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RFK's Assassination Unsolved, NASA Science Politicized, Secret U.S. Prison Ships
Revealing News Articles
June 4, 2008

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the unsolved assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), an internal report on politicized climate science at NASA, new evidence of secret U.S. prison ships, 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.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

40 years after RFK's death, questions linger
June 3, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/03/MNN110S5KH.DTL

Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of killing Robert F. Kennedy 40 years ago this week in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, is living out his days in the California state prison at Corcoran. He is 64 and has never fully explained what happened that night other than to say he can't remember it. "The interesting thing is how under-examined the Robert Kennedy assassination is, compared to President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.," said David Talbot of San Francisco, author of Brothers, a book that looks into Robert Kennedy's own investigation into his brother's death and his conviction that JFK was the victim of a conspiracy. "Bobby remains the unknown territory," Talbot said. "But even if you look at it minimally, there are questions that come to mind." Over the years, Sirhan has told investigators who interviewed him in prison that he was in a hypnotic trance during the shooting and can't remember it at all. William Turner, a retired FBI agent who wrote a book about the case, ... thinks Sirhan was "hypno-programmed to shoot" and that he was a real-life Manchurian Candidate - [a] brainwashed dupe whose controllers want to assassinate a presidential candidate. Turner suspects the same villains as do the JFK conspiracy theorists - "organized crime and, predominantly, people from the CIA." [Philip Van Praag, a retired electrical engineer and audio expert,] and a fellow investigator, former American Academy of Forensic Scientists president Robert Joling, ... have written a book about the killing, whose title, An Open and Shut Case, is a dig at the police investigation. Joling says an "independent panel of forensic scientists" should be created to "reinvestigate this matter on all the evidence."

Note: To listen to a highly revealing presentation by Sirhan's lawyer, Lawrence Teeter, on the many lines of evidence proving Sirhan was not a lone gunman, click here. For further revealing reports on major political assassinations, click here.

Climate Findings Were Distorted, Probe Finds
June 3, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/02/AR2008060202698.html

An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency's public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years. The probe came at the request of 14 senators after The Washington Post and other news outlets reported in 2006 that Bush administration officials had monitored and impeded communications between NASA climate scientists and reporters. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has campaigned publicly for more stringent limits on greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, told The Post and The New York Times in September 2006 that he had been censored by NASA press officers, and several other agency climate scientists reported similar experiences. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are two of the government's lead agencies on climate change issues. From the fall of 2004 through 2006, the report said, NASA's public affairs office "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public." It noted elsewhere that "news releases in the areas of climate change suffered from inaccuracy, factual insufficiency, and scientific dilution." The report found "by a preponderance of the evidence, that the claims of inappropriate political interference made by the climate change scientists and career public affairs officers were ... persuasive."

Note: For lots more on global warming from reliable sources, click here.

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships
June 2, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/02/usa.humanrights/

The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees. Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners. The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped. According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations. Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans. Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights."

Note: For many other investigations of the reality of the "war on terror", click here.

Artist Trevor Paglen has his eye on satellites
May 31, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/30/DD6R10US53.DTL

For four decades, the United States has been filling the outer reaches of our atmosphere with 189 reconnaissance satellites. And for several years, artist-geographer Trevor Paglen has been keeping his eye on them. "The Other Night Sky," ... at the Berkeley Art Museum, is a result of Paglen's nocturnal efforts. "When you look at the number of satellites, what they're doing and what they represent, it is really a vision of trying to have the world in your clutches," says Paglen in his disheveled office in UC Berkeley's geography department. "[T]his project is trying to think about what ... looking at the night sky in search of truth means today." "The Other Night Sky" is not Paglen's first foray into extended studies of secret military projects. Six years ago - while working on a project about the California penal system that involved examining satellite photos of prisons - he stumbled on some classified military sites. At the time, the war on terror was in full bloom and a number of rumors about secret sites had begun to circulate. "We knew the CIA had to be running secret prisons around the world," Paglen says. "It was not in the news, but you could tell - people were being rounded up but were not being put in our jails. These hidden military sites I stumbled upon seemed really relevant to the idea that the state was disappearing people." Through numerous information requests at the national and state levels, he generated reams of knowledge about the United States' secret rendition program that was not then making news. That he had time to pursue it gave Paglen a sense of moral responsibility.

Note: Trevor Paglen's new book, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World presents peculiar shoulder patches created for the weird and top secret programs funded by the Pentagon's black budget. His 2006 book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights, was the first to focus on extraordinary rendition -- when the CIA takes captives to countries where they can be tortured or jailed without due process.

Act on climate change, top scientists warn US
May 30, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/30/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange1

A group of 1,700 leading scientists called on the US government yesterday to take the lead in fighting global warming. Citing the "unprecedented and unanticipated" effects of global warming, the scientists, including six Nobel prizewinners, presented a letter calling for an immediate reduction in US carbon emissions. The letter, issued by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists, warns: "If emissions continue unabated, our nation and the world will face more sea level rise, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, snowmelt, flood risk, and public health threats, as well as increased rates of plant and animal species extinctions." The White House joined in the chorus of gloom when it issued a long-delayed report bringing together research into global warming. The report was issued after environmental groups won a court order last year enforcing a statute that obliges the government to produce an assessment of global warming every four years. Described as "a litany of bad news in store for the US", the report catalogues threats from drought, natural disaster, insect infestation and energy shortages. The scientists call on the government to "reduce emissions on the order of 80% below 2000 levels by 2050." As a first step, the scientists call for a 15-20% reduction on 2000 levels by 2020. "There is no time to waste," the letter concludes. "The most risky thing we can do is nothing." Another group of climate scientists warned yesterday that a "curious optimism ... pervades the political arenas of the G8 and UN climate meetings. The authors are part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but stress in this paper they do not represent the panel.

Note: For lots more on global warming from reliable sources, click here.

White House 'puzzled' by ex-spokesman's book bashing Bush
May 28, 2008, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/27/mcclellan.book/index.html

The White House ... said it was "puzzled" by a former spokesman's memoir in which he accuses the Bush administration of being mired in propaganda and political spin and at times playing loose with the truth. In excerpts from [his recently released book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception], Scott McClellan writes on the war in Iraq that Bush "and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war." McClellan's former White House colleagues had harsh reactions to McClellan's book. Fox News contributor and former White House adviser Karl Rove said on that network Tuesday that the excerpts from the book he's read sound more like they were written by a "left-wing blogger" than his former colleague. Another former Bush aide-turned-critic says the reaction to McClellan's book by his former colleagues has a familiar ring to it. "They're saying some of the exact same things about McClellan they said about me," Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief, told CNN. Clarke left government in 2003. The following year, he accused President Bush of ignoring warnings about the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington and of using the attacks to push for war with Iraq. Early in the book ... McClellan wrote that he believes he told untruths on Bush's behalf in the case of CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked to the media. "I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood," he wrote.

Was Press a War 'Enabler'? 2 Offer a Nod From Inside
May 30, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/washington/30press.html

In his new memoir, What Happened, Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, said the national news media neglected their watchdog role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, calling reporters "complicit enablers" of the Bush administration's push for war. Surprisingly, some prominent journalists have agreed. Katie Couric, the anchor of "CBS Evening News," said ... that she had felt pressure from government officials and corporate executives to cast the war in a positive light. Speaking on "The Early Show" on CBS, Ms. Couric said the lack of skepticism shown by journalists about the Bush administration's case for war amounted to "one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism."She also said she sensed pressure from "the corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kind of dissent or any kind of questioning of it." At the time, Ms. Couric was a host of "Today" on NBC. Another broadcast journalist also weighed in. Jessica Yellin, who worked for MSNBC in 2003 and now reports for CNN, said ... that journalists had been "under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation." For five years, antiwar activists and media critics have claimed that the national news media failed to keep the White House accountable before the invasion. Greg Mitchell, the author of So Wrong for So Long, a book about press and presidential failures on the war, argues that some media organizations have yet to come to terms with their role.

Note: For a powerful overview of the media cover-up by top, award-winning journalists, click here.

US academic deported and banned for criticising Israel
May 26, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/26/israelandthepalestinians.usa

Norman Finkelstein, the controversial Jewish American academic and fierce critic of Israel, has been deported from the country and banned from the Jewish state for 10 years, it emerged yesterday. Finkelstein, the son of a Holocaust survivor who has accused Israel of using the genocidal Nazi campaign against Jews to justify its actions against the Palestinians, was detained by the Israeli security service, Shin Bet, when he landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Friday. Shin Bet interrogated him for around 24 hours. "I did my best to provide absolutely candid and comprehensive answers to all the questions put to me," [he said.] "I have nothing to hide. Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn't much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organisations." Finkelstein is one of several scholars rejected by Israel in the increasingly bitter divide in academic circles, between those who support and those who criticise its treatment of Palestinians. Finkelstein was also refused tenure last year at Chicago's DePaul University. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said the deportation of Finkelstein was an assault on free speech. "The decision to prevent someone from voicing their opinions by arresting and deporting them is typical of a totalitarian regime," said the association's lawyer, Oded Peler. "A democratic state, where freedom of expression is the highest principle, does not shut out criticism or ideas just because they are uncomfortable for its authorities to hear. It confronts those ideas in public debate."

USDA axes national survey charting pesticide use
May 22, 2008, Associated Press
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jOv_zmzZkXkBWLHq5KSkc7WaHZNQD90QJCA80

Consumers and farmers will soon be on their own when it comes to finding out which pesticides are being sprayed on everything from corn to apples. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said ... it plans to do away with publishing its national survey tracking pesticide use, despite opposition from prominent scientists, the nation's largest farming organizations and environmental groups. "If you don't know what's being used, then you don't know what to look for," said Charles Benbrook, chief scientist at The Organic Center, a nonprofit in Enterprise, Ore. "In the absence of information, people can be lulled into thinking that there are no problems with the use of pesticides on food in this country." Since 1990, farmers and consumer advocates have relied on the agency's detailed annual report to learn which states apply the most pesticides and where bug and weed killers are most heavily sprayed to help cotton, grapes and oranges grow. The U.S. [EPA] also uses the fine-grained data when figuring out how chemicals should be regulated, and which pesticides pose the greatest risk to public health. Joe Reilly, ... at the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said the program was cut because the agency could no longer afford to spend the $8 million the survey sapped from its $160 million annual budget. "Unless new funds are made available there's not much that we can do," Reilly said. "What we'll end up doing is understanding pesticide use through getting accident reports," said Steve Scholl-Buckwald, managing director at the San Francisco nonprofit Pesticide Action Network. "And that's a lousy way to protect public health."

Note: For many important reports on health issues from major media sources, click here.

Contaminated sand slated for Idaho dump site
May 2, 2008, Seattle Times/Associated Press
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004387018_apidtoxicsand1stldwritethru.html

Nearly 80 rail cars loaded with contaminated sand from Kuwait are headed toward a dump in southwestern Idaho. American Ecology Corp. is shipping about 6,700 tons of sand containing traces of depleted uranium and lead to a hazardous waste disposal site 70 miles southeast of Boise. The company has previously disposed of low-level radioactive waste and hazardous materials from U.S. military bases overseas at facilities in Idaho, Nevada and Texas, said American Ecology spokesman Chad Hyslop, who is based in Boise. "As you can imagine, the host countries of those bases don't want the waste in their country," Hyslop said. Neither do leaders of the Snake River Alliance, a nuclear watchdog group, who have vowed to monitor the site. "Depleted uranium is both a toxic metal and a radioactive substance," said Andrea Shipley, the group's executive director. "That is a concern." The sand coming to Idaho from Camp Doha, a U.S. Army Base in Kuwait, was contaminated with uranium after military vehicles and munitions caught fire during the first Iraq war in 1991. Depleted uranium, twice as dense as lead, has been used as a component in armor plating to protect tanks and for armor-piercing projectiles. American Ecology operates the only commercial hazardous waste disposal site in Idaho on 1,100 acres of land in the Owyhee desert. Disposal operations cover 100 acres in the middle of the property, Hyslop said, and about a third of the material disposed at the Idaho site is from the U.S. military. The company disposed of uranium-contaminated Bradley fighting vehicles there in 2006.

Note: If Kuwait is rejecting this contaminated sand, why is the U.S. taking it?

Interest escalates in doctor's African mission
June 1, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/01/MNLQ1100G1.DTL

Dr. Frank Artress, the former Modesto cardiac anesthesiologist turned African bush doctor, has found little time to eat since his story went around the world a month ago. Artress nearly died from high-altitude pulmonary edema while on a 2002 trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, prompting him and his wife, Susan Gustafson, to make a 180-degree life change. They sold everything they owned and moved from Modesto to Tanzania to administer health care in one of the poorest nations in the world. They wanted to give back to the people who ran Artress down the mountain on a stretcher while singing Swahili prayer songs. Every year since, the couple have spent one month in the United States, fundraising at house parties and collecting checks from friends and family. The donations helped them open a small clinic last month in Karatu, where they have already treated patients with broken bones and chronic seizures. In recent weeks, interest in their work has multiplied as Artress' story, about the social power of the individual, has spread on the Internet. The outpouring comes as philanthropy is becoming more personal, through microloans or community service projects in public schools. With technology exposing the plight of the world's poor, volunteerism is on the rise and the Bay Area tops the list of the most-generous regions. Two decades ago, bookstores were filled with best-sellers about how to make a million. Today, books such as Three Cups of Tea and Mountains Beyond Mountains are best-sellers that inspire humanitarian activism and are helping raise millions of dollars for charity.


Special note:
For a fun and highly unusual video clip of a dog, a cat and a rat who became friends, click here.

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RFK's Assassination Unsolved, NASA Science Politicized, Secret U.S. Prison Ships