Doubts On FBI's Anthrax Case, Pentagon Focus on Social Networks, NewsCorp Witness Dead
Revealing News Articles
July 26, 2011
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on new documents casting additional doubt on the FBI's anthrax case against Bruce Ivins, the Pentagon's focus on intervention in social networks, the death of key NewsCorp phone hacking scandal witness Sean Hoare, 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. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Special note: To read an excellent article exploring the question "Why Do the Police Have Tanks?", click here. For a vitally important analysis of the plans of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry out its agency motto, "Dominate. Intimidate. Control.", click here.
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New Documents Cast Doubt on Federal Anthrax Case
July 18, 2011, PBS Frontline/McClatchy News
The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago. Shortly after Ivins committed suicide in 2008, federal investigators announced that they had identified him as the mass murderer who sent the letters to members of Congress and the media. The case was circumstantial, with federal officials arguing that the scientist had the means, motive and opportunity to make the deadly powder at a U.S. Army research facility at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. On July 15, however, Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins' lab -- the so-called hot suite -- did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001. The government's statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins. Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores, and the FBI's eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters or identified another location where he might have secretly dried the anthrax into an easily inhaled powder.
Note: For more doubts on the FBI's case against Ivins, click here. For a detailed analysis of the anthrax attacks by Prof. Graeme MacQueen of McMaster University, showing that it was an integral part, with the 9/11 attacks, of a larger operation to launch two wars, click here.
Pentagon looks to social media as new battlefield
July 21, 2011, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The Pentagon is asking scientists to figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of Arab uprisings driven by Twitter and Facebook.
The US military's high-tech research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has put out a request for experts to look at "a new science of social networks" that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media. The program's goal was to track "purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation" in social networks and to pursue "counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations," according to DARPA's request for proposals issued on July 14. The project echoes concerns among top military officers about the lightning pace of change in the Middle East, where social networks have served as an engine for protest against some longtime US allies. Some senior officers have spoken privately of the need to better track unrest revealed in social networks and to look for ways to shape outcomes in the Arab world through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Under the proposal, researchers would be expected to unearth and classify the "formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)" in social media. DARPA planned to spend $42 million (£25m) on the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, with prospective contractors asked to test algorithms through "experiments" with social media, it said.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on new Pentagon strategies and technologies for waging war on foreign and domestic populations, click here.
News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead
July 18, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbusiness reporter who was the first named journalist to allege that Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead. Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but said in a statement: "The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious." There was an unexplained delay in the arrival of forensics officers at the scene. There was no police presence at the scene at all for several hours. Hoare was in his mid-40s. He first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World. He told the newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the hacking, but he also actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives. In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged he was personally asked by his editor at the time, Coulson, to tap into phones. Hoare returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the NoW were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals, in exchange for payments to police officers. He said journalists were able to use "pinging", which measured the distance between a mobile handset and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Phone hacking: US authorities preparing to subpoena News Corp
July 22, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The judicial screws are tightening on Rupert Murdoch's empire in America as the US justice department prepares to subpoena News Corporation in its investigation into whether the company broke anti-bribery and hacking laws on both sides of the Atlantic. The news that subpoenas are being drawn up, reported by News Corp's flagship newspaper the Wall Street Journal, comes a week after attorney general Eric Holder said he was launching a preliminary investigation into the media group as a result of the UK phone-hacking scandal. In addition, it has emerged that federal prosecutors have begun probing allegations that News Corp's advertising arm in the US hacked into a computer of a competitor as part of a campaign to crush its rival. News Corp also faces a possibly lengthy and costly federal probe into whether it broke anti-bribery laws as part of the illegal News of the World phone hacking in the UK. The company is potentially liable under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which bans US-based companies from profiting from bribery and corruption in other countries. News Corp is a US-based firm, its headquarters on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. FCPA experts have suggested that it could be brought under the auspices of the act because News of the World journalists bribed police officers in the UK in search of exclusive stories that in turn increased sales and generated profits.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Norway police investigating 2nd suspect in spree
July 22, 2011, 13-WTHR TV (Indianapolis NBC affiliate)/Associated Press
Norway's national news agency says police are investigating whether a second suspect was involved in a shooting spree on an island where 84 people were killed. Police have arrested one man on preliminary charges in the massacre and a bombing in Oslo hours earlier. NTB is reporting Saturday that witnesses told police two people were involved in the shooting on Utoya island. The agency says police are looking into it. The agency says that the second man apparently wasn't disguised in police uniform. The man under arrest was wearing a sweater with a police emblem on it. In total, 91 people were killed in the two attacks. Police say at least 84 people were killed in a shooting spree at the youth camp of Norway's Labor Party. Police say a suspect in the shooting has been arrested. Norway's national broadcaster NRK has named the suspect in the Oslo bombing and youth camp shooting spree as Anders Behring Breivik. National police chief Sveinung Sponheim [said] seven people were killed by the blast in downtown Oslo, four of whom have been identified, and that nine or 10 people were seriously injured.
Note: Early reports of a second shooter in the Norway attacks, based on claims by surviving witnesses, are already disappearing from the web. Why would this occur?
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin 'ashamed' at church failures
July 21, 2011, BBC News
The Archbishop of Dublin said there are groups in the Vatican and the Irish hierarchy trying to undermine child protection measures. Dr Diarmuid Martin said there were systems in place that were ignored. His comments come after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched an attack in parliament on the Catholic Church. Mr Kenny said the recent Cloyne Report into allegations of priest sex abuse showed change was needed. In an unprecedented attack, the taoiseach said the historic relationship between church and state in Ireland could not be the same again and the report exposed the "elitism, dysfunction, disconnection, and narcissism that dominated the Vatican". Dr Martin said he was "impressed by the emotion that the taoiseach brought into this". He said he was also "angry, ashamed and appalled" by those "who felt they were able to play tricks" and "by anybody who does that, whether they be in the Irish church, the Vatican or anybody else who faces child protection". "I'm very disappointed and annoyed. What do you do when you've got systems in place and somebody ignores them?" he said. "What do you do when you have got groups either in the Vatican or in Ireland who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what is being done?" Dr Martin said he had delivered over 70,000 documents to the Murphy Commission.
Note: To watch a short video of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin saying he is "ashamed" of the Catholic Church, click here. For key reports from reliable sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
Irish prime minister attacks Vatican
July 20, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Ireland's prime minister has launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers. Enda Kenny said in parliament that the Cloyne report, released on 13 July, had exposed the Vatican's attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse. During a debate on the fallout from the Cloyne findings, the taoiseach said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican. Kenny told the Dáil on Wednesday that Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church's power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders. The Vatican's attitude to investigations in Cloyne, which covers County Cork, was the "polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the church had been founded on", he said. Kenny said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or "managed" to uphold the institution's power and reputation. One of the most damning findings of the Cloyne report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which "very clearly should have been reported". The report, coming after a string of inquiries into Catholic clerical sex abuse across Ireland, has set the Irish government on a collision course with the church.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
Police to begin iPhone iris scans amid privacy concerns
July 20, 2011, Chicago Tribune/Reuters News
Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company's already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects. Its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues. The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person's eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person's face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Constitutional rights advocates are concerned, in part because the device can accurately scan an individual's face from up to four feet away, potentially without a person's being aware of it. Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed. "What we don't want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people," said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.
Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle
July 21, 2011, New York Times
Companies have long used criminal background checks, credit reports and even searches on Google and LinkedIn to probe the previous lives of prospective employees. Now, some companies are requiring job candidates to also pass a social media background check. A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years. Then it assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity. The service ... alarms privacy advocates who say that it invites employers to look at information that may not be relevant to job performance. And what relevant unflattering information has led to job offers being withdrawn or not made? Marc S. Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, ... said that employers were entitled to gather information to make a determination about job-related expertise, but he expressed concern that “employers should not be judging what people in their private lives do away from the workplace.”
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura sues TSA over pat-downs
July 22, 2011, St. Paul Pioneer Press (One of Minneapolis' leading newspapers)
It started with Jesse Ventura's titanium hip and turned into a fight over the Bill of Rights. In federal court in St. Paul on Friday, a lawyer for the former governor argued that rules implemented by the Transportation Security Administration - which subject Ventura to pat-down body searches when he flies - violate his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable and unwarranted searches. The TSA's rules were "issued in secret, (were) never published (and) can be changed at any time, in secret," attorney David Bradley Olsen told U.S. District Judge Susan Rogers Nelson. Silent throughout the hearing, [Ventura] went up to Tamara Ulrich, the Justice Department lawyer from Washington who had argued for dismissal, and told her TSA's airport screenings were un-American. "In a free country, you should never feel comfortable being searched," he told her. "This is not the country I was born in. We're a fascist nation now." He turned 60 this month and now hosts "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" on cable's truTV. His lawsuit, filed in January, stems from the fact the show requires him to fly two or three times a week. Since [the fall of 2010], whenever his hip sets off the walk-through detector, TSA screeners pull him aside for a more detailed check, and he contends it is unconstitutional. Ventura and Olsen maintain that challenging the TSA's actual procedures is difficult because they are considered "Sensitive Security Information" and aren't made public.
Note: Jesse Ventura is just one of many former highly-placed government officials to publicly raise strong questions about the official account of the 9/11 attacks, events which provided the pretext for the increasingly totalitarian controls on travel. For a vitally important analysis of the plans of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry out its agency motto, "Dominate. Intimidate. Control.", click here.
Is the US government at war with whistleblowers?
July 15, 2011, BBC News
The Obama administration is facing criticism for prosecutions brought under the US Espionage Act against government employees accused of leaking sensitive information. Mark Feldstein, professor of media at the University of Maryland, sees a worrying trend of espionage prosecutions since President Obama took office. "To everyone's surprise, the Obama administration has escalated the war against whistleblowers and the attacks on information that journalists and the public were depending on to get evidence of wrongdoing by powerful institutions and individuals," Prof Feldstein says. On Friday, Thomas Drake, a former senior official at the National Security Agency, a highly secretive US spy agency, was sentenced to one year's probation, after the Department of Justice's case against him collapsed. He had been accused of passing on information to a journalist about a government computer programme he considered wasteful. Outside court, Mr Drake said the government's prosecution had been "vindictive and malicious". According his lawyer Jesselyn Radack, the charge that he passed on secret information was a ''bald-faced lie''. Critics say the US classification system is often arbitrary, with documents often stamped ''classified'' when the content is not secret or that sensitive.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Muoy You, who escaped Cambodia's killing fields, now teaches self-respect and integrity
July 11, 2011, Christian Science Monitor
For Muoy You, "the power of education" isn't an abstract concept. She's seen it transform the life of her family. Her father was a bicycle repairman, and her mother an illiterate street vendor. Yet her four children are all university graduates. Muoy grew up poor in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during the Vietnam War. In 1972 she won a scholarship to study in France. It would save her from Pol Pot's killing fields, where her parents and siblings were among the 2 million dead. She spent the next two decades in exile, raising a family and working as a teacher in Africa and the Middle East. Now Muoy wants to transform the prospects of other Cambodian families by giving children of low-income cleaners, laborers, farmers, and tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) drivers a high-quality education. "I don't just want to teach them to read and write," she stresses. "I want them to become professionals, writers, thinkers, artists – to make their country proud." Upon returning home to Phnom Penh in 2003, Muoy set up the Seametrey Children's Village, a private initiative. "You shouldn't just stick children behind desks," Muoy explains. "You need to help them retain their childlike curiosity and spontaneity." Word of her school spread. Parents pay according to their means. The poorest pay nothing; some pay small sums they can afford. Expatriates and better-off locals pay the full monthly fee of $290. Currently, the school has 80 students, from toddlers to teens.
Note: Visit seametreycambodia.org
Key Articles From Years Past
Secret killing program is key in Iraq, Woodward says
September 8, 2008, CNN
The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill [insurgents], according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward. The program -- which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb -- must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said ... on CNN's Larry King Live. In The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008, Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill ... insurgent leaders. National security adviser Stephen Hadley, in a written statement reacting to Woodward's book, acknowledged the new strategy. The top secret operations, [Woodward] said, will "some day in history ... be described to people's amazement."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the secret and illegal operations of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
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