9/11 Commission's White House Ties,
Nuclear Treason, Sham Democracies
Revealing News Articles
February 3, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the hidden ties between the White House and the 9/11 Commission's executive director Philip Zelikow, possible treason by a State Department official who may have tipped off nuclear spies to FBI and CIA investigations into their activities, the support received by autocratic regimes around the world from Western governments, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
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Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
P.S. Some of our best information is often placed in a Note at the end of an individual summary or in a Special Note at the end of these summaries. Key information sources which don't meet our reliability criteria can't be included in the summary, so we include them in Notes and the Special Note. Yet this is at times the most highly revealing information we get.
Ex-9/11 Panel Chief Denies Secret White House Ties
January 30, 2008, ABC News
The former executive director of the 9/11 Commission denies explosive charges of undisclosed ties to the Bush White House or interference with the panel's report. The charges are ... contained in New York Times reporter Philip Shenon's [new] book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, [and are] confirmed by the book's publisher. [When] 9/11 Commission co-chairs [Thomas] Kean and Lee Hamilton hired former Condoleezza Rice aide Philip Zelikow to be executive director, Zelikow failed to tell them ... that he was "instrumental" in demoting Richard Clarke, the onetime White House counterterrorism czar. In his book, Shenon also says that while working for the panel, Zelikow appears to have had private conversations with former White House political director Karl Rove, despite a ban on such communication. Shenon reports that Zelikow later ordered his assistant to stop keeping a log of his calls. Zelikow told ABC News he was under no prohibition that barred his conversations with Rove, and did not recall asking his assistant to stop logging his calls. Shenon directed calls to his publisher, Twelve Books, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. Cary Goldstein, a spokesman for Hachette, confirmed the [above] characterization of the book's contents, but said he could not confirm direct quotes. "It's not a surprise," Goldstein said when asked his reaction to the leak of the book's details before its Feb. 5 publication date. "I think people are really curious to see what the report had looked like if it hadn't been neutered in [the panel's] effort to be unanimous."
Note: Philip Zelikow co-authored a 1998 Foreign Affairs article, "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger," which warned of a possible catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center and accurately predicted the governmental aftermath of 9/11. And a highly significant fact is that before he was selected as Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, he authored the Bush administration's National Security Strategy of the United States of America for 2002. This document for the first time asserted a national policy of pre-emptive war (the "Bush Doctrine"), and paved the way for the war on Iraq.
Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe
January 27, 2008, Sunday Times (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
An investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed. The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets. The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre. The claims that a State Department official blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI's Washington field office. Plame, then 38, was the ... wife of a former US ambassador, Joe Wilson. She travelled widely for her work, often claiming to be an oil consultant. In fact she was a career CIA agent who was part of a small team investigating the same procurement network that the State Department official is alleged to have aided. Brewster Jennings was one of a number of covert enterprises set up to infiltrate the nuclear ring. [Edmonds said the State Department official] "found out about the arrangement . . . and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said . . . you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government." Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: "It's pretty clear Plame was targeting the Turks. If indeed that [State Department] official was working with the Turks to violate US law on nuclear exports, it would have been in his interest to alert them to the fact that this woman's company was affiliated to the CIA. I don't know if that's treason legally but many people would consider it to be."
Note: To read former CIA agent Philip Giraldi's analysis of Edmonds' claims, in which he identifies the unnamed State Department official as Marc Grossman, click here. And to read an interview with Edmonds on the series of articles about her revelations appearing in the Sunday Times and media censorship elsewhere, click here.
West 'embraces sham democracies'
January 31, 2008, BBC News
The US, EU and other democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections out of political expediency, Human Rights Watch says in its annual report. Allowing autocrats to pose as democrats without demanding they uphold civil and political rights risked undermining human rights worldwide, it warned. HRW said Pakistan, Thailand, Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, Kenya and Russia had been falsely claiming to be democratic. In the report, HRW said established democracies such as the US and members of the European Union were increasingly tolerating autocrats "claiming the mantle of democracy". "In 2007 too many governments ... acted as if simply holding a vote is enough to prove a nation 'democratic', and Washington, Brussels and European capitals played along. The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the need for all governments to respect human rights." HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said it had become too easy for autocrats to get away with mounting a sham democracy "because too many Western governments insist on elections and leave it at that. They don't press governments on the key human rights issues that make democracy function - a free press, peaceful assembly, and a functioning civil society that can really challenge power. It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally," Mr Roth said.
Greater Use of Privilege Spurs Concern
January 29, 2008, Washington Post
The U.S. government has been increasing its use of the state secrets privilege to avoid disclosure of classified information in civil lawsuits. Some legal scholars and members of Congress contend that the Bush administration has employed it excessively as it intervened in cases that could expose information about sensitive programs. These include the rendition of detainees to foreign countries for interrogation and cases related to the National Security Agency's use of warrantless wiretaps. The privilege allows the government to argue that lawsuits -- and the information potentially revealed by them -- could damage national security. It gives judges the power to prevent information from reaching public view or to dismiss cases even if they appear to have merit. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) ... cited statistics that show the Bush administration has used the state secrets privilege substantially more, on a percentage basis, than previous administrations to block or dismiss lawsuits. Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation ... said "The administration is attempting to use the privilege as a back-door immunity to obtain dismissal of any case that attempts to put the NSA wiretapping issue in front of a judge. It is no secret such a program existed."
Note: For many disturbing reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring
January 26, 2008, Washington Post
President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems. The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored. The NSA has particular expertise in monitoring a vast, complex array of communications systems -- traditionally overseas. The prospect of aiming that power at domestic networks is raising concerns, just as the NSA's role in the government's warrantless domestic-surveillance program has been controversial. "Agencies designed to gather intelligence on foreign entities should not be in charge of monitoring our computer systems here at home," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The classified joint directive, signed Jan. 8 and called the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23, has not been previously disclosed. Allowing a spy agency to monitor domestic networks is worrisome, said James X. Dempsey, policy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. "We're concerned that the NSA is claiming such a large role over the security of unclassified systems," he said. "They are a spy agency as well as a communications security agency. They operate in total secrecy. That's not necessary and not the most effective way to protect unclassified systems."
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the increasing surveillance of all aspects of society by secret government programs, click here.
Like FBI, CIA Has Used Secret 'Letters'
January 25, 2008, Washington Post
For three years, the Bush administration has drawn fire from civil liberties groups over its use of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that compels private businesses such as telecommunications companies to turn over information to the government. After the 2001 USA Patriot Act loosened the guidelines, the FBI issued tens of thousands of such requests, something critics say amounts to warrantless spying on Americans who have not been charged with crimes. Now, newly released documents shed light on the use of the letters by the CIA. The spy agency has employed them to obtain financial information about U.S. residents and does so under extraordinary secrecy, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained copies of CIA letters under the Freedom of Information Act. The CIA's requests for financial records come with "gag orders" on the recipients, said ACLU lawyer Melissa Goodman. In many cases, she said, the recipient is not allowed to keep a copy of the letter or even take notes about the information turned over to the CIA. The ACLU posted copies of some of the letters on its Web site. In most cases, nearly all the text had been redacted by CIA censors.
Note: For many powerful reports on the growing threats to civil liberties, click here.
Bolt leads to key moment
January 23, 2008, Daily Star (Oneonta, NY)
An Oneonta surgeon who survived a lightning strike in 1994 and suddenly began craving piano music will make his public debut as a composer and pianist next week. Dr. Anthony Cicoria said the lightning bolt that came out of a pay phone during a family outing near Albany caused a near-death experience that changed his life forever. Nearly 14 years later, Cicoria will perform concerts at ... the State University College at Oneonta. After seeing his body lying on the ground and his family rushing to him, Cicoria was surrounded by a bluish-white light, the 55-year-old orthopedic surgeon said. He began drifting up and away from his body and entered a state of bliss. Cicoria said he eventually came to and had no lasting physical effects from the strike. But he soon began having an intense desire to hear piano music. A short time after that, he said, he had a dream. "In this dream, I was playing in a concert hall," Cicoria said. The music in that dream stayed with him after he woke up. It and other music would be revealed to him in whole sections that would come into his mind at once, he said. While playing other composers' music, the notes from his dream would come out. "This music would suddenly come to the foreground and butt in," Cicoria said. When asked where the music comes from, Cicoria said it came from a divine place. "As Mozart said, it comes from heaven," Cicoria said. One of the greatest realizations he said he had from the near-death experience is the knowledge that there is life after death. "Whatever we are, our consciousness goes with the spirit," Cicoria said.
Note: Anthony Cicoria's story has appeared in The New Yorker magazine and in a new book by Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia. The first chapter, which tells Cicoria's story, is available here.
Supernatural studies in the material world
January 29, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
A two-day event in San Francisco's Cowell Theater [was] billed as the first scientific conference on the afterlife for a general audience. [Loyd] Auerbach holds a master's degree in parapsychology, [and] has written seven books on the subject. He - and several other speakers at the conference, titled Investigations of Consciousness and the Unseen World: Proof of an Afterlife - exist in a strange professional realm that encompasses rigorous academic training, spiritualism and sometimes fraud. There was Dean Radin, who began his career in electrical engineering and cybernetics at the University of Illinois before moving on to psychic phenomena. Also [there] were Gary E. Schwartz ... who now teaches psychiatry, psychology, medicine, neurology and surgery at the University of Arizona, and University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies researchers Dr. Jim Tucker and Dr. Bruce Greyson. These academics take their paranormal work seriously; they also risk ridicule on campus and struggle to find sources of funding to investigate what happens after we die. One of the issues they face is whether an afterlife is provable by scientific method. Julie Beischel, who co-founded Arizona's Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential, [thinks] it is. "This is how science works," Beischel said. "There's a question and science investigates it. You can't draw a line and say, no, that's outside of science. Science doesn't have any boundaries in what it can investigate." The conference topics ... were designed to explore the disconnect between the "mind" and the "brain." If one could be shown to operate without the other ... then a case could be made for consciousness existing outside of the physical body.
Safeway's trucking fleet shifts to biodiesel
January 19, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Safeway grocery trucks no longer just deliver vegetables. In a sense, they now run on vegetables, too. Safeway, the nation's third-largest grocery chain, said Friday that its entire nationwide trucking fleet now uses biodiesel, a renewable fuel that can be made from plant oils, used cooking grease or animal fat. In Safeway's case, the biodiesel comes from soy oil or canola oil. It is blended with regular petroleum diesel before being pumped into the company's more than 1,000 trucks. The move is part of Safeway's broader effort to green its operations. The Pleasanton company buys much of its electricity from wind farms, has switched to energy-efficient refrigeration and lighting, and is installing solar panels on 24 of its California stores. Biodiesel generally produces less air pollution than diesel made from petroleum. And it helps rein in greenhouse gas emissions because the plants used to make it absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Safeway won't reveal how much fuel it's buying or the price it's paying. Biodiesel typically costs more than regular diesel. The price increased last year as some farmers switched from growing soybeans to growing corn, hoping to tap into the growing market for another alternative fuel - corn-based ethanol. Safeway estimates that using the biodiesel blend will cut the company's carbon dioxide emissions by 75 million pounds each year, the equivalent of taking 7,500 cars off the road.
Note: For a treasure trove of exciting reports of new energy technology breakthroughs, click here.
Microsoft seeks patent for office 'spy' software
January 16, 2008, Times of London
Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker's productivity, physical wellbeing and competence. The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees' performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer's assessment of their physiological state. This is believed to be the first time a company has proposed developing such software for mainstream workplaces. Microsoft submitted a patent application in the US for a "unique monitoring system" that could link workers to their computers. Wireless sensors could read "heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure", the application states. The system could also "automatically detect frustration or stress in the user". Physical changes to an employee would be matched to an individual psychological profile based on a worker's weight, age and health. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management. Civil liberties groups and privacy lawyers strongly criticised the potential of the system for "taking the idea of monitoring people at work to a new level".
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the increasing surveillance of all aspects of society by secret government and corporate programs, click here.
'Second Thoughts about Fluoride,' Reports Scientific American
January 2, 2008, MSNBC/Reuters
"Some recent studies suggest that
over-consumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth,
bones, the brain and the thyroid gland," reports Scientific American [magazine]. "Scientific attitudes toward fluoridation may be starting to
shift," writes author Dan Fagin. "Fluoride, the most consumed drug in the USA, is deliberately added to [two-thirds] of public water supplies theoretically to reduce tooth decay, but with no
scientifically-valid evidence proving safety or effectiveness," says lawyer Paul Beeber [of the] New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. Fagin, Director of New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, writes,
"There is no universally accepted optimal level for daily intake of fluoride." After [three] years of scrutinizing hundreds of studies, a National Research Council committee "concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid -- the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism," reports Fagin. Fluoride in foods, beverages, medicines and dental products can result in fluoride over-consumption, visible in young children as dental fluorosis -- white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth. Reports Fagin, "a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ. Epidemiological studies and tests on lab animals suggest that high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fracture, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and diabetics."
Note: If above MSNBC link fails, click here. For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
New U.S. Embassy in Iraq cloaked in mystery
April 14, 2006, MSNBC
The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, [and] self-contained power and water. The new U.S. Embassy also seems as cloaked in secrecy as the ministate in Rome. "We can't talk about it. Security reasons," Roberta Rossi, a spokeswoman at the current embassy, said. The embassy complex — 21 buildings on 104 acres — is taking shape on riverside parkland in the fortified "Green Zone," just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein's. The 5,500 Americans and Iraqis working at the embassy, almost half listed as security, are far more numerous than at any other U.S. mission worldwide. They rarely venture out into the "Red Zone," that is, violence-torn Iraq. Large numbers of non-diplomats work at the mission — hundreds of military personnel and dozens of FBI agents, for example. U.S. embassies elsewhere ... typically cover 10 acres. Original cost estimates ranged over $1 billion, but Congress appropriated only $592 million in the emergency Iraq budget adopted last year. Most has gone to a Kuwait builder, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, with the rest awarded to six contractors working on the project's "classified" portion — the actual embassy offices. Higgins declined to identify those builders, citing security reasons, but said five were American companies. The designs aren't publicly available. Security, overseen by U.S. Marines, will be extraordinary: setbacks and perimeter no-go areas that will be especially deep, structures reinforced to 2.5-times the standard, and five high-security entrances, plus an emergency entrance-exit.
Note: For more perplexing facts on this secretive fortress in a Times of London article, click here.
Special note: For an amazingly revealing videotape on the New Hampshire recount, click here. For lots more clearly showing manipulation of this recount, click here. And for an inspiring five-minute video clip of an man's harrowing experience in a prison in India, click here.
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