Russian Aircraft Buzzed a U.S. Destroyer in Black Sea: Pentagon

Four Russian aircraft flew in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner near a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea, according to the Pentagon.

A defense official told NBC News that a Russian Su-24 flew within 200 yards of the USS Porter last week, flying at an altitude of just 300 feet and a speed in excess of 500 knots. The jet was armed.

Image: Ilyushin Il-38N
The Fyodor Zolotukhin is an upgraded Il-38N maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft Marina Lystseva / TASS via Getty Images

In a separate incident, two other Russian Su-24s came within 300 yards of the ship. They were not armed.

In addition, an IL-38 flew at unusually low altitude.

Two defense officials said that the Navy tried to contact the Russian aircraft by radio but there was no response. The U.S. vessel did not take any evasive action.

Cap. Danny Hernandez, the spokesman for U.S. European Command, called Friday’s incidents “unsafe and unprofessional” due to the speed and distance of the aircraft from the ship.

All four Russian planes were flying without their transponders on, the U.S. officials said. Transponders help identify an aircraft, and American officials say flying with the transponders off increased the risk of an accident or miscalculation.

American officials said the USS Porter was conducting routine operations in international waters.

Image: Su-24M frontline bombers
Su-24M frontline bombers fly over Moscow on Sept. 5, 2016. Sputnik via AP

Guidelines for when your child is missing!

You are not alone; families can and do survive • there is no right or wrong way to
respond; there is no right or wrong way to feel • hope is essential to your survival • to
give your child the best chances of being found, you and law enforcement must treat
one another as partners • base your relationship with law enforcement on mutual re-
spect, trust, and honesty; however, you don’t have to agree on every detail • trust your
feelings, instincts, and gut reactions; share them with law enforcement so they can be
checked out • don’t be afraid to make suggestions or air differences of opinion • contact
the media immediately; they can be a very effective tool in asking for help • if you are
unable to speak alone, select someone to function as your media spokesperson •
remember that you control the
situation, the media do not con-
trol you • you have the right to
say no to an interview • Image result for pic of child
You have the right to refrain from answering questions if doing so makes
you feel uncomfortable •
you have the right to completely give
your side of the story • you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect • let people know
You love your child and need their help in finding and bringing your child home • hold a prayer or candlelight vigil • distributing pictures and information is an essential part of search and recovery • get as many people and organizations as possible to distribute your child’s picture • plug into
NCMEC’s photo distribution services • place reward posters where those people most
likely to have information can see them • the many offers of support will carry you
through; when people ask what they can do, try to tell them something specific • don’t
be afraid to ask for what you need . . . people really do want to help • as long as you have
specific tasks for volunteers to perform, they won’t go away • asking volunteers to help
relieves you of the burden of trying to do everything yourself, which you cannot • many
organizations are poised to help you find your missing child • do everything you can to
take care of yourself • it is okay, even necessary, to take a break from the stress for
dinner and a walk • don’t blame yourself . . . at any given moment, you are doing the
best you possibly can • you do not have to be an “emotional rock” for extended family •
seek peace and solace for yourself, encourage family members to do the same • a
laugh can be as cleansing as a good cry • your child needs you to be strong • bring the
needs of your other children into balance with those of your missing child • don’t let your
loss become a taboo subject • keep a notebook with you to record your thoughts and
review it periodically • keep your focus and exercise caution • never stop looking
S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
When Your
Is Missing:
A Family
Survival Guide
Contact Information
National Center for Missing &
Exploited Children
699 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314–3175
(800–843–5678) (Hotline for the
United States, Canada, and Mexico),
800–826–7653 (TTY), or 703–235–3900
703–235–2200 (Fax)
Cyber Tipline:
Branch Offices
California: 714–508–0150
Florida: 561–848–1900
Kansas City (MO): 816–756–5422
New York: 585–242–0900
South Carolina: 803–254–2326
Child Protection Division
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Office of Justice Programs
Department of Justice
810 Seventh Street NW.
Washington, DC 20531
202–307–2819 (Fax)
Office for Victims of Crime
Office of Justice Programs
Department of Justice
810 Seventh Street NW.
Washington, DC 20531
202–514–6383 (Fax)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
See the front of your local telephone book for the
number of your local FBI Field Office.
FBI Headquarters
Special Investigations and Initiatives Unit
Crimes Against Children Unit
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Washington, DC 20535–0001
202–324–2731 (Fax)
Association of Missing and Exploited
Children’s Organizations, Inc.

3 mineral waters remove aluminum from brain.


aluminumpoisoningheadThere has been a dramatic increase in neurological diseases linked to aluminum toxicity. The blood brain barrier doesn’t stop aluminum’s intrusion into our gray matter. Aluminum accumulates and remains in tissue that doesn’t have a rapid cellular turnover.

Apoptosis is the natural cell death and replacement process that occurs throughout the body, excluding cancer cells. Cancer cells keep reproducing and colonizing into tumors unless apoptosis is introduced or the cells are outright killed from chemical compounds, both natural and synthetic.

Aluminum accrues to toxic levels over time in slow apoptotic cell turnover tissues, such as bone matter, the heart and the brain. The brain and its associated nervous system is where diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, chronic fatigue and other neurological or auto-immune diseases manifest, including the complete autistic spectrum, from learning disorders to full blown autism.

There is no shortage of aluminum toxins in our environment. It’s in cookware, beverage containers, foil, cigarette smoke, cosmetics, antiperspirants, sunscreen, antacids, and those ubiquitous chemtrails that most ignore from which aluminum nanoparticles can be breathed into our lungs and routed directly into our blood or through the sinuses into our brains.

Aluminum is in all vaccines. Injecting aluminum bypasses the possibility of eliminating it through normal channels. Straight into the blood it goes to be carried into the brain and heart, adding to their accumulated aluminum toxicity loads.

According to Dr. Chris Exley, PhD, we have come into the aluminum age. Many trolling commentators love to explain how aluminum is the must common mineral on the planet and therefore it’s harmless. Dr. Exley has dedicated over two decades of his scientific life to researching aluminum toxicity. He calls the period of time from the early 20th Century to now the “Age of Aluminum.”

Before then, aluminum remained in the ground as the most abundant mineral in earth that hadn’t yet been mined. Dr. Exley claims mining aluminum and using it in so many ways corresponds to the marked increase of neurological diseases.


Dr. Chris Exley’s Message to the 2011 Vaccine Safety Conference

A key aspect of his conference delivery concerned helping vaccinated kids improve their neurological damage. Ironically, it involves the second most abundant mineral in mother earth – silica. Exley has put kids who had autism spectrum disorders or other neurological damage from vaccinations on a form of silica known as silicic acid with excellent results.

Silicic acid is basically oxygenated silica. Exley considers this the best and most bio-available way to get silica through the gut and into the blood, then into brain matter where it binds with the aluminum molecules and leads them out of brain cell tissue safely through the urine.

He had used a Malasysian mineral water called Spritzer on aluminum toxic children suffering from autism spectrum disorders with significant success. Aluminum is in almost all vaccines. Later he and his team had 15 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients use that water at the same rate of one liter per day for 13 weeks.

Aluminum levels were lower by anywhere from 50 to 70 percent in all the subjects involved, and of the 15 AD patients, eight no longer deteriorated and three actually showed substantial cognitive increase. Perhaps coconut oil is better for reversing AD, but mineral waters high in Orthosilicic or ionic silicic acid will reduce aluminum toxicity in the brain to help ward off AD.

The more USA accessible mineral waters with similar levels of silicic acid to Spritzer, which can volvic-water-triopenetrate the blood-brain barrier, are Volvic and Fiji. My personal favorite is Fiji because it has the highest level of ionic suspended silica as silicic acid and is the least expensive. I’ve seen it in WalMart at $1.99 per liter.

Also, People’s Chemist Shane Ellison analyzed various water bottles and said Fiji water bottles are free of BPA and “its chemical cousins”. Others he rates highly as BPA free are Voss, Evian, and Smart Water.

The suggested protocol is at least five days consuming a 1.5 liter bottle of water daily. More is required for high levels of aluminum toxicity. Dr. Exley considers drinking the whole bottle within an hour as the most efficient method of detoxing aluminum from the brain.

fiji waterDr. Exley explains that there are three commercial bottled waters listing silica amounts as milligrams (mg) per liter on the bottle. Fiji has the highest amount of the three. Neither of us is affiliated with Fiji.

Silica mineral waters can be supplemented to help prevent dementia. Obviously it can also be used as an adjunct with pure cold pressed coconut oil to stop early onset Alzheimer’s or even reverse most of the symptoms after AD symptoms appear. More on coconut oil for Alzheimer’s can be found here.

Aluminum (Al) is passed out through the urine when one supplements silica sufficiently. It seems there’s little danger of taking too much, as long as adequate water is consumed and vitamin B1 and potassium levels are maintained.


More About Silica

Silica helps ensure collagen elasticity of all connecting tissues in the body, including tendons and cartilage. This reduces aches and pains and maintains your body’s flexibility. It has also been determined that high levels of blood serum silica keep arterial plaque from building and clogging blood vessels.

A major culprit for arterial plaque has recently shifted from cholesterol buildup to arterial calcification from serum calcium that is not absorbed as bone matter. It’s known that silica is an important part of building bone matter.

Without sufficient silica, magnesium, and vitamin K2, calcium doesn’t become part of bone matter and remains in the blood to potentially calcify in the soft tissue of inner artery walls and the heart.

Silica is vital for keeping strong bones and a healthy cardiovascular system. This qualifies silica as an essential anti-aging mineral that is much more than a skin deep beauty mineral. Other good sources of silica are the herb horsetail, cucumbers, and diatomaceous earth powder.

Although these three other sources are helpful for the recent aforementioned reasons, they lack the ionic suspension of silicic acid found in the mineral waters to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. I just found these other sources for ionic silica or silicic acid as well, here and here.


Paul Fassa is a contributing staff writer for His pet peeves are the Medical Mafia’s control over health and the food industry and government regulatory agencies’ corruption. Paul’s valiant contributions to the health movement and global paradigm shift are world renowned. Visit his blog by following this link and follow him on Twitter here.



2016 Top 100 Global Innovators

Showcasing the world’s 100 most innovative organizations

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By Clarivate Analytics

We are all created equal,Do you know your inalienable rights?

As I quietly observe this movement, choices and placement of top posts and positions meant to govern the rights of this melting pot called United States Of America. I wonder how many of these candidates know the constitution, the declaration of independence and the bill of rights.Especially those with questionable and a history of being biased based on genetic traits that are God given as are our inalienable rights  given the 308,745,538 people  in the US (according to the 2010 U.S. Census).How many are sincerely qualified are these the best America has to offer  to represent the people of this great nation of ours?

Are you throwing away the healthiest bit of the avocado, the SEED? The stone is the ‘most nutrient-dense part’, expert reveal

  • New viral video demonstrates how to prepare the seed of an avocado
  • The video claims that the pit of an avocado is packed with nutrients 
  • Most people just toss the avocado stone – assuming it must be inedible
  • New York City nutritionist confirmed to Daily Mail Online the pit is powerful
  • Avocado seed has antioxidants and fiber – which boosts a person’s health
  • It should be prepared into a fine powder and added to smoothies, she says

They are a welcome addition to any salad, sandwich and even make a tasty snack on their own.

Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, avocados are packed with nutrients – containing nearly 20 vital vitamins and minerals.

From boosting heart health to protecting against a raft of conditions, including osteoporosis, various forms of cancer as well as helping vision, the humble fruit is an excellent addition to anyone’s diet.

But after slicing into an avocado, most people toss away the solid seed in its middle – assuming it is has no nutritional value.

Yet, a new viral video claims an avocado seed is actually the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit.

The revelation has left many wondering if avocado seeds are actually healthy – or if the claim is just another viral hoax.

New York City nutritionist Amy Shapiro, of Real Nutrition NYC, told Daily Mail Online that avocado seeds are, indeed, packed full of antioxidants and fiber.

She explained that the seeds can be blended down into a powder, and added to a smoothie or yogurt for an extra nutritional kick.

Scroll down for video 

The latest viral sensation taking over everyone's Facebook and Twitter feeds is an instructional video about how to prepare - and consume - an avocado seed. A New York City nutritionist confirmed to Daily Mail Online that the avocado pit is healthy to eat, for it is full of antioxidants and fiber

The latest viral sensation taking over everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feeds is an instructional video about how to prepare – and consume – an avocado seed. A New York City nutritionist confirmed to Daily Mail Online that the avocado pit is healthy to eat, for it is full of antioxidants and fiber

How to cut and eat an avocado seed

Ms Shapiro said: ‘Something that we’ve all been throwing out is so powerful.’

The video, from holistic cooking blog Nourish Me Whole, instructs the viewer on how to prepare the avocado seed, so that it can be used in smoothies and juices.

The seed is removed as normal, but then dehydrated in the oven, cut into small pieces and blended into a fine powder.

 Something that we’ve all been throwing out is so powerful
Nutritionist Amy Shapiro

Ms Shapiro explained to Daily Mail Online that consuming avocado seed can boost someone’s health.

She said: ‘About 70 per cent of the antioxidants of avocados are in the pit.’

Antioxidants fight free radicals – which means they can help the immune system prevent disease.

And, antioxidants can even help prevent wrinkles from developing in a person’s skin.

On top of the antioxidants, avocado seeds are also full of fiber, Ms Shapiro explained.

The nutritionist said: ‘The fiber creates a really healthy environment for the healthy bacteria in your gut to thrive on and stay alive – it’s kind of a prebiotic.’


1. To prepare an avocado seed for eating, remove the seed as you normally would 

1. To prepare an avocado seed for eating, remove the seed as you normally would

2. Then, tap a sharp knife into the seed (left) - and twist. Rinse the seed, then place in an oven pan

2. Then, tap a sharp knife into the seed (left) – and twist. Rinse the seed, then place in an oven pan

3. Dehydrate the seed at 120 degrees Celsius for one-and-a-half to two hours

3. Dehydrate the seed at 120 degrees Celsius for one-and-a-half to two hours

4. The seed should be dehydrated until it looks like the photo above - with the outer skin dried

4. The seed should be dehydrated until it looks like the photo above – with the outer skin dried

5. Once the seed has cooled to the touch, discard the dry outer skin

5. Once the seed has cooled to the touch, discard the dry outer skin

6. Find the seam created by your knife when you removed the seed

6. Find the seam created by your knife when you removed the seed

7. Gently press your knife into it, which should cause it to pop into two halves

7. Gently press your knife into it, which should cause it to pop into two halves

8. Use a sharp knife to dice the seed halves

8. Use a sharp knife to dice the seed halves

9. After the seed is diced into small pieces, blend it into a fine powder using a high-powered blender

9. After the seed is diced into small pieces, blend it into a fine powder using a high-powered blender

10. Store the powder in the fridge in an air-tight container

10. Store the powder in the fridge in an air-tight container

Furthermore, foods that are high in fiber help people feel full – which can lead to a reduction in calories consumed.

Thus, the avocado pit’s fiber content can aid in weight loss.

Avocados are really high in antioxidants, so they’re protective to disease and cancers
Ms Shapiro

Fiber also helps with digestion – keeping people’s bowel movements ‘regular’.

And, it can lead to decreased cholesterol levels.

But despite all of the health benefits associated with avocado seeds, Ms Shapiro told Daily Mail Online that they can taste bitter.

That’s why, she explained, it’s best to mix the blended seeds with smoothies or yogurt – to get a better taste.

Of course, the rest of the avocado is healthy, as well.

‘Avocados are really high in antioxidants, so they’re protective to disease and cancers,’ Ms Shapiro said.

‘It is also a really good source of heart-healthy, heart-protective fat.’

Avocado seeds have a bitter taste, so they should be cut into small pieces and blended into a fine powder. People can add the powder to smoothies, juices or yogurts, the nutritionist revealed

Avocado seeds have a bitter taste, so they should be cut into small pieces and blended into a fine powder. People can add the powder to smoothies, juices or yogurts, the nutritionist revealed

The fruit helps keep people’s ‘bad cholesterol’ levels down – and their ‘good cholesterol’ levels high.

The Real Nutrition NYC expert added: ‘It’s also great for our skin because of the collagen, and because of the fat.’

And, like its seed, avocados can help keep people feeling full longer.

In other words, when it comes to avocado, a little bit goes a long way to help you stay full and get healthy, the nutritionist said.

Read more:
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J Jayalalitha has died at 68 her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics

One of India’s most influential and colorful politicians,

The chief minister of Tamil Nadu state suffered a heart attack on Sunday night and died at 23:30 local time (18:00 GMT) on Monday, Chennai’s Apollo Hospital said.

Thousands of her supporters had gathered to pray for her recovery.

Extra police have been deployed in the southern state amid fears of unrest among her supporters.

The former film star served as Tamil Nadu chief minister four times. She had been receiving treatment for months.

Jayalalitha is revered by many but seen by her critics as having created a cult of personality over the years.

There are fears her death could spark unrest given the extreme devotion she inspires among her supporters, many of whom refer to her as “Amma” (mother).

Earlier reports of her death, which were swiftly withdrawn, prompted scuffles between police and her supporters outside the private hospital.

Tributes began to pour in for Jayalalitha as soon as her death was confirmed by Apollo, which had been treating her since 22 September.

Jayalalitha’s party AIADMK – which had earlier lowered the flag to half-mast before hoisting it up once more – also confirmed she had died, tweeting “our beloved leader, the Iron lady of India… Amma, is no more”.

Wailing crowds: Sanjoy Majumder, BBC News, outside Apollo hospital

Indian supporters of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalitha react outside the hospital after false reports that she had died in ChennaiImage copyrightAFP
Image captionA false report of her death earlier in the day prompted an outpouring of grief among supporters

Hundreds of people had lined the streets leading out of the hospital, despite it being long past midnight, to catch a last glimpse of the woman they called “Amma”.

As the ambulance carrying her body emerged from the main gate, a cry went up as supporters jostled forward to try and get close to the vehicle – almost breaking the police line in the process. Many of them were wailing.

Her successor as chief minister, the entire cabinet, top officials and others followed. One woman sat on the ground, distraught, her cheeks streaked with tears.

Now the action has moved to Poes Garden, the neighbourhood which has been Jayalalitha’s home for the past several decades.

The streets have been barricaded as people throng the narrow lanes for an all-night vigil.

A senior AIADMK politician, O Panneerselvam, was sworn in as chief of Tamil Nadu within hours of her death, the party’s Twitter account confirmed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to offer his condolences.

“I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaa ji (honorific). May her soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.

Khushboo Sundar, film actress and Congress party spokesperson, told the BBC: “It’s very painful for me. Despite our political differences, I had respected her. We were hoping against hope, none of us wanted her to lose this battle.

“She was a symbol of strength for women like me. She fought against so many odds to make a name for herself in a male-dominated profession like politics. We have a lost a great politician, and a great champion of women’s rights.”

A supporter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaraman holds her photo at the AIADMK party office in Mumbai, India, December 5Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA police raid in the 1990s found 10,500 saris and 750 pairs of shoes in Jayalalitha’s home

Jayalalitha lived a dramatic life, both on screen and off.

She appeared in more than 100 films before turning her hand to politics in the early 1980s.

Jayalalitha later won control of the AIADMK from its late founder’s wife, before leading it to victory in 1991, the first of four occasions she would do so.

She was accused of corruption on several occasions, and spent two short spells in prison – most recently in 2014.

But a Karnataka high court order in 2015, which cleared her of involvement in a corruption scandal, paved the way for her return to power.

Jayalalitha’s admirers remain unbowed in their admiration for her and argue she has played a key role in the development of Tamil Nadu as one of India’s most economically influential states.

Dow rises to a fresh record close

NYSE tradersImage copyrightREUTERS

(Close): Rising bank stocks and encouraging economic data helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new record.

The Dow rose 45 points, or 0.2%, to 19,216, with shares in Goldman Sachs up 2.3% and JP Morgan rising 2%.

Nike was among the top risers on the Dow – up 2.7% – after HSBC raised its rating on the company’s shares.

Confidence was boosted by data showing activity in the US services sector rose to a one-year high in November.

Many economists expect that the strengthening US economy will prompt the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, when it meets next week.

“We have a situation where the Fed is probably going to raise rates next week and this time raising rates is being viewed as a positive, mainly because of its impact on the financial stocks, which are all doing quite well today,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel.


‘Scrambling’ for shares

The wider S&P 500 index was up 12 points, or 0.6%, at 2,204, while the Nasdaqrose 53 points to 5,308.

US shares have been gaining ground since the election on 8 November, on hopes that polices under a Donald Trump administration will boost the economy.

“A lot of people were negative going into the election, or cautious, so now they’re scrambling year-end to own stocks,” said Alan Lancz, president of investment advisory firm Alan B Lancz & Associates.

US markets followed the lead of most of the European indexes by shrugging off the results of Italy’s referendum on changes to the constitution.

“We’re back in a rally mode,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Iran fashion workers jailed for ‘spreading prostitution’

Headscarves are displayed on mannequins at an Islamic fashion exhibit in central Tehran on 18 December 2014Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe covering of hair in public has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1979

Twelve people involved in the fashion industry in Iran are reported to have been jailed for “spreading prostitution” via images posted online.

The eight women and four men were handed sentences of between five months and six years by a court in Shiraz, a lawyer told the Ilna news agency.

They were also banned from working in fashion and travelling abroad for two years afterwards, Mahmoud Taravat said.

He added that his clients had denied the charges and planned to appeal.

The 12 were convicted of charges including spreading prostitution and promoting corruption via the publication of obscene images online, inciting Muslims to corrupt themselves through putting on fashion shows, and spreading a “Western-style culture of nudity”.

They were not named by Mr Taravat in his interview with Ilna.

But he said they included a man given a six-year sentence and banned from working in journalism or government service for two years following his release; a woman and a man jailed for five years and banned from working in fashion design; and a man jailed for two years and banned from working in photography.

Iran’s judiciary launched a crackdown on “un-Islamic” behaviour by fashion models earlier this year.

In May, the prosecutor of Tehran’s cybercrimes court announced the arrest of eight people involved in posting photographs of women without headscarves on social media. Iranian law requires that all women cover their hair in public.

They were among 170 models, photographers, make-up artists, salon managers and designers identified as being involved in online modelling.

How did fake US embassy operate in Ghana for a decade?

News has travelled the world that an organised gang based in Ghana ran a fake embassy selling real US visas for $6,000 (£4,700) for “about a decade”. How did they get away with it for so long?

The US State Department says Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings were running the fake embassy complete with a US flag and a portrait of President Barack Obama “unhindered… for about a decade”.

The faded building couldn’t have looked more different to the real embassy.

But, as journalist Sammy Darko in Accra explained on Focus on Africa, the customers have most probably never been to an embassy before so didn’t know what to expect.

“They also find white people there and they assume that it is the US embassy,” he added.

A painting being painted of re-elected US President Barack Obama 7, 2012.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe fake embassy reportedly had a painting of the US president hanging up on the wall

The State Department’s description of the operation gave more insight into how people were deceived.

“The fake embassy did not accept walk-in visa appointments; instead, they drove to the most remote parts of West Africa to find customers. They would shuttle the customers to Accra, and rent them a room at a hotel nearby. The Ghanaian organized crime ring would shuttle the victims to and from the fake embassies.”

The State Department also said the criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials “to look the other way”.

Grey line

Have there been any arrests?

Several. That’s as much as we know.

The State Department is vague about this, simply saying “when the task force conducted raids, they arrested several suspects”.

They said that back on 2 November, and added that “several suspects remain at large”.

They added that Ghanaian police have warrants for their arrest and plan to pursue them.

They also said an investigation and search for the Turkish organised crime group was “ongoing”.

The BBC understands, over a month later, that this investigation is still continuing.

It appears to have been a big operation, as the State Department says the sham embassy advertised its services across Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo.

At the raid, officials found 150 passports from 10 countries.

Grey line

Why are we talking about this now?

According to the time stamp, the State Department published the news of the arrests on 2 November.

The BBC’s Thomas Naadi in Ghana’s capital, Accra, says the arrests took place a few months earlier than this, in June.

The State Department said an informant tipped off investigators about both the fake US embassy and a fake Dutch embassy at the same time, although it isn’t clear when this was.

It is a bit of a mystery why it was not picked up by media until 2 December. But when it was, it was widely shared on social media.

CNN, al Jazeera and Washington Post
Image captionSix months after the court case the mainsteam media picked up the story

Three days later, and the media is getting more creative with their headlines.

The Washington Post has gone with “Mobsters ran a fake US embassy in Ghana for 10 years, flying the flag and issuing visas for $6,000”.

Grey line

Were the visas genuine?

The State Department said the embassy provided some customers “fraudulently obtained, legitimate US visas” as well as counterfeit visas, false identification documents (including bank records, education records, birth certificates, and others).

It says the operation paid corrupt officials to obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored.

Image captionThis genuine visa shows what the legitimate documents look like
Grey line

Did the customers care if the embassy was fake?

We don’t know for sure whether the customers knew if the embassy was fake.

But if they did, they had strong motivations to proceed regardless.

Travelling to the US is a big thing for many Ghanaians who are desperate to reach the US as they are convinced it is an opportunity for them to better their lives, explains the BBC’s Adelaide Arthur.

Also, being refused a visa can be very disheartening for prospective travellers and this often makes them vulnerable to scammers who promise them a visa, she adds.

Grey line

How many people used this service?

The State Department has not commented on this.

We also don’t know what kind of visas people were buying.

We may never know how many people are living in the US with visas issued from the fake embassy.

It is not clear if the US authorities will try and take any action against them.

Grey line

How does it compare to the official procedure?

The official application has many stages.

When the BBC’s Adelaide Arthur, who is Ghanaian, went through the procedure herself, the first stage was to pay a visa fee at the bank.

After paying the fee, she was given a code which would allow her to submit a form which she filled in on the US embassy’s website. The type of form you fill in depends on your purpose of visit. Her visit was for media, so she applied for a visa Class I. But people applying to visit the US usually choose visa B1/B2.

After filling in the form, she uploaded a passport-sized photograph which had to conform to specific dimensions. She was then allowed to set her interview appointment date which was within two weeks of submitting her application form online.

On the interview day, she arrived at the visa section of the embassy in the upmarket suburb of Cantonments in Accra.

“The imposing building that houses the US embassy is hard to miss when travelling around that area, where a number of missions are also located, including the South African, Italian and South Korean embassies,” she said.

She attended the interview with her application submission confirmation, appointment confirmation, passport, visa fee receipt, as well as other supporting documents, including proof of employment and financial support.

Her fingerprints were taken before her interview with a consular officer.

FingerprintImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIn the genuine US visa application procedure you give your fingerprint

Usually, the applicant is made aware of the decision after the interview with a consular officer.

In her first attempt, she was refused the visa immediately after the interview and was given back her documents.

Two subsequent applications were however, successful and she was told to come back two days later for her visa.