Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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An American military detention camp in Afghanistan is still holding inmates ... without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The site, known to detainees as the black jail, consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day. Former detainees said that their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogation sessions. While Mr. Obama signed an order to eliminate so-called black sites run by the [CIA] in January, it did not also close this jail, which is run by military Special Operations forces. Military officials said as recently as this summer that the Afghanistan jail and another like it at the Balad Air Base in Iraq were being used to interrogate high-value detainees. And officials said recently that there were no plans to close the jails. All three former detainees interviewed by The New York Times complained of being held for months after the intensive interrogations were over without being told why. Human rights researchers say they worry that the jail remains in the shadows and largely inaccessible both to the Red Cross and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on the worsening threats to civil liberties, click here.
With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs. Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare. There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times. In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid. While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust.
Note: For more from reliable sources on the impacts and realities of the Wall Street financial crisis, click here.
Though rarely shown on TV these days ... 9/11 footage is replayed more than once in "The Unofficial Story" [on the CBC News program the fifth estate]. The documentary follows up on some fairly startling public-opinion polls of late. To wit: More than half of all Americans believe the Bush administration had advance knowledge of 9/11, and did nothing to stop it; slightly more than one-third of the Canadian population believes likewise. “The number of people who believe the U.S. government was involved in the attacks appears to be growing,” says fifth estate veteran Bob McKeown, who helms the report. “Most of them believe there are still questions that have gone unanswered.” Among the group's more prominent proponents is Richard Gage, a well-regarded architect interviewed by McKeown in the program. Gage is fervent in his belief that the destruction was intentional, and was not accomplished with airplanes, but with explosives. Also speaking out for the Truthers movement is academic and Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Ray Griffin – who questions the lack of NORAD response after the first plane struck the tower – and Canadian professor Kee Dewdney, who insists the fabled on-board struggle between hijackers and passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 could only be a hoax. “The really interesting thing to me is that you cannot get these people to speculate,” observes McKeown. “They will say, ‘That is not my job.'”
Note: Watch this first-ever North American major media network news documentary on the 9/11 truth movement by clicking here. And for what may be the best ever documentary on 9/11 for opening people's eyes, click here.
A website has published what it says are 573,000 intercepted pager messages sent during the 9/11 attacks in the United States. WikiLeaks says it will not reveal who gave it the messages - some of which are from federal agencies as well as ordinary citizens. Internet analysts say they believe the messages are genuine but federal authorities have refused to comment. The messages are not all about the attacks. Some are mundane questions about what people are having for lunch. However, many are about the deadly plane attacks and range from people trying to find out if their loved ones are safe to government messages. They include messages such as * This is Myrna, I will not rest until you get home, the second tower is down, I don't want to have to keep calling you after every event. Pls just go home * Bomb detonated in World Trade Ctr. Pls get back to Mike Brady w/ a quick assessment of your areas and contact us if anything is needed. New York's fire and police departments said they could not comment on whether messages purportedly sent from them were genuine while the US Secret Service refused to comment. WikiLeaks allows people to anonymously post documents on the web, saying its aim is to promote transparency. It was created in 2006 by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
U.S. lenders saw loans fall by the largest amount since the government began tracking such data, suggesting that nervousness among banks continues to hamper economic recovery. Total loan balances fell by $210.4 billion, or 3%, in the third quarter, the biggest decline since data collection began in 1984, according to a report released ... by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC also said its fund to backstop deposits fell into negative territory for just the second time in its history, pushed down by a wave of bank failures. The decline in total loans showed how banks remain reluctant to lend, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars the government has spent to prop up ailing banks and jump-start lending. The issue has taken on greater urgency with the U.S. unemployment rate hitting 10.2% in October. "There is no question that credit availability is an important issue for the economic recovery," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair told reporters Tuesday. "We need to see banks making more loans to their business customers." She said large banks -- which account for 56% of industry assets and received a large share of the government's bailout funds -- accounted for 75% of the decline.
Note: The big banks were given trillions in bailout funds with a mandate to increase loans and stimulate the economy. Why are they still giving out so few loans? Where did the huge amounts of our taxpayer money go? Why isn't the government demanding accountability with such huge sums of taxpayer money? For lots more on major manipulations by the big bankers, click here.
The government has handed its ATM card to beleaguered mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Treasury Department said [it had] removed the $400 billion financial cap on the money it will provide to keep the companies afloat. Already, taxpayers have shelled out $111 billion to the pair. By making the change before year-end, Treasury sidestepped the need for an OK from a bailout-weary Congress. "The companies are nowhere close to using the $400 billion they had before, so why do this now?" said Bert Ely, a banking consultant in Alexandria, Va. The news followed an announcement Thursday that the CEOs of Fannie and Freddie could get paid as much as $6 million for 2009, despite the companies' dismal performances this year.
Note: For many reliable reports on the government bailout of Wall Street and the financial industry, click here.
Gregg Mozgala, a 31-year-old actor with cerebral palsy, had 12 years of physical therapy while he was growing up. But in the last eight months, a determined choreographer with an unconventional résumé has done what all those therapists could not: She has dramatically changed the way Mr. Mozgala walks. In the process, she has changed his view of himself and of his possibilities. Mr. Mozgala and the choreographer, Tamar Rogoff, have been working since last winter on a dance piece called “Diagnosis of a Faun.” It is to have its premiere on Dec. 3 at La MaMa Annex in the East Village, but the more important work of art may be what Ms. Rogoff has done to transform Mr. Mozgala’s body. “I have felt things that I felt were completely closed off to me for the last 30 years,” he said. “The amount of sensation that comes through the work has been totally unexpected and is really quite wonderful.” Ms. Rogoff has often worked outside normal dance parameters — with prison inmates, for instance — and knew immediately that she wanted to try to create a piece for Mr. Mozgala. “I didn’t know what I was going to do for him,” she said, “but I just knew he was inspiring to me.” She introduced Mr. Mozgala to a tension-releasing shaking technique, and it was immediately revelatory. “My body just really took to it,” Mr. Mozgala said. “I did that for about 20 or 30 minutes, and when I stood up, I was walking completely differently. My feet were flat on the ground.” They knew they were onto something.
Is the economic, social and physical deterioration that has caused so much misery in the Motor City a sign of what’s in store for larger and larger segments of the United States? I found real reason to hope when a gentleman named Stan Ovshinsky took me on a tour of a remarkably quiet and pristine manufacturing plant ... about 30 miles north of Detroit. What is being produced in the plant is potentially revolutionary. A machine about the length of a football field runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, turning out mile after mile after mile of thin, flexible solar energy material, from which solar panels can be sliced and shaped. Mr. Ovshinsky ... developed the technology and designed the production method that made it possible to produce solar material “by the mile.” He invented the nickel metal hydride battery that is in virtually all hybrid vehicles on the road today. When I pulled into the parking lot outside his office ... he promptly installed me in the driver’s seat of a hydrogen hybrid prototype — a car in which the gasoline tank had been replaced with a safe solid-state hydrogen storage system invented by Mr. Ovshinsky. What’s weird is that this man, with such a stellar track record of innovation on products and processes crucial to the economic and environmental health of the U.S., gets such little attention and so little support from American policy makers. In addition to his work with batteries, photovoltaics and hydrogen fuel cells, his inventions have helped open the door to flat-screen televisions, new forms of computer memory and on and on.
Note: Ovshinsky has been at the forefront of new energy breakthroughs for years, yet has received very little press, likely because his inventions threaten the established oil industry. For a powerful, three-minute video showing how some of his key inventions have been shelved because they threatened profits, click here.
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline has told Canadian doctors to stop using one lot of its H1N1 vaccine until an investigation into a higher-than-expected number of severe allergic reactions is completed. The U.S. vaccine will not be identical to Arepanrix, the GSK H1N1 vaccine used in Canada. Arepanrix contains an adjuvant, a substance designed to boost the immune response, but adjuvants have never been approved for use in U.S. flu vaccines. Almost all of the 172,000 doses in question, distributed the week of Nov. 2 to six Canadian provinces, already have been administered, said Geoffrey Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, which, with GSK and Health Canada, is investigating cases of anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing, chest tightness and swelling of the mouth and throat. Six cases have been reported, Matthews says. In the USA, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System said that as of Nov. 13 it had received 116 reports of serious health events related to the vaccine, including eight deaths – similar to the number in previous years after a similar number of seasonal flu vaccine doses had been shipped.
Note: For lots more on the risks of swine flu vaccines, click here.
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus. The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program. "This is a parallel operation to the CIA," said the source. "They are two separate beasts." Blackwater's presence in Pakistan is "not really visible, and that's why nobody has cracked down on it," said the source. Blackwater's operations in Pakistan, he said, are not done through State Department contracts or publicly identified Defense contracts. "It's Blackwater via JSOC, and it's a classified no-bid [contract] approved on a rolling basis. Some of these strikes are attributed to [the CIA], but in reality it's JSOC. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes."
Note: Don't miss this key report in it's entirety. Why haven't other major media outlets mentioned the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) drone operations in Pakistan, running parallel to the CIA's?
Scientists at Sandia National Labs, seeking a means to create cheap and abundant hydrogen to power a hydrogen economy, realized they could use the same technology to "reverse-combust" CO2 back into fuel. Researchers still have to improve the efficiency of the system, but they recently demonstrated a working prototype of their "Sunshine to Petrol" machine that converts waste CO2 to carbon monoxide, and then syngas, consuming nothing but solar energy. The device, boasting the simple title Counter-Rotating-Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (we'll go with "CR5") sets off a thermo-chemical reaction by exposing an iron-rich composite to concentrated solar heat. The composite sheds an oxygen molecule when heated and gets one back as it cools, and therein lies the eureka. The cylindrical metal CR5 is divided into hot and cold chambers. Solar energy heats the hot chamber to a scorching 2,700 degrees, hot enough to force the iron oxide composite to lose oxygen atoms. The composite is then thrust into the cool chamber, which is filled with carbon dioxide. As it cools, the iron oxide snatches back its lost oxygen atoms, leaving behind carbon monoxide.
Note: For many inspiring reports on promising new energy developments, click here.
Wall Street has found a way to make money from the mortgage mess. Investment funds are buying billions of dollars’ worth of home loans, discounted from the loans’ original value. Then, in what might seem an act of charity, the funds are helping homeowners by reducing the size of the loans. But as part of these deals, the mortgages are being refinanced through lenders that work with government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration. This enables the funds to pocket sizable profits by reselling new, government-insured loans to other federal agencies, which then bundle the mortgages into securities for sale to investors. While homeowners save money, the arrangement shifts nearly all the risk for the loans to the federal government — and, ultimately, taxpayers — at a time when Americans are falling behind on their mortgage payments in record numbers. The trick is to persuade the homeowners to refinance those mortgages, by offering to reduce the amounts the homeowners owe. The profit comes when the refinancings reach more than the [amount] that the fund paid for the block of loans. The strategy has created an unusual alliance between Wall Street funds that specialize in troubled investments — the industry calls them “vulture” funds — and American homeowners. But the transactions also add to the potential burden on government agencies, particularly the F.H.A., which has lately taken on an outsize role in the housing market and, some fear, may eventually need to be bailed out at taxpayer expense.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities behind the Wall Street bailout, click here.
The United States is massively building up its potential for nuclear and non-nuclear strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring unprecedented freedom of action in seven new military, naval and air bases in Colombia. The new US push is part of an effort to counter the loss of influence it has suffered recently at the hands of a new generation of Latin American leaders no longer willing to accept Washington's political and economic tutelage. President Rafael Correa, for instance, has refused to prolong the US armed presence in Ecuador, and US forces have to quit their base at the port of Manta by the end of next month. So Washington turned to Colombia. The country has received military aid worth $4.6bn (Ł2.8bn) from the US since 2000, despite its poor human rights record. Colombian forces regularly kill the country's indigenous people and other civilians, and last year raided the territory of its southern neighbour, Ecuador, causing at least 17 deaths. This being US foreign policy, a tell-tale trail of oil is evident. The fact that the US gets half its oil from Latin America was one of the reasons the US Fourth Fleet was re-established in the region's waters in 2008. The fleet's vessels can include Polaris nuclear-armed submarines – a deployment seen by some experts as a violation of the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, which bans nuclear weapons from the continent. With or without nuclear weapons, the bilateral agreement on the seven Colombian bases, signed on 30 October in Bogota, risks a costly new arms race in a region.
Note: American dependence on foreign oil fuels not only US wars in the Middle East and Central Asia but an ever escalating global militarization. For many promising reports from reliable sources on alternatives to oil for many purposes, click here.
As the pandemic H1N1 influenza surges with the onset of winter, the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union appear particularly vulnerable to the deadly virus. Burdened with weak health-care systems, relatively inexperienced news media outlets and shaky governments that have little public trust, the region also seems ripe for panic and political strife over the flu. The potential for trouble is already on display in Ukraine, where 1.5 million of its 46 million people have had diagnoses of flu and respiratory illnesses since the start of the outbreak and 356 have died, according to the government. More telling than the numbers, however, has been the widespread fear the virus has caused in Ukraine, and the outsize impact it has had on the nation's political landscape. Anxious residents have overwhelmed hospitals and pharmacies, buying up supplies of medicine, gauze masks and home remedies such as lemons and garlic. Rumors have proliferated that people are dying of a new, more lethal strain of the virus. Semyon Gluzman, a psychiatrist and Soviet-era dissident in Kiev, said the fear was a rational response in a nation with a dysfunctional health-care system and a corrupt, ineffective government. "What we're seeing is a normal, psychological reaction to the complete incompetence of the state authorities," he said. "People are scared, and they don't know who to trust anymore."
Some of the largest shareholders in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have urged the Wall Street firm to reduce the size of its bonus pool, arguing that it should pass along more of its blockbuster earnings to investors, according to people familiar with the situation. Their complaints in private conversations with the company and at analyst meetings show how anger over its big-money culture is spilling into the ranks of investors who typically shy away from debates over Wall Street pay. Despite record net income and compensation at Goldman as markets rebound and the firm outmuscles weakened rivals for business, analysts expect its 2009 earnings per share to be 22% lower than in 2007 and roughly equal to its 2006 earnings, according to Thomson Financial. The decline is caused by issuing more than 100 million shares in the past year to bolster Goldman's financial position and capital. Some major Goldman shareholders also are concerned about a little-noticed change in the company's financial statements that increased the firm's total head count by adding temporary employees and consultants. The change reduced per-employee compensation, making it look like Goldman employees earn less than they actually do. The figure is a lightning rod for criticism of Goldman because its staff is on pace to earn about $717,000 apiece for 2009. Excluding temporary employees and consultants would increase compensation per employee to about $775,000.
Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities behind the Wall Street bailout, click here.
If the idea of turning consumers into true cyborgs sounds creepy, don't tell Intel researchers. Intel's Pittsburgh lab aims to develop brain implants that can control all sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020. The scientists anticipate that consumers will adapt quickly to the idea, and indeed crave the freedom of not requiring a keyboard, mouse, or remote control for surfing the Web or changing channels. They also predict that people will tire of multi-touch devices such as ... iPhones. Turning brain waves into real-world tech action still requires some heavy decoding of brain activity. The Intel team has already made use of MRI brain scans to match brain patterns with similar thoughts across many test subjects. Plenty of other researchers have also tinkered in this area. Toyota recently demoed a wheelchair controlled with brainwaves, and University of Utah researchers have created a wireless brain transmitter that allows monkeys to control robotic arms. There are still more implications to creating a seamless brain interface, besides having more cyborgs running around. If scientists can translate brain waves into specific actions, there's no reason they could not create a virtual world with a full spectrum of activity tied to those brain waves. That's right -- we're seeing Matrix creep.
Although federal health officials decline to use the word â€śpeaked,â€ť the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States. Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in Hawaii, Maine and some isolated areas. The World Health Organization said Friday that there were â€śearly signs of a peakâ€ť in much of the United States. On Wednesday, the American College Health Association, which surveys over 250 colleges with more than three million students, said new cases of flu had dropped in the week ending Nov. 13. It was the first drop since school resumed in the fall, and it was significant â€” new cases were down 27 percent from the week before. And on Friday, Quest Diagnostics, the countryâ€™s largest laboratory, said its tests of 142,000 suspected flu specimens since May showed that the flu peaked in late October. Nonetheless, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of immunization and respiratory diseases at the C.D.C., chose her words carefully, saying: â€śI wish I knew if we had hit the peak. Even if a peak has occurred, half the people who are going to get sick havenâ€™t gotten sick yet.â€ť The drop was clearly not caused by the swine flu vaccine drive, which has not gone as fast as the authorities had hoped.
Note: Just like the avian flu scare a few years ago, the swine flu hype has turned out to be largely a whimper, yet the pharmaceutical companies are happy, as again they have made billions of dollars from the massive amonts of vaccines and drugs purchased by the government with your tax dollars. For more, click here and here.
American soldiers are committing suicide in the greatest numbers since official records began in 1980, with the US Army at a loss to explain the phenomenon since a third of the dead have never been deployed in combat. Suicides in the army alone have passed last year’s record of 140 — 141 in 2009 so far. The upward trend has defied efforts to improve access to appropriate counselling for veterans returning from combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The figure for the first ten months of the year excludes 71 suicides among troops taken off active duty in 2009, and 42 in the US Marine Corps. Roughly a third of this year’s suicides have been by soldiers taking their own lives in war zones, a third by returning soldiers and a third by those based permanently in the US or awaiting deployment overseas. Many military suicides can be traced in part to an inability to process the guilt of having killed in battle.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the horrific effects of modern war on both combatants and civilians, click here. And for the writings of a top general on why this is happening, click here.
She sleeps in safe houses, with a rotating squad of bodyguards securing the doors. She goes out only in a billowing burqa. Even her wedding was held in secret. Elected the youngest member of the Afghan parliament â€“ and suspended for her outspoken criticism of the country's top officials â€“ Malalai Joya has been labelled the bravest woman in Afghanistan. Small, soft-spoken and now 31, she has survived at least four assassination attempts. "Canada should pull its troops out now," she said in Toronto, where she was promoting her book A Woman Among Warlords, co-written with Canadian peace activist Derrick O'Keefe. And, she says, U.S. President Barack Obama, who is considering a surge in troop levels to battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban, should think again. "The United States should go, too. As long as foreign troops are in the country we will be fighting two enemies instead of one." Yes, she says, there is a risk of civil war ... but it would still be better than "night raids, torture and aerial bombardment" that killed hundreds of Afghan civilians while the Taliban made steady gains. "Liberation was just a big lie." Joya believes Afghans are now better prepared to battle the Taliban alone. "resistance has increased, and people are becoming more aware of democracy and human rights. They need humanitarian and educational support." But not, she adds, at the point of a gun. "It will be a long struggle," she wrote. "A river is made drop by drop ... you can kill me, but you can never kill my spirit."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the realities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
Société Générale has advised clients to be ready for a possible "global economic collapse" over the next two years, mapping a strategy of defensive investments to avoid wealth destruction. In a report entitled "Worst-case debt scenario", the bank's asset team said state rescue packages over the last year have merely transferred private liabilities onto sagging sovereign shoulders, creating a fresh set of problems. Overall debt is still far too high in almost all rich economies as a share of GDP (350pc in the US), whether public or private. It must be reduced by the hard slog of "deleveraging", for years. "As yet, nobody can say with any certainty whether we have in fact escaped the prospect of a global economic collapse," said the 68-page report, headed by asset chief Daniel Fermon. It is an exploration of the dangers, not a forecast. Governments have already shot their fiscal bolts. Even without fresh spending, public debt would explode within two years to 105pc of GDP in the UK, 125pc in the US and the eurozone, and 270pc in Japan. Worldwide state debt would reach $45 trillion, up two-and-a-half times in a decade. "High public debt looks entirely unsustainable in the long run. We have almost reached a point of no return for government debt," it said.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on the realities of the government-financed bank bailouts, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.