Iranian Boat Threats, Demands for NH Recount, Black Market of Nuclear Secrets
Revealing News Articles
January 13, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on doubts about the Pentagon's account of Iranian boat threats, demands for a vote recount in New Hampshire (NH), the black market in US nuclear secrets, 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.
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Doubts grow over Iranian boat threats
January 11, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Doubts intensified last night over the nature of an alleged aggressive confrontation by Iranian patrol boats and American warships in the Persian Gulf on Sunday, after Pentagon officials admitted that they could not confirm that a threat to blow up the US ships had been made directly by the Iranian crews involved in the incident. Several news sources reported that senior navy officials had conceded that the voice threatening to blow up the US warships in a matter of minutes could have come from another ship in the region, or even from shore. The concession came on the day that a formal American complaint was lodged with Iran over the incident, and just 24 hours after President George Bush ... warned Tehran to desist from such aggression and said any repetition would lead to "serious consequences". On Tuesday, the US administration released video footage that it said showed the Iranian speedboats harassing the American vessels. A voice in English with a strong accent was heard to say: "I am coming at you - you will explode in a couple of minutes." Yesterday the Iranians put out their own four-minute video that showed an Iranian patrol officer in a small boat communicating with one of the US ships. "Coalition warship number 73, this is an Iranian navy patrol boat," the Iranian said. An American naval officer replied: "This is coalition warship number 73 operating in international waters." The voice of the Iranian sailor in Tehran's footage was different [from] the deeper and more menacing voice threatening to blow up the warships in the US version. Nor was there any sign of aggressive behaviour by the Iranian patrol boats. The mystery remains of where the voice that apparently threatened to bomb the US ships came from. The Pentagon has said that it recorded the film and the sound separately, and then stitched them together - a dubious piece of editing even before it became known that the source of the voice could not, with certainty, be linked to the Iranian patrol boats.
Note: Gulf of Tonkin, anyone?
How did pollsters blow it in Clinton-Obama race?
January 10, 2008, Seattle Times (One of Seattle's two leading newspapers)
For days, poll after poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama opening a big lead heading into the New Hampshire Democratic primary. But when the votes were counted, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won. Even she seemed surprised. Were the polls all wrong? Did the pollsters misjudge how many women would vote? Did voters lie when pollsters called? Regardless of the answers, many analysts urged a post-mortem to figure out what the heck happened in New Hampshire. "It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong," said Gary Langer, the polling director for ABC News, in a memo posted at his Web site. "We need to know why." Pollsters accurately predicted John McCain's comeback win in the GOP race. They nailed John Edwards' third-place finish among Democrats. But at least a dozen polls had the senator from Illinois defeating Clinton, almost all showing Obama gaining and opening a lead on Clinton. One survey for C-SPAN and Reuters showed Obama up 42-29 percent over Clinton. Six public polls for news media and universities showed him with an average lead of 8.3 percentage points. None showed Clinton close, let alone ahead. Yet she beat Obama by 39-36 percent. So what happened? A number of bloggers Wednesday cited the "wildly inaccurate" polls as evidence that the vote was rigged. "Other folks that I've spoken to ... share my concern at this hour," wrote blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, on bradblog.com. Bloggers across the nation keyed into the fact that 81 percent of New Hampshire votes were being counted on machines that an HBO documentary alleged are easily hacked.
Note: The Los Angeles Times exit poll showed Obama with 44% and Clinton with 35%. Many experts claim that polls can not be off that much. A Washington Post blog mentions the interesting fact "Vote tallies from the New Hampshire Secretary of State show that she won by 4.23 percentage points in the counties using Diebold optical scanners, but lost by 5.81 points in those where paper ballots are counted by hand." For lots more on voting manipulation, click here. The HBO documentary available here is also highly revealing.
Kucinich Seeks NH Dem Vote Recount
January 11, 2008, MSNBC/Associated Press
Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results. In a letter dated Thursday, Kucinich said he does not expect significant changes in his vote total, but wants assurance that "100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted." Kucinich alluded to online reports alleging disparities around the state between hand-counted ballots, which tended to favor Sen. Barack Obama, and machine-counted ones that tended to favor Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also noted the difference between pre-election polls, which indicated Obama would win, and Clinton's triumph by a 39 percent to 37 percent margin. [Deputy Secretary of State David] Scanlon said his office had received several phone calls since Tuesday, mostly from outside the state, questioning the results. New Hampshire's voting machines are not linked in any way, which Scanlon says reduces the likelihood of tampering with results on a statewide level. Also, the results can be checked against paper ballots. "I think people from out of state don't completely understand how our process works and they compare it to the system that might exist in Florida or Ohio, where they have had serious problems," he said. "Perhaps the best thing that could happen for us is to have a recount to show the people that ... the votes that were cast on election day were accurately reflected in the results."
Note: Except this sparsely reported AP story, why didn't any media articles raise the question of voting machine manipulation? The SF Chronicle pointed out, "Pollster Mervin Field, a dean of American polling who has been measuring public opinion for more than six decades, notes that seven public and two private polls all reported on ... the day before the election that Obama was ahead of Clinton anywhere from 9 to 11 points." MSNBC's Chris Matthews stated: "Even our own exit polls, taken as people came out of voting, showed [Obama] ahead. So what's going on here?" For lots more on voting manipulation, click here.
For sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets
January 6, 2008, Sunday Times (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
A whistleblower has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets. Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish-language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency's Washington field office. Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions. Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan. The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims. However, Edmonds said: "He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives." She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents. "If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials," she said. Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.
Note: Although not naming the high-level individuals it acknowledges were identified by Edmonds, this important exposé in the London Sunday Times should be read in its entirety for the many other details of her allegations that it reveals. For an excellent commentary on these new revelations, click here. For many revealing articles on the ongoing efforts by longtime whistleblower Sibel Edmonds to tell her story, click here.
CIA whistle-blower Philip Agee dies in Cuba
January 9, 2008, Reuters
Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who exposed its undercover operations in Latin America in a 1975 book, died in Havana ... on Monday night. Agee worked for the CIA for 12 years in Washington, Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico. He resigned in 1968 in disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America and became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world. His exposé Inside the Company: CIA Diary revealed the names of dozens of agents working undercover in Latin America and elsewhere in the world. It was published in 27 languages. The CIA declined to comment on his death. Florida-born Agee said working as a case officer in South America opened his eyes to the CIA's ... goal in the region: to prop up traditional elites against perceived leftist threats through political repression and torture. "It was a time in the '70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going on in Latin America -- Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador -- they were military dictatorships with death squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the U.S. government," he told the British newspaper The Guardian in an interview published last year. "That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in their countries," he said. Barbara Bush, the wife of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who was CIA director in 1976, blamed Agee in her memoirs for the murder of the Athens station chief, Richard Welch, in 1975. Agee denied any connection and sued her for $4 million, forcing her to revise the book to settle the libel case. In his autobiography On the Run, Agee detailed how he was hounded from five NATO countries, including the Netherlands, France and West Germany, after incurring the CIA's wrath.
Can You Count on Voting Machines?
January 6, 2008, New York Times
As the primaries start in New Hampshire this week and roll on through the next few months, the erratic behavior of voting technology will once again find itself under a microscope. In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. In hundreds of instances ... they [have failed] unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices "flip" from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person "undervote" for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes. The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe – disgruntled citizens and ... computer geeks – but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens "may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process." She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting – before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined voting-machine systems for more than 25 years, estimates that about 10 percent of the touch-screen machines "fail" in each election.
Note: 10% of the machines fail, yet many still believe the results from previous elections were accurate. For many revealing reports on the serious problems with electronic voting machines, click here.
FDA to Back Food From Cloned Animals
January 5, 2008, Washington Post
The Food and Drug Administration is set to announce as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start making their way toward supermarket shelves. The decision would be a notable act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed appropriations legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies. Moreover, the Senate version of the Farm bill ... contains stronger, binding language that would block FDA action on cloned food, probably for years. The FDA has hinted strongly in the past year that it is ready to lift its "voluntary moratorium" on the marketing of milk and meat from clones and their offspring, saying that the science led them to that decision. But public opinion has been negative on the issue, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die early in life. A handful of U.S. companies have pushed for marketing approval. Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, said she had read the entire 678-page draft risk assessment and found it to be "long on assumptions and short on data, and especially short on the data that are directly relevant to food consumption safety." Of particular concern, she said, was that even though the vast majority of clones die either before birth or soon after, those that survive are deemed normal. She said the FDA should withhold approval at least until it has a regulatory plan in place that will give it an ability to track food from clones and watch for human health impacts. Others have called for mandatory labeling so consumers can avoid products from clones. The FDA has said that lacking any safety concerns, it will not demand such labels. The Agriculture Department has also declared that meat from clones cannot be deemed organic.
Note: For lots more reliable information on how big business takes huge risks with the food we eat, click here.
Bill Moyers talks with Congressman Dennis Kucinich
January 4, 2008, PBS Bill Moyers Journal
BILL MOYERS: There's a big Democratic debate Saturday night in New Hampshire. Are you in that ABC debate? DENNIS KUCINICH: No, I'm not. [Yet] when you look at all the polls on the Internet I'm winning a number of them. MOYERS: Yeah, that August 22nd debate on ABC - you beat everybody. Obama by 5,000 or 6,000 votes. Clinton by 9,000 votes. And yet the mainstream media paid no attention to it, right? KUCINICH: Right. And I think that what's noteworthy is ... we have two cultures here. One which is the emerging culture of information technology that's Internet-based. And the other one is the more conventional TV technology which is coming to a clash. And I think they reflect some political trends in this country that maybe aren't getting too much attention. But they are going to have an impact. MOYERS: What rationale did ABC give you for not including you in Saturday night's debate? KUCINICH: Whatever their criteria was, they have no right to make the decision for the people of New Hampshire prior to the election being held. They have no right. The airwaves belong to the public. They don't belong to ABC. BILL MOYERS: What's the most important thing that people would have heard about you and your message if you were in the debate in New Hampshire? DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, first of all, I would have said that I'm the only real Democrat on the stage, that I reflect the mainstream of Democratic voters with aspirations for a full employment economy, healthcare for all, education for all, a new environmental approach ... carbon free, nuclear free. Ending the U.S. role in the world as an aggressor. Holding the [present] administration accountable. You know, the president and vice president ought to be impeached. And they should be held accountable for war crimes because we attacked a nation that did not attack us. Now, these are things that need to be said.
Drug makers spend more on marketing than research: study
January 3, 2008, CBC News (Canada's equivalent of PBS)
U.S. drug companies spend almost twice as much on marketing and promoting medications [as] on research and development, a new Canadian study says. "These numbers clearly show how promotion predominates over R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, contrary to the industry's claim," the authors write in this week's peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science Medicine. Using data from two market research companies, the University of Quebec's Marc-André Gagnon and York University's Joel Lexchin found U.S. drug companies spent $57.5 billion US on promotional activities in 2004 compared with $31.5 billion on research and development. Promotional activities included free samples, visits from drug reps, direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs, meetings with doctors to promote products, e-mail promotions, direct mail and clinical trials designed to promote the prescribing of new drugs rather than to generate scientific data. The authors say their figure of $57.5 billion US is likely an underestimate, citing other avenues for promotion such as ghostwriting of articles in medical journals by drug company employees, or the off-label promotion of drugs. Drug companies have long argued they are driven primarily by research, while critics charge that marketing and profits are their primary concerns. There were extensive U.S. government reviews of the pharmacy business in the 1950s and '60s and again in the 1980s. But there hasn't been a comprehensive study of drug industry profits and spending in more than a decade.
Note: For a powerful overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Sources: Bhutto was to give U.S. lawmakers vote-rigging report
January 1, 2008, CNN
On the day she died, Benazir Bhutto planned to hand over to visiting U.S. lawmakers a report accusing Pakistan's intelligence services of a plot to rig parliamentary elections, sources close to the slain former Pakistani prime minister told CNN Tuesday. Bhutto was assassinated Thursday, hours before a scheduled meeting with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania. "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they [supporters of President Pervez Musharraf] have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours," the document says. The report also accused the government of planning to tamper with ballots and voter lists, intimidate opposition candidates and misuse U.S.-made equipment to monitor communications of opponents. One Bhutto source said the document was compiled at her request and said the information came from sources inside the police and intelligence services. Sen. Latif Khosa ... accused the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence of operating a rigging cell from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad. The goal, he said, is to change voting results electronically on election day. "The ISI has set up a mega-computer system where they can hack any computer in Pakistan and connect with the Election Commission," he said. Media outlets in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have run reports alleging that retired Brig. Gen. Ejaz Shah -- formerly an Inter-Services Intelligence officer and now head of the civilian Intelligence Bureau -- is involved in the vote rigging plans. Shah's name also turned up in a letter Bhutto wrote to Musharraf after the first attempt on her life on October 18, when she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. In the letter, the media reported, Shah was one of four Pakistani officials Bhutto named as people who wanted her dead.
Note: It is an extremely odd "coincidence" that Benazir Bhutto was planning to meet Senator Arlen Specter later in the day on which she was assassinated in Rawalpindi, headquarters of the Pakistani military dictatorship. Specter was the inventor of the official "magic bullet" theory of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which purported to explain the physical evidence of several bullets from different directions in the bodies of Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally as having been caused by just one bullet from the rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald.
His parasite theory stirs a revolution
December 31, 2007, Boston Globe
"What if I told you," Joel Weinstock said, "there were countries where the doctors had never seen hay fever?" It is another piece of evidence, another "aha" moment in the global medical mystery that Weinstock - the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts-New England Medical Center - has narrowed down to one chief suspect: the worms. Weinstock, 59, specializes in studying why immunological diseases ... are on the rise in developed countries but remain relatively uncommon in undeveloped countries. He believes these diseases, many of which were almost unheard of 100 years ago, are because of changes in our environment, a lack of exposure to something. And he thinks that something may be the worms. "We realized that one thing people always had was intestinal worms," he said. The parasites that we have been told to avoid - such as hookworm and pinworm - may be the good guys, while excessive hygiene may be the bad guy. "I get about 5,000 e-mails a year from patients all over the world asking what to do," he said. "People know that something isn't right. They keep their kids in the cleanest environments and they get asthma. We get all of these things that were rare becoming common. And a lot of it comes down to hygiene. Excessive hygiene can potentially lead to disease." The "hygiene hypothesis," which was first proposed nearly two decades ago, argues that aspects of cleanliness prevent the immune system from programming itself to fight off disease. "The big question is what are those aspects? We don't want to go back to the standards of the 1800s," Weinstock said. "Public hygiene and cleanliness are very good for us, but removing ourselves entirely from our natural environment is bad for us. We need to figure out the aspects of dirt and exposure that are good for us and hopefully we can find a balance."
Note: For many reliable reports on health issues, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Lost In Translation
August 8, 2004, CBS News
Sibel Edmonds, a translator who worked at the FBI's language division, says [that hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign language intelligence documents] weren't translated because the division was riddled with incompetence and corruption. Edmonds was fired after reporting her concerns to FBI officials. Because she is fluent in Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages, Edmonds, a Turkish-American, was hired by the FBI soon after Sept. 11 and given top-secret security clearance to translate some of the reams of documents seized by FBI agents who have been rounding up suspected terrorists across the United States and abroad. In its rush to hire more foreign language translators after Sept. 11, the FBI admits it has had difficulty performing background checks to detect translators who may have loyalties to other governments, which could pose a threat to U.S. national security. Take the case of Jan Dickerson, a Turkish translator who worked with Edmonds. The FBI has admitted that when Dickerson was hired, the bureau didn't know that she had worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counter-intelligence unit. They also didn't know she'd had a relationship with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation. According to Edmonds, Dickerson tried to recruit her into that organization, and insisted that Dickerson be the only one to translate the FBI's wiretaps of that Turkish official. "She got very angry, and later she threatened me and my family's life," says Edmonds, when she decided not to go along with the plan. "She said, 'Why would you want to place your life and your family's life in danger by translating these tapes?'" Edmonds says that when she reviewed Dickerson's translations of those tapes, she found that Dickerson had left out information crucial to the FBI's investigation - information that Edmonds says would have revealed that the Turkish intelligence officer had spies working for him inside the U.S. State Department and at the Pentagon.
Note: This article should be read in its entirety. For many revealing articles on the ongoing efforts by longtime whistleblower Sibel Edmonds to tell her story, click here.
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Iranian Boat Threats, Kucinich Demands Recount, Black market on Nuclear Secrets