-doping testing for humans becomes more sophisticated

By Simon Victor,

(NaturalNews) While performance enhancement drugs and techniques may be banned for humans, the gate has been opened for genetically modified horses to compete in the Olympic games.

In a surprising but not shocking development, the Federation Equestre Internationale has decided to overturn a ban previously placed on cloned equines.

According to The Chronicle of the Horse at their recently held sports forum it was said, “The FEI will not forbid participation of clones or their progenies in FEI competitions. The FEI will continue to monitor further research, especially with regard to equine welfare.”

Whereas in 2007, the stance of the FEI was the polar opposite; “The competitive equestrian couple of horse and rider are both acknowledged as athletes by the FEI. The cloning of either with a view to competing at international level would be unacceptable to the FEI. The FEI opposes cloning for it goes against one of the FEI’s basic objectives: to enable FEI athletes ‘to compete in international events under fair and even conditions.”

This announcement comes in light of the London 2012 Olympics being touted as having “the most sophisticated anti-doping operation in the history of the Games.” According to CNN, for the first time in Olympics history, a private company will provide its facilities – $30 million state-of-the-art laboratory – to aide in the testing of samples from Olympic participants to detect illegal performance enhancements. This is being provided by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). According to GSK, the facilities will offer “enable expert analysts from King’s (College, London) to independently operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory during the Games.”

Although the FEI announcement has come too late for cloned horses to participate in the London 2012 Olympics, the implications will be far reaching, placing pressure on other equestrian governing bodies to relax the generally held stance of not allowing physiologically altering performance enhancement to be used by any participants.

This action has set a precedent for all sports, and the broader implications of such a development may mean that the rules pertaining to human performance enhancement may be contested, and become relaxed amid pressure from those who advocate its use.

Currently, the world’s biggest companies offering cloning are ViaTech in Texas and Cryozootech in Sonchamp, France.

They have both welcomed the news, and stated that their main aim is to allow the genes of top horses that have died or been gelded to be available again.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.chronofhorse.com

http://edition.cnn.com

http://www.gsk.com/media/london-2012/index.htm

About the author:
Simon Victor is a health health and fitness enthusiast who believes in being practical with healthy living.
his personal journey can be followed at http://veganonabudget.net

Security Researchers Discover Link Between Stuxnet and Flame

By Lucian Constantin, IDG-News-Service:Romania-Bureau

Security researchers from antivirus vendor Kaspersky Labs have found evidence that the development teams behind the Flame and Stuxnet cyberespionage threats collaborated with each other.

The Kaspersky researchers determined that Flame, which is believed to have been created in 2008, and a 2009-version of Stuxnet shared one component that served the same purpose and had similar source code.

Back in October 2010, Kaspersky’s researchers analyzed a sample that had been automatically classified as a Stuxnet variant by the company’s automated systems. At the time, the researchers dismissed the detection as an error because the sample’s code looked nothing like the code in Stuxnet.

However, after Flame was discovered at the end of May, the Kaspersky researchers searched their database for malware samples that might be related to the new threat and found that the sample detected as Stuxnet in 2010 was actually a Flame module. The module uses an autorun.inf trick to infect computers via USB drives.

Upon further research, the Kaspersky analysts determined that Stuxnet.A, which was created in early 2009, uses the same autorun.inf trick to spread via USB drives. In fact, the source code responsible for this is almost identical to the one in the Flame module.

“It looks like the Flame platform was used to kick start the Stuxnet platform,” said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team, during a conference call with the press.

Same Flaw Targeted

The Kaspersky researchers already knew that Stuxnet and Flame leveraged the same EoP vulnerability, but this wasn’t conclusive proof that their developers collaborated. The exploit could have been created by a third-party that sold it to both teams, Schouwenberg said.

However, the new discovery suggests that the developers of the two malware threats actually shared source code, which is intellectual property and wouldn’t normally be shared between unrelated teams. “We are now 100-percent sure that the Flame and Stuxnet groups worked together,” Schouwenberg said.

The Kaspersky researchers discovered that the Flame module integrated into Stuxnet.A exploited a Windows elevation of privilege (EoP) vulnerability that wasn’t known at the time of the malware’s creation. This would be the fifth zero-day (previously unknown) vulnerability exploited by Stuxnet, Schouwenberg said.

The researchers believe that this vulnerability was one that Microsoft patched in June 2009, a few months after the creation of Stuxnet.A, but they are not yet certain and are still investigating.

Later Stuxnet versions stopped using the Flame module entirely and began exploiting a separate vulnerability that relied on malformed LNK (shortcut) files to propagate via USB drives.

Interestingly, the exploit code from Stuxnet.A’s Flame-borrowed module is very similar to the exploit code for a different EoP vulnerability that’s present in later Stuxnet versions. The researchers believe that both sections of code were written by the same programmer.

Same Source, Different Purposes

When Microsoft patched the EoP vulnerability in 2009 — a few months after the creation of Stuxnet.A — the Stuxnet developers stopped using the Flame module for propagation and began exploiting a new vulnerability, which relied on malformed LNK (shortcut) files.

The theory put forward by the Kaspersky researchers is that Flame and Stuxnet were created by two separate teams as part of two operations funded by the same nation state. Flame was probably used for espionage and Stuxnet used for sabotage, Schouwenberg said.

According to a recent New York Times report that quotes anonymous sources from the Obama administration, Stuxnet was created by the U.S. and Israeli governments as part of a secret operation called Olympic Games with the goal of crippling Iran’s ability to produce weapon-grade nuclear fuel.

Cyberwarfare Gets Political

By Stefan Hammond, cw.com.hk

This year there’s a Summer Olympics, a European football contest, and a U.S. presidential election. The Olympics return to London for the first time since 1948, the Euro Cup comes to Poland and Ukraine, and the U.S. election hinges on only a few states as the USA still uses a colonial-era “electoral college” which supersedes the popular vote.

This year’s Euro Cup features Eastern Europe locations — while Ukraine struggles with its public political image, Poland emerges as a player within the EU. Five years ago, I visited the stadium in Warsaw — it was a derelict, overgrown open-pit with rotting bleachers. Dodgy characters offered to sell me bootleg vodka and pirated CDs. Friends told me that handguns and AK-47s were sometimes on offer.

You’ll see the same stadium (considerably revamped) soon as a centerpiece for Euro Cup matches. Decades ago, Poland distanced itself from what former U.S. president Ronald Reagan called the “evil empire” (the Soviet Union), then the entire “Iron Curtain” came crashing down suddenly as Western newscasters struggled to pronounce the words “glastnost” and “perestroika” . . . and the USA lost its favorite arch-enemy.

But now the Euro Cup graces the former turf of the “evil empire,” and there’s another presidential election Stateside. Former U.S. chief executives could often conjure villains for the electorate — the now-kaput Soviet Union won’t do. What now? What appeals to “Generation Facebook”?

What else? “Cyberwarfare.” Given the rapid rise of personal-computing power, with resultant gaps in public-understanding of technology, the specter of villains lurking online — ready to crash essential systems in a concerted cyberstrike — holds more appeal than comparing Putin to Stalin.

Worm as Warfare

But a new report has wrenched the cyberwarfare-angle. According to the New York Times, the Stuxnet worm (one of the more sophisticated viruses ever found in the wild) is the result of “a joint US and Israeli effort to target Iran’s nuclear program.” IDG journalist Jaikumar Vijayan writes that the Times report “is sure to trigger a sharp increase in state sponsored cyberattacks against American businesses and critical infrastructure targets, security experts warn.”

“Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, said the revelation dramatically alters the cybersecurity landscape,” wrote Vijayan. “‘We are now going to be the target of massive attacks,’ Paller said…’for a long time everything has been under the radar, no one was really sure that the U.S. was practicing this kind of activity. The U.S. has acted like it was an innocent victim’ of state-sponsored attacks by other countries, he said.”

The damning Times article details some pithy moments: “‘Should we shut this thing down?’ Mr Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.”

Well, no, Mr. President, that’s not how properly constructed military-specification computer viruses work when they’re in attack-mode. You don’t hit the ‘Like’ button on your friend Mister Antivirus to make it all go away.

Stuxnet, (ironically code-named ‘Olympic Games’ and initiated by the Bush administration in 2006) “was of an entirely different type and sophistication,” according to the Times. “It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives,” said the article.

“Mr. Obama, according to participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games, was acutely aware that with every attack he was pushing the United States into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940s, of intercontinental missiles in the 1950s and of drones in the past decade. He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons…could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks.”

Ready for Cyberbattle?

And in 2012, as Londoners discover the Ministry of Defense is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics, the Times article said “another cyberweapon called Flame was recently discovered to have attacked the computers of Iranian officials…American officials say that it was not part of Olympic Games. They have declined to say whether the United States was responsible for the Flame attack.”

The Olympic Flame seems to have acquired an unintentional double-meaning. But among these half-revealed tales of cyberwarfare, who are the real bad guys? Security experts know that malware is in a constant of flux, and actions often provoke reactions — just ask Sony about its experience with Anonymous.

Perhaps the U.S. president was prescient by repeatedly voicing his concern over the U.S. government’s actions. We can only hope that the technological expertise that created Stuxnet was also applied to hardening weak-points that may be attacked — now that the USA has lost the moral high-ground.

No word yet on whether the U.S. presidential candidates plan to make “cyberwarfare” a campaign-issue. Perhaps this particular issue has become too hot for mere politicians to handle.

 

 

 


Flame virus, most sophisticated malicious code ever seen, was developed by U.S. government

By J. D. Heyes, 
(NaturalNews) Anyone who has spent longer than a day on a computer knows how dangerous to your hard drive malware and other malicious code can be. Most of us have fallen victim to one or the other and have cursed the day the hacker who developed it was born. Now, according to reports, some of the most sophisticated malicious code ever developed is a product of the United States government, leaving more than a few tech experts and analysts concerned that maybe now, Washington has become a bigger…