BP Refinery Releases Tons of Toxics, "Wasted" Billions in Iraq, CIA Secretly Funds Afghans
Revealing News Articles
September 6, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the uncontrolled release of tons of toxic chemicals at a BP refinery, the "waste" of billions of dollars by US contractors in Iraq, reports of secret payments by the CIA to high officials in Afghanistan, 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: Thank you so much to all who contributed recently to help reduce our deficit for this year. For those who would like to help bring it down even further, we would be most grateful if you click here. WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin has just published a new book, Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee's Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. For powerful video evidence of two NYC officials who were trapped in WTC 7 on 9/11 that the building collapsed under mysterious circumstances, click here. And for a fascinating one-minute video on how to get hummingbirds to eat from your hand, click here.
With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant
August 30, 2010, New York Times
While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery [in Texas City, Texas] released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems. For 40 days after a piece of equipment critical to the refinery's operation broke down, a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, poured out of the refinery. Rather than taking the costly step of shutting down the refinery to make repairs, the engineers at the plant diverted gases to a smokestack and tried to burn them off, but hundreds of thousands of pounds still escaped into the air, according to state environmental officials. Neither the state nor the oil company informed neighbors or local officials about the pollutants until two weeks after the release ended, and angry residents of Texas City have signed up in droves to join a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against BP. The state attorney general, Greg Abbott, has also sued the company, seeking fines of about $600,000. Scores of Texas City residents said they experienced respiratory problems this spring, and environmentalists said the release of toxic gases ranked as one of the largest in the state's history. Neil Carman of the Lone Star Sierra Club said the release was probably even larger than BP had acknowledged.
US wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq
August 30, 2010, Washington Post/Associated Press
A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children's hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million wastewater treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets. As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds has been wasted on these projects - more than 10 percent of the $53.7 billion the US has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency. That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And it does not take into account security costs, which have run almost 17 percent for some projects. Even completed projects for the most part fell far short of original goals, according to an Associated Press review of hundreds of audits and investigations and visits to several sites. The reconstruction program in Iraq has been troubled since its birth shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The U.S. was forced to scale back many projects even as they spiked in cost, sometimes to more than double or triple initial projections.
Note: For key reports on the corruption and profiteering that are the real fuels for war, click here.
Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Tied to C.I.A.
August 26, 2010, New York Times
The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials. Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both. Mr. Salehi's relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration's policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it. Other prominent Afghans who American officials have said were on the C.I.A.'s payroll include the president's half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, suspected by investigators of playing a role in Afghanistan's booming opium trade. Over the course of the nine-year-old war, the C.I.A. has enmeshed itself in the inner workings of Afghanistan's national security establishment. From 2002 until just last year, the C.I.A. paid the entire budget of Afghanistan's spy service, the National Directorate of Security.
Note: For key reports on the corruption and profiteering that are the real fuels for war, click here.
Secret services 'must be made more transparent'
August 29, 2010, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The secret services must become more transparent if they are to halt the spread of damaging conspiracy theories and increase trust in the Government, claims a leading think tank. A Demos report published today, "The Power of Unreason", argues that secrecy surrounding the investigation of events such as the 9/11 New York attacks and the 7/7 bombings in London merely adds weight to ... claims that they were "inside jobs". It ... recommends the Government fight back by infiltrating internet sites to dispute these theories. The Royal United Services Institute warned last week that the UK may soon face a new wave of home-grown terrorists, when criminals who have been targeted by jihadists while in prison are released.
Note: The report cited in this article advocates UK government infiltration of "conspiracist" organizations and websites. In the US the same recommendation has been made by Obama appointee Cass Sunstein, whose article "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures" has just been fully dissected by WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin in his new book Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee's Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory.
U.S. drones to watch entire Mexico border from September 1
August 30, 2010, MSNBC/Reuters
The U.S. government will have unmanned surveillance aircraft monitoring the whole southwest border with Mexico from September 1, as it ramps up border security in this election year. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said U.S. Customs and Border Protection would begin flying a Predator B drone out of Corpus Christi, Texas, on [that date], extending the reach of the agency's unmanned surveillance aircraft across the length of the nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico. "With the deployment of the Predator in Texas, we will now be able to cover the southwest border from the El Centro sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground," Napolitano said during a conference call. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill that would fund some 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors and other law enforcement officials along the border, as well as paying for two more unmanned drones. The Predator B drones are made by defense contractor General Atomics. They carry equipment including sophisticated day and night vision cameras that operators use to detect drug and human smugglers, and can stay aloft for up to 30 hours at a time.
Note: How long will it be before aerial surveillance drones, now positioned over the southern border of the US, are deployed in other parts of the country?
WikiLeaks releases CIA paper on U.S. as 'exporter of terrorism'
August 26, 2010, Washington Post
The United States has long been an exporter of terrorism, according to a secret CIA analysis released [August 25] by the Web site WikiLeaks. And if that phenomenon were to become a widely held perception, the analysis said, it could damage relations with foreign allies and dampen their willingness to cooperate in "extrajudicial" activities, such as the rendition and interrogation of terrorism suspects. That is the conclusion of the three-page classified paper produced in February by the CIA's Red Cell, a think tank set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet to provide "out-of-the-box" analyses on "a full range of analytic issues." The paper cites Pakistani American David Headley, among others, to make its case that the nation is a terrorism exporter. Headley pleaded guilty this year to conducting surveillance in support of the 2008 Lashkar-i-Taiba attacks in Mumbai, which killed more than 160 people. Such exports are not new, the paper said. In 1994, an American Jewish doctor [Baruch Goldstein, a member of the militant group Kach founded by the late Meir Kahane,] who had emigrated from New York to Israel years earlier, opened fire at a mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers.
Note: For reports from major media sources that illuminate the realities of state-sponsored terrorism, click here.
Israeli actors refuse to take the stage in settlement theatre
August 30, 2010, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Five leading Israeli theatres were facing a mounting political row yesterday after a pledge by 60 of the country's most prominent actors, writers and directors to boycott the companies' planned performances in a Jewish West Bank settlement. The companies triggered the protest by planning a programme of performances to mark the opening of a new £6.4m cultural centre in the West Bank settlement of Ariel later this year. The protest ... includes Yousef Sweid and Rami Heuberger, two of Israel's best known actors, as well as its most venerated living playwright, Joshua Sobol, whose Holocaust work "Ghetto" won the Evening Standard Play of the Year award when Nicolas Hytner directed it at London's National Theatre in 1989. Their petition, sent to Israel's ... Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, expressed "dismay" at the theatres' decision to perform in the settlement's new auditorium and served notice that the artists will refuse to perform in any settlements. Calling on Israeli theatres to "pursue their prolific activity" within the "green line" that marked its border until the 1967 Six Day War, it says that to do otherwise would "strengthen the settlement enterprise."
Egg recall heats up debate over caging chicken
August 27, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
A recall of a half-billion eggs from two mega-farms in Iowa is stoking a fierce controversy over whether factory farming is inherently unsafe - and a battle in California over a 2008 voter initiative banning the standard industry practice of packing hens so tightly in battery cages that they cannot spread their wings. Voters passed Proposition 2 overwhelmingly in 2008 after animal welfare activists released horrific undercover videos of strangled, deformed and mummified hens in battery cages. Animal welfare activists are linking battery cages to the Iowa salmonella outbreak, saying they are not just cruel to animals but a threat to food safety." Proposition 2 requires cage-free treatment of laying hens, and the evidence is very clear that caging laying hens increases the risk of salmonella," said Paul Shapiro, head of the Humane Society of the United States' Factory Farming Campaign. Animal rights activists and egg farmers, usually arch enemies, came together behind a law signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger last month that will ban all eggs coming from outside the state that fail to comply with the battery-cage ban. The new law could save the state's egg farmers and spread Prop. 2 nationally.
Note: To read the Humane Society's report on the negative impacts of factory farming, click here.
Cuba's Fidel Castro claims al-Qaida leader Osama bin laden is a US agent
August 27, 2010, Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Associated Press
Fidel Castro says al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is a bought-and-paid-for CIA agent who always popped up when former President George W. Bush needed to scare the world, arguing that documents recently posted on the Internet prove it. "Any time Bush would stir up fear and make a big speech, bin Laden would appear threatening people with a story about what he was going to do," Castro told state media during a meeting with a Lithuanian-born writer known for advancing conspiracy theories about world domination. "Bush never lacked for bin Laden's support. He was a subordinate." Castro said documents posted on WikiLeaks.org – a website that recently released thousands of pages of classified documents from the Afghan war – "effectively proved he was a CIA agent." Last week, he began highlighting the work of Daniel Estulin, who wrote a trilogy of books highlighting the Bilderberg Club, whose prominent members meet once a year behind closed doors. During the meeting, Estulin told Castro that the real voice of bin Laden was last heard in late 2001, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said the person heard making warnings about terror attacks after that was a "bad actor."
Note: WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin has analyzed the evidence for bin Laden's likely death in December 2001 in his important book Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?. For key reports from major media sources on secret societies such as the Bilderberg Club, click here.
Tracking The Companies That Track You Online
August 19, 2010, NPR
One of the fastest-growing online businesses is the business of spying on Internet users by using sophisticated software to track movements through the Web, so that the information can be sold to advertisers. Julia Angwin recently led a team of reporters from The Wall Street Journal in analyzing the tracking software. They discovered that nearly all of the most commonly visited websites gather information in real time about the behavior of online users. The Journal series identified more than 100 tracking companies, data brokers and advertising networks collecting data – which are then sold on a stock market-like exchange to online advertisers. Angwin explains how consumer surveillance works, how users can disable the tracking software – and how advertisers are continually evolving to keep up with the data they receive. She notes that many Internet users are unaware that their information is being tracked and then traded. "Most people that we have heard from since writing these stories did not know what was going on," Angwin explains. "So when you go to a website, you're not thinking about the fact that they might have relationships with all different types of monitoring firms, and those firms are installing things that are invisible to you on your computer."
Note: Julia Angwin is senior technology editor of The Wall Street Journal, and author of the book, Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America. For lots more on growing threats to privacy, click here.
Top DOE official drives a plug-in Toyota Prius
August 24, 2010, USA Today
David Sandalow, the Energy Department's assistant secretary for policy and international affairs, practices what he preaches when it comes to alternative-energy vehicles. Sandalow drives a Toyota Prius converted to a plug-in electric for his 5-mile commute to work every day. He recharges at night in the carport of his Washington home. Sandalow's Prius, which was converted two years ago to allow him to recharge the battery from an electric outlet, gets more than 80 miles per gallon and lets him drive 30 miles on a single charge. He can drive up to 30 miles on a single charge, only has to fill the gas tank about twice a month, and he figures he gets about 80 miles a gallon. Including the six-hour electric plug-in a day, it works out to about 75 cents per gallon of gas. His aftermarket conversion cost about $9,000, on top of the price of the Prius. Sandalow wrote the 2007 book Freedom From Oil, and he thinks that hybrids and plug-ins are the quickest way for the country to lessen its dependence on foreign oil.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on exciting new developments in automotive design and new energy technologies, click here.
Kara Goldin's no-sugar Hint flavored water
September 3, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
It is a multimillion-dollar business started by a mom who began to see her daughter's brightly colored, juice-filled sippy cups as nothing more than insidious sugar-delivery mechanisms. In late 2004, Kara Goldin put a stop to the juice for her kids - juice from cups, bottles, boxes and pouches - and began experimenting by dropping bits of fresh fruit into glasses of water. "We had always put lemon or lime in our water, so I started putting different types of fruit in the water, and the kids loved it," said Goldin, a mother of four in San Francisco. "Our kids would have playdates, and I'd put a fresh raspberry in the kids' water and later the moms would call me and say, 'What is this raspberry drink you're giving my child?' " Today, Hint - bottled water with a hint of fruit, and not a trace of sugar, calories or preservatives - has retail sales of about $25 million, according to Goldin. The top-selling flavors include watermelon, blackberry, raspberry-lime, strawberry-kiwi, pomegranate-tangerine and mango-grapefruit. "This whole thing began when my daughter was reaching for some more apple juice," Goldin said. "I was noticing how kids were in the habit of moving from milk in a sippy cup to juice in a sippy cup that they'd have throughout the day. That's a lot more sugar than kids should have."
Key Articles From Years Past
Not guilty. The Israeli captain who emptied his rifle into a Palestinian schoolgirl
November 16, 2005, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago. The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died. After the verdict, Iman's father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable. "They did not charge him with Iman's murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times," he said. "This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children." The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.
September 7, 1952, CIA Website (declassified document)
OSI [Office of Scientific Intelligence] has investigated the work currently being performed on flying saucers. Since 1947, ATIC [Air Technical Intelligence Center] has received approximately 1500 official reports of sightings plus an enormous volume of letters, phone calls and press reports. During the month of July 1952 alone, official reports totaled 250. Of the 1500 reports, Air Force carries 20% as unexplained. A study should be instituted to determine what, if any, utilization could be made of these phenomena by United States psychological warfare planners, and what, if any, defenses should be planned in anticipation of Soviet attempts to utilize them. A national policy should be established as to what should be told the public regarding the phenomena, in order to minimize risk of panic. It is recommended that: a. The Director of Central Intelligence advise the National Security Council of the security implications inherent in the flying saucer problem. b. CIA, under its assigned responsibilities, and in cooperation with the psychological strategy board, immediately investigate possible offensive or defensive utilization of the phenomena for psychological warfare purposes both for and against the United States.
Note: To access this document on the CIA website, click on the link above and then click on the first link listed, with the title "FLYING SAUCERS," or see a full copy with comments at this link. Why was the CIA interested in using the UFO phenomenon for psychological warfare? How did that play out? For lots more reliable, verifiable information on this intriguing topic, click here.
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