May 17, 2005
Below are one paragraph summaries of important news stories which did not warrant a separate message, but which you may have missed. Links are provided to the original sources. If any link fails to function, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
care and have a great day,
Fred Burks for WantToKnow.info
UK film: terror fears
May 14, 2005, CNN/Reuters
CANNES, France (Reuters) -- A British documentary arguing U.S. neo-conservatives have exaggerated the terror threat is set to rock the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, the way "Fahrenheit 9/11" stirred emotions here a year ago. At a screening late on Friday ahead of its gala on Saturday, "The Power of Nightmares" by filmmaker and senior BBC producer Adam Curtis kept an audience of journalists and film buyers glued to their seats and taking notes for a full 2-1/2 hours. The film, a non-competition entry, argues that the fear of terrorism has come to pervade politics in the United States and Britain even though much of that angst is based on carefully nurtured illusions. [To view this excellent film free, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/powerofnightmares]
Ridge reveals clashes on
May 10, 2005, USA Today
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says. Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled. Ridge said he wanted to "debunk the myth" that his agency was responsible for repeatedly raising the alert under a color-coded system he unveiled in 2002.
MI6 protected Nazi who killed 100 British agents
May 14, 2005, London Times
ONE of Hitler's top intelligence officers, who ordered the murders of more than 100 British secret agents in concentration camps, was spared execution as a war criminal and selected to work for MI6. Newly opened papers contain startling evidence that...British Intelligence "turned" Horst Kopkow, faked his death and used him to fight the Cold War. The Atkins documents have been corroborated by newly declassified secret papers in the British and American National Archives. Britain has denied that it engaged in the dark arts used by the Americans, whose employment of Nazis to catch Communists has been well-documented. British intelligence sources pointed out that Kopkow was not in the league of "the butcher of Lyons", a reference to Klaus Barbie, the most notorious war criminal employed by the Americans. The Kopkow case is uniquely chilling because the MI6 men who spared him were colleagues and "handlers" of his victims. Among those whose torture and death he sanctioned were men and women of the SOE and MI6 agents.
Cuba 'plane bomber' was CIA agent
May 11, 2005, BBC
Declassified US government documents show that a man suspected of involvement in the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane worked for the CIA. Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born Venezuelan and anti-Castro dissident, was an agent and informer. The papers also reveal that an FBI informer "all but admitted" that Mr Posada was one of those behind the 1976 bombing that killed 73 people. Mr Posada, who denies any involvement, is said to be seeking asylum in the US. His lawyer says his client, thought to be in hiding in the Miami area, deserves US protection because of his long years of service to the country. The documents, released by George Washington University's National Security Archive, show that Mr Posada, now in his 70s, was on the CIA payroll from the 1960s until mid-1976. Mr Posada once boasted of being responsible for a series of bomb attacks on Havana tourist spots in the 1990s.
float like a stone
May 11, 2005, The Guardian
British scientists have developed an antigravity machine that can float heavy stones, coins and lumps of metal in mid-air. Based around a powerful magnet, the device levitates objects in a similar way to how a maglev train runs above its tracks. The device exploits diamagnetism. Place non-magnetic objects inside a strong enough magnetic field and they are forced to act like weak magnets themselves. Generate a field that is stronger below and weaker above, and the resulting upward magnetic force cancels out gravity. Scientists have used diamagnetism to make wood, strawberries and, famously, a living frog fly. "That force is strong enough to float things with a density similar to water, but not things with the density of rocks."
Self-replicating robot created
May 11, 2005, MSNBC/Reuters
LONDON - Self-replicating robots are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Scientists at the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York have created small robots that can build copies of themselves. Each robot consists of several 4-inch (10-centimeter) cubes that have identical machinery, electromagnets to attach and detach to each other and a computer program for replication. The robots can bend and pick up and stack the cubes. "Although the machines we have created are still simple compared with biological self-reproduction, they demonstrate that mechanical self-reproduction is possible and not unique to biology," Hod Lipson said in a report in the science journal Nature on Wednesday.
The Secret Downing
May 1, 2005, London Times
See also http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-memogate12may12,1,7966962.story
"This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents. John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record."
Bush asked to explain UK
May 12, 2005, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Eighty-nine Democratic members of the U.S. Congress last week sent President George W. Bush a letter asking for explanation of a secret British memo that said "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the Iraq war in mid-2002. The timing of the memo was well before the president brought the issue to Congress for approval. The Times of London newspaper published the memo -- actually minutes of a high-level meeting on Iraq held July 23, 2002 -- on May 1. British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity.
Merck CEO Resigns as
Drug Probe Continues
May 6, 2005, Washington Post
Merck & Co.'s longtime leader Raymond V. Gilmartin abruptly resigned yesterday on the same day congressional investigators released a slew of documents detailing how the company continued to aggressively promote its arthritis drug Vioxx after it knew of potentially serious safety concerns. The documents...showed that Merck directed its 3,000-person Vioxx sales force to avoid discussions with doctors about the cardiovascular risks identified in a major clinical trial of the drug in 2000. Sales representatives were told instead to rely on a "Cardiovascular Card" that said Vioxx was protecting the heart rather than potentially harming it. They were [also] trained how to smile, speak and position themselves most effectively when talking with doctors, and were exhorted to sell Vioxx and other Merck drugs using the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market last September after another clinical trial found that people who had taken the drug for 18 months were five times more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those on a placebo. Merck was sharply criticized in a hearing into how the company and the Food and Drug Administration had handled the safety concerns surrounding Vioxx.
The Age of Autism: The Amish
April 18-19, 2005, Washington Times
http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050321-115921-9566r.htm - Part 1
http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050417-052541-5549r.htm - Part 2
Where are the autistic Amish? Here in Lancaster County, heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, there should be well over 100 with some form of the disorder. I have come here to find them, but so far my mission has failed, and the very few I have identified raise some very interesting questions about some widely held views on autism. The Amish have a religious exemption from vaccination. So far, there is evidence of only three, all of them children, the oldest age 9 or 10. Julia is one of them. She...is adopted from China. She had most of her vaccines given to her in the United States before we got her. [Of the other one definitely had a vaccine, and the other's vaccine status is unknown.] The mainstream scientific consensus says autism is a complex genetic disorder, one that has been around for millennia at roughly the same prevalence. That prevalence is now considered to be 1 in every 166 children born in the United States.
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