One-Tip Terrorist List, TSA Scanner Lobby's Revolving Door, Battle of Wanat Cover-up
Revealing News Articles
January 3, 2011
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on new criteria that permit people to be added to the US government's master terrorist watch list on the basis of just one tip, the unprecedented revolving door for former government officials to the TSA scanner lobby, the cover-up of high-level responsibility the US military's humiliating defeat in the Battle of Wanat, 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. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: For a revealing list of failed banks on the US FDIC website, click here. If you start at the bottom of this long list, you will see that between 2000 and 2007, an average of only three banks failed per year. Yet in 2010 alone, more than 150 banks failed. Realize, too, that the big banks which should have failed are now buying out all of these failed banks, often at pennies on the dollar. For some key news involving hidden information about Wikileaks and informant Bradley Manning, click here.
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Terrorist watch list: One tip now enough to put name in database
December 29, 2010, Washington Post
A year after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials say they have made it easier to add individuals' names to a terrorist watch list. The failure to put Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the watch list last year renewed concerns that the government's system to screen out potential terrorists was flawed. Even though Abdulmutallab's father had told U.S. officials of his son's radicalization in Yemen, government rules dictated that a single-source tip was insufficient to include a person's name on the watch list. Since then, senior counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list. But civil liberties groups argue that the government's new criteria, which went into effect over the summer, have made it even more likely that individuals who pose no threat will be swept up in the nation's security apparatus, leading to potential violations of their privacy and making it difficult for them to travel. "They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they're on," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. The list, which stands at 440,000 people, [is now] about 5 percent larger than last year.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on growing threats to civil liberties, click here.
Firms' lobbying push comes amid rancor on TSA use of airport full-body scanners
December 24, 2010, Washington Post
About eight of every 10 registered lobbyists who work for scanner-technology companies previously held positions in the government or Congress, most commonly in the homeland security, aviation or intelligence fields, a Washington Post review of lobbying-disclosure forms and other data shows. Industries routinely employ well-connected lobbyists to seek favorable legislation and regulations in the nation's capital. But the extent of the connections to the federal government is particularly notable given the relatively small size of the scanner industry, which is dominated by half a dozen specialized businesses with heavy investments in airport and border security technology. The roster of lobbyists for L-3 Communications includes former U.S. senator Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.) and Linda Daschle, a former federal aviation official who is married to Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), a former Senate majority leader. L-3 has won nearly $900 million worth of TSA business, including for its "millimeter-wave" machines used for airport body scans. Former homeland security chief Michael Chertoff, a longtime advocate for increased use of passenger scanners, worked until recently as a consultant for Rapiscan, which provides "backscatter" X-ray scanners to the TSA. Privacy and civil liberties advocates and other critics argue that the industry's lobbying ties have encouraged a frenzy of TSA spending on technologies that are often untested or ineffective.
Army edits its history of the deadly battle of Wanat
December 29, 2010, Washington Post
The Army's official history of the battle of Wanat - one of the most intensely scrutinized engagements of the Afghan war - largely absolves top commanders of the deaths of nine U.S. soldiers and instead blames the confusing and unpredictable nature of war. An initial draft of the Wanat history, which was obtained by The Washington Post and other media outlets in the summer of 2009, placed the preponderance of blame for the losses on the higher-level battalion and brigade commanders who oversaw the mission, saying they failed to provide the proper resources to the unit in Wanat. The final history, released in recent weeks, drops many of the earlier conclusions and instead focuses on failures of lower-level commanders. Family members of the deceased at Wanat reacted with anger and disappointment to the final version of the Army history. "They blame the platoon-level leadership for all the mistakes at Wanat," said retired Col. David Brostrom, whose son was killed in the fighting. "It blames my dead son. They really missed the point." The initial investigation, conducted by a three-star Marine Corps general and completed in the spring, found that the company and battalion commanders were "derelict in their duty" to provide proper oversight and resources to the soldiers fighting at Wanat.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on the horrific realities of the US wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
Cables Portray Expanded Reach of Drug Agency
December 26, 2010, New York Times
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables. The cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks [offer glimpses of drug agents] in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments. Officials of the D.E.A. and the State Department declined to discuss what they said was information that should never have been made public. The D.E.A. now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the [CIA] at arm's length. Created in 1973, the D.E.A. has steadily built its international turf. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the agency's leaders have cited what they describe as an expanding nexus between drugs and terrorism in further building its overseas presence.
Note: Isn't it odd that this report fails to mention the recent revelation in The New York Times itself that the American accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks, David C. Headley, was a DEA agent while attending a "terrorism training camp" in Pakistan in the years before the attacks?
While Washington pursues CEOs, they snub U.S.
December 26, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
America's big businesses are less and less American. They're going abroad for sales and employees. That's one reason they've showed record-breaking profits in 2010 while creating almost no American jobs. Consider one of the most popular products for Christmas gifts of all time - Apple's iPhone. Researchers from the Asian Development Bank Institute have dissected an iPhone, whose wholesale price is around $179, to determine where the money actually goes. Only about $11 of that iPhone goes to American workers, mostly researchers and designers. Even old-tech American companies made big money abroad in 2010 - and created scads of jobs there. General Motors, for example, is now turning a nice profit, and American investors are bullish about its future. That doesn't mean GM will be creating lots more blue-collar jobs in America, though. 2010 was a banner year for GM's foreign sales - already two-thirds of its total sales, and rising. In October, GM became the first automaker to sell more than 2 million cars a year in China. The company is now making more cars in China than in the United States. Meanwhile, back home in the United States, GM has slashed its labor costs. New hires are brought in at roughly half the wages and benefits of former GM employees, under a two-tier wage structure accepted by the United Auto Workers. Almost all of GM's U.S. suppliers have also cut their payrolls.
Note: Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and the author of the new book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.
State Budgets: The Day of Reckoning
December 19, 2010, CBS News
There is [a] financial crisis looming involving state and local governments. In the two years since the "great recession" wrecked their economies and shriveled their income, the states have collectively spent nearly a half a trillion dollars more than they collected in taxes. There is also a trillion-dollar hole in their public pension funds. The states have been getting by on billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds, but the day of reckoning is at hand. The debt crisis [could] cost a million public employees their jobs and require another big bailout package that no one in Washington wants to talk about. "The most alarming thing about the state issue is the level of complacency," Meredith Whitney, one of the most respected financial analysts on Wall Street. "It has tentacles as wide as anything I've seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States, and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy," she [said]. California, which faces a $19 billion budget deficit next year, has a credit rating approaching junk status. It now spends more money on public employee pensions than it does on the state university system, which had to increase its tuition by 32 percent. Arizona is so desperate it sold off the state capitol, Supreme Court building and legislative chambers to a group of investors and now leases the buildings from their new owner. The state also eliminated Medicaid funding for most organ transplants.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the devastating consequences for Main Street of the criminal bailout of Wall Street, click here.
Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear
December 27, 2010, MSNBC
A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses "a significant danger to public health." Citing what the law firm calls a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, toxicologists, chemists and marine biologists retained by the firm of environmental attorney Stuart Smith contend that the government seafood testing program, which has focused on ensuring the seafood was free of the cancer-causing components of crude oil, has overlooked other harmful elements. And they say that their own testing – examining fewer samples but more comprehensively – shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage. "What we have found is that FDA simply overlooked an important aspect of safety in their protocol," contends William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist on Smith's team. Five months after crude oil stopped gushing from the broken BP wellhead into the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has reopened more than 90 percent of fishing waters that were in danger of contamination from the broken Deepwater Horizon rig. But many fishermen have yet to return to sea, and consumer confidence in Gulf seafood remains lukewarm.
Note: For important reports from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Environmentalists fight bioengineered seafood plan
December 27, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
A genetically engineered fish infused with genes from other species, including an eel-like creature, could soon be on dinner plates in the Bay Area and around the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering an application by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Massachusetts to bioengineer a sterile salmon that would grow extremely fast and, if all goes as planned, never set so much as a fin in a natural body of water. It would be the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption. The proposal, which is awaiting an environmental assessment and a preliminary decision by the FDA, has created a furor among environmentalists, who have dubbed the species "Frankenfish." They claim the doctored salmon could spread disease in humans or circulate mutant genes in the wild if an accident or sabotage ever set them loose. "The effect of what happens if these genetically engineered fish escape is largely unknown and has been largely unquestioned by the FDA," said Colin O'Neil, the regulatory policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. "These fish have been demonstrated to be less healthy. Consumers clearly do not want to eat genetically engineered salmon."
Note: For a superb summary of the dangers posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
Panel urges FDA to take another look at mercury dental fillings
December 15, 2010, CNN
A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee said ... that the agency should look at updated data on mercury amalgam dental fillings that may indicate possible medical problems for patients. The panel -- after hearing two days of testimony from experts, members of the public and dental professionals -- recommended the FDA look at information updated since the agency ruled in 2009 that the mercury in dental fillings is not harmful. Public pressure prompted the panel's review, initiated less than 18 months after the agency's decision. Committee members listened to testimony by consumer and dental groups claiming the FDA used flawed science when it set the current guidelines for mercury safety levels. Some experts say mercury from these fillings penetrates into the body and damages human cells, especially in the brain, bones and kidneys. How much damage it is unknown, which is why the advisory committee is revisiting the issue. Some dentists did say they would avoid using amalgam fillings because of numerous public reports of mercury poisoning. "I always wondered why we were told by the (American Dental Association) to be careful when disposing of mercury. If it's so dangerous to the environment, why not my patients?" asked Dr. Stephen Markus, a dentist in the Philadelphia area.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on health issues, click here.
2010: A Big Year for UFOs
December 27, 2010, AOL News
UFOs have been around on a regular basis from antiquity through modern day. And as 2010 unfolded, the UFO mythology was alive and well. Famed British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the pope's astronomer, a high-ranking Italian politician and even the late Winston Churchill helped keep UFOs in the news. The longstanding debate over whether or not we should try to make contact with space aliens reared its head during 2010. Astrophysicist Hawking cautioned that any communication with extraterrestrials might pose a huge risk for earthlings. Not all political leaders feel the need to keep alien information secret. Case in point: Italian Northern League party leader Mario Borghezio's crusade this year to convince European Union member nations to release all of their hidden UFO documents. In Great Britain, newly published secret documents alleged that former Prime Minister Churchill believed some UFOs were unearthly and he was concerned that such news would create a public panic. No-nonsense, credible military officers stepped forward and broke their silence at a Washington, D.C., press conference to describe their firsthand encounters with UFOs that they claim had tampered with American nuclear weapons sites.
Note: For impressive testimony on UFOs from many highly-credible government officials and military officers, click here. For lots more reliable, verifiable information on the UFO phenomenon, click here.
Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons
December 27, 2010, Washington Post/Associated Press
These days, Casal Ventoso is an ordinary blue-collar community - mothers push baby strollers, men smoke outside cafes, buses chug up and down the cobbled main street. Ten years ago, the Lisbon neighborhood was a hellhole, a "drug supermarket" where some 5,000 users lined up every day to buy heroin and sneaked into a hillside honeycomb of derelict housing to shoot up. At that time, Portugal, like the junkies of Casal Ventoso, had hit rock bottom: An estimated 100,000 people - an astonishing 1 percent of the population - were addicted to illegal drugs. So, like anyone with little to lose, the Portuguese took a risky leap: They decriminalized the use of all drugs in a groundbreaking law in 2000. Now, the United States, which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble. "The disasters that were predicted by critics didn't happen," said University of Kent professor Alex Stevens, who has studied Portugal's program. "The answer was simple: Provide treatment." Drugs in Portugal are still illegal. But here's what Portugal did: It changed the law so that users are sent to counseling and sometimes treatment instead of criminal courts and prison. The switch from drugs as a criminal issue to a public health one was aimed at preventing users from going underground.
Ex: Woman Who Died At Busch Home Had Heart Issue
December 25, 2010, CBS News/Associated Press
An aspiring model who died at the home of former Anheuser-Busch chief executive August Busch IV had a rare heart condition, according to her ex-husband. Adrienne Martin, 27, was found dead at Busch's suburban St. Louis home on Dec. 19. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported [that] it took someone at Busch's mansion more than 40 minutes to call 911 after Adrienne Martin was found dead at 12:30 p.m.. Frontenac police, who responded to the scene, did not disclose her death until four days later. Officials said an initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn't reveal signs of trauma to her body or obvious natural causes of death. A ruling stating the cause of death is expected after results of toxicology tests come back. That could take up to six weeks. In 1983, Busch, then a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, left a bar near Tucson, Ariz., with a 22-year-old woman. His black Corvette crashed, and the woman, Michele Frederick, was killed. Busch was found hours later at his home. He suffered a fractured skull and claimed he had amnesia. After a seven-month investigation, authorities declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence. Two years later, Busch was acquitted on assault charges resulting from a police chase that ended with an officer shooting out a tire on his Mercedes-Benz.
Note: Is our justice system partial to the ruling elite?
Former Playmates tell of 'grubby' world inside Hugh Hefner's empire
December 31, 2010, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
[Hugh Hefner's] image as a fast-living Lothario has done much to make a success of the Playboy brand, and news of his impending nuptials to a woman young enough to be his great-granddaughter will further promote the idea of him as a lovable old rascal who has plenty of life in him yet. This is certainly the image Hefner likes to project to the celebrities drawn to his lavishly debauched parties at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The attractions there include a games house, with two guestrooms equipped with only a bed, a ceiling mirror and a phone. But unfortunately for Hefner, some of his former 'girlfriends', as he calls them, have become disenchanted with life in his harem over the years. One by one they have revealed what life was like behind the glittering fa�ade of the Playboy Mansion. According to them, it disguises a grubby world where some girls feel they are no better than prostitutes, paid pocket money by an octogenarian obsessive who funds plastic surgery to turn them into his physical ideal. Hefner likes to have anywhere between three and 15 girlfriends at any one time. One of the group will be chosen to be Girlfriend No 1. She will share Hefner's bedroom at all times, while the others are merely visitors.
Note: We don't consider the U.K.'s Daily Mail to be a particularly reliable source, but this article is quite revealing.
Morality is modified in the lab
March 30, 2010, BBC
Scientists have shown they can change people's moral judgements by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses. They identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear which appears to control morality. And by using magnetic pulses to block cell activity they impaired volunteers' notion of right and wrong. [The] Massachusetts Institute of Technology study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead researcher Dr Liane Young said: "You think of morality as being a really high-level behaviour. To be able to apply a magnetic field to a specific brain region and change people's moral judgments is really astonishing." The key area of the brain is a knot of nerve cells known as the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ). The researchers subjected 20 volunteers to a number of tests designed to assess their notions of right and wrong. In one scenario participants were asked how acceptable it was for a man to let his girlfriend walk across a bridge he knew to be unsafe. After receiving a 500 millisecond magnetic pulse to the scalp, the volunteers delivered verdicts based on outcome rather than moral principle. If the girlfriend made it across the bridge safely, her boyfriend was not seen as having done anything wrong. In effect, they were unable to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people's intentions.
Note: For lots more on the technologies of mind control, click here.
Research shows generosity repaid on many levels
December 24, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Studies at UC Berkeley show that ... generosity for many is driven by a sincere desire to benefit others, said Robb Willer, a UC Berkeley sociologist who researches the ways individuals overcome selfishness to contribute to the social good. He has found that people have varying levels of altruism, depending on such things as their personality, parental influences and experience. "Volunteering your time and giving money to charity tends to make people happier than spending money on themselves," Willer said. But for others, generosity pays. "It makes sense to be generous from a self-interested perspective," said Willer, who studies how people behave in groups. "If you're generous, you receive more respect, you have more influence and people cooperate with you more." Experiments Willer has conducted in five countries show that giving can be contagious. One of Willer's studies focused on users of the website freecycle.org, an online gift-giving community. Freecycle began in 2003 as an e-mail group in Tucson committed to reusing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Its only rule was that items be given without reciprocity or compensation. Freecycle has since grown to have more than 7 million members in 85 countries. The feeling of gratitude has driven the success of Freecycle, Willer found. "Giving in this community follows a pattern of contagious generosity, where if you received a gift from somebody else in the world, then you become more likely to give to somebody else in turn," he said.
Key Articles From Years Past
Members of C Street start spilling secrets
July 20, 2009, MSNBC
RACHEL MADDOW: Going public seems to sort of be a theme this week for [South Carolina Governor Mark] Sanford and other associates of C Street, the secretive ministry and living quarters for several members of Congress at which Gov. Sanford and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada both received some sort of counseling during their extramarital affairs. Joining us now is Jeff Sharlet who wrote about ... C Street in his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. While you were undercover in the family doing the reporting for Harper's and for your book, you actually attended a meeting between Congressman [Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Republican of Kansas] and Doug Coe, who is the long-time leader of the family. What happened at that meeting and what impression did you get of Mr. Tiahrt's position in the family? SHARLET: Yes. It was a spiritual counseling session, precisely the sort that Ensign and Sanford were having. Tiahrt also sort of had sex on the brain but of a different sort. He was very concerned with the number of babies Muslims are having. He said Americans are killing too many of their babies while Muslims are having too many, and we need to have more babies and outlaw abortion so that we can win the race with the Muslims. What happened was that Doug Coe, the leader of the family, said that's fine as far as it goes, but doesn't go far enough. He said to Congressman Tiahrt, "I want you to think bigger. I want you to think of Jesus plus nothing," that's what he said. It's a phrase they mean to suggest something they call the totalitarianism of Christ. I think he was introducing Tiahrt into the sort of the advanced lessons of the family.
Note: For lots more highly revealing information on the secretive C Street group and "The Family," click here.
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