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More than 100 days after the United States and NATO allies launched what was supposed to be a quick air campaign in Libya, Pentagon officials concede that the effort has little strategic value for the U.S., and the alliance’s desired outcome there remains unclear. What’s become an open-ended conflict, military officers and experts say, illustrates ill-defined U.S. objectives, the limits of relying solely on air power and the lack of diplomatic tools to broker an end to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. The NATO effort is almost exclusively an air campaign, which is designed to ground Gadhafi’s warplanes and strike at his weapons sites. But at times it appears that NATO has tried to topple Gadhafi, which experts said demands ground forces, a larger air campaign and a clear plan for who will lead Libya in the aftermath of the regime. The hope was that by only using air power, NATO would reduce the costs and risk to troops. But experts say that air power only rarely leads to regime change and isn’t always cheaper. NATO believed that without Gadhafi’s air power, the rebels could claim control of the country within weeks — as quickly as the regimes fell in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. But instead, the rebels now control less ground than they did when the NATO intervention began.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the US/NATO wars of aggression, click here.
When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America's wars. Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on [June 29]. The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project "Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan ... spending on the conflicts totaled $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion. Those numbers will continue to soar when considering often overlooked costs such as long-term obligations to wounded veterans and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020. The estimates do not include at least $1 trillion more in interest payments coming due. In human terms, 224,000 to 258,000 people have died directly from warfare, including 125,000 civilians in Iraq. Many more have died indirectly, from the loss of clean drinking water, healthcare, and nutrition. An additional 365,000 have been wounded and 7.8 million people -- equal to the combined population of Connecticut and Kentucky -- have been displaced. In one sense, the report measures the cost of 9/11. What followed were three wars in which $50 billion amounts to a rounding error. For every person killed on September 11, another 73 have been killed since.
Note: To watch a video of WantToKnow team member Dr. David Ray Griffin's explanation that the war in Afghanistan was not justified by the 9/11 attacks, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on the US/NATO wars of aggression, click here.
Two companies incorporated at a little house in Cheyenne, Wyoming, won Pentagon contracts after their owner took advantage of the state's liberal incorporation laws to create the firms using an alias, and then represented them as minority-owned to win favorable treatment as a military supplier. The firms and their owner were later banned from doing business with the Pentagon for providing knock-off parts. A Reuters investigation has found that more than 2,000 companies are registered at 2710 Thomes Avenue in Cheyenne, the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business incorporation company that specializes in corporate anonymity. A Reuters review of federal contracting databases found nine firms registered at 2710 Thomes Avenue have been awarded 93 contracts worth more than $1.6 million by a half dozen government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Treasury's Internal Revenue Service, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 90 percent of the contracts were awarded by the Department of Defense. The companies were created by Atilla C. Kan, an employee of another Pentagon supplier called New York Machinery. Kan formed the companies in Wyoming under the name John Ryan. He later used the alias, and a description of the companies as "minority-owned," "woman-owned" and "Hispanic-owned," when applying to supply military parts, the documents show.
Note: For more on this showing a vast level of corruption, click here and watch the Reuters video available here. For a powerful and deep analysis by David Wilcock on this important topic, which he calls the ultimate ponzi scheme, click here.
The secretive business havens of Cyprus and the Cayman Islands face a potent rival: Cheyenne, Wyoming. At a single address in this sleepy city of 60,000 people, more than 2,000 companies are registered. The building, 2710 Thomes Avenue, isn't a shimmering skyscraper filled with A-list corporations. It's a 1,700-square-foot brick house with a manicured lawn, a few blocks from the State Capitol. A Reuters investigation has found the house at 2710 Thomes Avenue serves as a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains. It is the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business-incorporation specialist that establishes firms which can be used as "shell" companies, paper entities able to hide assets. Wyoming Corporate Services will help clients create a company, and more: set up a bank account for it; add a lawyer as a corporate director to invoke attorney-client privilege; even appoint stand-in directors and officers as high as CEO. Among its offerings is a variety of shell known as a "shelf" company, which comes with years of regulatory filings behind it, lending a greater feeling of solidity. All the activity at 2710 Thomes is part of a little-noticed industry in the U.S.: the mass production of paper businesses. Scores of mass incorporators like Wyoming Corporate Services have set up shop.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Look at the Department of Energy's 2012 budget request for the Livermore Lab and it becomes apparent that PR has an inverse relationship to budget. Some 89 percent of the funds are for nuclear weapons activities. Yet, more than 89 percent of the press releases showcase programs like renewable energy and science that receive less than 3 percent of the spending. This has caused many to believe that Livermore Lab is converting from nuclear weapons to civilian science. A major consequence of the chasm between public perception and where the money actually goes is that science at Livermore continues to exist on the margins - underfunded, understaffed and at the mercy of the 800-pound gorilla of the nuclear weapons budget. Consider the many benefits of transitioning Livermore from nuclear-weapons design to a "green lab," focused on nonpolluting energy development, climate research, basic sciences, nonproliferation and environmental cleanup. Livermore Lab is uniquely qualified to contribute in these areas. The lab already employs the right mix of physicists, other scientists, engineers, materials specialists, and support personnel for these undertakings.
Note: To learn more about how the public is being massively deceived around war and weapons spending, read what a top U.S. general had to say about this at this link.
The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion, according to a former Pentagon official. That's more than NASA's budget. "When you consider the cost to deliver the fuel to some of the most isolated places in the world — escorting, command and control, medevac support — when you throw all that infrastructure in, we're talking over $20 billion," Steven Anderson tells ... All Things Considered. He's a retired brigadier general who served as chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. The Pentagon rejects Anderson's estimate. Still his claims raise questions about how much the US footprint in Afghanistan really costs – especially something like air conditioning. To power an air conditioner at a remote outpost in landlocked Afghanistan, a gallon of fuel has to be shipped into Karachi, Pakistan, then driven 800 miles over 18 days to Afghanistan on roads that are sometimes little more than "improved goat trails," Anderson says. "And you've got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way." Anderson calculates that more than 1,000 troops have died in fuel convoys, which remain prime targets for attack. Freestanding tents equipped with air conditioners in 125-degree heat require a lot of fuel.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Santosh Devi is [a] 19-year-old, semi-literate woman from the backwaters of Rajasthan [who] has broken through India's rigid caste system to become the country's first Dalit solar engineer. While differences of caste have begun to blur in the cities, in rural India Dalits – also known as "untouchables" – are still impoverished and widely discriminated against. Santosh trained to be a solar engineer at the Barefoot College in Tilonia, 100km from Jaipur. The college was set up in 1972 by Sanjit "Bunker" Roy to teach rural people skills with which they could transform their villages, regardless of gender, caste, ethnicity, age or schooling. The college claims to have trained 15,000 women in skills including solar engineering, healthcare and water testing. Roy, 65, says his approach – low cost, decentralised and community driven – works by "capitalising on the resources already present in the villages". The college, spread over eight acres, runs entirely on solar energy, maintained by the Barefoot solar engineers. Since the solar course was launched in 2005, more than 300 Barefoot engineers have brought power to more than 13,000 homes across India. A further 6,000 households, in more than 120 villages in 24 countries from Afghanistan to Uganda, have been powered on the same model. Only villages that are inaccessible, remote and non-electrified are considered for solar power. A drop in the ocean, perhaps – 44% of rural households in India have no electricity – but these women are making an important contribution to the nation's power needs.
Note: For a very inspiring TED talk filled with great stories by the founder of this college, click here.
The number of American children diagnosed with bipolar disorder increased 40-fold in a recent 10-year span, one study found. In Minnesota, spending on powerful antipsychotic drugs to treat bipolar and other disorders in children has risen 17-fold since 2000 and exceeds $6 million annually -- just in one state-funded health program. Now, in a medical reversal with few parallels, psychiatrists are backing away from the diagnosis. While some feel bipolar was once under-diagnosed in children, they worry that thousands of kids have since received the diagnosis in error, due to overzealous doctors, desperate parents, quirks in the health insurance system and aggressive marketing by drug companies. This summer, in a sign of the profession's second thoughts, the manual that psychiatrists use to make diagnoses is being rewritten and field-tested with a new disorder that would replace bipolar in many cases. The profession's about-face could help the next generation of troubled children, but it also raises questions about the harm done to children who shouldn't have received either the diagnosis or the potent drugs used to treat it. While antipsychotics can be lifesavers for patients who truly are bipolar, they come with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, muscle spasms and other serious side effects.
India's innovative "I Paid a Bribe" website – which puts a spotlight on government corruption – may become a model for rooting out corruption around the world. Co-founder Ramesh Ramanathan told The Hindu news site that he had received requests from seven countries to start similar sites for them. "I Paid a Bribe," begun last August, invites people to post anonymous reports on instances in which they have had to bribe an official. They can also share ways that they have been able to avoid paying a bribe. "Bribery is routinely expected in interactions with government officials – to register your house, to get your driving license, domestic water connection, even a death certificate," Swati Ramanathan, the other co-founder, told the BBC. "We said, 'It's not enough to moralize, we need to find out what exactly is this corruption? What's the size of it?'" The site has recorded more than 10,000 incidences of bribery. Some results are already being seen. "I Paid a Bribe" has already been copied in China by a number of sites ... reports Reuters news agency. Although the Chinese government is officially in favor of anti-corruption efforts, it's not clear whether the authoritarian regime will allow such citizen-led efforts to go forward. In Transparency International's 2010 survey of perceived corruption, India ranked 87th among 178 nations on the list and China ranked 78th. Denmark, New Zealand, and Singapore were listed as the least-corrupt countries. The United States ranked 22nd.
Note: Isn't it inspiring to see activism around government corruption? For lots more from reliable sources on this serious issue, click here.
There is nothing the state of North Carolina can do, Elaine Riddick says, to make up for forcing her to be sterilized when she was 14 years old. "They cut me open like I was a hog," [she said]. About 7,600 people were sterilized under North Carolina's eugenics program. Roughly 85 percent of the victims were women or girls. Unlike most states, North Carolina ramped up its sterilizations after World War II, despite associations between eugenics and Nazi Germany, which took eugenics to even more horrifying lengths. Around 70 percent of all North Carolina's sterilizations were performed after the war, peaking in the 1950s, according to state records. Nationwide, there were more than 60,000 known victims of sterilization programs, with perhaps another 40,000 sterilized through "unofficial" channels like hospitals or local health departments working on their own initiative. Eugenics was aimed at creating a better society by filtering out people considered undesirable, ranging from criminals to those imprecisely designated as "feeble-minded." People as young as 10 in North Carolina were sterilized for not getting along with schoolmates, being promiscuous or running afoul of local social workers or doctors. "Where did all this come from? This came from doctors, medical practitioners, professors, not guys in pickup trucks wearing white sheets," said Edwin Black, author of the eugenics history War Against the Weak.
The New York Fed is refusing to tell investigators how many billions of dollars it shipped to Iraq during the early days of the US invasion there, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction told CNBC [on June 21]. The Fed's lack of disclosure is making it difficult for the inspector general to follow the paper trail of billions of dollars that went missing in the chaotic rush to finance the Iraq occupation, and to determine how much of that money was stolen. The New York Fed will not reveal details, the inspector general said, because the money initially came from an account at the Fed that was held on behalf of the people of Iraq and financed by cash from the Oil-for-Food program. Without authorization from the account holder, the Iraqi government itself, the inspector general's office was told it can't receive information about the account. The problem is that critics of the Iraqi government believe highly placed officials there are among the people who may have made off with the money in the first place. And some think that will make it highly unlikely the Iraqis will sign off on revealing the total dollar amount. It was one of the largest shipments of cash in history. And the inspector general says that if the money was stolen, that would represent the largest heist in history.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping. The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation. Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records reviewed as part of the AP's yearlong examination of safety issues at aging nuclear power plants. Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard — sometimes at hundreds of times the limit. At three sites — two in Illinois and one in Minnesota — leaks have contaminated drinking wells of nearby homes. At a fourth site, in New Jersey, tritium has leaked into an aquifer and a discharge canal feeding picturesque Barnegat Bay off the Atlantic Ocean. Any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how slight, boosts cancer risk, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Tritium moves through soil quickly, and when it is detected it often indicates the presence of more powerful radioactive isotopes that are often spilled at the same time.
Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril. The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public. Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards. Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered. Not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.
Note: Read this detailed report in its entirety to see the amazing range of serious problems in the US nuclear industry which have systematically been covered up by the NRC. For lots more from reliable sources on government and corporate corruption, click here and here.
The bloated Missouri River rose to within 18 inches of forcing the shutdown of a nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska but stopped and ebbed slightly [on June 20], after several levees in northern Missouri failed to hold back the surging waterway. The river has to hit 902 feet above sea level at Brownville before officials will shut down the Cooper Nuclear Plant, which sits at 903 feet, Nebraska Public Power District spokesman Mark Becker said. Becker said the river rose to 900.56 feet at Brownville on Sunday, then dropped to 900.4 feet later in the day and remained at that level Monday morning. The Cooper Nuclear Plant is operating at full capacity Monday, Becker said. The Columbus-based utility sent a "notification of unusual event" to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when the river rose to 899 feet early Sunday morning. The declaration is the least serious of four emergency notifications established by the federal commission. The Cooper Nuclear Station is one of two plants along the Missouri River in eastern Nebraska. The Fort Calhoun Station, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, is about 20 miles north of Omaha. It issued a similar alert to the regulatory commission June 6.
Note: This same plant narrowly avoided a shutdown just a couple weeks prior due to an electrical fire. For the AP article on this, click here. On Monday, June 27, floodwaters collapsed a berm protecting the plant and flooded a building onsite. Authorities, however, still claim there are no dangers.
Military researchers are at work on another revolution in the air: shrinking unmanned drones ... to the size of insects and birds. The drones in development ... are designed to replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world. “We’re looking at how you hide in plain sight,” said Greg Parker, an aerospace engineer, as he held up a prototype of a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage or kill. An explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones ... are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less known is the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it. The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. Within the next decade the Air Force anticipates a decrease in manned aircraft but expects its number of “multirole” aerial drones like the Reaper — the ones that spy as well as strike — to nearly quadruple, to 536. Already the Air Force is training more remote pilots, 350 this year alone, than fighter and bomber pilots combined. “It’s a growth market,” said Ashton B. Carter, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer. The Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $5 billion for drones next year, and by 2030 envisions ever more stuff of science fiction: “spy flies” equipped with sensors and microcameras to detect enemies
Note: Ashton B. Carter, CIA director John Deutch, and executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow co-authored a 1998 article in the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, titled "Catastrophic Terrorism". It predicted, years in advance, a massive attack on the World Trade Center that would result in loss of civil liberties, detention without charge, torture, and endless wars abroad. The Pentagon's weapons-buying spree, now including billions of dollars for drones to be used over US soil, and for which Carter is the "chief weapons buyer," would have been impossible without the 9/11 attacks.
Americans continued to strongly support charitable work with their dollars last year, despite the lingering recession, a new report says. The biggest area of growth in charitable giving was in aiding international causes, such as the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. Total US charitable giving rose 3.8 percent in 2010 (2.1 percent adjusted for inflation), estimates "Giving USA 2011: The annual report on philanthropy for the year 2010," produced by the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The groups estimate that total US charitable giving in 2010 was $291 billion, compared with an estimated $280 billion in 2009. "The environment for philanthropy has been admittedly challenging over the past few years, but one message has come through loud and clear: Charitable giving remains a central part of the American fabric," says a foreword to the report. "Even through a period of economic stress and volatility, Americans have continued to give." Americans give about 2 percent of their disposable income to charitable causes, the report says, a figure that has stayed stable over many years.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein renewed a decadelong push [on June 17] to phase out the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, hogs and poultry. Government officials have warned that increasing antibiotic resistance in humans poses a serious public health threat. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that 80 percent of all antibiotics are given to farm animals in low doses intended to stave off disease in large livestock operations. Many of the antibiotics are the same ones used to treat human diseases. Scientists have linked the practice to rising antibiotic resistance in humans, along with the overprescription of antibiotics by doctors. Feinstein's legislation, opposed by the National Pork Producers Council, would phase out the use of antibiotics considered "medically important" to humans and require new applications for animal antibiotics to prove that they do not endanger human health. The bill would permit antibiotics to treat sick animals. The California Democrat's bill is an identical version of a House bill, HR965, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., a microbiologist on a crusade to eliminate low-dose antibiotic use in livestock.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
What is definitely known about Area 51 is that it’s used by the US government to develop and test experimental aircraft and weapons systems and that it’s been doing this since flight-testing of the U-2 spy plane began there in 1955. Designed by Lockheed, on behalf of the CIA, the U-2 was a high-altitude, long-range aircraft capable of flying over enemy territory and taking pictures, unobserved. The site is bordered to the west by the Nevada test site – a vast tract of desert sequestered by the Department of Energy, ... very much off-limits to the public. Area 51 was the perfect place to develop and test the “black projects” – military aircraft so vital to America’s national security that even most members of the government had no “need to know” that they even existed. West of the base’s main living quarters, on a piece of ground slightly above the lake bed, a waste dump had been constructed. Vehicles with California license plates would head up to the dump to unload cargoes of waste too secret to dispose of normally. While a lot of waste material put into the pits was generated on-site, there were also the contents of those trucks that hauled up every week from California.
Note: Although this is an unusually informative article about Area 51, it dismisses any UFO involvement there, despite much evidence. See our informative UFO Information Center for additional perspectives.
Scientists have developed a way to turn memories on and off -— literally with the flip of a switch. Using an electronic system that duplicates the neural signals associated with memory, they managed to replicate the brain function in rats associated with long-term learned behavior, even when the rats had been drugged to forget. "Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget," said Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Using embedded electrical probes, the [team] recorded changes in the rat's brain activity between the ... divisions of the hippocampus, known as subregions CA3 and CA1. During the learning process, the hippocampus converts short-term memory into long-term memory. In a dramatic demonstration, the experimenters blocked the normal neural interactions between the two areas using pharmacological agents. The previously trained rats then no longer displayed the long-term learned behavior. But long-term memory capability returned to the pharmacologically blocked rats when the team activated the electronic device programmed to duplicate the memory-encoding function.
Note: With the flip of a switch, researchers can now change, delete, or augment memories. And remember that any public research is generally at least a decade behind what is happening in secret government research labs. For key reports from reliable sources on mind control, click here.
Physician Janette Sherman, M.D. and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published a report Monday highlighting a 35% spike in northwest infant mortality after Japan's nuclear meltdown. The report spotlighted data from the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on infant mortality rates in eight northwest cities, including Seattle, in the 10 weeks after Fukushima's nuclear meltdown. The average number of infant deaths for the region moved from an average of 9.25 in the four weeks before Fukushima' nuclear meltdown, to an average of 12.5 per week in the 10 weeks after. The change represents a 35% increase in the northwest's infant mortality rates. In comparison, the average rates for the entire U.S. rose only 2.3%.
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.