Gold Prices Soar, Economic Crisis Top "Security Threat" for US, Massive Fraud in Iraq
Revealing News Articles
February 20, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the soaring price of gold as investors seek protection from government debt, the testimony to the Senate of the new US Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, that the unfolding global economic crisis is the biggest security threat to "American interests", revelations of massive fraud by the US military and contractors in Iraq, 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.
A 'fraud' bigger than Madoff
February 16, 2009, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn ... in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme. "I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad," said one US businessman active in Iraq since 2003. Iraqi leaders are convinced that the theft or waste of huge sums of US and Iraqi government money could have happened only if senior US officials were themselves involved in the corruption. American federal investigators are now starting an inquiry into the actions of senior US officers involved in the programme to rebuild Iraq. In the expanded inquiry by federal agencies, the evidence of a ... US businessman called Dale C Stoffel who was murdered after leaving the US base at Taiji north of Baghdad in 2004 is being re-examined. Before he was killed, Mr Stoffel, an arms dealer and contractor, was granted limited immunity from prosecution after he had provided information that a network of bribery – linking companies and US officials awarding contracts – existed within the US-run Green Zone in Baghdad. He said bribes of tens of thousands of dollars were regularly delivered in pizza boxes sent to US contracting officers.
Note: To read a former Marine Corps general's exposure of the high-level criminality and profiteering that is the real purpose behind war, click here. For many powerful revelations from reliable sources of government corruption, click here.
Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear
February 14, 2009, Washington Post/Associated Press
Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo's first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement -- the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business. Neely has now come forward in this final year of the detention center's existence, saying he wants to publicly air his feelings of guilt and shame about how some soldiers behaved as the military scrambled to handle the first alleged al-Qaida and Taliban members arriving at the isolated U.S. Navy base. His account, one of the first by a former guard describing abuses at Guantanamo, describes a chaotic time when soldiers lacked clear rules for dealing with detainees who were denied many basic comforts. He says the circumstances changed quickly once monitors from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived. As Neely put it in an interview with The Associated Press this week, "The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong." Neely, a ... Texan who served for a year in Iraq after his six months at Guantanamo, received an honorable discharge last year ... and now works as a law enforcement officer in the Houston area. He is also president of the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. An urge to tell his story led him to the University of California at Davis' Guantanamo Testimonials Project, an effort to document accounts of prisoner abuse.
Note: For lots more on the realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
Global economic crisis called biggest U.S. security threat
February 13, 2009, Los Angeles Times
The nation's new intelligence chief [has warned] that the global economic crisis is the most serious security peril facing the United States, threatening to topple governments [and] trigger waves of refugees. The economic collapse "already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries," said Dennis C. Blair, director of national intelligence, in [testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee]. Blair's focus on the economic meltdown represents a sharp contrast from the testimony of his predecessors in recent years, who devoted most of their attention in the annual threat assessment hearing to the issues of terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Time is probably our greatest threat," Blair said. "The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests." He said that one-quarter of the world's nations had already experienced low-level instability attributed to the economic downturn, including shifts in power. He cited anti-government demonstrations in Europe and Russia, and he warned that much of Latin America and the former Soviet satellite states lacked sufficient cash to cope with the spreading crisis. "Countries will not be able to export their way out of this one because of the global nature" of the crisis, Blair said. U.S. intelligence analysts fear there could be a backlash against American efforts to promote free markets because the crisis was triggered by the United States. "We're generally held to be responsible," Blair said.
Terrorist threat 'exploited to curb civil liberties'
February 17, 2009, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Britain and America have led other countries in "actively undermining" the rule of law and "threatening civil liberties" in the guise of fighting terrorism, international jurists have charged in a report published yesterday. The three-year study calls for urgent measures to stop the erosion of individual freedom by states and [for] the abandoning of draconian measures brought on with the "War on Terror". The legal framework which broadly existed in democratic countries before 9/11 was "sufficiently robust to meet current threats" said the International Commission of Jurists. Instead, a series of security measures were brought in, many of which were illegal. One worrying development ... was that liberal democracies such as the UK and US have been at the forefront of advocating the new aggressive policies and that has given totalitarian regimes the excuse to bring in their own repressive laws. The ICJ panel, which included Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and United Nations Human Rights Commissioner and Arthur Chaskelson, the former president of the South African constitutional court, gathered their evidence from 40 countries. They took testimony from government officials, ministers, and people in prison for alleged terrorist offences. The actions of the US [have] immense influence on the behaviour of other countries, the study maintained, and the jurists called on President Barack Obama to repeal policies which came with the "war on terror paradigm" and were inconsistent with international human rights law.
Note: To read the ICJ Eminent Jurists Panel's full Report on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, click here. For many disturbing reports from major media sources on the increasing threats from states to civil liberties under the pretext of fighting terrorism, click here.
Gold Climbs to Seven-Month High as Economy May Worsen
February 17, 2009, Bloomberg News
Gold rose to its highest [price] in almost seven months in London as investors bought the precious metal to preserve their wealth on speculation the global economy will deteriorate. Bullion has climbed 33 percent since October as governments lowered interest rates and spent trillions of dollars to combat the recession. "The very big uncertainties in the stock market and economy are driving investors into gold and precious metals," said Peter Fertig, owner of Quantitative Commodity Research Ltd. in Hainburg, Germany. Gold for immediate delivery rose as much as $25.40, or 2.7 percent, to $967.15 an ounce, the highest since July 22. April futures gained $22.10, or 2.4 percent, to $964.40. Some investors are buying precious metals on speculation government stimulus packages [and bank bailouts] will spur inflation, Fertig said. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week pledged as much as $2 trillion in financing for programs aimed at spurring new lending. The Treasury will likely borrow a record $2.5 trillion this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. "Investors have been aggressively adding physical gold to their portfolios as concerns about counterparty risk" increase, ETF Securities wrote in a report. Investors are hedging "against the risk of currency depreciation and longer term inflation risks as government debt projections balloon." "Gold has become, for all intents, the world's second reserve currency," Dennis Gartman, an economist and the editor of the ... Gartman Letter, said.
Note: For many revealing reports on the realities of government bailouts of banks worldwide, click here.
Obama administration defending Bush secrets
February 16, 2009, MSNBC/Associated Press
Despite President Barack Obama's vow to open government more than ever, the Justice Department is defending Bush administration decisions to keep secret many documents about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists. "The signs in the last few days are not ... encouraging," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed several lawsuits seeking the Bush administration's legal rationales for warrantless domestic wiretapping and for its treatment of terrorism detainees. The documents sought in these lawsuits "are in many cases the documents that the public most needs to see," Jaffer said. "It makes no sense to say that these documents are somehow exempt from President Obama's directives." Groups that advocate open government, civil liberties and privacy were overjoyed that Obama on his first day in office reversed the FOIA policy imposed by Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft. Obama pledged "an unprecedented level of openness in government" and ordered new FOIA guidelines written with a "presumption in favor of disclosure." But Justice's actions in courts since then have cast doubt on how far the new administration will go. "This is not change," said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero. "President Obama's Justice Department has disappointingly reneged" on his promise to end "abuse of state secrets."
Note: For lots more on state secrecy from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates
February 15, 2009, Washington Post
The pace of global warming is likely to be much faster than recent predictions, because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems, scientists [have] said. "We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations," [said] Christopher Field, founding director of the ... Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. The higher emissions are largely the result of the increased burning of coal in developing countries, he said. Unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide are being released into the atmosphere as the result of "feedback loops" that are speeding up natural processes. Prominent among these ... is a cycle in which higher temperatures are beginning to melt the arctic permafrost, which could release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. The permafrost holds 1 trillion tons of carbon, and as much as 10 percent of that could be released this century, Field said. Along with carbon dioxide melting permafrost releases methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. "It's a vicious cycle of feedback where warming causes the release of carbon from permafrost, which causes more warming, which causes more release from permafrost," Field said.
Note: For many key reports from major media sources on the global warming crisis, click here.
9/11 widow among victims of crash near Buffalo
February 13, 2009, MSNBC
One of the victims of Continental Flight 3407, Beverly Eckert, was a Sept. 11 widow who put her never-ending grief to good use to make the country safer. Just last week, Eckert was at the White House with Barack Obama, part of a meeting the president had with relatives of those killed in the 2001 attacks and the bombing of the USS Cole to discuss how the new administration would handle terror suspects. Obama, addressing business leaders on Friday, referred to her "passionate commitment" to the 9/11 families. "She was an inspiration to me and to so many others, and I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead," the president said during remarks about the crash at the East Room event. "She was such an important part of all of our work," said Mary Fetchet, another 9/11 family activist.
Note: Mrs. Eckert rejected the $1.8 million payment for 9/11 survivors, as she would have forfeited the right to sue the government for its role in the event. ABC News quotes her on how she had "chosen to go to court rather than accept a payoff from the 9/11 victims compensation fund. I want to know why two 110-story skyscrapers collapsed in less than two hours and why escape and rescue options were so limited. I am suing because unlike ... congressional hearings and the 9/11 commission, my lawsuit requires all testimony be given under oath and fully uses powers to compel evidence." For why Mrs. Eckert and hundreds of other highly respected politicians and professors are calling for a new investigation on 9/11, click here.
Canadian police restrict stun gun use, saying the guns are potentially lethal
February 12, 2009, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
Canada's federal police will no longer use stun guns against suspects who are merely resisting arrest or refusing to cooperate – saying the guns can cause death. "Tasers hurt like hell," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner William Elliot said Thursday of his reaction to being shot with a stun gun as a test. The guns incapacitate people with a 50,000-volt jolt of electricity. "The RCMP's revised policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for agitated individuals," Elliot told members of Parliament's public safety committee. At least 20 Canadians have died after being zapped by stun guns. Federal police officers have used the guns more than 5,000 times in the last seven years. An analysis of incidents by The Canadian Press between 2002 and 2005 found that three in four suspects zapped by the RCMP were unarmed. Elliot said stun gun use must now be justified as a necessary and reasonable use of force. Officers had previously been told that stun guns are a good way to control suspects in a state of so-called "excited delirium," or in an agitated or delirious state. Elliot said the term will no longer appear in police manuals. "(Police officers) are highly trained, but they're not medical experts and we don't think it's fair or reasonable to have policy based on a medical condition or diagnosis," Elliot said.
Note: For much more on the dangers of so-called "non-lethal weapons", click here.
February 11, 2009, Forbes magazine
Spontaneous tumor regressions are among the rarest and most mysterious events in medicine, with only several hundred cases in the literature that can be considered well documented. Regressions have most often been reported in melanoma and in kidney cancer. But the phenomenon may, in fact, be an everyday one, taking place beyond doctors' eyes. A recent study suggests that as many as 1 in 3 breast tumors may vanish on their own before being detected by a doctor. Why do some patients get lucky? Scientists are finding tantalizing evidence that the immune system, the body's defense against disease-causing microbes, kicks in to play a critical role in combating cancer. The evidence includes the fact that some unexplained remissions have occurred after infections, which may propel the immune system into high gear--possibly attacking the cancer tumor as well as the infection. The role of the immune system in controlling cancer has been hotly debated for decades--and indeed many scientists remain unconvinced. But Jedd D. Wolchok, an oncologist at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, thinks there is a connection. A spontaneous remission, he says, is "either divine intervention or the immune system." While few researchers directly study such cases--they are far too rare--they provide hints of what the immune system might be able to do if we could harness it.
Note: The number of these cancer miracles are likely far more than suggested in this article. The problem is that most doctors ignore or consider them insignificant. For a most fascinating example of this, click here. For many exciting reports from major media sources describing potentially promising new cancer treatments, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Michigan solar car team wins 2,400-mile race
July 25, 2008, CNN News
In the world of higher education, summer is usually the off-season. But for some students, this summer was the culmination of years of hard work in a 2,400-mile solar car race from Plano, Texas to Calgary, Alberta. Fifteen teams of students drove photovoltaic-powered cars across the North American Solar Challenge finish line in Calgary Tuesday, led by the University of Michigan Solar Car Team and its vehicle, Continuum. Michigan's victory, which took about 51 hours and 42 minutes on the road, is its fifth NASC championship. The school also won the last NASC, in 2005. Jeff Ferman, the race manager for Michigan, talked about how rewarding it was to enter Calgary and be greeted by 40,000 people."The streets were lined with people," he said. "There were people on overpasses with tripods taking pictures." The Michigan team led almost the entire race from Texas, trailing only on the first day of driving when it had to stop to fix a minor electrical problem. But that 20-minute stop was the only time it had to pull over to make repairs, which team members said was one reason they did so well.
Note: If you do the math, this amazing solar powered car built by college students averaged 46.5 mph over a 2,400 mile course! Why didn't this make news headlines? Try doing a Google search on "Solar Challenge" (the annual solar car race). You will find that almost no major media cover this amazing event at all. The few who have (including this CNN article) usually fail to mention anything about the speeds attained by these cars. Why is the media not giving better coverage to these incredible breakthroughs? For a possible answer, click here.
Connections And Then Some
March 16, 2003, Washington Post
David M. Rubenstein is exasperated, and he blurts something that a quick look around the room proves is outrageous: "We're not," he nearly shouts, "that well connected!" Rubenstein, after all, is co-founder of the Carlyle Group, an investment house famous as one of the most well-connected companies anywhere. Former president George H.W. Bush is a Carlyle adviser. Former British prime minister John Major heads its European arm. Former secretary of state James Baker is senior counselor, former White House budget chief Richard Darman is a partner, former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt is senior adviser -- the list goes on. Those associations have brought Carlyle enormous success. Founded in 1987 with $5 million, the Washington-based merchant bank controls nearly $14 billion in investments, making it the largest private equity manager in the world. It buys and sells whole companies the way some firms trade shares of stock. But the connections also have cost Carlyle, in ways that are hard to measure. It has developed a reputation as the CIA of the business world -- omnipresent, powerful, a little sinister. Media outlets from the Village Voice to BusinessWeek have depicted Carlyle as manipulating the levers of government from shadowy back rooms. It didn't help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden. Former president Bush, a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. For another revealing article in The Economist on President George H.W. Bush meeting with bin Laden's brother the day before 9/11, click here. Even more interesting is that so few people know about this. For more intriguing news articles questioning the official story of 9/11, click here.
Special note: For highly revealing information from UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter showing that Iran is not the threat it is made out to be, watch the 10 minute video available here. And for a powerful one-minute video showing how advertising deceives the public, click here. For a very powerful video presentation showing how inflation and other key government statistics are significantly manipulated, click here.
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Gold Prices Soar, Economic Crisis Top "Security Threat" for US, Massive Fraud in Iraq