Expanded Government Secrecy, Friendly-Fire Cover-up, Global Warming Impacts
Revealing News Articles
May 22, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on U.S. government secrecy expanded by President Bush, the ongoing cover-up of the circumstances of the "friendly-fire" death of Pat Tillman, the overwhelming environmental impact of human-induced global warming, 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 the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Keeping Secrets: In Presidential Memo, A New Designation for Classifying Information
May 19, 2008, Washington Post
Sometime in the next few years, if a memorandum signed by President Bush this month ever goes into effect, one government official talking to another about information on terrorists will have to begin by saying: "What I am about to tell you is controlled unclassified information enhanced with specified dissemination." That would mean, according to the memo, that the information requires safeguarding because "the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure would create risk of substantial harm." Bush's memorandum ... introduced "Controlled Unclassified Information" as a new government category that will replace "Sensitive but Unclassified." Such information -- though it does not merit the well-known national security classifications "confidential," "secret" or "top secret" -- is nonetheless "pertinent" to U.S. "national interests" or to "important interests of entities outside the federal government," the memo says. Left undefined are which laws or policies generated the requirement for protecting such information, and which interests are pertinent. But Bush's memo does refer to the "global nature of the threats facing the United States" and to the need to ensure that the "entire network of defenders be able to share information more rapidly." Some critics described it as continuing an expansion of secrecy in government and a potential bureaucratic nightmare. The White House "seems to have used the crafting of new rules as an opportunity to expand the range of government secrecy," said Michael Clark, a contributing editor to the blog Daily Kos, who first wrote about the Bush memorandum.
Note: For many revealing reports of increasing government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
Tillman wants accountability in son's death
May 16, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
During the rush of post-9/11 patriotism, few stories were more compelling than the life and death of Pat Tillman, the ... professional football player turned soldier. And, according to those closest to Tillman, few have been as illustrative of how the government has tried to manipulate public opinion about the war. Four years - and seven investigations - after her son's death in Afghanistan in a friendly fire incident, Mary Tillman remains frustrated that the people responsible for covering up the circumstances of his demise have not been held accountable. No one has been severely disciplined. [Mary Tillman is] touring the country to promote her book, Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman, with the goal of telling the story of her son's life and of her journey through the military bureaucracy in the aftermath of his death. Since he enlisted, Pat Tillman's story has been clutched by opposing sides of the war's political divide. He left a $3.6 million contract offer from the Arizona Cardinals on the table to enlist in the military and fight al Qaeda in June 2002. On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. Two weeks later, just before his nationally televised memorial service, the Pentagon awarded him the Silver Star. He died, the military said, while charging up a hill toward the enemy. But that wasn't the real story; Tillman was killed by his own men. The military knew that within hours but waited five weeks before revealing it. Years later, Mary Tillman is still looking for answers.
Note: For a former Marine general's account of what war is really all about, click here.
World's wildlife and environment already hit by climate change
May 15, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Global warming is disrupting wildlife and the environment on every continent, according to an unprecedented study that reveals the extent to which climate change is already affecting the world's ecosystems. Scientists examined published reports dating back to 1970 and found that at least 90% of environmental damage and disruption around the world could be explained by rising temperatures. Big falls in Antarctic penguin populations, fewer fish in African lakes, shifts in American river flows and earlier flowering and bird migrations in Europe are all likely to be driven by global warming, the study found. The team of experts, including members of the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) ... is the first to formally link some of the most dramatic changes to the world's wildlife and habitats with human-induced climate change. [The] researchers analysed reports highlighting changes in populations or behaviour of 28,800 animal and plant species. They examined a further 829 reports that focused on different environmental effects, including surging rivers, retreating glaciers and shifting forests, across the seven continents. To work out how much - or if at all - global warming played a role, the scientists next checked historical records to see what impact natural variations in local climate, deforestation and changes in land use might have on the ecosystems and species that live there. In 90% of cases the shifts in wildlife behaviour and populations could only be explained by global warming, while 95% of environmental changes, such as melting permafrost, retreating glaciers and changes in river flows were consistent with rising temperatures.
Online warfare research outlined
May 15, 2008, Washington Times
Procurement documents released by the U.S. Air Force give a rare glimpse into Pentagon plans for developing an offensive cyber-war capacity that can infiltrate, steal data from and, if necessary, take down enemy information-technology networks. The Broad Area Announcement, posted ... by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate, outlines a two-year, $11 million effort to develop capabilities to "access ... any remotely located open or closed computer information systems," lurk on them "completely undetected," "stealthily exfiltrate information" from them and ultimately "be able to affect computer information systems through Deceive, Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Destroy (D5) effects." "Of interest," the announcement says, "are any and all techniques to enable user and/or root-level access to both fixed [and] mobile computing platforms ... [and] methodologies to enable access to any and all operating systems, patch levels, applications and hardware." The announcement is the latest stage in the Air Force's effort to develop a cyber-war capability and establish itself as the service that delivers U.S. military power in cyberspace. Last year, the Air Force announced it was setting up a Cyberspace Command ... and was developing military doctrine for the prosecution of cyber-war operations. The developments highlight the murky legal territory on which the cyber-wars of the future will be fought. More important, because of the difficulties in identifying attackers and immediately quantifying damage from a cyber-attack, it can be hard to determine when such attacks constitute an act of war as opposed to crime or even vandalism.
UK Government Releases UFO Files
May 15, 2008, CNN Larry King Live
KING: Britain's Ministry of Defense has just released secret UFO files on sightings dating from 1978 through 1987. They include live, eyewitness accounts and the government's response. More files dating from the 1950s and recent events will be released over the next four years. Joining us to discuss this in London is Nick Pope [and others. Pope] ran the British government's UFO project at the Ministry of Defense from 1985 to 2006. Nick, what do you make of all of this? What's in these files? NICK POPE: Well, this is extremely exciting news here in the UK. It is a massive story. What we've seen is the first step in a three to four-year program to release the government's entire archive of UFO files. We have got some absolutely fascinating cases. A lot of UFOs seen by police officers. We have got some cases where pilots have seen UFO. And we have got a really amazing case where a UFO was tracked on military radar traveling 10 nautical miles in 12 seconds. KING: Peter Davenport, will this tend to put naysayers away? PETER DAVENPORT, UFO EXPERT: It's still [hearsay] evidence. I find it interesting that the release follows hot on the heels of the Vatican just yesterday, I think it was, stating that they felt it was OK to believe in aliens and UFOs and life elsewhere in our galaxy. This is an interesting one-two punch. KING: Lieutenant Chuck Halt, the only one of our panel, I guess, who's seen one. What do you make of it? CHUCK HALT, RETIRED UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: I find it quite puzzling. Why is this being spread over four years? It doesn't really make sense to me, unless the volume is so great it takes that long to preview it.
Note: This fascinating interview begins about 3/4 of the way down the page at the link above. For a powerful summary of other evidence on UFO sightings presented by government and military professionals, click here.
How to crack a case from the UFO files
May 15, 2008, MSNBC
Consider one of the most sensational UFO stories in Soviet history – [the Minsk UFO sighting] has been enshrined in world "ufology" as a classic that cannot be explained in any prosaic terms. A passenger jet is flying north on Sept. 7, 1984, near Minsk, in present-day Belarus. Suddenly, at 4:10 a.m., the flight crew notices a glowing object out their forward right window. In the 10 minutes that follow, the object changes shape, zooms in on the aircraft, plays searchlights on the ground beneath it, and envelops the airliner in a mysterious ray of light that fatally injures one of the pilots. Other aircraft in the area, alerted by air traffic control operators who are watching the UFO on radar, also see it. A leading Russian UFO expert, Vladimir Azhazha, reported that as a result of the encounter the co-pilot "had a serious mental derangement – the encephalogram of his brain was not of an 'earthly' character, as he lost memory for long periods of time."
Note: This article is trying to debunk this event, yet in doing so it reveals a fascinating occurrence. The "explanation" used to debunk the Minsk sighting is almost more unbelievable than the UFO claim. If you read the article, ask yourself how the explanation given would cause the fatal injury of one of the pilots and mental derangement of another. This MSNBC page has a fascinating video on UFOs, "Do UFOs Really Exist?"
U.S. using food crisis to boost bio-engineered crops
May 14, 2008, Chicago Tribune
The Bush administration has slipped a controversial ingredient into the $770 million aid package it recently proposed to ease the world food crisis, adding language that would promote the use of genetically modified crops in food-deprived countries. The value of genetically modified, or bio-engineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Opponents of GMO crops say they can cause unforeseen medical problems. They also contend that the administration's plan is aimed at helping American agribusinesses. "This is a hot topic now with the food crisis," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. "I think it's pretty obvious at this point that genetically engineered crops ... don't increase yields. There are no commercialized crops that are designed to deal with the climate crisis." Noah Zerbe, an assistant professor of government and politics at Humboldt State University in California, said that GMO crops might not be appropriate for developing countries. "You get fantastic yields if you're able to apply fertilizer and water at the right times, and herbicides to go along with that," Zerbe said. "Unfortunately, most African farmers ... can't afford these inputs." The U.S. tried to introduce GMO crops to Africa in 2002, with mixed results. European Union opposition was part of the reason that several African nations that year balked at an offer of U.S. aid that included corn, some of which was genetically modified. [Despite] a severe drought, Zambia rejected the U.S. aid altogether.
Note: For an eye-opening overview of the risks of genetically modified foods, click here.
Congress votes to stop filling oil reserve
May 14, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly ... to temporarily stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a response to public anger over rising oil prices as the average price of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide hit a new high of $3.73 per gallon. The legislation would halt shipments for the rest of the year of roughly 70,000 barrels a day into the reserve, a system of four underground salt domes on the Gulf Coast run by the Energy Department. The reserve currently holds about 702 million barrels of oil, an amount equal to two months of U.S. imports. The government pays the market price for the light crude oil it stores in the reserve. Congress created the reserve two years after the 1973 Arab oil embargo as a way to prevent supply disruptions. Kevin Book, senior energy analyst for Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., noted that in the hour after the Senate passed the measure nearly unanimously the price of crude oil jumped by a dollar. Book said, "70,000 barrels is a rounding error. It is not material in an 85.7 million barrel per day market." Book added that it will take much more significant action ... for the markets to take notice. The Senate, by a 56-42 vote, defeated a Republican measure ... that would have opened Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and allowed states to drill off their shores.
Key Articles From Years Past
1934: The Plot Against America
July 28, 2007, Harper's magazine
In November 1934, federal investigators uncovered an amazing plot involving some two dozen senior businessmen, a good many of them Wall Street financiers, to topple the government of the United States and install a fascist dictatorship. An alert FDR shut it down but stopped short of retaliatory measures against the plotters. A key element of the plot involved [Smedley Butler,] a retired prominent general who was to have raised a private army of 500,000 men from unemployed veterans and who blew the whistle when he learned more of what the plot entailed. The plot was heavily funded and well developed and had strong links with fascist forces abroad. A story in the New York Times and several other newspapers reported on it, and a special Congressional committee was created to conduct an investigation. The records of this committee were scrubbed and sealed away in the National Archives, where they have only recently been made available. The Congressional committee kept the names of many of the participants under wraps and no criminal action was ever brought against them. But a few names have leaked out. And one is Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the incumbent president. Prescott Bush was ... deep into the business of the Hamburg-America Lines, and had tight relations throughout this period with the new Government that had come to power in Germany a year earlier under Chancellor Aldoph Hitler. It appears that Bush was to have formed a key liaison for the group with the new German government. The role of the most powerful political dynastic family in the nation's history in this whole affair is shocking.
Note: You can listen to the BBC Radio broadcast on Bush/Nazi ties by clicking here. And to watch a History Channel documentary on the coup plot, click here. U.S. Marine Corps General Smedley Butler was the author of "War is a Racket," summarized here.
Bush's Grandfather Directed Bank Tied to Man Who Funded Hitler
October 17, 2003, Fox News/Associated Press
President Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show. Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler. Reports of Bush's involvement with the seized bank have been circulating on the Internet for years and have been reported by some mainstream media. The newly declassified documents provide additional details about the Union Banking-Thyssen connection. Union Banking was owned by a Dutch bank, Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaardt N.V., which was "closely affiliated" with the German conglomerate United Steel Works, according to an Oct. 5, 1942, report from the federal Office of Alien Property Custodian. The Dutch bank and the steel firm were part of the business and financial empire of Thyssen and his brother, Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the report said. The 4,000 Union Banking shares owned by the Dutch bank were registered in the names of the seven U.S. directors, [including Prescott Bush and E. Roland Harriman, the bank chairman and brother of former New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman]. Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel.
Challenge Day ... "This is going to change people"
August 31, 2007, Denver Post (Denver's leading newspaper)
Wadded-up tissues littered Rishel Middle School's gym floor as tough teenagers sobbed, hugged their peers and told gut-wrenching stories about their lives during an all-day session intended to break down barriers. One 13-year-old said he was abandoned by his parents and that he lies awake at night scared by sounds of gunshots outside his window. A 15-year-old girl talked about attempting suicide and urged anyone with similar thoughts to reach out for help. And a teacher tearfully warned students about their actions by revealing he was a bully when he was younger – until the person he tormented tried to kill himself. The confessions were shared ... as part of "Challenge Day," a nationally recognized anti-bullying program that travels to schools around the country. Challenge Day promotes self respect and acceptance, and inspires students to become positive leaders in their schools and communities. [The] 20-year-old program [was] designed by Yvonne and Rich St. John-Dutra. "We want to create a world where every child feels safe," said Rich St. John-Dutra. The program, which was featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," was brought to Denver Public Schools ... as part of the district's mission to change cultures inside the schools. The events combined ice-breaking routines to get students to drop their guards with soul-searching exercises designed to reveal their true selves. Students wept as their troubles tumbled out - from worries about their parents, medical problems within the family, troubles with gangs, and battles with alcohol and drugs. Students later apologized to others who they had put down or teased over the years. "This is going to change people," said Eddie Castillo, 13. "I never knew people had problems with their families and their brothers and drugs. I never saw that sensitive side until now."
Note: For one of the most inspiring video clips ever, watch the incredibly moving 15-minute clip from an Emmy-award winning documentary on Challenge day available here.
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Expanded Government Secrecy, Friendly-Fire Cover-up, Global Warming Impacts