Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
Week of 13th to 19th of September 2009
The Story of My Shoe, by Mutadhar al-Zaidi [WRH]
Dozens, no, hundreds, of images of massacres that would turn the hair of a newborn white used to bring tears to my eyes and wound me. The scandal of Abu Ghraib. The massacre of Fallujah, Najaf, Haditha, Sadr City, Basra, Diyala, Mosul, Tal Afar, and every inch of our wounded land. In the past years, I traveled through my burning land and saw with my own eyes the pain of the victims, and hear with my own ears the screams of the bereaved and the orphans. And a feeling of shame haunted me like an ugly name because I was powerless.
And as soon as I finished my professional duties in reporting the daily tragedies of the Iraqis, and while I washed away the remains of the debris of the ruined Iraqi houses, or the traces of the blood of victims that stained my clothes, I would clench my teeth and make a pledge to our victims, a pledge of vengeance.
The opportunity came, and I took it.
I took it out of loyalty to every drop of innocent blood that has been shed through the occupation or because of it, every scream of a bereaved mother, every moan of an orphan, the sorrow of a rape victim, the teardrop of an orphan.
I say to those who reproach me: Do you know how many broken homes that shoe that I threw had entered because of the occupation? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? And how many times it had entered homes in which free Iraqi women and their sanctity had been violated? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.
When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.
After six years of humiliation, of indignity, of killing and violations of sanctity, and desecration of houses of worship, the killer comes, boasting, bragging about victory and democracy. He came to say goodbye to his victims and wanted flowers in response.
Put simply, that was my flower to the occupier, and to all who are in league with him, whether by spreading lies or taking action, before the occupation or after.
Nano Particles used in Untested H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccines [WRH]
Vaccines which have been approved by the responsible government authorities for vaccination against the alleged H1N1 Influenza A Swine Flu have been found to contain nano particles. Vaccine makers have been experimenting with nanoparticles as a way to �turbo charge� vaccines for several years. Now it has come out that the vaccines approved for use in Germany and other European countries contain nanoparticles in a form that reportedly attacks healthy cells and can be deadly.
In 2007 researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique F�rale de Lausanne (EPFL) announced in an article in the journal, Nature Biotechnology, that they had developed a �nanoparticle that can deliver vaccines more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost of current vaccine technologies.� The article went on to describe the effects of their breakthrough: �At a mere 25 nanometers, these particles are so tiny that once injected, they flow through the skin�s extracellular matrix, making a beeline to the lymph nodes. Within minutes, they�ve reached a concentration of DCs thousands of times greater than in the skin. The immune response can then be extremely strong and effective.�
There is only one small problem with vaccines containing nanoparticles�they can be deadly and at the least cause severe irreparable health damage.
Nanoparticles, promoted in the mass media as the new wonder revolution of science, are particles that have been produced vastly smaller than deadly asbestos particles which caused severe lung damage and death before being outlawed. Particles at a nano size, (nm = 0,000000001 Meter) fuse together with the membranes of our body cell membranes and, according to recent studies in China and Japan, continuously destroy cells once introduced into the body. Once they interact with the body�s cellular structure, they cannot be removed. Modern medicine euphemistically terms the phenomenon, a continuing infectious reaction.
Since the asbestos scandal, it has been established that particles in size a millionth of a meter, because of their enormous attractive force, penetrate all cells, destroying all those they come into contact with. Nanoparticles are far smaller than asbestos fibers.
Bush's attorney general might face trial [WRH]
A US court has paved the way for the indictment of former President George W. Bush's Attorney General, John Ashcroft, over his 'wrongful' judgments.
The three-member legal panel of the 9th federal Circuit Court of Appeals issued a statement on Friday, which holds the former Attorney General liable for the illegal detention of suspects captured in the wake of the September 11 incident in which a number of US government and financial centers came under attack.
The US court denounced the exploitation during Ashcroft's tenure of so-called material witnesses, terror suspects kept in custody without immediate charges, as "repugnant to the Constitution and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history."
Ex-police officers admit home invasions, thefts; Other charges dropped in plea deal with ex-members of elite Chicago unit
Four former members of a now-disbanded Chicago police unit admitted Friday to taking part in a brazen scheme in which they barged into homes and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from suspected drug dealers and others � once after withholding insulin from a diabetic man until he told them where to find the cash.
Former police officers Bart Maka, Guadalupe Salinas, Brian Pratscher pleaded guilty to felony theft, and former officer Donovan Markiewicz pleaded guilty to official misconduct, in deals that called for each to be sentenced to six months in jail and various terms of probation in exchange for their cooperation in ongoing state and federal investigations.
The four stood quietly as a prosecutor read a 17-page synopsis of what they admitted to, providing a glimpse into a rogue operation in which officers pulled over motorists without cause, grabbed their keys and stormed into their homes, falsified reports, pocketed huge sums of money and even shook each other down for money.
Two thousand schoolgirls suffer suspected ill-effects from cervical cancer vaccine [WRH]
Doctors' reports show that girls of 12 and 13 have experienced convulsions, fever and paralysis after being given the vaccine, which is now administered in schools as part of efforts to prevent women developing cancer.
Others suffered nausea, muscle weakness, dizziness and blurred vision, according to a special report drawn up by drug safety watchdogs.
A support group says it has received dozens of calls from parents who believe their daughters have been damaged by the vaccine.
The parents of one teenage girl given the jab last autumn believe it was to blame for repeated seizures which have left her with brain damage and psychosis.
As Baucus Unveils Health Plan Absent of Public Option, New Study Finds 45,000 Uninsured Die Every Year [DN]
JUAN GONZALEZ: What about the affordability issue that�s been raised by some critics or began to be raised as soon as the announcement came out?
DR. STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER: Well, the way to afford universal healthcare is to go to Medicare for all, also known as single payer, also known as nonprofit national health insurance. That�s the way every other developed nation achieved universal healthcare. They spend less than we do. In fact, the average for other developed nations is about half the per capita cost of healthcare that we have. People in Canada and western Europe live longer. They don�t have to worry about having medical bankruptcies because their health insurance didn�t pay for things.
So the nonprofit, Medicare-for-all approach is the only affordable way to cover all Americans. Of course, the insurance industry hates it, and when you put an insurance industry vice president in charge of writing a bill, you shouldn�t be surprised to see that the insurance industry profits are protected, but American lives are sacrificed.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean by insurance industry vice president.
DR. STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER: Well, there�s a woman named Liz Fowler, who is the senior counsel for the Judiciary Committee, and her charge was to lead the effort to design this bill. But it�s not just her; it�s the millions of dollars in donations that Baucus and other politicians have accepted, the millions of dollars in donations from the insurance industry to President Obama. It�s President Obama�s decision from the get-go to play ball with the insurance industry, to get�to compromise with the insurance industry, to involve them in the process. And, of course, you give them an inch, they take a mile. And what�s left of this bill is a dream for the insurance industry.
The individual mandate creates millions of mandatory new customers. Uninsured people are being told, �You�re the problem. We�re going to fine you up to $3,800. We�re going to give you a fine, a penalty, because you�re uninsured and you don�t have health insurance.� The individual mandate is a complete misunderstanding where the responsibility for this is. This problem is not caused by the uninsured themselves; it�s caused by the health insurance industry. And our Congress and Senate needs to confront the health insurance industry, say we�re going with Medicare for all. There�s absolutely no reason to have a private health insurance industry. They add no value. They add a lot of costs, and those costs are so high that it means we cannot get to universal coverage with the insurance industry in the middle of things.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, you have an individual mandate there in Massachusetts under the Massachusetts plan. How has that worked?
DR. STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER: Well, it hasn�t worked very well. When the individual mandate was rolled out this past year, we saw no improvement in the number of uninsured in the state. We actually saw a deterioration in access to care. The previous year, they had rolled out a Medicaid expansion. That worked. That got some people covered. But when they rolled out the mandate this year, there was no improvement in the number of insured.
The Census Bureau just announced that only�that only half of the uninsured were covered by that Medicaid expansion. It also found that there were five-and-a-half percent of people in the state uninsured. That�s not universal coverage. And then, our private insurance industry just announced that they�re raising all of our premiums ten percent, and they�re saying that�s because of the cost of the reform.
So, in Massachusetts, we�ve spent a lot of money. We�ve managed to cover about half of the uninsured through Medicaid expansion and expansion of Medicaid-like programs. We�ve given the insurance industry absolutely everything they wanted. And what we�re getting is higher prices and still having uninsured people in the state.
Soldier's cancer linked to Gulf War, inquest
A report is to be sent to the Defence Secretary after an inquest jury found a former soldier�s cancer was caused by service during the 1991 Gulf War.
The death of Stuart Dyson, a 39-year-old former soldier, from a rare from of cancer was caused by his exposure to depleted uranium used in military munitions, an inquest jury ruled.
The jury heard that Mr Dyson, a lance corporal in the Royal Pioneer Corps, cleaned tanks after the first Gulf War during a five-month deployment to the war zone.
His widow Elaine told the hearing that her husband's health had deteriorated after he left the Army in 1992 and that he was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to his liver and spleen, in 2007.
Quietly, Sotomayor turns on corporations [WRH]
Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama�s newly installed Supreme Court Justice, has a few words for corporations seeking protection under law.
You�re not people.
During arguments in a recent campaign-finance case � that may upend campaign finance law to allow more spending by corporations � Sotomayor suggested that the core underpinning of protecting corporations� rights was flawed.
The truth about chemotherapy and the cancer industry (comic) [WRH]
Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) Patrick Swayze's death came as a shock to many people. But not to his own cancer doctor: They know that the five-year survival rates of people being treated with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer are virtually zero. And Swayze was only the latest in a long list of celebrities dying after being treated with chemotherapy and other toxic forms of western medicine.
Only 28% Of High School Students Are Familiar With The Constitution [AJ]
When asked the question What is the supreme law of the land? only 28% of public high school students in Oklahoma answered correctly.
In addition, over 75% were unable to identify the first president of the United States as George Washington, with 10% believing it was either George W. Bush or Barack Obama.
Around 75% were also unable to identify the name of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, with small percentages answer �The New Deal� and �The Ten Commandments�.
Alarmingly, just 14% were able to correctly state that the author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. While 34% said they didn�t know, 7% thought that Barack Obama wrote it and 2% frighteningly believed that it had been drawn up by Michael Jackson.
11% of the students thought that the two major political parties in the U.S. were the Republicans and the Communists.
Rush: "[W]e need segregated buses [...] This is Obama's America" [WRH]
LIMBAUGH: I think the guy's wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that's the lesson we're being taught here today. Kid shouldn't have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses -- it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama's America.
PAM COMMENTARY: Does anyone still listen to this blowhard? Do your Republican friends a favor -- turn them on to Alex Jones or Jeff Rense or something. They'll be able to get podcasts from Alex Jones for free (or from Rense for a cheap paid membership) and listen at their own convenience.
They might start talking about things like "The New World Order" or crop circles and UFOs, but at least you'll be on the same page about vanishing Constitutional rights being a BAD thing.
Swine flu death rate similar to seasonal flu: expert [WRH]
The death rate from the pandemic H1N1 swine flu is likely lower than earlier estimates, an expert in infectious diseases said on Wednesday.
New estimates suggest that the death rate compares to a moderate year of seasonal influenza, said Dr Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University.
"It's mildest in kids. That's one of the really good pieces of news in this pandemic," Lipsitch told a meeting of flu experts being held by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.
"Barring any changes in the virus, I think we can say we are in a category 1 pandemic. This has not become clear until fairly recently."
The Pandemic Severity Index set by the U.S. government has five categories of pandemic, with a category 1 being comparable to a seasonal flu epidemic.
Seasonal flu has a death rate of less than 0.1 percent -- but still manages to kill 250,000 to 500,000 people globally every year.
A category 5 pandemic would compare to the 1918 flu pandemic, which had an estimated death rate of 2 percent or more, and would kill tens of million of people.
Carter again cites racism as factor in Obama's treatment
Former President Jimmy Carter reiterated Wednesday that he believes racism is an issue for President Obama in trying to lead the country.
"When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds," the Democrat who served from 1977-1981 told students at Emory University.
"I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.
"It's a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States," Carter said.
PAM COMMENTARY: Ahem. ". . . As an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler . . . " I guess Carter hasn't heard of BushOrChimp.com (take some time to explore BOTH pages of pictures -- 1 AND 2 -- funny as h***!), or BushONazi animation, among more serious journalism about George Bush's ancestors' real connections to Nazi Germany. Long story short, it's freedom of speech and people can say anything they want, racist or not. There'll always be racists out there, but I doubt that racism has anything to do with those comparisons to Obama. More likely people are just ticked off, and having flashbacks to Bush or something.
(FLASHBACK) Psychopaths have faulty brain connections; British scientists find �potholes� on the road linking two crucial areas
"Essentially what we found is that the connections in the psychopaths were not as good as the connections in the non-psychopaths. I would describe them as roads between the two areas � and we found that in the psychopaths, the roads had potholes and weren't very well maintained."
The scientists cautioned against suggestions the study could lead to screening of potential psychopathic criminals before they are able to commit crimes, saying their findings had not established how, when or why the brain links were damaged.
"The most exciting question now...is when do the potholes come � are people born with them, do they develop early in life, or are they a consequence of something else?"
PAM COMMENTARY: Interesting study, but I'm not saying this is an excuse for anything done by such criminals. It may or may not be the reason behind that sort of behavior, but the practical issue is how to stop them from victimizing others. So far, locking them up seems to be the only real way to protect communities from them.
(FLASHBACK) Additional documents from Huff Post on Huckabee's role in the Dumond rape/murders
PAM COMMENTARY: See other documents on this case below -- Huckabee pushed as Arkansas governor to let a particularly heinous serial rapist out of prison because right-wingnut commentators were pressuring him, making false claims that the many women raped by the man were all lying. (Can you imagine some crazy wingnut from the other side of the country accusing rape victims of lying? Those nutjobs should have ALL been fired IMMEDIATELY.) Then, just as predicted, the rapist DuMond went on to rape and murder two more women before they finally locked him up again.
As far as I'm concerned, Huckabee is at least partially responsible for the rapes and murders that occurred after he pressured the parole board to release Dumond. This was an incredibly irresponsible action on the part of Huckabee, even heinous. Some "family values" guy -- again, I post this information so that people can better see how they're being conned by one of the WORST REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES EVER.
(FLASHBACK) Huckabee's pressure to release violent rapist leads to rape, murder
LOIS DAVIDSON: My name is Lois Davidson. My daughter won�t be home for Christmas this year.
NARRATOR: Carol Sue Shields won�t be home for Christmas, because she was brutally murdered by Wayne Dumond. Dumond was in an Arkansas prison for raping a seventeen-year-old high school cheerleader, until Governor Mike Huckabee helped him get out. Thanks to Mike Huckabee, Dumond was released from his Arkansas prison twenty-five years before his sentence was to end. Then, less than one year later, he raped and murdered Carol Sue Shields.
LOIS DAVIDSON: If not for Mike Huckabee, Wayne Dumond would have been in prison, and Carol Sue would have been with us this year for Christmas.
AMY GOODMAN: That online video was produced by a Republican operative in Arkansas who says he made the video independently of any of Huckabee�s opponents.
. . . NICO PITNEY: Thanks for having me, Amy. The chronology�Dumond was first imprisoned in the �80s, given a life sentence plus twenty years. What Huckabee says about him being made parole-eligible by Jim Guy Tucker is true, but it�s basically irrelevant to the controversy of Dumond actually being released from prison. Under Bill Clinton, Dumond�s sentence was reduced from life-plus-twenty-years down to 39.5 years. It was under Huckabee in the 1990s, in 1996, that this parole board was pressured to actually release Dumond, and that�s when it took place.
Now, four members of the parole board have gone on record saying that Huckabee came in. The recording secretary was removed from the room so no transcription exists, which was virtually unprecedented. Huckabee told them that he favored this man�s release, and within a few months, the parole board, which had previously voted several times against releasing Dumond, then switched and voted in favor of releasing him.
Huckabee insists that he has no control over the parole board�s decision, and he doesn�t decide whether prisoners are paroled. But the power he does have is to appoint these members of the parole board, which obviously weighs massively over their minds, as he decides whether they keep a high-paying position in the state government. And so, clearly he had the potential to influence their minds.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Nico Pitney, the article by Murray Waas raises some startling information in terms of�we normally think of these campaigns to get leniency for people convicted of crimes as being pressure from civil libertarians or from liberals, but that this was a campaign developed around the country by very conservative groups, including Steve Dunleavy, the extreme conservative columnist of the New York Post, that were pressuring the Arkansas officials to free this man.
NICO PITNEY: That�s right. You read Dunleavy�s columns today, and they�re just vile, I mean, basically accusing this woman who was raped when she was seventeen years old by Dumond of making the whole thing up. He claims no rape happened. It�s really vile. His line was echoed in Arkansas by a fellow Baptist minister who had a major talk radio show there. He was a�this talk radio host was a friend of Huckabee�s, was pressing him to release Dumond.
The reason was�the reason Dumond was in prison, because he had raped a distant relative of Bill Clinton, and the perception among conservatives, who were ardently opposed to Clinton, was that he was�this man had been falsely imprisoned, had been�even if he was guilty, he had been punished too harshly. And so, they pressured Huckabee to release him and to, you know, reverse this perceived injustice at the hands of Bill Clinton.
AMY GOODMAN: Then the issue that you released for the first time in The Huffington Post in Murray Waas�s piece of the numerous letters that were sent to, well, Governor Huckabee at the time, pleading with him not to release Dumond. They were letters of women who had been raped or family members of those who had been. Can you talk about why these haven�t been seen, what they said, who were these women?
NICO PITNEY: That�s exactly right. Murray Waas has been reporting this from 2002. He was the one who first reported that Huckabee had pressured the parole board. What the public didn�t know until this past month was that while Huckabee was considering and pressing for this man�s release, he had privately been receiving letters from women who had also been raped or sexually assaulted by this man. So even if Huckabee had doubted whether this original crime for which the man was in prison hadn�t taken place, or was in doubt, there were these other women, the tragic stories that they told.
One described being raped by this man while her three-year-old daughter was in the bed. He held a butcher knife to her throat. Another woman described a very similar incident, him arriving in her room with a butcher knife only to discover that her boyfriend was also in the room, and he�and this man Wayne Dumond ran off.
But Huckabee had in his possession�he read these letters, in fact, and ended up meeting this woman who had been raped with her three-year-old. In person, he met her and still pushed forward, you know, still bowed to this rightwing campaign to release this man from prison. He ended up going on, of course, to rape and murder two other women.
(FLASHBACK) Rapist released early under pressure from Huckabee rapes and murders two women before locked up again
In 1996, as a newly elected governor who had received strong support from the Christian right, Huckabee was under intense pressure from conservative activists to pardon Dumond or commute his sentence. The activists claimed that Dumond's initial imprisonment and various other travails were due to the fact that Ashley Stevens, the high school cheerleader he had raped, was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, and the daughter of a major Clinton campaign contributor.
The case for Dumond's innocence was championed in Arkansas by Jay Cole, a Baptist minister and radio host who was a close friend of the Huckabee family. It also became a cause for New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who repeatedly argued for Dumond's release, calling his conviction "a travesty of justice." On Sept. 21, 1999, Dunleavy wrote a column headlined "Clinton's Biggest Crime - Left Innocent Man In Jail For 14 Years":
"Dumond, now 52, was given conditional parole yesterday in Arkansas after having being sentenced to 50 years in jail for the rape of Clinton's cousin," Dunleavy wrote. "That rape never happened."
A subsequent Dunleavy column quoted Huckabee saying: "There is grave doubt to the circumstances of this reported crime."
After Dumond's release from prison in September 1999, he moved to Smithville, Missouri, where he raped and suffocated to death a 39-year-old woman named Carol Sue Shields. Dumond was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that rape and murder.
But Dumond's arrest for those crimes in June 2001 came too late for 23-year-old Sara Andrasek of Platte County, Missouri. Dumond allegedly raped and murdered her just one day before his arrest for raping and murdering Shields. Prior to the attack, Andrasek and her husband had learned that she was pregnant with their first child.
Dumond died of natural causes while in prison on September 1, 2005. At the time of his death, Missouri authorities were readying capital murder charges against Dumond for the rape and murder of Andrasek.
Huckabee wins Values Voter's 2012 straw poll
WASHINGTON (CNN) � Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Values Voter Summit's 2012 presidential straw poll Saturday, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.
Four of the top five candidates addressed religious conservatives at the three-day Values Voter conference in Washington this week � the kind of attendance seen as a significant gesture by activists here, especially in an off-election year. Palin did not make an appearance.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which hosted the conference, said Saturday that Huckabee had "potential," but stressed that the former governor's strong showing wouldn't translate into automatic support from the FRC's political action committee. "We want a fully-rounded conservative candidate," he said. "Right now, the door's wide open."
PAM COMMENTARY: I can't believe that people are still being conned by this guy. I'm going to post a few flashback articles on Huckabee's "serial rapist problem." Forward it to your friends -- he's happy to release a violent rapist into a community, allowing the man to rape and kill multiple times before he's locked up again, as long as it serves his political goals. Yeah, he's that evil. And all these religious people are voting for him because they don't read the news and just take his word for it.
Rockefeller & Co CEO dies in apparent suicide [WRH]
Known as a perfectionist who drove himself and his employees hard, McDonald lived in New York City where people who worked with him said he was equally at home in corporate boardrooms and the city's most exclusive social circles.
Friends described McDonald, who earned degrees from Harvard and the University of Virginia, as a brilliant thinker who grasped difficult concepts quickly and had a vision to expand the company.
Several people who knew him professionally said on Tuesday that they were shocked by the news, noting they had no knowledge about any specific problems at Rockefeller & Co that might have prompted the death.
A spokesman at the Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on whether McDonald or the firm was facing any inquiries. In Massachusetts, where the state securities regulator has waged an aggressive campaign against investment advisers who were cheating clients, there is no investigation into McDonald or the company, a spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said.
The people, however, spoke of the mounting pressures McDonald faced while running an investment management business during exceedingly difficult financial market conditions.
PAM COMMENTARY: Was this guy really offed, or are we on a downhill slide to 1929 here?
Toxic Waste Ship Sunk by the Mafia Found in Italy - At Least 32 More Suspected [WRH]
This may sound like a pretty good TV crime show plot, but this is non-fiction: Reuters reports that Italian authorities have discovered a ship containing 180 barrels of toxic waste (some of which may be radioactive), which was purposely sunk by the Mafia, off Italy's southern coast. What's more, it's suspected there are 32 more vessels waiting to be found:
The ship was discovered after a former member of the 'Ndrangheta organized crime organization tipped off police -- the informant was personally responsible for sinking this ship and two others.
The 360'-long vessel is about 18 miles off the coast of Calabria, in 1600' of water. Based on TV images, at least one barrel has fallen off the ship and it now empty on the sea floor.
Since tighter environmental regulations in the 1980s, illegal dumping of toxic waste has been embraced by the Mafia as another lucrative income stream.
Mafia Has Used Somalia As Dumping Ground for 20 Years
Here's the broader connection here: Since the 1990s the Mafia have been known to dump toxic waste in the waters off Somalia -- where the utter lack of government means it costs one-tenth that of dumping in Europe. In 2004, toxic and radioactive waste washed up on Somali beaches, causing illness in local people. This toxic waste dumping is also cited by local fisherman as contributing to declining fish stocks in the region, thereby pushing people to piracy.
PAM COMMENTARY: "Would you like some toxic waste with your fish and chips?" I never "got" why people like Mafia movies or glorified being a mobster. This is the kind of stuff the Mafia does -- crimes for money. Not very glamorous, is it? Just a way for some of them to survive (until caught or killed), because they couldn't find a better gig to make an honest living.
Be like activist hero Van Jones (even though he denies it) and sign the latest 9/11 Truth statement on 911Truth.org!
On August 31, 2004, Zogby International, the official North American political polling agency for Reuters, released a poll that found nearly half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of those in New York state believe US leaders had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and "consciously failed" to act. Of the New York City residents, 66% called for a new probe of unanswered questions by Congress or the New York Attorney General. Since that time, multiple professional polling organizations have obtained similar results in polls conducted nationally and internationally.
In 2004, 911truth.org assembled a list of notable Americans and family members of those who died who signed (see that list of signatories, below) a 9/11 Statement, calling for "immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
On the eighth anniversary of 9/11, in spite of Americans having elected the "other" party in hopes it would deliver on its promise of a change in direction, we find ourselves asking these same questions and encountering the same resistance to transparency. The ensuing wars have destroyed countless lives, our civil liberties (including habeas corpus) are in tatters, posse comitatus is history, and our economy lies essentially in ruin. Meanwhile, thousands of 9/11 responders who rushed to stand with America in its time of need are now sick -- many dying -- from the exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, receiving inadequate medical help or compensation in return. Because this issue is as relevant as the day we issued this Statement in 2004, we now offer again the opportunity to endorse this call for answers, and join with those who have already taken a stand.
PAM COMMENTARY: Be sure to read the full statement before signing, although obviously it's just electronic & so it might change. But it's unsecured, so you can just make like Van Jones & say you're not the one who put your name on there!
(FLASHBACK) Found in Translation
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington�s highest levels�sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds�s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.
But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Edmonds�s case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. According to the Department of Justice, such an investigation �could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the foreign policy and national security of the United States.�
After five years of thwarted legal challenges and fruitless attempts to launch a congressional investigation, Sibel Edmonds is telling her story, though her defiance could land her in jail. After reading its November piece about Louai al-Sakka, an al-Qaeda terrorist who trained 9/11 hijackers in Turkey, Edmonds approached the Sunday Times of London. On Jan. 6, the Times, a Murdoch-owned paper that does not normally encourage expos�damaging to the Bush administration, featured a long article. The news quickly spread around the world, with follow-ups appearing in Israel, Europe, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Japan�but not in the United States.
PAM COMMENTARY: Yet another naive little girl who goes to work for the government, thinking they're the GOOD guys. Then she gets to DC and finds out what REALLY goes on there. People like me who read the news and even some history know better.
On the bright side, people like her are great for providing us with leaks, so we get at least SOME of the truth out of DC! Good job, naive little girl!
Who�s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?
GIRALDI: So they were doing favors for other reasons. Both Feith and Perle were lobbyists for Turkey and also were involved with Israel on defense contracts, including some for Northrop Grumman, which Feith represented in Israel.
EDMONDS: They had arrangements with various companies, some of them members of the American Turkish Council. They had arrangements with Kissinger�s group, with Northrop Grumman, with former secretary of state James Baker�s group, and also with former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.
The monitoring of the Turks picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attach�n an attempt to convince them to help.
Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.
Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client�s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.
PAM COMMENTARY: ". . . and then 9/11 took place." As the Church Lady would say, "how conveeenient!"
�The Most Dangerous Man in America�: New Documentary Chronicles Story of Daniel Ellsberg, Whose Leak of the Pentagon Papers Helped End Vietnam War [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: But what did that peace protest that day, but also the other peace protests, mean to this man, you, who Henry Kissinger called �the most dangerous man in America,� when you were inside? What were the effect of these peace protests?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Really, my attitude was not that different from most people inside the Pentagon. In other words, they regarded it as a hope�especially the ones who had been there. By the time we wrote the Pentagon Papers, nearly all the people had been in Vietnam for one or more years, so they all felt it was a hopeless, endless struggle with no end in sight. They would have been glad to see us out, even though some of them became high officials under Reagan and elsewhere. It was not a bed of hotbed radicals. They were people who had been in Vietnam and knew that there was no success to be had, nothing of the sort that Obama talks about now when he speaks about metrics of success in Viet�in Afghanistan, or what I�ve come to call Vietnamistan.
AMY GOODMAN: The role of Randy Keeler, the longtime tax resister, as we know him today, peace activist, and then how you actually leaked the papers?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, the difference that it made was, as I said, practically everybody who had been to Vietnam concluded that the way we were doing it would lead to no success whatever, merely to an escalating bloody stalemate, which is what it did under both Johnson and Nixon.
The question was what you might do about that. And most of them did their job, got their retirement eventually, had the excitement of working in Vietnam and feeling important, or they moved to other things. They moved to the Peace Corps, or they moved out of government some way or other, and they washed their hands of it. Even McNamara, when he left, when he was fired in March of �68, then went to the World Bank and tossed off Vietnam, did nothing, while the war went on for seven more years. So the question really was, what do you do about this pessimism there? And most people regarded it as fully the responsibility of the President or the public or the Congress, and for them to move on and not look toward the past, as Obama likes to say now.
In my case, I thought, I had been there, I�d been part of it, even when I�d criticized what was going on, like the bombing, which I�d criticized from the beginning. Nevertheless, I�d taken part in it, under orders. So I thought, alright, we�re there, it�s my job to do something to get us out.
Randy Keeler showed me that I could do something that I had never thought of, and that was risk my clearance, risk my career, risk my new relationship or my regained relationship with Patricia, go to prison for the rest of my life�very heavy costs�with the possibility of informing the public in a way that would save hundreds of thousands of lives. And when I saw Randy, who was going to prison as a draft resister, rather than go to Canada, rather than to be a CO, I realized I could do what they did, and it put the question in my head: what can I do now that I�m willing to go to prison?
PAM COMMENTARY: "Deep down in our non-violent creed is the conviction there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they're worth dying for. And if a man happens to be 36-years-old, as I happen to be, some great truth stands before the door of his life -- some great opportunity to stand up for that which is right. A man might be afraid his home will get bombed, or he's afraid that he will lose his job, or he's afraid that he will get shot, or beat down by state troopers, and he may go on and live until he's 80. He's just as dead at 36 as he would be at 80. The cessation of breathing in his life is merely the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. He died... A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. So we're going to stand up amid horses. We're going to stand up right here in Alabama, amid the billy-clubs. We're going to stand up right here in Alabama amid police dogs, if they have them. We're going to stand up amid tear gas. We're going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the world know that we are determined to be free!"
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Selma, Alabama, 8 March 1965
Dr. King would have been 80 years old earlier this year, had he survived. It's interesting that the first black president was inaugurated just a few days after his 80th birthday.
Body bags disrupt Canada's flu-readiness message [WRH]
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The Canadian government sent body bags to some remote Indian reserves as it prepared for the winter flu season, sending a jarring message at odds with its promise that it's ready for the H1N1 flu.
The body bags went to some reserves in Manitoba, the western province in which some remote Indian communities were hard-hit by the flu in the spring, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said on Wednesday.
PAM COMMENTARY: Would you like some smallpox with those blankets?
I'm thinking the body bags are there, not just in case the vaccine doesn't work, but BECAUSE of the vaccine. Reports so far seem to indicate that the swine flu usually is NOT more serious than other flu strains, but who knows what's in the vaccine?
David Cole on �The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable� [DN]
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Can you first explain what exactly are these six memos that are being published in the book?
DAVID COLE: Well, this is basically the legal documents that the Justice Department�s Office of Legal Counsel created to authorize the CIA to engage in the brutal interrogation tactics that it employed for years at its secret detention centers.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And what exactly is the Office of Legal Counsel? Where does it fit in the legal structure of the executive branch?
DAVID COLE: Well, that�s what�s so remarkable about these memos. The Office of Legal Counsel is the�supposed to be the conscience of the executive branch. It�s the place where the politicians in the executive branch go to ask whether what they�re doing is legal. And their job is to say no, when they�re asked, �Can we do something that is obviously illegal?�
Here, the CIA came and said, �Can we strip suspects naked, keep them awake for eleven days straight, douse them with water, slap them repeatedly, slam their heads into walls, and waterboard them to compel them to talk?� The answer to that should have been no. But instead of requiring the CIA to conform its conduct to the law, these lawyers treated the law as infinitely manipulable and contorted the law to conform it to the CIA�s conduct, justifying what is really unjustifiable.
AMY GOODMAN: David Cole, tell us who these lawyers are.
DAVID COLE: Well, the lawyers include John Yoo, a law professor now at Berkeley, and Jay Bybee, now a Ninth Circuit judge, who were�who wrote the initial memos; Dan Levin, who was a successor to those two, who wrote a memo in December 2004 that purported to abandon the prior memos when they became public, but in fact authorized all of the same conduct; and then Steven Bradbury, who in some ways was the worst of the lot. He doesn�t get as much of attention, but long after the panic of 9/11, long after we knew that the CIA was abusing these tactics, and as the public law tightened its hold on what the CIA could do, Steven Bradbury wrote memo after memo in secret, saying to the CIA, �You can ignore what the public law and public says, because, in secret, we�re going to interpret that law to allow you to do whatever you want to do.�
Insurance Company Must Pay $10 Million For Revoking Policy Of Teen With HIV [WRH]
In the ruling, Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal wrote: "We find ample support in the record that Fortis' conduct was reprehensible ... Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell's life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety."
An investigation this summer by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and earlier ones by state regulators in California, New York and Connecticut, found that thousands of vulnerable and seriously ill policyholders have had their coverage canceled by many of the nation's largest insurance companies without any legal basis. The congressional committee found that three insurance companies alone made at least $300 million over five years from rescission. One of those three companies was Assurant.
PAM COMMENTARY: These are the very companies that current "health reform" bills in Congress would FORCE you to purchase insurance from. And the "public option" favored by many Democrats is supposedly going to be worse, because it would pose competition to these insurance companies. As I've said before, if you want conventional health care these days, you have to get a lawyer -- or use alternative medicine for the things you can.
NYT Investigation Exposes Severity of Nationwide Water Contamination; Corporations Violated Clean Water Act Over 500,000 Times in Last Five Years [DN]
AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about Jennifer Hall-Massey.
CHARLES DUHIGG: Jennifer is�she�s a mother of two kids in�right outside Charleston, West Virginia, which is the state capital. And so, this isn�t sort of, you know, some dark corner of Appalachia.
Around her home are mountains that have been mined for coal for years. One of the things that coal companies do is they�when they extract coal, they wash it in the water, and they put chemicals in it to take out the impurities. The waste that�s left over, the water, is called sludge or slurry, and it contains all of these dissolved minerals and chemicals. They put those in these big ponds called impoundments, or they pump them back underground into abandoned mine shafts. And what Jennifer claims, as well as her community, is that the water has filtered out of those mine shafts and those big lagoons and destroyed the local water supplies, which they use for drinking.
AMY GOODMAN: So she and 264 neighbors sued?
CHARLES DUHIGG: That�s right, that�s right. They�ve sued the nine coal companies, asking for compensation.
. . . CHARLES DUHIGG: If you go to nytimes.com/water, you�ll see a link that let�s you find your own state. And what you can do is, you can put in your own zip code and look up who around you has violated the Clean Water Act, and then you can also download all of this data from the states.
One of the things that we found that was really troubling was that we went to the EPA to try and ask them for this information to figure out what�s going on. And the EPA�s records weren�t great, because when we went to the states, the states would say, �No, the EPA is completely wrong. We have all these other violations that the EPA doesn�t know about.� And so, we asked every single state, send us all of your data, and then we put it all together, and that�s what�
AMY GOODMAN: So, your information at the Times database here of polluted water around this country and drinking water is more extensive than the EPA�s?
CHARLES DUHIGG: It�s more comprehensive than what the EPA has.
PAM COMMENTARY: The
NYTimes.com water site he mentions has some good features.
Freed Iraqi shoe thrower tells of torture in jail; 'My flower to the occupier': Defiant journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi stands by protest against visiting George Bush [WRH]
Zaidi said "throwing shoes against the war criminal Bush" was his answer to the cries of those bereaved by the conflict.
"The criminal murderer is standing here expecting us to throw flowers at him; this was my flower to the occupier."
Zaidi also talked of seeing "many, many massacres in every inch of our homeland" and of "witnessing the screams of victims and the cries of bereaved women".
Speaking through a translator at the headquarters of his employers, the al-Baghdadiya television station, he said he had "vowed to the victims" that he would take revenge.
He described the press conference with Bush as "an opportunity I could not waste".
His brother Uday told Reuters: "Thanks be to God that Muntazer has seen the light of day. I wish Bush could see our happiness. When President Bush looks back and turns the pages of his life, he will see the shoes of Muntazer al-Zaidi on every page."
Zaidi's family had been told not to hold a highly visible public celebration to mark his release. Nine months on, the shoe-throwing incident remains highly embarrassing to the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who seems determined not to allow the Iraqi journalist who humbled George Bush to be feted with hero status.
PAM COMMENTARY: Aw, the guy was a hero as soon as it happened! Even in this country, everyone who hated Bush (the majority of the population) was LAUGHING, it was just too funny! I've been to several progressive and Democratic events since where one of the activities was throwing shoes at a dummy with a Bush head on it. Why? Because it's fun! Bush stinks (let's be honest about it), and it's great release for frustrations with our crappy government.
You watch -- if the man can survive long enough, he'll be elected to high office in Iraq some day, maybe even the top job. People in Iraq love him, Americans love him, I love him. You're the greatest, shoe-thrower-guy!
Debate over Badlands site designation; Feds want to place 12,000-acre area on National Register of Historic Places
BISMARCK, North Dakota - The fate of about 12,000 acres of scenic North Dakota Badlands on the National Register of Historic Places is at the center of a debate over recognizing an area that inspired Theodore Roosevelt.
The U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service are pushing for the designation to highlight the significance of the region, where Roosevelt ran his cattle more than a century ago. Ranchers and state officials, though, fear it would hinder development and say local residents were not consulted.
PAM COMMENTARY: That's a nice area -- I went through there in 2003 and had no plans of stopping, was on my way to see a special doctor near Vancouver, BC, Canada for injuries from the '02 auto accident. But just driving through that corridor, I had to make a quick detour and take pictures -- I have some of those photos in a "Badlands Photo Gallery" on my Gallery.PamRotella.com site. Keep in mind that I didn't give the photos much time, and back in those days, 1-2 megapixel cameras were the state of the art in digital photography. I leave the pix up though, because they're still enjoyable for people who haven't yet had the chance to travel there personally and see it with their own eyes. And the purpose of the photo gallery was to give people the chance to travel the country a little from their computers, see how beautiful the world is -- and to have some pictures with a high enough resolution to use as computer wallpaper, make people feel better when they're stuck indoors.
Former U.S. anti-drug official's arrest 'a complete shock' [WRH]
Agents learned that Cramer allegedly invested $40,000 in a scheme by Mexican traffickers to smuggle 660 pounds of cocaine by sea from Panama via U.S. ports to Spain. Agents tracked the shipment and Spanish police seized it in the city of Vigo in June 2007, setting off a dispute among the traffickers over who was to blame.
Cramer allegedly helped the Mexican drug lord conduct an internal hunt for henchmen responsible for the bust. Suspects under surveillance in Miami declared that Cramer would check databases to help unmask informants, whose families would be kidnapped in retaliation, the complaint said. A suspect told agents Cramer had quarreled with the drug lord over the $40,000 debt, the complaint said.
PAM COMMENTARY: Reminds me of Ollie North. That's right, the government RUNS the drug trade in this country, typically cocaine (including crack) and heroin. So, you're an activist? And you don't like the CIA's "death squads" torturing and murdering people in Latin America, or black ops overthrowing sovereign nations because they won't turn their natural resources over to US corporations? Well, then don't help to finance them -- don't use their drugs!
Federal judge rules police cannot detain people for openly carrying guns [R]
On these facts, Judge Black concluded as a matter of law that the police violated Matthew St. John's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not "any reason to believe that a crime was afoot." Judge Black's opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate courts, e.g., the United States Supreme Court in Florida v. J.L. (2000) (detaining man on mere report that he has a gun violates the Fourth Amendment) and the Washington Appeals Court in State v. Casad (2004) (detaining man observed by police as openly carrying rifles on a public street violates the Fourth Amendment).
Garrison Keillor out of hospital after stroke; �A Prairie Home Companion� scheduled to start new season in two weeks
Keillor said he still plans to start his new season of "A Prairie Home Companion" as scheduled in two weeks. Some 4 million people listen each week to the long-running show on nearly 600 public radio stations in the U.S.
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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com