Opium Wars, Scientific Interference,
Diabetes Cure, Princess Diana Questions
Revealing News Articles
December 18, 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 Afghanistan's opium wars, a cure for diabetes, government interference in scientific studies, questions about Princess Diana's death, 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 WantToKnow.info
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
Opium, thugs bloom under U.S. policies in Afghanistan war
December 17, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
The Taliban ... briefly banned poppy cultivation in 2000 in an effort to gain U.S. diplomatic recognition and aid. When the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, poppies were grown on only 7,600 hectares. Under the American occupation ... poppy cultivation spread to every province, and overall production has increased exponentially ever since -- this year by 60 percent. Within Afghanistan, where perhaps 3 million people draw direct income from poppy, profits may reach $3 billion this year. In-country profit adds up to an estimated 60 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product, or more than half the country's annual income. Afghanistan provides 92 percent of the world's heroin. Through many administrations, the U.S. government has been implicated in the Afghan drug trade. Before the American and Pakistani-sponsored mujahedeen took on the Soviets in 1979, Afghanistan produced a very small amount of opium for regional markets, and no heroin at all. By the end of the jihad against the Soviet army, it was the world's top producer of both drugs. The CIA made it all possible by providing legal cover for these operations. The United States [encouraged] Islamist extremists (then "our" soldiers) and ... set the stage for the Taliban. [Currently,] President Hamid Karzai['s] strategy is to avoid confrontation, befriend potential adversaries and give them offices, often in his Cabinet. The trade penetrates even the elected Parliament. Among the 249 members of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) are at least 17 known drug traffickers, in addition to 40 commanders of armed militias, 24 members of criminal gangs, and 19 men facing serious allegations of war crimes.
Note: Could it be that some U.S. officials are turning a blind eye, or even supporting this drug trade? For some very strong evidence of this from a former award-winning DEA agent turned journalist and author, click here.
Ex-Iraq expert: Britain saw no threat before war
December 15, 2006, CNN/Associated Press
Britain's former top Iraq expert at the United Nations said in previously secret testimony that most government officials did not believe Iraq posed a threat in the months leading to the U.S.-led invasion. Carne Ross ... told a House of Commons committee that he and other analysts believed that Iraq had only a "very limited" ability to mount an attack of any kind, including one using weapons of mass destruction. The committee published Ross' testimony after assuring him that parliamentary privilege would protect him from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. "It was the commonly held view among officials that the threat had been contained," Ross said in the written testimony. "Iraq's ability to launch a WMD or any form of attack was very limited. Iraq's air force was depleted to the point of total ineffectiveness; its army was but a pale shadow of its earlier might; there was no evidence of any connection between Iraq and any terrorist organization that might have planned an attack," he wrote. During the months leading up to the war, he said, there was no new evidence that Saddam Hussein posed a threat. "What changed was the government's determination to present available evidence in a different light," he testified. Ross told the committee that he resigned from the government in September 2004 because of his misgivings over the war. John Major, Britain's former prime minister, raised concerns ... that other issues remain to be resolved, including the distribution of oil revenues.
Note: This recently released testimony was given in 2004, but kept secret for reasons of "national security."
'National interest' halts arms corruption inquiry
December 15, 2006, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
A major criminal investigation into alleged corruption by the arms company BAE Systems and its executives was stopped in its tracks yesterday when the prime minister claimed it would endanger Britain's security. The remarkable intervention was announced by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, who took the decision to end the Serious Fraud Office [SFO] inquiry into alleged bribes paid by the company to Saudi officials. BAE and the Saudi embassy had frantically lobbied the government for the long-running investigation to be discontinued, with the company insisting it was poised to lose another lucrative Saudi contract. This came at a time when the SFO appeared to have made a significant breakthrough, with investigators on the brink of accessing key Swiss bank accounts. Lord Goldsmith consulted the prime minister, the defence secretary, foreign secretary, and the intelligence services, and they decided that "the wider public interest" "outweighed the need to maintain the rule of law". The decision was condemned last night as naked political interference in a criminal case. The Liberal Democrat chief of staff said the government had succumbed to Saudi pressure. The UK made overseas bribery illegal in 2002, under US pressure. No prosecutions have taken place under the new law. Clare Short, Mr Blair's former cabinet colleague, said: "The message it sends to corrupt businessmen is carry on - the government will support you."
Note: It's interesting how "the wider public interest" is so often tied to lucrative contracts and profits.
Team finds hope for diabetes cure
December 15, 2006, Toronto Star (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
A Toronto-led team of researchers has discovered a trigger for Type 1 diabetes, a breakthrough that has long evaded scientists and could lead the way to preventing the disease. The team found that abnormal nerve endings in the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas initiated a chain of events that caused Type 1 diabetes in mice. When they removed the nerve cells, the mice did not develop the disorder. That means diabetes may be a disease of the nervous system, not just an autoimmune disease, said Dr. Hans Michael Dosch, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and the study's main investigator. In a reversal of what they expected, the researchers also found injecting substance P – a chemical secreted by nerve cells – into mice whose islet cells were inflamed and on the way to being destroyed not only eliminated the inflammation but reversed it. "The blood glucose normalizes overnight and it stays low for weeks to months – this is with a single shot," Dosch said. "We now have 4-month-old mice that are non-diabetic that used to be diabetic" – a period equivalent to six to eight years in humans. Experts say the findings, reported yesterday in the journal Cell, will change the way scientists think about diabetes. "It really is a breakthrough for the diabetes community," said Pam Ohashi, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto. Dosch has immediate plans to move his research from mice to humans. He is launching a clinical trial in January to figure out if patients who have a high risk of Type 1 diabetes have the same sensory nerve abnormalities. "If they do, then we have fantastic new therapeutic strategies," said Dosch, who is also a professor of pediatrics and immunology at U of T.
Note: The pharmaceutical industry makes huge profits from diabetics. Big profits have been known to prevent cures from making it to market. Click here for more. Let's hope this important research moves forward.
US scientists reject interference
December 14, 2006, BBC News
Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process. The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy. According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons. It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives. The Union has released an "A to Z" guide that ... documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science. Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity. Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views. "This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop."
New Publishing Rules Restrict Scientists
December 13, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
The Bush administration is clamping down on scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, the latest agency subjected to controls on research that might go against official policy. New rules require screening of all facts and interpretations by agency scientists who study everything from caribou mating to global warming. The rules apply to all scientific papers and other public documents, even minor reports or prepared talks. Some agency scientists, who until now have felt free from any political interference, worry that the objectivity of their work could be compromised. The new requirements state that the USGS's communications office must be "alerted about information products containing high-visibility topics or topics of a policy-sensitive nature." The agency's director, Mark Myers, and its communications office also must be told -- prior to any submission for publication -- "of findings or data that may be especially newsworthy, have an impact on government policy, or contradict previous public understanding." In 2002, the USGS was forced to reverse course after warning that oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would harm the Porcupine caribou herd. One week later a new report followed, this time saying the caribou would not be affected.
Report: There was no plot to kill Diana
December 14, 2006, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose's leading newspaper)
Princess Diana wasn't engaged, wasn't pregnant, wasn't murdered and probably would've survived the spectacular Paris car crash that claimed her life had she been wearing her seat belt, according to an 833-page report released Thursday. The report ... was the result of almost three years of investigation into allegations that the princess was murdered by British secret agents after they learned she was pregnant and engaged to Dodi al Fayed, the son of the millionaire owner of the famed Harrod's department store. The report was immediately denounced by Mohamed al Fayed, who has spent millions on a private investigation into the deaths of his son and Diana. He said he would continue to investigate the deaths until he finally found "the terrorists ... with power in high places." The elder al Fayed repeated his accusations that his son and the princess were killed to stop them from marrying and to stop his son, a Muslim, from becoming the stepfather of the future king of England. He believes Lord John Stevens, the former London police chief who headed the inquiry, intended to do a thorough investigation, but was forced by British security forces to produce a whitewash. [Stevens] said investigators had concluded that the car carrying al Fayed and Diana ... rammed into the 13th support post in a tunnel near the Seine River. Stevens noted that while there was evidence that al Fayed had purchased an engagement ring for the divorced princess, there was no evidence that she knew about it. Stevens, however, noted Thursday that Diana's premonition that she would die in an accident is "one of those things that will go unanswered."
Note: There "was evidence" that an engagement ring was purchased? How can that be in question? They must know whether he purchased it or not. And wouldn't Diana have had some idea? The Los Angeles Times reports that "a poll commissioned by the BBC, released this month, found that 31 percent of the sample believed the deaths were not an accident." A little research turns up many questions not answered in this report.
Democrats Pray for a Senator's Health, as Senate Control Hangs in Balance
December 14, 2006, ABC News
South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson remained in critical condition today after undergoing emergency surgery for bleeding in his brain – an illness that could have immense political implications. They say that he has a congenital arteriovenous malformation – an abnormally tangled network of arteries and veins in his brain that ruptured, causing the bleeding. He is a modest, quiet man in an institution full of egos and sharp elbows, and has a mostly liberal voting record and a moderate demeanor. Beyond praying for a friend, Democrats may also be praying to keep their narrow 51-49 Senate majority. If Johnson's Senate seat were to become vacant, South Dakota law would empower Republican Gov. Mike Rounds to appoint a replacement. He would likely pick a fellow Republican, creating a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Cheney as the tie-breaker, leaving the GOP again in control of the Senate.
Note: Yet another amazing coincidence which could give Republicans control of the Senate. Few are aware aware that the deaths of Governor Mel Carnahan and Senator Paul Wellstone just a few years ago gave the Republicans control of the Senate. For more on this and the suspicious circumstances surrounding their two plane crashes just weeks before their elections, click here. For information on "non-lethal weapons" using directed beam technology which can cause illness and even death from a distance, click here and here.
Administration asks to keep Cheney logs secret
December 13, 2006, MSNBC News/Associated Press
The Bush administration asked an appeals court Wednesday to overrule a federal judge and allow the White House to keep secret any records of visitors to Vice President Dick Cheney's residence and office. To make the visitor records public would be an "unprecedented intrusion into the daily operations of the vice presidency," the Justice Department argued in a 57-page brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. Congress has excluded presidential and vice presidential records from the public's reach – making the visitor logs untouchable, the government said. "There is thus no dispute that, for example, appointment calendars maintained by the office of the vice president, revealing the identities of visitors and the time of their visits, would not be subject to disclosure," the Justice Department said in its response. A lawsuit over similar records revealed in September that Republican activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed – key figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal – landed more than 100 meetings inside the Bush White House.
Note: While lobbyists are required to register for Congress, the public is not allowed to know who is lobbying the two most powerful political representatives of the nation. What kind democracy is this?
Does Israel have the bomb or not? Olmert: Yes, we do.
December 13, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
For decades, Israel coyly has refused to confirm or deny what, since 1986, the whole world has known for sure: that is that the Jewish state is the one country in the Middle East that has a well-developed, nuclear arsenal. It was 20 years ago that Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Israel's Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev Desert, informed Britain's Sunday Times about the weapons program, leading "defense analysts to rank the country as the [world's] sixth largest nuclear power." Vanunu was jailed for 18 years for revealing state secrets. Israel calls its refusal to deny or confirm the existence of its nuclear arms its "nuclear ambiguity" policy. Why? Explains the Times (U.K.): "For many years, Israel was the only country outside the five declared nuclear powers to have built an atomic weapon ... It wanted its enemies in the region to know that it had nuclear capability if threatened. But it also wanted to keep the existence secret so that it did not fall [a]foul of international action designed to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly strict U.S. laws which could have jeopardized billions of dollars in annual aid." The Jerusalem Post notes that "Nuclear ambiguity was a comfortable arrangement for both Israeli and U.S. administrations, designed to allow Israel to get on with whatever it was doing ... without too much international pressure, and [to allow] the U.S. to not seem too hypocritical by not demanding its Middle East ally sign the [Non-proliferation Treaty]. Ambiguity might have worked for four decades, but ... it is now hopelessly outdated."
Note: The media has been quite reluctant to discuss these issues openly. Could it be they fear people might question the amount of U.S. aid? Israel's population is 6.5 million. Official U.S. yearly foreign aid to Israel has been about $2.5 to 3.0 billion for many years. If you do the math, U.S. taxpayers are giving every man, woman, and child in Israel about $400/year -- over ten times the per capita rate paid to any other country. That's quite a yearly gift! A Christian Science Monitor article says if all forms of aid are considered, the figures are even higher.
Fiscal mess awaits new defense chief: 'Worst-managed' federal agency
December 13, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Robert Gates will face ... the enormous task of cleaning up the Pentagon's tangled finances, which outside auditors lambaste as so chaotic that no one knows how much money is being spent on defense at any given time. The White House's Office of Management and Budget believes the Pentagon's financial management systems are in such a mess "that independent auditors still cannot certify the accuracy of the financial statements." David Walker, the U.S. Comptroller General, issued a devastating assessment of the Pentagon's finances, which include an annual budget of over $500 billion. The Pentagon's financial problems "are pervasive, complex, long-standing and deeply rooted in virtually all business operations throughout the department," Walker told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Financial problems like the Pentagon's "would put any civilian company out of business," said Kwai Chan, a former GAO auditor ... and author of a report entitled "Financial Management in the Department of Defense: No One is Accountable." Winslow Wheeler, a former national security expert for the Senate Budget Committee, called the Defense Department "the worst-managed agency in the federal government, (that) can't account for the half-trillion dollars it spends each year, and seeks to produce weapons that are irrelevant or ineffective, or both." Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also has promised greater oversight ... by resurrecting an oversight and investigations subcommittee, which the GOP dissolved after winning control of Congress in 1994.
Note: For major media articles showing that more than $1 trillion of taxpayers money have gone missing at the Pentagon, click here. For the deeper reasons behind this, a top U.S. general's explanation is available here.
Stockton Engineer Creates Energy Saving Device
December 13, 2006, CBS News, Stockton Affiliate
Chuck Larue may be the man who drastically cuts your electricity bill. For fourteen years, Chuck and his partner have quietly been inventing a little micro controller called the "Plug Power Saver." He claims it works on all electric motors from your air conditioner to refrigerators, washing machines to whole house fans. He rigged a one-third horsepower motor to show us the savings. Without the controller, "It's drawing 171 to 180 watts." Plug in the Power Saver and, "It's trying to find the most optimum levels of power consumption. It actually has a microprocessor in here." After a few seconds, the motor is running strong but using half the electricity. And if you know anything about electricity, you know this motor running normally should be warm to the touch, it isn't. That seems to show no extra electricity is being lost as heat. John Lander: This looks already to sell. Chuck Larue: Yeah it is, it's ready to go. John Lander: How much? Chuck Larue: $49.95. So you'd pay for the Power Saver in under a year. Chuck says he has 10,000 of these devices headed here from a manufacturing plant in Korea. Now all he has to do is find a retailer willing to sell it. Chuck says he has tried to interest the Governor and the utilities commission to sponsor his invention, but no one has called him back.
12-Year-Old Spiritual Prodigy Akiane
December 12, 2006, CNN Video Clip
A self taught artist who says her inspiration comes from above.... [These] Paintings ... are spiritual, emotional, and created by a 12-year-old prodigy. "This painting is called 'Father Forgive Them.' I completed this painting at the age of nine." Her name is Akiane. She picked up the brush when she was just six years old, but the visions -- what she calls inspiration from God -- started when she was just four. She began to describe to her mother in great detail her visits to heaven. "All the colors were out of this world. There are hundreds and millions of more colors that we don't know yet." Her mother remarkably was an atheist. The concept of God [was] never discussed in their home. [Akiane:] "I explained to her you have to believe me. This is a different way ... a way that's so mysterious that god wants me to go through." To four-year-old Akiane, God quickly became a part of her daily life, and eventually became a part of her family's life, too. Her talent doesn't stop at her art work. Only a few months ago she decided to learn the piano and is now already composing her own music. But it is her painting that truly captures the incredible spirituality of this young girl. The visions to me [are] like he's explaining himself to me and what he does. She is a self taught painter, and as she grows older her paintings grow more expressive, more colorful, [and] more complex. A girl -- who armed only with a brush and some paints -- is determined to capture the essence of her faith, and hopefully along the way inspire others to feel the same way. [Akiane:] "It's just so beautiful! The most important things in this world is faith, because without faith you cannot communicate with God."
Note: The above CNN link takes you to a three-minute video (after commercial) showing the incredible talents of this amazingly gifted girl. If the link fails, click here and here. For her website, click here. For a progression of her intriguing paintings, click here.
Has Politics Contaminated the Food Supply?
December 11, 2006, New York Times
One hundred years ago, companies were free to follow their own rules. The publication of Upton Sinclair's novel "The Jungle" in 1906 – with its descriptions of rat-infested slaughterhouses and rancid meat – created public outrage over food safety. Even though the book was written by a socialist agitator, a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, eagerly read it. After confirming Sinclair's claims, Roosevelt battled the drug companies, the big food processors and the meatpacking companies to protect American consumers from irresponsible corporate behavior. Over the past 40 years, the industrialization and centralization of our food system has greatly magnified the potential for big outbreaks. As a result, a little contamination can go a long way. The Taco Bell distribution center in New Jersey now being investigated as a possible source of E. coli supplies more than 1,100 restaurants in the Northeast. Since 2000, the fast-food and meatpacking industries have given about four-fifths of their political donations to Republican candidates for national office. In return, these industries have effectively been given control of the agencies created to regulate them. The current chief of staff at the Agriculture Department used to be the beef industry's chief lobbyist. The person who headed the Food and Drug Administration until recently used to be an executive at the National Food Processors Association. Cutbacks in staff and budgets have reduced the number of food-safety inspections conducted by the F.D.A. to about 3,400 a year – from 35,000 in the 1970s.
Note: If you care about the health of our nation's food supply, write your political and media representatives encouraging the passage of the Safe Food Act mentioned in this article, which by the way, was written by the author of the most excellent book, Fast Food America.
Iceland's hydrogen buses zip toward oil-free economy
January 14, 2005, Detroit News (Detroit's leading newspaper)
Hydrogen, tested in buses from Amsterdam to Vancouver ... is a clean power that promises to break dependence on oil and gas -- at least in Iceland. With almost unlimited geothermal energy sizzling beneath its surface, Iceland has an official goal of making the country oil-free by shifting cars, buses, trucks and ships over to hydrogen by about 2050. About 70 percent of Iceland's energy needs ... are already met by geothermal or hydro-electric power. Only the transport sector is still hooked on polluting oil and gas. The world's first hydrogen filling station, run by Shell, opened in Reykjavik in April 2003. Hydrogen bus projects have also been launched in cities including Barcelona, Chicago, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Stockholm, Beijing and Perth, Australia. The efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cells will decide if the ventures take off into the wider car market. "The idea is that the buses should be twice as efficient as an internal combustion engine," said Jon Bjorn Skulason, general manager of Icelandic New Energy Ltd. Greater engine efficiency would compensate for the inefficiency of producing hydrogen. Iceland's buses, made by DaimlerChrysler, cost about 1.25 million euros ($1.67 million) each, or three to four times more than a diesel-powered bus, Skulason said. It takes about 6-10 minutes to refill a hydrogen bus, giving a range of 240 miles. [A] Reykjavik bus driver said diesel and hydrogen buses were similar to drive. "But the hydrogen bus is less noisy."
Special Note: For those interested in 9/11, there is a relatively new website called Pilots for 9/11 Truth -- a society of pilots who are calling for a real investigation into the many anomalies of 9/11. An audiotape of an FAA controller raising serious questions about 9/11 is available on their home page now. Click here for more.
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Opium Wars, Diabetes Cure, Scientific Interference, Princess Diana Questions