Coming U.S. Bank Failures, DIA Covert
Operations, U.S. Police Spying
Revealing News Articles
August 21, 2008


Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the coming wave of U.S. bank failures predicted by a prominent economist, the newly authorized Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) office for covert counterintelligence operations, new rules permitting vastly expanded spying on U.S citizens by domestic police forces, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. 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.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Credit crunch may take out large US bank warns former IMF chief
August 19, 2008, Times of London
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article4563171.ece

The deepening toll from the global financial crisis could trigger the failure of a large US bank within months, a respected former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund claimed today, fuelling another battering for banking shares. Professor Kenneth Rogoff, a leading academic economist, said there was yet worse news to come from the worldwide credit crunch and financial turmoil, particularly in the United States, and that a high-profile casualty among American banks was highly likely. "The US is not out of the woods. I think the financial crisis is at the halfway point, perhaps. I would even go further to say the worst is to come," Prof Rogoff said at a conference in Singapore. In an ominous warning, he added: "We're not just going to see mid-sized banks go under in the next few months, we're going to see a whopper, we're going to see a big one — one of the big investment banks or big banks". Professor Rogoff, who was chief economist at the IMF from 2001 to 2004, predicted that the crisis would foster a new wave of consolidation in the US financial sector before it was over, with mergers between large institutions. He also suggested that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the struggling US secondary mortgage lending giants, were likely to cease to exist in their present form within a few years. His prediction over the fate of Fannie and Freddie came after investors dumped the two groups' shares on Monday after reports suggested that the US Treasury may have no choice but to effectively nationalise them.

Note: For revealing reports on banking and financial corruption from reliable sources, click here.

New Unit of DIA Will Take the Offensive On Counterintelligence
August 18, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/17/AR2008081702244.html

The Defense Intelligence Agency's newly created Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center is going to have an office authorized for the first time to carry out "strategic offensive counterintelligence operations," according to Mike Pick, who will direct the program. Such covert offensive operations are carried out at home and abroad against people known or suspected to be foreign intelligence officers or connected to foreign intelligence or international terrorist activities. The investigative branches of the three services -- the Army's Counterintelligence Corps, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service -- have done secret offensive counterintelligence operations for years, and now DIA has been given the authority. Two years ago, the DIA asked then-Undersecretary of Defense Stephen A. Cambone for authority to run offensive operations along with a newer Pentagon intelligence agency, the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA). Cambone agreed to a two-year trial. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently approved the merger of CIFA into the new DIA center. Senior Defense Department officials and the combat commanders overseas will now decide what to do with the DIA's new offensive operational authority.

Note: For penetrating reports on the realities of the "war on terror" from major media sources, click here.

U.S. May Ease Police Spy Rules
August 16, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR2008081503497.html

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years. Law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism or providing material support to terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others in many cases. Michael German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the proposed rule may [permit] police to collect intelligence even when no underlying crime is suspected. German, an FBI agent for 16 years, said easing established limits on intelligence-gathering would lead to abuses against peaceful political dissenters. He pointed to reports in the past six years that undercover New York police officers infiltrated protest groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention; that California state agents eavesdropped on peace, animal rights and labor activists; and that Denver police spied on Amnesty International and others before being discovered. "If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information," German said. "It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government."

Note: For many disturbing reports on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.

U.S. town turned into an open-air prison
August 15, 2008, National Post (Canada)
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=726632

The town of Postville, Iowa, population 2,000, has been turned into an open-air prison. On May 12, immigration officials swooped in to arrest 400 undocumented workers from Mexico and Guatemala at the local meat-packing plant, a raid described as the biggest such action at a single site in U.S. history. The raid left 43 women, wives of the men who were taken away, and their 150 children without status or a means of support. The women cannot leave the town, and to make sure they do not they have been outfitted with leg monitoring bracelets. "The women are effectively prisoners," said Father Paul Ouderkirk at St. Bridget's Roman Catholic Church. "What kind of a government makes prisoners of 43 mothers who all have children and then says, ‘You can't work, you can't leave and can't stay?' That boggles the imagination." Since the raid, St. Bridget's, with a staff of four, has raised $500,000 to pay for rent, clothing, food and other necessities of life. The men were taken to the National Cattle Congress building in Waterloo, Iowa, where immigration judges were on hand. They were charged and then sent to nine different prisons around the state. Fr. Ouderkirk said some of the men were deported and others are serving five-month prison terms for violating immigration laws - but he said no one ever explained why some were held and others sent home. The men were all working at Agriprocessors, believed to be the largest kosher meat-packing plant in the world. Fr. Ouderkirk and others have said the plant was a disgrace that abused workers who had little understanding of their rights.

Note: For many disturbing reports on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.

Civil liberties: Outrage at New York police plan to track vehicles
August 14, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/14/usa.humanrights

The Big Apple is turning into Big Brother, civil liberties groups have warned in response to a new plan from New York city's police chiefs to photograph every vehicle entering Manhattan and hold the details on a massive database. As well as placing cameras at all tunnels and bridges into Manhattan, the 36-page plan, called Operation Sentinel, calls for a security ring to be erected at Ground Zero and for a 50-mile buffer zone around the city within which mobile units would search for nuclear or "dirty" bombs. [The] 3,000 cameras that could be mounted as a result of the plans of the New York police ... have provoked outrage in the United States. Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the idea of tracking the movements of millions of people was "an assault on the country's historical respect for the right to privacy and the freedom to be left alone". The NYCLU is pressing the New York police to release further details of its intentions under freedom of information laws. The toughest element of the scheme relates to preparations to secure Ground Zero once the six-hectare site is rebuilt and open to the public again. Those measures include moveable roadblocks, security cameras across lower Manhattan and an underground bomb-screening centre through which all delivery vehicles would have to pass. The plan to video the number plates of every vehicle would be applied to all points of entry into Manhattan, including the main Brooklyn-Battery, Holland, Lincoln and Midtown tunnels and Brooklyn, Manhattan and other bridges.

Note: For lots more on threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.

Spy tales: a TV chef, Oscar winner, JFK adviser
August 14, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR2008081400253.html

Where do you look when you want to recruit spies? Just about everywhere, judging from the formerly top-secret records of the World War II agency that became today's CIA. There was the young woman who became TV chef Julia Child. And labor lawyer Arthur Goldberg who became a Supreme Court justice. And young scholar Arthur Schlesinger who became a presidential adviser. Names and details on nearly 24,000 one-time intelligence workers are included among 750,000 formerly top-secret government records released Thursday by the National Archives. The documents describe a worldwide spy network during World War II managed by the Office of Strategic Services, the intelligence outfit that later became the CIA. The personnel files, long withheld from the public, provide insights into young agents now known for other careers. Julia McWilliams, later the ebullient chef, ... was hired in the summer of 1942 for clerical work with the intelligence agency and later worked directly for OSS Director William Donovan, the personnel records show. Some of the others: Acclaimed movie director John Ford, whose skill as a videographer qualified him to manage wartime spy photography. Chicago lawyer Goldberg, whose early legal work with labor unions made him an attractive spy candidate to rally European labor unions to help with the war effort, years before President Kennedy appointed him to the Supreme Court. And Schlesinger, who spent much of his time with OSS working in London as an intelligence officer and writer on the political staff, producing reports on political activities.

Note: To examine the newly-released OSS personnel files at the National Archives, start here. For many revealing articles on government secrecy from verifiable sources, click here.

FBI plans to loosen post-Watergate FBI rules
August 13, 2008, Minneapolis Star-Tribune/McClatchy News Service
http://www.startribune.com/nation/26935044.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUBP7hUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

Attorney General Michael Mukasey confirmed plans ... to loosen post-Watergate restrictions on the FBI's national security and criminal investigations. Mukasey said he expected criticism of the new rules because "they expressly authorize the FBI to engage in intelligence collection inside the United States." The Justice Department ... is expected to publicly release the final version within several more weeks. Even then, portions are expected to remain classified for national security reasons. Nonetheless, Mukasey provided enough detail Wednesday to alarm civil libertarians. Michael German, a former veteran FBI agent who is now policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said if Mukasey moves ahead with the new rules as he describes them, he'll be weakening restrictions originally put in place after the Watergate scandal to rein in the FBI's domestic Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. "I'm concerned with the way the attorney general frames the problem," German said. "He talks about 'arbitrary or irrelevant differences' between criminal and national security investigations but these were corrections originally designed to prevent the type of overreach the FBI engaged in for years." German said recent events demonstrated that Mukasey needed to strengthen the FBI's guidelines, not "water them down. ... What the attorney general is doing is expanding the bureau's intelligence collection without addressing the mismanagement within the FBI. If you have an agency collecting more with less oversight, it's only going to get worse."

Note: For many disturbing reports on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.

'Gitmo On The Platte' Set As Holding Cell For DNC
August 13, 2008, CBS4 TV (Denver CBS affiliate)
http://cbs4denver.com/denver2008/denver.protesters.arrested.2.793930.html

CBS4 News has learned if mass arrests happen at the Democratic Convention, those taken into custody will be jailed in a warehouse owned by the City of Denver. Protesters have already given this place a name: "Gitmo on the Platte." Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire. In past conventions, mass arrests have taken place. Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads "Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility." CBS4 showed its video to leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention. "Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp," said Zoe Williams of Code Pink. "That's how you treat cattle," said Adam Jung of the group Tent State University. "You showed the sign where it said stun gun in use and you just change the word gun for bolt and it's a meat processing plant." The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the City of Denver how prisoners will get access to food and water, bathrooms, telephones, plus medical care, and if there will be a place to meet with attorneys.

Note: For many reliable and verifiable reports on threats to a free and fair electoral process in the U.S., click here.

Police Turn to Secret Weapon: GPS Device
August 13, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/12/AR2008081203275.html

Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare [criminal suspects], often without a warrant or court order. Privacy advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward George Orwell's Big Brother society. With the ... ever-declining cost of the technology, many analysts believe that police will increasingly rely on GPS ... and that the public will hear little about it. "I've seen them in cases from New York City to small towns -- whoever can afford to get the equipment and plant it on a car," said John Wesley Hall, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "And of course, it's easy to do. You can sneak up on a car and plant it at any time." Details on how police use GPS usually become public when the use of the device is challenged in court. Leibig said GPS should be held to a different standard because it provides greater detail. "While it may be true that police can conduct surveillance of people on a public street without violating their rights, tracking a person everywhere they go and keeping a computer record of it for days and days without that person knowing is a completely different type of intrusion," he said. Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program, considers GPS monitoring, along with license plate readers, toll transponders and video cameras with face-recognition technology, part of the same trend toward "an always-on, surveillance society."

Note: For lots more on threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.

US boasts of laser weapon's 'plausible deniability'
August 12, 2008, New Scientist magazine
http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14520-us-boasts-of-laser-weapons-plausible-deniability.html

An airborne laser weapon dubbed the "long-range blowtorch" has the added benefit that the US could convincingly deny any involvement with the destruction it causes, say senior officials of the US Air Force (USAF). The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is to be mounted on a Hercules military transport plane. Boeing announced the first test firing of the laser, from a plane on the ground, earlier this summer. Cynthia Kaiser, chief engineer of the US Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate, used the phrase "plausible deniability" to describe the weapon's benefits in a briefing ... on laser weapons to the New Mexico Optics Industry Association in June. As the term suggests, "plausible deniability" is used to describe situations where those responsible for an event could plausibly claim to have had no involvement in it. John Pike, analyst with defence think-tank Global Security, based in Virginia, says the implications are clear. "The target would never know what hit them," says Pike. "Further, there would be no munition fragments that could be used to identify the source of the strike." A laser beam is silent and invisible. An ATL can deliver the heat of a blowtorch with a range of 20 kilometres, depending on conditions. That range is great enough that the aircraft carrying it might not be seen, especially at night. With no previous examples for comparison, it may be difficult to discern whether damage to a vehicle or person was the result of a laser strike.

Note: For lots more on war and weaponry, click here.

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster
August 12, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/08/12/eacharles112.xml

The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster, the Prince of Wales has warned. In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting a "gigantic experiment ... with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong". The Prince ... also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research. Relying on "gigantic corporations" for food, he said, would result in "absolute disaster. That would be the absolute destruction of everything... and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future," he said. "What we should be talking about is food security not food production. And if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time." Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of [large corporations] taking over the mass production of food. "I think it's heading for real disaster," he said. "We [will] end up with millions of small farmers all over the world being driven off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unmentionable awfulness." The Prince of Wales's forthright comments will reopen the whole debate about GM food.

Note: To watch a video of the Prince's exclusive interview with The Telegraph, click on the link above. For an excellent overview of the many risks associated with genetically modified foods, click here.

Clinical trials test potential of hallucinogenic drugs to help patients with terminal illnesses
August 12, 2008, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/aug/12/medicalresearch.drugs

Scientists are exploring the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD to treat a range of ailments from depression to cluster headaches and obsessive compulsive disorder. The first clinical trial using LSD since the 1970s began in Switzerland in June. It aims to use "psychedelic psychotherapy" to help patients with terminal illnesses come to terms with their imminent mortality and so improve their quality of life. Another psychedelic substance, psilocybin, has shown promising results in trials for treating symptoms of terminal cancer patients. In the Swiss trial eight subjects will receive a dose of 200 microgrammes of LSD. This is enough to induce a powerful psychedelic experience. A further four subjects will receive a dose of 20 microgrammes. Every participant will know they have received some LSD, but neither the subjects nor the researchers observing them will know for certain who received the full dose. During the course of therapy researchers will assess the patients' anxiety levels, quality of life and pain levels. Before hallucinogenic drugs became popular with the counter culture, they were at the forefront of brain science. They were used to help scientists understand the nature of consciousness and how the brain works and as treatments for a range of conditions. Dr Rick Doblin is president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in California, a nonprofit organisation which funds clinical studies into psychedelic drugs, including the Swiss LSD trial. "These drugs, these experiences are not for the mystic who wants to sit on the mountain top and meditate. They are not for the counter-culture rebel. They are for everybody," he said.


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