Scotland Yard on Bhutto Assassination, Martial Law Dangers, Border Searches
Revealing News Articles
February 10, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the results of the Scotland Yard investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the real dangers of martial law in the U.S., electronics searches of travelers at the US border, 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.
Head Injury Killed Bhutto, Report Said to Find
February 8, 2008, New York Times
Investigators from Scotland Yard have concluded that Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin's bullet, officials who have been briefed on the inquiry said Thursday. The findings support the Pakistani government's explanation of Ms. Bhutto's death in December, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Ms. Bhutto's supporters, other Pakistanis and medical experts. It is unclear how the Scotland Yard investigators reached such conclusive findings absent autopsy results or other potentially important evidence that was washed away by cleanup crews in the immediate aftermath of the blast. The British inquiry also determined that a lone gunman, whose image was captured in numerous photographs at the scene, also caused the explosion. Pakistani authorities originally said there were two assailants, based partly on photographs splashed across the front pages of the nation's leading newspapers. Scotland Yard said through a spokesman in London that it would have no comment on the Bhutto report until after it was made public. The findings are certain to be met with widespread skepticism, especially from Mrs. Bhutto's supporters who ... say they believe she was shot, as do people who were riding with Ms. Bhutto when she died on Dec. 27. The doctors who treated Ms. Bhutto told a member of the hospital board, an eminent lawyer, Athar Minallah, that she had most likely been shot.
Note: Why is it that offficial investigations into assassinations of major political figures always come up with "Lone Gunman" theories? For many revealing reports on assassinations from reliable sources, click here.
Rule by fear or rule by law?
February 4, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees. According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists." What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people? The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 ... allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who ... speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike. What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?
Note: This important warning from former U.S. Congressman Dan Hamburg and Lewis Seiler should be read in its entirety. For more chilling reports on serious threats to our civil liberties, click here.
Clarity Sought on Electronics Searches
February 7, 2008, Washington Post
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, [have filed] a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including which rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices. They also want to know the boundaries for asking travelers about their political views, religious practices and other activities potentially protected by the First Amendment. The lawsuit was inspired by two dozen cases, 15 of which involved searches of cellphones, laptops, MP3 players and other electronics. Almost all involved travelers of Muslim, Middle Eastern or South Asian background. "It's one thing to say it's reasonable for government agents to open your luggage," said David D. Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University. "It's another thing to say it's reasonable for them to read your mind and everything you have thought over the last year. What a laptop records is as personal as a diary but much more extensive. It records every Web site you have searched. Every e-mail you have sent. It's as if you're crossing the border with your home in your suitcase." Mark Rasch, a technology security expert with FTI Consulting and a former federal prosecutor, [said] "Your kid can be arrested because they can't prove the songs they downloaded to their iPod were legally downloaded," he said. "Lawyers run the risk of exposing sensitive information about their client. Trade secrets can be exposed to customs agents with no limit on what they can do with it. Journalists can expose sources, all because they have the audacity to cross an invisible line."
Note: For many recent stories on threats to our civil liberties, click here.
Time Runs Out for an Afghan Held by the U.S.
February 5, 2008, New York Times
Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was regarded here as a war hero, famous for ... a daring prison break he organized for three opponents of the Taliban government in 1999. But in 2003, Mr. Hekmati was arrested by American forces in southern Afghanistan when, senior Afghan officials ... contend, he was falsely accused by his enemies of being a Taliban commander himself. For the next five years he was held at the American military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he died of cancer on Dec. 30. The fate of Mr. Hekmati, the first detainee to die of natural causes at Guantanamo ... demonstrates the enduring problems of the tribunals at Guantanamo. Afghan officials, and some Americans, complain that detainees are effectively thwarted from calling witnesses in their defense, and that the Afghan government is never consulted on the detention cases, even when it may be able to help. Mr. Hekmati's case, officials who knew him said, shows that sometimes the Americans do not seem to know whom they are holding. In a report in February 2006 ... researchers at Seton Hall University School of Law ... concluded that no outside witnesses had ever been called to appear at Guantanamo. Lt. Col. Stephen E. Abraham ... stepped forward last June to criticize the tribunals. In a submission to the Supreme Court, he condemned them for relying on generalized evidence that would have been dismissed by any competent court, and as being devised to rubber-stamp the administration's assertion that the detainees had been correctly designated "enemy combatants" when they were captured and that they could be held indefinitely.
Turning physics on its ear
February 4, 2008, Toronto Star (Toronto's leading newspaper)
Thane Heins is nervous and hopeful. In four days the Ottawa-area native will travel to Boston where he'll demonstrate an invention that appears ... to operate as a perpetual motion machine. The audience, esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn, could either deflate Heins' heretical claims or add momentum to a 20-year obsession. Zahn is a leading expert on electromagnetic and electronic systems. In a rare move for any reputable academic, he has agreed to give Heins' creation an open-minded look rather than greet it with outright dismissal. The invention ... could moderately improve the efficiency of induction motors, used in everything from electric cars to ceiling fans. At best it means a way of tapping the mysterious powers of electromagnetic fields to produce more work out of less effort, seemingly creating electricity from nothing. Heins has modified his test so the effects observed are difficult to deny. He holds a permanent magnet a few centimetres away from the driveshaft of an electric motor, and the magnetic field it creates causes the motor to accelerate. Contacted by phone a few hours after the test, Zahn is genuinely stumped – and surprised. He said the magnet shouldn't cause acceleration. "It's an unusual phenomenon I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. To my mind this is unexpected and new," he [said]. "There are an infinite number of induction machines in people's homes and everywhere around the world. If you could make them more efficient, cumulatively, it could make a big difference."
Note: For a treasure trove of reports on new energy breakthroughs from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
Military Contractors Are Hard to Fire
February 2, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Contract personnel working for the Defense Department now outnumber U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; there are 196,000 private-sector workers in both countries compared to 182,000 troops. Contractors are responsible for a slew of duties, including repairing warfighting equipment, supplying food and water, building barracks, providing armed security and gathering intelligence. The dependence has come with serious consequences. A shortage of experienced federal employees to oversee this growing industrial army is blamed for much of the waste, fraud and abuse on contracts collectively worth billions of dollars. "We do not have the contracting personnel that we need to guarantee that the taxpayer dollar is being protected," said William Moser, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for logistics management. "We are very, very concerned about the integrity [of] the contracting process. We don't feel like ... we can continue in the same situation." The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has 52 open cases related to bribery, false billing, contract fraud, kickbacks and theft; 36 of those cases have been referred to the Justice Department for prosecution, according to the inspector general's office. The Army Criminal Investigation Command is busy, too. The command has 90 criminal investigations under way related to alleged contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Two dozen U.S. citizens have been charged or indicted so far – 19 of those are Army military and civilian employees – and more than $15 million in bribes has changed hands.
Note: For many more revelations of war profiteering, click here.
Rich countries owe poor a huge environmental debt
January 21, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
The environmental damage caused to developing nations by the world's richest countries amounts to more than the entire third world debt of $1.8 trillion, according to the first systematic global analysis of the ecological damage imposed by rich countries. There are huge disparities in the ecological footprint inflicted by rich and poor countries on the rest of the world because of differences in consumption. The authors say that the west's high living standards are maintained in part through the huge unrecognised ecological debts it has built up with developing countries. "At least to some extent, the rich nations have developed at the expense of the poor and, in effect, there is a debt to the poor," said Prof Richard Norgaard, an ecological economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. "That, perhaps, is one reason that they are poor. You don't see it until you do the kind of accounting that we do here." The researchers examined so-called "environmental externalities" or costs that are not included in the prices paid for goods but which cover ecological damage linked to their consumption. They focused on six areas: greenhouse gas emissions, ozone layer depletion, agriculture, deforestation, overfishing and converting mangrove swamps into shrimp farms. The team confined its calculations to areas in which the costs of environmental damage, for example in terms of lost services from ecosystems, are well understood. "We think the measured impact is conservative. And given that it's conservative, the numbers are very striking," said co-author Dr Thara Srinivasan, who is also at Berkeley.
Schweitzer seeks other governors to oppose REAL ID
January 19, 2008, Associated Press
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is urging a third of the nation's governors to join him in opposing the implementation of a national identification card, saying they can force Congress to change it. Schweitzer, who last year said "no, nope, no way, hell no" to the federal plan calling for national driver's licenses under the REAL ID Act, sent a letter yesterday to 17 other governors asking them to oppose a Department of Homeland Security effort to penalize states that have not adopted the mandate. Homeland Security has said recently that travelers from states that have not adopted the license will have to use a passport or certain types of federal border-crossing cards if they want to avoid a vigorous secondary screening at airport security.
Aptera's Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e: Exclusive Video Test Drive
December 21, 2007, Popular Mechanics
Three hundred miles per gallon and a Jetsons-style look are enough to get anyone excited. But ever since the word got out on it last month, Aptera's innovative Typ-1 three-wheeler has been the target of relentless theorizing and conjecture across the Web. Is it real? Does it have what it takes to be a practical vehicle for daily transport? Is it stable enough to drive? Does it even actually drive? Well we wondered some of those things, too, so we scouted out if a drivable prototype really exists. It does. This week we visited Aptera's headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., and became the very first outside of the company to hit the street in the Typ-1 e. And, as you can see from the video of our 20-mile test drive above, we're impressed. Aptera has two innovative models that are almost production-ready at $30,000 and below: for next year, the all-electric, 120-mile-range Typ-1 e that we drove; and, by 2009, the range-extended series gasoline Typ-1 h, which Aptera says will hit 300 mpg. A more conventional third model, called "Project X" or perhaps Typ-2, is now in the design phase, with plans for a four-wheeled chassis and seating up for to five passengers. For now, though, the Typ-1 will certainly do. Check out a full gallery for the inside scoop on all the specs from the shop and the street.
Note: To watch the video of the test drive of this exciting new vehicle, click on the article link above. For many exciting reports on new energy technologies and innovative vehicle designs, click here.
The Army's $200 Billion Makeover
December 7, 2007, Washington Post
In the [U.S.] Army's vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It's as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say. It's also one of the most controversial. Even as some early versions of these weapons make their way onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, members of Congress, government investigators and military observers question whether the Defense Department has set the stage for one of its biggest and costliest failures. At risk, they say, are billions of taxpayer dollars spent on exotic technology that may never come to fruition. Future Combat Systems "has some serious problems," said Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), chairman of the House air and land forces subcommittee. "Since its inception, costs have gone up dramatically while promised capability has steadily diminished." Today, the Army program involves more than 550 contractors and subcontractors in 41 states and 220 congressional districts. "When a program gets to a certain size, in the billions, it employs so many people in so many districts you can't kill it. It's kind of like the Titanic. How do you move it five degrees?" said a congressional staffer and former Army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing review of the program. The GAO said the cost has increased 79 percent, to $163.7 billion, from $91.4 billion, its original estimate in 2003.
Note: For highly revealing reports from major media sources on corruption in government contracting, click here.
Special note: For those with interest in UFOs, you can find a fascinating website detailing the suspected knowledge of U.S. presidents of this phenomenon at http://www.presidentialufo.com. For those who are interested in what we believe to be key, new, reliable information on 9/11 from a non-media source, click here.
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Scotland Yard on Bhutto Assassination, Martial Law Dangers, Border Searches