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Monthly Archives: December 2013



Friday Dec 27, 201310:48 PM GMT

EU urges Turkey to address graft probe in `transparent, impartial manner`



A woman takes a moment to mourn lost relatives at the memorial site of the now destroyed World Trade Center, New York, the US, September 11, 2013.

Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:19AM

By Gordon Duff

Related Interviews:

Recent revelations published on the Press TV website, the New York Post and Veterans Today have changed history.

The story was simple, two American congressional representatives were allowed to read the Congressional 9/11 Investigation Report, this time including the areas President Bush had ordered removed. Both congressmen clearly state that the redacted pages of the report place full responsibility for the planning and execution of 9/11 on one or more foreign intelligence agencies, not “terrorists.”

What is also clear is that President Bush’s personal role in covering this up protected the real perpetrators of 9/11 and pushed the US into, not just two insane wars but draconian moves against America’s government.

The NSA and the Bush 9/11 coup

Nine eleven was a coup against the constitution. Additional reports released this week make clear some of the reasons Bush lied to the American people, to congress, our military and our allies, “Obama’s Director for National Intelligence, James Clapper, has declassified new documents that reveal how the NSA was first given the green light to start collecting bulk communication data in the hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorists after 9/11. President Barack Obama’s administration has for the first time publicly confirmed ‘the existence of collection activities authorized by President George W. Bush,’ such as bulk amounts of Internet and phone metadata, as part of the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program’ (TSP). The disclosures are part of Washington’s campaign to justify the NSA’s surveillance activities, following massive leaks to the media about the classified programs by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Clapper explained on Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying in October 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks.”

We can prove Bush was fully criminally culpable in covering the tracks of those responsible for 9/11.

AIPAC through Bandar and bush “under a bus”

More frighteningly, the articles published this week in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Daily News, written by Hoover Institute fellow and AIPAC member, Paul Sperry, now not only blame Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia as the 9/11 mastermind but tie Bush (43) in as well.

In fact, the entire AIPAC apparatus, the largest lobbying organization in Washington, is currently engaged in a “full court press,” to stop congress from pushing for the release of the real report. Is this because the real report accuses Israel, not Saudi Arabia, and AIPAC wants the Murdoch/Sperry story to stand?

Bin Laden myth “crashes down”

The real report, called “shocking” by the legislators, who have called for President Obama to declassify the entire report, proves that there was no al-Qaeda involvement, no reason to invade Afghanistan or Iraq and no reason to hunt CIA operative, Colonel Tim Osman, also known as “Osama bin Laden.”

In fact, Ambassador Lee Wanta, a former White House Intelligence Chief and Inspector General of the Department of Defense under Reagan, has cited meetings between key government officials and “bin Laden” that he attended, meetings held in both Los Angeles and Washington DC while the US was supposedly hunting him.

From Wanta, who was present during these meetings, “In early 1990, bin Laden, suffering from advanced kidney disease, was flown to an American facility in the Persian Gulf. From there, bin Laden flew to Los Angeles, landing in the Ontario airport, met by Albert Hakim, representing President Bush (41), Ollie North (free on appeal bond), Admiral William Dickie, attorney Glenn Peglau and General Jack Singlaub, one of the founders of the CIA. Hakim was the personal representative of President Bush and in overall charge of the project. ‘Bud’ McFarlane, an Iran-Contra figure pardoned by President Bush in 1992, was also a part of the group.
Bin Laden then left Los Angeles for Washington DC. There he stayed in the Mayflower Hotel. Meetings were held at the Metropolitan Club in Washington. Attorney Glenn Peglau stayed at the Metropolitan. While there, Peglau’s room was broken into and “items” removed. At no point is there record, classified or public, that this ‘working group’ was ever dissolved nor is there any record that Osama bin Laden’s status as a security operative working for the US government ever ended. In 2001, Osama bin Laden’s last public statement denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. There are no classified documents tying bin Laden to 9/11 or citing him to be a ‘rogue CIA operative.’”

Which 9/11 is real?

In 2007, the FBI flew a team to Bangkok to interview former Soviet nuclear intelligence specialist Dimitri Khalezov. Khalezov told the FBI that, in the morning of September 12, 2001, he attended a breakfast gathering with Mossad Operations Chief Mike Harari and his son along with other Israeli operatives.

Khalezov reported to the FBI that this gathering was to celebrate the 9/11 attacks, not as Netanyahu had said, as a “fortunate happenstance for Israel” but as a Mossad attack on the United States. At that meeting, Harari also claimed credit for a role in the Oklahoma City bombing. According to Khalezov, Harari was courting him to join their group for an upcoming operation, a bombing attack on Bali, scheduled for 2002.

On October 12, 2002, a huge explosive device devastated nearly a square mile killing 202 people. An Islamic group was blamed, just as with not just 9/11 but, initially, Oklahoma City as well.

Khalezov told FBI agents that Harari claimed nuclear weapons were used to bring down the twin towers on 9/11. Harari also said he got a “cruise type” missile, a Soviet “Granit” for the Pentagon attack, purchased through Victor Bout, the “Lord of War” played by Nicholas Cage in the film of the same name.

Bout, residing in Bangkok with Harari and Khalezov, was extradited to the United States based on a highly classified indictment accusing him of supplying the guided missile used to attack the Pentagon on 9/11. Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008, not long after the FBI visit. He was officially convicted of supplying arms to rebels in Colombia, an activity Bout had long been engaged in on behalf of the CIA, his arms dealing partners for many years.


Thus far, the initial report to congress on the Bush falsification does not qualify as a leak. Only Bush stands accused, the 9/11 perpetrators are still safe, their identities still protected by security protocols maintained by President Obama, despite congressional demands.

“Claimed” leaks reported by Sperry in the Washington Postblame Bandar and Saudi Intelligence for 9/11. Sperry cites the CIA as a source but, quite suspiciously, seems to be attempting to deflect the possible fallout against Israel when or if then real report is made public. The Sperry story, coordinated with AIPAC’s moves to quell congress’s demand to declassify the report may well be an indication that Israeli intelligence, as Khalezov indicates, worked with Bush to plan and execute 9/11.

From the Press TV article: “This week, Congressional representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have officially requested a congressional resolution demanding President Obama declassify the heavily redacted Congressional Investigative Report on 9/11. The two representatives had just been given authority under penalty of ‘national security secrecy’ to read the censored 28 pages of the 800-page report that had not been seen. What has been made clear is that President Bush was fully aware that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were involved in 9/11 and that military action against those two nations was done to cover involvement of his administration in 9/11, involvement that included support from foreign intelligence agencies. The representatives, while reviewing the report, came to the portion titled ‘Specific Sources of Foreign Support.’
A 28-page section here had been ‘butchered’ by the White House on the personal orders of President Bush. On the original report given to Congress, an estimated 5-10,000 words were omitted from this section with page after page of dotted lines replacing text.”

This is only the most recent of revelations that AIPAC has managed to suppress through pressuring congress and its powerful assets in the press. What is increasingly clear is that many of AIPAC’s allies in Washington had access to the non-redacted report. An entire administration, leaders in congress and the Pentagon, the CIA, NSA and a dozen other organizations, all knew what was in the congressional report. They all lied to the 9/11 Commission. They all ordered measures to suppress freedom at home and to butcher hundreds of thousands around the world, kidnap and torture thousand more, all based on lies.

Countries were virtually wiped off the map on a whim. Often we hear it asked, “How could thousands be involved in a conspiracy so heinous?” We now stand ready to answer. The time has come to ask.


Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, a combat infantryman, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. His career has included extensive experience in international banking along with such diverse areas as consulting on counter insurgency, defense technologies or acting as diplomatic representative for UN humanitarian and economic development efforts. Gordon Duff has traveled to over 80 nations. His articles are published around the world and translated into a number of languages. He is regularly on TV and radio, a popular and sometimes controversial guest. More Press TV articles by Gordon Duff

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Related Viewpoints:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Press TV.

Cheye Calvo explores the money behind SWAT raids
At a minimum, the time is right to reverse the militarization of law enforcement, abolish mandatory minimum sentencing, and stop federal meddling in the state referendum and initiative process. Berwyn…
Added on 8/04/09

Cato at Liberty (2 new posts)

Today Is Bill of Rights Day!Posted: 14 Dec 2013 10:29 PM PST

Tim Lynch

Today is Bill of Rights Day. So it’s an appropriate time to consider the state of our constitutional safeguards.

Let’s consider each amendment in turn.

The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Government officials, however, have insisted that they can gag recipients of “national security letters” and censor broadcast ads in the name of campaign finance reform.

The Second Amendment says the people have the right “to keep and bear arms.” Government officials, however, make it difficult to keep a gun in the home and make it a crime for a citizen to carry a gun for self-protection.

The Third Amendment says soldiers may not be quartered in our homes without the consent of the owners.  This safeguard is one of the few that is in fine shape – so we can pause here for a laugh.

The Fourth Amendment says the people have the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. Government officials, however, insist that they can conduct commando-style raids on our homes and treat automobile drivers like prison inmates by conducting body cavity searches.

The Fifth Amendment says that private property shall not be taken “for public use without just compensation.” Government officials, however, insist that they can use eminent domain to take away our property and give it to other private parties who covet it.

The Sixth Amendment says that in criminal prosecutions, the person accused is guaranteed a right to trial by jury. Government officials, however, insist that they can punish people who want to have a trial—“throwing the book” at those who refuse to plead guilty—which explains why 95 percent of the criminal cases never go to trial.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases where the controversy “shall exceed twenty dollars.” Government officials, however, insist that they can impose draconian fines on people without jury trials.

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments. Government officials, however, insist that a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense is not cruel.

The Ninth Amendment says that the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights should not be construed to deny or disparage others “retained by the people.” Government officials, however, insist that they will decide for themselves what rights, if any, will be retained by the people.

The Tenth Amendment says that the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, or to the people. Government officials, however, insist that they will decide for themselves what powers they possess, and have extended federal control over health care, crime, education, and other matters the Constitution reserves to the states and the people.

It’s a disturbing snapshot, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers,” or what we call “paper tigers.”  They nevertheless concluded that having a written constitution was better than having nothing at all.

The key point is this: A free society does not just “happen.”  It has to be deliberately created and deliberately maintained.  Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  To remind our fellow citizens of their responsibility in that regard, the Cato Institute has distributed more than five million copies of our pocket Constitution.  At this time of year, it’ll make a great stocking stuffer.

Let’s enjoy the holidays–but let’s also resolve to be more vigilant about defending our Constitution.  To learn more about Cato’s work in defense of the Constitution, go here.  To support the work of Cato, go here.


Happy Bill of Rights Day!Posted: 14 Dec 2013 10:11 PM PST

Kat Murti

The Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, were ratified on December 15, 1791, 222 years ago today. However, it wasn’t until 1941, on the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, that Bill of Rights Day was recognized as a national holiday.

This Bill of Rights Day, the Cato Institute invites you to share what the Bill of Rights means to you.

Tweet your response using the hashtag #CatoForRights any time today. We’ll be sending a very special gift to the author of our favorite tweet. Make sure you’re following @CatoInstitute on Twitter to qualify.


Santo Domingo.- Discriminatory and a violation of the rights of Dominicans of foreign origin, especially Haitians, is what Inter-American Human Rights Commission on Friday called the Constitutional Court ruling in its report on its visit to the country.

It said from its interviews of agencies and thousands of people it noted serious violations to the right to a nationality, situation it affir

ms has been exacerbated with the ruling.

The Commission said it received testimonies, reports and letters from 3,994 people during its visits to Bahoruco, Dajabón, Jimaní, La Romana, San Pedro, Santo Domingo and Valverde provinces.

“The Commission considers that the Constitutional Court decision leads to an arbitrary deprivation of nationality. The statement has a discriminatory effect, since it mainly affects Dominican people of Haitian descent, who are people of

African descent; deprived of the nationality retroactively and generates statelessness for those persons who are not considered as their national by any State, in accordance with their legislation,” said the text read in a press conference.

“The arbitrary deprivation of nationality and lack of recognition of the legal personality of these people as a result of not being registered or the difficulties in access to identity documents creates a situation of extreme vulnerability in which other multiple human rights violations occur,” it adds

“The Committee notes that the ruling 168/13 disproportionately affects people already subject to multiple forms of discrimination, in particular based on race and poverty.”

The IACHR said it obtained “deeply troubling” information on expressions against people who’ve criticized the Court ruling, citing journalists, intellectuals, lawyers, politicians, legislators, and even public figures among them.

Physical Location map Dominican Republic with ...

Dominican Republic with Provinces, Geographic limits of the map: N: 20.3° N S: 17.2° N W: 72.2° E O: 68.2° E (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The conclusion of the Human Rights Commission’s report didn’t surprise many sectors of Dominican society, which had warned that the delegation had arrived “with a condemnation of the Dominican Republic already under their arm.”


It was a naïve invitation by our government,” said Rafael Helena Regalado, spokesperson for the National Sovereignty Defense Network, which opposed the Commission’s visit. “They are meddling in our internal affairs.”


By Robert Windrem, Investigative Producer, NBC News

From the White House to the halls of Congress, U.S. government officials have responded to the death of Nelson Mandela with a hail of testimonials to the late South African president’s leadership in the struggle for freedom and human rights.

Until five years ago, however, the U.S. officially considered Mandela a terrorist. During the Cold War, both the State and Defense departments dubbed Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, a terrorist group, and Mandela’s name remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list till 2008.

Presidents Carter and Reagan and Congress had all instituted sanctions against the white minority South African government because of its policy of racial apartheid. But in 1986, Reagan condemned Mandela’s group, the ANC, which was leading the black struggle against the apartheid regime, saying it engaged in “calculated terror … the mining of roads, the bombings of public places, designed to bring about further repression.”

After the apartheid regime in South Africa declared the ANC a terrorist group, the Reagan administration followed suit.

In August of 1988, the State Department listed the ANC among “organizations that engage in terrorism.” It said the group ”disavows a strategy that deliberately targets civilians,” but noted that civilians had “been victims of incidents claimed by or attributed to the ANC.”

Five months later, in January 1989, the Defense Department included the ANC in an official publication, “Terrorist Group Profiles,” with a foreword by President-elect George H.W. Bush. The ANC was listed among 52 of the “world’s more notorious terrorist groups.” (One of the others listed, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, is now the ruling party in the West Bank.)

The publication referred to Mandela, who had once led the ANC’s military wing, as part of the “leadership,” though by then he had spent more than a quarter century in prison. It also accepted the apartheid regime’s claim that “ANC’s operations — which heretofore had sought to avoid civilian casualties — abruptly changed. Attacks became more indiscriminate, resulting in both black and white civilian victims.” Five months before the report was issued, the ANC had taken responsibility for some attacks that resulted in civilian deaths but had pledged to prevent a recurrence.

Leaders around the globe remember Nelson Mandela’s fearless generosity, leadership, and remarkable force for change. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

The report cited 13 attacks during the 1980s, many of which targeted government facilities, including a military command headquarters, an unfinished nuclear plant, a courthouse and SASOL, the government-owned coal-to-oil conversion facility. Of those incidents that resulted in deaths, the biggest was a car-bombing of the South African Air Force headquarters in Pretoria that killed 19 and wounded 200.

The report also claimed significant links between the ANC and Communist countries, noting that the ANC “receives support from the Soviet bloc, Cuba and a number of African nations in addition to contributions from the West.” The DoD report added that the ANC received many of its weapons from the “Soviet Bloc” and listed among its “political objectives” the establishment of a “multiracial Socialist government in South Africa.”

When the Defense Department’s report was issued, State quickly distanced itself from the harsh, Cold War rhetoric. Despite its own earlier dire characterization of the ANC, it called the group “a politically diverse organization, representing a range of views. It is the oldest black nationalist movement in South Africa.” 

But the Defense Department stood by its language, and Mandela and other ANC officials remained on the terror watch list even as President Bush welcomed Mandela, newly released from prison, to the White House in 1990.


Because of what was described as a “bureaucratic snafu,” their names were kept on the list until 2008, 14 years after Mandela had been elected president and nine years after he had left power. He was 90 at the time.

The terrorist designation finally proved too embarrassing for the U.S. government to ignore. In April 2008, during the last year of the George W. Bush administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate committee that her department had to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the United States.

Kim Ludbrook / EPA

Mourners pay tribute to South Africa’s revered anti-apartheid icon, who died on Dec. 5, 2013.

“This is a country with which we now have excellent relations, South Africa, but it’s frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela,” Rice said.

Later that year, the terrorist designation was dropped after a bill, proposed by then-Senator now secretary of State John Kerry, passed both houses of Congress and was signed by President Bush.

Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 after being arrested and charged with sabotage, specifically a campaign against the country’s power grid, and plotting to overthrow the government. No one was injured in the sabotage campaign. He was released in 1990, at age 71. He was elected president of South Africa in 1994, in the country’s first full and free elections, and served until 1999.

More from NBC News Investigations.

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Texas will lose $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida says goodbye to $5 billion; Georgia is out $4.9 billion. A new report

details just how much states are losing because they don’t want to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and it’s

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

not chump change.

Red states may be sticking to their Republican beliefs in small government, but the Commonwealth Fund finds they are passing up billions in federal funding by saying no to the Medicaid expansion.

“By choosing not to participate, Texas, for example, will forgo an estimated $9.58 billion in federal funding in 2022. Taking into account federal taxes paid by Texas resi­dents, the net cost to taxpayers in the state in 2022 will be more than $9.2 billion,” the report by Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University says.

“We find that the Medicaid expansion will be a relatively large source of federal revenue to state enter­prises,” the report adds. States expanding Medicaid will get, on average, more than twice as much in federal funding than they get in federal highway funds, they said.

It’s the latest report on what Medicaid expansion would mean on a fiscal level to states, and the timing couldn’t be better for the administration of President Barack Obama. The White House has launched a three-week drive to highlight what it says are the benefits of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and Obama has been urging states to expand Medicaid.

The ACA was designed to transform health care in the United States, which most experts agree currently costs

English: Spending on U.S. healthcare as a perc...

English: Spending on U.S. healthcare as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

too much and leaves far too many people without health insurance. One way to do that is through the health insurance exchanges, where people can buy private insurance and which are dominating the headlines now.

The other way was by requiring states to extend Medicaid to people earning up to about 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $14,800 for single people and $31,000 for a family of four.

ADAPT Medicaid Rally

ADAPT Medicaid Rally (Photo credit: SEIU International)

Medicaid is usually a cost-sharing program – the federal government pays on average about 57 percent of costs and states pay the rest. But under the expansion, the federal government  will pay 100 percent of the additional costs for the first three years. States will have to kick in a very small percentage more each year after that. By 2020, the federal government will pay 90 percent of the costs.

But after a series of challenges to the law, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the Medicaid expansion requirement went too far.  States can’t be forced to add more people to Medicaid, the court ruled.

Many Republican-led states immediately said they would not be expanding Medicaid.

“As of November 2013, 20 states have decided to opt out of the Medicaid expansion,” the report said.

Glied and Ma calculated how much this would cost by 2022, and took into account states’ arguments about the so-called woodwork effect – the argument that people who were already eligible for Medicaid but had not applied would do so if they heard about the expansion. These people would still cost states the 43 percent or so of state contributions to Medicaid.

But they also calculated savings. States would not only get the direct federal money, but would save the money that taxpayers end up spending on so-called uncompensated care – when sick or injured uninsured people show up in emergency rooms seeking treatment.

Their calculations show that by 2022, Florida would lose more than $5 billion and Georgia would forgo  $4.9 billion. They also looked at what Medicaid brings to states in comparison to two other giant federal programs – federal highway funds and defense funds.

The report projects that Alabama would bring in $2.1 billion in federal funds from expanding Medicaid; $975 million in federal highway funds and $10.4 billion in defense procurement contracts. North Carolina would get $5.7 billion in Medicaid money; $1.3 billion in federal highway funds and $4.6 billion in defense contracts.

Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire and Tennessee are undecided about the expansion. Indiana would bring in nearly $2.6 billion in Medicaid money in 2022; $1.2 billion in highway funds and nearly $5.6 billion in defense contracts.

Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota,

texas our texas

texas our texas (Photo credit: jmtimages)

Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming are not expanding Medicaid.

The Urban Institute,  Lewin Group and Rand Corp. have also issued reports showing states will lose billions by not expanding Medicaid.

The decision not to expand Medicaid has more than financial effects. It leaves a lot of people without any inexpensive options for health insurance, because the law assumed states would expand Medicaid and doesn’t provide insurance subsidies for the very poor. 

“If adopted by all states, the Medicaid expansion is expected to provide health insurance to as many as 21.3 million Americans by 2022,” the report says.

This graph depicts gross U.S. health care spen...

This graph depicts gross U.S. health care spending from 1960 to 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“No state would experience a positive flow of funds by choosing to reject the Medicaid expansion. Because the federal share of the Medicaid expansion is so much greater than the state share, taxpayers in non-­participating states will nonetheless bear a significant share of the overall cost of the expansion through federal tax payments—and not enjoy any of the benefits,” the report concludes.

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400,000-year-old human DNA adds new tangle to our origin story

Alan Boyle, Science Editor         NBC News

18 hours ago

Image: Sima de los Huesos people

Javier Trueba / Madrid Scientific Films
The Sima de los Huesos people lived about 400,000 years ago in  Spain.

The oldest human DNA ever recovered is throwing scientists for a loop: The 400,000-year-old genetic material comes from bones that have been linked to Neanderthals in Spain — but its signature is most similar to that of a different ancient human population from Siberia, known as the Denisovans.

The researchers who did the analysis said their findings show an “unexpected link” between two of our extinct cousin species. Follow-up studies could crack the mystery — not only for the early humans who lived in the cave complex known as Sima de los Huesos (Spanish for “Pit of Bones”), but for other mysterious populations in the Pleistocene epoch.

“Ancient DNA sequencing techniques have become sensitive enough to warrant further investigation of DNA survival at sites where Middle Pleistocene hominins are found,” the research team, led by Matthias Meyer and Svante Pääbo of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, wrote in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. (“Hominin” is the currently accepted term for humans and our close evolutionary cousins.)

As anthropologists are getting better at extracting DNA from ancient bones, genetic mysteries are cropping up more frequently: Last month, researchers at scientific meetings talked about not-yet-published findings that hinted at interbreeding among Neanderthals, Denisovans and previously unknown populations of early humans.

A new standard The age of the mitochondrial DNA analyzed for the Nature study sets a new standard: Researchers used statistical analysis of the DNA and other samples to estimate that the material was roughly 400,000 years old. That meshed with the estimated age for similar DNA extracted from bear bones found in the same cave.

More than 6,000 human fossils, representing about 28 individuals, have been recovered from the Sima de los Huesos site, a hard-to-get-to cave chamber that lies about 100 feet (30 meters) below the surface in northern Spain. The fossils are unusually well-preserved, thanks in part to the undisturbed cave’s constant cool temperature and high humidity.

Image: Femur bone

Javier Trueba / Madrid Scientific Films
The thigh bone of a 400,000-year-old hominin yielded mitochondrial DNA for analysis.

Researchers drilled a series of tiny holes into the cracks in a human femur recovered from the cave to obtain nearly 2 grams (0.07 ounce) of powdered bone. At first, they looked for the signature of ancient nuclear DNA, which could have provided information about the genome of the individual behind the femur — but that information was overwhelmed by the signature of modern-day human contamination.

Then they turned their attention to the mitochondrial DNA, which lies outside the cell’s nucleus and is passed down from a mother to her children. That strategy was more successful.

Unusual finding Previous analysis of bones from the cave had led researchers to assume that the Sima de los Huesos people were closely related to  Neanderthals on the basis of their skeletal features. But the mitochondrial DNA was far more similar to that of the Denisovans, an early human population that was thought to have split off from Neanderthals around 640,000 years ago. The first Denisovan specimens were identified in 2010, based on an analysis of 30,000-year-old bones excavated in Siberia.

Image: Sima skeleton

Javier Trueba / Madrid Scientific Films
This skeleton from the Sima de los Huesos cave has been assigned to an early human species known as Homo heidelbergensis. However, researchers say the skeletal structure is similar to that of Neanderthals – so much so that some say the Sima de los Huesos people were actually Neanderthals rather than representatives of Homo heidelbergensis.

The latest DNA analysis sent scientists scrambling for an explanation.

“This unusual finding could be due to at least two different scenarios, both relating to the material inheritance of mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] and the ease with which it can be lost in a lineage,” Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at London’s Natural History Museum who was not involved in the Nature study, wrote in an email.

One scenario could be that the DNA was passed down the maternal line from a population that was ancestral to the Sima de los Huesos humans as well as the Denisovans, but that the lineage died out among Neanderthals and modern humans.

The other scenario is that an as-yet-undetermined population interbred with ancestors of the Spanish cave-dwellers as well as the Denisovans. Meyer, Pääbo and their colleagues tentatively favor that scenario. “Based on the fossil record, more than one evolutionary lineage may have existed in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene,” they write.

“Either way, this new finding can help us start to disentangle the relationships of the various human groups known from the last 600,000 years,” Stringer said. “If more mtDNA can be recovered from the Sima ‘population’ of fossils, it may demonstrate how these individuals were related to each other, and how varied their population was.”

Update for 10:30 p.m. ET Dec. 4: Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told NBC News that the DNA findings were interesting from a technical standpoint — but he pointed out that the mitochondrial DNA alone doesn’t reveal how the Sima de los Huesos people and their ancestors lived. He suspects that further DNA studies will show that the relationships between populations of early humans were messier and more tangled than the typical diagrams of human origins would suggest. That’s appropriate, he said, “because I think the real world is messy.”

More about our tangled origin story:

In addition to Meyer and Pääbo, authors of “A Mitochondrial Genome Sequence of a Hominin From Sima de los Huesos” include Qiaomei Fu, Ayinuer Aximu-Petri, Isabelle Glocke, Birgit Nickel, Juan-Luis Arsuaga, Ignacio Martínez, Ana Gracia, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Eudald Carbonell.

Alan Boyle is’s science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by “liking” the NBC News Science Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding +Alan Boyle to your Google+ circles. To keep up with’s stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out “The Case for Pluto,” my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.


Por primera vez, el Tribunal Supremo norteamericano anula patentes de genes humanos.

Por primera vez, el Tribunal Supremo norteamericano  anula patentes de genes humanos.
02 diciembre            13:052013
Una noticia reciente de gran impacto de la que informamos en el Nº 424 de Provida press, Brevería 5, pág. 4, comentaba  la sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos contra la empresa Myriad Genetics a la que le anula las patentes de los genes del BRCA 1 y BRCA 2, aislados por esta empresa y utilizados para diagnosticar si una mujer es portadora de dichos genes, lo que aumentarían significativamente la posibilidad de padecer cáncer de mama o de ovario en la edad adulta.

Este hecho constituye un hito,  por ser la primera vez que el Tribunal Supremo norteamericano se pronuncia en contra de patentar y comercializar genes humanos.

La sentencia, coincidió con el caso de la actriz  Angelina Jolie, que, por tener  familiares que habían padecido cáncer de mama, decidió someterse a una mastectomía bilateral después de hacerse la prueba de BRCA1, porque se estimaba que la probabilidad de padecer esta enfermedad estaba entre 85 y 90 %, lo que ayudó a darle un particular relieve mediático al dictamen del Tribunal Supremo norteamericano.

El Profesor Juan Ramón Lacadena analiza el escenario legal sobre la posibilidad de poder patentar genes humanos en la Unión Europea y en España, en el artículo “PATENTES DE GENES HUMANOS ¿SI O NO? – Reflexiones en torno a la sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos” (Revista de Derecho y Genoma Humano, 38:167-181 2013), el cual comentamos.

En el punto 2, “El conflicto jurídico” afirma Lacadena, “En el año 2009, la “Patent Public Foundation” y la “American Civil Liberties Union”, con el apoyo de numerosas asociaciones de pacientes de cáncer de mama y colectivos médicos y científicos, iniciaron un proceso legal contra la empresa Myriad Genetics sobre el derecho de ésta a la propiedad industrial y explotación comercial de los genes BRCA1 y BRCA2…Los demandantes planteaban la inconstitucionalidad e invalidez de varias patentes… El procedimiento legal llegó al Tribunal Superior de Estados Unidos (Association for Molecular Pathology et al. V. Myriad Genetics Inc., caso Nº 12-398) cuyos nueve miembros, con fecha 13 de junio de 2013, han denegado por unanimidad la legalidad de las cinco patentes que hace varios años había otorgado la Oficina de Patentes y Marcas a Myriad gGenetics”

En el punto 3 del artículo, “La sentencia del Tribunal Supremo”, Lacadena afirma, “La resolución del Tribunal Supremo es muy concisa:

“Por las razones que siguen, nosotros sostenemos que un segmento natural de ADN es un producto de la naturaleza y no es patentable por el mero hecho de haber sido aislado, pero que el ADNc (ADN complementario) es patentable porque no ocurre de forma natural”, es decir; el Tribunal, por unanimidad, da la razón a los demandantes en el caso de los segmentos de ADN de los genes aislados y da la razón a la compañía Myriad Genetics  en el caso del ADNc de los genes sintetizados artificialmente  en laboratorio”.

Más adelante el autor enumera las argumentaciones hechas por el Tribunal, de las cuales citamos las que nos parecen de particular interés:

  1. “La sección 101 de la Ley de Patentes (Patent Act) dispone que quienquiera que invente o descubra cualquier composición nueva y útil puede obtener una patente sujeta a las condiciones y requerimientos de este título. (No obstante) esta disposición contiene de forma implícita unas importantes excepciones:
  • Las leyes de la naturaleza
  • Los fenómenos naturales
  • Las ideas abstractas

no son patentables; más bien son herramientas básicas para el trabajo científico y tecnológico que caen fuera del dominio de la protección de patentes”

  1. “El ADNc (ADN complementario) no presenta los mismos obstáculos para la patentabilidad  que los segmentos naturales aislados…La creación de una secuencia de ADNc a partir de ARN mensajero da lugar a una nueva molécula de ADN formada exclusivamente por exones que no son de origen natural”

“En resumen, el Tribunal Supremo no reconoce las patentes de genes en su estado natural por el mero hecho de haber sido aislados, pero sí reconoce el derecho a patentar productos artificiales derivados del gen, el llamado ADN complementario (ADNc). En la decisión, se le reconocen a la compañía Myriad Genetics,…24 patentes diferentes basadas en la utilización del ADNc de los genes BRCA1 y BRCA2.”

“En mi opinión –dice Lacadena -, la decisión del Tribunal Supremo es acertada, porque una cosa es la secuencia original intacta del gen que es equiparable a un nuevo descubrimiento no patentable y otra la identificación y síntesis del ADNc  que representa los exones que es la parte del gen que se expresa  (descartando los intriones que no se expresan) en la proteína final, lo cual implica más que un simple descubrimiento: es una invención patentable…Las consecuencias económicas de la decisión judicial son dobles,

  • …la empresa Myriad Genetics que amortiza su inversión en la investigación con los genes BRCA1 y BRCA2, por medio de las patentes (autorizadas),
  • en segundo lugar…los pacientes podrán tener acceso a pruebas predictivas y diagnósticas más económicas: unos 200 dólares frente a los 3.000 que cobraba Myriad.”

Además de las ponderadas consideraciones legales y económicas que hace Lacadena, opinamos que la resolución unánime y la sólida fundamentación que desarrolla el Tribunal Supremo de EEUU, después de muchos años de una jurisprudencia que venía aceptando las patentes de genes humanos, es una señal alentadora del avance creciente de los valores por la vida humana en ese país.

El respeto a la ley natural, particularmente cuando se trata de la propia naturaleza humana, que es el objeto de la  investigación genética, ha sido valorada adecuadamente  – según nuestro parecer – por la suprema instancia de un país pionero en la investigación y en la legislación de patentes y marcas.

En el punto 4, “La situación legal en la Unión Europea y en España”, Lacadena afirma, “La Declaración Universal de la Unesco sobre el Genoma Humano  y los Derecho Humanos (1997) dice en su artículo 1 que …en sentido simbólico el genoma humano es patrimonio de la Humanidad’, texto que fue adoptado también por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, un año después.  No cabe duda que al anteponer en el texto de la Declaración que se trata de un sentido simbólico , desde el punto de vista práctico,  pierda su fuerza moral a la hora de pronunciarse en contra de  patentar genes humanos.”

El apartado 4.2, Lacadena lo dedica a “La situación en España”  y cita  la Directiva  98/44/CE relativa a la protección jurídica  de las invenciones biotecnológicas ), Art. 5: No podrán ser objeto de Patente: “El cuerpo humano, en los diferentes estadios de su constitución y desarrollo, así como el simple descubrimiento de sus elementos, incluida la secuencia o secuencia parcial de un gen. Sin embargo, un elemento aislado del cuerpo humano obtenido mediante un procedimiento técnico, incluida la secuencia o secuencia parcial de un gen, podrá considerarse como una invención patentable, aun en el caso que la estructura de dicho elemento sea idéntica a la de un elemento natural. La aplicación industrial de una secuencia total o parcial de un gen deberá figurar explícitamente en la solicitud de patente”

“Ante la desconcertante redacción de la norma legal, afirma el autor, queda claro que las secuencias de genes son patentables (en España) porque reúnen las tres condiciones básicas  de la patentabilidad (según la Directiva):

  1. Son invenciones (no mero descubrimiento)
  2. Son novedosas (aportan alguna novedad al estado del arte)
  3. Tienen una utilidad práctica.”

Considerando las claras conclusiones de Lacadena sobre la permisividad práctica de patentar y comercializar genes humanos, que se deduce de la citada declaración de la Unesco, que fue reiterada por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, valoramos, aún más, la decisión del Tribula Supremo norteamericano de anular las patentes de Myriad Genetics y de su consistente fundamentación.

En cuanto a la legislación española citada, su texto comienza con una  prohibición  categórica, “No podrá ser objeto de patente…incluida la secuencia o secuencia parcial de un gen”, concluyendo con la afirmación opuesta, “la secuencia o secuencia parcial de un gen podrá considerarse como una invención patentable”  no podemos dejar de manifestar la inconcebible incoherencia del legislador que, también, obvia dar cualquier fundamentación para calificar la secuencia de un gen como una invención.

Más adelante Lacadena, se refiere a un estudio “realizado en España, en el que se comprobó que la mutación BRCA1 aparecía en más de un 5% de los 16.000 cánceres de mama analizados…se estima que un 60 % de las mujeres portadoras de la mutación (genética) desarrollará cáncer de mama y un 20 %cáncer de ovario.” Nos parece este estudio es de una gran importancia al permitir apreciar mejor el beneficio que supone para el segmento de la población portadora de esta mutación genética, al menos en EEUU, al poder utilizar estas pruebas al hacerse económicamente más accesibles .

En base a estos datos, Lacadena analiza las implicaciones éticas y jurídicas de las pruebas diagnósticas que se realizaron en España con este procedimiento, “…en abril de 2009 la Comisión de Reproducción Humana Asistida de España autorizó por primera vez la aplicación del diagnóstico genético preimplantacional (DGP) a una mujer con antecedentes familiares de cáncer de mama muy agresivo producido por la mutación BRCA1…Esta permitió también que a esta mujer se le pudiera seleccionar un embrión sin el gen BRCA1…” Y afirma, “El problema bioético es evidente si aceptamos que el fin no justifica los medios.” Consideramos muy acertada la reflexión ética del autor.

“Desde el punto de vista jurídico, la decisión tomada por la Comisión (y repetida en términos análogos en marzo del 2010) bordea el límite establecido por la ley ya que, por una lado, el cáncer, con toda su gravedad, tiene su tratamiento terapéutico con tasas crecientes de éxito y por otro lado, la relación causa-efecto no es absoluta sino que se manejan probabilidades”.

Lacadena termina el artículo haciendo unas interesantes reflexiones sobre la práctica de la fecundación in vitro, del DGP y su regulación legal en España que exceden el objetivo de este trabajo.

Esperamos que esta sentencia no sea un hecho aislado, sino que signifique un primer paso para que se acepte que la investigación científica  y sus resultados deban someterse al bien común de la Humanidad y al respeto a la dignidad de la naturaleza humana.

Manuel Zunin

Observatorio Bioética

Universidad Católica de Valencia

Por primera vez, el Tribunal Supremo norteamericano anula patentes de genes humanos.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★


SINOPSIS: El Tribunal Supremo de EEUU anula, por unanimidad, patentes de genes humanos, presentando sólidos argumentos. Argumentando que es un producto de la naturañeza, que haberlo encontrado y secuenciado, es un mérito de la empresa de ingieriiería genética, pero no una invención, por lo que le niega la propiedad intelectual y su exclusividad en la explotación económica.