Friday, April 22, 2016

The Great Hoagland/Wickramasinghe Disaster 0f 2016

        Kudos to whoever managed to book Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe onto Richard Hoagland's Other Side of Midnight chat-show, which is hanging onto the Dark Matter Digital Radio Network by its metaphorical fingernails, due to move to an as-yet unannounced new net-home at the end of next week. Wickramasinghe is exactly the right kind of guest for RCH: A respected but highly controversial scientist, working in an area (cosmology) that Hoagland has a nodding acquaintance with, and so ought to be able to ask some of the right questions.

        Booking decent guests has been this show's Achilles heel right from the start. Not a lot of interesting people are willing to be interviewed from midnight to 2 a.m. Pacific, or -- even worse -- 3-5 a.m. East. Keith Laney, in the EDT zone, may be always willing, but that kind-of proves my point about "not a lot of interesting people." Of course it greatly helps if, like Wickramasinghe, you're in the UK where it's 8-10 a.m. and you're fully awake. That also applied to another recently successful guest, my former colleague James Burke.

        Note that I did NOT say "my good friend James Burke," although I might have been justified in so doing. Richard Hoagland is, famously, not shy about name-dropping at all, and once he'd got over some connection problems and ascertained that he really was talking to the right cosmologist, he lit right in with (02:02) "Well an old friend of mine and yours, Arthur C. Clarke..."  (04:35) "...In addition to Arthur C. Clarke, who was a very good friend of mine, going back to my days at CBS when I was advising Walter Cronkite during the Apollo missions..." Oh Lordy, it never stops.

        Anyway, as I said, Wickramasinghe was a very promising guest. Such a pity that this turned into an unmitigated, cringe-worthy disaster after only 14 minutes. Wickramasinghe was filling us in on his relationship with Fred Hoyle, and the history of the Steady-State cosmological model, when he just dropped out. Went away. Vanished. Hoagland said "Did I lose you? Dr. Wickramasinghe? Hello? I'm really getting very unhappy with Skype. I think we're going to go to a different system, because Skype is not reliable...So... let me see what I can do here... Sorry, folks, this happens with unfortunate regularity because we're using this technology...We'll obviously have to explore another technology... ummm... in the future, and we will do that. But not tonight. So... let me get rid of this particular... er... item ... I think we might have to go to some music before I can connect up with Dr. Wickramasinghe again... So, Keith, if we can do that? Put a little something on while I'm connecting my switches here... and then we will be back momentarily..." However, he was not back momentarily, or even at all that night. Not having an engineer in his "studio," the simple task of re-connecting was beyond Hoagland's skills.note 1 After eight minutes of music, we were back to the Intro and the October 24th show with Seimion and Matloff re-ran until off-air time. The Wickramasinghe show was simply purged from the show's web-site and Farcebook page. As Khruschev was declared a non-person by the Kremlin in 1964, so this was declared a non-show by Keith Rowland (owner of DMDN) and Richard Hoagland. Oh. My. God.

        Well, what future for Hoagland and his chat-show? He's been dropping hints (at least it makes a change from dropping names) that "some Big Players" are interested in giving the show a home. After this fiasco, I imagine Big Players will be having Big Second Thoughts.

Thanks to Dr. Stuart Robbins for providing the audio. 

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[1] Of course, it's always possible that he actually did reconnect, only to hear the professor say he was tired of this amateur bullshit and wanted no further part in it. That would jive with the purging of the show's online archive. We will never know.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Robert Morningstar and the Daily Mail really hate Hillary

        We don't do politics here because — particularly right now, and particularly in the USA — it's everywhere else. But James Concannon reports from the Facebook trenches with an aeronautical/avionics story that's certainly rooted in the P word.

James Concannon writes...

        There's no possible doubt about where Robert Morningstar's political sympathies lie. On the book of farces, he's now posting almost daily diatribes against the Democratic US presidential candidates. One that made me smile and react yesterday was this piece of tabloid trash from the London Daily Mail: Conspiracy theorist claims Hillary Clinton 'murdered' John F Kennedy Jnr because he was planning to run for the same senate seat as her in shocking new book.

        Recap: JFK Jnr., his wife and sister-in-law all died when the Saratoga light plane he was piloting went down during descent to Martha's Vineyard on the night of 16 July 1999.

Splashdown point of the aircraft: Not lined up with runway 6


        I happen to know that Mr. Morningstar is an accomplished private pilot himself, so I asked him for some clarification. How could this dirty deed have been accomplished, what evidence of foul play exists, and what evidence of Clinton skullduggery? He replied thuswise:
"The murder method was sabotage. executed by disabling the Saratoga's electrical system so that all JFK Jr's attitude and navigational instruments would fail when he arrived at Martha's Vineyard at night. I proved this to the NTSB in 2003, and his accident report file was subsequently changed from "Pilot Error" to "spatial disorientation" through my intercession with the Vice Chairman of the NTSB, General Rosenker. You can write to the NTSB under FOIA and ask them (with my permission) for the 2 accident reports (2000 & 2003), and request copy of our correspondence. Concannon, Thou art a "loose cannon." and Thou art truly our "Facebook village idiot." Stick to analyzing "moon dust" and leave flying to pilots. -> M*"
        Well, that of course is far from being a complete answer, and perhaps unnecessarily scornful, but it helps to understand AM*'s blinkered view of the event. The problem is this: JFK Jnr. was certified to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) only, not by instruments. He got very unlucky with the weather — on approach to the Vineyard, the haze was so comprehensive that there was no visible horizon. Several other pilots in the area confirmed this. That was, in fact, the predominant cause of the tragedy, and a presumptive saboteur could not possibly have predicted that fact in advance. In fact, tampering with the avionics flown by a VFR pilot is extremely unlikely to succeed, since by definition such a pilot would not be relying on his instruments. The theory therefore inherently lacks credibility. In addition, Robert Morningstar and the Daily Mail will need to explain why radar was getting good and accurate data from Kennedy's encoding altimeter. NOTE: The NTSB Final Report includes this: "Examination of the airframe, systems, avionics, and engine did not reveal any evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunction."

        As for identifying the Clintons as the saboteurs, there isn't even a whisper of evidence of that in the Daily Mail. I truly doubt that Roger Stone's book includes credible evidence either. None of that is a problem for Morningstar — he just goes ahead and posts anything derogatory about Democrats, truth be damned.

        I reject religion because it seems to me it makes people hate each other. Now it seems that politics does the same.

=================================
ref: More deets on the tragedy from the pedia that is wiki.
ref: The NTSB Final Report, including much altitude data that can only have been obtained from a functioning encoding altimeter.

Update:
It's now more than a week since I asked Mr Morningstar to explain the altitude data. We can now safely assume that he has exercised his right to remain silent on that question.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kerry Cassidy is broke

        "We basically have run out of money," says Kerrynote 1 in this update video dated March 17th. The caption reads "We are totally out of funds .. please help." Well, that's straightforward enough, anyway.

        To me, the surprise is that this didn't happen years ago. In my opinion, running the kind of wild and woolly operation Kerry does, and expecting your audience to support you 100% financially, is foolhardy. It might work for PBS (just barely,) but PBS's audience is mostly professional people with what they call discretionary income. My picture of Kerry's core audience is of people who barely have jobs, let alone money to throw around to enable Kerry to jet off to Gobekli Tepe with her paramour and stay in a nice hotel.

        So she may have managed to swing the Gobekli Tepe boondoggle, but the more general evidence is that I'm right. Late last year Kerry announced an Indiegogo campaign, with a $100,000 goal. The campaign wound up on November 28th having raised $5,850 -- just 6% of the target. This despite the fact that a $5,000 contribution would get you a perk of a dinner with Kerry (Good luck getting a word in edgeways there.)

Down and out
        I'm not unsympathetic. It's tough being broke, and believe me I know. But I just think Kerry's ambitions are totally unrealistic. She works hard, no doubt about that, but her product really isn't very good. She claims to have done a year of film school at UCLA Extension, but I see very few signs of a professional approach to videography. Her IMDB page includes no credits whatsoever as director, producer, writer, editor or director of photography. It lists just two credits as "herself." (I won't brag about my own IMDB credits, but they're... er, a lot.)

        This 25-minute video from Kerry's May 2013 trip to Washington DC serves to illustrate Kerry's shortcomings as a videographer. She starts with a minute of establishing shots of the city, setting up the venue (The National Press Building.) OK, a perfectly decent idea. But what she gives us is a minute of the camera waving around, finding focus, passing over some recognizable stuff then moving right along. This is not what you do to establish a location. What you do, as a professional, is to capture enough scenes from the tripod to offer your editor so that he or she can cut together a montage of the appropriate length. You do not use the out-of-focus shots or the wavey-waveys.note 2 Then you write a script that fits the picturenote 3, record it, and dub it on. Optionally, mix in a little M&E (Music and Effects.)

        In practice the editor may be the same person as the producer and camera operator, as I'm sure it is in the world of Kerry. Makes no diff. And I'm not saying the occasional whip-pan or crash-zoom is verboten -- just that everything shouldn't be on the move all the time. It's dizzying, and it serves its intentions very poorly.

        Her framing during interviews isn't too bad, actually. I was trained to keep the interviewee's eyes between 2/3 and 3/4 up the screen height, and Kerry pretty-much follows that. But from 06:58 to 07:28 in this piece she keeps the camera trained on the interviewee's lapel as she introduces herself for half a minute. CHOP IT OUT, Kerry. A professional would never allow that dreck into the cut story. She doesn't shoot enough cutaways to edit the interviews tightly -- she seems to be content to let them drone on at full length, and that applies to her entire oeuvre as far as I've seen. To my mind, she simply doesn't have the instinct for what works to create watchable documentaries.

        Her pieces to camera run the range from so-so to frighteningly bad. She doesn't light herself, so we get an ultra-low contrast picture. She doesn't seem to believe in learning a script, or teleprompting one, so we get plenty of ers and ums, and she has the devastating habit of shaking her head every so often, as though getting her hair out of her eyes (check the appeal for support video, at 01:45.) Her editing is at times inaccurate (again, check the appeal vid at 09:57 for a double-cut.) I hear you say this is all part of her down-home appeal, but I don't buy it. UNPROFESSIONAL is the word that comes to mind.

Awake and Aware
        So my suggestion to Kerry would be to give up on it. Maintain your library of however-many-thousand over-length interviews you have, but stop prancing around the world making more of them and expecting volunteers to foot the bill. Perhaps stick to conference organizing — that surely generates plenty of cash. The punters who pay good money to attend the Awake and Aware conferences aren't interested in Kerry specifically, but in the speakers she comes up with. She's pretty good at that, and of course these days she could always have a great new career as an Uber driver.

Update March 24
        Since declaring that she's skint and cannot continue "this important work," Kerry has produced and released the following videos:

Same day: Richard Bartlett & Melissa Joy: Matrix Energetics (whatever those are)
A day later: Chris Kehler: Quantum Energy Healing (whatever that is)

And today, "The Brussels bombings were a False Flag." Oh yes of course they were. Everything tragic is. That way we can all admire Kerry's brilliant access to THE REAL STORY and forget about wasting sympathy on the 30+ fake families who are pretending to have lost fake loved ones. Terrific job, Kerry.

Update March 31
Announcements that tell their own story: Today Kerry announced that she's putting together a tour of Europe, to take place sometime this Spring. She doesn't say she'll be hitchhiking and staying in youth hostels, either.

If that announcement had come a day later I'd have thought "Yeah, yeah, Kerry. April fool, right?"

============================================
[1] For those who have NFI who Kerry is, here's a briefing.
[2] Unless you're Dennis Hopper. Sorry, Easy Rider is one of my pet hates.
[3] In the newsgathering business they tend to start with a narration track and cut to it. Fine, that works too (but in my opinion is less creative.)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yes, we have no Mike Bara

        I had earnestly intended to blog Mike's lecture at Conscious Life, but the audio quality is so appalling I can't stand to listen to it. Here's the link in case anyone wants to torture their ears in addition to their brain. I think his main topics were Planet 9 and Mars anomalies, which I already covered here and here respectively.

        Instead, give yourselves a treat and go read  Bob Zimmerman's scholarly (and very well illustrated) analysis of Curiosity's slow progress toward Sharp Mountain. When Gale crater was first announced as MSL's destination, Richard Hoagland announced on C2C-AM that Sharp Mountain was obviously an artificial construct, and that everyone at JPL knew that. Even President Obama knew it.

        I guess, according to Zimmerman's projections, he can hang onto that ridiculous fantasy for a while yet. When Curiosity finally reveals Sharp to be just a mountain, what will he say then? Why, NOTHING, of course. Glad you asked.

Update:
        Perhaps we may have some Mike Bara after all -- or, yet another example of Bara's abject ignorance of sciency things and inability to carry out relatively simple research.


        As Bill Belcher pointed out in comments right here, this misshapen planet IS NOT, as Mike Bara told his audience (17 minutes in,) what Planet Earth would look like if the oceans were removed. Even the deepest part of the oceans (Mariana Trench, 11 kM) is only 0.0017 of the radius of the Earth.

        This model, created by Ales Bezdek, represents the variable gravitational field of Earth. And even that is deliberately exaggerated. Phil Plait blogged more details last September.

Will Mike Bara ever get any science right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nobody loves NASA, apparently

James Concannon writes...

        In an extraordinary display of mass media ignoring history, the last few days have seen quite a flap over the Apollo 10 "Music Behind the Moon." Never mind that the story was fairly well-known to journos on the NASA beat at the time (may 1969.) The fact that it happened behind the Moon meant that the transcripts came, not from the normal air-to-ground chit-chat but from the DSEA tapes that recorded conversation (and data) in the LM while the spacecraft was out of radio contact with Houston. Those are the ones that Robert Morningstar foolishly insists the astronauts didn't know about, despite the fact that switches on Panel 12 of the LM instrument panel are clearly labeled RECORDER ON/OFF.


        The fact that the DSEA transcripts were classified for a while (until 1976note 1) was enough to arouse suspicion among the conspirati that something was being hidden, and the music was "unexplained." Actually, it was quite well explained -- by, among others,  Michael Collins, CMP of Apollo 11, in his book Carrying the Fire.

"There is a strange noise in my headset now, an eerie woo-woo sound. Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared the hell out of me (...) fortunately the radio technicians had a ready explanation for it: it was interference between the LM's and Command Module's VHF radios."

        The transcripts were well discussed in Above Top Secret seven years ago. The story only popped up strongly in the last few days because of hype for a new TV series, NASA's Unexplained Files. The show's producers claim that they are releasing the actual audio for the very first time.

        It got extensive play on the Book of Farces, and what annoyed me was the general reaction. The Coast to Coast AM page downplayed the story.
"The clarification on the story from the space agency will likely do little to dissuade conspiracy theorists who insist that NASA is covering up information on ETs. Nonetheless, it's probably safe to say that the fat lady has sung on the moon 'music' mystery."
        However, the 65 comments from faithful listeners were overwhelmingly scornful of NASA. Some samples:

* "Radio interference" NASA could make something up better than that.
* Sure NASA this isn't the 20th century anymore we aren't that stupid
* Theres never a mystery its always explained away im tired of the cover ups from nasa
* Never a straight answer are full of shite as usual take there orders from the cia.
* In NASA we trust...right
* lol why would I believe a word NASA say
* NASA is a BS agency.
* Of course NASA was quick to disprove it, they can't unravel the lies they've been building for 60 years       

        This is a sad state of affairs. I blame Richard Hoagland, Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar.


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[1] See this cover for the date classification was changed to "U." It's a bit of a mystery why these texts were not released immediately. The general theory is that the chit-chat was undisciplined and even included some -- gasp! -- expletives.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trying to talk sense to Kerry Cassidy

       Trying to talk sense to Kerry Cassidy... a mug's game, you may well think. Well, so indeed it is, to judge by her guest spot last Monday on Rob McConnell's 'X' Zone internet radio show. McConnell (the ex-Cop, not the jazz trombonist) interviews as many of the woo-woo people as he can get, but takes a much harder line than, say, Jimmy Church or Scott Teeters.

        After a long preamble during which Kerry introduced herself as someone who had a burning desire to get the truth out (but also explained how ETs stole her eggs for a breeding program,) we got to some nitty-gritty.

22:49 RMcC: "I understand that there was a time when you believed that you were being targeted by the government."
KC: "Yes, sure. We're all being targeted. Some people don't know it though."
RMcC: "Why are we being targeted?"
KC: "Because your government is out to get you."
RMcC: "But isn't the government..."
KC: "They are not your friends."
RMcC: "Isn't it for the people..."
KC: "..and I'm not talking about the people... you know, sort of... government flunkies that just simply follow orders, I'm talking about the people at the higher levels."
RMcC: "So are you talking about the New World Order, the..."
KC: "They have a plan, and you're considered  collateral damage, and they will  lay false flags, and there is  only one way in which they will use you as, basically... you know, cannon fodder. So your governments are, um... they're out to get you.

        As Kerry expounded on her usual themes -- you know, like how US soldiers who believe they've been deployed to Iraq have actually been to Mars to battle the ETs -- McConnell got more and more scornful, until it finally descended into acrimony.


37:44 RMcC: "Why do you hate the government?"
KC: "Well, you know, I don't hate the people... er, that don't know anything, although I do think they're probably fairly stupid if they don't at this point, because in 2016 there's a lot of information out there, but.. I don't hate... you know, I don't really go around hating. I simply note their... their faults. That they are doing things that are against ...um, what is good for the rest of the world. That they are... sort-of run by the dark side. And, um... what can I say? They're trying to control humanity and limit its growth. Limit its ability to become self-reliant and be sovereign."
RMcC: "OK, you know I... I... I admire your passion. I really do. And once again I'm going to have to ask you why you have not thrown your hat into the political arena, to try and make a difference where people will not be able to deny what you're saying. Bring the evidence forward."
KC: "But elections are rigged. Your so-called political arena is rigged. Judges are bought... the system itself is corrupt. It's corrupt all the way through. It's run by the mafia, the CIA and... er, you know, unbelievable numbers of dark magicians, etc. etc. So ...you know, I don't consider people who run for office as going to get very far... [...story about Mike Harris...] So that's what I can tell you about your system."
RMcC: "Well, you know what? I love my system. I have nothing... I have nothing but the greatest.. the greatest..."
KC: "You know, Rob, really seriously, you sound... you sound like a fairly intelligent guy..."
RMcC: "I am a very intelligent guy."
KC: "You're absolutely sleep-walking...you're just feeding yourself..."
RMcC: "But you know what? I was part of the system. I was part of the system for a great number of years."
[talking together...]
RMcC: "....and what you're saying as a person who was never part of any established government organization at all. You're blowing smoke up people's asses. That's what you're doing. Because not one word..."
[talking together...]
RMcC: "....not one single word. It's true. Not one single word that you have said about government corruption, and about the, er... the, er... "
KC: "...not a single word of what?"
RMcC: "....is true."
KC: "Oh My God! You know, really.. what era are you from? I mean, seriously. Do you do no research at all? You have a radio show for what? You know, How many years?"
RMcC: "25 years."
KC: "Come on, Rob, you can't be living in the dark like this..."
RMcC: "No, I live in the truth. I don't live in a land of... of conspiracy, where everybody's out to get me. I can't... you know, I can't do this..."
KC: "Thank you for having the guts to bring me on your show, but seriously, I can't... I can't even take you seriously. I really think... you really..."

        At his point we went to dead air for a few beats. McConnell said "Hmmm... Jeez, I wonder what happened there..." In her own blog, Kerry wrote that McConnell hung up on her. "He was rude and I guess he was way out of his comfort zone.  Rob McConnell is one of the people they had in mind when Jack Nicholson said, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH".   Poor guy."

        It sure sounded to me as though it was Kerry who disconnected. But I'm just the innocent bystander, getting a kick out of hearing someone say to Kerry what I'd like to get a chance to say. "blowing smoke up people's asses..." Oh yes. That.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Thumbprints on Mars?

 photo credit: JPL/Univ. Arizona HiRISE

        Just a pretty (and enigmatic) picture today, instead of having a go at pseudoscientists. This is a treatment of a HiRISE frame done by Lori Fenton, who studies these things.note 1 Please read Lori's blog for an explanation -- it's extremely interesting.

        Question: Why do the pseudo-astronomy people feel the need to invent bullshit artifacts on Mars, when there are genuinely interesting features like these to discuss? Ooops, I couldn't resist having a go after all.

========================
[1] Lori Fenton is a planetary aeolian geomorphologist. A dune guru, in other words.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sean and Melissa Morton arrested

        Passing on gossip is not the most noble of this blog's raisons d'ĂȘtre to be sure, but this is too good to pass up. Yesterday, an anonymous Wikipedia editor using the name "Nofway" added the following content to Sean David Morton's article. The text was sourced as copied from http://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/hermosa-beach-couple-arrested-federal-charges-related-tax-scam-and-passing-false-checks, which looks authentic but it is just possible that it's spoofed.

        So I make no claim to the authenticity of this information, but enjoy it anyway. It's plausible because the Mortons are known to be in deep shit with both IRS and SECnote 1 (read the the article if you need to know why.) Bear in mind that the Mortons are very good pals of both Mike Bara and Kerry Cassidy. Remember this pic from the Summer of 2012? Sean and Kerry swanning around Europe, leaving Melissa to interview Mike on the Internet radio.

photo credit: Project Camelot

        Strange synchronicity -- that four year old interview also covered Ken Johnston's accusation of Apollo negative tampering, that I wrote about again yesterday. But I digress — here's the dirt.

Two Hermosa Beach residents were taken into custody yesterday after being indicted by a federal grand jury on a host of charges related to a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, which included passing bogus checks and bonds as a way to pay off debt for themselves and others.

On February 1, 2016 Sean David Morton, 58, and his wife, Melissa Ann Morton, 50, were expected to be arraigned in federal court in Los Angeles on a 56-count superseding indictment that was returned by a grand jury on January 27. The couple was arrested by special agents with IRS - Criminal Investigation in San Pedro Sunday morning after disembarking from a “Conspira-Sea Cruise.” According to the superseding indictment, Sean David Morton filed a series of false income tax returns for the years 2005 and 2010 that sought millions of dollars in refunds. Melissa Morton allegedly filed several false tax returns for the year 2007. The couple “caused multiple copies and multiple versions of their income tax returns to be submitted to various IRS service centers throughout the United States in 2009 and 2010,” according to the indictment, which alleges they attached false Forms 1099-OID to support their claims for refunds. The indictment specifically alleges that Sean David Morton filed a false 2006 income tax return 2010 that requested a refund of $2,809,921, and that in 2012 he filed a document that sought a tax refund of $1,560,634 for 2006.

In relation to the scheme, the indictment alleges that Sean David Morton on multiple occasions submitted to the IRS documents he called “Coupon for Setoff, Settlement, and Closure” in the amounts of $5,286,867 and $8,429,763. “These fictitious financial instruments were a purported bond in exchange for the refunds they sought from the IRS,” according to the indictment.

Melissa Morton allegedly presented to the IRS in 2010 a “Coupon for Setoff, Settlement, and Closure” in the amount of $44,450 as a purported bond in exchange for a $14,450 refund that she sought. And, in 2013, both defendants allegedly presented to the IRS two “Non-Negotiable Discharging Bond and Indemnity” in the amounts of $10 million for Sean David Morton and $600,000 for Melissa Morton.

If they are convicted of the charges in the superseding indictment, Sean David Morton would face a statutory maximum sentence of 650 years in federal prison, and Melissa Morton would face a statutory maximum sentence of 625 years.

Update 1:
The story is now confirmed.


Here's the full 56-count indictment.

Update 2:
        A reporter who is legally trained has now reported from the ConspiraSea cruise, and it's well worth reading. An excerpt:
"Winston Shrout and Sean David Morton were the subjects of my Day 2 post. That post was much more critical and aggressive than I expected any of my writing to be. To the extent that it earned me a little browbeating from a Shrout fan who was upset that I criticized him....I couldn’t hold back. As I’ve said I’m a lawyer, and I know that what Shrout and Morton were teaching was absolute crap. It wasn’t arguably right. It wasn’t thinking outside the box. It wasn’t creative reinterpretation of the law. It was complete nonsense, in that it literally did not make any sense."
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[1] See the SEC's 4 March 2010 complaint filed in US District Court, and the judgement issued on 15 February 2013.