25 January 2011

More troops lost to suicide

For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The reasons are complicated and the accounting uncertain — for instance, should returning soldiers who take their own lives after being mustered out be included?

But the suicide rate is a further indication of the stress that military personnel live under after nearly a decade of war.

Figures released by the armed services last week showed an alarming increase in suicides in 2010, but those figures leave out some categories.

Overall, the services reported 434 suicides by personnel on active duty, significantly more than the 381 suicides by active-duty personnel reported in 2009. The 2010 total is below the 462 deaths in combat, excluding accidents and illness. In 2009, active-duty suicides exceeded deaths in battle.

Last week’s figures, though, understate the problem of military suicides because the services do not report the statistics uniformly. Several do so only reluctantly.

Figures reported by each of the services last week, for instance, include suicides by members of the Guard and Reserve who were on active duty at the time. The Army and the Navy also add up statistics for certain reservists who kill themselves when they are not on active duty.

But the Air Force and Marine Corps do not include any non-mobilized reservists in their posted numbers. What’s more, none of the services count suicides that occur among a class of reservists known as the Individual Ready Reserve, the more than 123,000 people who are not assigned to particular units.

Suicides by veterans who have left the service entirely after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan also are not counted by the Defense Department. The Department of Veterans Affairs keeps track of such suicides only if the person was enrolled in the VA health care system — which three-quarters of veterans are not.

But even if such veterans and members of the Individual Ready Reserve are excluded from the suicide statistics, just taking into account the deaths of reservists who were not included in last week’s figures pushes the number of suicides last year to at least 468.

That total includes some Air Force and Marine Corps reservists who took their own lives while not on active duty, and it exceeds the 462 military personnel killed in battle.

The problem of reservists’ suicides, in particular, has been a major concern to some lawmakers. A Pentagon study this year confirmed that reservists lack the support structure that active-duty troops have.

Some types of reservists are more cut off than others. Rep. Rush D. Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, says that members of the Individual Ready Reserve and other categories of citizen-soldiers do not receive a thorough screening for mental health issues when they return from deployments.

One of those soldiers, a constituent of Holt’s named Coleman S. Bean, was an Army sergeant and Iraq War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder but could not find treatment. He took his own life in 2008.

Moved by Bean’s story, Holt wrote a bill requiring phone contacts with these reservists every 90 days after they come home from war. The House adopted Holt’s provision as part of its defense authorization bills for both fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011. But conferees writing the final version of the bills took it out both years.

Holt said in December that Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was responsible for that decision in the most recent bill. A spokeswoman for McCain, Brooke Buchanan, would not state his position on the provision. Instead, she said House members had removed it.

A House Armed Services Committee spokeswoman, Jennifer Kohl, said the House reluctantly pulled the provision from the bill because of the opposition of senators, whom she did not name.

Holt said a fuller reckoning of the number of suicides among military personnel and veterans is needed not so much to tell lawmakers and the public that there is a problem — that, he says, they know. Rather, it is needed to more accurately gauge the extent to which programs to help troubled troops are having an effect.

"In order to know whether the steps we’ve taken work," Holt said, "we’re going to have to have more detailed knowledge of who’s out there."

congress.org 24 Jan 2011

If we are to believe what we read, then it is a deliberate government inaction and lack of support that ultimately leads to suicide.

The government treats these soldiers as CANON FODDER, and once their job is done, they can be let go.

On the surface though it 'seems' they have great remuneration packages.

What other uses are there for the brainwashed and programmed cattle good for?

Secret files expose Palestinian 'offers'

The Palestinians offered Israel major concessions on east Jerusalem and on the issue of refugees in 2008 peace talks, according to leaked documents angrily dismissed as "distortions" on Monday.

Details of the proposals emerged late on Sunday when the al-Jazeera satellite channel began publishing the first of more than 1,600 documents known as the "Palestine Papers" which cover more than 10 years of secret Middle East peace talks.

The documents, which were also shared with British paper the Guardian, provoked surprise and anger among the Palestinian leadership, with chief negotiator Saeb Erakat dismissing them as "full of distortions" and president Mahmud Abbas insisting his government had nothing to hide.

Described by al-Jazeera and the Guardian as "the most important leak in the history of the conflict," the papers include hundreds of official Palestinian transcripts from private meetings with the Israelis.

Central to the revelations was a series of far-reaching Palestinian offers regarding Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem which were made by in 2008, the scope of which were never made public.

During series of meetings that year, the Palestinians offered to let Israel keep all its settlements in east Jerusalem, with the exception of Har Homa, as well as the Jewish Quarter and part of the Armenian Quarter in the Old City.

But Israel rejected the offer, saying it did not meet their demands, the papers show.

Al-Jazeera said the concessions were offered during talks between Condoleezza Rice who was secretary of state at the time, Israel's then foreign minister Tzipi Livni, former Palestinian premier Ahmad Qorei, and Erakat.

"We proposed that Israel annexes all settlement in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa)," the documents quote Qorei as saying.

"This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition," he said.

But "the Israeli side refused to even place Jerusalem on the agenda, let alone offer the PA concessions in return for its historic offer," it said.

Erakat was also said to have offered to accept the return of only 100,000 out of the Palestinians who fled at the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and their descendants, now numbering almost five million.

The documents also show how PA leaders had been "privately tipped off" about Israel's 2008-2009 war against the Gaza Strip ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas, the paper said.

The report comes as world powers seek ways to haul Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table after direct peace talks broke down last September in a dispute over Jewish settlements.

The publication of the Palestine Papers provoked a furious response from Erakat, who was widely quoted throughout the documents, with the chief negotiator insisting the revelations had been "taken out of context and contain lies."

"Al-Jazeera's information is full of distortions and fraud," he told AFP.

Abbas, who is currently in Cairo for talks with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, also said the Palestinian Authority (PA) had nothing to hide.

"With everything we have done - in terms of activities with the Israelis or the Americans - we have given the Arabs details," Abbas said in remarks published by Palestinian news agency Wafa. "There is nothing hidden from the Arab brothers."

The strongest reaction by far was from Gaza's Hamas rulers, who have always opposed any negotiation with Israel, with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri saying the papers revealed "the ugly face" of the Ramallah leadership and "the level of its cooperation with the occupation."

There was no official Israeli reaction to the leaked documents, but in response to questions about the Palestinian offer in 2008, Livni, now the opposition leader, issued a statement saying she would "continue to maintain discretion of the talks, in order to protect Israeli interests."

"We do no intend to respond to internal Palestinian reports - whether they are true or not," the statement said.

Elsewhere, outspoken Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told public radio the revelations proved it was necessary to push for some kind of interim accord with the Palestinians.

"If (former premier Ehud) Olmert and Tzipi Livni did not manage to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, then it is a sign that they all reached the conclusion in the end that the only solution is a long term interim agreement," he said.

Washington said it was reviewing the documents, with State Department spokesman Philip Crowley saying: "We cannot vouch for their veracity" in a Twitter post.

AFP 24 Jan 2011

Tottie Goldsmith says drugs were 'not hers'

Tottie Goldsmith says that drugs found in her beach bag during a Melbourne music festival at the weekend were "not hers".

The 48-year-old former Neighbours star was charged with carrying an illicit substance, believed to be cocaine, after she was stopped by drug dogs at the Hot Barbeque music festival at Portsea.

Goldsmith's agent initially refused to comment on the reports, but has now released a statement saying she was embarrassed by the incident but thanked the police for their professionalism.

"Tottie wishes to express her total disapproval and embarrassment that drugs belonging to other people were found in her beach bag. The drugs were not hers nor were they for her use," the Herald Sun quoted the statement as saying.

"She thanks Victoria Police for their professionalism and courtesy and strongly encourages them to continue the fight to protect the youth of Victoria.”

Goldsmith's father, former nightclub owner and restaurateur Brian Goldsmith, was with his daughter at the VIP marquee, hosted by Molly Meldrum and Lili Romano.

Goldsmith, who played Cassandra Freedman in Neighbours, was seen partying with other celebrities at the VIP Beach Club marquee after the incident, the report said.

Inspector Shayne Pannell said no one was above the law.

"This type of behaviour will not go unnoticed by police and we will ensure anyone doing the wrong thing is caught," he said.

The actor may be forced to undergo a diversion program and seek therapy if she pleads guilty to carrying an illicit substance.

ninemsn.com.au 24 Jan 2010

Another 'star' caught with drugs, and the standard procedure is DENIAL.

At major events such as The Big Day Out, Schoolies, etc drugs are not only common, but necessary.

It is also common knowledge within the industry the Ian 'Molly' Meldrum would use drugs not only at his place of work Mushroom Records but also at public events.

The politics of this is that law just closes its eyes on these public figures, as it is not in the best interest of the business moguls.

the politically correct procedure of the new age to seek therapy is a cop out, as these people do NOT need therapy.

23 January 2011

Toyota pays for IBM's I.T. incompetence and fraud

Toyota Australia, which is based in Melbourne is one of Australia's largest car manufacturers.

A large portion of their production is exported to the Middle East, and one less known fact to the public is that Toyota also survives on government subsidies.

In a 'Money for Mates ' deal Toyota outsources its Information Technology to IBM (Global Services Australia), in an attempt to justify cutting costs, where in reality is costs Toyota more, as well as one other important factor is that the IT 'responsibility' rests within IBM.

IBM in turn also 'outsources' its labour to cheap offshore I.T sweat shops.

When IBM goes onsite to Toyota, the IT contractor must then learn the infrastructure of Toyota's Local and Wide area Network, together with the application suite and server set up. This entire process may take up to 3 months for anyone to be entirely familiar with the company's backbone.

What IBM then does is take that IT contractor away from Toyota, and puts them on another project, for example Lend Lease, and replaces them with a newbie, who has to learn the entire process again.
This is done at great expense to the customer, i.e. Toyota.

IBM charges between $120 - $200 per hour to Toyota.

When questioned, Toyota is aware of this practice of wasted resources but NOTHING is done about this.

IBM also fraudulently charges time for services that have NOT been carried out in an internal account management system called CLAIM.

Codes have been made up that do NOT exist and the labour carried out is fraudulently billed to Toyota.

The end result is higher operating costs for Toyota, and consequently higher priced cars to the general public.

The entire outsourcing procedure practised by IBM from Agency to the end customer paying, is a fraudulent one, which has been cross referenced by one of Australia's largest law firms.

The fraud within this business is estimated to be worth TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS per year.