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Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.
Buried in FBI laboratory reports about the anthrax mail attacks that killed five people in 2001 are data suggesting that a chemical may have been added to try to heighten the powder's potency, a move that some experts say exceeded the expertise of the presumed killer. The lab data, contained in more than 9,000 pages of files that emerged a year after the Justice Department closed its inquiry and condemned the late Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator, shows unusual levels of silicon and tin in anthrax powder from two of the five letters. Those elements are found in compounds that could be used to weaponize the anthrax, enabling the lethal spores to float easily so they could be readily inhaled by the intended victims, scientists say. The existence of the silicon-tin chemical signature offered investigators the possibility of tracing purchases of the more than 100 such chemical products available before the attacks, which might have produced hard evidence against Ivins or led the agency to the real culprit. But the FBI lab reports released in late February give no hint that bureau agents tried to find the buyers of additives such as tin-catalyzed silicone polymers. The apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose.
Note: For key articles from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
With one in five gay couples raising children in the U.S., the traditional mother and father setting is no longer the rule. Several professional organizations -- the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association -- have issued statements saying that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to their ability to raise a child. The Gay Parents Scenario: An actress hired by "What Would You Do?" is waiting tables at a local family style diner, Norma's Café in Farmers Branch, Texas. It's a typical busy morning for her until our actors portraying the role of a gay couple -- first females, then males -- dining with their children are seated in her section. As she begins to express her discomfort and probe their parenting skills, other diners begin to take notice. Will these patrons take the side of our waitress or will they defend the unconventional family? What They Said: Our actress portraying a waitress: "I mean it's bad enough you're lesbians but you're also parents and they don't have a father. I think that's kind of bad...I think this is terrible. I think they need a Dad!" Reactions from bystanders who witness the waitress's behavior: "I've never felt so uncomfortable and so beside myself with anger. You are a horrible person and a horrible waitress, and you need to leave." "You're the hate monster." "This is not the place for a political debate. This is a place for you to do your job." "It's about the quality of the parents and the love that there is in the home more than it's having a mom and a dad."
Note: For an inspiring seven-minute video on this showing how Texans have bigger hearts than many people imagine, click here.
Officially, the U.S. government has never acknowledged the existence of Area 51. Unofficially, it has become a place associated with conspiracy theories, alien landings and tiny spaceships. In Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, [Los Angeles Times journalist Annie] Jacobsen details how several agencies — including the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Defense and the CIA — once used the site to conduct controversial and secretive research on aircraft and pilot-related projects, including planes that traveled three times faster than the speed of sound and nuclear-propelled, space-based missile launch systems. Nuclear tests at Area 51 gave the Department of Defense ideas about how the technology could be used to help the United States' newly minted space program. Jacobsen: There was an unusual moment where [my] source became very upset and told me ... that a flying disc really did crash in New Mexico and it was transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and then in 1951 it was transferred to Area 51. My source, who I absolutely believe and worked with for 18 months on this, was one of the engineers who received the equipment and he also received the people who were in the craft. The people ... were child-sized pilots. I absolutely believe the veracity of my source, and I believe it was important that I put this information out there because it is the tip of a very big iceberg.
Note: The author and her source believe the child-sized pilots were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program. For the testimony of top military and government officials on the reality of a major UFO cover-up and their personal experince with it, click here. For lots more reliable information on UFOs, click here. An excerpt from the book at the end of the NPR article has some fascinating information on Area 51.
The mob was already waiting for James Zwerg by the time the Greyhound bus eased into the station in Montgomery, Alabama. Looking out the window, Zwerg could see men gripping baseball bats, chains and clubs. They had sealed off the streets leading to the bus station and chased away news photographers. They didn't want anyone to witness what they were about to do. Zwerg accepted his worst fear: He was going to die today. Only the night before, Zwerg had prayed for the strength to not strike back in anger. He was among the 18 white and black college students from Nashville who had decided to take the bus trip through the segregated South in 1961. They called themselves Freedom Riders. Their goal was to desegregate public transportation. Zwerg had not planned to go, but the night before, some students had asked him to join them. To summon his courage, Zwerg stayed up late, reading Psalm 27, the scripture that the students had picked to read during a group prayer before their trip. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I fear?" the Psalm began. But there was another passage at the end that touched Zwerg in a place the other students didn't know about: "Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will receive me." Zwerg's parents had forsaken him for joining the civil rights movement.
Note: For another amazingly inspiring story of a man in the civil rights movement who faced death by hatred with compassion, click here. And for a powerfully inspiring New York Times article on the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, click here. We have clearly come a long way in building more harmony between races.
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said it is studying whether the facility's reactors were damaged in the March 11 earthquake even before the massive tsunami that followed cut off power and sent the reactors into crisis. Kyodo news agency quoted an unnamed source at the utility on Sunday as saying that the No. 1 reactor might have suffered structural damage in the earthquake that caused a release of radiation separate from the tsunami. Tepco has provided a new analysis of the early hours of the Fukushima crisis. The utility said on Sunday that a review of data from March 11 suggested that the fuel rods in the No. 1 reactor were completely exposed to the air and rapidly heating five hours after the quake. By the next morning - just 16 hours later - the uranium fuel rods in the first reactor had melted down and dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel. The No. 2 and No. 3 reactors are expected to have gone through a similar process and like No. 1 are leaking most of the water being pumped in a bid to keep their cores cool. A massive pond of radioactive water has collected in the basement of the No. 1 reactor. Experts fear that the contaminated water leaking from the plant could threaten groundwater and the Pacific.
A French writer who claims Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her nine years ago is to file an official complaint, her lawyer has announced. Tristane Banon previously described the attack, which happened when she was in her early 20s, in a television programme in 2007. The 62-year-old head of the International Monetary Fund – who was widely tipped to be France's next president – was refused bail by the judge, Melissa Jackson, who ruled he might attempt to flee the US. Across France, after the shock of Strauss-Kahn's arrest, came speculation ... and conspiracy theories. For some ... the story was so extraordinary it smacked of a set-up. Only three weeks ago, Strauss-Kahn evoked such a possibility in an interview with French newspaper Libération when he said he thought he was under surveillance and named the three principal difficulties he foresaw if he was to stand for the presidential elections. "Money, women and the fact I am Jewish." He said he could see himself becoming the victim of a honey trap: "a woman raped in a car park and who's been promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent such a story ...".
Note: For further reasons to suspect that the charges against Strauss-Kahn are politically-motivated, whether true or not, click here.
Transgressions by the Israeli army in the occupied Palestinian territories will be disclosed by a group of former soldiers in an internet campaign aimed at raising public awareness of military violations. Video testimonies by around two dozen ex-soldiers - some of whom are identifying themselves for the first time - will be posted on YouTube. The campaign by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former soldiers committed to speaking out on military practices, launches with English subtitles on [May 16]. Some of the former soldiers describe the "neighbour procedure", a term for the use of Palestinian civilians, often children, as human shields to protect soldiers from suspected booby traps or attacks by militants. The procedure was ruled illegal by Israel's high court in 2005. Others speak of routine harassment of civilians at checkpoints, arbitrary intimidation and collective punishment. [One former soldier], Itamar Schwarz, says Palestinian homes were routinely ransacked in search operations. Arnon Degani, who served in the Golani brigade, ... gradually came to understand, he says, that the Israeli army's intention was "to enforce tyranny on people who you know are regular civilians" and to "make it clear who's in control here". "Part of the silence of Israeli society is to believe these are isolated and exceptional incidents. But these are the most routine, day-to-day, banal stories," said Yehuda Shaul, of Breaking the Silence.
The sustainable farming movement, cradled in Northern California, has gone mainstream, challenging the industrial model that has ruled American farming for more than half a century. Eight big foundations - the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation - have just banded together in a group, called AGree, to examine food systems and mediate the conflict between conventional and alternative farming. An emerging scientific consensus that alternative farm systems work, and that the environmental and health costs of industrial agriculture are too high, has drawn powerful new interests to what was a parochial arena controlled by commodity groups. These costs in the United States include depletion of soil fertility and aquifers, from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the Ogallala aquifer in the High Plains. They also include giant algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico from fertilizer runoff in the Mississippi River, antibiotic resistance from heavy use of antibiotics in livestock, pollinator loss from pesticides and large-scale, single-crop farming, and water pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations.
ExxonMobil's first-quarter earnings of $10.7 billion are up 69 percent from last year. Other oil companies are also scoring record gains. The five biggest oil companies together report more than $35 billion in profits. An ExxonMobil vice president asks that we look past the "inevitable headlines" and remember the company's investments in renewable energy. What investments, exactly? Last time I looked, ExxonMobil was devoting a smaller percentage of its earnings to renewables than most other oil companies, including the errant BP. In point of fact, no oil company is investing much in renewables - precisely because they've got such a money gusher going from oil. Republicans are defending oil's tax subsidy. They're responding to soaring gas prices by trying to open more of our oceans to oil drilling. House Republicans recently passed a bill to accelerate oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. They're readying measures to open vast new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans to oil exploration. The oil companies now are gushing profits as Americans pay more and more at the pump. This makes no sense. The gusher should be used to shift America away from our costly dependence on oil.
Note: The author of this opinion, Robert Reich, is former U.S. secretary of labor, 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.
The first time President Obama was publicly asked about Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of disclosing government secrets to WikiLeaks, his answer was reminiscent of George W. Bush. The second time - when he declared Manning guilty without a trial - it was more like Richard Nixon. The issue landed in Obama's lap via P.J. Crowley, the State Department's chief media spokesman and the only member of the administration known to have protested Manning's treatment. Crowley called the conditions of Manning's confinement "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." Two days later, the State Department announced Crowley's "resignation," government-speak for signing a farewell note while being pushed out the window. [When] asked ... about Manning ... the president first replied that military secrecy laws apply to everyone. "If I was to release stuff, information that I'm not authorized to release, I'm breaking the law," Obama said. "We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate. He (Manning) broke the law." It's the first time a U.S. president has made such a public comment since 1971, when Nixon declared that cult leader Charles Manson, then on trial, "was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders." Obama's comments also raise the question of whether he looks at all criminal cases through the same lens or uses different standards depending on whether the government is alleged to be the victim or the victimizer.
Mobile phones and computers with wireless internet connections pose a risk to human health and should be banned from schools, a powerful European body has ruled. A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children. In a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol. The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology and are widely used. Fears have been raised that electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices can cause cancers and affect the developing brain.
“Unlawful Killing,” a documentary about the death of Princess Diana that began to stir up controversy even before it got [to the Cannes Film Festival, was] directed by Keith Allen [and] earned global [comment] for including a graphic image of the aftermath of the car accident that took Diana’s life in 1997, the details of which have historically been distorted in the interest of taste. The photo does appear in “Unlawful Killing,” but only for a moment, and within the legitimate context of Allen’s claim that Diana received tardy and inadequate care immediately after the wreck and that a more timely response would have saved her life. “Unlawful Killing,” which is part of the Cannes “Marche du Film,” or Film Market, and played here ... to a packed house of buyers and critics, will surely raise hackles for the additional ... accusations Allen levels in the film. These include allegations ... that Diana was murdered, most likely by a cabal involving the royal family, the political establishment and the secret services; that she was killed because she was threatening the British arms industry with her work against land mines; and that the inquest into the death ... was little more than a coverup in which the media were ... complicit.
Note: For more on Princess Diana's mysterious death, click here.
There are more than 280 million cellphone subscribers in the U.S., and many of those phones can record video. With so many cameras in pockets and purses, clashes between police and would-be videographers may be inevitable. "All of us, as we walk around, have to understand that we could be filmed, we could be taped," says Deborah Jacobs, director of the ACLU chapter. "But police officers above all others should be subject to this kind of filming because we have a duty to hold them accountable as powerful public servants." Tom Nolan, a former Boston police officer, says police have to get used to the world of cameras everywhere. "There's always going to be a pocket of police officers who are resistant to change," he says. Nolan now teaches at Boston University. He says police in Massachusetts train their officers to tolerate video recording, as long as no other crime is taking place. And Nolan thinks departments around the country will eventually do the same. "The police will get the message when municipal governments and police departments have got to write out substantial settlement checks," he says. "Standing by itself, that video camera in the hands of some teenager is not going to constitute sufficient grounds for a lawful arrest."
Note: Yet police are lobbying in many U.S. states to make it illegal to videotape them, and according to this CNN article, it may already be illegal in three states. For much more information from reliable sources on government and police threats to civil liberties, click here.
Here is a list of the world's greatest conspiracy theories. 1. September 11, 2001: The conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11 ... continue to grow in strength. A large group of people - collectively called the 9/11 Truth Movement - cite evidence that an airliner did not hit the Pentagon and that the World Trade Centre could not have been brought down by airliner impacts and burning aviation fuel alone. Many witnesses - including firemen, policemen and people who were inside the towers at the time - claim to have heard explosions below the aircraft impacts (including in basement levels) and before both the collapses and the attacks themselves. As with the assassination of JFK, the official inquiry into the events - the 9/11 Commission Report - is widely derided by the conspiracy community and held up as further evidence that 9/11 was an "inside job". 2. The assassination of John F Kennedy: Doubts about the official explanation ... surfaced soon after the [Warren Commission] report. Footage of the motorcade taken by Abraham Zapruder on 8mm film supported the growing belief that at least four shots were fired - not the three that the Warren Commission claimed. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. The HSCA also concluded that there were at least four shots fired and that it was probable that a conspiracy existed.
Note: Other conspiracy theories listed in this survey include: 3. Roswell, 5. The Illuminati and the New World Order, 7. Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?, and 10. The Aids virus was created in a laboratory. Oddly for a UK newspaper, there is no mention of the 7/7 bombings in London or Princess Diana's mysterious death.
One of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant did suffer a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials admitted for the first time today, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel. Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down. Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak. Tepco has not clarified what other barriers there are to stop radioactive fuel leaking if the steel containment vessel has been breached. Greenpeace said the situation could escalate rapidly if "the lava melts through the vessel". However, an initial plan to flood the entire reactor core with water to keep its temperature from rising has now been abandoned because it might exacerbate the leak. Tepco said ... that it had sealed a leak of radioactive water from the No.3 reactor after water was reportedly discovered to be flowing into the ocean. A similar leak had discharged radioactive water into the sea in April from the No.2 reactor. Greenpeace said significant amounts of radioactive material had been released into the sea and that samples of seaweed taken from as far as 40 miles of the Fukushima plant had been found to contain radiation well above legal limits.
Note: Why hasn't the Japanese government's admission of the meltdown of nuclear reactors at Fukushima been more widely reported in the press? Are the major media burying this story because of the potential harm it will do to plans for the expansion of the nuclear power industry?
Federal health officials may have only recently called autism a “national health emergency”, but a new study released [on May 11] showed the U.S. has been quietly compensating families with autism for nearly two decades. The report from SafeMinds.org — a group that believes scientific evidence has linked autism to vaccinations – alleges that a fund set up by the U.S. government to compensate those injured by vaccines has paid out claims to dozens of families of autistic kids. The study conducted by the Pace Environmental Law Review revealed that since the late 1980s, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid money for 83 cases involving autism out of approximately 1,300 cases of vaccine injury that resulted in childhood brain injury. In that same time period, federal officials have maintained that autism — which now affects an estimated one in 110 individuals — is still “rare” and has publicly conceded to only one vaccine-induced autism case involving nine-year-old Hannah Poling. The study’s authors stand behind the findings and warn they are only “the tip of the iceberg.” Currently, there are over 5,000 vaccine court cases pending that claim autism as a result of vaccine injury.
Note: For more information from major media sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here. And for a fascinating study suggesting that vaccines are much less effective than is publicly acknowledged, click here.
Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex W. Tillerson and four counterparts defended $21 billion in U.S. tax breaks that Democrats are seeking to recapture to reduce the federal deficit. Senate Democrats are proposing to raise oil and gas taxes by about $2 billion a year for 10 years, arguing that widening deficits are a threat to the economy and sacrifice is required. College students are giving up federal help, and so should the companies, said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat. "We have to choose priorities and right now we have a huge budget deficit," Schumer said to ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva. "Do you think that your subsidy is more important than the financial aid that we give to students to go to college?" To build their case, Democrats have cited rising gasoline prices and quarterly earnings reports that put the five companies on pace to generate more than $125 billion in profits this year, which would be a record. The Democrats' proposal would raise about $13 billion by blocking the five largest oil and gas companies from receiving a domestic-manufacturing deduction for exploration and extraction in the U.S. The Senate Democrats' proposal would generate $6.5 billion by curtailing the oil companies' ability to claim tax credits for royalty payments made to foreign governments.
Note: We are paying near-record prices for gas, while the oil companines are making record profits, just as they did when gas prices spiked several years ago. So why are oil companies still getting tax breaks?
President Obama is proposing an executive order to require federal contractors to disclose their political spending, and Congress is hopping mad. Twenty-one Republicans (including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor) sent Obama a letter calling the proposed order "a blatant attempt to intimidate." The anger is bipartisan: The second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, has come out against it, too. Meanwhile, business groups are firing up their lobbying machines: The American League of Lobbyists, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable all have condemned the order and launched a concerted attempt to prevent Obama from signing it. The voices on the other side are considerably less powerful: ethics groups, watchdogs and the general public. The order is clearly an attempt to roll back some of the damage from the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which allowed corporations and unions to make direct political expenditures without disclosure. The order is a small step toward correcting the outsized influence that wealthy individuals and corporations now have on our political process. That's why it's important for Obama to sign the order. And that's why it's meeting with such stiff opposition. For the sake of the public, the president must make political contributions more transparent.
Note: For an excellent two-page summary of major problems with the electoral system in the US, click here.
Japan will scrap a plan to obtain half of its electricity from nuclear power and will instead promote renewable energy and conservation as a result of its ongoing nuclear crisis, the prime minister said [on May 10]. Naoto Kan said Japan needs to "start from scratch" on its long-term energy policy after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was heavily damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami and began leaking radiation. Some 80,000 people living within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius of the plant were evacuated from their homes. Nuclear plants supplied about 30 percent of Japan's electricity, and the government had planned to raise that to 50 percent by 2030. Kan told a news conference that nuclear and fossil fuel used to be the pillars of Japanese energy policy but now the government will add two more pillars: renewable energy such as solar, wind and biomass, and an increased focus on conservation. "I believe the government bears a major responsibility for having promoted nuclear energy as national policy. I apologize to the people for failing to prevent the nuclear accident," Kan said.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on promising renewable energy sources, click here.
The past three years have been a disaster for most Western economies. The United States has mass long-term unemployment for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, Europe’s single currency is coming apart at the seams. How did it all go so wrong? The fact is that what we’re experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. The policies that got us into this mess ... were, with few exceptions, policies championed by small groups of influential people — in many cases, the same people now lecturing the rest of us on the need to get serious. And by trying to shift the blame to the general populace, elites are ducking some much-needed reflection on their own catastrophic mistakes. What happened to the budget surplus the federal government had in 2000? First, there were the Bush tax cuts, which added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. Second, there were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which added an additional $1.1 trillion or so. And third was the Great Recession, which led both to a collapse in revenue and to a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs. So who was responsible for these budget busters? It wasn’t the man in the street. We need to place the blame where it belongs, to chasten our policy elites. Otherwise, they’ll do even more damage in the years ahead.
Note: For highly revealing major articles exposing secret gatherings of the global elite and their activities, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.