Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WHO scandal exposed: Advisors received kickbacks from H1N1 vaccine manufacturers

[NaturalNews] A stunning new report reveals that top scientists who convinced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare H1N1 a global pandemic held close financial ties to the drug companies that profited from the sale of those vaccines. This report, published in the British Medical Journal, exposes the hidden ties that drove WHO to declare a pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars in profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Several key advisors who urged WHO to declare a pandemic received direct financial compensation from the very same vaccine manufacturers who received a windfall of profits from the pandemic announcement. During all this, WHO refused to disclose any conflicts of interests between its top advisors and the drug companies who would financially benefit from its decisions.

All the kickbacks, in other words, were swept under the table and kept silent, and WHO somehow didn't think it was important to let the world know that it was receiving policy advice from individuals who stood to make millions of dollars when a pandemic was declared.

WHO credibility destroyed
The report was authored by Deborah Cohen (BMJ features editor), and Philip Carter, a journalist who works for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London. In their report, Cohen states, "...our investigation has revealed damaging issues. If these are not addressed, H1N1 may yet claim its biggest victim -- the credibility of the WHO and the trust in the global public health system."

In response to the report, WHO secretary-general Dr Margaret Chan defended the secrecy, saying that WHO intentionally kept the financial ties a secret in order to "...protect the integrity and independence of the members while doing this critical work... [and] also to ensure transparency."

Dr Chan apparently does not understand the meaning of the word "transparency." Then again, WHO has always twisted reality in order to serve its corporate masters, the pharmaceutical giants who profit from disease. To say that they are keeping the financial ties a secret in order to "protect the integrity" of the members is like saying we're all serving alcohol at tonight's AA meeting in order to keep everybody off the bottle.

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Drama endures, no finale in sight for Turkey's Ergenekon case

By Özgür Öğret [Hürriyet Daily News]

As the Ergenekon case marks its third year of arrests and indictments, it remains to be seen whether the ongoing investigation will help Turkey leave behind shadowy 'deep state' allegations or further embroil the country in a power struggle between the ruling party and its critics. The Daily News looks back at key events and figures and what it all may mean
Drama endures, no finale in sight for Turkey's Ergenekon case

It had all the makings of a political drama that would go down in history: secret caches of weapons, dead-of-the-night arrests and an alleged coup conspiracy featuring gang leaders uniting with top military and business figures.

But three years since the discovery of 27 hand grenades in an Istanbul neighborhood marked the start of the Ergenekon story, the ongoing case has dulled into wave after wave of seemingly indistinguishable arrests, indictments and documents. With more than 200 figures now detained in connection with the alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang, is Turkey any closer to the truth?

The case is “moving further and further away from reality” in its third year, according to journalist Gareth Jenkins, whose report “Between Fact and Fantasy: Turkey's Ergenekon Investigation” criticizes the case from day one. Ergenekon, Jenkins said, is “quickly becoming a major embarrassment for the legal system although its supporters consider it a great achievement.”

When asked if he can foresee an end to the investigation, Jenkins said, “When you look at it objectively, [the case] is going to collapse eventually.”

Oral Çalışlar, a columnist for daily Radikal, disagreed, saying the case has “reached its goal” by most counts and is only progressing slowly because so many suspects are involved. “As far as I can see, this case [was opened] to prevent a coup ... [and] many people who were allegedly going to take part in the coup are now under arrest or under judicial surveillance so they cannot carry it out,” Çalışlar said. “I believe this case has made a positive contribution to the democratization process of Turkey and the preventing of coups.”

The main debate around the case has centered on whether it is a valiant effort to take down the “deep state” – a nebulous collection of security personnel, mafia figures, members of Cold War-era Gladio “stay-behind” networks and secularist elites who act for their own benefit, independently of whatever government is in charge – or simply a Justice and Development Party, or AKP, hoax that the ruling party has concocted to silence its opposition.

Detractors say attempts to close the AKP for “anti-secular activities” and other judicial and military pressures have led the ruling party to embark on a campaign against the opposition. And as time passes, even the case's heartiest supporters are beginning to wonder why many civilians languish in jail without a conviction when the alleged military masterminds of the coup remain free.

“Ergenekon is a case about democratizing the state versus purging [it of corruption] for me, but the arrests take the legitimacy away from it,” said lawyer Mücteba Kılıç, the president of the Taraf Readers Association, adding that it is routine for the Turkish judiciary to arrest every suspect and then release those who are found innocent. According to Kılıç, the case has not reached every wing of the Ergenekon gang. “They could not reach everyone; people who have publicly committed crimes are still out [there],” he said.

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Also from Hürriyet: Ergenekon prosecutor may face investigation

A local administrative court in Ankara has annulled the Justice Ministry's decision not to open an investigation against the public prosecutor who initiated the Ergenekon case, news agencies reported Friday.

Lawyer Turgut Kazan had applied to the Justice Ministry to start an investigation against prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, accusing him of causing great fear and worry in society by ordering unlawful arrests and searches as part of the ongoing Ergenekon investigation. The Justice Ministry did not respond to Kazan's request within 60 days, essentially rejecting it.

The lawyer then opened a case against the ministry, which will have to reassess its procedure following the local court's annulment decision.

Kazan is also the lawyer for İlhan Cihaner, the arrested chief public prosecutor of the eastern province of Erzincan, who is accused of being a member of the alleged Ergenekon gang's Erzincan branch.

50 statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe

Most Americans know that the U.S. economy is in bad shape, but what most Americans don't know is how truly desperate the financial situation of the United States really is.  The truth is that what we are experiencing is not simply a "downturn" or a "recession".  What we are witnessing is the beginning of the end for the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.  Our greed and our debt are literally eating our economy alive.  Total government, corporate and personal debt has now reached 360 percent of GDP, which is far higher than it ever reached during the Great Depression era.  We have nearly totally dismantled our once colossal manufacturing base, we have shipped millions upon millions of middle class jobs overseas, we have lived far beyond our means for decades and we have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  A great day of financial reckoning is fast approaching, and the vast majority of Americans are totally oblivious.

But the truth is that you cannot defy the financial laws of the universe forever.  What goes up must come down.  The borrower is the servant of the lender.  Cutting corners always catches up with you in the end.

Sometimes it takes cold, hard numbers for many of us to fully realize the situation that we are facing. 

So, the following are 50 very revealing statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe....

#50) In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

#49) It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.

#48) If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.

#47) In fact, if you spent one million dollars every single day since the birth of Christ, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

#46) Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90 percent of gross domestic product.

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Monty Python's best sketch ever

When Circles Dream (Remix)

'When Kabul had rock 'n' roll, not rockets'

From Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan...  by Mohammad Qayoumi:

On a recent trip to Afghanistan, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox drew fire for calling it "a broken 13th-century country." The most common objection was not that he was wrong, but that he was overly blunt. He's hardly the first Westerner to label Afghanistan as medieval. Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince recently described the country as inhabited by "barbarians" with "a 1200 A.D. mentality." Many assume that's all Afghanistan has ever been -- an ungovernable land where chaos is carved into the hills. Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages.


But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and '60s. When I was in middle school, I remember that on one visit to a city market, I bought a photobook about the country published by Afghanistan's planning ministry. Most of the images dated from the 1950s. I had largely forgotten about that book until recently; I left Afghanistan in 1968 on a U.S.-funded scholarship to study at the American University of Beirut, and subsequently worked in the Middle East and now the United States. But recently, I decided to seek out another copy. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country's history didn't mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth. Through a colleague, I received a copy of the book and recognized it as a time capsule of the Afghanistan I had once known -- perhaps a little airbrushed by government officials, but a far more realistic picture of my homeland than one often sees today.

A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.

I have since had the images in that book digitized. Remembering Afghanistan's hopeful past only makes its present misery seem more tragic. Some captions in the book are difficult to read today: "Afghanistan's racial diversity has little meaning except to an ethnologist. Ask any Afghan to identify a neighbor and he calls him only a brother." "Skilled workers like these press operators are building new standards for themselves and their country." "Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs." But it is important to know that disorder, terrorism, and violence against schools that educate girls are not inevitable. I want to show Afghanistan's youth of today how their parents and grandparents really lived.

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