Video Shows Journalists Slain, Obama Orders Killing of US Citizen, Special Forces Inquiry
Revealing News Articles
April 12, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on a video at Wikileaks showing US forces killing Reuters journalists in Iraq, Obama's first-ever presidential order to assassinate a US citizen, an investigation into killings of civilians in Afghanistan by US Special Forces, 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. The most important 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.
Special note: For a webpage describing some of the best UFO documentaries available which also provides key video clips, click here.
Leaked U.S. video shows deaths of Reuters' Iraqi staffers
April 5, 2010, Washington Post/Reuters
Classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, was released on [April 5] by a group that promotes leaking to fight government and corporate corruption. The group, WikiLeaks, told a news conference in Washington that it acquired encrypted video of the July 12, 2007, attack from military whistleblowers and had been able to view and investigate it after breaking the encryption code. A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the video and audio were authentic. David Schlesinger, Reuters' editor-in-chief, said the video released by WikiLeaks showed the deaths of [Namir] Noor-Eldeen and [Saeed] Chmagh were "tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones." "The video released today via WikiLeaks is graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result," he said. Reuters has pressed the U.S. military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the killing of the two staff. WikiLeaks posted the video at http://www.collateralmurder.com.
Note: In case the above video disappears, click here to view it on one of our websites. The only reason this event made news is because the two cameramen killed were Reuters staff. US forces then fired on an unarmed van with children in it, which was attempting to bring the dead and wounded out of the combat zone. How many innocent civilians are killed like this and never make the news? Please spread this important video and help others to wake up and work together to stop the cruelty of some of the US forces. The Pentagon is working hard to shut down Wikileaks, the organization which secured this powerful video.
Obama gives order to kill American imam
April 8, 2010, The Times (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public. The Los Angeles Times reported in January that Mr al-Awlaki's name had been placed on a top-secret list of targeted killings. In the past 24 hours, however, a handful of intelligence and counter-terrorism officials have briefed Reuters and The New York Times on the decision. The authorisation ... and the decision to make it public is a high-risk strategy. Tina Foster, of the US-based International Justice Network, told The Times: "It is shocking that our Government would go to these extremes, even depriving someone of their life without a legal process." The policy of targeted killings is controversial. President Ford issued an order in 1976 banning political assassinations. Yet Congress approved the use of force against al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.
Note: Obama is the first president to publicly order the assassination of an American citizen. Neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney asserted such a power on the part of the president. For an analysis, click here.
Inquiry puts spotlight on U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan
April 9, 2010, Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times
In nearly nine years of warfare in Afghanistan, U.S. Special Forces have done their fighting in the shadows, governed by rules largely of their own making. Now, these elite and secretive troops, their actions long shielded from public scrutiny, are the focus of a high-profile investigation that could shed unprecedented light on their methods and tactics. American and Afghan officials are probing a possible attempted coverup in the deaths of five Afghan civilians in February in a raid carried out by U.S. Special Forces accompanied by Afghan troops. Three of those killed were women and among the charges is that the bodies were tampered with by coalition forces to conceal the cause of death. Special Forces are inextricably linked to one of the most contentious issues between the Afghan government and Western forces: civilian deaths and injuries. Special Forces account for a disproportionate share of civilian casualties caused by Western troops ... though there are no precise figures because so many of their missions are deemed secret. In mountain villages and desert hamlets, the Special Forces inspire dread among Afghans, who tend to speak of them in whispers. Their strikes are usually swift and violent, most often taking place in the dead of night.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on US military atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
Security Checks on Flights to U.S. to Be Revamped
April 2, 2010, New York Times
President Obama has signed off on new security protocols for people flying to the United States, establishing a system that uses intelligence information and assessment of threats to identify passengers who could have links to terrorism. The system, which will be put in place this month, applies only to travelers flying into the United States. Officials said intelligence information from a variety of United States agencies would be made available to foreign airlines, whose employees and security officials would have wide latitude to stop passengers, or not. Currently, the only information typically checked before a passenger boards an airplane is the name, date of birth and nationality – information found in a passport, which is compared against the terror watch lists. But the Homeland Security Department separately already collects much more information on the travel patterns of passengers headed to the United States, including other stops made on the way to an American airport, how the passenger paid for the ticket as well as other details contained in the reservation, like what hotel a passenger might be staying in, or if he or she is traveling alone.
Note: For many disturbing reports from major media sources on increasing governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.
Technology Coalition Seeks Stronger Privacy Laws
March 31, 2010, New York Times
A broad coalition of technology companies, including AT&T, Google and Microsoft, and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum said Tuesday that it would push Congress to strengthen online privacy laws to protect private digital information from government access. The group, calling itself the Digital Due Process coalition, said it wanted to ensure that as millions of people moved private documents from their filing cabinets and personal computers to the Web, those documents remain protected from easy access by law enforcement and other government authorities. The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, wants law enforcement agencies to use a search warrant approved by a judge or a magistrate rather than rely on a simple subpoena from a prosecutor to obtain a citizen's online data. The group also said that it wanted to safeguard location-based information collected by cellphone companies and applications providers. forcement agencies and the Obama administration.
Note: For many key articles from reliable sources on privacy issues in the new age of surveillance, click here.
A Pfizer Whistle-Blower Is Awarded $1.4 Million
April 3, 2010, New York Times
A federal jury has awarded $1.37 million in damages to a former Pfizer scientist who claimed she was sickened by a genetically engineered virus at a company laboratory and then fired for raising safety concerns. The case ... has raised questions about the safety of workers in the biotechnology industry and about regulations to protect them. The jury ruled that Pfizer had violated laws protecting free speech and whistle-blowers by retaliating against Ms. McClain. The case has attracted the attention of some worker advocates, who say it shows the risks workers in biological labs encounter and the lack of rules to protect them. Ms. McClain, for example, claimed she encountered many difficulties in her attempts to learn the genetic content of the virus she suspected had infected her because it was protected as a trade secret. [She] had complained about what she saw as safety problems, including desks next to where biological experiments were done. Jeremy Gruber, president of the Council for Responsible Genetics, an advocacy group urging discussion of the ethical implications of biotechnology, applauded the award. "I personally believe that Becky McClain is really the canary in the coal mine," he said. Regulations "have not kept pace with the explosion of research."
Note: Why are they creating genetically engineered viruses that can sicken people? Could there be some credence to those who claim the AIDS virus was manufactured?
Feds found Pfizer too big to nail
April 2, 2010, CNN
Imagine being charged with a crime, but an imaginary friend takes the rap for you. That is essentially what happened when Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns. It's a story about the power major pharmaceutical companies have even when they break the laws intended to protect patients. The story begins in 2001, when Bextra was about to hit the market. The drug was part of a revolutionary class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors that were supposed to be safer than generic drugs, but at 20 times the price of ibuprofen. Pfizer and its marketing partner, Pharmacia, planned to sell Bextra as a treatment for acute pain, the kind you have after surgery. But in November 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Bextra was not safe for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bextra only for arthritis and menstrual cramps. It rejected the drug in higher doses for acute, surgical pain. Promoting drugs for unapproved uses can put patients at risk by circumventing the FDA's judgment over which products are safe and effective. For that reason, "off-label" promotion is against the law. Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Goldman Sachs denies 'betting against clients'
April 7, 2010, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Nine months after being labelled "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity", Goldman Sachs has issued a wide-ranging justification of its conduct before, during and after the financial crisis. In a letter to shareholders issued alongside Goldman's 2009 annual report, the Wall Street bank denied that it "bet against its clients" when it changed its position in the housing market in 2007, shortly before prices began to collapse. The eight-page letter, signed by chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn, also contained a detailed defence of the $12.9bn (£8.5bn) payout which Goldman received from AIG after the failed insurance giant was bailed out by the US government. The letter appears to be a detailed response to some of the allegations made nine months ago by Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi. His article, which argued that Goldman had repeatedly profited by inflating unsustainable financial bubbles ... included the claim that the company [is] "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money". Goldman ... actually profited from the fiasco by short-selling the market before the credit crunch struck in summer 2007.
Note: Read Matt Taibbi's article on Goldman Sachs here.
U.S. Bishops Quietly Reinstate Accused Priests
March 31, 2010, NPR
While the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal unfolds in Europe, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is under renewed scrutiny. In the wake of its own scandal almost a decade ago, the U.S. church says it has reformed its policies for handling sexual abuse allegations and will remove from ministry every priest who is credibly accused of abuse. But some of those priests are now being quietly reinstated. Juan Rocha was 12 years old when he says he was molested by his parish priest, the Rev. Eric Swearingen. He eventually brought his complaints to the bishop of Fresno, Calif., John Steinbock. When Steinbock said he didn't find the allegations credible, Rocha sued the priest and the diocese in civil court. In 2006, the jury found 9 to 3 that Swearingen had abused Rocha. But it could not decide whether the diocese knew about it. Rather than go through a new trial, the two sides settled. Bishop Steinbock continues Swearingen in ministry to this day, choosing to believe the priest is innocent, choosing to protect the priest, and choosing to disregard entirely the judicial finding by a jury that found he had committed the crime of sexual abuse against Juan," says Rocha's attorney, Jeffrey Anderson. Today, Swearingen serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees the youth ministry.
A little secret about Obama's transparency
March 21, 2010, Los Angeles Times
The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did. Transparency and openness were so important to the new president that on his first full day in office, he dispatched a much-publicized memo saying: "All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA." One of the exemptions allowed to deny Freedom of Information requests has been used by the Obama administration 70,779 times in its first year; the same exemption was used 47,395 times in Bush's final budget year. An Associated Press examination of 17 major agencies' handling of FOIA requests found denials 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50% from the 2008 fiscal year under Bush.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.
A Magnetic Field Applied to the Brain Can Alter People's Sense of Morality
March 30, 2010, Popular Science magazine
MIT scientists have shown that they can alter our moral judgments simply by magnetically interfering with a certain part of the brain. Studies have shown that the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) lights up with activity when we engage in moral judgments like evaluating the intentions of another person, indicating the region is important to making moral decisions. But while we like to think we're very consistent in our morality, the MIT team showed that an electromagnetic field applied to the scalp impairs our ability to evaluate the intentions of others, leaving us with little by which to hand down a moral judgment. The study relied on non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to interfere with the right TPJ, temporarily impeding the normal firing of neurons in that region. Control subjects were able to evaluate the harmfulness and morality of characters' intentions, whereas those exposed to TMS made judgments based purely on outcome. For example, one common question asked whether or not it was morally permissible for a man to allow his girlfriend to cross a bridge he knows is unsafe, even if in the end she makes it across safely. Control subjects found the intention to do harm morally impermissible, but those exposed to TMS largely based their judgment solely on the outcome.
Note: For more on this interesting research, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Bob Lazar: The Man Behind Area 51
May 23, 2005, lasvegasnow.com (Las Vegas CBS affiliate)
As the Area 51 military base prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday next week, the man who put the base on the public's radar screen says he wants nothing to do with the place. Former government scientist Bob Lazar is the man who claimed to have worked on alien technology at a facility near Groom Lake, but Lazar left town years ago and has kept a low profile ever since. Millions of people have heard Bob Lazar's story, and a lot of them believe it. The poohbahs of ufology think Lazar is a government disinformation agent assigned to spread lies and muddy the waters. Still others think he's a profiteer who made it all up because he wanted to cash in. He said he worked for the Navy at S-4, a hidden hangar complex south of Groom Lake, where nine flying discs of various shapes were stored and tested. Lazar said an anti-matter reactor powered the craft. Lazar's story was rich with detail. Not only did he see the craft fly, he said, but also he got to peek inside, and that's when it hit him. "They had really small chairs. Why did they need small furniture?"
Note: For a concise summary of evidence of UFOs presented by highly credible government, military and other professionals, click here.
Bob Lazar: The Man Behind Element 115
May 1, 2005, lasvegasnow.com (Las Vegas CBS affiliate)
How does this sound -- a conversion kit that would allow your car to run on clean, plentiful hydrogen? It's in the works in New Mexico, and the name of the guy who is building it may ring a bell. He's Bob Lazar, and 16 years ago he told the I-Team's George Knapp about Area 51 and said scientists there were studying UFOs. Lazar has faced [ridicule] ever since he went public in 1989 with his claims that he worked on flying saucers in the Nevada desert. The military refused to answer any questions about Lazar or his claims. In 1989, Lazar claimed the ET saucers he worked on could produce their own gravity. This propulsion was made possible by a superheavy substance Lazar called Element 115. What is the problem with this story? Element 115 did not exist in 1989. Now, however, it does.
Note: For a concise summary of evidence of UFOs presented by highly credible government, military and other professionals, click here.
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