9/11 Commission's Ties to White House, Ruling Against Homeschooling, KBR Tax Evasion
Revealing News Articles
March 11, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the close ties between the 9/11 Commission's Executive Director Philip Zelikow and the White House, the shocking ruling by a California court against the homeschooling movement, tax evasion by Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), 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.
9/11 Commission Chief's Ties to White House
March 8, 2008, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
The members of Mike Hurley's [9/11 Commisson investigative] team were ... alarmed by the revelations, week by week, month by month, of how close the commission's chief director, Philip Zelikow, was to Rice and others at the White House. They learned early on about Zelikow's work on the Bush transition team in 2000 and early 2001, and about how much antipathy there was between him and ["Counterterrorism Czar"] Richard Clarke. They heard the stories about Zelikow's role in developing the "pre-emptive war" strategy at the White House in 2002. Zelikow's friendships with Rice and others were a particular problem for Warren Bass, since Rice and Clarke were at the heart of his part of the investigation. It was clear to some members of team that they could not have an open discussion in front of Zelikow about Rice and her performance as National Security Adviser. For Hurley's team, there was a reverse problem with Clarke. It was easy to talk about Clarke in Zelikow's presence, as long as the conversation centred on Clarke's failings at the NSC and his purported dishonesty. Long before Bass had seen Clarke's files, Zelikow made it clear to the team's investigators that Clarke should not be believed, that his testimony would be suspect. He argued that Clarke was a braggart who would try to rewrite history to justify his errors and slander his enemies, Rice in particular.
Note: This critique of the close ties to the White House of Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, is an excerpt from Philip Shenon's new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation. For an even deeper analysis of the Commission's failings, read WantToKnow.info team member David Ray Griffin's book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.
Homeschoolers' setback sends shock waves through state
March 7, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution. The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming. "At first, there was a sense of, 'No way,' " said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. "Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation." The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential. The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year. The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home. "California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.
Note: To support the ability of parents to teach their children at home and sign a petition with already over 100,000 signatories, click here.
Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore
March 6, 2008, Boston Globe
Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation's top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in [the Cayman Islands]. More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq - including about 10,500 Americans - are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands. The Defense Department has known since at least 2004 that KBR was avoiding taxes by declaring its American workers as employees of Cayman Islands shell companies. With an estimated $16 billion in contracts, KBR is by far the largest contractor in Iraq, with eight times the work of its nearest competitor. The no-bid contract it received in 2002 to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure and a multibillion-dollar contract to provide support services to troops have long drawn scrutiny because Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive from 1995 until he joined the Republican ticket with President Bush in 2000. The largest of the Cayman Islands shell companies - called Service Employers International Inc., which is now listed as having more than 20,000 workers in Iraq, according to KBR - was created two years before Cheney became Halliburton's chief executive. But a second Cayman Islands company called Overseas Administrative Services, which now is listed as the employer of 1,020 mostly managerial workers in Iraq, was established two months after Cheney's appointment.
Note: To read a powerful personal statement about the reality of war profiteering by a highly decorated Marine Corps general, click here.
National Dragnet Is a Click Away
March 6, 2008, Washington Post
Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information. As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of ... records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues. Those network efforts will begin expanding further this month, as some local and state agencies connect to a fledgling Justice Department system called the National Data Exchange, or N-DEx. The expanding police systems illustrate the prominent roles that private companies play in homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. They also underscore how the use of new data -- and data surveillance -- is evolving faster than the public's understanding or the laws intended to check government power and protect civil liberties. Three decades ago, Congress imposed limits on domestic intelligence activity after revelations that the FBI, Army, local police and others had misused their authority for years to build troves of personal dossiers and monitor political activists and other law-abiding Americans. Since those reforms, police and federal authorities have observed a wall between law enforcement information-gathering, relating to crimes and prosecutions, and more open-ended intelligence that relates to national security and [politics]. That wall is fast eroding following the passage of laws expanding surveillance authorities, the push for information-sharing networks, and the expectation that local and state police will play larger roles.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources of serious threats to civil liberties, click here.
Case renews debate on vaccine-autism link
March 5, 2008, CNN/Associated Press
Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund. Thousands of families are seeking compensation for disabilities they attribute to vaccines and a preservative. Medical and legal experts say the narrow wording and circumstances probably make the case an exception -- not a precedent for thousands of other pending claims. However, parents and advocates for autistic children see the case as a victory that may help certain others. Although the science on this is very limited, the girl's disorder may be more common in children with autism than in healthy ones. "It's a beginning," said Kevin Conway, a Boston, Massachusetts, lawyer representing more than 1,200 families with vaccine injury claims. "Each case is going to have to be proved on its individual merits. But it shows to me that the government has conceded that it's biologically plausible for a vaccine to cause these injuries. They've never done it before." Nearly 5,000 families are seeking compensation for autism or other developmental disabilities they say are caused by vaccines and a mercury-based preservative, thimerosal. It once was commonly used to prevent bacterial contamination but since 2001 has been used only in certain flu shots. Some cases contend that the cumulative effect of many shots given at once may have caused injuries. The cases are before a special "vaccine court" that doles out cash from a fund Congress set up to pay people injured by vaccines and to protect makers from damages as a way to help ensure an adequate vaccine supply.
Note: To read further highly informative reports from major media sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here.
Patriot missiles: Iraq Veterans Against the War
March 2, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Some of them will be okay. They will live with the secrets. They can dissociate from what happened in combat because it was part of the job. They will keep the secrets out of duty – the silence is part of a code, and they honour that code above all else. But for others, the secrets they keep are like a poison, slowly releasing toxins of shame and remorse. Who can they tell anyway? They talk to each other – other veterans who have seen what they've seen, done what they've done, and who can relate to the burden of carrying these secrets for the rest of their lives. In 1971, the protest group Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered at a hotel in Detroit. More than 100 veterans talked about the atrocities they had witnessed in southeast Asia. The event lasted for three days and was named Winter Soldier after Thomas Paine's famous article. "These are the times that try men's souls," he wrote of the terrible winter of 1776. This month, for four days in Washington, DC, beginning on March 13, there will be a second Winter Soldier gathering – 37 years after the first. Organised by the protest group Iraq Veterans Against the War, US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 attack on New York will testify about their experiences. They will present photographs and videos, recorded with mobile phones and digital cameras, to back up their allegations – of brutality, torture and murder. The veterans ... seek to shine a light on the bigger picture: that the Abu Ghraib prison regime and the Haditha massacre of innocent Iraqis are not isolated incidents perpetrated by "bad seeds" as the military suggests, but evidence of an endemic problem. They will say they were tasked to do terrible things and point the finger up the chain of command.
Note: For many revelations of the realities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, click here.
The Pentagon's Ray Gun
March 2, 2008, CBS News
What if we told you the Pentagon has a ray gun? And what if we told you it can stop a person in his tracks without killing or even injuring him? Well, it's true. You can't see it, you can't hear it, but ... you can feel it. Pentagon officials call it a major breakthrough. It's a gun that doesn't look anything like a gun: it's [a] flat dish antenna which shoots out a 100,000-watt beam at the speed of light, hitting any thing in its path with an intense blast of heat. An operator uses a joystick to zero in on a target. Visible only with an infrared camera, the gun, when fired emits a flash of white hot energy -- an electromagnetic beam made up of very high frequency radio waves. Officially called the "Active Denial System," it does penetrate the body, but just barely. What makes this a weapon like no other is it inflicts enough pain to make you instantly stop whatever it is you're doing. But the second you get out of the beam the pain vanishes. And as long as it's been used properly, there's no harm to your body. So far, the ray gun has been tested only against make-believe adversaries, protestors whose rage is about as real as the placards they're carrying. The ray gun has been tested on humans more than 11,000 times over ten years. The early tests, recorded with an infrared camera, were against people in their underwear so scientists could measure skin temperature. Their backs were turned so their eyes would not be exposed. Out of 11,000 tests there have been six cases of rashes and blisters, and two of more serious second degree burns. It's now cleared for full power on any part of the body.
Note: How strange that the tests involve "protestors" with "placards." What sort of enemy does the Pentagon have in mind? You and me? For many revealing reports on "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
Marion Cotillard's 9/11 conspiracy theory
March 1, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Oscar-winning Marion Cotillard was facing embarrasment with her new American public last night after it emerged that she doubted the official account of the September 11 attacks. The 32-year-old French star has swept this year's best actress awards, also receiving a Bafta, Golden Globe and a César for her performance as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. But the actress faces a potential backlash in the US over comments she made in an interview in France. Footage which surfaced on the internet showed her questioning the New York terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "I think we're lied to about a number of things," she said, singling out September 11. Referring to the two passenger jets flown into the World Trade Centre, Miss Cotillard said: "We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours. It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed." Miss Cotillard suggested that the towers, planned in the early 1960s, were an outdated "money sucker" which would have cost so much to modernise that it was easier to destroy them. Miss Cotillard, who was born and brought up in Paris, made the comments on Paris Première – Paris Dernière (Paris First – Paris Last), a programme first broadcast a year ago. They were largely ignored at the time, but appeared yesterday on a French website. Miss Cotillard's film career began in Luc Besson's 1998 film Taxi.
Note: For a revealing summary of many unanswered questions about what happened on 9/11, click here.
The Language of Autism
February 28, 2008, New York Times
Are people with autism trapped in their own world? Or are the rest of us just trapped in ours? After seeing 27-year-old Amanda Baggs ... you may rethink your views of the so-called "normal" world. Ms. Baggs, who lives in Burlington, Vt., is autistic and doesn't speak. But she has become an Internet sensation as a result of an unusual video she created called "In My Language." For the first three minutes of the video, she rocks, flaps her hands, waves a piece of paper, buries her face in a book and runs her fingers repeatedly across a computer keyboard, all while humming a haunting two-note tune. Then, the words "A Translation" appear on the screen. Although Ms. Baggs doesn't speak, she types 120 words a minute. Using a synthesized voice generated by a software application, Ms. Baggs types out what is going on inside her head. The movement, the noise, the repetitive behaviors are all part of Ms. Baggs' own "native" language, she says via her computerized voice. It's a language that allows her to have a "constant conversation" with her surroundings. "My language is not about designing words or even visual symbols for people to interpret. It is about being in a constant conversation with every aspect of my environment, reacting physically to all parts of my surroundings. Far from being purposeless, the way that I move is an ongoing response to what is around me. The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization that some people do not consider it thought at all. But it is a way of thinking in its own right." [Ms. Baggs'] video is a clarion call on behalf of people with cognitive disabilities whose way of communicating isn't understood by the rest of the world.
Note: If you want to expand your understanding of people and our world, don't miss the most amazing eight-minute video clip at the link above, or click here to view it now.
Loremo: The 'Low Resistance Mobile'
February 20, 2008, MSN
The idea is deceptively simple. Forget about fancy batteries, regenerative braking, and alternative fuels. Instead, make a car that's elegant in its minimalism and efficiency. The Loremo's German designers revisited the basics – engine efficiency, low weight, and minimal drag – to create a car that offers fuel-efficiency in the neighborhood of 130 to 150 miles per gallon. The Loremo is likely to dazzle drivers not with its acceleration, but with its ability to drive from New York to L.A. with only three stops at the pump. Loremo stands for low resistance mobile, and its engineers have stuck obsessively to this idea. By building the car around a 2-cylinder turbodiesel engine, and cutting back on weight, drag, and other excess fat such as side-opening doors, the Loremo puffs out a mere 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. This is about 40 grams less per kilometer than the tiny diesel smart. According to its creators, this will make the Loremo the most efficient production car ever sold. If the Loremo showed up as a concept on an auto show pedestal, it would certainly garner some attention. But the Loremo is not a car for dreamers; not only will it enter mass production next year, it will sport a base price attainable by mortal motorists: 15,000 euros (about U.S. $22,000). After its 2009 release in Europe, the Loremo will be redesigned to reach the North American market the following year. A $30,000, 3-cylinder GT model will also become available, offering better acceleration (0-60 in roughly 10 seconds, vs. 16 for the base model). Both hybrid and fully electric versions are also in the works.
Note: For many exciting, reliable reports on new energy and automobile technologies, click here.
Special note: For exciting developments on a new energy device based on Steorn technology, click here. We're getting closer all the time!!!
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9/11 Commission's Ties to White House, Ruling Against Homeschooling, KBR Tax Evasion