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October 16, 2012

The Chinese investor charter school green card scam

Chinese funding Florida charter schools
Investment money is pouring into Florida from wealthy Chinese who find that Florida has exactly what they are looking for — and what they need to secure US green cards. Chinese investors are taking advantage of the EB-5 investment visa program, the so-called "green card via red carpet," by putting millions into Florida's charter schools and an aquaculture farm in Central Florida. Under the EB-5 program, through investments of at least $1 million — or $500,000 for "targeted employment areas" — foreign nationals are able to obtain legal residency in the US so long as the money they invest will help secure or create at least 10 full-time jobs. A group of Chinese investors have put $30 million into the state's charter school program to date and are looking to invest three times that amount in the next year, Ilona Vega Jaramillo, director of international business development for Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm, said in a US-China roundtable discussion last week. She would not name any of the investors, citing confidentiality. In addition, about 12 other Chinese investors have put their $500,000 into a $16 million aquaculture project on 100 acres in Fellsmere, FL.

October 07, 2012

Israeli lobbyist suggests staging an attack on Israel as an excuse for war with Iran

There's a long and storied history of so-called False Flag attacks being used an excuse for war. The Gleiwitz Incident being the most famous, wherein Nazis staged a Polish attack on a German broadcasting station and used the fake attack as cause for war. Or there's the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran | Informed Comment

September 20, 2012

Pennsylvania medical device company accused of illegal human trials, killing people with bone cement

Bad to the bone: A medical horror story - Fortune Features
FORTUNE -- On Nov. 16, 2011, Georgia Baddley, a 70-year-old woman living near Salt Lake City, received a shocking call from a special agent at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agent told her that the government had come across new information about her mother's death. Baddley was speechless. Eight years before, her 83-year-old mother, Barbara Marcelino, had unexpectedly died during spine surgery. At the time, Baddley didn't question what had happened; surgery was always risky for a woman of that age. She was horrified when the agent told her that the surgeon had injected bone cement into her mother's spine and that the product -- which was not approved for that use -- may have played a role in her death. The agent explained that the government had filed criminal charges against the maker of the cement, a company called Synthes, and four of its executives. After hanging up the phone, Baddley sat in stunned silence. "I was taken aback," she says. "I had no idea that anything like that had happened." Most people have never heard of Synthes, a medical device maker headquartered in West Chester, Pa. But the company became part of one of the most recognizable names in health care in June when Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) completed the purchase of it for nearly $20 billion -- the largest acquisition in J&J's history. Market watchers cheered the deal, which will expand the company's stable of high-margin orthopedic products. J&J, which has endured a series of reputation-sullying recalls and lawsuits in recent years, specifically cited Synthes's "culture" and "values" as evidence of its appeal, even as former Synthes executives awaited sentencing on charges of grievous conduct. In 2009 the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia accused the company of running illegal clinical trials -- essentially, experimenting on humans. Between 2002 and 2004, Synthes had tested a product called Norian XR, a cement that has a unique capacity to turn into bone when injected into the human skeleton. The Food and Drug Administration explicitly told Synthes not to promote Norian for certain spine surgeries, but the company pushed forward anyway. At least five patients who had Norian injected into their spines died on the operating-room table. One was Barbara Marcelino. . . .

September 18, 2012

Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia

Short version: high-level wikipedia editors sold their access and editorial powers to a PR firm and SEO business, pimping clients on the front page in exchange for cash money. Corruption in Wikiland? Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia | Internet & Media - CNET News
Concerned Wikipedians raised the alarm Monday that two trusted men -- one a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation UK, the other a respected Wikipedian In Residence -- are allegedly editing Wikipedia pages and facilitating front-page placement for their pay-for-play, publicity-seeking clients. Jimmy Wales is not pleased. It began this week when an interesting discussion started on the DYK ("Did You Know") discussion page. Roger Bamkin, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation UK, whose LinkedIn page describes him as a high-return-earning PR consultant, appeared to be using Wikipedia's main page "Did You Know" feature and the resources of Wikipedia's GLAM WikiProject (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) initiative to pimp his client's project. Bamkin's current client is the country of Gibraltar. In August, Gibraltar was featured as a Wikipedia DYK front page feature an astonishing seventeen times - that's an unusual frequency of every 2-3 days. Other than the Olympics, it is the only repeated topic throughout the month. . . .