Intelligence Agency Secrecy, Videotaping Police Criminalized, Iranian Paid $5 Million by CIA
Revealing News Articles
July 26, 2010
Below are key excerpts of important news articles which include revealing information on growing secrecy within the hidden world of US intelligence agencies, the criminalizing of the act of videotaping police as they carry out arrests, the admission by the CIA that it paid an Iranian $5 million for information, 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. The most important 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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A hidden world, growing beyond control
July 19, 2010, Washington Post
In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities. Most [sources for this story] requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns. Beyond redundancy, secrecy within the intelligence world hampers effectiveness in other ways. For the Defense Department, [the] problem goes back to an ultra-secret group of programs for which access is extremely limited and monitored by specially trained security officers. These are called Special Access Programs - or SAPs - and the Pentagon's list of code names for them runs 300 pages. The intelligence community has hundreds more of its own, and those hundreds have thousands of sub-programs with their own limits on the number of people authorized to know anything about them. All this means that very few people have a complete sense of what's going on. Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to keep secrets from their commanders. One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it
Note: To read the full text of this important article, please make sure to press the "Continue Reading" button at the end of the first webpage to access all of the fascinating information provided. For lots more on government secrecy, click here.
Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police
July 19, 2010, ABC News
It wasn't his daredevil stunt [on his motorcycle] that has [Anthony Graber] facing the possibility of 16 years in prison. For that, he was issued a speeding ticket. It was the video that Graber posted on YouTube one week later -- taken with his helmet camera -- of a plainclothes state trooper cutting him off and drawing a gun during the traffic stop near Baltimore. In early April, state police officers raided Graber's parents' home in Abingdon, Md. They confiscated his camera, computers and external hard drives. Graber was indicted for allegedly violating state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent. Arrests such as Graber's are becoming more common along with the proliferation of portable video cameras and cell-phone recorders. Videos of alleged police misconduct have become hot items on the Internet. YouTube still features Graber's encounter along with numerous other witness videos. "The message is clearly, 'Don't criticize the police,'" said David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber's defense team. "With these charges, anyone who would even think to record the police is now justifiably in fear that they will also be criminally charged." Carlos Miller, a Miami journalist who runs the blog "Photography Is Not a Crime," said he has documented about 10 arrests since he started keeping track in 2007. Miller himself has been arrested twice for photographing the police.
Note: To our knowledge, no one has ever been prosecuted for videotaping police doing good things, which they often do, yet many have been arrested for catching police doing bad things. Where's the justice here?
Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets
July 16, 2010, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
An Iranian scientist who says he was abducted and taken to the United States by the CIA returned to Tehran yesterday to a hero's welcome and claimed that he had been pressured into lying about his country's nuclear programme. Shahram Amiri said that he was on the hajj pilgrimage when he was seized at gunpoint in the city of Medina, drugged and taken to the US, where he says Israel was involved in his interrogation. In the US, officials were reported to have admitted that Mr Amiri was paid more than $5m (£3.2m) by the CIA for information about Iran's nuclear ambitions. The offer of a large bribe is reportedly part of a special US programme to get Iranian nuclear scientists to defect. "Americans wanted me to say that I defected to America of my own will, to use me for revealing some false information about Iran's nuclear work," Mr Amiri said at Tehran airport. "I was under intensive psychological pressure by [the] CIA... the main aim of this abduction was to stage a new political and psychological game against Iran." At his press conference at Tehran airport, Mr Amiri stressed that he had acted under compulsion. "Israeli agents were present at some of my interrogation sessions and I was threatened to be handed over to Israel if I refused to cooperate with Americans," he said. He says he was offered $50m to stay in the US.
Note: For key reports on CIA kidnappings and other methods employed in the bogus "global war on terror", click here.
America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal
July 22, 2010, The Economist magazine
America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens. One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America's level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan. America's incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970. Similar things have happened elsewhere. The incarceration rate in Britain has more than doubled, and that in Japan increased by half, over the period. But the trend has been sharper in America than in most of the rich world, and the disparity has grown. It is explained neither by a difference in criminality (the English are slightly more criminal than Americans, though less murderous), nor by the success of the policy: America's violent-crime rate is higher than it was 40 years ago. Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges' discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. "Three strikes" laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders.
Note: For a recent report on the size of the US prison population in comparison with other countries, click here.
2 UFO sightings have China, blogs abuzz
July 16, 2010, CNN
One of two recent UFO sightings in China occurred almost on the 63rd anniversary of news that a "flying disc" had been found in Roswell, New Mexico. The first sighting occurred at Hangzhou's Xiaoshan Airport, in the eastern part of the country. Eighteen flights were delayed or rerouted and operations shut down after twinkling lights were spotted above the terminal around 9 p.m. July 7. "No conclusion has yet been drawn," said Wang Jian, head of air traffic control with Zhejiang branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Purported photos of the unworldly object have appeared online and on YouTube. Meanwhile, The Shanghai Daily reported a UFO appeared above the city of Chongqing on [July 15]. Witnesses said four "lantern-like objects forming a diamond shape" hovered for an hour above a park. "I stared at it and it did not move," one resident told the newspaper. "After hovering for an hour, the thing started to fly higher and finally out of people's sight." UFO sightings around the world are common, but a little rarer in China.
Note: For a massive amount of reliable information on sightings of UFOs, click here.
BP oil spill Corexit dispersants suspected in widespread crop damage
June 28, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Just when you thought the damage BP could cause was limited to beaches, marshes, oceans, people's livelihoods, birds and marine life, there's more. BP's favorite dispersant Corexit 9500 is being sprayed at the oil gusher on the ocean floor. Corexit is also being air sprayed across hundreds of miles of oil slicks all across the gulf. There have been widespread reports of oil cleanup crews reporting various injuries including respiratory distress, dizziness and headaches. Corexit 9500 is a solvent originally developed by Exxon. Corexit is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm). In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled "Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview," Corexit 9500 was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed. According to the Clark and George-Ares report, Corexit mixed with the higher gulf coast water temperatures becomes even more toxic. The UK's Marine Management Organization ... banned Corexit ... from a list of approved treatments for oil spills in the U.K. more than a decade ago. The simple question I ask is: If the UK bans Corexit ... why the hell are we using it on American waters?
Report: 97 percent of scientists say man-made climate change is real
June 22, 2010, USA Today
A new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is "very likely" caused mainly by human activity. The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is "very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century." As for the 3 percent of scientists who remain unconvinced, the study found their average expertise is far below that of their colleagues, as measured by publication and citation rates. In the study, the authors wrote: "This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change." The report comes as the Earth continues to sizzle in 2010. So far, through May, 2010 is the warmest year ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
Note: For key reports on global warming, click here.
Inquiry into Ian Tomlinson's death at a G20 protest in London prompts more questions than answers
July 22, 2010, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
When Ian Tomlinson's widow watched video footage of his last moments alive for the first time on a laptop 16 months ago, she was speechless. Julia Tomlinson had been told by police her husband had died of natural causes as he tried to get home through the G20 protest in London, and there was nothing suspicious about the death. But as she watched [video] footage ...a different story unfolded. Tomlinson, hands in pockets, was walking away from police. An officer who was not displaying his badge number, and whose face was concealed behind a balaclava, lunged at her husband from behind and, without provocation, struck him on the leg and pushed him to the ground. The police disregard for Tomlinson was [evident] on footage of the aftermath of the attack, which left him lying on the ground in front of a line of riot police shortly after 7.25pm on 1 April. None of the officers went to the aid of the 47-year-old, who was clearly in distress. Looking disoriented, Tomlinson then stumbled 100 yards down the road before collapsing and dying. The initial police response was to accuse protesters of wrongdoing. Within four hours, Scotland Yard had released a statement saying officers had gone to the victim's aid and called an ambulance, and were attempting to save his life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In the following days, City of London police, which was investigating the death, would receive information from witnesses that suggested Tomlinson might have been assaulted by an officer. His family were not told about this, and were advised instead that he had died after being caught up in a fracas prompted by anarchist demonstrators attacking police.
Note: This excellent article shows all too clearly how police departments will lie and severely manipulate evidence to defend their own, even when they know they are in the wrong.
Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges
July 15, 2010, CNN
Six months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, most governments that promised money to help rebuild the country have not delivered any funds at all. Donors promised $5.3 billion at an aid conference in March, about two months after the earthquake -- but less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the United Nations-backed body set up to handle it. Only four countries have paid anything at all: Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia. The United States pledged $1.15 billion. It has paid nothing, with the money tied up in the congressional appropriations process. Venezuela promised even more -- $1.32 billion. It has also paid nothing, although it has written off some of Haiti's debt. Altogether, about $506 million has been disbursed to Haiti since the donors' conference in March, said Jehane Sedky of the U.N. Development Program. That's about 9 percent of the money that was pledged. But about $200 million was money that had been in the pipeline for aid work before the earthquake, and about another $200 million went directly to the government of Haiti to help it get back on its feet, Sedky explained. That has left the commission with about $90 million in donations since the conference, Sedky said.
The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone
July 16, 2010, Newsweek magazine
Our biggest gadget makers — including HP and Apple — may inadvertently get their raw ingredients from murderous Congolese militias. A new movement wants them to trace rare metals from ‘conflict mines.' [It] stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It's the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use "conflict minerals"—the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo. Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens. Congo is a classic victim of the resource curse. Its bountiful deposits—in everything from copper to diamonds—are brazenly plundered by corrupt governments and regional warlords while the population goes without basic services. Today, most violence—including mass rape, slavery, mutilation, and possibly even forced cannibalism—is concentrated in the war-ravaged eastern Kivu provinces, where the Congolese Army and ethnic militias bludgeon each other over the right to trade in mineral ore.
Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
July 21, 2010, ABC News
Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change. This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the ... trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States. "Coin dealers not only buy for their inventory from other dealers, but also with great frequency from the public," Piret said. "Most other types of businesses will have a limited number of suppliers from which they buy their goods and products for resale." So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer. Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week. Heller estimates that he'll be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect. "I'll have to hire two full-time people just to track all this stuff, which cuts into my profitability," he said.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
German Journalist Seeks Release of Eichmann Files
March 18, 2010, ABC News/Associated Press
The basics of Adolf Eichmann's story are well documented: Commonly known as the "architect of the Holocaust" for his role in coordinating the Nazi genocide policy, he fled Germany, was captured in Argentina by Israel's Mossad, and hanged after trial in Jerusalem.
But Germany's intelligence service, the BND, is sitting on 4,500 pages of files on Eichmann a reporter thinks could fill in gaps about his postwar life: Who helped him escape? How much did Germany know about where he was? Is there more to the story of his capture? The files could also help shed light on claims that the Vatican helped war criminals hide or escape after World War II — allegations church officials have always strenuously denied. The BND claims that the files need to remain secret, so freelance reporter Gabriele Weber sued to have them released. They are now being reviewed in secret by three judges at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. Weber said she anticipates a ruling in the next month or two, and expects to obtain at least some degree of access. "I think it's impossible that in Germany we are hiding documents about a convicted Nazi mass murderer today," she said in a telephone interview. "I can't imagine they will be able to maintain secrecy 100 percent." The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants group has weighed in, urging the release of the files.
Note: The German government is not the only one hiding information about the Nazis. To read about the CIA's cover-up of its own relationship with Nazis, click here.
Phys Ed: Your Brain on Exercise
July 7, 2010, New York Times
What goes on inside your brain when you exercise? That question has preoccupied a growing number of scientists in recent years, as well as many of us who exercise. Some of the most reverberant recent studies were performed at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. There, scientists have been manipulating the levels of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP in the brains of laboratory mice. In the brain, BMP has been found to contribute to the control of stem cell divisions. Your brain, you will be pleased to learn, is packed with adult stem cells, which, given the right impetus, divide and differentiate into either additional stem cells or baby neurons. As we age, these stem cells tend to become less responsive. They don't divide as readily and can slump into a kind of cellular sleep. It's BMP that acts as the soporific, says Dr. Jack Kessler, the chairman of neurology at Northwestern and senior author of many of the recent studies. But exercise countermands some of the numbing effects of BMP, Dr. Kessler says. In work at his lab, mice given access to running wheels had about 50 percent less BMP-related brain activity within a week. They also showed a notable increase in Noggin, a beautifully named brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist. "If ever exercise enthusiasts wanted a rationale for what they're doing, this should be it," Dr. Kessler says. Exercise, he says, through a complex interplay with Noggin and BMP, helps to ensure that neuronal stem cells stay lively and new brain cells are born.
Note: For many excellent reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Cholesterol-Busting Statins: Study Raises New Concerns
June 29, 2010, ABC News
Nearly two years ago, a study known as the JUPITER [Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention] trial hinted at a new era in the use of statins -- one in which the cholesterol-busting drugs could be used to stave off heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol. Now, however, researchers behind a new review that takes a second look at the findings of the landmark study say that these results are flawed -- and that they do not support the benefits initially reported. Not only did this second look turn up no evidence of the "striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications" reported by investigators behind JUPITER, but it has also called into question drug companies' involvement in such trials, according to an article in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Moreover, Dr. Michel de Lorgeril of Joseph Fourier University and the National Center of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France, and coauthors argue that major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research. "The JUPITER data set appears biased," Lorgeril and coauthors wrote in conclusion. De Lorgeril and coauthors point out that nine of 14 authors of the JUPITER article have financial relationships with AstraZeneca, which sponsored the trial.
Note: There is intriguing evidence that much of the fear around cholesterol was fabricated to sell drugs. For more on this, see the article by one of the most respected doctors on the Internet at this link.
Magnets can improve Alzheimer's symptoms
June 24, 2010, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Applying magnets to the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers helps them understand what is said to them. The finding by Italian scientsts, who conducted a randomised controlled trial of the treatment, suggests that magnets may alter "cortical activity" in the brain, readjusting unhealthy patterns caused by disease or damage. The study was small, involving just 10 patients, and the results are preliminary. But the scientists from Brescia and Milan say [the results] "hold considerable promise, not only for advancing our understanding of brain plasticity mechanisms, but also for designing new rehabilitation strategies in patients with neurodegenerative disease." Although many may scoff, the capacity of magnets to affect the working of the brain is already well established. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the technique investigated by the Italian scientists, has already been shown in separate experiments by British researchers to temporarily stun the part of the brain which controls speech, rendering volunteers unable to utter familiar words. In a similar way, a magnetic wand waved over the left side of the head, can make the right arm jump involuntarily. The excitation of the neuronal pathways that this demonstrates suggests, according to researchers, that the technique might be useful in the rehabilitation of stroke victims.
Note: For many excellent reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Argentina legalizes gay marriage in historic vote
July 15, 2010, MSNBC/Associated Press
Argentina legalized same-sex marriage [on July 15], becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples. The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live. But same-sex couples from other countries shouldn't rush their Argentine wedding plans, since only citizens and residents can wed in the country, and the necessary documents can take months to obtain. While it makes some amendments to the civil code, many other aspects of family law will have to be changed. Nine gay couples had already married in Argentina after persuading judges that the constitutional mandate of equality supports their marriage rights, although their validity was later challenged by other judges. Congressional passage now removes that doubt. When the final vote came, cheers and hugs broke out among the bill's supporters. Sen. Norma Morandini ... compared the discrimination closeted gays face to the oppression imposed by Argentina's dictators decades ago. "What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance," she said.
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