Saudis Threaten Terror in UK, Release of
JFK Evidence, USDA Lapses
Revealing News Articles
February 24, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on Saudi threats to enable terror attacks in the UK, the release of evidence from the assassination of JFK, lapses by the USDA in its regulation of meat safety, 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.
BAE: secret papers reveal threats from Saudi prince
February 15, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday. Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence. Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE. He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family. The threats halted the fraud inquiry. Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have "rolled over" after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government. The SFO investigation began in 2004, when Robert Wardle, its director, studied evidence unearthed by the Guardian. This revealed that massive secret payments were going from BAE to Saudi Arabian princes, to promote arms deals. Yesterday, anti-corruption campaigners began a legal action to overturn the decision to halt the case. They want the original investigation restarted, arguing the government had caved into blackmail.
Note: This report comes very close to confirming the close link between terrorist attacks and high-level policy of certain states. For many revealing clues along these lines from reliable sources, click here.
New Trove Opened in Kennedy Killing
February 19, 2008, New York Times
The Kennedy assassination ... re-entered the spotlight ... Monday, after the Dallas district attorney unveiled the contents of a safe that had been secret for more than 40 years. Inside were clothing worn by Lee Harvey Oswald; a small, tooled leather holster belonging to his killer, Jack Ruby; and piles of typed, old, crackling documents. Perhaps the most intriguing item was what purports to be a transcript of a conversation Ruby had with Oswald at Ruby's Dallas nightclub, the Carousel, in which they plot to kill Kennedy to satisfy organized crime bosses. The trove of material connected to the assassination was collected by the former district attorney, Henry M. Wade, who prosecuted Ruby and continued in office until 1987. Mr. Wade died in 2001. The documents have not been examined by outside experts. Once the material is cataloged and images scanned into computers, it will be donated to a museum and made available to the public. Although his predecessors had chosen to keep the material in a safe on the 10th floor of the Dallas County Courthouse for decades, [Craig Watkins, who became district attorney last year,] said he saw no reason to do so. "We decided that this information is too important to keep secret," he said. In addition to the transcript, he displayed two sets of brass knuckles that belonged to Ruby, and a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Dallas police chief, contending that Ruby's sister said her family had somehow obtained a police report on the preparations for Kennedy's visit to Dallas.
Note: For lots of revealing information on the JFK and other assassinations, click here.
What FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds found in translation
February 17, 2008, Dallas Morning News
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistle-blower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington's highest levels – sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. Ms. Edmonds' account is full of dates, places and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators. But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Ms. Edmonds' case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. Ms. Edmonds' revelations have attracted corroboration in the form of anonymous letters apparently written by FBI employees. There have been frequent reports of FBI field agents being frustrated by the premature closure of cases dealing with foreign spying, particularly when those cases involve Israel, and the State Department has frequently intervened to shut down investigations based on "sensitive foreign diplomatic relations." Curiously, the state-secrets gag order binding Ms. Edmonds, while put in place by DOJ in 2002, was not requested by the FBI but by the State Department and Pentagon – which employed individuals she identified as being involved in criminal activities. If her allegations are frivolous, that order would scarcely seem necessary.
Advertisers using 'directed sound' to get in your head
February 19, 2008, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta's leading newspaper)
If you hear mysterious voices in your head the next time you stroll down the street, they may be trying to sell you something. That was the case recently in New York when people walking beneath a billboard for the A&E show "Paranormal State" suddenly heard a woman's disembodied voice whisper: "Who's there? Who's there?" and "It's not your imagination." The creepy effect was caused by technology called Audio Spotlight that projects sound in a focused beam so only people in a certain spot can hear it. "The idea of directing sound was a real uphill battle when we first started, but all of a sudden people are coming to us saying, 'We have to have directional sound. We don't want all this noise in our store,' " said Woody Norris, founder of American Technology Corp. in San Diego. Norris said he has sold many units for use with video screens in checkout lines in ... grocery stores so audio can reach waiting customers without constantly bombarding store workers. While some of the advertising applications are recent, directed sound is often used in museums and other places where sound must be focused on people standing in front of an exhibit or display without disturbing those around them. Smithsonian museums in Washington have used [such] systems [as have] the New York Public Library, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and ... the observation deck of the Seattle Space Needle. Directed-sound devices ... use narrow beams of ultrasound waves that can't be heard by human ears. The beam distorts air as it passes through, generating sound people can hear along its length.
Note: It's not hard to imagine non-advertising uses for this invasive technology. Could it possibly be used to influence people's thinking in ways other than advertising?
Lawmakers blast USDA for food inspection lapses
February 19, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Lawmakers and watchdog groups had harsh words Monday for the U.S. Department of Agriculture after the agency ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse. Beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. of Chino (San Bernardino County) are subject to the recall, which is the largest such action in U.S. history. The notice came after the Humane Society of the United States shot undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts - treatment that has also triggered an animal-abuse investigation. A congresswoman who chairs a House subcommittee that determines funding levels for the USDA sent a letter ... to the agency's undersecretary for food safety demanding an explanation of the Westland case before a March 5 budgetary review hearing. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chairwoman of the House Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, called the scenes in the video inhumane and said the video "demonstrates just how far our food safety system has collapsed." DeLauro has called for an investigation into the government's ability to secure the safety of meat in the nation's schools. Westland was a major supplier of beef for the National School Lunch Program. She also asked how the agency is addressing staff shortages among slaughterhouse inspectors - an issue also raised by several food safety experts and watchdog groups. According to Felicia Nestor, a senior policy analyst with Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, anywhere from 7 to 21 percent of slaughterhouse inspector positions have been left vacant by the USDA, depending on the district. "They just don't fill vacancies," Nestor said.
Note: For many revealing articles from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Cancer and the bacterial connection
February 18, 2008, Los Angeles Times
Today, some scientists think [that] germs can teach our bodies how to fight back against tumors. Dr. John Timmerman, a cancer immunotherapy expert at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, says this revolution has produced "the most exciting sets of compounds in cancer immunology." New studies are revealing that certain cancers may be reduced by exposure to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The studies also imply that our cleaner, infection-free lifestyles may be contributing to the rise in certain cancers over the last 50 years, scientists say, because they make the immune system weaker or less mature. Germs cause disease but may also fortify the body, a notion summed up in a 2006 report by a team of Canadian researchers as "whatever does not kill me makes me stronger." In the 1980s, dermatologists began noticing that patients with severe acne, which is caused by another type of bacterium, have reduced rates of skin cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. According to a paper by Dr. Mohammad Namazi at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran, studies showed that these bacteria, when injected into animals, appear to stimulate the immune system and shrink tumors. In reports published in the last two years, Harvey Checkoway, a University of Washington epidemiologist, has found that female cotton workers in Shanghai have a 40% to 60% lower risk of lung, breast, and pancreas cancer than other factory workers. Other recent studies by Giuseppe Mastrangelo at the University of Padua in Italy found that dairy farmers exposed to high levels of manure dust are up to five times less likely to develop lung cancer than their colleagues who work in open fields.
Note: For exciting reports of promising new approaches to curing cancer, click here.
Justice Official Defends Rough CIA Interrogations
February 17, 2008, Washington Post
The Bush administration allowed CIA interrogators to use tactics that were "quite distressing, uncomfortable, even frightening," as long as they did not cause enough severe and lasting pain to constitute illegal torture, a senior Justice Department official said last week. In testimony before a House subcommittee, Steven G. Bradbury, the acting chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, spelled out how the administration regulated the CIA's use of rough tactics and offered new details of how [waterboarding] was used to compel disclosures by prisoners. Bradbury indicated that no water entered the lungs of the three prisoners who were subjected to the practice, lending credence to previous accounts that the noses and mouths of CIA captives were covered in cloth or cellophane. Cellophane could pose a serious asphyxiation risk, torture experts said. Bradbury's unusually frank testimony ... stunned many civil liberties advocates and outside legal scholars who have long criticized the Bush administration's secretive and aggressive interrogation policies. Martin S. Lederman, a former Office of Legal Counsel official who teaches law at Georgetown University, called Bradbury's testimony "chilling." Lederman said that "to say that this is not severe physical suffering -- is not torture -- is absurd. And to invoke the defense that what the Spanish Inquisition did was worse and that we use a more benign, non-torture form of waterboarding . . . is obscene." Bradbury wrote two secret memos in 2005 that authorized waterboarding, head-slapping and other harsh tactics by the CIA. As a result of that and other issues, Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked Bradbury's nomination to head the legal counsel's office permanently.
U.S. Officials Divulge Reports On Confidential U.N. Audits
February 17, 2008, Washington Post
The Bush administration has been posting hundreds of highly confidential U.N. audits and investigation reports on a U.S. government Web site, opening the United Nations' inner workings and some of its more colorful scandals to unusual public scrutiny. Together, the nearly 500 documents and thousands of pages constitute a trove of U.N. secrets stretching back over five years, including allegations of bribes paid for tsunami relief projects in Indonesia, of sexual harassment in Gaza and a revelation that a U.N. anti-drug official ran a presidential campaign while receiving a U.N. paycheck. The pages also document a spree of alleged criminal activities, including a bribery scheme at the airport in Pristina, Kosovo, gold trading by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo, and the theft and resale of food rations by Ukrainian pilots serving the United Nations in Liberia. Mark D. Wallace, the U.S. representative for U.N. management and reform, has posted 477 documents. Most of the names of those targeted in the reports have been redacted by the United Nations, but the identities are easily deciphered. For years, the United Nations has guarded the confidentiality of its audits, saying they are meant as constructive criticism for managers. Their disclosure by the United States has generated a mixed reaction from U.N. officials: One said it was ironic that an administration that has placed such a premium on secrecy would be so transparent about the United Nations.
Note: For many reliable reports on increasing government secrecy, click here.
U.S. expanding the law - domestic and foreign - to benefit corporations
February 17, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
As a U.S. taxpayer, you may be contributing to fewer cheap drugs on international shelves. Public dollars support the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the trade agency with authority to pressure foreign governments to change their domestic intellectual property laws. As such, the agency actively presses for laws that would keep generic drugs out of markets worldwide. Congress is considering legislation to create a separate executive branch office dedicated to using government resources for lobbying other countries to change their laws, sometimes exclusively to benefit certain U.S. companies. That's a bad idea for patients here and abroad, because it would give the U.S. government more power in an area where it should instead have less. The trade agency's interpretation of what other countries' domestic laws need to cover expands beyond the broadest definitions within U.S. law. To give one example, data gathered during clinical trials of new drugs are not protected by copyright, patent or trademark in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration restricts use of test results finding that a brand-name drug is safe when considering the safety of identical generic drugs. The trade representative is using its authority to press for comparable rules restricting the approval process for generic drugs in other countries. It doesn't take much sleuthing to follow the money back to the U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers on the trade agency's advisory panel, who can maintain monopolist profits while a generic drug is blocked from the market in Guatemala, Malaysia or any of the dozen other countries that the trade agency is pressuring to adopt U.S.-style restrictions on generic drug approval.
Note: For more reports on the power of the pharmaceutical industry to influence government policy, click here.
Climate scientist they could not silence
February 10, 2008, Times of London
The trap was sprung in February 2006. The White House ordered that Dr Jim Hansen was to be denied the oxygen of publicity forthwith. He was to be banned from appearing in newspapers and on TV and radio. He was effectively to disappear. It was the kind of treatment that might be reserved for terrorists, criminals or, in a totalitarian regime, for political dissidents. Hansen, however, was none of these things. The director of NASA's renowned Goddard space science laboratories was a dry, rather self-effacing climate change scientist with a worldwide reputation for accurate and high-quality research. Hansen's visit to London last week was partly inspired by the decision to approve construction of a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent. This, Hansen wants to warn us, is a recipe for global warming disaster. The recent warm winters that Britain has experienced are a clear sign that the climate is changing, he says. "We are fast approaching a series of tipping points. Changes such as the melting of the Arctic ice cap, the acidification of the oceans and the global rises in temperature could be approaching the point of becoming irreversible. In the face of such threats it is madness to propose a new generation of power plants based on burning coal, which is the dirtiest and most polluting of all the fossil fuels. We need a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants and we must phase out the existing ones within two decades."
Note: For lots more reliable information on global warming, click here.
Fraud Crackdown Comes With a Loophole
February 13, 2008, ABC News/Associated Press
A Bush administration plan to crack down on contract fraud has a multibillion-dollar loophole: The proposal to force companies to report abuse of taxpayer money will not apply to work overseas, including projects to secure and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. For decades, contractors have been asked to report internal fraud or overpayment on government-funded projects. Compliance has been voluntary, and over the past 15 years the number of company-reported fraud cases has declined steadily. Now, the Justice Department wants to force companies to notify the government if they find evidence of contract abuse of more than $5 million. Failure to comply could make a company ineligible for future government work. The proposal, now in the final approval stages, specifically exempts "contracts to be performed outside the United States," according to a notice published last month in the Federal Register. Critics including the watchdog group Taxpayers Against Fraud said the overseas exemption raises suspicions. "I hate to sound cynical, but what lobbyist working for a contractor in Iraq wanted this get-out-of-jail card?" asked Patrick Burns, spokesman for the government watchdog group. "I'm not saying that's the way it went - I'm just suggesting that's the most logical line to draw. I think somebody's got some explaining to do." After the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. poured billions of dollars into projects [in] those nations. With the money came the fraud. At least $14 million has been lost in bribes alone over the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated $350 billion is spent on government contracts annually, according to the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
Note: For many additional reports from reliable sources on war profiteering, click here.
Australia Says 'Sorry' to Aborigines for Mistreatment
February 13, 2008, New York Times
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd opened a new chapter in Australia's tortured relations with its indigenous peoples on Wednesday with a comprehensive and moving apology for past wrongs and a call for bipartisan action to improve the lives of Australia's Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This was "Government business, motion No. 1," the first act of Mr. Rudd's Labor government, which was sworn in Tuesday after a convincing electoral win over the 11-year administration of John Howard, who had for years refused to apologize for the misdeeds of past governments. Mr. Rudd's apology was particularly addressed to the so-called Stolen Generations, the tens of thousands of indigenous children who were removed, sometimes forcibly, from their families in a policy of assimilation that only ended in the 1970s. "We apologize especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country," Mr. Rudd said. "For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry." Mr. Rudd recognized that the apology itself was symbolic. [He] suggested a "war cabinet" on indigenous policy. And there are deep challenges. Many indigenous Australians live on the margins of society. Aboriginal life expectancy is 17 years shorter than for other Australians, indigenous unemployment runs three times the rate of the country as a whole and the incidence of crime and alcoholism is significantly higher in indigenous communities.
Special note: For a list of excellent information on top health cover-ups from Dr. Mercola, one of the most respected researchers in this field, click here.
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Saudis Threaten Terror in UK, Release of JFK Evidence, USDA Lapses