FBI Nuclear Cover-up, 935 Lies to Start War,
Sovereign Wealth at Davos
Revealing News Articles
January 27, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the unfolding cover-up by the FBI of its investigation into a black market in US nuclear technology secrets, the 935 lies told by high officials in the Bush administration to start the war on Iraq, the prominence of sovereign wealth funds at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 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.
P.S. Some of our best information is often placed 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 the Special Note. Yet this is at times the most highly revealing information we get.
FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft
January 20, 2008, Sunday Times (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
The FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets. The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency's investigation of the network. She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish- and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file. The freedom of information request ... was made ... by an American human rights group called the Liberty Coalition, acting on a tip-off it received from an anonymous correspondent. Edmonds [said] that members of the Turkish political and diplomatic community in the US had been actively acquiring nuclear secrets. They often acted as a conduit, she said, for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency, because they attracted less suspicion. She claimed corrupt government officials helped the network, and venues such as the American-Turkish Council in Washington were used as drop-off points. Edmonds is the subject of a number of state-secret gags preventing her from talking further about the investigation she witnessed. "[These gags were] invoked not to protect sensitive diplomatic relations but criminal activities involving US officials who were endangering US national security," she said.
Note: For an important commentary by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on this Sunday Times story, click here. For other excellent media articles on the courageous Ms. Edmonds, click here.
Bush, aides made 935 false statements in run-up to war
January 23, 2008, CNN
President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001, according to a study released ... by two nonprofit journalism groups. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003," reads an overview of the examination, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism. According to the study, Bush and seven top officials -- including Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- made 935 false statements about Iraq during those two years. The study says Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein's possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq's links to al Qaeda. The study, released Tuesday, says Powell had the second-highest number of false statements, with 244 about weapons and 10 about Iraq and al Qaeda. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer each made 109 false statements. "It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al Qaeda," the report reads. The overview of the study also calls the media to task, saying most media outlets didn't do enough to investigate the claims. "Some journalists -- indeed, even some entire news organizations -- have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical," the report reads.
Note: These lies led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Why is no action being taken on this matter? For other powerful revelations of war corruption and profiteering, click here.
Davos: Wealth, power and a sprinkling of stardust
January 22, 2008, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
For a few days an obscene proportion of the world's wealth and clout will be concentrated in one normally obscure Alpine town, [Davos, Switzerland]. Some 27 heads of state or government; 113 cabinet ministers; hundreds of chief executives, bankers, sovereign wealth fund managers, economists and the media: about 2,500 participants in all. So who's coming and what will they be chattering about? The official co-chairs of the Forum are mostly well-known names: Tony Blair, of JP Morgan; James Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan; KV Kamath, MD and CEO of India's ICICI Bank; Henry Kissinger, chairman of Kissinger Associates; Indra K Noovi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; David J O'Reilly, chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation; and Wang Jianzhou, CEO of China Mobile Communications Corporation. The prominent role allotted to Mr Wang, while not entirely novel, is nonetheless significant. In 2008, for the first time, China will contribute more to the growth of the world economy than the United States. Double-digit growth in China should still just be possible this year, and it alone seems to stand between the world and a full-blown recession. Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) from China and elsewhere have already been busy re-capitalising the West's stricken banks. The recycling of trillions of dollars of trade surpluses and petro dollars means that such deals will become more prevalent. Davos will provide one more opportunity for distressed American investment bankers to bump into munificent Singaporean or Qatari or Chinese SWF managers.
Note: Yet these meetings are kept largely secret. Why isn't the media giving lots more coverage to this gathering of some of the most powerful people on the planet? For other reliable, verifiable reports on secret meetings of the power elite of the world, click here.
Who decides who'll be allowed on TV debates?
January 24, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Nevada Supreme Court's ruling allowing a cable network to exclude Rep. Dennis Kucinich from a Democratic presidential debate was barely a blip on the media radar screen. But in the long term, the court decision might prove to be [very] significant. It constituted the strongest judicial statement yet of news organizations' near-absolute power to control participation in pre-election forums. Kucinich, the Ohio congressman who polls in the low single digits but has a fervent following among his party's anti-war base, [charged] that the cable channel had promised to let him in when he met its standards, then abruptly changed those standards to keep him out. MSNBC said initially that the debate was open to Democrats who placed in the top four in a national poll. It invited Kucinich on Jan. 9 after a Gallup Poll a few days earlier ranked him fourth. But two days later, after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race, the channel narrowed its criteria to the top three candidates and withdrew Kucinich's invitation. The day before the debate, a Nevada judge ordered MSNBC to let Kucinich participate, saying the cable operator had entered into a binding contract that it couldn't rescind once the candidate accepted. The state's high court quickly granted review and, an hour before the debate, ruled 7-0 in the cable channel's favor. The bottom line: Debates, the public's sole opportunity to see competing candidates in a neutral setting, are the prerogative of the sponsoring organizations - typically, these days, the news media - which set the criteria and have free rein to alter them.
Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the electoral process, click here.
Mature Human Embryos Created From Adult Skin Cells
January 18, 2008, Washington Post
Scientists at a California company reported yesterday that they had created the first mature cloned human embryos from single skin cells taken from adults, a significant advance toward the goal of growing personalized stem cells for patients suffering from various diseases. Creation of the embryos -- grown from cells taken from the company's chief executive and one of its investors -- also offered sobering evidence that few, if any, technical barriers may remain to the creation of cloned babies. The study leader, who is also the medical director of a fertility clinic ... emphasized that he has no interest in cloning people. "It's unethical and it's illegal, and we hope no one else does it either," said Samuel H. Wood, chief executive of Stemagen in La Jolla, whose skin cells were cloned and who led the study. The closely held company hopes to make embryos that are clones, or genetic twins, of patients, then harvest stem cells from those embryos and grow them into replacement tissues. Opponents of research on human embryos lashed out at the approach. "This study seems to confirm that human cloning ... is technically possible," said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "It does not answer the ethical or social questions about the mass-production of developing human lives in order to destroy them. It only tells us that these questions are more urgent than ever." Other critics noted that scientists in Japan and Wisconsin recently discovered a way to "reprogram" stem cells directly from skin cells, without having to make embryos as a middle step. "In light of the recent cell reprogramming developments, cloning-based stem cell research is less justified than ever," said Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society.
Inquisition at JPL
January 16, 2008, Los Angeles Times
For the last four years, two robot rovers operated from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge have been moving across the surface of Mars, taking photographs and collecting information. It's an epic event in the history of exploration, one of many for which JPL's 7,000 civilian scientists and engineers are responsible -- when they're not fending off the U.S. government's attempts to conduct an intimidating and probably illegal inquisition into the intimate details of their lives. The problem began -- as so many have -- in the security mania that gripped the Bush administration after 9/11. Presidential Directive No. 12, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, directed federal agencies to adopt a uniform badge that could be used by employees and contractors to gain access to government facilities. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin ... directed Caltech, which has a contract to run JPL for NASA, to make sure all of the lab's employees complied. The government demanded that the scientists, in order to get the badges, fill out questionnaires on their personal lives and waive the privacy of their financial, medical and psychiatric records. The government also wanted permission to gather information about them by interviewing third parties. Twenty-eight of JPL's senior scientists sued in federal court to stop the government and Caltech from forcing them to agree to the background checks as the price of keeping their jobs. They point out that Griffin is one of those who remain skeptical that human actions contribute to global warming, and that some of JPL's near-Earth science has played a critical role in establishing the empirical case to the contrary. They see the background checks as the first step toward establishing a system of intimidation that might be used to silence inconvenient science.
Note: For many disturbing reports on threats to our civil liberties, click here.
South Carolina Primary Vulnerable to Fraud
January 16, 2008, CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight
Well, new questions tonight about the electronic voting machines that will be used in the upcoming South Carolina primary. Those voting machines do not have a paper trail, and as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, that could leave this election vulnerable to fraud and a possibility of recounting. KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Election activists warn the 11,400 ES&S voting machines used in the [South Carolina] primaries could malfunction. And without a paper trail, will not be able to be accurately recounted. This as New Hampshire begins recounting its results today. New Hampshire's recount [is] made possible by their paper trail. South Carolina's state attorney general defends its paperless system saying in the event of a botched election, "Our grand jury would investigate and we would prosecute any election fraud that goes on." But fraud isn't the only concern. HOLLY JACOBSON, VOTERACTION.ORG: It's not just that these systems can be tampered with, but also that the systems have been seemingly designed poorly, and they fail on Election Day. Fraud or intent for fraud aside, these systems just don't seem to work well. And that, we know. PILGRIM: In Sarasota County, Florida, in 2006, the congressional race tallied an alarmingly high number of missing votes, 18,000. In 2007, security concerns led Ohio to decommission a similar model to those that will be used in South Carolina. The South Carolina League of Women's Voters released a report this week, "This system has not been designed with security as a basic requirement and it should not be used for voting in South Carolina."
Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.
Food Allergies Stir a Mother to Action
January 9, 2008, New York Times
[Robyn O'Brien's] story is one of several in a new book, Healthy Child, Healthy World. About two years ago, she fed her youngest child scrambled eggs. The baby's face quickly swelled into a grotesque mask. Little Tory had a severe food allergy, and Ms. O'Brien's journey had begun. Her theory – that the food supply is being manipulated with additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides, causing increases in allergies, autism and other disorders in children – is not supported by leading researchers or the largest allergy advocacy groups. [But] record numbers of parents are heading to doctors concerned that their children are allergic to a long list of foods. States are passing laws requiring schools to have policies protecting children with food allergies. No one knows why the number of allergies seems to be on the rise. Ms. O'Brien and leading allergy researchers agree that few reliable studies on food allergies exist. The best estimates suggest that 4 to 8 percent of young children suffer from them. Many health professionals, though, agree that something is changing. The hygiene hypothesis intrigues many researchers. It holds that children are being exposed to fewer micro-organisms and, as a result, have weaker immune systems. "But this alone cannot account for the massive relative increase in food allergy compared with other allergic disease such as asthma," said Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg, the director of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. [Ms. O'Brien] chides top allergy doctors who are connected to Monsanto, the producer of herbicides and genetically modified seeds. She asserts that the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, the nation's leading food allergy advocacy group, is tainted by the money it receives from food manufacturers and peanut growers.
Wall Street paying record bonuses
January 8, 2008, New York Daily News/Bloomberg News
Wall Street's five biggest firms are paying a record $39 billion in bonuses for 2007. It was a year when three of the firms suffered their worst quarterly losses in history and shareholders lost over $80 billion. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns together awarded $65.6 billion in compensation and benefits last year to their 186,000 employees. That means year-end bonuses, at 60% of the total, exceeded the $36 billion distributed in 2006 when the industry reported all-time high profits. The firms have said they are eliminating at least 6,200 jobs amid mounting losses from the subprime mortgage mess. The payouts come as the economy slows, with unemployment rising, retail sales declining and new home foreclosures surging to a record. The industry's bonuses are larger than the gross domestic products of Sri Lanka, Lebanon or Bulgaria, and the average bonus of $219,198 is more than four times higher than the median U.S. household income in 2006, according to Census Bureau data. Shareholders in the securities industry endured their worst year since 2002, as Merrill and Bear Stearns slumped more than 40% and the CEOs at both firms gave up their jobs. Morgan Stanley fell 21% and Lehman dropped 16%. Only Goldman rose, gaining 7.9%.
Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable news on escalating income inequality, click here.
Oprah effect brings microlending to Main Street
January 7, 2008, ABC News
The credit crisis may be fouling up billion-dollar takeover deals, but if you're a poor African seamstress who needs a loan for a new sewing machine, you could not ask for a better borrowing market to expand your business. Anyone with $25 to spare and an Internet connection can now become an international microfinancier through Kiva, an organization that matches individual lenders with impoverished entrepreneurs in the developing world. Steve Thomas, 50, a property tax consultant in Chicago, got started by lending $50 to a man in Togo who makes a living refurbishing used sneakers for resale. The loan was repaid in full and Thomas has gone on to fund 83 other ventures ranging from a cyber cafe in Ecuador to a mushroom-growing enterprise in Moldova. Microlending has been in use for decades. Muhammad Yunus shared the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize with Grameen Bank, the lender he founded in the early 1980s to help empower Bangladesh's rural poor. Several other institutions have developed since then, but Kiva is the first to open direct microlending opportunities to the general public with an online platform. Kiva hit the publicity jackpot in September when Oprah Winfrey featured the organization on her daytime television program, attracting a tidal wave of interest from Middle America. Demand was so high the day the episode aired, every loan on the site was fulfilled. Since then, Kiva has limited lenders to a $25-portion of each loan, the average of which is about $600. Even with the $25 cap, Kiva's lenders manage to fully fund each loan in 0.97 days, on average. The recent holiday season brought a fresh crop of lenders -- Kiva sold $2.2 million in gift certificates, which the givers were able to print out from their own computers.
Note: For a treasure trove of stories about the amazing successes of microlending in raising some of the poorest out of destitution, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Drug Co. To Pay $515M Over Marketing
September 28, 2007, CBS News
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and a former subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. The civil settlement ... resolves a broad array of allegations against Bristol-Myers Squibb, dating from 1994 through 2005. Among them was a charge that the ... company illegally promoted the sale of Abilify, an anti-psychotic drug, for pediatric use and to treat dementia-related psychoses. Neither use is approved by the U.S. [FDA]. Although physicians are permitted to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, drug companies are prohibited from marketing them for uses that have not been approved by the FDA. U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said when pharmaceutical companies market drugs for unapproved uses, there is a potential risk that patients could be harmed, because the drugs have not been tested as rigorously as they are during the FDA approval process. The government also alleged the company paid illegal inducements in the form of consulting fees and trips to luxury resorts to influence doctors and other health care providers to buy and prescribe the company's drugs. The company's former generic drug subsidiary, Apothecon Inc., also was accused of giving illegal enticements to induce retail pharmacy and wholesale customers to buy its products. Bristol-Myers Squibb misreported its best price for the anti-depression drug Serzone, violating a law that requires drug companies to report their lowest price to Medicaid, prosecutors said. The company was selling Serzone to a larger commercial purchaser at a lower price, prosecutors said. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon also inflated prices for an assortment of oncology and generic drugs knowing that federal health care programs established reimbursement rates based on those prices, Sullivan said.
Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable information on corporate corruption, click here.
President Bush is trying to pardon himself
September 27, 2006, CNN
BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty right now. JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The House just passed President Bush's bill to redefine the treatment of detainees, and the Senate's expected to do the same thing tomorrow. Buried deep inside this legislation is a provision that will pardon President Bush and all the members of his administration of any possible crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of detainees dated all the way back to September 11, 2001. At least President Nixon had Gerald Ford to do his dirty work. President Bush is trying to pardon himself. Under the War Crimes Act, violations of the Geneva Conventions are felonies. In some cases, punishable by death. When the Supreme Court ruled the Geneva Conventions applied to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees, President Bush and his boys were suddenly in big trouble. They had been working these prisoners over pretty good. In an effort to avoid possible prosecution, they're trying to cram this bill through Congress before the end of the week when Congress adjourns. The reason there's such a rush to do this, if the Democrats get control of the House in November, well, this kind of legislation probably wouldn't pass. You want to know the real disgrace of what these people are about to do or are in the process of doing? Senator Bill Frist and Congressman Dennis Hastert ... apparently don't see anything wrong with this. I really do wonder sometimes what we're becoming in this country. The question is this: Should Congress pass a bill giving retroactive immunity to President Bush for possible war crimes?
Note: To watch a video clip of this broadcast, click here.
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FBI Nuclear Cover-up, 935 Lies to Start War, Sovereign Wealth at Davos