Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 25, 2009

Links April 25 09

  • Very well sourced - but it was not only the CIA - Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part One) - (Andy Worthington)
  • Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two) - (Andy Worthington)
  • Why do they put torture in quotes? - In 2002, Military Agency Warned Against 'Torture' - (WaPo)
  • A Comic - The Guantanamo Bay Torture Memos: For Kids! - (Cracked)
  • Plus - Torture Flowchart - (Vagabond Scholar)
  • The tip of an iceberg - Americans Accused of Stealing Fuel in Iraq - (NYT)
  • Possible - Is the Harman Story an Attempt to Silence Her about Torture? - (Emptywheel)
  • Harman, Goss and Pelosi - Perplexing - (War and Piece)
  • Gideon Levy - Word games - (Haaretz)
  • Neo-what? - The ideology that dare not speak its name - (Crooked Timber)
  • Smart folks - China gold reserves apparently doubled - (Marketwatch)

Please share your links, news and views in the comments.

Posted by b on April 25, 2009 at 6:18 UTC | Permalink


Friday night Pandemic Watch - Swine Flu coming to you?
The US strains match the Mexican one:

(CNN) -- U.S. health officials expressed concern Friday that a swine flu virus that has infected eight people in the United States matches samples of a virus that has killed at least 68 people in Mexico.
Swine flu is usually diagnosed only in pigs or people in regular contact with them.

Swine flu is usually diagnosed only in pigs or people in regular contact with them.

U.S. health experts also are concerned because more than 1,000 people have fallen ill in Mexico City in a short period of time.

"This situation has been developing quickly," said acting CDC director Richard Besser. "This is something we are worried about."

New York health officials announced Friday they are testing about 75 students at a Queens school for swine flu after the students exhibited flu-like symptoms this week.

A team of state health department doctors and staff went to the St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens on Thursday after the students reported cough, fever, sore throat, aches and pains.

There have been no confirmed cases of swine flu there. The tests results are expected as early as Saturday.

Of the 14 Mexican samples tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven were identical to the swine flu virus found in Texas and Southern California, Besser said at a news conference.

An eighth U.S. case was reported Friday. All of the eight U.S. patients have recovered, Besser said. Video Watch for more on the U.S. cases »

As a precaution to avoid further contamination, schools and universities in Mexico City and the state of Mexico were closed Friday, said the national health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos. He said the schools may remain closed for a while.

Sixty-eight people have died in Mexico City, Cordova said at a news conference. More than 1,000 other people have gotten sick, he said.

GENE SEQUENCES NEVER SEEN BEFORE, IS THIS A BIOENGINEERED WEAPON? They are calling it the swine flu however it’s a combination of two types of bird flu, a swine flu and a human flu.

New Strain of Swine Flu Investigated

interesting to note that last time there was a significant outbreak of a new form of swine flu in the U.S. it originated at the army base at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 25 2009 7:11 utc | 1

March 24, 1976: Ford Orders Swine-Flu Shots for All

October 12, 1976: Nurse Jacqueline Spaky administers a swine-flu injection with an injector gun on the first day of the immunization program in New York City.
Photo courtesy Bettman/Corbis 1976: President Gerald Ford orders a nationwide vaccination program to prevent a swine-flu epidemic.

Ford was acting on the advice of medical experts, who believed they were dealing with a virus potentially as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.

The virus surfaced in February at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis told his drill instructor that he felt tired and weak, although not sick enough to skip a training hike. Lewis was dead with 24 hours.

The autopsy revealed that Lewis had been killed by "swine flu," an influenza virus originating in pigs. By then several other soldiers had been hospitalized with symptoms. Government doctors became alarmed when they discovered that at least 500 soldiers on the base were infected without becoming ill.

It recalled 1918, when infected soldiers returning from the trenches of World War I triggered a contagion that spread quickly around the world, killing at least 20 million people. Fearing another plague, the nation's health officials urged Ford to authorize a mass inoculation program aimed at reaching every man, woman and child. He did, to the tune of $135 million ($500 million in today's money).

Mass vaccinations started in October, but within weeks reports started coming in of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease, right after taking the shot. Within two months, 500 people were affected, and more than 30 died. Amid a rising uproar and growing public reluctance to risk the shot, federal officials abruptly canceled the program Dec. 16.

In the end, 40 million Americans were inoculated, and there was no epidemic. A later, more technically advanced examination of the virus revealed that it was nowhere near as deadly as the 1918 influenza virus. The only recorded fatality from swine flu itself was the unfortunate Pvt. Lewis.

History's verdict of the program is mixed. Critics assail Ford, accusing him of grandstanding during an election year -- it did him no good, because he lost anyway -- while kowtowing to the pharmaceutical companies. Supporters laud the ability of the nation's health bureaucracy to mobilize so effectively

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 25 2009 7:19 utc | 2

More than Nuremberg: Thousands Prosecuted for War Crimes After World War II

While the example of the Nuremberg Trials is used often these days to describe what prosecutions might look like, few seem to remember that the prosecution of war criminals after World War II was much larger and took place over a longer period of time than most people realize. This is important when one considers the context of President Obama's granting of immunity to lower-level CIA interrogators (if they acted in "good faith" upon "authoritative" legal advice).

What even a cursory examination of historical precedent demonstrates is that after World War II prosecution of war criminals and accessories to war crimes were not limited to the famous Nuremberg 22 high-level Nazis, nor the few hundred or so prosecuted through the Nuremberg tribunals, but thousands of accused throughout Europe.

What follows is a brief lesson in how these prosecutions occurred, who was involved, and where and when they took place.[...]

Posted by: Colin | Apr 25 2009 9:13 utc | 3

b, please check your Andy Worthington pt 2 link.

Posted by: annie | Apr 25 2009 11:22 utc | 4

Here's a temporary link to "Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two

Posted by: Ensley | Apr 25 2009 12:20 utc | 5

Thanks annie - corrected

Posted by: b | Apr 25 2009 15:03 utc | 7

How short our memories are!! In 2002, we did not know when and where the next attack was coming. The information gained, even if it "tortures" the ideologues probably saved us from an attack on Los Angeles.

But it is easy to condemn others when we have no responsibilities in our own lives. Ms. Nancy Pelosi seemed okay with waterboarding. At least she raised no objections when briefed on the subject in 2002. Perhaps the ACLU would feel better if we had beheaded these people???

Posted by: rwv | Apr 25 2009 15:15 utc | 8


In this video tape, Bassem Aburahma (nick named ElFeel, the elephant, for he was always thought of as a giant among his peers) is seen pleading with Israeli soldiers to wait (saying Raiga in Hebrew) as Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals protested the land confiscation and building of the apartheid fence on village land. The soldiers then shoot Bassem point blank with a high velocity gas grenade which kills him within five minutes.

The Israeli Execution

The Funeral the Next Day

Posted by: Parviz | Apr 25 2009 15:19 utc | 9

Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu

LOS ANGELES, April 24 (Reuters) - The swine flu outbreak is likely to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thomson Reuters Private Equity Week reported on Friday.

Shares of the two public companies in the firm's portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies -- BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX.O) and Novavax (NVAX.O) -- jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.

The World Health Organization said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche's (ROG.VX) flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine.

Shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG closed up 3.48 percent after falling sharply earlier in the week on a cancer drug disappointment, while shares of U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), which gets royalties from Roche on Tamiflu sales, slipped 10 cents to $45.80 on Friday.

But BioCryst, a maker of drugs that block key enzymes in viral diseases, jumped more than 26 percent on Friday to $2.21 per share. Viral vaccine maker Novavax rose more than 75 percent to $1.42 per share.

BioCryst CEO John Stonehouse said his company does not anticipate the use of its technology in treating this episode of swine flu.

"We're in clinical trials right now and not on the market," Stonehouse said.

Still, the companies will have to go even higher for Kleiner Perkins to make its investment back. Both BioCryst and Novavax experienced long drops from price peaks in 2006, when reports of avian flu dominated headlines.

BioCryst is down nearly 90 percent from its 2006 high of $20.75 per share and Novavax is down more than 85 percent from a high of $7.98 per share.

Kleiner Perkins invested $30 million in BioCryst in December 2005 alongside Fort Worth, Texas-based buyout firm TPG. The two firms invested again in August 2007, picking up $65 million worth of shares and warrants. The investors bought shares in BioCryst at $13.46 and then $7.80.

Kleiner Perkins put $20 million in Novavax in February 2006 alongside Palo Alto, Calif.-based Prospect Venture Partners. The two firms picked up the shares at $4.35.

Novavax can produce a vaccine from an emergent strain of flu virus in 12 weeks, according to CEO Rahul Singhvi. The company has contacted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer help and is trying to contact the Ministry of Health in Mexico, Singhvi said.

The company uses genetic information and "recombinant, virus-like particle technology" to rapidly engineer a vaccine. Its technology has been proven to work in humans during Phase II trials, Singhvi said, and it might be used in the case of an emergency.

"There is an emergency authorization avenue that is available that would allow us to use the vaccine in an emergency without further testing," said Singhvi.

Kleiner Perkins typically only invests in early stage start-up technologies. It is best known for its investments in Netscape, (AMZN.O), Google (GOOG.O) and Genentech (ROG.VX).

The Menlo Park, California-based VC firm launched a $200 million Pandemic Bio Defense fund in 2006 to invest in technology companies working on drugs, diagnostics and inoculations against flu-like diseases.

"We will invest to accelerate innovation, and we're in a hurry," Investor John Doerr said at the time. "We hope even a mild pandemic never recurs."

Investors at Kleiner Perkins were not immediately available for comment.

The firm's other Pandemic Bio Defense investments include: * San Francisco-based Anza Therapeutics, which is working on therapeutic vaccines for treating certain types of cancer and hepatitis C. * Fremont, Calif.-based Breathe Technologies, which is working on lightweight respiratory ventilator systems. * Emeryville, Calif.-based HX Diagnostics, which is working to make diagnostic tools for seasonal and emerging diseases. * Pleasanton, Calif.-based Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc., which is working on vaccines and immunotherapeutics to treat infectious disease and cancer. * San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics, which is developing drugs to fight resistant-strains of bacteria. * Marlborough, Mass.-based Xcellerex Inc., which has developed tools and manufacturing processes to speed the deployment of new vaccines.

from 2005: "Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu"

The gentleman from Wyoming and cohorts, have a plan...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 25 2009 15:19 utc | 10

#6, thanks for the link. Makes me feel a tiny bit optimistic.

Posted by: Cloud | Apr 25 2009 15:38 utc | 11

The links are a medley... some short posts offered about the natural world, or links between it and us, occasionally. b, just delete if you don’t like it.

Crossed my mind as I was eating breakfast: An article I skimmed thru some months back in a Nature type J (sorry all I can remember is posted here) reported a simple study, an analysis of a collection of data over time concerning the size + weight of some of the animals that man hunts, fishes, kills, in the wild.

These have progressively grown smaller and smaller. One reason is obvious; we prefer to kill big beasts, because one gets more buck for one’s bang, plus, oh the prestige. The punch line, however, was that our rules for preserving ‘nature’ are way wacky; younger, smaller animals must be left alive, only organisms of size, age / weight X - often mature adults only, are retained/killed. The unnatural selection thus ends up favoring smaller size. (Some individuals who carry genes for bigness are culled.) If, say, herrings could stay tiny, we wouldn’t get them on our plate at all. Inexorably, 'they' are pursuing that path. Apparently the authorities haven’t absorbed Darwin.

I wasn’t aware that nature was shrinking in this particular way.

Meanwhile, humans continue to sprout upwards and sideways. In the past (about) 20 years overfed Americans have managed to absorb 10% more calories per cap., mostly processed corn. Big Agri on the rampage. If food is a weapon, it is killing Americans in first place. It is hard to call this ironical, it seems flat-out suicidal. An ideology of social darwinism in the hands of humans, because of their powerful tools, will leave only a very few, lonely, winners in the field.

One recalls the cartoons in Punch, part of history, with hugely fat bankers in 3 piece suits and fob watches, smoking phallic cigars.

Posted by: Tangerine | Apr 25 2009 16:37 utc | 12

rwv @ 8:

How short our memories are!! In 2002, we did not know when and where the next attack was coming.

And you still don't so maybe you should start torturing again eh?

The information gained, even if it "tortures" the ideologues probably saved us from an attack on Los Angeles.

That's a little disingeneous considering the information was gleaned by professional interrogators before handing him over to the torturers. The evidence obtained by the torturers was presented by Colin Powell to the UN as justification for invading Iraq, and we all know how reliable that turned out to be, don't we? But if you want to justify torturing human beings, all the power to you.

But it is easy to condemn others when we have no responsibilities in our own lives.

It is easy for me to condemn torturers and I will always condemn them untill my last breath regardless of my responsibilities. Oh and everybody has responsibilities in thier lives not just you and the torturers.

Ms. Nancy Pelosi seemed okay with waterboarding. At least she raised no objections when briefed on the subject in 2002.

Which goes to show the World how popular torture was in America including yourself of course.

Perhaps the ACLU would feel better if we had beheaded these people???

Here's a little rhetorical quiz to your red meat statement. What started first in Iraq, the torture in Abu Graib or the beheading?

Posted by: Sam | Apr 26 2009 1:46 utc | 13

Under "Possible" - North Korea is fully fledged nuclear power, experts agree

Well, the only "experts agree" are all International Crisis Group's, a Soros joint, and the likelihood Jung Il has successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on a SCUD and successfully land the thing on target are between zero and nano-nil.

"The successful work enabling the nuclear devices to be mounted on weapons happened towards the end of last year, according to Daniel Pinkston, of International Crisis Group 'think-tank'. He says that he has been shown detailed intelligence assessments of the new nuclear capability by a foreign government."

Wait, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, wait ...

That would make Pinkston the only person on Earth who has seen the nuclear warhead miniaturization documents, considering the sole evidence that North Korea "has the bomb" was a 0.25 kiloton test, about the yield of two tons of C-4 in a rock cave.

Who is Daniel Pinkston? He's your 'go-to' Global War of North Korea Terror guy. Adjunct professor, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California (2005-2006), and formerly Air Force (linguist, not top gun) tells you everything you need to know.

Pinkston is a professional let's pretend North Korean War wonk, a one-trick pony.
He doesn't get a paycheck unless he can keep the drum beating on North Korea.

George Soros don't make any grift on manipulating the Yen, without Pinkston.
Just one big happy family in Perpetual International Currency, err, Crisis Group.

The Ripon Forum indeed.

Just another welfare tax dole Def.con for hire to the New American Soviet.

And that's why the United States will be destroyed from within.

Financial depravation, and governmental bureautastasis.

Posted by: Goodie Twoshoes | Apr 26 2009 4:41 utc | 14

U$ 10) The gentleman from Wyoming and cohorts, have a plan..

And that "plan" does NOT include closing the MX:US border ("...said it was not clear that closing the border would have an impact on the disease...") and that plan does NOT include ceasing production and consumption of pork, and slaughtering swine herds.

But then, since pork offal is rendered into animal feed and fed to everything from chicken to trout, you'd have to stop eating all meat. Yeah, that'll happen. They'll have blown this into a Tamiflu pandemic long before you could overcome the BioAgraPharma lobby in Congress.

Mandatory Tamiflu inoculations within two weeks ... any takers?

Posted by: Biet Mi | Apr 26 2009 4:50 utc | 15

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