Moon Rock Fake, Swine Flu Doubts
CIA Torture Report
Revealing News Articles
August 31, 2009
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed, which include revealing information on growing doubts about the threat posed by swine flu and the safety of vaccines for it now in development, a newly released report on CIA torture of captives, a museum moon rock being proved fake, 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 and will build a brighter future.
Special note: To watch the three-minute trailer of an excellent film, "Crude," coming out soon on the destructive practices of the oil companies in the Amazon region, click here. And for one of the most inspiring videos we've seen on the Internet, watch the miracles created by a Japanese fourth-grade teacher who teaches some of the most powerful lessons in life to his young students at this link. If you watch nothing but the first five minutes of this moving 40-minute video, you will almost certainly be thankful you did.
'Moon Rock' in Dutch Museum Is Fake
August 27, 2009, New York Times/Associated Press
It's not green cheese, but it might as well be. The Dutch national museum said Thursday that one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood. Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece was a fake, said the museum will keep it anyway as a curiosity. "It's a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered," she said. "We can laugh about it." The museum acquired the rock after the death of former Prime Minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees received it as a private gift on Oct. 9, 1969, from then-U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf during a visit by the three Apollo 11 astronauts, part of their "Giant Leap" goodwill tour after the first moon landing. Middendorf, who lives in Rhode Island, told Dutch broadcaster NOS news that he had gotten it from the U.S. State Department, but couldn't recall the exact details. "I do remember that (Drees) was very interested in the little piece of stone," the NOS quoted Middendorf as saying. "But that it's not real, I don't know anything about that." The U.S. Embassy in the Hague said it was investigating the matter. The museum had vetted the moon rock with a phone call to NASA, Van Gelder said. "Apparently no one thought to doubt it, since it came from the prime minister's collection," Van Gelder said. Researchers from Amsterdam's Free University said they could see at a glance the rock was probably not from the moon. They followed the initial appraisal up with extensive testing. "It's a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone," Geologist Frank Beunk concluded in an article published by the museum.
Note: For more evidence raising questions about the official account of the Apollo moon landings, click here.
CDC leery of estimates about swine flu's toll
August 26, 2009, CBS News/Associated Press
U.S. government health officials are urging Americans not to panic over estimates that up to 90,000 people might die in the United States from swine flu this year. "Everything we've seen in the U.S. and everything we've seen around the world suggests we won't see that kind of number if the virus doesn't change," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the swine flu seems quite easy to catch, it so far hasn't been more deadly than the flu strains seen every fall and winter – many people have only mild illness. And close genetic tracking of the new virus as it circled the globe over the last five months so far has shown no sign that it's mutating to become more virulent. Still, the CDC has been preparing for a worst-case flu season as a precaution – in July working from an estimate slightly more grim than one that made headlines this week – to make sure that if the virus suddenly worsened or vaccination plans fell through, health authorities would know how to react. On Monday the White House released a report from a group of presidential advisers that included a scenario where anywhere from 30 percent to half of the population could catch what doctors call the "2009 H1N1" flu, and death possibilities ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. "We don't think that's the most likely scenario," CDC flu specialist Dr. Anne Schuchat said of the presidential advisers' high-end tally. In a regular flu season, up to 20 per cent of the population is infected and 36,000 die.
Note: Like the avian flu several years ago, the swine flu is turning out to be largely fear-mongering which has poured billions of dollars into the deep pockets of the medical/industrial complex. For lots more reliable information from major media reports on this, click here.
Doctors may refuse swine flu vaccine
August 24, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Many GPs, as well as their patients, may be reluctant to be immunised against swine flu once a vaccine is developed, surveys suggest today. A survey of GPs published on Healthcare Republic, the website of GP magazine, found that up to 60% of GPs may decline vaccination. Although the numbers who responded were small – 216 GPs – they are in line with a much bigger survey of nurses published a week ago by Nursing Times, which found that a third of 1,500 nurses would refuse vaccination. A Canadian study published today in the journal Emerging Health Threats suggests the public, too, will have reservations that must be overcome if a vaccination campaign is to be successful in the autumn or winter. The study, which used focus groups to establish the likely response of different people to a vaccine, pointed to the need to win over people who believe that alternative therapies and a good diet are a better option than vaccines. But the biggest problem in persuading people and healthcare professionals to have the jab may be the relative shortage of evidence from trials about its safety and efficacy. Because of the urgent need for a vaccine, testing will be limited. Among the GPs who responded to the survey published by Healthcare Republic, 29% said they would not choose to have the vaccine and 29% said they were unsure whether or not they would. The biggest reason given by those who said they would not have it was concern that the safety trials would not be adequate: 71.3% said they were "concerned that the vaccine has not yet been through sufficient trials to guarantee safety". Half – 50.4% – said they "believe that swine flu is too mild to justify taking the vaccine".
Note: Yet the Massachusetts Senate has now passed a bill which would impose fines up to $1,000 and jail up to 30 days for those who refuse vaccines or quarantine orders in a health emergency. Other states are considering similar legislation. For lots more on the real dangers of the swine flu vaccine, click here.
C.I.A. Abuse Cases Detailed in Report on Detainees
August 25, 2009, New York Times
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a veteran federal prosecutor on Monday to examine abuse of prisoners held by the Central Intelligence Agency, after the Justice Department released a long-secret report showing interrogators choked a prisoner repeatedly and threatened to kill another detainee's children. Mr. Holder chose John H. Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who has been investigating the C.I.A.'s destruction of interrogation videotapes, to determine whether a full criminal investigation of the conduct of agency employees or contractors was warranted. The attorney general said his decision to order an inquiry was based in part on the recommendation of the Justice Department's ethics office, which called for a new review of several interrogation cases. He said he was also influenced by a 2004 report by the C.I.A. inspector general at the time, John L. Helgerson, on the agency's interrogations. The report was released Monday under a court order in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Although large portions of the 109-page report are blacked out, it gives new details about a variety of abuses inside the C.I.A.'s overseas prisons, including suggestions about sexually assaulting members of a detainee's family, staging mock executions, intimidation with a handgun and power drill, and blowing cigar and cigarette smoke into prisoners' faces to make them vomit. The inspector general's review raised broad questions about the legality, political acceptability and effectiveness of the harshest of the C.I.A.'s methods, including some not authorized by the Justice Department and others that were approved, like the near-drowning technique of waterboarding.
Note: And what do you think might have been in the blacked out portions of the report? For lots more on the use of illegal methods by the CIA and US military in their prosecution of the "war on terror," click here.
Afghanistan Contractors Outnumber Troops
August 22, 2009, Wall Street Journal
Even as U.S. troops surge to new highs in Afghanistan they are outnumbered by military contractors working alongside them, according to a Defense Department census due to be distributed to Congress -- illustrating how hard it is for the U.S. to wean itself from the large numbers of war-zone contractors that proved controversial in Iraq. The number of military contractors in Afghanistan rose to almost 74,000 by June 30, far outnumbering the roughly 58,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground at that point. As the military force in Afghanistan grows further, to a planned 68,000 by the end of the year, the Defense Department expects the ranks of contractors to increase more. Military contractors' personnel for a time outnumbered U.S. troops in Iraq. The large contractor force was accompanied by issues ranging from questionable costs billed to the government to shooting of civilians by armed security guards. A September 2007 shooting incident involving Blackwater Worldwide guards working for the U.S. State Department, in which 17 Iraqis were killed, forced the U.S. to aggressively rework oversight of security firms. Yet in Afghanistan as in Iraq, the Pentagon has found that the military has shrunk so much since the Cold War ended that it isn't big enough to sustain operations without using companies to directly support military operations.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the use of private contractors by the US military in its wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
US Air Force prepares drones to end era of fighter pilots
August 23, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
As part of an expanding programme of battlefield automation, the US Air Force has said it is now training more drone operators than fighter and bomber pilots and signalled the end of the era of the fighter pilot is in sight. Just three years ago, the service was able to fly just 12 drones at a time; now it can fly more than 50. At a trade conference outside Washington last week, military contractors presented a future vision in which pilotless drones serve as fighters, bombers and transports, even automatic mini-drones programmed to attack in swarms. Contractors made presentations for "nano-size" drones the size of moths that can flit into buildings to gather intelligence; drone helicopters; large aircraft that could be used as strategic bombers and new mid-sized drones could act as jet fighters. This Terminator-like vision in which future generations of fighter aces become cubicle-bound drone operators thousands of miles from conflict is already here: the deployment that began during the Bush administration has accelerated during the first seven months of Obama's term. Some 5,000 robotic vehicles and drones are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2015, the Pentagon's $230bn arms procurement programme Future Combat Systems expects to robotise around 15% of America's armed forces. As US domestic approval for the "Af-Pak" conflict slips (a new Washington Post poll found less than a quarter of the US public support sending more troops to Afghanistan), the reliance of drones is likely to grow, analysts say. The air force study suggests areas of warfare too critical for automation, including dogfighting and nuclear-bombing, could eventually be handled by drones.
Note: For revealing reports on Pentagon war planning from major media sources, click here.
Fears for the world's poor countries as the rich grab land to grow food
July 3, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The acquisition of farmland from the world's poor by rich countries and international corporations is accelerating at an alarming rate, with an area half the size of Europe's farmland targeted in the last six months, reports from UN officials and agriculture experts say. New reports from the UN and analysts in India, Washington and London estimate that at least 30m hectares is being acquired to grow food for countries such as China and the Gulf states who cannot produce enough for their populations. According to the UN, the trend is accelerating and could severely impair the ability of poor countries to feed themselves. Olivier De Schutter, special envoy for food at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: "[The trend] is accelerating quickly. All countries observe each other and when one sees others buying land it does the same." Nearly 20m hectares (50m acres) of farmland – an area roughly half the size of all arable land in Europe – has been sold or has been negotiated for sale or lease in the last six months. Around 10m hectares was bought last year. Some of the largest deals include South Korea's acquisition of 700,000ha in Sudan, and Saudi Arabia's purchase of 500,000ha in Tanzania. The Democratic Republic of the Congo expects to shortly conclude an 8m-hectare deal with a group of South African businesses to grow maize and soya beans as well as poultry and dairy farming. India has lent money to 80 companies to buy 350,000ha in Africa. De Schutter said that after the food crisis of 2008, many countries found food imports hit their balance of payments, "so now they want to insure themselves. This is speculation, betting on future prices. What we see now is that countries have lost trust in the international market. We know volatility will increase in the next few years. Land prices will continue to rise."
Note: This important article makes the key point that speculation is driving this "new land grab" or "neo-colonial" activity by nations. After the collapse of the bubble in financial instruments speculative activity by the biggest players is moving into commodities of all kinds, even land in places where it can be bought cheaply and bid up high. For lots more about predatory capital flows from major media sources, click here.
Coffee 'may reverse Alzheimer's'
July 5, 2009, BBC News
Drinking five cups of coffee a day could reverse memory problems seen in Alzheimer's disease, US scientists say. The Florida research, carried out on mice, also suggested caffeine hampered the production of the protein plaques which are the hallmark of the disease. The 55 mice used in the University of South Florida study had been bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. First the researchers used behavioural tests to confirm the mice were exhibiting signs of memory impairment when they were aged 18 to 19 months, the equivalent to humans being about 70. Then they gave half the mice caffeine in their drinking water. The rest were given plain water. The mice were given the equivalent of five 8 oz (227 grams) cups of coffee a day - about 500 milligrams of caffeine. When the mice were tested again after two months, those who were given the caffeine performed much better on tests measuring their memory and thinking skills and performed as well as mice of the same age without dementia. Those drinking plain water continued to do poorly on the tests. In addition, the brains of the mice given caffeine showed nearly a 50% reduction in levels of the beta amyloid protein, which forms destructive clumps in the brains of dementia patients. Dr Gary Arendash, who led the latest study, told the BBC: "The results are particularly exciting in that a reversal of pre-existing memory impairment is more difficult to achieve. They provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable 'treatment' for established Alzheimer's disease and not simply a protective strategy. That's important because caffeine is a safe drug for most people, it easily enters the brain, and it appears to directly affect the disease process."
Note: For many highly informative health reports from reliable sources, click here.
New virus-built battery could power cars, electronic devices
April 2, 2009, MIT News
For the first time, MIT researchers have shown they can genetically engineer viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a lithium-ion battery. The new virus-produced batteries have the same energy capacity and power performance as state-of-the-art rechargeable batteries being considered to power plug-in hybrid cars, and they could also be used to power a range of personal electronic devices, said Angela Belcher, the MIT materials scientist who led the research team. The new batteries ... could be manufactured with a cheap and environmentally benign process: The synthesis takes place at and below room temperature and requires no harmful organic solvents, and the materials that go into the battery are non-toxic. In a traditional lithium-ion battery, lithium ions flow between a negatively charged anode, usually graphite, and the positively charged cathode, usually cobalt oxide or lithium iron phosphate. Three years ago, an MIT team led by Belcher reported that it had engineered viruses that could build an anode by coating themselves with cobalt oxide and gold and self-assembling to form a nanowire. In the latest work, the team focused on building a highly powerful cathode to pair up with the anode. Cathodes are more difficult to build than anodes because they must be highly conducting to be a fast electrode. Most candidate materials for cathodes are highly insulating (non-conductive). To achieve that, the researchers ... genetically engineered viruses that first coat themselves with iron phosphate, then grab hold of carbon nanotubes to create a network of highly conductive material.
Note: For many reports from major media sources on promising new energy technologies, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Homeless people die after bird flu vaccine trial in Poland
July 2, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Three Polish doctors and six nurses are facing criminal prosecution after a number of homeless people died following medical trials for a vaccine to the H5N1 bird-flu virus. The medical staff, from the northern town of Grudziadz, are being investigated over medical trials on as many as 350 homeless and poor people last year, which prosecutors say involved an untried vaccine to the highly-contagious virus. Authorities claim that the alleged victims received £1-2 to be tested with what they thought was a conventional flu vaccine but, according to investigators, was actually an anti bird-flu drug. The director of a Grudziadz homeless centre, Mieczyslaw Waclawski, told a Polish newspaper that last year, 21 people from his centre died, a figure well above the average of about eight. Investigators are also probing the possibility that the medical staff may have also have deceived the pharmaceutical companies that commissioned the trials. The news of the investigation will come as another blow to the reputation of Poland's beleaguered and poverty-stricken national health service. In 2002, a number of ambulance medics were found guilty of killing their patients for commissions from funeral companies.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the bird flu scare, which resulted in many deaths from vaccines and anti-viral pharmaceutical products, click here.
Political ties to a secretive religious group
April 3, 2008, MSNBC News
For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has been a Washington institution. Every president has attended the breakfast since Eisenhower. Besides the presidents ... the one constant presence at the National Prayer Breakfast has been Douglas Coe. Although he's not an ordained minister, the 79-year-old Coe is the most important religious leader you've never seen or heard. Scores of senators in both parties ... go to small weekly Senate prayer groups that Coe attends, [including] senators John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Observers who have investigated Coe's group, called The Fellowship Foundation, [describe] a secretive organization. Coe repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It's a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion that Adolph Hitler demanded. "Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler. Think of the immense power these three men had." Coe also quoted Jesus and said: "One of the things [Jesus] said is 'If any man comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple.'" Writer Jeff Sharlet ... lived among Coe's followers six years ago, and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric. "We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. Hitler's genocide wasn't really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated," said Sharlet, who ... has now written about The Fellowship, also known to insiders as The Family, in [a] book called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.
Note: Watch an incredible four-minute NBC video clip at the above link showing Coe praising a communist Red Guard member for cutting the head off his mother. For more on Coe's powerful links to Congress and corruption, see the MSNBC article available here.
Children Full of Life
September 27, 2004, CBC News
In the award-winning documentary "Children Full of Life," a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates. Capturing the intimate moments of the students' laughter and tears, the film explores one teacher's approach to allowing children the opportunity to discover the value of sharing powerful emotions. Classroom discussions include difficult issues such as the death of a parent or being the victim of bullying. In this "school of life," the simple message is learning to look after one another. Following Mr. Kanamori's class for a whole school year, the cameras were kept at the children's eye-level, giving their view of the world as they cope with troubled relationships and the loss of loved ones. Through their daily experiences, viewers see how they develop together a spirit of co-operation and compassion. Children Full of Life was awarded the Global Television Grand Prize at this year's 25th Anniversary Banff Television Festival, the festival's highest honour.
Note: Don't miss this, one of the most inspiring videos on the Internet, available at this link. If you watch nothing but the first five minutes of this touching 40-minute video, you will almost certainly be thankful you did.
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