Guns Sales to Terrorists Legal,
Spineless Media, Buying the War
Revealing News Articles
May 6, 2007
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on guns sales to suspected terrorists being legal, spineless media reporting on corruption, buying the Iraq war, 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. 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.
NRA opposes bill to stop gun sales to terror suspects
May 4, 2007, CNN/Associated Press
The National Rifle Association is urging the Bush administration to withdraw its support of a bill that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying firearms. Backed by the Justice Department, the measure would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to terror suspects. In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, "would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere 'suspicions' of a terrorist threat." A 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office found that 35 of 44 firearm purchase attempts over a five-month period made by known or suspected terrorists were approved by the federal law enforcement officials. "When I tell people that you can be on a terrorist watch list and still be allowed to buy as many guns as you want, they are shocked," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports Lautenberg's bill.
Russia suspects US plans to monopolise fuel from moon
May 2, 2007, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
Mankind's second race for the moon has taken on a distinctly Cold War feel, with the Russian space agency accusing its old rival NASA of rejecting a proposal for joint lunar exploration. The charge comes amid suspicion in Moscow that the US is seeking to deny Russia access to an isotope in abundance under the moon's surface that many believe could replace fossil fuels and even end the threat of global warming. A new era of international co-operation in space supposedly dawned after the US, Russia and other powers declared their intention to send humans to the moon for the first time since 1972. But while NASA has lobbied for support from Britain and the European Space Agency, Russia says its offers have been rebuffed. While the Americans have been either coy or dismissive on the subject, Russia openly says the main purpose of its lunar program is the industrial extraction of helium-3. Some scientists say helium-3 could be the answer to the world's energy woes. As helium-3 is non-polluting and effective in tiny quantities, many countries are taking it very seriously. Germany, India and China, which will launch a lunar probe to research extraction techniques in September, are all studying ways to mine the isotope. "Whoever conquers the moon first will be the first to benefit," said Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of China's lunar program. Many in Moscow's space program believe Washington's agenda is driven by a desire to monopolise helium-3 mining. The plot, says Erik Galimov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, would "enable the US to establish its control of the energy market 20 years from now and put the rest of the world on its knees as hydrocarbons run out".
U.S. media have lost the will to dig deep
April 27, 2007, Los Angeles Times
In an e-mail uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no [U.S.] national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election. Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article. But ... most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done. The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country [the U.S.], because investigative reporting ... is dying. Again and again, I see this pattern repeated. Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data ... indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House. I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on. Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television ... until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election.
Note: The American-born author of this article, BBC reporter Greg Palast, has repeatedly exposed major corruption in the British media, yet the U.S. press often ignores his well-researched stories. For possibly the most amazing story he wrote which got virtually no U.S. media coverage, click here.
Ex-C.I.A. Chief, in Book, Assails Cheney on Iraq
April 27, 2007, New York Times
George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in a new book, saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat. [His book] is the first detailed account by a member of the president's inner circle of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the decision to invade Iraq and the failure to find the unconventional weapons that were a major justification for the war. "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment. Nor, he adds, "was there ever a significant discussion" about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion. Mr. Tenet ... makes clear his bitter view that the administration made him a scapegoat for the Iraq war. As violence in Iraq spiraled beginning in late 2003, Mr. Tenet writes, "rather than acknowledge responsibility, the administration's message was: Don't blame us. George Tenet and the C.I.A. got us into this mess." Mr. Tenet takes blame for the flawed 2002 National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq's weapons programs, calling the episode "one of the lowest moments of my seven-year tenure." Mr. Tenet largely endorses the view of administration critics that Mr. Cheney and a handful of Pentagon officials, including Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, were focused on Iraq as a threat in late 2001 and 2002 even as Mr. Tenet and the C.I.A. concentrated mostly on Al Qaeda. Mr. Tenet has spoken rarely in public, and never so caustically, since stepping down in July 2004.
Note: Was the Iraq war based largely on lies and deception? Now that Hussein is gone and there are no weapons of mass destruction, who is the enemy in Iraq? For the comments of a top U.S. general, click here.
Officers: Ex-CIA chief Tenet a 'failed' leader
April 29, 2007, CNN News
In a letter written Saturday to former CIA Director George Tenet, six former CIA officers described their former boss as "the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community," and called his book "an admission of failed leadership." The letter, signed by Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, Larry Johnson, Jim Marcinkowski, Vince Cannistraro and David MacMichael, said Tenet should have resigned in protest rather than take part in the administration's buildup to the war. (Read the full letter) Johnson is a former CIA intelligence official and registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000. Cannistraro is former head of the CIA's counterterrorism division. The writers said ... "your lament that you are a victim in a process you helped direct is self-serving. You were not a victim. You were a willing participant in a poorly considered policy to start an unnecessary war. CIA field operatives produced solid intelligence in September 2002 that stated clearly there was no stockpile of any kind of WMD in Iraq. This intelligence was ignored and later misused." The letter said CIA officers learned later that month Iraq had no contact with Osama bin Laden and that then-President Saddam Hussein considered the al Qaeda leader to be an enemy. Still, Tenet "went before Congress in February 2003 and testified that Iraq did indeed have links to al Qaeda. "You helped set the bar very low for reporting that supported favored White House positions, while raising the bar astronomically high when it came to raw intelligence that did not support the case for war. You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence. Most importantly and tragically, you failed to meet your obligations to the people of the United States."
Most Katrina Aid From Overseas Went Unclaimed
April 29, 2007, Washington Post
As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide. Titled "Echo-Chamber Message" -- a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again -- the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans "practical help and moral support" and "highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving." Eventually the United States ... would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina's victims. Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Overall, the United States declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain and Israel.
Bush Official Resigns Over Escort Links
April 28, 2007, ABC News
Randall Tobias, head of the Bush administration's foreign aid programs, abruptly resigned Friday after his name surfaced in an investigation into a high-priced call-girl ring. Tobias submitted his resignation a day after he was interviewed by ABC News for an upcoming program about an alleged prostitution service run by the so-called D.C. Madam. Tobias confirmed that he had called the Pamela Martin and Associates escort service to have women come to his condo and give him massages. Tobias, 65, who is married, [claimed] there had been "no sex" during the women's visits to his condo. His name was on a list of clients given to ABC by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who owns the escort service and has been charged with running a prostitution ring in the nation's capital. Tobias held two titles: director of U.S. foreign assistance and administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. His rank was equivalent to deputy secretary of state. Before joining the administration, Tobias was a director and chairman of Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company. Palfrey recently made good on her threat to identify high-profile clients, listing in court documents a military strategist known for his "shock and awe" combat theories. Palfrey, 50, was indicted in March by a federal grand jury on charges of running the alleged call-girl ring from her home in Vallejo, Calif. Palfrey claimed she has 46 pounds of phone records involving clients [and] threatened to sell phone records that would identify 10,000 clients to pay for her criminal defense, but a federal judge ordered her not to release them. Palfrey, however, gave them to ABC News before the order took effect.
Note: Keep your eyes on this Palfrey case. It could go big. Note also the link to the incredibly powerful pharmaceutical industry. For a Discovery Channel documentary which presents convincing evidence that major prostitution rings reach to the very highest levels of government, click here.
Durbin kept silent on prewar knowledge
April 27, 2007, Washington Times
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat says he knew that the American public was being misled into the Iraq war but remained silent because he was sworn to secrecy as a member of the intelligence committee. "The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it," Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Wednesday when talking on the Senate floor about the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002. "I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress." Mr. Durbin yesterday said there was no "ethical" way to notify the public of specific misleading information being touted by the Bush administration because it would have required revealing top-secret information being provided to the intelligence committee. Mr. Durbin, whose floor comments were part of the debate before yesterday's passage of an emergency war-funding bill, said he and half the Democrats on the intelligence committee voted against the war over concerns of the White House's "very flimsy case, but it was given to the American people as a proven fact." Congress authorized the 2003 use of armed force against Iraq by votes of 296-133 in the House and 77-23 in the Senate. Five of nine Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted for the measure as did all eight Republicans.
Note: Why wasn't this key information reported in other major media? And if it is clear that the public is being blatantly lied to by politicians with hidden agendas, doesn't that justify the breaking of secrecy oaths?
Buying the War
April 25, 2007, PBS
Four years ago on May 1, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln wearing a flight suit ... in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner. He was hailed by media stars as a "breathtaking" example of presidential leadership in toppling Saddam Hussein. Despite profound questions over the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction and the increasing violence in Baghdad, many in the press confirmed the White House's claim that the war was won. How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? In the run-up to war, skepticism was a rarity among journalists inside the Beltway. The [PBS "Buying the War"] program analyzes the stream of unchecked information from administration sources and Iraqi defectors to the mainstream print and broadcast press. While almost all the claims would eventually prove to be false, the drumbeat of misinformation about WMDs went virtually unchallenged by the media. "Buying the War" examines the press coverage in the lead-up to the war as evidence of a paradigm shift in the role of journalists in democracy and asks, four years after the invasion, what's changed? "More and more the media become ... common carriers of administration statements," says the Washington Post's Walter Pincus. "We've sort of given up being independent on our own."
Note: You can view the highly revealing documentary "Buying the War" or read the transcript at the link above.
Why do ordinary people commit evil deeds?
April 18, 2007, BBC News
Prof Phil Zimbardo, creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment: "In 1971 I became superintendent of the Stanford Prison, a mock prison. I was a young psychology professor at Stanford University. I wanted to understand what happens when you put good people in a bad place. [We] selected college-student volunteers - normal, healthy young men with no history of crime or violence - and randomly assigned them the roles of prisoner or guard. To increase the real-life feel, we arranged for actual mass arrests and booking by the Palo Alto police; visits by a prison chaplain, a public defender, and parents. Though not part of the plan, there were also prisoner rebellions. And, notoriously, there was chilling abuse and torture by the guards. The experiment was supposed to last two weeks, but we had to pull the plug after only six days because nearly half the prisoners had emotional breakdowns. Fast-forward to April 2004. Horrific images flash across our television screens - nightmarish abuses of Iraqi prisoners by young American soldiers. The images were ... strikingly similar to what I had seen at Stanford - prisoners naked, bags over their heads, forced into sexually humiliating poses. Historical inquiry and behavioural science have demonstrated ... that given certain conditions, ordinary people can succumb to social pressure to commit acts that would otherwise be unthinkable. In the prisons at Stanford and Abu Ghraib, men and women did terrible things to other people in part because responsibility for their actions was diffused. We find ourselves in a similar situation whenever we witness someone else's trouble but fail to help because we assume others will."
Note: When each one of us takes responsibility for doing our part to build a brighter future, we will see tremendous positive changes both in our lives and our world.
Older Articles Recently Discovered
Sidney Gottlieb, 80, Dies; Took LSD to C.I.A.
March 10, 1999, New York Times
Sidney Gottlieb, who presided over the Central Intelligence Agency's cold-war efforts to control the human mind and provided the agency poisons to kill Fidel Castro, died on Sunday. He ... spent his later years caring for dying patients ... and fighting lawsuits from survivors of his secret tests. He will always be remembered as the Government chemist who dosed Americans with psychedelics in the name of national security. Mr. Gottlieb joined the C.I.A. in 1951. Two years later, the agency established MKUltra and Mr. Gottlieb was running it. He served two decades as the senior scientist presiding over some of the C.I.A.'s darkest secrets. The first of these were the LSD experiments. Mr. Gottlieb was fascinated by the drug [and] took it hundreds of times. In the 1950's and early 1960's, the agency gave mind-altering drugs to hundreds of unsuspecting Americans in an effort to explore the possibilities of controlling human consciousness. In one case, a mental patient in Kentucky was dosed with LSD continuously for 174 days. Other experiments involved agency employees, military officers and college students. In all, the agency conducted 149 separate mind-control experiments, and as many as 25 involved unwitting subjects. At least one participant died, others went mad, and still others suffered psychological damage after participating in the project, known as MK Ultra. The C.I.A. ... deliberately destroyed most of the MKUltra records in 1973. Mr. Gottlieb was also involved in the C.I.A.'s assassination plots. [He] developed a poison handkerchief to kill an Iraqi colonel, an array of toxic gifts to be delivered to Fidel Castro, and a poison dart to kill a leftist leader in the Congo.
JUSTICES GRANT C.I.A. WIDE DISCRETION ON SECRECY
April 17, 1985 New York Times
The Supreme Court today gave the Central Intelligence Agency broad discretion to withhold the identities of its sources of intelligence information from public disclosure. The exemption applies regardless of whether the information is shown to have a bearing on national security and regardless of whether the source of the information is a newspaper or magazine in general circulation. The decision, written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, overturned a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That court, in ordering the release of the names of researchers who participated in a long-running C.I.A. study of the control of human behavior, had adopted a considerably narrower definition of the ''intelligence sources'' entitled to exemption. The C.I.A. project, code-named MKULTRA, was in existence from 1953 to 1966 and was designed to develop techniques for controlling human behavior. At least 185 private researchers and 80 institutions participated in the research. Officials of two organizations ... filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act in 1977 for the names of the researchers. Last fall Congress partly excluded from the Freedom of Information Act the C.I.A.'s ''operational files,'' which involve intelligence methods and sources.
Note: The official story is that all of the experiments to control human behavior failed. Yet if this is true, why did they spend so much money and so many years on it? And why is it necessary to keep secret who the researchers were? For reliable, verifiable information suggesting not only that the experiments were quite successful, but that they may be ongoing to this day, click here.
Special Note: For a mind-boggling five-minute clip showing a person who after one flight over the city of Rome retains almost absolute recall of everything he sees, click here.
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Guns Sales to Terrorists Legal, Spineless Media, Buying the War