MatrixLeaks: March 2013

Electronic tattoos



The epidermal electronic system (EES) is like a short-lived tattoo that can conform to the skin in difficult-to-monitor areas like the throat

Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity--all without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids or glues.

The researchers have created a new class of micro-electronics with a technology that they call an epidermal electronic system (EES). They have incorporated miniature sensors, light-emitting diodes, tiny transmitters and receivers and networks of carefully crafted wire filaments into their initial designs.

The latest generation of electronic tattoo with a self-powered, wireless connectivity and the transceiver, solar panels and the number of sensors

The technology is presented--along with initial measurements that researchers captured using the EES--in a paper by lead author Dae-Hyeong Kim of the University of Illinois and colleagues in the Aug. 12, 2011, issue of Science.

The EES device was developed by collaborators from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Tufts University, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, and Dalian University of Technology in China.


"Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user," says corresponding author John Rogers, a professor in materials science and engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We found a solution that involves devices we designed to achieve physical properties that match to the epidermis itself. It's a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology."

While existing technologies accurately measure heart rate, brain waves and muscle activity, EES devices offer the opportunity to seamlessly apply sensors that have almost no weight, no external wires and require negligible power.

Researchers wanted to 'blur the distinction between electronics and biological tissues.' Image Credit: John A. Rogers

Because of the small power requirements, the devices can draw power from stray (or transmitted) electromagnetic radiation through the process of induction and can harvest a portion of their energy requirements from miniature solar collectors.

The EES designs yield flat devices that are less than 50-microns thick--thinner than the diameter of a human hair--which are integrated onto the polyester backing familiar from stick-on tattoos.

The devices are so thin that close-contact forces called van der Waals interactions dominate the adhesion at the molecular level, so the electronic tattoos adhere to the skin without any glues and stay in place for hours.

The recent study demonstrated device lifetimes of up to 24 hours under ideal conditions.

"The mechanics behind the design for our serpentine-shaped electronics makes the device as soft as the human skin," says Northwestern University engineer Yonggang Huang, also a lead researcher on the project. "The design enables brittle, inorganic semiconductors to achieve extremely vast stretchability and flexibility. Plus, the serpentine design is very useful for self adhesion to any surface without using glues."


While some areas of the body are ill-suited to adhesive electronics, such as the elbow, most regions commonly targeted for medical and experimental studies are ideal, including the forehead, extremities and the chest.

Regions of the body that previously proved difficult to fit with sensors may now be monitored, including the throat, which the researchers studied to observe muscle activity during speech.


The throat experiment yielded enough precision for the research team to differentiate words in vocabulary and even control a voice-activated video game interface with greater than 90 percent accuracy.

"This type of device might provide utility for those who suffer from certain diseases of the larynx," adds Rogers. "It could also form the basis of a sub-vocal communication capability, suitable for covert or other uses."

The current innovation builds upon six years of collaboration between Rogers and Huang, who had earlier partnered to develop flexible electronics for hemispherical camera sensors and other devices that conform to complex shapes.

"This work is really just beginning," adds Rogers. "On the technology side, our focus is on wireless communication and improved solutions for power-such as batteries, storage capacitors and mechanical energy harvesters-to complement the inductive and solar concepts that we demonstrate in the present paper."

The researchers are also exploring clinical approaches, particularly for ailments where sensor size is critical, such as sleep apnea and neonatal care.

Electronic tattoos may monitor many functions, in this case we see that the EPS monitor heartbeat of unborn babies

Much further into the future, the researchers hope to incorporate microfluidic devices into their technology, opening up a new arena of electronic bandages and enhanced-functioning skin, potentially accelerating wound healing or treating burns and other skin conditions.


The research was supported by the National Science Foundation through the grants OISE-1043143CMMI-0749028 and ECCS-0824129 and the United States Air Force, Department of Energy and Beckman Institute.

This short video shows you how the EES goes on and off the skin, and how flexible it is.










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Secret Weapon



It was a case destined for the X-Files and conspiracy theorists alike, when Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez speculated that the US might have developed a way to weaponise cancer, after several Latin American leaders were diagnosed with the disease. The list includes former Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner (colon cancer) Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff (lymphoma cancer), her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (throat cancer), Chavez (undisclosed), former Cuban president Fidel Castro (stomach cancer) Bolivian president, Evo Morales (nasal cancer) and Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo (lymphoma cancer). What do they have in common besides cancer? All of them are left-wing leaders. Coincidence? In his December 28, 2011 end-of-year address to the Venezuelan military, Chavez hinted that the US might have found a way to give Latin American leaders cancer.

US Senators Frank Church and John Tower examine a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) poison dart gun that causes cancer and heart attacks, during the US Senate Select Committee’s investigation into the assassination plots on foreign leaders in 1975.

“Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” Chavez asked. “It is very hard to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some leaders in Latin America. It’s at the very least strange,” he said. Chavez said he received warning from Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro, who has survived hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts. “Fidel always told me, ‘Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what’,” he said.


   Unsolved mysteries

Sounds far-fetched? WikiLeaks reported that in 2008 the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asked its embassy in Paraguay to collect all biometric data, including the DNA of all four presidential candidates. Right here in the Caribbean conspiracy theorists believe that the CIA also had a hand in the deaths of T&T’s own civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist Kwame Ture, Jamaica’s legendary reggae icon Bob Marley and Dominican Prime Minister Rosie Douglas. During the United States Senate Select Committee’s investigation into CIA’s assassination plots on foreign leaders in 1975 it was revealed that the agency had developed a poison dart gun that caused heart attacks and cancer.
The gun fired a frozen liquid poison-tipped dart, the width of a human hair and a quarter of an inch long, that could penetrate clothing, was almost undetectable and left no trace in a victim’s body.


                                                                          Bob Marley

Kwame Ture or Stokely Carmichael, the radical former Black Panther leader who inaugurated the Black Power Movement of the 1960s went to his death claiming that the CIA had poisoned him with cancer. Ture died of prostate cancer at the age of 57 in 1998. His friend, multi-media artist and activist Wayne “Rafiki” Morris, said Ture said “without equivocation” that the CIA gave him cancer. “I knew Kwame from 1976 and for all the time I knew him he never drank or smoked cigarettes,” Morris said. “He was a very good swimmer and exercised regularly, he didn’t have any medical condition and was very conscious of his health.”


   If the shoe fit...


Bob Marley died of melanoma cancer in 1981. He was 36-years-old. The official report is he contracted cancer after injuring his toe which never healed while playing football in 1977. The conspiracy theorists allege that Marley was given a pair of boots with a piece of copper wire inside that was coated with a carcinogenic substance that pricked his big toe by Carl Colby, son of the late CIA director William Colby. There is an eerie similarity between Marley and Castro involving poisoned shoes. Cuban ambassador to T&T, Humberto Rivero said the CIA and Cuban exiles tried more than 600 attempts to kill Castro from exploding cigars, injecting him with cancer, to a wet suit lined with poison. In the case of Marley the CIA allegedly used cancer in his shoes, for Castro they placed the highly toxic poison thallium salts in his shoes. After only eight months being elected as Prime Minister of Dominica, radical politician Rosie Douglas was found dead on the floor of his residence in 2000.


                                                                         Fidel Castro

The cause of death was listed as a result of a massive heart attack. His heart was twice its normal size. Just like Ture and Marley, he exercised regularly. Douglas’ eldest son, Cabral insisted that his father had been murdered and also hinted at the involvement of the CIA. Moshood Abiola, the man widely believed to have won the 1993 elections in Nigeria, was reported to have died of a heart attack after he was given a cocktail which expanded his heart to twice its size in 1998. Jack Ruby, the assassin who killed US president John Kennedy’s alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died from lung cancer in 1967. What was strange was the cancer cells were not the type that originate in the respiratory system. He told his family that he was injected with cancer cells in prison when he was treated with shots for a cold. He died just before he was to testify before Congress.


                                                            Jack Ruby killed Oswald

Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, developed terminal cancer. The leader of Canada’s left-leaning Opposition party, the New Democratic Party (NDP), Jack Layton died of an undisclosed form of cancer in 2011. It will appear that having leftist tendencies are hazardous to a person’s health. From 1953 the Russians were using microwaves to attack the US embassy staff in Moscow, Russia. One third of the staff eventually died of cancer from this microwave irradiation.

Yasser Arafat's body exhumed eight years after his death in bid to discover if he was poisoned. Arafat died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill - immediate cause of death was a stroke.
Persistent speculation in the Arab world that Israel poisoned him. Israel has denied such allegations.
The corpse was reburied hours later with full military honours.

Since his death in 2004 many in the Arab world believe Arafat, the face of the Palestinian independence struggle for four decades, was killed by Israel. Israel, which saw Arafat as an obstacle to peace, vehemently denies the charges.

Under Islam, only Muslims can handle a Muslim's remains.
The samples will be handed over to French, Swiss and Russian experts who have flown in for the exhumation and who will examine them in their home countries, the officials said.

Tawfik Tirawi, who heads the Palestinian team investigating the death said Arafat will be reburied the same day with military honors, but the ceremony will be closed to the public, Tirawi told a news conference.

Cause of death: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat saying goodbye as he boarded a Jordanian army helicopter to fly to Paris to seek medical treatment. Arafat died a month later in a French military hospital (Foto: APF/GETTY IMAGES)

Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organisation for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill.

While the immediate cause of death was a stroke, the underlying source of an illness he suffered in his final weeks has never been clear, leading to persistent speculation in the Arab world that Israel poisoned him. Israel has denied such allegations.

Since his death there have been persistent conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.

His widow, Suha, objected to a post-mortem at the time, but asked the Palestinian Authority to permit the exhumation 'to reveal the truth.'


The former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died of exposure to polonium-210 in London in 2006. The UK authorities have accused Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB officer, of poisoning his tea.

                                                                Aleksandr Litvinenko

Polonium-210 decomposes rapidly, and some experts say it is not clear whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.

Imagine how advanced and sophisticated assassination technology has become today!







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Mother Teresa: anything but a saint...



 Mother Teresa Humanitarian Image A 'Myth,' New Study Says

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal's Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa. Like the journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who is amply quoted in their analysis, the researchers conclude that her hallowed image—which does not stand up to analysis of the facts—was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign.

“While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church's most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination—Mother Teresa—whose real name was Agnes Gonxha,” says Professor Larivée, who led the research. “The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further."

                                                         Mother Teresa at the end of life

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC).

   Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa 

In their article, Serge Larivée and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa's beatification process, such as "her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce."


   The sick must suffer like Christ on the cross

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as "homes for the dying" by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. 


                                                         Mother Teresa and Princess Diana

The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering," was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital. 


   Questionable politics and shadowy accounting

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid. On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO's various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Larivée says. “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa's works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”


   The grand media plan for holiness

Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge, an anti-abortion journalist who shared her right-wing Catholic values, was crucial. Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the “first photographic miracle," when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak. Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing—direct murder by the mother herself.”


          Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan honoring Mother Teresa in front of the White House 1985th

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain. The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen. Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa's popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint. “What could be better than beatification followed by canonization of this model to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline?” Larivée and his colleagues ask.


   Positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth

Despite Mother Teresa's dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivée and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth: “If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous.”


   About the study

The study was conducted by Serge Larivée, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Carole Sénéchal, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, and Geneviève Chénard, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal.

The printed version, available only in French, will be published in March 2013 in issue 42 of Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses. This study received no specific funding.

*The University of Montreal is officially known as Université de Montréal.








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Rape as a Weapon of War



   Women's bodies have become part of the terrain of conflict

Denis Mukwege is a gynaecologist working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He and his colleagues have treated about 30,000 rape victims, developing great expertise in the treatment of serious sexual injuries. His story includes disturbing accounts of rape as a weapon of war.

When war broke out, 35 patients in my hospital in Lemera in eastern DR Congo were killed in their beds.

I fled to Bukavu, 100km (60 miles) to the north, and started a hospital made from tents. I built a maternity ward with an operating theatre. In 1998, everything was destroyed again. So, I started all over again in 1999.

It was that year that our first rape victim was brought into the hospital. After being raped, bullets had been fired into her genitals and thighs.

I thought that was a barbaric act of war, but the real shock came three months later. Forty-five women came to us with the same story, they were all saying: "People came into my village and raped me, tortured me."


                                                                      Denis Mukwege

Other women came to us with burns. They said that after they had been raped chemicals had been poured on their genitals.

I started to ask myself what was going on. These weren't just violent acts of war, but part of a strategy. You had situations where multiple people were raped at the same time, publicly - a whole village might be raped during the night. In doing this, they hurt not just the victims but the whole community, which they force to watch.

The result of this strategy is that people are forced to flee their villages, abandon their fields, their resources, everything. It's very effective.


   Spoils of war?

From the systematic rape of women in Bosnia, to an estimated 200,000 women raped during the battle for Bangladeshi independence in 1971, to Japanese rapes during the 1937 occupation of Nanking - the past century offers too many examples.

So what motivates armed forces, whether state-backed troops or irregular militia, to attack civilian women and children?

Gita Sahgal, of Amnesty International, told the BBC News website it was a mistake to think such assaults were primarily about the age-old "spoils of war", or sexual gratification.

Rape is often used in ethnic conflicts as a way for attackers to perpetuate their social control and redraw ethnic boundaries, she said.

"Women are seen as the reproducers and carers of the community," she said.


"Therefore if one group wants to control another they often do it by impregnating women of the other community because they see it as a way of destroying the opposing community."


A report by Medecins Sans Frontieres says it first came across rape as a weapon in the 1990s.

"In Bosnia systematic rape was used as part of the strategy of ethnic cleansing," it said.

"Women were raped so they could give birth to a Serbian baby."

The same tactic was used in a "very strategic attack" by state-backed Pakistani troops during the fight for Bangladesh's independence in 1971, Ms Sahgal said.

   Rape as a Weapon of War

Rape became politicized during the recent election. Extreme conservatives favored the modifiers "legitimate" or "forcible" while feminists countered with the slogan, "Rape is rape." When a woman is raped during an armed conflict, rape takes on a different character. Rape becomes a weapon of war -− a cheap weapon of war.

Under any circumstance, rape is a brutal, dehumanizing attack. Rapes of civilian women during war take on the most horrendous aspects of this crime. Women are often raped in front of their husbands and children by multiple men using their bodies and, at times, gun barrels or other objects to penetrate women.

Like any rape, these acts may to lead to pregnancy and transmission of STDs and infection. The psychological toll can be devastating. Victims may be stigmatized by their communities and even subject to honor killing by their families. Typically, justice is not available because civil police organizations are disbanded or ineffective during wartime.


It is important to recognize that conflict rapes are much more than opportunistic pillaging. In modern warfare, rape has become a strategic weapon used to humiliate, demoralize and dehumanize the enemy. The use of rape as a tactic may, in fact, be ordered by those in command of combatants. In ethnic conflicts, rape is seen as a tool of genetic "cleansing." Even when a conflict has ended with a truce or ceasefire, rape continues to be used as a weapon against the vanquished civilian population. Rape violates the Geneva Convention and is viewed as a "crime against humanity" by the International Criminal Court.


Recent history provides horrific examples of the use of rape as a weapon of war:

~  Approximately up to 500,000 women were raped during the Rwandan genocide

~  Approximately up to 64,000 women were raped in Sierra Leone

~  Over 40,000 women were raped in Bosnia-Herzegovina

~  Hundreds of women are raped every day in Syria, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo

The reality of rape during conflict is brought home by a crowd-sourced map of Syria that reports the location and details of sexual assaults occurring during the current conflict. This resource is maintained by the Women under Siege Project of the Women's Media Center.


The days between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 have been designated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership and the Nobel Women's Initiative as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. In 2012, this campaign focuses on gender violence in conflict, use of small arms in domestic violence and state actors perpetrating violence against women, such as commanders sexually assaulting military women with impunity.











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