Tobacco Companies Hid Information on Radioactive Polonium

Tobacco manufacturers discovered over 40 years ago that radioactive polonium-210 exists in cigarettes and tobacco smoke, and spent decades working to remove it, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.


China's Gold Medal Spin

Pro-Tibet Protest During the OlympicsIn a scathing review of the Chinese government's handling of the Olympics, Jacquelin Magnay writes "there has been the fake singer, the fake fireworks, the fake minority kids (they were all Han, and not from the 55 different ethnic groups as portrayed), the fake press freedoms, fake internet access, fake promises. ...


Cracking the Pentagon Pundit Code

As reporters and researchers know all too well, releasing information isn't necessarily the same thing as releasing useful information.

Pentagon pundit Ken AllardCase in point: the Pentagon's military analyst program. In early 2002, the Defense Department began cultivating "key influentials" -- retired military officers who are frequent media commentators -- to help the Bush administration make the case for invading Iraq. The program expanded over the years, briefing more participants on a wider range of Bush administration talking points, occasionally taking them overseas on the government's dime.

In April 2006, the group was used to counter criticism of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The apparent coordination between the Pentagon and the pundits piqued the interest of New York Times reporters. Two years later -- after wresting some 8,000 pages of internal documents from the Defense Department -- the Times exposed the Pentagon's covert attempts to shape public opinion through its so-called "message force multipliers." A few weeks later, the Defense Department posted the same documents publicly.

It wasn't the high-octane data dump it first appeared to be. Sure, paging through the emails, slides and briefing papers is interesting, and occasionally you come across something noteworthy. But the documents are formatted in such a way that systematically exploring them via keyword searches is impossible. A cynic (or realist) might think the Pentagon was doing damage control by putting the documents out in the open, while making it near-impossible to find crucial needles in a very large, chaotically-compiled haystack.

Olympics Ideals Prove as Fragile as China

When China submitted its bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, it promised that journalists would have "complete freedom to report" from the country. However, "sites such as Amnesty International or any search for a site with Tibet in the address could not be opened at the Main Press Center [in Beijing], which will house about 5,000 print journalists when the games open Aug.


4,000 U.S. Deaths and a Handful of Images

Zoriah Miller, a freelance photojournalist who published images of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack in Iraq, has been forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country and may be barred from all United States military facilities throughout the world. His case "has underscored what some journalists say is a growing effort by the American military to control graphic images from the war," write Michael Kamber and Tim Arango.



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