Cover-up News Summary
November 3, 2005
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news stories you may have missed. These excerpts are taken verbatim from the major media website at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu
October 31, 2005, CNN
The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu. Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million. In the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer. Rumsfeld isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu. Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.
Gets Contract for Bird Flu Vaccine
October 27, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
A second manufacturer is beginning mass production of a vaccine to protect against bird flu, and the Senate moved Thursday to invest far more—$8 billion—on preparations in case the influenza strain ever sparks a worldwide epidemic. Before the Senate acted, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt awarded a $62.5 million contract to Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp. to manufacture bird flu vaccine. Sanofi-Aventis of Paris began manufacturing $100 million worth of a similar vaccine last month. The Bush administration is putting the final touches on its plan for how to fight the next super-flu...amid growing concern that the H5N1 influenza strain spreading among birds from Asia to Europe could trigger a pandemic if it mutates into a form easily spread from person to person. The massive out-of-budget expenditure...would increase stockpiles of the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, thought to be effective against current strains of bird flu. "The money that we spend now will not be wasted even if this particular strain of the virus, H5N1, ends up not becoming a pandemic flu," said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. "We know that over the next two, three decades there will be a pandemic flu. That's almost certain."
Note: Isn't is interesting that over $60 million dollars (potentially $8 billion!) has been "awarded" for a vaccine against a bird flu that hasn't even mutated yet? How are these people so certain that it will mutate and kill millions of people? How do we know these vaccines will work when it hasn't even mutated? Note also that the pharmaceutical industry, which manufactures vaccines, has the largest lobby in all Washington and is raking in huge profits. For lots more on this, don't miss the vital information in our Health Information Center.
Mobil Posts New Record for Profit
October 27, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
Exxon Mobil Corp. had a quarter for the record books. The world's largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday high oil and natural-gas prices helped its third-quarter profit surge almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a U.S. company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales. The hurricanes slashed Exxon Mobil's U.S. production volumes by 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down nearly 5 percent year-over-year, costing the company $45 million before taxes. The company said total daily production slipped to 2.45 million barrels of oil equivalent from 2.51 million barrels.
Note: Isn't it amazing that though oil production fell, and though we all are paying much higher gas prices, Exxon Mobil earned the largest profits ever in the same quarter as Hurricane Katrina? Wouldn't it be nice if during a national catastrophe the oil companies were willing to drop their prices and suffer a little with the rest of us?
Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret
October 31, 2005, New York Times
The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War, N.S.A. officers deliberately distorted critical intelligence to cover up their mistakes. The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash. President Lyndon B. Johnson cited the supposed attack to persuade Congress to authorize broad military action in Vietnam, but most historians have concluded in recent years that there was no second attack. The N.S.A. historian, Robert J. Hanyok, found a pattern of translation mistakes that went uncorrected, altered intercept times and selective citation of intelligence that persuaded him that midlevel agency officers had deliberately skewed the evidence. Mr. Hanyok's findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, according to an intelligence official. The intelligence official said the evidence for deliberate falsification is "about as certain as it can be."
Note: For lots more on war fabrication see the excellent information in our War Information Center and the released FOIA documents from the early 1960s showing that top Pentagon officials planned to kill innocent Americans in order to provoke a war against Cuba at https://www.WantToKnow.info/010501operationnorthwoods
Says FEMA Ignored Warnings
October 21, 2005, Washington Post
For 16 critical hours, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, including former director Michael D. Brown, dismissed urgent eyewitness accounts by FEMA's only staffer in New Orleans that Hurricane Katrina had broken the city's levee system the morning of Aug. 29 and was causing catastrophic flooding. Marty Bahamonde, sent to New Orleans by Brown, said he alerted Brown's assistant shortly after 11 a.m. that Monday with the "worst possible news" for the city: The Category 4 hurricane had carved a 20-foot breach in the 17th Avenue Canal levee. Bahamonde said he called Brown personally after 7 p.m. to warn that 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater and that he had photographed a 200-foot-wide breach. Testifying to a bipartisan Senate panel investigating the response to the hurricane, Bahamonde said his accounts were discarded by officials in Baton Rouge and Washington. President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all said they were told that the city's flood walls did not fail until Aug. 30. Bahamonde said he found it "amazing" that New Orleans officials continued to let thousands gather at the Superdome, even though they knew that the area around it was going to flood. Ten people later died at the Superdome.
sent 400,000 meals but U.S. didn't use them
October 14, 2005, San Francisco Chronicle/Washington Post
In the early days of September, as military helicopters plucked desperate New Orleanians from rooftops and Red Cross shelters swelled with the displaced, nearly 400,000 packaged meals landed on a tarmac at Little Rock Air Force Base and were whisked by tractor-trailer to Louisiana. But most of the $5.3 million worth of food never reached the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, because of fears about mad cow disease and a long-standing ban on British beef, the rations routinely consumed by British soldiers have sat stacked in an Arkansas warehouse. Now, with some of the food set to expire in early 2006 and U.S. taxpayers spending $16,000 a month to store the meals, the State Department is quietly looking for a needy country to take them. No fewer than six federal agencies or departments had a role in accepting, distributing and rejecting the food.
Million a Day Spent on Hotels for Storm Relief
October 13, 2005, New York Times
The federal government has moved hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina into hotel rooms at a cost of about $11 million a night, a strategy local officials and some members of Congress criticize as incoherent and wasteful. The number of people in hotels has grown by 60 percent in the past two weeks as some shelters closed, reaching nearly 600,000 as of Tuesday. The reliance on hotels has been necessary, housing advocates say, because [FEMA] has had problems installing mobile homes and travel trailers for evacuees and has been slow to place victims in apartments that real estate executives say are available throughout the southeast. Critics point out that hotel rooms, at an average cost of $59 a night, are significantly more expensive than apartments and are not suitable for months-long stays. Even conservative housing experts have criticized the Bush administration's handling of the temporary housing response. "I am baffled," said Ronald D. Utt, a former...Reagan administration aide who is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "This is not incompetence. This is willful."
Note: Do you ever wonder if the current administration might be trying to bankrupt our country? For more excellent information on the hurricanes: https://www.WantToKnow.info/050927hurricanecoverupcorruption
Violence Has Decreased, U.N. Says
October 17, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
Armed conflicts have declined by 40 percent since the end of the Cold War primarily because the United Nations was finally able to launch peacekeeping and conflict-prevention operations around the world, according to a new study. The first Human Security Report paints a surprising picture of war and peace in the 21st century: a dramatic decline in battlefield deaths, plummeting instances of genocide, and a drop in human rights abuses. The only form of political violence that appears to be getting worse is international terrorism, a serious threat but one that has killed fewer than 1,000 people a year on average over the past 30 years. Tens of thousands were killed annually in armed conflicts during that time. A Rand Corp. study earlier this year concluded that the United Nations was successful in 66 percent of its peace efforts, but even the 40 percent success rate some believe is more accurate would be an achievement considering that prior to the 1990s "there was nothing going on at all."
Note: See also New York Times article reporting US murder rate at lowest in 40 years.
Drug Maker to Pay $704M in Settlement
October 17, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
Serono Laboratories agreed Monday to pay $704 million and plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges that it increased the market for the AIDS drug Serostim by offering kickbacks to doctors and manipulating a test for AIDS patients. Eighty-five percent of prescriptions written for Serostim, accounting for roughly $615 million in sales, were unnecessary. The cost of many of those prescriptions, $21,000 for 12 weeks of treatment, was paid by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor, and other government insurance plans. Serono offered doctors free trips to the south of France in return for agreeing to write up to 30 new prescriptions for Serostim. The company also conspired to introduce a test for AIDS wasting, despite not having FDA approval. The test diagnosed AIDS wasting even without weight loss. Monday's settlement is the latest in a series of whistleblower claims that have resulted in more than $3 billion in payments from drug companies in recent years.
Note: For lots more on this vital topic: https://www.WantToKnow.info/health/health-corruption
liken terror laws to Nazi Germany
October 16, 2005, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A powerful coalition of judges, senior lawyers and politicians has warned that the Government is undermining freedoms citizens have taken for granted for centuries and that Britain risks drifting towards a police state. One of the country's most eminent judges has said that undermining the independence of the courts has frightening parallels with Nazi Germany. Senior legal figures are worried that "inalienable rights" could swiftly disappear unless Tony Blair ceases attacking the judiciary and freedoms enshrined in the Human Rights Act.
Veil Over History
October 10, 2005, New York Times
Secrecy has been perhaps the most consistent trait of the George W. Bush presidency. Whether it involves refusing to provide the names of oil executives who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy, prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, or forbidding the release of files pertaining to Chief Justice John Roberts...President Bush seems determined to control what the public is permitted to know. Perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001, when President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one. Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of documents under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office. Now, however, Mr. Bush can prevent the public from knowing not only what he did in office, but what Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did in the name of democracy. The best interests of the nation are at stake. As the American Political Science Association, one plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, put it: "The only way we can improve the operation of government, enhance the accountability of decision-makers and ultimately help maintain public trust in government is for people to understand how it worked in the past."
Note: For more on secrecy and what we can do about it, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/brighterfuture
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Cover-up News Summary