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Cloned Food, Military Gag Orders,
Erosion of Privacy, Nobel Aspirations
Revealing News Articles
October 20, 2006

Dear friends,

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 cloned food, military gag orders, erosion of privacy, worthy winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, and more. 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.

With best wishes,
Fred Burks for PEERS and
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton

Eli Lilly accused of shaping drug guidelines
October 18, 2006, NSNBC/Associated Press

Several government doctors say drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. subtly orchestrated medical guidelines for treatment of an often lethal blood infection, hoping to boost sales of a drug whose value is being debated. "This company is trying to insinuate its drug into many aspects of patient care that industry really shouldn't be involved in," said Dr. Naomi O'Grady, a critical care specialist at the National Institutes of Health. Three of her NIH colleagues claim in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine that Lilly worked through medical societies to influence standards for treating the blood infection, sepsis. Ultimately, Xigris was incorporated into the guidelines. Both the guidelines committee and a larger information campaign on sepsis were heavily funded by [Lilly]. Dr. Phil Dellinger, who helped lead the guidelines committee, said..."We've been catching grief because we've been taking a lot of Lilly money – and we're appreciative of Lilly giving it." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Xigris in 2001, despite an evenly split vote by its advisory committee. The lead author of Thursday's journal article, Dr. Peter Q. Eichacker, voted against approval. Some critics are unhappy that the drug, which works only for the sickest patients, was approved on the basis of a single experiment. Academic officials acknowledged in the published guidelines that Lilly gave more than 90 percent of $861,000 in grants for the campaign and medical recommendations. O'Grady, of NIH, said a panel of disease experts that she headed refused to endorse the sepsis guidelines largely because Lilly "convened the whole panel."

Note: For lots more on how the powerful pharmaceutical industry endangers our lives, click here.

FDA Is Set To Approve Milk, Meat From Clones
October 17, 2006, Washington Post

Three years after the Food and Drug Administration first hinted that it might permit the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals...the agency is poised to endorse marketing of the mass-produced animals for public consumption. The based largely on new data indicating that milk and meat from cloned livestock and their offspring pose no unique risks to consumers. On Thursday, advocacy groups filed a petition asking the FDA to regulate cloned farm animals one type at a time, much as it regulates new drugs, a change that would drastically slow marketing approval. "The available science shows that cloning presents serious food safety risks, animal welfare concerns and unresolved ethical issues that require strict oversight," the petition states. "The government talks about being science-based, and that's great, but I think there is another pillar here: the question of whether we really want to do this," said Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America. Each clone is a genetic replica of the animal that donated the cell from which it was grown. It was October 2003 when the FDA released its first draft document concluding that clones and their offspring are safe to eat. But an agency advisory panel and the National Academies, while generally supportive, raised flags, citing a paucity of safety data. Clonal meat or milk would be impossible to authenticate, since there is no way to distinguish them from conventional products. "That you can go online today to any number of different Web sites and purchase semen from cloned bulls tells you there are cloned sires out there fathering calves in the food supply."

Note: For an ABC article on this, click here. If you believe that government agencies are unbiased on matters of public health, I most highly urge you to read our summary at

Privacy under attack, but does anybody care?
October 16, 2006, MSNBC News

Only a tiny fraction of Americans – 7 percent, according to a recent survey by The Ponemon Institute – change any behaviors in an effort to preserve their privacy. Few people turn down a discount at toll booths to avoid using the EZ-Pass system that can track automobile movements. And few turn down supermarket loyalty cards. Privacy will remain in the headlines in the months to come, as states implement the federal government's Real ID Act, which will effectively create a national identification program by requiring new high-tech standards for driver's licenses and ID cards. The "right to be left alone" is a decidedly conservative -- even Libertarian -- principle. People are now well aware there are video cameras and Internet cookies everywhere, [yet] there is abundant evidence that people live their lives ignorant of the monitoring. People write e-mails and type instant messages they never expect anyone to see. Just ask Mark Foley or even Bill Gates, whose e-mails were a cornerstone of the Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft. It is also impossible to deny that Americans are now being watched more than at any time in history. But there is another point in the discussion about which there is little disagreement: The debate over how much privacy we are willing to give up never occurred.

The Organic Myth
October 16, 2006, BusinessWeek

Pastoral ideals are getting trampled as organic food goes mass market. Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients. There simply aren't enough organic cows in the U.S. Nor are there sufficient organic strawberries, sugar, or apple pulp -- some of the other ingredients that go into the world's best-selling organic yogurt. Now companies from Wal-Mart to General Mills to Kellogg are wading into the organic game, attracted by fat margins that old-fashioned food purveyors can only dream of. What was once a cottage industry of family farms has become Big Business, with all that that implies, including pressure from Wall Street to scale up and boost profits. Four years ago...the U.S. Agriculture Dept. issued rules. To be certified as organic, companies must eschew most pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering, and radiation. But for purists, the philosophy also requires farmers to treat their people and livestock with respect. The USDA rules don't fully address these concerns. Hence the organic paradox: The movement's adherents have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but success has imperiled their ideals. It simply isn't clear that organic food production can be replicated on a mass scale. Organic farmers say they can ultimately exceed the yields of conventional rivals through smarter soil management. "The only way to influence the powerful forces in this industry is to become a powerful force."

Marine Corps Issues Gag Order in Detainee Abuse Case
October 15, 2006, Los Angeles Times,0,2096358.story

The U.S. Marine Corps has threatened to punish two members of the military legal team representing a terrorism suspect being held at Guantanamo Bay if they continue to speak publicly about reported prisoner abuse, a civilian lawyer from the defense team said Saturday. The action directed at Lt. Col. Colby Vokey and Sgt. Heather Cerveny follows their report last week that Guantanamo guards bragged about beating detainees. The order has heightened fears among the military defense lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners that their careers will suffer for exposing flaws and injustices in the system. Defense lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners say the personal stakes are high and point to the Navy's failure to promote Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift after he successfully challenged the legitimacy of the Pentagon's war-crimes commissions. Two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled the commissions unconstitutional and lacking in due process, Swift was passed over for advancement and will be forced by the Navy's up-or-out policy to retire by summer. At least three other military defense lawyers for the 10 charged terrorism suspects have also been passed over for promotion in what some consider a subtle reprimand of their vigorous defense of their clients.

Bankers for poor win peace Nobel
October 13, 2006, CNN News/Associated Press

Bangladeshi microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work in advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, particularly women. The economist and the bank he founded will share the prize. They were cited for their efforts to help "create economic and social development from below" in their home country by using innovative economic programs such as microcredit lending. Grameen Bank has been instrumental in helping millions of poor Bangladeshis, many of them women, improve their standard of living by letting them borrow small sums to start businesses. Loans go toward buying items such as cows to start a dairy, chickens for an egg business, or mobile phones to start businesses where villagers who have no access to phones pay a small fee to make calls. "Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," the Nobel Committee said in its citation. Microcredit is the extension of small loans, typically US$50 to US$100, to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. The bank claims to have 6.6 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women, and provides services in more than 70,000 villages in Bangladesh.

Note: If you want to make a huge difference in the world and are interested in reducing poverty in a very dramatic way, see our summary of this most vital topic at

AP, networks sue over Fla., Nev. exit poll laws
October 11, 2006, MSNBC News/Associated Press

A Florida law that bars exit polling near voting places violates the press' rights under the First Amendment, a lawsuit filed by The Associated Press and five television networks alleges. The lawsuits...contend that state laws that prohibit asking a voter a "fact" or "opinion" within 100 feet of a polling place is unconstitutional. The AP and the five television networks - ABC, CNN, CBS, Fox News and NBC - formed a consortium to collect exit-polling data in Florida and other states. The news organizations had also challenged a 2004 directive by Ohio's elections chief against exit polling within 100 feet of a voting place. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ruled the verbal order by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell before the 2004 presidential election violated the press' rights under the First Amendment. A federal judge ruled in 1988 that a Florida law prohibiting exit polling within 150 feet of polling places was unconstitutional.

Note: A university study of exit polls in the 2004 election showed strong evidence of elections manipulations. Could this be why certain powerful individuals want to limit exit polls?

The death of habeas corpus
October 11, 2006, MSNBC

The president has...managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus. Tonight, a special investigation, how that, in turn, kills nothing less than your Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began to break on the night of September 28...many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night. Congress passed the Military Commission's Act to give Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America's enemies–those who seek to harm the country. He has been very clear on who he thinks that is. GEORGE W. BUSH: For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America. That fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy. OLBERMANN: So, the president said it was urgent that Congress send him this bill as quickly as possible, not for the politics of next month's elections, but for America. One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus, which apparently used to be the right of anyone who's tossed in prison to appear in court and say "Hey, why am I in prison?" COUNTDOWN has obtained a copy of [the] "Constitution" of the United States, and sources tell us it was originally sneaked through the constitutional convention and state ratification in order to establish America's fundamental legal principles. There's only one reference to habeas corpus: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

Reversing Course on Electronic Voting
May 12, 2006, Wall Street Journal

Some advocates of a 2002 law mandating upgrades of the nation's voting machinery now worry the overhaul is making things worse. Proponents of the Help America Vote Act are filing lawsuits to block some state and election officials' efforts to comply with the act. The Help America Vote Act called for upgrading election equipment to guard against another contested outcome such as the 2000 presidential vote. At the time, the electronic voting machines were seen as a reliable contrast to the older technology. The lawsuits—nine so far—coincide with a stampede by state and county officials to spend $3 billion allocated by Congress to help pay for upgrades. To comply with the Help America Vote Act, a number of states and dozens of counties purchased touch-screen voting machines. The 2004 presidential campaign and some early primary elections this year have provided evidence that the machines don't always work smoothly. And several states, after experiencing problems with touch-screen electronic systems, abandoned them to return to optically scanned paper ballots, already commonly used for absentee balloting. Typically, paper ballots require a voter to use a pencil to fill in a circle. The system is less costly to buy and maintain, and provides a paper record of ballots that can be reviewed in close or disputed elections. In Indiana, an ES&S employee alerted local-election officials that another ES&S worker had installed unauthorized software on the machines before the election. That and other disputes led to a multimillion-dollar settlement.

Note: See our new elections cover-up summary at

US grants N Korea nuclear funds
April 3, 2002, BBC News

The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused. In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors. President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States". The head of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Centre in Washington, a critic of the Agreed Framework, has warned that even when the new reactors are completed they may not be tamper-proof. "These reactors are like all reactors, They have the potential to make weapons. So you might end up supplying the worst nuclear violator with the means to acquire the very weapons we're trying to prevent it acquiring," Henry Sokolski told the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Note: Though this article is from 2002, one must ask why on earth President Bush would waive the requirement for inspectors who would ensure no nuclear weapons development? Wasn't this one of three countries he had already labeled as the axis of evil? For answers to these questions, click here.

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Cloned Food, Military Gag Orders, Erosion of Privacy, Nobel Aspirations