ISIS brutes have beheaded a 100-year-old cleric - after accusing him of practising witchcraft
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We have been promised a head transplant by next year, and the main brain behind the highly controversial procedure shows no signs of retracting his wild claim. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the pioneering surgeon has now announced the procedure has been successfully carried out on a monkey.
As revealed by Motherboard and New Scientist, Italian doctor Sergio Canavero has teased the press with some details on progress made so far by himself and collaborator Dr Xiaoping Ren of China’s Harbin Medical University, among others. Ren has invested a significant amount of time perfecting the technique in mice, having performed the transplant on more than 1,000 mice. The animals were able to breathe and drink after the 10-hour surgery, but only lived for a matter of minutes.
Now, according to Canavero, Ren’s team has carried out the transplant on a monkey. Although, even if this does turn out to be true, it doesn’t seem that any significant increments have been made since the ‘70s, when Dr Robert White managed the same feat. While the animals both reportedly survived the surgeries, neither involved an attempt to fuse the donor and recipient spinal cords. Though Ren did take a leaf out of White’s book, cooling down the brain to -15oC (5oF) in order to protect the nervous tissue from damage. After cleanly severing the spinal cords, blood vessels of the transplanted head were joined to those of the donor body.
“The monkey fully survived the procedure without any neurological injury of whatever kind,” Canavero claims. But considering the fact that the animal was euthanized after just 20 hours for ethical reasons, alongside the fact that the spinal cords were not connected, this assertion seems premature, to say the least. Regardless, according to Ren, the idea behind the experiment was not to investigate potential length of survival, but to work out how to keep the brain supplied with blood to prevent the tissue from starving of oxygen and nutrients.
What is perhaps most dubious about this announcement is the fact that Canavero chose to go to the press before the work is published, an approach that is considered taboo among the scientific community. Canavero says that seven papers are due to appear in the journals Surgery and CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. Both Motherboard and New Scientist reached out to the editor of the former, Michael Sarr, who confirmed that the journal had reviewed two papers so far, but that further rounds of editing are required prior to publication.
While Sarr was quick to point out concerns over the sensationalism and ethics of the procedure, he noted that the journal has significant interest due to the implications of the research. In particular, one paper is concerned with nerve regrowth following spinal cord injury, which has the potential to offer hope to a tremendous number of people suffering such debilitating trauma.
But Canavero and Ren are certainly not the only scientists working towards this laudable goal. A group led by C-Yoon Kim at South Korea’s Konkuk University, for instance, has been severing the spinal cords of live mice and then re-fusing them with the aid of a substance called polyethylene glycol, which helps the fatty membranes of cells meld together. Shown in a video, the animals were later able to hobble around again. Other teams are also trialing different methods, such as stem cells or electrical stimulation.
Native European men are stupid if they pursue sexual relationships with Western women. Go to India and Pakistan. Every native college girl dreams of a white husband.
I don't care how comfortable you are with your own body, we all have those moments where we think about how we smell down there. Maybe it's at the doctor's office before a pelvic exam, or it might be as your partner is making their way to your vagina for some up-close and personal fun. You wonder, "Do I smell normal? And what is normal anyway? What is a vagina supposed to smell like?"
Healthy vaginas often do have smells! Most of the time, these vagina scents aren't awful—they just smell like a vagina; like the way you sometimes smell sweaty or how your feet stink in certain shoes. We smell like humans, and the smell of our vaginas depend on certain factors. If you just took a shower and washed your lady-bits, there probably isn't any smell. But if you just had a marathon sex session, your vagina will have an odor.
Every vagina has its own unique scent, which is a combination of the normal bacteria that reside in your vagina, your diet, if you wear natural fabrics or synthetics, your level of hygiene, your bathroom habits, and what your glands secrete.
It's important not to forget that your vagina also secretes pheromones that are supposed to trigger sexual interest and excitement.
"I don't know how to describe what a vagina should smell like, but I can tell you what it shouldn't smell like," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine. "The vagina shouldn't smell like rotten fish or anything rotting. [That odor] is from bacterial vaginosis, which is really an imbalance of good guy and bad guy bacteria (the bad guys are the anaerobic bacteria which tend to be overgrowing, and anaerobes classically produce a foul or rotting type odor)."
The pH of the vagina is an important gauge for what's going on down there.
"Many women notice after having their periods that there is a different odor," says Sara Gottfried, M.D., founder and medical director of The Gottfried Center for Integrative Medicine and author of The Hormone Cure. " A lot of women notice a change in scent after having sex. Semen is really basic—it has a pH of around eight—so when you have sex, it changes the pH in the vagina to the basic side of things."
The good news is that vaginas are self-cleaning and they naturally produce some discharge that helps to eject germs and bacteria out of your body, like a bouncer at the exclusive Vagina Club. You have regular discharge, which is mostly white with a little yellow, but when it's grey or neon green or yellow, that's not good.
If your vagina is itchy or there's pain, those are signs that something isn't right. You might have an infection or something more serious, and should see your doctor as soon as possible.
"Another thing that we do see causing bad odors is a retained tampon," said Dr. Minkin. "If someone does notice a foul odor, check in for a retained tampon (something folks forget to take out at the end of their period). If they find one and cannot remove it, call the health care provider to remove it. That's one of the few times a douche would be helpful, and then follow it up with some RepHresh, an over-the-counter solution that helps keep the pH levels healthy."
As far as smell goes, Dr. Minkin says, "There are times I do see women who complain of an odor, and I don't smell anything abnormal. The one thing I strongly discourage women from doing is using scented products in the vagina, because that tissue is the most delicate in the body, and the most sensitive to irritation like an allergen."
For the most part, don't mess with your vagina. It knows how to take care of itself. If you do see or smell something that doesn't seem right, have a health care professional check it out.
Looking back on it now, they can understand the fuss. Who, after all, would plan a such a peerlessly inappropriate fundraiser? A ‘ladies’ night’ in Llanelli complete with drag queen and near naked waiters in order to send their own mother to Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia clinic?
The public was bemused, the police were called and the event duly cancelled.
‘We felt quite stupid,’ admits Tara O’Reilly, who organised the party with her sister Rose Baker. ‘We were told we were breaking the law – encouraging suicide. But we weren’t thinking about any of that. We were just desperate.’ And with good reason. Their mother Jackie Baker, diagnosed with motor neurone disease, was declining fast. Months of agonising pain and uncertainty lay before them. Today, though, that terror has completely gone. For all the kerfuffle of the failed party and despite the months of misery that followed, the sisters feel only relief.
Three weeks ago, in a faceless trading estate on the outskirts of Zurich, their 59-year-old mother clicked a button with her toe and passed away, killed by a powerful cocktail of barbiturates, as she had wished.
And at last Rose and Tara are free to tell a story that will touch everyone who reads it – about the fear of the diagnosis, the turmoil of hearing their mother ask for Dignitas, and about their passionate belief in new laws to support assisted dying.
Jackie, who had lived close to her daughters in Morriston, a former tinplate and copper town near Swansea, had been a keen amateur photographer and musician. All that changed with the diagnosis back in February. Jackie’s own mother had died of the condition, so the three of them knew exactly what to expect.
A week later, Tara, 40, caught Jackie looking up ways to commit suicide on the internet. ‘I told her she was being ridiculous,’ Tara says. ‘Then she said she wanted to go to Dignitas. I had no idea what she was talking about.
‘I just thought, here we go, it’s one of Mum’s hippy trippy things. She said it would cost £8,000. She didn’t have a bean to her name. We didn’t realise it was even an option, like a dog being taken to be put down, really.’
Her sister Rose, 29, who works in a call centre, continues: ‘I hoped it was just a phase. It was so stressful that I had to stop working. How could I answer people’s questions about faults with their televisions when Mum was talking about killing herself?’
To raise the money, Tara, a hairdresser, decided on the £15-per-head ladies’ night, which soon came to the attention of the media – and the police. Two officers visited Tara at her salon after receiving a complaint from Care Not Killing, a group which opposes euthanasia and assisted dying.
They warned her that if the party went ahead, Tara and her guests could be prosecuted.
The event was cancelled – yet the publicity was what saved the family. Donations from total strangers poured in. One woman gave £2,000. Two Swiss bankers got in touch and offered to let the family stay at their house in Switzerland. Dignitas informed Tara that they offered a reduced rate for those in financial difficulty.
Earlier this month, Tara and Rose accompanied their mother on the gruelling 18-hour trip to Zurich and watched as she administered the fatal dose of drugs.
In September, Parliament rejected plans to enshrine the right to die in law in England and Wales, with 118 MPs voting in favour and 330 against.
Despite this, Tara and Rose are in no doubt when it comes to their own beliefs. ‘Our mother should have had an injection in her own home two months ago,’ says Tara.
‘But instead she had to travel for 18 hours in complete agony, sitting in her own urine. There’s a need for assisted dying and for the law to change. Our mum is proof of that.’
More than 160 Britons have taken their own lives at Dignitas in the past six years.
She could have had another year in pain,’ Tara continues. ‘It would have been selfish for us to keep her here. ‘When we actually got to Switzerland, there was a calmness. We knew we were doing the right thing.’
Not that it was in any way easy. Indeed, as this searingly honest and at times disturbing diary of their mother’s final journey makes clear, there can be no doubt at all of the desperation and the sheer humanity that drove them into the arms of Dignitas.
Getting the green light October 25, 2015
Tara: The email giving us a provisional green light came from Dignitas today. I was at the salon and then had to cut some poor woman’s hair.
I did think, ‘Thank God’, but there was a crushing feeling too. This is it. It’s all been a rush and now we’re going in ten days. Mum’s eyes lit up when I told her. She said she was over the moon. She can’t wait to go. I feel relief. She’s so ill and in so much pain. Every movement is like a knife going through her.
But it’s heartbreaking, too. I was just thinking about Christmas and how we’ll all be together as usual. But then I had the most gut-wrenching feeling because Mum won’t be here, will she? We’ll never have another Christmas with her.
Rose: Mum’s GP said she was too ill to fly. Part of me desperately wants Mum to change her mind but I know she never will. I said she could get the train but that it would be a long and painful journey. She doesn’t care. She just wants to go.
The last journey November 2
Tara: I’ve been playing Mum’s last moments over in my mind. I keep having visions of what her last words will be. I want them to be heartfelt but she has become so detached from us lately. I’ve been knocking myself out every night with a bottle of wine. I’ve been absolutely dreading today but now it’s here I feel strangely relieved and calm.
This morning Rose and I woke up at 3.30am to start the journey to Switzerland. When we got to Mum’s nursing home she was beaming, ready to go. There were no staff around. They’ve been warned not to get involved. We got a taxi to London at 4.30am. It was tough seeing her in the back in this huge wheelchair.
The driver was useless. He didn’t know the way and we missed the Eurostar. When we got to the station Mum was in such pain and kept crying out. One of the Eurostar managers told me he didn’t think she could travel. I’ve never felt so desperate until that moment. ‘We have to get on that train. We have to get to Switzerland,’ I told him. He knew what I meant. It was pretty clear by our distraught faces that we didn’t just want to do away with our mother.
He went to speak to someone higher up, came back and put us all on to the next train in first class. ‘I didn’t realise, good luck to you all and God bless,’ he said.
Rose: In Paris we missed the next train but managed to get on to a later one. We got to Zurich at about 11pm, 18 hours after we had set off.
The final countdown November 3
Tara: We went to see our Dignitas-assigned doctor at 8.30am in a Zurich clinic. This was not the place where you go to die. It looked more like a Botox clinic.
Everyone who goes to Dignitas must have two appointments, each on a different day. There was no ramp and the lift wasn’t fit for Mum’s wheelchair, so she was seen in a little corridor. The doctor was German and very matter-of-fact.
‘You want to die, Jackie?’ she asked Mum. She asked a few times. Mum just said, ‘Yes’ with no emotion.
Tonight is the happiest I’ve seen her since her diagnosis. She had Bob Marley on and was bobbing her head to the beat. She had her Complan food and her morphine. We had wine and pizza. She told me not to drink any more and to go to bed. She seemed scared that we wouldn’t get it right. She’s vulnerable and has put all of her trust in us.
Rose: It’s been a sad day, but we’ve tried to make the most of it. There have been lots of genuine I love yous and thank yous.
Mum’s last day November 4
Tara: It’s a lovely sunny day. Mum was going to wear her purple and yellow tie-dye dress, but decided on her more comfortable pyjamas because she’s ‘going to sleep’.
We got to Dignitas at about 9.30am, after seeing the same German doctor who again asked if she wanted to die. Now the taxi took us to an industrial estate. There were a few other units and a burger place next door.
They didn’t broadcast themselves. There was no sign: ‘Here’s Dignitas, drop-in only.’ We were struck by how down at heel it all looked. We were met by two of the clinic’s workers. The man must have been close to 80, he had a pierced ear and a pipe.
We walked straight into the room. It was like walking into somebody’s house. There was a hospital bed, an antique-looking dining table and chairs, an old stained rug, an old sofa and a painting that your nan might have had. There was a little window that looked out to the garden. There was no equipment. They brought that in afterwards.
Rose: I was trying desperately not to cry. But when we first got into the room, Mum said: ‘Thanks for getting me here.’ That started us both off. She said: ‘Don’t cry.’ There was no emotion to it.
We helped her into the bed with a hoist. They held a form up to her so she could sign it using a marker pen in her mouth. She gagged a bit.
Tara: I didn’t like watching that. It felt so final. It didn’t seem professional. The Dignitas lady was very happy. She offered us coffee before going over to Mum and taking her hand. ‘Jackie, do you want to die today?’ she said in a sing-song voice. Mum just said: ‘Yes.’ The woman added: ‘You’ll be out of your misery soon and in a better place.’ She told us Mum would go into a deep sleep and then a coma before her brain and all of her organs failed. I thought, bloody hell. It was so matter-of-fact.
Mum had to use her foot to push the button to release the poison. Nothing seemed modern or up to date. There was a big syringe that went into a little machine which was attached to a tube in Mum’s stomach.
Rose: We took a last selfie and then Mum was given an anti-sickness solution. It took 20 minutes to take effect. You couldn’t say goodbye properly. We just sat there not knowing what to do.
Tara: After 20 minutes they asked Mum if she wanted to say anything, but she didn’t even say goodbye. We said we loved her and were going to miss her. It wasn’t Mum at that point. She’d already gone. They told us not to touch any of the machines because we could get into trouble. They filmed the next bit. They said: ‘Jackie, when you’re ready, push the button.’ Mum did it straight away.
Rose: It didn’t take long, minutes really. She just stared through us and then went into a deep sleep and stopped breathing. Then she did a little snore, which made us laugh and cry at the same time. It was so Mum. We watched the blood drain from her face. We watched her take her last breath. It was peaceful really. We both kissed Mum goodbye for the last time and walked out into the winter sunshine. It was so hard to leave her there.
We went to a hotel and got drunk. I had flashes of her face at the end for the rest of the day. Neither of us had seen a dead body before.
The Aftermath November 5
Tara: We both felt absolutely lost. We’ve been pushing Mum’s empty wheelchair around like lost souls with people staring. It’s horrible, heartbreaking.
Mum wanted to be cremated. Dignitas have organised all of that. We flew back to Britain in silence.
There’s every chance that one of us or even both of us could get motor neurone disease. It’s in the family.
Mum was told there was a five per cent chance of her getting it. After seeing what it does, it is terrifying. I think about it every day. I’ve got a lump in my left hand and my first thought was it’s MND. I’m not sure if I could go to Dignitas or ask anyone to come and watch me die.
Rose: Why is agony acceptable but ending your life and your suffering is not? It was Mum’s choice, not ours. It has been a nice ending for her, in a way. Yes, it’s terribly sad and we’re both devastated, but we also feel a sense of relief that she got her happy ending.
Serge Kreutz lifestyle consultancy is available for 10,000 USD. It covers setting up in Asia and how to enjoy an endless series of love affairs with young beautiful women. No prostitutes but students and virgins.
Egypt's primary Forensic Medicine Department spokesperson, Dr. Hesham Abdel Hamid, recently revealed that 70 to 80 percent of all Egyptian women can not reach sexual orgasm due to female genital mutilation (FGM), local media reported on Sunday.
According to Abdel Hamid, medical reports confirm that the practice causes extreme delays in the female sexual response cycle and therefore leaves its victims unable to reach orgasm.
The forensic expert also described some worrisome physical side effects of the practice, which include severe physical pain, bleeding and risk of wound infection. He also highlighted its psychological effects, saying victims of the practice often develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
FGM, which is defined as a "partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons" by the World Health Organization (WHO), is extremely common in Egypt.
According to a 2014 survey, 92% of Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been circumcised.
"Seen from a human rights perspective, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women."
Egypt's government fighting against the practice As part of the ongoing crackdown on FGM, Egypt's government has passed a law that increases the penalty for female genital mutilation.
Perpetrators of the practice can now face between five and seven years in prison. If the mutilation leads to permanent disability or death, the perpetrator then faces up to 15 years.
Before the law took effect in 2016, the practice was classified as a misdemeanor and carried a penalty of three months to a maximum of three years in prison.
However, many in the country continue to practice FGM illegally and the government continues to campaign against it.
A universal problem
Even though FGM is "primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East," it is also practiced in some Asian and Latin American countries and is considered a universal problem according to WHO.
"It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated."
It is also estimated that 3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation every year, with the majority being under 15 years of age.
FGM has nothing to do with religion Even though people often erroneously link FGM to religion, the practice has nothing to do with any faith and predates both Christianity and Islam, according to Human Rights Watch.
The human rights organization stresses the important role religious leaders have when it comes to disassociating the practice from religion.
On their website, they also add that FGM has already been denounced by many religious authorities and its association to Islam in particular has been "refuted by many Muslim scholars and theologians who say that FGM is not prescribed in the Quran and is contradictory to the teachings of Islam."
Women in the region are still subject to regressive practices While FGM takes center stage as one of the most horrific practices that are enforced on women, the risk of other regressive customs imposed on them is still high.
Just last year, Elhamy Ageena, a member of Parliament in Egypt, asked universities to impose virginity tests on female university students.
In an interview with Youm7, he said that the Ministry of Higher Education should make these tests a prerequisite for enrollment.
"Any girl applying to university should be tested to prove that she is a 'Miss' – a virgin. Each and every female applicant should present forward an official document that confirms she is a virgin. This should be done in an effort to eradicate this spreading phenomena of urfi marriage in Egypt," Ageena said.
The MP's proposal and comments sparked outrage in the country.
According to CNN, NGOs, politicians and women's rights advocates all condemned his statements; "the National Council for Women, as well as the President of Cairo University, called for him to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity" too.
The Spanish masturbation guru Fran Sanchez is on the wrong path. Just imagine him handling his sexuality alone on his couch or in the toilet. A picture of pity, he is.
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Milo Yiannopoulos, a polemical Breitbart editor and unapologetic defender of the alt-right, tested the limits of how far his provocations could go after the publication of a video in which he condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.
On Monday, the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded their invitation for him to speak this week. Simon & Schuster said it was canceling publication of “Dangerous” after standing by him through weeks of criticism of the deal. And Breitbart itself was reportedly reconsidering his role amid calls online for it to sever ties with him.
Mr. Yiannopoulos’s comments, which quickly created an uproar online over the weekend, put many conservatives in a deeply uncomfortable position. They have long defended Mr. Yiannopoulos’s attention-seeking stunts and racially charged antics on the grounds that the left had tried to hypocritically censor his right to free speech.
But endorsing pedophilia, it seemed, was more than they could tolerate. The board of the American Conservative Union, which includes veterans of the conservative movement like Grover Norquist and Morton Blackwell, made the decision to revoke Mr. Yiannopoulos’s speaking slot and condemn his comments on Monday.
“We initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said in a written statement.
Regarding Mr. Yiannopoulos’s comments, Mr. Schlapp called them “disturbing” and said Mr. Yiannopoulos’s explanation of them was insufficient.
Late Monday, Mr. Yiannopoulos said that he would hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss his statements.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, who has railed against Muslims, immigrants, transgender people and women’s rights, is a marquee contributor to Breitbart News, where he serves as senior editor. He has amassed a fan base for his stunts and often-outrageous statements. But by Monday afternoon, his future at the website was being intensely debated by top management.
One Breitbart journalist, who requested anonymity to describe private deliberations, described divisions in the newsroom over whether Mr. Yiannopoulos could stay on. There was some consensus among staff members that his remarks were more extreme than his usual speech, the journalist said, and executives were discussing by telephone whether his apology was enough to preserve his position at the site.
A Breitbart representative declined to comment.
After the video was leaked on Twitter by a conservative group called the Reagan Battalion, Mr. Yiannopoulos denied that he had ever condoned child sexual abuse, noting that he was a victim himself. He blamed his “British sarcasm” and “deceptive editing” for leading to a misunderstanding.
But in the tape, the fast-talking polemicist is clear that he has no problem with older men abusing children as young as 13, which he then conflates with relationships between older and younger gay men who are of consenting age.
“No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means,” Mr. Yiannopoulos says on the tape, in which he is talking to radio hosts in a video chat. “Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty,” he adds, dismissing the fact that 13-year-olds are children.
The notion of consent, he says, is “arbitrary and oppressive.”
At one point in the video, an unknown speaker says that the behavior being defended by Mr. Yiannopoulos is akin to molestation by Catholic priests. Mr. Yiannopoulos responds, in an ironic tone, by crediting a priest for having helped develop his sexual technique.
Conservatives reacted with near unanimous disgust at the comments. Some expressed bewilderment that conference organizers would extend an invitation to Mr. Yiannopoulos in the first place, given his history of statements that have been offensive to blacks and Muslims, and have generally pushed the bounds of decency. Twitter has banned him.
“Colossal misjudgment,” Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, wrote on Twitter. “Now CPAC has put itself in the role of ‘censor.’ And for what? Some clicks and headlines?”
Until now, Mr. Yiannopoulos, a fervent supporter of President Trump, had emerged as something of a hero to many on the right, who saw in him an eager and willing combatant against a culture they believed was too politically correct. He became a star at Breitbart, the hard-right news outlet, and earned the admiration of Stephen K. Bannon, who was its publisher before becoming Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist.
Mr. Yiannopoulos was just getting a foothold in the media. He recently appeared on the comedian Bill Maher’s HBO talk show, and aggressively taunted liberals without much pushback from the host. His book “Dangerous,” a free-speech manifesto and memoir that he sold in December to Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint within Simon & Schuster, had shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, based on advance orders.
The publisher had encountered mounting criticism of its relationship with Mr. Yiannopoulos. The author Roxane Gay withdrew from her contract for a book with a Simon & Schuster imprint in protest.
The company stood by Mr. Yiannopoulos even as his planned lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, was canceled after rioting.
But in a terse statement late Monday, the publisher said it was canceling the book “after careful consideration.”
In a statement released through his agent, Mr. Yiannopoulos said: “The people whose views, concerns and fears I am articulating do not sip white wine and munch canapés in gilded salons. And they will not be defeated by the cocktail set running New York publishing. Nor will I.”
The decision is likely to be a costly one for Simon & Schuster, which may not be able to recover the portion of the reported $250,000 advance it had already paid to Mr. Yiannopoulos. “Dangerous” had sold just under 50,000 copies, according to his literary agent, Thomas Flannery Jr., who said he planned to find another publisher.
Correction: February 23, 2017
An article on Tuesday about the fallout from comments by the Breitbart editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos that seemed to condone sexual relations with boys overstated what is known about the cancellation of his planned lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, this month. The event was canceled after rioting occurred, not necessarily after students rioted. (While students may have been involved, no one has identified and interviewed every person involved in the riots, so their affiliations are not known.)
95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women are natural cowards who send men to handle things when they are dangerous.
The use of fire for criminal, gang, and terrorist activities, as well as targeting first responders, is not new. During the past four decades, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has faced hundreds of intentionally set fires that would often target people. On March 25, 1990, however, the unthinkable happened. An arsonist, with a plastic container of gasoline, spread the fuel on the exit stairs of the “Happy Land Night Club” in the Bronx intentionally killing 87 people, foreshadowing even larger events to come.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, are remembered as the first to employ airplanes as weapons of mass destruction, resulting in the deaths of almost 3,000 people. It was the resultant fires, however, that brought down Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center in the deadliest attack on U.S. soil. Seven years later, in what is described as a “paradigm shift,” 10 terrorist operatives from Lashkar-i-Tayyiba (LeT) carried out attacks over three days in Mumbai, India, in November 2008, using a mix of automatic weapons, explosives and fire. Each of these attacks is remembered for something other than fire, yet in each it was the fire that complicated rescue operations and drastically increased the lethality of the attacks.
A full understanding of fire as a weapon and implications for response are essential for homeland security, as it requires new policies and partnerships to address this emerging threat. Fire is an attractive weapon for terrorists for several reasons. Igniting a fire requires little to no training. Fire and associated smoke can penetrate defenses with alarming lethality. Fire makes tactical response more difficult. The images of fire also increase media coverage, capturing world attention. The FDNY has been studying this terrorist trend closely and, as a result of those efforts, is leading the national fire service on this issue.
Security personnel and emergency responders must rethink the way that they prepare and respond to incidents and anticipate the use of fire as a weapon, especially when combined with other attack methods. This article examines the terrorist use of fire as a weapon, the complexities of responding to multi-modality attacks involving fire, and the role the FDNY can play in national homeland security efforts.
Understanding Fire as a Weapon
The devastating 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, represented a game-changer. Over three days, a city of nearly 14 million was held hostage while 166 people were murdered in multiple locations across the city, introducing a new model for terrorist attacks. The nature of the Mumbai attack confused those providing tactical response, rescue operations, fire extinguishment and mass casualty care. The attackers employed multiple means of attack, including: improvised explosive devices, assassination, hostage barricade, building takeover, active shooter, kidnapping and fire. Despite all of the violence, the most iconic images from that event remain the fire at Taj Mahal Hotel. The pictures of people hanging out of the windows of the hotel to escape the fire are reminiscent of 9/11.
Brian Jenkins notably stated in 1974 that “terrorist attacks are often carefully choreographed to attract the attention of the electronic media and the international press…Terrorism is theater.” Directing the Mumbai attack from Pakistan, the mastermind asked the terrorists, “Are you setting the fire or not?” He understood that the fire would capture the attention of the television cameras outside the hotel and would create an image the world would watch. In this case, fire was used as a strategic weapon. Yet it also created a condition that complicated the rescue planning and challenged the first responders to deal with not only an active shooter threat inside a hostage barricade situation, but also one where fire and smoke created a second layer of obstacles to the rescue force—one for which they were not prepared.
On September 11, 2012, the first murder of an American ambassador since 1988 took place in Benghazi, Libya. Although firearms, IEDs and military ordinance were used, it was not bullets or explosives that killed the U.S. ambassador, but rather smoke from an arson fire. During the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, terrorists reportedly linked to Ansar al-Shari`a and al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) used fuel from jerry cans to start a fire in the main villa, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was sheltering in the designated location with two members of his diplomatic security detail. As the three men attempted to escape the untenable atmosphere—filled with choking, blinding smoke—the ambassador was separated from the one member of the detail who was able to escape through a window. Unfortunately, Ambassador Stevens and the other agent did not follow. Similar to 9/11 and Mumbai, the world was left with another image of a building ablaze during a terrorist attack. Following this incident, similar arson attacks took place days after Benghazi against the UN Multinational Force in the Sinai Peninsula as well as at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia.
While successful attacks are instructive, it is equally important to study unrealized terrorist plots as they reveal a great deal about adversary intentions, motivations, target selection and desired tactics.
– Arriving in the United States from the United Kingdom, al-Qa`ida operative Dhiren Barot carried out reconnaissance for terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Part of his research focused on exploiting building vulnerabilities, including gaps in fire protection. He determined that he could cause significant damage to the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey, and the Citi Corp Building in New York by ramming a loaded gas tanker truck into the lobby and then igniting the fuel.
– Another al-Qa`ida operative, Brooklyn-born Jose Padilla, determined that a “dirty bomb” attack might be too difficult to execute, so instead he planned to set wildfires, as well as ignite high-rise buildings by damaging the gas lines in apartments.
– An al-Qa`ida cell in the United Kingdom researched means to disable fire suppression systems to increase the impact of a plot that was ultimately disrupted by authorities.
These failed plots point to a strong interest in the use of fire as a weapon by terrorist groups and those they influence. In its widely disseminated English-language Inspire magazine, al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has repeatedly urged aspiring homegrown violent extremists to carry out low tech, high impact attacks in the United States or other Western countries. In one issue of Inspire, the readers were introduced to various methods of conducting an attack, including the use of simple “ember bombs” to ignite forest fires. Equally important, the images from attacks like Mumbai serve as a model for others to follow.
These events reveal that a group does not need a great deal of training to conduct a dramatic terrorist attack. In April 2013, two men at the Boston Marathon killed three people, injured 275 others and paralyzed the city. The Boston attacks serve as an important reminder that attacks need not be sophisticated to be deadly. Indeed, a survey of terrorists’ attack plots in the United States over the past decade reveals a trend remarkable for the simplicity of attack plans. Fire as a weapon, by itself or along with other tactics, presents significant challenges that first responders and security forces must contend with in planning, preparation and drills.
Complexities in Responding to Multi-Modality Attacks Involving Fire FDNY research and preparedness efforts on fire as a weapon have centered on what is now known as the “Mumbai-style attack method.” The salient features of a Mumbai-style attack include:
– multiple attackers, – multiple targets and – multiple weapon types (guns, explosives and fire) – deployed over a prolonged operational period leveraging media attention to amplify the effects of the attack.
These factors create unique challenges for first responders beginning with the ability to quickly and accurately gain situational awareness of the nature and extent of the attack, the need for several command posts to address multiple attack sites and tactics, and techniques and procedures to deal with attacks deploying both fire and other attack modalities (e.g., active shooter).
Fire presents a qualitatively different type of attack when used in conjunction with other attack means. Fire, and its associated smoke, can prove disorienting to a responding force, inhibit ingress to the target, create structural dangers and potentially increase the number of casualties that the security forces will encounter while trying to resolve the situation. These factors present significant challenges to counterterrorism operations.
To address these complex challenges, the FDNY has reaffirmed its relationships with established partners like the NYPD, and forged new partnerships that add essential expertise to develop effective techniques, tactics and procedures. The results of these initiatives are jointly published intelligence bulletins, forward-looking joint exercises and information exchanges that are pushing response models forward.
Several partnerships are worthy of mention: FDNY began meetings with FBI’s New York SWAT team to explore the idea of joint tactical teams simultaneously facing armed terrorists, fire and smoke, victims and mass casualties. Discussions and tabletop exercises led to two full-scale exercises that tested this concept. The insights gained from this one-year collaboration with the FBI culminated in the Interagency Tactical Response Model released in June 2012.
In May 2012, FDNY began collaboration with a group from the U.S. Army that specialize in rapid solutions to current and anticipated problems on the battlefield. As with the FBI, a series of meetings, training modules and tabletop exercises led to the group’s February 2013 “Red Team” paper on Fire and Smoke as a Weapon, envisioning a Mumbai-style attack in a hypothetical Manhattan office building in an attempt to gauge emergency responder preparedness related to this novel attack method.
After the Benghazi attacks, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service leveraged the FDNY to provide advice to its high-threat response team—the Mobile Security Deployment. Diplomatic Security Service agents were briefed on the most critical features of fire as a weapon. Agents were then put through firefighting training at the FDNY training academy, including extrication of fortified vehicles and a walk-through exercise of a Mumbai-style scenario.
Finally, the FDNY has worked closely with the London Fire Brigade on counterterrorism measures since the 7/7 bombings in 2005. In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, FDNY discussed with London’s fire service and the Metropolitan Police Service possible response scenarios to active shooter attacks involving fire in multiple locations.
Leading Role of FDNY in National Homeland Security Efforts
As consumers of intelligence, and the first line of defense when terrorist attacks occur, emergency responders require the best intelligence to carry out their duties across all mission areas. The understanding of the threat environment drives training initiatives, general awareness, safety protocols, operating procedures and risk management.
The fire service, however, is more than a consumer of intelligence. It is also a producer of intelligence as a non-traditional intelligence partner to the intelligence community. Firefighters and emergency medical personnel offer unique perspectives to more established intelligence partners and law enforcement, adding richness and insights in the understanding of the vulnerabilities and consequences related to varying threat streams. For more than five years, the FDNY has produced a weekly intelligence product called the Watchline, balancing a strategic focus with operational relevance to its primary readership: emergency responders. Fire service intelligence serves not only the response community but its intelligence partners with the delivery of tailored intelligence on the latest threats, trends, events and innovations that affect these groups, including the use of fire as a weapon on the world stage.
FDNY has also sent one of its officers to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) on a one-year detail where the officer not only receives the latest intelligence and threat data, but also provides the intelligence community with fire service subject matter expertise on a broad range of issues related to emergency responders. NCTC has committed to providing first responders with the best threat intelligence so they can operate safely in performing their life saving mission, and recognizes the intrinsic value of this non-traditional partnership.
In addition, the FDNY collaborates with other partners throughout the intelligence community on the production of intelligence products. In May 2012, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis released Terrorist Interest in Using Fire as a Weapon, written in close consultation with the FDNY. Key findings centered on the advantages of using fire over other terrorist tactics, potential for mass casualties, economic damage and emergency resource depletion.
Working with the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office and New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, the FDNY wants to examine the vulnerability of high-rise building fire suppression systems. This interagency group hopes to construct a fire protection system and building mock-up for the purpose of testing blast effects on standpipes and sprinklers. Test results could then be used to inform first responders, Homeland Security and the State Department of the level of vulnerability of a combination attack of IEDs and fire.
Female sexuality is a trade merchandise. And in feminism, the seller and the merchandise are the same person. Merchandise that sells itself? That can impossibly work out. This is why the patriarchy is the only sensible form of human social organization.
The Karen Hospital will for the next few days be offering free surgery to reconstruct the sexual organs of women who have undergone female genital mutilation.
In a drive dubbed ‘Restore Pink Plus’, FGM survivors will undergo clitoroplasty surgery, a clitoral reconstructive operation, with the aim of restoring the function of the clitoris and the women’s dignity.
Surgeons carrying out the procedure say the operation could stop pain, help women feel sexual pleasure and restore their identity and femininity.
“The initiative has been designed to assist FGM victims undergo clitoral reconstruction in order to restore their identity and dignity and rejuvenate the clitoris’s sensation,” Dr Abdullahi Adan, who is pioneering the initiative, said.
SIDE-EFFECTS Dr Adan, the Grand Round Coordinator, Department of Surgery at the University of Nairobi and plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive Surgeon at The Karen and Kenyatta National hospitals, and Dr Marci Bowers, Clitoraid’s obstetrics/gynaecology surgeon from the USA, will be the lead surgeons.
The procedure being pro-bono, patients will not be charged the doctor’s fee but will only pay for consumables.
This will be the first time such a surgery is being conducted in Kenya.
Most FGM survivors suffer painful side-effects and a loss of sexual pleasure.
While it cannot fully restore the genitalia to how it would have been had the woman not been mutilated, the surgery is meant to rebuild the damaged area for women who have undergone incision and rejuvenate the nerve networks so that they can regain sensitivity and, in some cases, attain orgasm.
The initiative also has the women go through counselling, which is vital for the emotional healing due to the traumatising effects of FGM in their early childhood.
FGM, the partial or total removal of the external genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a cultural tradition widely practiced by some Kenyan communities.
REGISTRATION ONGOING Last week, the surgeons conducted capacity building training for other Kenyan doctors on the new surgery and issued certificates to the trainees who will join the surgical team.
The week-long surgeries are set to begin tomorrow and run until May 12.
So far, 30 patients have registered for the surgery.
However, because of the high demand for the rare surgery, the doctors say they may have to extend the operations for another week.
Tissue vibration causes neovascularization. Vibration can be caused by soundwaves or mechanical devices, for example by laying the penis on an electric drill and turning the drill on. Remove any drill bit.
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