Revealing News: 9/11 Thefts Not Prosecuted, Ex-Homeland Security Officials' Bonanza, America on the Dark Side
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Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. These news articles include revealing information on 9/11 thefts that are not being prosecuted, a huge bonanza for ex-Homeland Security officials, Cheney taking America on the dark side, and more. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Fred Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
The Dark Side
June 20, 2006, PBS Frontline
Amid daily revelations about prewar intelligence and a growing scandal surrounding the indictment of the vice president's chief of staff and presidential adviser, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to investigate the internal war that was waged between the intelligence community and Richard Bruce Cheney, the most powerful vice president in the nation's history. "A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies," Cheney told Americans just after 9/11. He warned the public that the government would have to operate on the "dark side." In The Dark Side, airing June 20, 2006, at 9 P.M. on PBS...FRONTLINE tells the story of the vice president's role as the chief architect of the war on terror and his battle with Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet for control of the "dark side." Drawing on more than 40 interviews and thousands of documents, the film provides a step-by-step examination of what happened inside the councils of war. After the attacks on 9/11, Cheney seized the initiative and pushed for expanding presidential power, transforming America's intelligence agencies, and bringing the war on terror to Iraq. In the initial stages of the war on terror, Tenet's CIA was rising to prominence as the lead agency in the Afghanistan war. But when Tenet insisted in his personal meetings with the president that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Cheney and Rumsfeld initiated a secret program to re-examine the evidence and marginalize the agency and Tenet.
Ex-security officials rake it in
June 18, 2006, Seattle Times/New York Times
Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic-security team...are collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run. At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security...are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic-security business. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge...stands to profit now that Savi Technology, a maker of radio-frequency-identification equipment that the department pushed while he was secretary, is being bought by Lockheed Martin. He was appointed to the Savi board three months after resigning from the department. Former Homeland Security undersecretary Asa Hutchinson...the biggest potential for profit among Hutchinson's ventures appears to come from his role as an investor in Fortress America Acquisition. Hutchinson, before the [company's] stock was sold publicly, bought 200,000 shares for $25,000. At Friday's trading price the stock was worth more than $1.2 million. More than two-thirds of the department's most senior executives in its first years have moved through the revolving door. Federal law prohibits senior executive-branch officials from lobbying former government colleagues or subordinates for at least a year after leaving public service. But by exploiting loopholes in the law...it is often easy for former officials to do just that.
9/11 Thefts Not Prosecuted
June 16, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
A disaster relief company that took supplies that were supposed to go to Sept. 11 rescuers at the World Trade Center escaped punishment after the government discovered its own employees had stolen artifacts from ground zero, once-secret federal documents show. Dan L'Allier...told The Associated Press he witnessed 45 tons of the New York loot being unloaded in Minnesota at his company's headquarters. He and a colleague...complained to a company executive but were ordered to keep quiet. They went instead to the FBI. The two whistleblowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry. But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth it to make sure justice was done. They were wrong. Federal prosecutors eventually charged KEI...but excluded the Sept. 11 thefts. The lead investigators for the FBI and [FEMA] told AP that the plan to prosecute...stopped as soon as it became clear in late summer 2002 that an FBI agent in Minnesota had stolen a crystal globe from ground zero. That prompted a broader review that ultimately found 16 government employees, including a top FBI executive and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, had such artifacts from New York or the Pentagon. "It's a sad indictment of our justice system that they would let people go in order to cover up misconduct by federal employees," said Jane Turner, the lead FBI agent. She too became a whistleblower alleging the bureau tried to fire her for bringing the stolen artifacts to light.
The EPA won't release some data on 140 Superfund locations
June 16, 2006, Los Angeles Times
At a congressional hearing, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the Environmental Protection Agency had designated as confidential the details of about 140 Superfund sites where toxic exposure remained uncontrolled. The secret data included information about how much money and time it would take to clean up the dangerous sites, including one site where the EPA predicted it would take 26 years to close off access to toxics. "This isn't a question of left or right," Boxer said, waving a document marked "Privileged" by EPA officials to prevent its release to the public. "This is a question of right and wrong." The Superfund program was created almost three decades ago in response to environmental disasters such as Love Canal, a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where chemical contamination forced the removal of 800 families and led to $200 million in remediation costs. Those sites are areas where the public still faces some possible exposure to toxic substances — such as a building near buried radioactive waste that was not surrounded by a fence. A skateboard park built over the site, however, was protected by a layer of dirt. One Republican-sponsored bill moving through Congress would limit data available on toxic substances released into communities, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has blocked information on flooding dangers in Florida.
Note: Major toxic hazards would seem to be a direct threat to the security of those living around the hazards, yet the EPA is keeping these records secret. If you read the entire article, you will see how the LA Times is framing this as a Democrat vs. Republican issue, when it is in fact about public health and safety.
A Leap of Faith, Off a Cliff
June 15, 2006, New York Times
The Bush administration told a judge in Detroit that the president's warrantless domestic spying is legal and constitutional, but refused to say why. The judge should just take his word for it, the lawyer said, because merely talking about it would endanger America. Today, Senator Arlen Specter wants his Judiciary Committee to take an even more outlandish leap of faith for an administration that has shown it does not deserve it. Mr. Specter wants the committee to approve a bill he drafted that tinkers dangerously with the rules on wiretapping, even though the president has said the law doesn't apply to him anyway, and even though Mr. Specter and most of the panel are just as much in the dark as that judge in Detroit. The bill could well diminish the power of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, which was passed in 1978 to prevent just the sort of abuse that Mr. Bush's program represents. This is not a time to offer the administration a chance to steamroll Congress into endorsing its decision to ignore the 1978 intelligence act and shred constitutional principles on warrants and on the separation of powers. This is a time for Congress to finally hold Mr. Bush accountable for his extralegal behavior and stop it.
Officials Sued Over Phone Records Access
June 14, 2006, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
The federal government sued the New Jersey attorney general and other state officials Wednesday to stop them from seeking information about telephone companies' cooperation with the National Security Agency. The unusual filing...is the latest effort by federal authorities to halt legal proceedings aimed at revealing whether and how often AT&T, Verizon and other phone companies have provided customer records to the NSA without a court order. New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber, a Democrat, and other officials sent subpoenas to five carriers on May 17, asking for documents that would explain whether they supplied customer records to the NSA, the lawsuit said. The subpoenas followed by a few days a USA Today report that the phone companies had complied with the secretive agency's request for the phone records of millions of ordinary Americans after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Justice Department said more than 20 lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging that the phone companies illegally assisted the NSA. The government says sensitive national security information would be revealed if judges allow those cases to proceed. In this matter, the federal government said the New Jersey officials are treading on federal turf and that the companies, if forced to comply with the subpoenas, would be confirming or denying the existence of the program. President Bush and other top federal officials have refused to do that.
Government paid $1.4 billion in bogus hurricane aid
June 13, 2006, Houston Chronicle/Associated Press
The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found. The GAO concluded that as much as 16 percent of the billions of dollars in FEMA help to individuals after the two hurricanes was unwarranted. GAO provided lawmakers with a copy of a $2,358 U.S. Treasury check for rental assistance that an undercover agent got using a bogus address. The money was paid even after FEMA learned from its inspector that the undercover applicant did not live at the address. FEMA paid an individual $2,358 in rental assistance, while at the same time paying about $8,000 for the same person to stay 70 nights at more than $100 per night in a Hawaii hotel. FEMA also could not establish that 750 debit cards worth $1.5 million even went to Katrina victims. Among the items purchased with the cards: —an all-inclusive, one-week Caribbean vacation; five season tickets to New Orleans Saints professional football games; and adult erotica products in Houston. FEMA paid millions of dollars to more than 1,000 registrants who used names and Social Security numbers belonging to state and federal prisoners for expedited housing assistance.
Informed Consent Waived in Public Crisis
June 8, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
In a public health emergency, suspected victims would no longer have to give permission before experimental tests could be run to determine why they're sick, under a federal rule published Wednesday. Privacy experts called the exception unnecessary, ripe for abuse and an override of state informed-consent laws. Health care workers will be free to run experimental tests on blood and other samples taken from people who have fallen sick as a result of a bioterrorist attack, bird flu outbreak, detonation of a dirty bomb or any other life-threatening public health emergency, according to the rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration. The rule took effect Wednesday but remains subject to public comment until Aug. 7. The FDA said it published the rule without first seeking comments because it would hinder the response to an outbreak of bird flu or other public health emergency.
Bush energy plan whacks conservation
May 31, 2006, Christian Science Monitor
A few years ago a little-known US Energy Department program helped produce a design technology for lightweight cars and trucks that in 2004 alone saved the nation 122 million barrels of oil, or about $9 billion. So, with energy prices spiking and President Bush pushing for more energy research, the ITP would seem a natural candidate for more funding. In fact, its budget is set to get chopped by a third from its 2005 level. It's one of more than a dozen energy-efficiency efforts that the Energy Department plans to trim or eliminate in a $115 million cost-saving move. If Congress accepts the Energy Department's proposed 2007 budget, it will cut $152 million - some 16 percent - from this year's budget for energy-efficiency programs. Adjusting for inflation, it would mean the US government would spend 30 percent less on energy efficiency next year than it did in 2002. One energy-efficiency program on the chopping block...helps improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks, one of the nation's biggest oil consumers. That program is "zeroed out" in the 2007 budget request. The same fate awaits the $4.5 million Building Codes Implementation Grants program. It helps states adopt more energy-efficient requirements for new buildings, the nation's largest consumer of electricity and natural gas. The $8 million Clean Cities program has helped clean-fuel technologies, like buses that run on compressed natural gas, get to market. But it's slated for a $2.8 million cut.
Note: To better understand why this is happening: http://www.WantToKnow.info/newenergysources
Dick Cheney's Song of America
October 26, 2005, Harpers Magazine
Drafting a plan for global dominance. Few writers are more ambitious than the writers of government policy papers, and few policy papers are more ambitious than Dick Cheney's masterwork. It has taken several forms over the last decade and is in fact the product of several ghostwriters (notably Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell), but Cheney has been consistent in his dedication to the ideas in the documents that bear his name, and he has maintained a close association with the ideologues behind them. Let us, therefore, call Cheney the author, and this series of documents the Plan. The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently under the title of Defense Strategy for the 1990s, as Cheney ended his term as secretary of defense under the elder George Bush in early 1993. The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful. The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the “new realities” of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. For Cheney, the Plan has always been the right answer, no matter how different the questions.
2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier One Steered Overseas
May 22, 2003, New York Times
A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs -- medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS -- to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West. The Bayer unit, Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas. Cutter officials were trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a product. Yet even after it began selling the new product, the company kept making the old medicine for several months more. In Hong Kong and Taiwan alone, more than 100 hemophiliacs got H.I.V. after using Cutter's old medicine. Many have since died. Cutter also continued to sell the older product after February 1984 in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Argentina. While admitting no wrongdoing, Bayer and three other companies that made the concentrate have paid hemophiliacs about $600 million to settle more than 15 years of lawsuits accusing them of making a dangerous product. Federal regulators helped keep the overseas sales out of the public eye. The Food and Drug Administration's regulator of blood products, Dr. Harry M. Meyer Jr....asked that the issue be "quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public."
Note: Watch a three-minute MSNBC news report describing this amazing example of greed and collusion with government at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS3mhjt7TrY. The FDA actually approved sales fully knowing the risks involved. French politicians who allowed the drug to be sold there went to jail, yet no one in the U.S. was even accused. To understand more, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup
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