Iraq: Playing Football with bricks of $100 Bills, Criminal Negligence on 9/11, IRS Releases Your Data
Revealing News Articles
March 27, 2006
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. These news articles include revealing information on Iraq: Playing Football with bricks of $100 Bills, Criminal Negligence on 9/11, the Israel lobby, IRS Releases Your Data, the GAO report condemning government accountability, inspiring clips on MTV, and more. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time.
For those interested in CNN's claims of a government cover-up of 9/11, CNN again gave prime time coverage Friday, March 24th. See http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0603/24/sbt.01.html to read the CNN program transcript. Fox News also had a six-minute 9/11 debate. And the sophisticated weekly magazine New York carried a very long, excellent 9/11 piece, of which you can find excerpts below. For more on CNN's groundbreaking 9/11 coverage from an earlier message: https://www.WantToKnow.info/060324cnnquestions911. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
'Iraq was awash in cash. We played football with bricks of $100 bills'
March 20, 2006, The Guardian (one of the UK's leading newspapers)
At the start of the Iraq war, around $23bn-worth of Iraqi money was placed in the trusteeship of the US-led coalition by the UN. The money...was to be used in a "transparent manner"...for "purposes benefiting the people of Iraq". For the past few months we have been working on a Guardian Films investigation into what happened to that money. A great deal of it has been wasted, stolen or frittered away. Over the first 14 months of the occupation, 363 tonnes of new $100 bills were shipped in - $12bn, in cash. "Iraq was awash in cash - in dollar bills. Piles and piles of money," says Frank Willis, a former senior official with the governing Coalition Provisional Authority. "We played football with some of the bricks of $100 bills before delivery. It was a wild-west crazy atmosphere". The environment created by the coalition positively encouraged corruption. "American law was suspended, Iraqi law was suspended, and Iraq basically became a free fraud zone," says Alan Grayson, a Florida-based attorney who represents whistleblowers now trying to expose the corruption. One CPA official was given nearly $7m and told to spend it in seven days.
Note: I highly recommend this entire article to understand some of what happens in war. For lots more on war-related corruption written by a highly decorated US general, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/warcoverup
The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll
March 27, 2006, New York Magazine
Why, if the impact destroyed the planes' supposedly crash-proof flight-recorder black boxes, was the FBI able to find, in perfect condition, the passport of Satam al Suqami, one of the...Flight 11 hijackers? How could they, an hour after the first World Trade Center crash, allow an obviously hostile airplane to smash into the Pentagon, headquarters of the entire military-industrial complex? A story in Newsweek...said these generals were told earlier that week not to fly. [On 9/11 a] fireman indicated the building in front of us. "That building is coming down," he said. At 47 stories, it would be a skyscraper in most cities. Five minutes later, at 5:20, the building, 7 World Trade Center, crumbled. What happened at 7 WTC might be the key to the entire mystery. The $500 million insurance profit made by Larry Silverstein [and] the list of 7 WTC tenants sets conspiracy heads spinning: The IRS, the Department of Defense, and the CIA kept offices on the 25th floor. The Secret Service occupied the ninth and tenth. The Securities and Exchange Commission (home to vast records of bank transactions) was on floors 11 through 13. The 23rd floor was home to Rudy Giuliani's Office of Emergency Management, his crisis center. Central to the scenario is a comment made by Silverstein in a 2002 PBS documentary. "We've had such a terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it." "Pull it"...is the term usually used for controlled demolition. 7 WTC is not even mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report.
Election Whistle-Blower Stymied by Vendors
March 26, 2006, Washington Post
Among those who worry that hackers might sabotage election tallies, Ion Sancho is something of a hero. The maverick elections supervisor in Leon County, Fla., last year helped show that electronic voting machines from one of the major manufacturers are vulnerable...and would allow election workers to alter vote counts without detection. Now, however, Sancho may be paying an unexpected price for his whistle-blowing: None of the state-approved companies here will sell him the voting machines the county needs. "I believe I'm being singled out for punishment by the vendors," he said. The trouble began last year when Sancho allowed a Finnish computer scientist to test Leon County's Diebold voting machines, a common type that uses an optical scanner to count votes from ballots that voters have marked. Some tests...showed that elections workers could alter the vote tallies by manipulating the removable memory cards in the voting machines, and do so without detection. Last month, California elections officials arranged for experts to perform a similar analysis of the Diebold machines and also found them vulnerable -- noting a wider variety of flaws than Sancho's experts had. A spokesman said Diebold will not sell to Sancho without assurances that he will not permit more such tests, which the company considers a reckless use of the machines.
Who's afraid of the 'Israel Lobby'?
March 26, 2006, Los Angeles Times
The idea of a powerful "Jewish lobby" that has its gnarled fingers in the machinery of the government is an old and repugnant canard. In the modern era, even to broach the idea of a "Jewish lobby" is unacceptable. It's just not done in polite society–even in situations in which there's some truth to it. That's why it was a bit of a shock last week when a 12,000-word article by two eminent professors–Stephen Walt, the academic dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago–appeared in the London Review of Books under the title "The Israel Lobby." According to the two academics, the United States' "unwavering support" for Israel–including the $3 billion a year we give in direct assistance–is justified by neither strategic nor moral imperatives. Despite the common view, Israel is, in fact, the Goliath in the Middle East, not the David. It is...an avowedly Jewish state in which Arabs live as second-class citizens. "The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress," Walt and Mearsheimer contend. Public reaction has varied. Harvard has reportedly distanced itself from the original report. It seems silly to deny that a powerful lobby on behalf of Israel exists. The real question is how pernicious it is. My advice is to judge for yourself. The full article is available at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html
Note: For information on how Harvard distanced itself from this paper: http://www.nysun.com/article/29638. For the mixed reaction to this paper in Israel: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0324/dailyUpdate.html
Unwelcome Attention From Moussaoui Trial
March 25, 2006, New York Times
The sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui was supposed to have been the government's best opportunity to hold someone accountable for the deaths on Sept. 11, 2001. But after federal prosecutors finished laying out their case this week, even those who strongly supported an aggressive prosecution may wonder whether the trial has shed as much light on Mr. Moussaoui's culpability as it has on the missteps and mistakes by law enforcement agencies. The testimony of two prosecution witnesses, in particular, has brought renewed and unwelcome attention to how the [FBI] dealt with early warning signs. Mr. Moussaoui is the sole person to go to trial in an American courtroom for the attacks. Under cross-examination...Mr. Samit acknowledged that after the attacks he had written strongly worded reports saying his superiors had improperly blocked his efforts to investigate Mr. Moussaoui. He added that he was convinced that Mr. Moussaoui was a terrorist involved in an imminent hijacking plot. He offered a devastating comment from a supervisor who said pressing too hard to obtain a warrant for Mr. Moussaoui would hurt his career. Mr. Samit also wrote that his superiors did not act because they were guilty of "criminal negligence" and they were gambling that Mr. Moussaoui had little to offer. The lost wager, Mr. Samit said, was paid in many lives.
Researchers Shed More Light on Bird Flu
March 23, 2006, Washington Post
Two research teams have independently discovered explanations for the chief features of the H5N1 bird flu virus -- its difficulty infecting humans, and the deadly effects when it does. Unlike influenza viruses that are passed easily between people, H5N1 has a hard time attaching to cells in the nose, throat and upper airways. But it readily attaches to cells deep in the lungs. This suggests that people need close and heavy exposure to the H5N1 virus for it to get into the lungs.
Note: Yet governments have already spent many millions of dollars stockpiling Tamiflu believing that avian flu will mutate and cause a pandemic killing millions. And top government officials have already made many millions of dollars on stocks related to Tamiflu--the drug designed to combat a deadly virus which hasn't even mutated yet to know if the drug works! Remember that generating fear in the public is one of the best ways to make a profit. For lots more, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/avianflu
IRS plans to allow preparers to sell data
March 21, 2006, Philadelphia Enquirer (Philadelphia's leading newspaper)
The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers. The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published...where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action." The proposed rules...would require a tax preparer to obtain written consent before selling tax information. Critics call the changes a dangerous breach in personal and financial privacy. They say the requirement for signed consent would prove meaningless for many taxpayers, especially those hurriedly reviewing stacks of documents before a filing deadline. The IRS first announced the proposal in a news release the day before the official notice was published, headlined: "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations to Safeguard Taxpayer Information."
FBI Agent Slams Bosses at Moussaoui Trial
March 21, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
The FBI agent who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001 testified Monday he spent almost four weeks trying to warn U.S. officials about the radical Islamic student pilot but "criminal negligence" by superiors in Washington thwarted a chance to stop the 9/11 attacks. Samit told MacMahon he couldn't persuade FBI headquarters or the Justice Department to take his fears seriously. Samit's complaints echoed those raised in 2002 by Coleen Rowley, the bureau's agent-lawyer in the Minneapolis office. Rowley went public with her frustrations, was named a Time magazine person of the year for whistleblowing. Samit revealed far more than Rowley of the details of the investigation. For each nugget of information, MacMahon asked Samit if Washington officials called to assess the implications. Time after time, Samit said no.
Woman With Perfect Memory Baffles Scientists
March 20, 2006, ABC News
[AJ] remembers every day and almost every detail of her life. James McGaugh is one of the world's leading experts on how the human memory system works. But these days, he admits he's stumped. McGaugh's journey through an intellectual purgatory began six years ago when a woman now known only as AJ wrote him a letter detailing her astonishing ability to remember with remarkable clarity even trivial events that happened decades ago. Give her any date...and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date. Like any good scientist, McGaugh was initially skeptical. But not anymore. "This is real," he says. "In order to explain a phenomenon you have to first understand the phenomenon," McGaugh says. "We're at the beginning."
Note: The human mind and spirit are much more powerful than many scientists might imagine.
MTV's 'Spiritual Windows' mix faith with rock 'n' roll
March 11, 2006, Chicago Sun-Times
It was about 10 seconds long and showed gondoliers rowing in the canals of Venice, Italy, while a Latin-sounding man's voice said: "Your heart is where your treasure is, and you must find your treasure in order to make sense of everything." And then more words appeared on the screen: "Everyday grace: MTV." In late January, MTV, the arbiter of all things hip, quietly launched a campaign of 24 of these little films. They call the campaign "Spiritual Windows." "We wanted to create little, short moments, almost breaths of peace, for the channel," Kevin Mackall, the...senior vice president of on-air promos for MTV explained. "There's a genuine appetite for spirituality these days." According to a little-known poll...53 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said "religion" was "extremely important" or "very important" to their daily lives. Only 14 percent said religion wasn't important to them at all. One spot, with the tag line "Consume mindfully," shows a Tibetan nun hauling two plastic garbage bags to the curb in front of her Buddhist temple. Then there's "Everyone," with a Chinese dragon dancing...accompanied by a voice-over that says, "We need other human beings to be human." And one of the longer spots...shows the sun setting over a pyramid in Egypt as the Brazilian magical realist author Paulo Coelho's voice announces, "The desert will give you an understanding of the world. How do I immerse myself in the desert? Listen to your heart." Mackall...insists the "Spiritual Windows" are no gimmick. "It really, truly is answering a call from our audience," he said. "Hopefully it's a first step into some other content like this."
Touch-Screen Voting Fallible, Ehrlich Says
March 6, 2006, The Guardian
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has embraced a legislative proposal to abandon the state's touch-screen voting machines for the coming election, in which he is a candidate, and to lease others that provide a paper record to verify results. Ehrlich's endorsement is the latest turn in the debate over Maryland's electronic voting machines that were used in nearly every polling place in the 2004 election. The state has committed $90 million to the system, which critics say is vulnerable to tampering. Last month, Ehrlich -- who championed the Diebold machines in 2003 -- express[ed] concern about reliability questions raised in California and Florida about those machines. A review of California's voting systems found more than a dozen vulnerabilities that security analysts said could be fixed. More than two dozen states now have some requirement for vote verification.
Note: These vulnerabilities were discovered after the machines were used widely in previous elections. Before those elections, voting machine manufacturers and elections officials insisted there were no such vulnerabilities. For lots more cover-ups around elections, see https://www.WantToKnow.info/electionsinformation
Fiscal Year 2005 U.S. Government Financial Statements
March 1, 2006, Official Website of the GAO (Government Accountability Office)
GAO is required by law to annually audit the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government. The Congress and the President need to have timely, reliable, and useful financial and performance information. For the ninth consecutive year, certain material weaknesses in internal control...continued to prevent GAO from being able to provide the Congress and American people an opinion as to whether the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government are fairly stated in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Three major impediments to an opinion on the consolidated financial statements continued to be (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense, (2) the federal government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government's ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements. The cost to operate the federal government increased to $760 billion in fiscal year 2005 from $616 billion in fiscal year 2004. This represents an increase of about $144 billion or 23 percent. The federal government's gross debt was about $8 trillion as of September 30, 2005. The federal government's fiscal exposures now total more than $46 trillion, representing close to four times gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2005 and up from about $20 trillion...in 2000.
Note: The GAO (Government Accountability Office) is one of the few branches of government which works hard to prevent corruption. Why didn't this devastating report get any press coverage? Why does the media fail to inform the public that the Pentagon cannot account for literally trillions of dollars? (see CBS article on this at https://www.WantToKnow.info/050310pentagontrillionslost) For possible answers, see our media summary at https://www.WantToKnow.info/mediacorruption
Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
February 22, 2006, The Observer (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs...warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents. 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.' The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors. Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. A former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
Note: Though I don't agree with these doomsday scenario predictions (the Pentagon tends to focus on worst-case scenarios), the suppression of this report clearly does not serve the public.
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