CIA Used Mock Executions, CIA Outsourced Assassinations, Americans Tiring of War
Revealing News Articles
August 24, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed, which include revealing information on a CIA report that the agency used mock executions and the threat of death in its interrogations, new evidence that the CIA outsourced its assassination operations to Blackwater Corporation, a poll showing a majority of Americans want the war in Afghanistan to be ended, 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. The most important sentences are highlighted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can build a brighter future.
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Report Reveals CIA Conducted Mock Executions
August 21, 2009, Newsweek magazine
A long-suppressed report by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general to be released next week reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency's post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects, NEWSWEEK has learned. The report describes how one detainee, suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a gun and a power drill during the course of CIA interrogation. Nashiri's interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. "The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up," said one [source]. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with "imminent death." The report also says ... that a mock execution was staged in a room next to a detainee, during which a gunshot was fired in an effort to make the suspect believe that another prisoner had been killed. The inspector general's report alludes to more than one mock execution. Before leaving office, Bush administration officials confirmed that Nashiri was one of three CIA detainees subjected to waterboarding. They also acknowledged that Nashiri was one of two Al Qaeda detainees whose detentions and interrogations were documented at length in CIA videotapes. But senior officials of the agency's undercover operations branch, the National Clandestine Service, ordered that the tapes be destroyed, an action that has been under investigation for more than a year by a federal prosecutor. The new revelations are contained in a lengthy report on the CIA interrogation program completed by the agency's inspector general in May 2004.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the illegal methods used by the CIA and US military in its wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
C.I.A. Sought Blackwater's Help to Kill Jihadists
August 20, 2009, New York Times
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials. Executives from Blackwater ... helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects. It is unclear whether the C.I.A. had planned to use the contractors to actually capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance in the program. American spy agencies have in recent years outsourced some highly controversial work, including the interrogation of prisoners. But government officials said that bringing outsiders into a program with lethal authority raised deep concerns about accountability in covert operations. Officials said the C.I.A. did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program but instead had individual agreements with top company officials, including the founder, Erik D. Prince, a politically connected former member of the Navy Seals and the heir to a family fortune. Over the years, Blackwater has hired several former top C.I.A. officials, including Cofer Black, who ran the C.I.A. counterterrorism center immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. C.I.A. operatives also regularly use the company's training complex in North Carolina. The complex includes a shooting range used for sniper training.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on the frequent use of assassinations to advance state objectives, click here.
Americans tiring of war in Afghanistan
August 21, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
The violence-scarred elections in Afghanistan provided a stage for the Taliban to show war-weary Americans and Afghans that it has rebounded and can strike - even after eight years of war. For President Obama's policies, the timing couldn't be worse. With memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks dimming, Americans are tiring of the conflict. New polling shows a majority - 51 percent - of those surveyed now believe the war is not worth the fight, an increase of 6 percentage points in a month. Obama's answer to the mounting skepticism is to say that, in a way, the war has just begun. The final push to wipe out [the] Taliban ... is not 8 years old but really got started when he took office and ordered 17,000 more troops into Afghanistan. In short order, he also installed a new commander and persuaded Pakistan to join the United States in what on Thursday he called a pincer movement to squeeze the enemy astride the common border.
Note: As shown over and over again, presidents and politicians of both major political parties in the U.S. support the war machine in order to get the war chest they need to be elected or re-elected. Obama is no exception. For lots more on this, click here.
Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall
August 21, 2009, New York Times
The rich have been getting richer for so long that the trend has come to seem almost permanent. They began to pull away from everyone else in the 1970s. By 2006, income was more concentrated at the top than it had been since the late 1920s. The recent news about resurgent Wall Street pay has seemed to suggest that not even the Great Recession could reverse the rise in income inequality. But economists say – and data is beginning to show – that a significant change may in fact be under way. The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer. Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon. Last year, the number of Americans with a net worth of at least $30 million dropped 24 percent. Few economists expect the country to return to the relatively flat income distribution of the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, they say that inequality is likely to remain significantly greater than it was for most of the 20th century. In 2007, the top one ten-thousandth of households took home 6 percent of the nation's income, up from 0.9 percent in 1977. It was the highest such level since at least 1913, the first year for which the I.R.S. has data. The top 1 percent of earners took home 23.5 percent of income, up from 9 percent three decades earlier.
Note: Two researchers into income inequality, Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, recently released a detailed report showing that income inequality in 2007, just before the real estate bubble burst and the financial crisis unfolded, was the highest since 1917. To read their report, "Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States," click here. For analysis of the report, click here.
DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show
August 18, 2009, New York Times
Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person. "You can just engineer a crime scene," said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. "Any biology undergraduate could perform this." Dr. Frumkin is a founder of Nucleix, a company based in Tel Aviv that has developed a test to distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones that it hopes to sell to forensics laboratories. The planting of fabricated DNA evidence at a crime scene is only one implication of the findings. A potential invasion of personal privacy is another. Using some of the same techniques, it may be possible to scavenge anyone's DNA from a discarded drinking cup or cigarette butt and turn it into a saliva sample that could be submitted to a genetic testing company that measures ancestry or the risk of getting various diseases. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, said the findings were worrisome. "DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints," she said. "We're creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology."
Note: For lots more on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Oil lobby to fund campaign against Obama's climate change strategy
August 14, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The US oil and gas lobby are planning to stage public events to give the appearance of a groundswell of public opinion against legislation that is key to Barack Obama's climate change strategy. A key lobbying group will bankroll and organise 20 "energy citizen" rallies in 20 states. In an email obtained by Greenpeace, Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), outlined what he called a "sensitive" plan to stage events during the August congressional recess to put a "human face" on opposition to climate and energy reform. "Our goal is to energise people and show them that they are not alone," said Cathy Landry, for API, who confirmed that the memo was authentic. The email from Gerard lays out ambitious plans to stage a series of lunchtime rallies to try to shape the climate bill that was passed by the house in June and will come before the Senate in September. "We must move aggressively," it reads.The API strategy also extends to a PR drive. Gerard cites polls to test the effectiveness of its arguments against climate change legislation. It offers up the "energy citizen" rallies as ready-made events, noting that allies – which include manufacturing and farm alliances as well as 400 oil and gas member organisations – will have to do little more than turn up. "API will provide the up-front resources," the email said. "This includes contracting with a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns."
Note: For important reports from major media sources on global warming and oil company manipulation of public perception, click here.
UFO 'appeared above jazz stage at Glastonbury'
August 18, 2009, CNN
An alien with a lemon-shaped head and a jazz-themed encounter with a UFO at the Glastonbury Festival are among hundreds of UFO sightings detailed in the latest batch of documents released Monday by the UK's Ministry of Defence. Fourteen files, containing over 4,000 pages of UFO sightings from 1981 to 1996, have now been placed on Britain's National Archives database and are publicly available online. The sightings range from lights in the sky to close contact with aliens, and the files contain detailed analysis on some of the UK's most popular cases -- a number of which remain officially unexplained. The files ... shed new light on Britain's own 'Roswell', the Rendlesham Forest sightings of December 1980 in which American air force men saw a series of mysterious lights in the trees at the perimeter of an air base used by the U.S. Air Force. The then government of Margaret Thatcher was quick to dismiss the incident, but a letter from a former chief of defense staff in 1985 warned that the affair could prove a 'banana skin' for the Ministry of Defence. "The case has puzzling and disquieting features which have never been satisfactorily explained ... which continue to preoccupy informed sections of the public," said the letter. This latest release of documents represents the fourth set of UFO files released since 2008 as part of a three-year project in conjunction with the National Archives.
Note: For a powerful two-page summary of evidence for UFOs presented by highly respected and credible former government and military personnel from many countries, click here. For excellent information on the Rendlesham Forest case, click here.
MoD's latest UFO files reveal saucerful of secrets
August 17, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Two terrified youths who ran into a Staffordshire police station were in no doubt they had seen a UFO land in a field near Chasetown after they experienced an intense heat when they were walking up Rugeley Road, Burntwood, at 11pm on 4 May 1995. "Their skin turned a glowing red," said the Staffordshire police inspector's report. "They saw a darkish silver inverted saucer shaped object in a field, which was glowing red beneath. The object was about four houses high in the sky and about 40ft away from them. Neither was drunk or under the influence of illegal substances and the next day both provided the police with detailed written reports of what they had seen. The release of the latest batch of the Ministry of Defence's UFO files reveals a hidden British obsession with flying saucers and such close encounters. Bright lights seen across Devon and Cornwall, South Wales and Shropshire in the early hours of 31 March 1993 by 70 police and military witnesses were documented in more than 30 sightings reported to the MoD over a six-hour period. The reports said it was very big, shaped like a catamaran and was completely silent. The head of the UFO section told Sir Anthony Bagnall, the assistant chief of the air staff, that given the quality of the witnesses the sightings could not simply be written off: "It seems that an unidentified object of unknown origin was operating in the UK air defence region without being detected on radar; this would appear to be of considerable defence significance."
Note: For a powerful two-page summary of evidence for UFOs presented by highly respected and credible former government and military personnel from many countries, click here.
Abducted by Aliens: Believers Tell Their Stories
August 17, 2009, ABC News
In a small New England town, members of a support group, which boasts a growing membership of 1,500, gather for a "secret" meeting. The group that's assembled for this meeting is not struggling with alcohol, drugs, sex addition or gambling. They're part of Starborn, an alien experience and awareness support group [for those who believe] they've been abducted by aliens. Nearly half of all Americans and millions more globally believe we're not alone, according to a 2000 ABC poll. While 40 million Americans say they have seen or know someone who has seen an unidentified flying object, or UFO, a growing number believe they've actually met aliens. Terrell Copeland, a former U.S. Marine, traveled the farthest to attend the "secret" meeting, driving 600 miles from rural Virginia. Copeland's foray into the paranormal began two years ago with a UFO sighting he said was captured on his cell phone from his apartment. But after the video ... was posted on YouTube, he said a strange visitor came to his front door. "I woke up from the nap by the sound of someone trying to enter my apartment," he said. "You could see the door knob moving. And I keep a firearm. My thought was to get up and check, [but] I was in complete paralysis. And I heard a voice through the door say, 'You don't need that weapon. We won't harm,'" Copeland said. "I was in complete paralysis, the only thing I could move were my eyes." Copeland's otherworldly convictions are shared by thousands of believers. Hundreds flocked to the national convention of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, in Denver this month to share their experiences with like-minded believers.
Note: In the past couple years, the media appears to be focusing more on UFOs than before. For a powerful two-page summary of evidence for UFOs presented by highly respected and credible former government and military personnel from many countries, click here.
Questions for Dr. Marcia Angell
August 12, 2009, New York Times blog
[Anne Underwood:] President Obama hopes to increase the number of Americans with insurance and to rein in costs. Do you believe any of the plans under consideration by Congress will accomplish those goals? [Dr. Marcia Angell:] They won't, and that's the essential problem. If you keep health care in the hands of for-profit companies, you can do one or the other – increase coverage by putting more money into the system, or control costs by decreasing coverage. But you cannot do both unless you change the basic structure of the system. Q. Segments of the health care industry – pharmaceutical companies, for instance – are promising to cut costs. A. It's not going to happen. These are investor-owned companies. Their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize profits. If they behaved like charities, heads would roll in the executive suites. Q. But what about market mechanisms for reducing costs? Wouldn't the public option, for instance, provide competition for the insurance companies? A. Theoretically it would, but I doubt the public plan will pass. Industry is lobbying against it, and the president has not said this is a "must." Even if it does pass, I'm afraid the private insurance industry will use their clout in Congress – and they have enormous clout in Congress – to hobble the public option and use it as a dumping ground for the sickest while they cream off the young and healthy for themselves. Q. How? Won't insurance companies have to cover all applicants regardless of health status? A. It's hard to regulate an enormous industry without setting up a bureaucracy to oversee it. That's very expensive and creates a whole new set of problems.
Note: Dr. Marcia Angell is a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. A longtime critic of the pharmaceutical industry, she has called for an end to market-driven delivery of health care in the United States. To read a two-page summary of her critique of market-driven health care, click here.
Strange New Air Force Facility Energizes Ionosphere, Fans Conspiracy Flames
July 20, 2009, Wired magazine
The senior senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens, enjoyed a reputation for inserting projects into the federal budget to benefit his home state, most notoriously a $223 million bridge from the town of Ketchikan to, well, not much of anyplace. In 1988, [physics] researchers sat down with Stevens and assured him that an ionospheric heater would be a bona fide scientific marvel and a guaranteed job creator, and it could be built for a mere $30 million. Just like that, the Pentagon had $10 million for ionospheric heater research. In a series of meetings in the winter of 1989-90, the field's leading lights ... pitched the Navy and the Air Force. Haarp, they asserted, could lead to "significant operational capabilities." They'd build a giant phased antenna array that would aim a finely tuned beam of high-frequency radio waves into the sky. The beam would excite electrons in the ionosphere, altering that spot's conductivity and inducing it to emit its own extremely low frequency waves, which could theoretically penetrate the earth's surface to reveal hidden bunkers or be used to contact deeply submerged submarines. Of course, the scientists said, you'd need a brand-new, state-of-the-art ionospheric heater to see if any of this was even feasible. The Pentagon ... began using Stevens' earmarked cash to fund the appropriate studies. For more than a year, planning proceeded largely out of public view. Then, in 1993, an Anchorage teachers' union rep named Nick Begich–son of one of Alaska's most important political families–found a notice about Haarp in the Australian conspiracy magazine Nexus. In 1995, he self-published a book, Angels Don't Play This HAARP. It sold 100,000 copies. He started giving speeches on Haarp's dangers everywhere, from UFO conventions to the European Parliament.
Note: For more excellent information on HAARP, click here. There is much more than meets the eye here.
We Are All Hindus Now
August 15, 2009, Newsweek magazine
America is not a Christian nation. Recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity. The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: "Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names." A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur'an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life" -– including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, [says] "It isn't about orthodoxy. It's about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great–and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that's great, too." Then there's the question of what happens when you die. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll.
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