Government Now Has Your Babies' DNA, Fed Demands Secrecy, Secret US War in Pakistan
Revealing News Articles
February 15, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the government now obtaining your babies' DNA without permission, Federal Reserve demands for secrecy in how trillions of dollars of bailout money was spent, a secret US war in Pakistan, 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.
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The government has your baby's DNA
February 4, 2010, CNN News
When Annie Brown's daughter, Isabel, was a month old, her pediatrician asked Brown and her husband to sit down because he had some bad news to tell them: Isabel carried a gene that put her at risk for cystic fibrosis. While grateful to have the information -- Isabel received further testing and she doesn't have the disease -- the Mankato, Minnesota, couple wondered how the doctor knew about Isabel's genes in the first place. After all, they'd never consented to genetic testing. It's simple, the pediatrician answered: Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent, according to Brad Therrell, director of the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center. In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies' DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center. Many parents don't realize their baby's DNA is being stored in a government lab, but sometimes when they find out, as the Browns did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents' concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it's appropriate for a baby's genetic blueprint to be in the government's possession.
Note: For many reliable reports on the increasing governmental and corporate threats to privacy, click here.
Federal Reserve Seeks to Protect U.S. Bailout Secrets
January 12, 2010, BusinessWeek/Bloomberg News
The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history. Bloomberg argued that the public has the right to know basic information about the "unprecedented and highly controversial use" of public money. Banks and the Fed warn that bailed-out lenders may be hurt if the documents are made public, causing a run or a sell-off by investors. New York-based Bloomberg ... sued in November 2008 after the Fed refused to name the firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or assets used as collateral under its lending programs. "Bloomberg has been trying for almost two years to break down a brick wall of secrecy in order to vindicate the public's right to learn basic information," Thomas Golden, an attorney for the company with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, wrote in court filings. More than a dozen other groups or companies filed amicus, or friend-of-the-court, briefs, including the American Society of News Editors and individual news organizations. The judge postponed the application of her ruling to allow the appeals court to consider the case.
Note: When doling out trillions of dollars of tax-payers' money, doesn't the public have a right to know who is receiving the money and what it is being used for?
School bombing exposes Obama's secret war inside Pakistan
February 7, 2010, Times of London (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The discovery of three American soldiers among the dead in a suicide bombing at the opening of a girls' school in the northwestern Pakistan town of Dir [has] reignited the fears of many Pakistanis that Washington was set on invading their country. In Pakistan, the US president has dramatically stepped up the covert war against Islamic extremists. US airstrikes in Pakistan, launched from unmanned drones, are now averaging three a week, triple the number last year. "We're quietly seeing a geographical shift," an intelligence officer said. The discovery of the dead US soldiers revealed that America's shadowy war in Pakistan not only involves drones but also small cadres of special operations soldiers. Sources said there were about 200 US military inside the country. "I'm not sure you could just call it training," one official said. "They are hardly behind the wire if they are on trips to schools in Dir." The three US soldiers, who have been described variously as special operations forces and civil affairs troops, were killed when their convoy was bombed as it travelled to the re-opening of the school. One official suggested the "trainers" may be used to pick up intelligence on drone targets. If the drones are controversial, the presence of US soldiers on Pakistani soil is far more so.
Note: For more from reliable sources on the covert aspects of the US military aggression worldwide, click here.
Pentagon to Increase Stock of High-Altitude Drones
February 5, 2010, BusinessWeek/Bloomberg News
The U.S. military plans to more than triple its inventory of high-altitude, armed and unarmed drones capable of 24-hour patrols. The long-range aviation plan delivered to Congress Feb. 2 calls for 800 high-altitude drones, up from 220 currently. "We can't get enough drones," General David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, which includes the Afghanistan and Iraq war theaters, said in a speech Jan. 19. Of the military's 6,819 unmanned aircraft, only the high- altitude "long-endurance" drones can provide ground commanders wide-ranging, round-the-clock surveillance and the opportunity for instant strike. The new planes will include Global Hawks built by Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. and Predator and Reaper drones. The Air Force uses those three model drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Northrop also will build its new "broad-area'' surveillance aircraft for the Navy. The U.S. military currently flies about 39 combat-air patrols for 24 hours each over Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Air Force Lieutenant General David Deptula. The Pentagon has said it would increase the patrols to 50 a day in the next two years and 65 by 2013.
Having sex twice a week 'reduces chance of heart attack by half'
January 8, 2010, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research. It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45 per cent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions than men who have sex once a month or less. The study, of over 1,000 men, shows sex appears to have a protective effect on the male heart but did not examine whether women benefit too. Now the American researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease. Although sex has long been regarded as good for physical and mental health, there has been little scientific evidence to show the full benefits that frequent intercourse can have on major illnesses such as heart disease. An earlier study at the National Cancer Institute in the US showed men who ejaculated through sex or masturbation at least five times a week were much less likely to get prostate cancer.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on important health issues, click here.
U.S. data about Guantanamo detainee's treatment is revealed in Britain
February 11, 2010, Washington Post
The British government [has] disclosed once-secret details of the United States' harsh treatment of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee after losing a lengthy legal battle to suppress the information. According to the information, from a judge's summary of a classified CIA report to British authorities, Binyam Mohamed was subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment during interrogations in Pakistan in 2002, including being shackled and deprived of sleep while interrogators played upon "his fears of being removed from United States custody and 'disappearing.' " Mohamed, 31, was born in Ethiopia and lives in Britain. Arrested in Pakistan in 2002, he says he was tortured by American authorities and others under U.S. instruction there and in Morocco. He says he was beaten with a leather strap, subjected to a mock execution and sliced with a scalpel on his chest and penis. Mohamed says Britain knew about his treatment because information used during his questioning could have come only from British intelligence. He spent seven years in detention, four of them at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Reprieve, a legal organization representing Mohamed in a lawsuit against the British government, said in a statement that the disclosures show that "the U.S. documented their efforts to abuse Mr. Mohamed" and that British authorities "knew he was being abused and did nothing about it."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the illegal actions undertaken by the US and UK in the prosecution of the fraudulent "war on terror," click here.
US frees Iraqi photographer held for 17 months
February 10, 2010, BBC News
American forces in Iraq have released an Iraqi freelance photographer held in detention for 17 months without charge. Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, who worked for Reuters, was arrested in September 2008 in a dawn raid on his home. The US said the photographer was a "security threat", but all evidence against him was classified secret. An Iraqi court had ruled in December 2008 that there was no case against him and that he must be released, but the US military refused. The US military has detained a number of Iraqi journalists working for international news organisations, but none have been convicted. It has been criticised by press freedom organisations such as Reporters Without Borders.
Note: So the U.S. can detain someone without any publicly-stated reason merely on suspicion of being a security threat? Sounds like something a police state would do. And why isn't this even being seriously questioned in the media?
Medical groups assail patenting of human genes
February 3, 2010, USA Today
In a case that could have far-reaching implications for medical research and health care based on genetics, groups representing thousands of doctors, scientists and patients went to court ... to argue that no one should be able to patent human genes, a question that has long been controversial in scientific circles. The case involves a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which in 1994 isolated the DNA sequence for the BRCA1 and later the BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can greatly increase a woman's chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad sells a test for the genes. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation ... argued before federal district court Judge Robert Sweet that patents on genes are unconstitutional. The U.S. Patent Office allows genes to be patented as soon as someone isolates the DNA by removing it from the cell, says ACLU attorney Sandra Park. "We're arguing that isolating it does not make it patentable. It's a natural phenomenon, and the Supreme Court has always said natural phenomena are not patentable."
Note: For many key investigations from major media sources into corporate and governmental threats against civil liberties, click here.
Corporation Says It Will Run for Congress
February 2, 2010, New York Times
Following the Supreme Court decision implicitly granting corporations the right to free speech (by determining that political spending is a kind of speech), a corporation has decided to take what it believes to be "democracy's next step": It is running for Congress. With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland's 8th Congressional District.
Note: To watch the company's first "campaign" ad, click on the link above.
Will You Be E-Mailing This Column? It's Awesome
February 9, 2010, New York Times
Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why? Now some answers are emerging thanks to a rich new source of data: you, Dear Reader. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have intensively studied the New York Times list of most-e-mailed articles, checking it every 15 minutes for more than six months, analyzing the content of thousands of articles and controlling for factors like the placement in the paper or on the Web home page. According to the Penn researchers, Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman, people preferred e-mailing articles with positive rather than negative themes, and they liked to send long articles on intellectually challenging topics. Perhaps most of all, readers wanted to share articles that inspired awe, an emotion that the researchers investigated after noticing how many science articles made the list. "Science kept doing better than we expected," said Dr. Berger, a social psychologist and a professor of marketing at Penn's Wharton School. "We anticipated that people would share articles with practical information about health or gadgets, and they did, but they also sent articles about paleontology and cosmology."
Sorry, we can't tell you. And we can't tell you that we can't
September 23, 2009, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspaper)
The battle against "legalese" ... has made steady progress since the term was first coined in the early 20th century. Yet one uniquely baffling genre of court document continues to grow: a new generation of omnipotent injunctions ... more abstract, all-encompassing, and powerful [than simple injunctions]. [Imagine] one that, in addition to prohibiting publication of information, ordered that you "must not use and must not publish or communicate or disclose the information that A has obtained an injunction". Regrettably, this is not a rare Kafkaesque experiment in civil procedure. It is, in fact, reality in a growing number of cases brought before England and Wales's high court. Of course it is impossible to say just how many of these cases there are. The parties are unable to discuss them, so their existence often passes by unnoticed by a wider audience; and even where the existence of these injunctions does come to the attention of the press, journalists are equally bound by their terms, risking contempt of court should they report them. There are indications though, that these once rare weapons are becoming a more regular feature of the legal battlefield. More alarming still is the fact that corporations, with motives centred more on their brand and reputation than personal disaster, are invoking these orders, gagging others from saying they have been gagged, let alone whatever they initially wanted to speak out about.
Is There Such a Thing as Life After Death?
January 22, 2010, Time magazine
Is there life after death? Radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. He makes the case for that controversial conclusion in a new book, Evidence of the Afterlife. He talked to TIME about the nature of near-death experience. [TIME:] How do you respond to skeptics who say there must be some biological or physiological basis for that kind of experience, which you say in the book is medically inexplicable? [Dr. Long:] There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical "explanations" for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else] there wouldn't be so many. [TIME:] You say this research has affected you a lot on a personal level. How? [Dr. Long:] I'm a physician who fights cancer. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us – and a wonderful afterlife – helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I've ever faced it with before. I can be a better physician for my patients.
Note: For a deeply inspiring online lesson presenting incredibly powerful near-death experiences, click here.
Key Articles From Years Past
Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury
January 29, 2009, Washington Post
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies. HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more. "Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on important health issues, click here.
FDA Science and Mission at Risk
November 2007, FDA Subcommittee on Science and Technology
The nation is at risk if FDA science is at risk. In recognition of this threat, in December 2006, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD requested that the Science Board, which is the Advisory Board to the Commissioner, form a Subcommittee to assess whether science and technology at the FDA can support current and future regulatory needs. This report is the product of that assessment. The Subcommittee concluded that science at the FDA is in a precarious position: the Agency suffers from serious scientific deficiencies and is not positioned to meet current or emerging regulatory responsibilities. The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific base has eroded and its scientific organizational structure is weak. The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific workforce does not have sufficient capacity and capability. FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation. The FDA science agenda lacks a structure and vision, as well as effective coordination. The FDA has an inadequate and ineffective program for scientist performance. Recommendations of excellent FDA reviews are seldom followed.
Note: The above excerpts are all taken from the chapter headings in the initial table of contents and the second page of the initial overview.
Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians
November 25, 2001, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal. Academics who have already received copies of Human Immunology have been urged to rip out the offending pages and throw them away. Such a drastic act of self-censorship is unprecedented in research publishing and has created widespread disquiet, generating fears that it may involve the suppression of scientific work that questions Biblical dogma. 'I have authored several hundred scientific papers, some for Nature and Science, and this has never happened to me before,' said the article's lead author, Spanish geneticist Professor Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, of Complutense University in Madrid. 'I am stunned.' Arnaiz-Villena has been sacked from the journal's editorial board. The paper, 'The Origin of Palestinians and their Genetic Relatedness with other Mediterranean Populations' [found that] no data [exist] to support the idea that Jewish people were genetically distinct from other people in the region. In doing so, the team's research challenges claims that Jews are a special, chosen people and that Judaism can only be inherited. Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East share a very similar gene pool and must be considered closely related and not genetically separate, the authors state.
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