Secrecy News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on secrecy
The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history. Bloomberg argued that the public has the right to know basic information about the “unprecedented and highly controversial use” of public money. Banks and the Fed warn that bailed-out lenders may be hurt if the documents are made public, causing a run or a sell-off by investors. New York-based Bloomberg ... sued in November 2008 after the Fed refused to name the firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or assets used as collateral under its lending programs. “Bloomberg has been trying for almost two years to break down a brick wall of secrecy in order to vindicate the public’s right to learn basic information,” Thomas Golden, an attorney for the company with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, wrote in court filings. More than a dozen other groups or companies filed amicus, or friend-of-the-court, briefs, including the American Society of News Editors and individual news organizations. The judge postponed the application of her ruling to allow the appeals court to consider the case.
Note: When doling out trillions of dollars of tax-payers' money, doesn't the public have a right to know who is receiving the money and what it is being used for?
Osama Bin Laden died eight years ago during the battle for Tora Bora in Afghanistan, either from a US bomb or from a serious kidney disease. Or so the conspiracy theory goes. The theory that has developed on the web since 9/11 is that US intelligence services are manufacturing the Bin Laden statements ... to justify the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and back at home. Numerous audio and video statements purporting to be from Bin Laden have been released, but their authenticity has been continually questioned. The veracity of all of the videos is questioned by David Ray Griffin, a former theology professor and member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which also questions mainstream accounts of the attack on the World Trade Centre. "None of them can be proven to be authentic," he says. "At least three of them can be shown to be almost certainly fake. And if somebody is faking Bin Laden videos, then that leads to the suspicion that all the videos and audio tapes have been faked." His first example is a video released by the US Department of Defense in December 2001. In it, [the] Bin Laden [figure] confesses to 9/11, yet Mr Griffin points out that al-Qaeda has only rarely admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks. He also maintains that the Bin Laden figure looks very different to previous footage - fatter, with shorter fingers, and that he is even writing with the wrong hand.
Note: To see how easily audio and video materials can be faked, read excerpts from this Washington Post article. WantToKnow supporter David Ray Griffin has written extensively about the evidence regarding whether Osama bin Laden is alive or dead, including his recent book, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? BBC also interviewed former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who stated in 2007 that bin Laden was dead. She was murdered one month later. For more on this, click here
Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision. Under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, manufacturers must report to the federal government new chemicals they intend to market. But the law exempts from public disclosure any information that could harm their bottom line. Government officials, scientists and environmental groups say that manufacturers have exploited weaknesses in the law to claim secrecy for an ever-increasing number of chemicals. In the past several years, 95 percent of the notices for new chemicals sent to the government requested some secrecy, according to the Government Accountability Office. About 700 chemicals are introduced annually. Some companies have successfully argued that the federal government should not only keep the names of their chemicals secret but also hide from public view the identities and addresses of the manufacturers.
Note: So according to this law, the bottom line (profits) trumps public health. For lots more on corporate and government secrecy, click here.
If you want to encourage the kind of conspiracy theories that have prospered in the wake of last year’s financial crisis — those that describe a secret cabal of elites running the world — try doing the following: Have a group of 30 high-powered economists, government officials and bankers meet under the auspices of an international group that shares ideas on how to run the global financial architecture. Have your Board of Trustees led by an influential former Federal Reserve chairman who’s now working as a senior advisor to the president of the United States. Name the former vice chairman of bailout behemoth AIG as the group’s Chairman and CEO (It helps that he [is] former governor of the Bank of Israel). Ensure that membership includes the likes of these: A former Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard who also now works as a top presidential economic advisor; Citigroup’s senior vice chairman; a former IMF deputy managing director and the current governor of the Bank of Israel; and top representatives of the world’s four most important central banks. Hold two days of closed-door meetings at the New York Fed. Do not publicize a list of attendees and leave everyone guessing about the agenda. These were the circumstances surrounding Friday’s start to the 62nd plenary meetings of the Group of 30, whose formal name is “The Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs, Inc.”
Note: The article interestingly then goes on to claim that this secret meeting of the world's top bankers is not really anything to worry about, that they are really working for the public good. If so, why not have the meeting open and widely covered by the press? For many other revealing articles from major media reports on secret societies and secret meetings of the most rich and powerful people in our world, click here.
In August 2009, CBS News made a simple request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public documents, e-mails and other materials CDC used to communicate to states the decision to stop testing individual cases of Novel H1N1, or "swine flu." When the public affairs folks at CDC refused to produce the documents and quit responding to my queries altogether, I filed a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the materials. Two months after my FOI request, the CDC has yet to produce any of these easily retrievable materials. This has become standard operating procedure in Washington. Today, I received a letter from the CDC Freedom of Information office ... to inform me that my request for "expedited" treatment of my FOI request has been denied because CDC has determined the request is "not a matter of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." The CDC may be the only agency on the planet to argue that testing and counting of swine flu cases is "not of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." CBS News reporting on the topic has been quoted and reproduced internationally by news organizations such as California NPR, radio talk shows and others. The Freedom of Information Act ... was supposed to stop federal agencies from using their power and control to withhold public information from the people who own it. Many federal agencies use it to obstruct the delay or release of obviously public information.
Note: See powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Dan Brown's best-selling novel, "The Lost Symbol," [reveals] part of the history of the secretive brotherhood called the Freemasons. Dan Brown: [The book] raises provocative questions about the beliefs of the man on the dollar bill, about the power of the human mind, about whether people can become gods. George Washington was a Mason, along with 13 other presidents and numerous Supreme Court Justices. Benjamin Franklin published a book about Freemasonry on his own printing press. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons, including ... John Hancock. The last master Mason to serve as president was Gerald Ford. Freemasons have been accused of everything from murder to devil worship to secretly controlling the U.S. government. Arturo de Hoyos is the grand archivist and grand historian of the supreme council of the Scottish rite and himself a 33rd-degree Mason. Arturo de Hoyos: The father of our country was a Freemason. And historians agree that some principles of Freemasonry became cherished principles of the United States. Dan Brown: America wasn't founded a Christian country. It became a Christian country. Many of the founding fathers were deists. Deists believe that a supreme being created the universe, but that being is impersonal. The Masons celebrate mankind and the power of the human mind. I hear about these experiments that are being done that categorically and scientifically prove that the human mind has power over matter. Noetic science really is the reason this book took me so long to write. Noetic scientists study whether age old ideas like faith healing – ESP, mind over matter – actually have a scientific basis. Another important aspect of Freemasonry is this idea of freedom of religion. The last word of the book is one that will surprise people: hope.
Note: Watch this full, fascinating interview on the MSNBC webpage at the link above. If you don't have time to read Brown's gripping novel, at least watch this video or read the text at the link above. The book also describes the fascinating, little-known science of liquid breathing - the ability to breathe while submerged in liquid. For more on this, click here and here. Many secret societies came into existence to escape the oppressive hand of the church, but some also became quite twisted. For lots more revealing information on secret societies, click here and here. For a surprising example of secret masonic symbols, click here.
Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday. "The real story is what's missing," said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000-pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said. "Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said. He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced." "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see." Trentadue said he is seeking more tapes along with a variety of bombing-related documents from the FBI and the CIA. An FOIA request by Trentadue for 26 CIA documents was rejected in June. A letter from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which reviewed the documents, said their release "could cause grave damage to our national security."
Note: This revealing article also tells how Trentadue's brother was murdered by FBI agents who mistakenly thought his brother was the bomber. For more valuable information on this and other evidence challenging the official story of the Oklahoma City bombing, click here.
The secretive religious group, the Family, ... appears to be the connective tissue of the Senator Ensign sex scandal and the Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina sex scandal. It‘s a mystery that concerns this house at 133 C Street Southeast in Washington, D.C. This building‘s financial paper trail [shows] that it‘s actually considered to be a church. That designation makes C Street a convenient tax-free haven for the secretive organization that runs it, an organization known as the Family. Members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy. This powerful, poorly understood religious group ... and the house at C Street have ended up reluctantly in the headlines now because of the two major politicians‘ sex scandals. Embattled Nevada Senator John Ensign lives at the C Street house. Prominent members of the Family ... as well as other members of Congress who live at C Street—were both aware of Ensign‘s secret affair and were involved in his efforts to pay off the mistress and her family. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford mentioned C Street by name in his long public statement of regret about his affair with a woman in Argentina. Jeff Sharlet ... secretly infiltrated the family to write a book [The Family] about them. SHARLET: They like to call themselves the Christian mafia. They mean this in the sense of money moving quietly behind the scenes. Where the money goes they believe God goes. Douglas Coe, "The Family" leader, ... again and again [uses] the model of Hitler as an ideal of strength. It‘s not that he‘s a neo-Nazi. It‘s that they fetishize strength. They look for the leader who they believe is chosen by God. Evidence [of this] is his power, his wealth, and his willingness to align himself with their version of American power.
Note: To watch a stunning MSNBC video clip on "the Family," click here. For how political sex scandals may be much more commonplace than you might think, click here. And for powerful inside information from one who claims to have escaped from "the family," and another who says he is from a very high level there, click here and here. To develop an understanding of the bigger picture behind all of this, click here.
Quality, affordable health care is on the critical list in America. And so is the newspaper business. So maybe it's not surprising that one of the most powerful papers in the country attempted an unholy alliance, trying to turn a profit from its newsroom's coverage of the fight for health care reform. You may have missed the story because it broke on the eve of the July 4th weekend. The publisher of The Washington Post, Katharine Weymouth — one of the most powerful people in the nation's capital — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story. But she then invited CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry to come, too — providing they fork over $25,000 a head, or a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy little get-togethers. And what is the inducement she offers them? Nothing less than — and I'm quoting the invitation verbatim — "An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done." The invitation promises this private, intimate, and off-the-record dinner is an extension "of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard." Let that sink in. The "stakeholders" in health care reform in this case do not include the rabble — the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can't afford it. If any of them showed up at the kitchen door on the night of this little soiree, a bouncer would drop kick them beyond the beltway.
Note: To read the complete text, click on the link above and scroll below the video box at the top of the page. For an excellent article on the Washington Post's ties to the CIA and manipulative politics, click here.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, HOST: Despite growing pressure from the House and ordinary people, the Senate decided not to increase scrutiny on the Federal Reserve. They actually blocked a bid on procedural grounds to have the Government Accountability Office audit the Federal Reserve and issue a report. Here is Republican Senator Jim DeMint. Senator DeMint, ... Why should the Federal Reserve be audited? DEMINT: Well, the value of our dollar, our whole economic system, rides on [this] unelected, secret agency called the Federal Reserve. We're not sure what they're doing right now. And Ron Paul in the House with over half of the House signing up as cosponsors, and me and Bernie Sanders in the Senate are pushing the idea of a complete audit of the Federal Reserve, because frankly, a lot of us here in this country and around the world, are concerned that we're going to destroy the American dollar and the worldwide reserve currency. NAPOLITANO: How is it that legislation that has more than half the members of the House behind it and is proposed by a staunch conservative Republican like you and then independent socialists like Bernie Sanders is stopped on the floor of the Senate cold before you can even formally introduce it, before you can make a speech in favor of it? DEMINT: Well, if we could get the Federal Reserve under control, it would make it more difficult for the Obama administration, I think, to carry out the continued spending and growing of debt. Because one thing we're concerned about is the Federal Reserve ... will do what we call monetize the debt, basically print money, buy our own debt as a country, and devalue the dollar that way.
Note: For two powerful, short videos revealing efforts to expose the intriguing secrets of the Federal Reserve, click here and here. If you care about the financial health of the U.S. and its implications in our world, these are both must watch videos.
Area 51. It's the most famous military institution in the world that doesn't officially exist. If it did, it would be found about 100 miles outside Las Vegas in Nevada's high desert. Then again, maybe not — the U.S. government refuses to say. You can't drive anywhere close to it, and until recently, the airspace overhead was restricted — all the way to outer space. Any mention of Area 51 gets redacted from official documents, even those that have been declassified for decades. It has become the holy grail for conspiracy theorists, with UFOlogists positing that the Pentagon reverse engineers flying saucers and keeps extraterrestrial beings stored in freezers. Urban legend has it that Area 51 is connected by underground tunnels and trains to other secret facilities around the country. Well, now, for the first time, someone is ready to talk — in fact, five men are, and their stories rival the most outrageous of rumors. Colonel Hugh "Slip" Slater, 87, was commander of the Area 51 base in the 1960s. Edward Lovick, 90, ... spent three decades radar testing some of the world's most famous aircraft. Kenneth Collins, 80, a CIA experimental test pilot, was given the silver star. Thornton "T.D." Barnes, 72, was an Area 51 special-projects engineer. And Harry Martin, 77, was one of the men in charge of the base's half-million-gallon monthly supply of spy-plane fuels. As for the underground-tunnel talk ... Barnes worked on a nuclear-rocket program ... in Area 51's backyard. "Three test-cell facilities were connected by railroad, but everything else was underground," he says.
Note: So the government has been lying to us for 50 years about Area 51 and underground research there. What else are they lying to us about? For a more powerful, incisive article on this development, click here. And why isn't this getting more coverage? For another report showing major media cover-up of UFOs, click here.
Having been handed vast authority and almost no restrictions in the bailout law that Congress passed ... a committee of five little-known government officials, aided by a bare-bones staff of 40, is picking winners and losers among thousands of banks, savings and loans, insurers and other institutions. It is new and unfamiliar terrain for the officials, who are making monumental decisions — a form of industrial policy, some critics say — that contradict the free market philosophy they usually espouse. Predictably, the process is stirring alarm from Capitol Hill to Wall Street. Among the problems, critics say, is that despite earlier promises of transparency, the process is shrouded in secrecy, its precise goals opaque. Treasury officials have refused to disclose their criteria for deciding which banks ... get money. And officials have yet to say they even have a broader strategy, though banking executives are convinced the government wants to encourage acquisitions. Already, critics from Capitol Hill to Wall Street are lashing out at the program, saying the banks are misusing the capital infusions by hoarding the money rather than lending it. The government, the critics say, is wrongly steering funds to banks to take over weaker rivals. All this comes after Mr. Paulson abruptly shifted the focus of the program to injecting capital rather than buying distressed mortgage-related assets from the banks. This meant that Congress had never debated the details of how the government ought to carry out a recapitalization.
Note: With the intense secrecy and all of the lobbyist and big guns for banking fighting for hundreds of billions of dollars given practically free by the government, do you really think these "five little-known government officials" will be impartial in their decisions? For many revealing, reliable reports on the Wall Street bailout, click here.
The Environmental Protection Agency is telling its pollution enforcement officials not to talk with congressional investigators, reporters and even the agency's own inspector general, according to an internal e-mail provided to The Associated Press. The June 16 message instructs 11 managers in the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the branch of the agency charged with making sure environmental laws are followed, to remind their staff members to keep quiet. "If you are contacted directly by the IG's office or GAO requesting information of any kind . . . please do not respond to questions or make any statements," reads the e-mail sent by Robbi Farrell, the division's chief of staff. Instead, staff members should forward inquiries to a designated EPA representative, the memo says. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility obtained the e-mail and provided it to the AP. The group is a nonprofit alliance of local, state and federal professionals. Jeff Ruch, its executive director, said ... the e-mail reinforces a "bunker mentality" within EPA under the Bush administration. "The clear intention behind this move is to chill the cubicles by suppressing any uncontrolled information." The Office of Inspector General said it did not approve of the language in the e-mail. "All EPA officials and employees are required to cooperate with OIG," the statement said. "This cooperation includes providing the OIG full and unrestricted access to EPA documents, records, and personnel."
Note: For many revealing reports on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.
An international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials called on the U.S. government on Monday to reopen its generation-old UFO investigation as a matter of safety and security given continuing reports about flying discs, glowing spheres and other strange sightings. "Especially after the attacks of 9/11, it is no longer satisfactory to ignore radar returns ... which cannot be associated with performances of existing aircraft and helicopters," they said in a statement released at a news conference. The panelists from seven countries, including former senior military officers, said they had each seen a UFO or conducted an official investigation into UFO phenomena. "It's a question of who [are] you going to believe: your lying eyes or the government?" remarked John Callahan, a former Federal Aviation Administration investigator, who said the CIA in 1987 tried to hush up the sighting of a huge lighted ball four times the size of a jumbo jet in Alaska. The panel, organized by a group dedicated to winning credibility for the study of UFOs, urged Washington to resume UFO investigations through the U.S. Air Force or NASA. "It would certainly, I think, take a lot of angst out of this issue," said former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, who said he was among hundreds who saw a delta-shaped craft with enormous lights silently traverse the sky near Phoenix in 1997.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. For a eight-minute CNN clip on this historic event including witness testimony, click here. For lots more media coverage of this and other major UFO events, click here. For their bios, photos, and official statements, click here.
David Frost: Does anyone know exactly who was responsible for this assassination attempt? There is one report that said that you arranged to send President Musharraf a letter ... in the event of your death by assassination, urging him to investigate certain individuals in his government. Is that true? Benazir Bhutto: Yes it is true that I wrote to General Musharraf. I feel these are the forces that really want to stop not just me, but the democratic process and the will of the people [from] triumphing. David Frost: In terms of these three people you mentioned where they members of or associated with the government? Benazir Bhutto: One of them is a very key figure in security. He is a former military officer. He is someone who has had dealings with Jaish-e-Mohammad, one of the band [of] groups of Maulana Masood Azhar, who was in an Indian jail for decapitating three British tourists and three American tourists. And he also had dealings with Omar Shiekh, who murdered Osama bin Laden.
Note: The key statement on bin Laden's murder happens at minute five in the video at the above link. If the link fails, click here. For a Jan. 9, 2010 BBC article also suggesting bin Laden may already have been dead years earlier and that his death had been covered up, click here. Bhutto was assassinated not long after this interview on Dec. 27, 2007.
[BBC Radio] uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell [House] and George Bush’s grandfather, Prescott [Bush]) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Why [is] so little ... known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy?
Note: The highly decorated General Smedley Butler, author of the landmark book War is a Racket, was approached by the plotters for assistance in carrying out this coup. He at first played along, but then eventually exposed the coup plot in Congressional testimony. Yet news of this huge plot was squelched by both the government and media. To understand why, read a two-page summary of General Butler's book by clicking here and listen to the gripping, 30-minute BBC broadcast at the link above.
Ten years ago in Arizona's capital, thousands of people reported seeing a massive, v-shaped line of lights. Some government officials later said military flares caused the confusion. But Gary Tuchman spoke with one former governor who's now saying they didn't look like flares to him. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER: Fife Symington ... was the Republican governor of Arizona for six years. FIFE SYMINGTON: If you had been here ten years ago, and looked at the lights and the view, you would have been astounded. TUCHMAN: Governor Symington is referring to what is now known as the Phoenix lights -- an object videotaped by many and seen by thousands over several nights in the Arizona sky in 1997. It was described by witnesses as larger than a football field and silent. The governor, a Vietnam Air Force veteran, had never publicly acknowledged seeing it until now. SYMINGTON: I suspect that unless the Defense Department proves us otherwise, that it was probably some form of alien spacecraft. TUCHMAN: So why didn't he say anything then? Partly he says, because he didn't want people to panic. UFO enthusiasts were not amused, especially since the governor was believed to have seen nothing. But now he's coming out. SYMINGTON: The lights were really brilliant. And it was just fascinating. It was enormous. It just felt otherworldly. TUCHMAN: Symington will be talking about this in an updated film about UFOs called 'Out of the Blue.' Governor Symington says he did tell his family, friends, and staff about what he saw early on. SYMINGTON: I still behind the scenes tried to investigate it, but I got nowhere.
Note: To watch this fascinating three-minute CNN broadcast, click here. For more on the intriguing Phoenix lights, click here. For lots more on the powerfully revealing UFO documentary Out of the Blue, arguably the best UFO documentary ever made, click here. Learn about dozens of top military brass who have publicly testified on a major cover-up of UFOs and more. For a two-page summary of this powerful witness testimony, click here.
While the Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence. Page 1, Chapter 1 ... lays out Iraq's importance: "It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room: that we are fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. Recommendation No. 63 ... calls on the U.S. to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." This is an echo of calls made [by] the U.S. State Department's Oil and Energy Working Group, meeting between December 2002 and April 2003. Iraq "should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war." Its preferred method of privatization was a form of oil contract called a production-sharing agreement. These agreements are ... rejected by all the top oil producers in the Middle East because they grant greater control and more profits to the companies than the governments. For any degree of oil privatization to take place ... Iraq has to amend its constitution. Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis." Petroleum Economist magazine later reported that U.S. oil companies considered passage of the new oil law more important than increased security. Further, the Iraq Study Group would commit U.S. troops to Iraq for several more years to ... provide security for Iraq's oil infrastructure. We can thank the Iraq Study Group for making its case publicly. It is now our turn to decide if we wish to spill more blood for oil.
Note: For more on corporate complicity in fomenting war exposed by a top U.S. general, click here.
A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks. The ruling, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, came in the case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago in 2002 and a month later designated an "enemy combatant" by President Bush. Padilla has been held without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three years, and his case has ignited a fierce battle over the balance between civil liberties and the government's power to fight terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A host of civil liberties groups and former attorney general Janet Reno weighed in on Padilla's behalf, calling his detention illegal and arguing that the president does not have unchecked power to lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely. In its ruling yesterday, the three-judge panel overturned a lower court. Avidan Cover, a senior associate at Human Rights First, said the ruling "really flies in the face of our understanding of what rights American citizens are entitled to." Opponents have warned that if not constrained by the courts, Padilla's detention could lead to the military being allowed to hold anyone who, for example, checks out what the government considers the wrong kind of reading materials from the library.
Note: For many disturbing reports from major media sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret. Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001. It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week. Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'. 'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication. The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice. Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, said: 'If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10 the priest will get away with it.'
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.