Going Undercover With Africa’s Premier Anti-Poaching Unit

Images from the raid, where the Zambian, despite having one hand already cuffed, resists arrest.

Busting open the black-market ivory trade in Malawi and Zambia

by Joseph Haldeman

In a pink motel room just a few miles from the ZambiaMalawi border in landlocked Southeastern Africa, two European men count stacks of local currency across a floral bedspread: 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 Zambian kwacha, which comes out to roughly $5,000.

A third man watches like a casino pit boss from a plastic armchair, his foot resting on a giant suitcase. He’s a wealthy Zambian with a body builder’s physique, gold jewelry and designer pink polo shirt. He keeps checking his phone and telling the other men to hurry up.

“I lost count again,” one of them, Matthieu, responds in a thick French accent.

All of a sudden, two plainclothes police officers storm through the doors pointing AK-47s in all directions.

Matthieu and his partner Mark, a tall lean Brit, take their cue and jump. Even with one of them on his back and a taser to his chest, the Zambian still lands several punches before slamming into the bathroom sink, knocking it off the wall with his hip. Matthieu’s shirt rips during the scuffle, exposing a giant tattoo of the French Airborne Paratroopers’ emblem over his heart.

“Give up! There’s a whole team outside!” Mark yells.

A policeman fires a warning shot outside, and the Zambian quits resisting.

Police discover two more accomplices in the motel parking lot as they attempt to flee in a silver Corolla. One of them is merely a driver, but the other is Bridget Banda, a well-connected figure in Zambia’s judicial system. The police instantly recognize her from a print-out of her WhatsApp profile photo, taken from the personal account she used to arrange the entire deal with Matthieu over months of correspondence.

Unlike the Zambian, Bridget and her driver don’t resist. In handcuffs, they’re led into the motel room.

Bridget Banda, who is the architect of the ivory deal, pictured with her two accomplices and the 80 pounds of ivory they intended to sell.

Matthieu finally sorts through the giant tarpaulin. One by one, he pulls out the long, tapering objects contained inside — each of which is cream-colored and caked with the rust brown of African soil, blood or both.

“Nine tusks.”

That adds up to about 80 pounds of illegal ivory, which in Hong Kong, the world’s largest ivory market, will fetch nearly $40,000. There, the tusks are polished white and carved into necklaces, combs, alligators, Buddhas, and of course, elephants, before being sold in one of the hundreds of retailers across the city.

“Four and a half pairs. That’s at least five dead elephants,” Mark says.

One of the tusks is smaller than the others.

“A female?”

A police officer shakes his head.

“A younger one.”

Last September, The Great Elephant Census—a research organization funded by Paul G. Allen, the internationally renowned philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, published the most extensive study of the African elephant to date. The report (a result of 9,700 hours of flight surveys over 18 counties) estimated a loss of 144,000 Savanna elephants in just seven years. Almost a third of the entire population had vaporized due to poaching. One of the nations hit hardest was Malawi, where Matthieu and Mark currently work.

According to the World Bank’s GDP per capita ratings, Malawi is the fifth-poorest nation on the planet. Making matters worse, last year, a global El Niñobrought a significant drought to Southern Africa that devastated Malawi’s small agrarian economy, crippled the production of its key export (tobacco) and drove up the price of the staple of its diet (corn). It also meant fewer watering holes in the county’s expansive national parks, condensing the migration of its wildlife.

So not only is poaching a tempting way to make money, it’s far easier than usual, too. In Kasungu National Park, for instance, only one vast watering hole remains in the entire 900-square-mile reserve. Two large elephant families visit it around 11 a.m. every single day.

They’re beyond low-hanging fruit.

It’s alongside this watering hole — in a humble brick and plywood house — where Matthieu lives. When he first moved there in 2012, he could hear gunshots almost every night. The park had been left virtually unguarded for years, and the elephant population — at around 3,000 in 1970 — was down to a mere 42 animals.

His job, like Mark’s, is to reverse this trend. They work as undercover agents in an elite anti-poaching unit under the leadership of former South African Special Forces Commander Mike Labuschagne, a man with a long history of military experience in African conflict zones and a reputation for toughness. In the late 1980s, he fought Cuban forces alongside guerrilla factions in Angola. (“The Cold War wasn’t so cold here,” he says.) Afterward, he contracted for a number of private military operations that targeted illegal gold mines, before a friend suggested he try anti-poaching in 1992…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/going-undercover-with-africas-premier-anti-poaching-unit-ab9e5c309c0c

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Inside one of America’s most feared street gangs: Guns, drugs and violence are part of everyday life for the Bloodline gangsters

'Murder' holds a gun that he bought for 250 USD in the street. He bought it after guys from another gang stabbed one of his friends in the neck

  • Picture series details life inside the notorious Bloodline gang, which is part of the Latin Kings organisations
  • Members are seen brandishing drugs and guns in the chilling photos
  • The group was founded in the 1950s and evolved into a huge criminal enterprise
  • The series also reveals the unity and respect that members show each other 

A photographer has documented the lives of one of the biggest and most feared gangs in the US, giving chilling insight into their violent world.

The images show gang members holding guns and drugs, as well as mourning friends killed in the cycle of crime they have become engulfed in.

The Bloodline gang, which has an estimated 35,000 active members, dates back to the 1950s and was originally set up as an organisation aimed at tackling racial discrimination against Hispanic people.

But it has evolved into a huge criminal enterprise New York, and is a faction of the notorious Latin Kings gang.

The anonymous photographer was given unique access to the group, following the daily routines of members who go by aliases including ‘Murder’, ‘Flash’ and ‘Smokey’.

s well as highlighting the gritty realities of life for gang members, it also draws attention to the happiness, unity and respect they show each other.

The series explores the intimacy and naivety of teenagers who have been pushed by their economic status, racial or social issues to survive in a hostile environment in one of the most developed cities in the world.

The Trump administration recently vowed to crack down on violent gang members and criminals from American Communities.

Recent nationwide gang apprehension programs such as Project Dawn, focusing on dismantling transnational gangs have seen hundreds arrested in New York alone.

Gang members 'King Looney', 'King 'Chucho', 'King Smokey' and 'King Buckets' rest in their apartments after a long day at a meeting with other gang members, smoking marijuana and drinking beer

 Gang members ‘King Looney’, ‘King ‘Chucho’, ‘King Smokey’ and ‘King Buckets’ rest in their apartments after a long day at a meeting with other gang members, smoking marijuana and drinking beer

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4739038/Shocking-pictures-life-like-New-York-gang.html#ixzz4oJeVYdyu 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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The Coming Shift to Cosmic Fascism

[ Editor’s note: Bookmark this article and reread it a couple of times to assimilate how these unAmerican activities reverberated through the decades to the present time. This is the type of article that, in previous centuries, would have created its own entry in Encyclopedia Britannica. For those of us who lived through the Nixon resignation, the information below casts a different light on the lost 18 minutes of the tape.

The Assassination of JFK in broad daylight triggered the emergence of Super fascism in America. Super Fascism has facilitated the emergence of a Secret Shadow Government (SSG) which in turn has transformed the USG in DC into a ceremonial puppet of the SSG, destroyed the Rule of Law and neutralized the protections of the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

Just like at Valley Forge in winter, there have always been good and resolute Americans who lived or died trying to take the right course of action, in the face of overwhelming opposition. ]

How did Super Fascism emerge in the first place in America?

America was abruptly transformed into a Super-Fascist state by a major catalyst – the CIA OP40 Assassination of sitting President John F. Kennedy in broad daylight.

Clearly, November 22, 1963 was a major turning point in American History.

Justice Earl Warren was appointed by President Johnson to be the head of the cleverly contrived Warren Commission to investigate this “crime of the century”, while a whole new radical form of government was being installed.

Justice Warren did not want to take on this responsibility but, according to one report, the CIA allegedly reminded him that his daughter had a skeleton in the closet that would best remain unpublicized.

Justice Warren was told by LBJ that if he didn’t pin the assassination on Lee Harvey Oswald as a “lone nut” single assassin, it was likely that the blame would be fixed on Cuba (a Soviet Union ally).

LBJ claimed this would then result in a full-scale nuclear WW3 with Russia, because the generals and the American People would never put up with that and would demand an invasion of Cuba, which would provoke a nuclear response by the Soviet Union, which is what many of the USAF generals really wanted anyway.

An accurate descriptionof the USAF generals’ ideology at the time (as odd as this may seem) is well-expressed in the notorious Peter Sellers movie, “Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to love the Bomb”. Peter Sellers allegedly played the part of Dr. Edward Teller.

Strangelove was actor Slim Pickin’s greatest part ever played, even better than his superb part in the movie the “Flim Flam Man” with actor George C. Scott, who had also played a major role in the Strangelove movie.

When Earl Warren went to the Dallas jail to see Ruby, Ruby told him “you need to take me to Washington DC; I cannot talk openly here”.

Jack Ruby’s words, in a one-minute video:

Ruby had done investigative work for Richard Nixon in the past on the House Un-American Activities Committee; and he was a fixture in the local Dallas organized-crime network, which also involved associations, and gambling and drinking with several of the big oil tycoons, LBJ, some mafioso, and various Intel agents, operatives and assets.

Ruby had done investigative work for Richard Nixon in the past on the House Un-American Activities Committee; and he was a fixture in the local Dallas organized-crime network, which also involved associations, and gambling and drinking with several of the big oil tycoons, LBJ, some mafioso, and various Intel agents, operatives and assets.

Ruby’s bar and strip club, the Carousel, was a legend among the Dallas police, where they received free drinks and were always welcomed by Jack, a generous host who also did his own bouncing when necessary. Jack was usually quite friendly to his customers, but had an explosive temper at times when conflicts arose.

Soon after the Assassination, a local news crew went to Ruby’s club and interviewed a comedian and a waitress outside; and when the reporter showed them some photos of Oswald, the comedian claimed that Mr. Oswald had been in the club before and had sat at a table with Mr. Ruby and some businessmen from Chicago. This was broadcast live nationally; and as soon as the comedian made this statement, a test pattern was imposed on the broadcast, with the statement “technical difficulty”. The clip disappeared from the station and was never broadcast or even mentioned publicly again…

more…

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/05/21/the-coming-shift-to-cosmic-fascism-part-ii/

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NEW STUDY: FDA – APPROVED DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS

by Jon Rappoport, Guest, Waking Times

It turns out every new medical drug should contain a warning: “The FDA approved this medicine. Watch out.”

Perhaps the warning should be more extreme: “If you’re taking this drug, have an emergency medical crew on stand-by.”

A new study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association, examined all 222 drugs approved by the FDA between 2001 and 2010. The finding? Years after approval, roughly a third of the medicines were then labeled with warnings about serious adverse effects; and some of those warnings indicated life-threatening complications. For example, cancer and liver damage. For example, death—which, the last time I looked, is life-threatening.

The Washington Post reports: “Among the drugs with added warnings [years after the drugs were approved, as safe, for public use]: Humira, used for arthritis and some other illnesses; Abilify, used for depression and other mental illness; and Pradaxa, a blood thinner. The withdrawn drugs [taken off the market] and the reason: Bextra, an anti-inflammatory medicine, heart problems; Raptiva, a psoriasis drug, rare nervous system illness; and Zelnorm, a bowel illness drug, heart problems.”

A pharma trade-group spokeswoman told the Post: “Even with rigorous clinical studies and regulatory review it may be impossible to detect certain safety signals until several years after approval, once the medicine is in broader use.”

No doubt. And that’s why the public is subjected to the luck of the draw, a roll of the dice, a spin of the roulette wheel.

Of course, as I never tire of pointing out, a landmark review (July 26, 2000) in the Journal of American Medical Association, by Dr. Barbara Starfield, found that, every year in the US, FDA approved drugs kill 106,000 people. Extrapolating to a decade, that would be a million deaths.

The new study confirms only a small part of the overall problem.

And the overall problem is what major media don’t want to report on—and what the federal government doesn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole.

The new study is what intelligence agencies would call a limited hangout, which is a public admission of part of a problem or scandal that is, in fact, much bigger. The huge scandal, in this case, is the routine death-by-medicine numbers every year—which is ignored by the press and the government.

106,000 Americans killed by FDA approved medicines every year. That’s the big one. That remains hidden and unacknowledged.

NOTE: under Trump, the FDA is urged to speed up the drug-approval process. It’s good for business. For patients, it’s a disaster on top of the already existing disaster.

About the Author

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX,

This article (New Study: FDA – Approved Drugs are Dangerous) was originally created and published by Jon Rappaport’s Blog and is re-posted here with permission.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/11/new-study-fda-approved-drugs-dangerous/

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Kingpin of International Pedophilia Network Sentenced, 900 Additional Suspects Arrested

by Christina Sarich, Guest Waking Times

The FBI has just reported, along with several mainstream news agencies that over 900 pedophiles – members of an underground “Darkweb” – have been stopped due to a two-year investigation. The founder of a website called “the Playpen” has also been sentenced to a 30-year jail sentence.

Investigators are calling the Playpen possibly the largest underground pedophilia ring they’ve found to date. Over 350 arrests in the US alone have been made, but the scope of the operation is international. Over 296 U.S. children identified as sexually abused and there are untold numbers in other parts of the world that, we are told, will be freed from their torturers.

RT is reporting that arrests have taken place in countries near and far, from Malaysia, Turkey, Peru, Chile, the Ukraine, and Israel, just to name a few.

“It’s the same with any criminal violation: As they get smarter, we adapt, we find them. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, except it’s not a game. Kids are being abused, and it’s our job to stop that.” Dan Alfin, special agent, FBI Violent Crimes Against Children Section

Oddly, membership on the Playpen site rose by a third and it ran “much better” while it was operated secretly by the FBI, one defense lawyer in the case has argued, seeking to have the charges dismissed.

Europol reports that Europe has seen the largest number of arrests in the investigation, called Operation Pacifier, thus far.  368 suspects are being charged and a total of 870 arrests have been made in connection with the Playpen.

Playpen was able to run successfully for some time as it was running under the Dark Web, or the Dark Net as it is being called, a portion of the Internet which protects the anonymity of its users, and participation is by invitation only.

It is said that the Dark Web represents the largest part of the Internet, with only about .03% of the regular, visual web showing on the surface when we log into our Internet browsers. Estimates based on extrapolations from a study done at University of California, Berkeley in 2001, speculate that the deep Web consists of about 7,500 terabytes. This means that thousands upon thousands of sites could be mined for further data to expose pedophilia and help law enforcement make arrests.

 

Once users gain access to sites like the Playpen, they have a wide range of materials to peruse which allow them to exploit and abuse children. This include videos of children being abused, divided into different categories. One section of the Playpen focused specifically on the abuse of toddlers it is clear the Dark Web is dealing with the vilest and most psychologically damaged percentage of society. To use the word psychopath seems to belittle the scope and depth of this issue.

Using Interpol, as well as the U.S. and other intelligence agencies, the Dark Web is being exposed, and it needs to be – child abusers have been using freely available encryption and software for decades to protect their identities.

For Operation Pacifier, Intelligence packages were sent to law enforcement authorities in countries including Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to help make the arrest which are being reported now. The amount of data seized is the largest to date. Therefore, the current arrests are likely only the beginning of an avalanche of further convictions which will transpire due to this single investigation.

Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre said:

“Those individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children are becoming increasingly forensically aware and are actively using the most advanced forms of anonymization and encryption to avoid detection.  Law enforcement needs to be able to use proportionate means to tackle this threat to our children. The internet has no boundaries and does not recognize borders. We need to balance the rights of victims versus the right to privacy. If we operate 19th century legal principles then we are unable to effectively tackle crime at the highest level.”

More than 8,000 IP addresses were hacked in 180 countries to gain the data needed to take down this pedophilia ring. It seems the very tools meant to spy on every-day folks in humanity’s masses are now undoing criminals in the highest levels of society.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet…

This article (Kingpin of International Pedophilia Network Sentenced, 900 Additional Suspects Arrested) was originally created and published by The Mind Unleashed and is re-posted here with permission.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/05/09/kingpin-international-pedophilia-network-sentenced-900-additional-suspects-arrested/

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Cancer’s Financial Cost is as Agonizing as Cancer Itself

big pharma

Who Are All These Strange Women Trying to Friend Me on Facebook?

 Recently, the men on our staff have been inundated by Facebook friend requests from strange women with whom we share zero mutual friends.

Just in the past couple weeks alone, Chelsie Dugan, Aurelia Justina Oviedo, Elisabeth Voland, Abigail Dixon, Marian Sayre, Marina Protonotariou and Helen Savoie have expressed an interest in networking with us. And those are just the ones we can remember and who still have active Facebook accounts. Plenty more have come and gone before seemingly disappearing altogether.

It’s not just women, either. As a gay man, I’ve received a carousel of friend requests from smiling, chiseled Europeans like Francisco Bastida Pulido, reminiscent of the Belgian orphan who catfished me back in the mid-aughts.

Fool me once…

Admittedly, I have attempted to engage with a few of them — for journalistic purposes, of course. But alas, my messages have never received a response.

“Does anyone really fall for this?” I wondered aloud in the office last week.

“Absolutely,” replied my fellow staff writer John McDermott, laying out the logic:

Brain: You’re getting catfished, idiot!
Penis: She’s hot and French.
Me: Let’s give her a chance guys!

It’s obviously a scam, but to what end?

“People may try to create fake accounts for a variety of reasons,” a Facebook spokesman tells me. Said reasons can include: To spam or spread a virus; to market and advertise; to test friends behind their back; or to harass an ex. “But usually the goal is to make connections and then send spam links or try to pull off scams,” e.g., romance scams, lottery scams, loan scams, access token scams, etc.

The spokesperson says Facebook uses a range of automated systems to help detect and stop fake accounts, but they recommend not accepting suspicious requests — i.e., those from people you’re already friends with on Facebook; those from an attractive member of the opposite sex with whom you have no mutual friends; or those claiming to be “looking for love.” He adds that you should also be cautious of links, files and offers you receive unexpectedly — especially from people you don’t know.

The scam seems nebulous and minor-league — so much so that it’s tough to understand the endgame. That said, they probably warrant caution, so I reach out to Paul Roberts, who covers hacking and cyber threats as editor-in-chief of the cyber-security website The Security Ledger, to better understand what these alluring — yet clearly malevolent — Facebook friend requests are all about. Here’s what he told me:

They’re bots. Most people aren’t that beautiful, Roberts says, stating the obvious. The scam is basically to become friends with you to gain access to your friend network. The defense, of course, is to convince the brain to overrule the penis in John’s sample dialogue above.

“More sophisticated scams might have actually engaged with you and tried to cultivate your interest and get you to friend them. In security circles, we talk about ‘social engineering,’ which is basically online grifting. So a note with the friend request like: ‘Hey [YOUR NAME]! I’m a friend of [YOUR FRIEND’S NAME]. Just thought I’d connect with you on Facebook, too! LOL!’ That may not fool you, but it fools a lot of people and is low-hanging fruit for any scam.’”

Friend requests with no context but with ample cleavage or shredded abs suggest little premeditation, Roberts explains, and aren’t likely to work on anyone but the loneliest and most clueless targets. “This is basically Facebook spam — send it, forget it, and wait for some sucker to friend you back because ‘So pretty!!!’”

That said, nefarious forces could do a lot with an accepted friend request. Since friending them will give them access to your friend network, they can then target your friends, and so on. “Unless you’re scrupulous about setting up friend groups and sticking untrusted people in low-privilege ‘acquaintance ghettos’ where they have limited access to your profile,” says Roberts.

And who the fuck does that? Hardly anyone, which is why the scams exist in the first place. Also, Roberts explains, we tend to blindly trust our Facebook friends, which is an open door for them to slip you a malicious link that will take you off Facebook to some drive-by download site that can put bad stuff on your computer or phone: “This could be as simple as an innocuous Facebook message like ‘OMG! This is the funniest video, check it out!!!’ and then a link. It could be a clickbait post that you can’t investigate. You’ll only see it because they’re your ‘friend,’ and you’ll have forgotten that you don’t actually know this person, or how you (never) met. So Facebook becomes a platform for reaching people and scamming them. Who the hell reads email anymore, right? ‘Fish where the fish are,’ as the saying goes.”

The scam is intelligent enough to send me hot guys because I’m gay while sending my straight colleagues hot women. Facebook makes it easy to target users based on their interests and other various identifiers, Roberts explains. Anyone who’s hosted an ad on Facebook has seen this firsthand. “You can slice and dice their audience to an almost ridiculous degree,” Roberts says. I’m not sure how they ‘found’ you, but my guess is they have a few standard profiles set up with different photos and orientations, and they just click and repeat…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/who-are-all-these-strange-women-trying-to-friend-me-on-facebook-e5a5e07c07a8

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