Monday, February 25, 2008
Reputed last words of John Ziska (1360-1424)
" ... According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists." Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people? Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order." The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike. ... " ~ From Rule by fear or rule by law? ~
" ... According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."
Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?
Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order."
The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike. ... "
~ From Rule by fear or rule by law? ~
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.
Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.
The U.S. military's Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S...
~ Read on... ~
" ... This campaign season, the newest thing in presidential politics is neuroscience. Driven by new research that suggests monitoring voters' brains, pupils and pulses may be more effective than listening to what they say, EmSense is one of a cottage industry of neuromarketing firms across the country that are pitching their services to presidential campaigns. Seattle's Lucid Systems is trumpeting a biofeedback program that tracks brain waves, pupil dilation, perspiration and facial-muscle movements, while a Chicago company says it is talking to campaigns about its voice-analysis technology, which is used in insurance-fraud cases. Drew Westen, a clinical psychologist at Emory University who has used brain scans to study voters, recently launched Westen Strategies, a consultancy that promises to help clients understand the "neural networks" that govern political behavior. Earlier this year, staffers working for John Edwards flew Mr. Westen in to watch the candidate on the campaign trail and offer feedback (Mr. Westen and a campaign spokesman declined to elaborate). Campaign-strategy consultant, TargetPoint, which is working for Mr. Romney, has begun running Internet surveys that test voters' subconscious impressions and is considering conducting research with brain scanners.
The goal is to deploy the same techniques currently used to track the way consumers respond to cars, perfume, videogames, Web browsers and movie trailers. The information the researchers gather could help candidates make any number of adjustments, including which issues to discuss in which states, what specific terms to use in stump speeches and what cadence or facial expressions to use when delivering them. "Political marketing is a fairly pure analog to commercial marketing," says David Remer, chairman of Lucid Systems. "I'm looking at a package of shampoo the same way I'm looking at my next leader."
Some prominent scientists say neuromarketing firms may be promising more than they can deliver. Liz Phelps, the director of a neuroscience laboratory at New York University who has reviewed recent studies, is critical of the idea that images of brain activity can predict how people will behave -- especially when it comes to politics. Last month, the journal "Nature" criticized a study conducted by a neuromarketing firm this year that had used brain scans to measure people's responses to the 2008 presidential candidates. "Does anyone need a $3 million scanner to conclude that Hillary needs to work on her support from swing voters?" it said.
One reason these tactics are catching on is the increasing wealth of campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the candidates have spent $420 million in the first nine months of this year, which is more than double the $182 million spent in the first nine months of 2003. Jon Krosnick, a Stanford political scientist who works with the American National Election Studies, an academic research project that surveys voter attitudes and behaviors, says candidates may be more interested in measuring the deeper biases of voters in a campaign whose contenders include a Mormon, a woman and an African-American. "We need a tricky way to get into people's minds and find out who they're going to vote for instead of asking directly," Mr. Krosnick
says. ... "
~ From Reading the Mind Of the Body Politic ~
" ... When students today fail to make progress, where's the fault? The fault lies in the fact that they don't have faith in themselves! If you don't have faith in yourself, then you'll be forever in a hurry trying to keep up with everything around you, you'll be twisted and turned by whatever environment you're in and you can never move freely. But if you can just stop this mind that goes rushing around moment by moment looking for something, then you'll be no different from the patriarchs and buddhas. Do you want to get to know the patriarchs and buddhas? They're none other than you, the people standing in front of me listening to this lecture on the Dharma! "Students don't have enough faith in themselves, and so they rush around looking for something outside themselves. But even if they get something, all it will be is words and phrases, pretty appearances. They'll never get at the living thought of the patriarchs! ... "
~ Link ~
Inside the stout federal courthouse of this
Hundreds of pages of recently unsealed court records detail how kickbacks shaped the war's largest troop support contract months before the first wave of U.S. soldiers plunged their boots into Iraqi sand.
The graft continued well beyond the 2004 congressional hearings that first called attention to it. And the massive fraud endangered the health of American soldiers even as it lined contractors' pockets, records show.
Federal prosecutors in Rock Island have indicted four former supervisors from KBR, the giant defense firm that holds the contract, along with a decorated Army officer and five executives from KBR subcontractors based in the U.S. or the Middle East. Those defendants, along with two other KBR employees who have pleaded guilty in Virginia, account for a third of the 36 people indicted to date on Iraq war-contract crimes, Justice Department records show...
~ Read on... ~
For more than five years the US Government has kept former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds silent, feeding the flames of imagination and suspicion by many within the 911 Truth movement - particularly those who believe in the MIHOP or Made It Happen On Purpose theory. Gagged since Oct. of 2002 - by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, Sibel indeed has information this administration does not want us to know – as we are slowly discovering by ongoing reports from BRADBLOG and the UK Times. However, what remains to be seen is this; does Edmonds have any information that points to 911 being an Inside Job?
The secrecy surrounding her story has made it more secretive making many question whether the government had foreknowledge of the 911 attacks. This is sparked in part by what is known as the Phoenix Mem in addition to the suppression of her sworn deposition in the Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp. suit - filed by 600 families of victims of the September 11, 2001 crimes. These questions are further fueled by testimony of another 911 Whistleblower, retired FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley who in June of 2002 testified before the 911 Commission asserting the FBI mishandled information related to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Some activists believe Sibel's information could give evidence to government foreknowledge and potentially point to direct government involvement and planning in the attacks...
~ From Inside Info on Inside Job? ~
Myanmar democracy activists called Monday on people across the world to
boycott televised coverage of this summer's Olympics in Beijing, in protest
at China's support for the ruling military junta.
The 88 Generation Students group, which includes some of the country's top
pro-democracy leaders, also urged viewers against buying any merchandise
linked to the Games.
The Olympics are set to open on August 8, the 20th anniversary of a
pro-democracy uprising led by students in Myanmar...
~ Read on... ~
" ... The masters of our universe always follow this pattern in stamping-out resistance to their immoral plans. The American government has carefully planned for the elimination of all those who resist their master plan to dominate all things on this earth. Through covert operations with code names like Phoenix, Condor and Gladio, they have methodically used torture, terrorism and murder to identify and eliminate all potential left/liberal resistance to its ultra right-wing plans for allied nations.
According to researcher John Dinges, at the center of each of these CIA terror campaigns was a data collection system, used to collect the lists for the death squads to target. The idea was always to use covert agents to artificially stimulate the production of an organized left, in order to identify all those who might one day be compelled to rise in opposition. While the liberal resistance rose-up, the hard-core right (which was a reflection of the US government's belief system) was massively built-up, waiting for the inevitable day of conflict. In America today, we see the same game plan being playing-out. When the liberal resistance explodes in reaction to the sight of the slaughterhouse, coming into view, then the herd will be culled, removing all the free-thinking trouble-makers who resist the stampede. To that end, lists have been drawn-up of war-resisters, in preparation for the round-up. The Internet was given to the American people for just that purpose.
The American resisters are self-identifying themselves by their Internet searches and activities, in effect, signing their names to subversive lists every time they surf conspiracy or antiwar sites, or dare to express themselves on any forum. This is the sinister motive behind the seemingly benign creation of the Internet. Every technological innovation in communications is co-opted into servicing the malignant government plans through the insertion of "backdoors" and the secret installation of government software.
The Patriot Act provided the long-awaited opportunity to launch a nationwide dragnet to find the new radicals. Mass surveillance of all the American people was authorized. All phone calls and emails will soon be monitored to compile lists of growing personal networks. This will help the government to identify potential radicals who are not yet politically active, or those who do not use the Internet. All the plans for replacing democracy with the police (martial law, FEMA camps, FISA bill) are steps that have been taken in preparation for the day when the people will justify the use of these fascist measures against them, in reaction to the bombing of Iran, another "false flag" terror attack, a general uprising, or some other undefined "emergencies."
The Internet itself is the "backdoor" into the most private secrets of every web surfer. Not only is the Internet the backdoor, but it serves as an instrument for subversive agitation, for agents provocateurs to cultivate "extremist beliefs systems," and the spreading of radicalization, just as the government claims in its public witch hunt, known as the "Homegrown Terrorism Act." But the real hidden issue, that the grand inquisitors of the homegrown radical hunt will not examine is – how much of the radicalization and the extremist beliefs are the natural products of moral outrage and acts of self-defense, and much of it is the product of secret government agencies' handiwork, meant to inflame a radical leftist movement?
How much of the division today within the antiwar and anti-fascist movements has been caused by covert disinformation agents, sowing half-true government propaganda? How many of the divisions in the 911 Truth Movement were manufactured by these agents of division? The movement cannot unite around a central issue because every issue has been splintered. This is evidence that the government's secret plans are succeeding. If we cannot unite around a common understanding of events, including the identification of the real masters of America, before they give that dreaded final order (for us), then there will be no immovable mass of united Americans standing squarely in the path of their incoming irresistible force. ... "
~ From Internet Death List ~
" ... The accusation that US forces are involved in drug-trafficking came from Geydar Dzhemal, chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia. "Without the control and connivance on the part of the special services none of these things are possible. For example in Afghanistan, the CIA and the special services are quite brazen. Under the protection of the American army they meet the necessary people. They collect the stuff, go to the Bagram airbase and they hand in a large consignment of narcotics, which is then taken away," he said.
The report went on to say that heroin reached the Balkans via Turkey, which "has been a member of NATO since 1952 and is the USA's closest ally in the region". It said it is "another amazing coincidence" that Kosovo hosts the largest NATO base in Europe. The correspondent added that there is a "secret Interpol post" next to this base. "Here they speak almost openly about Afghan heroin in American planes," he noted.
A man captioned as Marko Nicovic, Interpol employee, explained that 90 per cent of heroin goes through the Albanian mafia, which is now more powerful than the Sicilian mafia. He also alleged that members of this mafia bribe European parliamentarians to support the independence of Kosovo. ... "
At least one sector of the Afghan economy is booming: Opium production.
The International Monetary Fund says the crop earned that country's farmers about $1 billion last year, according to Reuters.
In 2007, Afghan farmers produced 8,200 tons of opium worth about $4 billion. That's up from 185 tons in 2001...
~ Link ~
" ... BILL MOYERS: Follow the money. Where has that billion dollars gone that we have been providing?
SARAH CHAYES: You know, you can drive around the streets of Kandahar. You can drive around the streets of Kabul, and you see some massive buildings. Massive buildings. You see the price of property in Kandahar is probably close to the price of property in New York City.
BILL MOYERS: So who's living in those buildings? Who's using those buildings?
SARAH CHAYES: Government officials and drug traffickers. So it's either the opium money, or it's the development money. And we're not following that money trail. The same problem in Iraq. I mean, there's just millions of dollars that are kind of leaking out of the system.
BILL MOYERS: So, has this become an opium economy?
SARAH CHAYES: Definitely, it's an opium economy. And it's totally integrated into the economy. It's a normal aspect of the economy. And you can feel it. For example, in opium harvesting season, we needed one of our herbs. We needed somebody to -- basically wild crafting to harvest herbs up in the hills. We couldn't get anybody because there were you know, buses at the Helmand, is the province right next door to us where most of the opium is growing. And there would be, you know, from the Helmand bus depot, they would just drive people straight out into the fields. Because, and the price of labor was going up. Normally, labor is unskilled labor is $4 a day. It was $20 to $25 a day in opium harvesting season. It totally absorbs all of the available manpower. Now, the cliché that I don't subscribe to is that the Taliban are running the opium business. ... "
~ From Bill Moyers Journal ~
" ... The official record states that senator Robert F Kennedy, like his
brother before him, was killed by a crazed lone gunman. But the
assassination of a man who seemed to embody so much hope for a
bitterly divided country embroiled in an unpopular war still troubles
Little about the official explanation of the events at the Ambassador
Hotel on June 5 1968 makes sense. Now a new forensic analysis of the
only audio recording of the fatal shots has given new weight to a
controversial theory that there were in fact two shooters, and that
the man convicted of Kennedy's killing -- Sirhan Sirhan - did not fire
the fatal shots.
[ ... ]
"There is no doubt in our minds that no fewer than 14 shots were fired
in the pantry on that evening and that Sirhan did not in fact kill
Senator Kennedy," said Robert Joling, a forensic scientist who has
been involved with the Kennedy case for nearly 40 years. He and Van
Praag have published a book on the killing this week entitled "An Open
and Shut Case".
The inconsistencies in the case have bred numerous conspiracy
theories, including the involvement of the CIA and the idea that
Sirhan - who claims not to remember the shooting and pleaded insanity
at his trial - was a "Manchurian Candidate" assassin who was
hypnotically programmed to kill the senator. ... "
~ From The Guardian ~
Raising incomes of the world's poorest is about more than raising living standards. Poverty kills. This column discusses recent research illustrating the links between extreme poverty and early death.
In the world's poorest countries, poor people die early, as Table 1 illustrates for the case of Indonesia. The numbers are shocking. For the best off in the survey sample – those in households whose daily household expenditure per capita valued at purchasing power parity is between four and six dollars a day – the numbers show that of the over-50s that entered the survey in 1993, 7% were dead four years later and 18% seven years later. For those living in the poorest households, the figures were much higher: 15% and 22% respectively...
~ From Aging and death on a dollar a day ~
"But overall, nothing has ever thrilled me more than watching a woman step out of her underpants."
" ... It was in 1967, while writing a fevered midnight review of a Doors concert for Seattle's underground Helix newspaper, that Robbins happened upon his fictional "voice," that of a highly informed, unapologetically libidinous, free-associating enlightened soul who fully appreciates the cosmic joke of human existence.
At 70, Robbins is as playful and engaging as ever. With eight novels and a new collection of short fiction and nonfiction, "Wild Ducks Flying Backward," to appease his fans during the often-lengthy wait between novels, he remains the turned-on, tuned-in and drop-dead funny master prankster of his generation.
What would this intrepid inner-space explorer have to say on the topic of money? And what would he count as the biggest thrill of his life? Press on, gentle reader ...
Bankrate: You're not typically thought of as a Southern writer, nor was Hunter S. Thompson, yet the two of you (arguably with an assist from another Southerner, Tom Wolfe) changed the American literary landscape. To what extent did your Southern upbringing influence your work?
Tom Robbins: The American South has, of course, a long and impressive literary tradition, but because I began dictating stories to my mother at age five, having already announced my intention to be a writer, I was probably much too young to have been influenced by that tradition in any conscious way. Maybe there's just something in the soil down there, in the lushness, the weather, or the Scotch-Irish gene pool. As I grew a bit older, my parents allowed me to roam freely in nature -- we lived in the Appalachian Mountains -- to go to the movies and the library as often as I pleased, and to mingle with the gypsies, moonshiners, religious snake-handlers and old eccentric hillbilly gents, many of whom were colorful and hypnotic storytellers. My imagination was thus perpetually nourished.
Life in the South proceeds more leisurely than in the rest of the land, and that very languor may help keep imagination alive there. In the fast-paced competitive environment where there's little time for daydreams, reflection or language for language's sake, human imagination cannot thrive. Eventually, I was to find the South socially repressive, but not before it gave me an appetite for enchantment. ... "
[ via Dharma Yum ]
Chuang Tzŭ was fishing in the P'u when the prince of Ch'u sent two high officials to ask him to take charge of the administration of the Ch'u State.
Chuang Tzŭ went on fishing and, without turning his head, said "I have heard that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoise which has been dead now some three thousand years, and that the prince keeps this tortoise carefully enclosed in a chest on the altar of his ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its remains venerated, or be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?"
"It would rather be alive," replied the two officials, "and wagging its tail in the mud."
"Begone!" cried Chuang Tzŭ. "I too will wag my tail in the mud."
~ From Musings of a Chinese Mystic ~
Two different takes on the issue from two different authors/publishers. One tried it, was criticized, and then removed the references for the paperback, while the other, the owner of a marketing company herself, is gleefully placing products whereever she can...
~ Full post ~
Next week will mark the official opening of what has been referred to as both the 'Doomsday Vault' and more optimisically as the 'Noah's Ark' for seeds.
On Tuesday (26 February) European Commission President Jose Barroso and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg are to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening a seed vault – a massive storehouse for food plant seeds that aims to preserve biodiversity in the face of global warming and natural disasters.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has been built to store 4.5 million different agricultural seed samples from around the world at -18 degrees Celsius.
"The seed vault is the perfect place for keeping seeds safe for centuries," said Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust, which has helped establish the vault along with Norway and the Nordic Gene Bank.
"At these temperatures, seeds for important crops such as wheat, barley and peas can last for up to 10,000 years," he said...
~ Read on... ~
" ... Then I got this in the email, which has been around a long time, but the message is the same even today, only with different names: "If you had purchased $1,000 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00. With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the original $1,000. With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left. If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left. If you had purchased United Airlines, you would have nothing left. But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling refund, you would have $214.00. Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. ... "
~ From Boozed-up Brits can beat the blues ~
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, blamed by many Democrats for their loss of the White House in the 2000 election, said on Sunday he is launching another independent campaign for the White House.
Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his longshot presidential bid on NBC's Meet the Press saying that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans were addressing problems facing Americans.
Nader called Washington "corporate occupied territory" that turns the government against the interests of the people. "In that context, I have decided to run for president," he said...
~ Read on... ~
" ... This has been a burning issue in the Swedish media and blogosphere this year. The blog in question, Carl Bildt's Alla dessa dagar, is a personal weblog, describing the daily chores and reflections of his life as foreign minister. His critics, mostly representing traditional media, hold that this sort of one-way-communication belittles the critical role of media, and that Bildt runs Sweden's foreign policy through a blog.
That Bildt is next to the only prominent Swedish blogger, who regularly writes about Eastern Europe, is a little recognised fact. With a life-long commitment to regional issues, support for the independence of the Baltic States in the early 1990s, and role as EU mediator in former Yugoslavia, Bildt has insights and knowledge in this area unique to Swedish politics. Regrettably, and in contrast to his dormant Bildt Comments, his current Swedish-language blogging efforts at Alla dessa dagar are but daily notes dotted down in the margins of a life as a travelling salesman in foreign policy, and lack the clear views and analysis that he previously provided his readers with. It would probably have been much more interesting if Bildt's critics had been proven right, viz. that he would actually run Swedish foreign policy through a blog. Instead, it might seem that Bildt has fallen victim to the noblesse oblige of his office, by self-imposed censorship. The truth of the matter may, however, be much closer at hand: As foreign minister, life is simply too demanding to write analytically in the precious little spare time available.
In comparison to the 2006 review of Swedish blogs on Eastern Europe, Bildt is one of the few bloggers remaining. Only about half of the blogs in the 2006 survey are still active. ... "
~ From Swedish East European Blog Update 2007 ~
On Friday, the BBC announced that its Russian partner, Bolshoe Radio, has been ordered by the authorities either to take Russia's last FM-relay of the BBC's Russian Service off the air or be shut down. That would make Bolshoe Radio the third and final Russian radio station, in the last months, that has been forced to quit BBC broadcasts in Russian.
Bolshoe Radio, which was recently purchased by the Finam investment group, was "allowed for 18% of --- content to be foreign-produced." Now, the radio station has been ordered to produce all its programming itself. The new owner of Bolshoe Radio denies that the decision to take the BBC off the air was made with outside prompting, and instead states that the radio station cannot send foreign propaganda. According to the BBC, a spokesman for Bolshoe Radio said it is "well known that the BBC was set up to broadcast foreign propaganda" and that "any media which is government-financed is propaganda."
However, it is beyond doubt that the BBC Russian Service was taken off the air by the Russian Federal Media Monitoring Service, Rossvyazokhrankultura (cf. "Russia silences its free voices?"). The head of the Russian authority, Boris Boyarskov, thus plainly states that his agency was behind shutting down the BBC in Russia, according to Interfax news agency:
The licensee who was organizing broadcasting on this frequency should have indicated the name of the mass media outlet, the BBC, in its plan, which it failed to do. We carried out checks on this and issued the broadcaster with a warning that it should only be giving air time to those mass media outlets which have been stipulated in the programming plan and that it should bring its broadcasting into line with this programming plan.~ Read on... ~
" ... As Bush hangs by a thread, there is a list of indictments for which he could hang later. As the Bush 'vision thing' crashes and burns, an increasingly tiny band of loud mouthed GOP cultists, deniers of science and logic, born again believers in fairy tales and miracles are left only their loudmouths and astounding intellectual challenges. I am referring, of course, to gullible folk whose ancestors most certainly burned witches in Europe and hanged them at Salem. In other words, the born again believers in Bush's 'official conspiracy theory of 911'.
It makes no sense to believe a man about one thing when he has told nothing but lies about everything else. What makes 911 different? As Dr. Hans Koechler points out, it has become 'politically correct dogma'. As Ronald Reagan's 'trickle down theory' and 'fundamentalist Christianity' has done for 'true believers', the 'official conspiracy theory of 911, relieves its 'true believers' of responsibility for their 'sins' and places it with a 'rag tag band' of 'evil terrorists'. The GOP's faith in the 911 orthodoxy has become a secular religion, akin to their unquestioned belief in Christianity, a faith --not a science --in which they are relieved of responsibility, forgiven all their sins in exchange for merely believing a 'dogma' for which there is not a shred of logic or fact in support. The 'terrorists' are, in fact, Christ-like. They have borne America's collective guilt and died for our sins. ... "
~ Read more... ~
Islamabad, Feb. 24 : A retired Pakistan Major General, who was part of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has spilled the beans on how the 2002 general elections in the country were rigged.
According to The Dawn, Major General Ehtesham Zamir has admitted his guilt of manipulating the 2002 elections, and has directly blamed General Musharraf for ordering him to do so...~ Read on... ~
"For more than seven months, the nation's top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states, reportedly because it contains such potentially 'alarming information' as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates," reports Sheila Kaplan. The 400-page study, undertaken by a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cooperation with the government of Canada, "warns that more than nine million people who live in the more than two dozen 'areas of concern' -- including such major metropolitan areas as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee -- may face elevated health risks from being exposed to dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, lead, mercury, or six other hazardous pollutants." Canadian biologist Michael Gilbertson, who was involved in reviewing the study, said it has been suppressed because it suggests that vulnerable populations have been harmed by industrial pollutants. "It's not good because it's inconvenient," Gilbertson said. "The whole problem with all this kind of work is wrapped up in that word 'injury.' If you have injury, that implies liability. Liability, of course, implies damages, legal processes, and costs of remedial action. The governments, frankly, in both countries are so heavily aligned with, particularly, the chemical industry, that the word amongst the bureaucracies is that they really do not want any evidence of effect or injury to be allowed out there."
~ Link ~
Scientists Call on next President to End Political Interference in Science; Guarantee Scientists' Freedoms
A group of prominent scientists today called on the next president and Congress to end political interference in science and establish conditions that would allow federal science to flourish. Organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the group released a statement at a press conference during the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting.
"Good federal policy depends upon reliable and robust scientific work," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at UCS. "When science is falsified, fabricated or censored, Americans' health and safety suffer."
The statement specifically calls for the next administration and Congress to ensure that federal scientists have the freedom to publicly communicate their findings; publish their work; disclose misrepresentation, censorship or other abuses; and have their technical work evaluated by peers -- all without fear of retribution.
Statement signatories include Nobel laureates and scientists with significant federal government experience, including former National Science Foundation Director Rita Colwell, former Presidential Science Advisor Neal Lane, and former National Institutes of Health Director Harold Varmus. (For the statement, go to: www.ucsusa.org/scientificfreedom.)
Current and former federal scientists support the statement. "If the next administration and Congress wholly embrace and implement the scientists' recommendations, Americans would be safer," said Robin Ingle, a former mathematical statistician at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "A political appointee at my agency prevented my research on all-terrain-vehicle safety from reaching the public, even when avoidable deaths and injuries occurred."
Environmental Protection Agency scientist Bill Hirzy said there have been similar incidents at his agency. "Scientific integrity is the bedrock on which the federal science establishment must rest. Unfortunately, too many EPA scientists have had to fight interference from political or private sector interests."
Susan Wood, former assistant commissioner for women's health at the Food and Drug Administration, echoed Hirzy's concerns. "Serious consequences can result when drug and device safety decisions are not based on the best available scientific advice from staff scientists and independent experts," she said. "The next president and Congress must cultivate an environment where reliable scientific advice flows freely to allow for fully informed safety decisions."
At today's press conference, UCS also released "Federal Science and the Public Good," a report that recommends steps the next president can take to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. The report highlights how the current administration has misused science, with a special focus on systemic changes that hamper federal scientific capacity and make it more difficult for agencies to fulfill their missions. (For UCS's report, go to www.ucsusa.org/scientificfreedom.)
Kurt Gottfried, UCS co-founder and board chairman, and emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University, stressed that thousands of scientists around the country have called for reform. "Four years ago – almost to the day – UCS unveiled a statement signed by 62 leading scientists voicing concern over the manipulation, distortion, and suppression of federal government science," he said. "Since that time nearly 15,000 scientists have added their signatures. Now we are using that momentum to push for solutions."
Scientists who spoke at the press conference:
· Bill Hirzy, senior scientist, Risk Assessment Division, Toxics Office, Environmental Protection Agency, Hirzy.John@epamail.epa.gov, 202-566-2788
· Susan Wood, former assistant commissioner for women's health and director of the Office of Women's Health, Food and Drug Administration, email@example.com, 301-233-8184
· John Young, former wildlife biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service, firstname.lastname@example.org, 920-889-0929
· Robin Ingle, former mathematical statistician, Consumer Product Safety Commission, email@example.com, 301-806-7536
· Tony Robbins, former director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 636-0834
· Leon Lederman, Nobel laureate, director emeritus, Fermilab, email@example.com, 630-907-5912
Scientists who signed the statement released today: Lewis Branscomb, Rita Colwell, Thomas Eisner,
Richard Garwin, Lynn Goldman, Kurt Gottfried, Dudley Herschbach, Bill Hirzy, John Holdren, Robin Ingle, Gerald Keusch, Neal Lane, Leon Lederman, James McCarthy, Tony Robbins, Andrew Sessler, Harold Varmus, Susan Wood and John Young.
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