Goldman's White House Links, Torture in Secret Prison, Law Threatens Small Organic Farms
Revealing News Articles
May 3, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on Goldman Sachs' multiple and ongoing links to the White House, extreme torture at a secret Baghdad prison, new FDA laws that threaten the viability of small, diverse organic farms, 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. The most important 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.
Special note: For a fascinating History Channel documentary presenting evidence of ancient aliens on Earth, click here. And for a powerful five-minute video of Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, which reveals the real reasons behind the wars in the Middle East, click here.
Goldman's White House connections raise eyebrows
April 21, 2010, Miami Herald/McClatchy Newspapers
While Goldman Sachs' lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times. White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman's employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama's top economic adviser, Larry Summers. Meanwhile, however, Goldman is retaining former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig as a member of its legal team. In addition, when he worked as an investment banker in Chicago a decade ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised one client who also retained Goldman as an adviser on the same $8.2 billion deal. Goldman's connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows at a time when Washington and Wall Street are dueling over how to overhaul regulation of the financial world. Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist, said that "almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman ... as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest."
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the corrupt relationship between the biggest financial firms and government, click here.
U.S. Subpoenas Times Reporter Over Book on C.I.A.
April 29, 2010, New York Times
The Obama administration is seeking to compel a writer to testify about his confidential sources for a 2006 book about the Central Intelligence Agency, a rare step that was authorized by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The author, James Risen, who is a reporter for The New York Times, received a subpoena on [April 26] requiring him to provide documents and to testify May 4 before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., about his sources for a chapter of his book, State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration. The chapter largely focuses on problems with a covert C.I.A. effort to disrupt alleged Iranian nuclear weapons research. Mr. Risen referred questions to his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg, ... who said that Mr. Risen would not comply with the demand and would ask a judge to quash the subpoena. "He intends to honor his commitment of confidentiality to his source or sources," Mr. Kurtzberg said. "We intend to fight this subpoena." The subpoena comes two weeks after the indictment of a former National Security Agency official on charges apparently arising from an investigation into a series of Baltimore Sun articles that exposed technical failings and cost overruns of several agency programs that cost billions of dollars.
Note: For many key major media articles on the efforts of the government to maintain secrecy, click here.
Report Details Torture at Secret Baghdad Prison
April 28, 2010, New York Times
The torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad was far more systematic and brutal than initially reported, Human Rights Watch reported. Human Rights Watch ... documented its findings, which it described as "credible and consistent," in a draft report provided to The New York Times. The group said it had interviewed 42 detainees who displayed fresh scars and wounds. Many said they were raped, sodomized with broomsticks and pistol barrels, or forced to engage in sexual acts with one another and their jailers. All said they were tortured by being hung upside down and then whipped and kicked before being suffocated with a plastic bag. Those who passed out were revived, they said, with electric shocks to their genitals and other parts of their bodies. "The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna," said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East program at Human Rights Watch. "Security officials whipped detainees with heavy cables, pulled out finger and toenails, burned them with acid and cigarettes, and smashed their teeth," Human Rights Watch said.
Note: For more on the atrocities committed by the US and its recent wars, click here.
Organic, small farmers fret over FDA regulation
April 27, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Small farmers in California who have led a national movement away from industrial agriculture face a looming crackdown on food safety that they say is geared to big corporate farms and will make it harder for them to survive. The small growers, many of whom grow dozens of different kinds of vegetables and fruits, say the inherent benefits of their size, and their sensitivity to extra costs, are being ignored. They are fighting to carve out a sanctuary in legislation that would bring farmers under the strict purview of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA would gain greater authority to regulate how products are grown, stored, transported, inspected, traced from farm to table and recalled when needed. But ... organic growers argue that the problems that have plagued the food industry lie elsewhere. They point to the sale of bagged vegetables, cut fruit and other processed food in which vast quantities of produce from different farms are mixed, sealed in containers and shipped long distances, creating a host for harmful bacteria. The legislation does not address what some experts suspect is the source of E. coli contamination: the large, confined animal feeding operations. "It does not take on the industrial animal industry and the abuses going on," said Tom Willey of T&D Willey Farms in Madera.
Note: For an amazing trove of articles from reliable sources detailing the FDA's corruption in the interest of major corporations, click here.
GM repays federal loan with government money
April 27, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
You'd think that General Motors Co., having been rescued by U.S. taxpayers, would be more up-front with them. In an ad that has been blanketing the airwaves since last week, General Motors Chairman and chief executive Ed Whitacre boasts that "we have repaid our government loan, in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule." In a press release, Whitacre said GM was able to repay the loans "because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse." Neither the ad nor the press release mentioned that GM repaid its government loan with other government money, or that U.S. taxpayers could lose money on the roughly $50 billion they still have invested in General Motors. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the repayment "appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle."
Note: For lots more on the bailout shell game from reliable sources, click here.
Report Says SEC Missed Many Shots at Stanford
April 17, 2010, Wall Street Journal
The Securities and Exchange Commission suspected Texas financier R. Allen Stanford of running a Ponzi scheme as early as 1997 but took more than a decade to pursue him seriously. The report by the SEC's inspector general says SEC examiners concluded four times between 1997 and 2004 that Mr. Stanford's businesses were fraudulent, but each time decided not to go further. It singles out the former head of the SEC's enforcement office in Fort Worth, Texas, accusing him of repeatedly quashing Stanford probes and then trying to represent Mr. Stanford as a lawyer in private practice. The former SEC official, Spencer Barasch, is now a partner at law firm Andrews Kurth LLP. The inspector general referred Mr. Barasch for possible disbarment from practicing law. Mr. Stanford was indicted last June and accused of orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that swindled investors out of $7 billion. SEC Inspector General David Kotz's report suggests the agency's mistakes in the Stanford case were in part the result of a culture that favored easily resolved cases over messier ones. Cases such as the alleged Stanford fraud weren't considered "quick-hit" and "slam-dunk," and examiners were discouraged from pursuing them, Mr. Kotz found.
Note: For many more examples from major media sources of the astonishing performance of the SEC in the runup to the Wall Street crisis, click here.
Sempra agrees to major refund for energy crisis
April 29, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Sempra Energy has agreed to pay about $410 million to settle claims that it played Enron-style games with California's electricity market during the 2000-01 energy crisis, state officials said. Houston's Enron, as well as other companies, used a variety of tactics to create the appearance of congested power lines in some instances and energy shortages in others. Electricity prices soared, and rolling blackouts rippled across the state. Enron traders were caught on audio tape bragging about how much their trading schemes were costing "Grandma Millie," their derisive term for the California utility customer. The crisis forced the state to buy expensive long-term power contracts that Californians are still paying off, month by month, on their utility bills. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the state's largest utility, tumbled into bankruptcy as a result of soaring wholesale power prices. And Gov. Gray Davis lost his job in a recall election fueled by public anger over his handling of the crisis. Since then, the state government has reached 39 settlement agreements with energy companies for a total of $3.2 billion.
Note: To see how blatant the corruption is, watch the tapes of Enron traders laughing at causing traffic accidents at this link. For many more examples of corporate corruption reported by reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
Government must inform us of cell phone risk
April 28, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
A huge, 30-year study called COSMOS has been launched in Europe to determine whether cell phones cause cancer and other health problems. Meanwhile, policymakers in Sacramento are considering legislation to ensure people know how much radiation their cell phones emit. The wireless industry vigorously opposes such legislation. It argues that its phones comply with regulations, and there is no consensus about risks so people don't need to know this. Our research review published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found alarming results to the contrary. We reviewed 23 case-control studies that examined tumor risk due to cell phone use. Although as a whole the data varied, among the 10 higher quality studies, we found a harmful association between phone use and tumor risk. The lower quality studies, which failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded. The 13 studies that investigated cell phone use for 10 or more years found a significant harmful association with tumor risk, especially for brain tumors, giving us ample reason for concern about long-term use. Nine nations have issued precautionary warnings. It is time for our government to require health warnings and publicize simple steps to reduce the health risks of cell phone use.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Colleague Disputes Case Against Anthrax Suspect
April 23, 2010, New York Times
A former Army microbiologist who worked for years with Bruce E. Ivins, whom the F.B.I. has blamed for the anthrax letter attacks that killed five people in 2001, told a National Academy of Sciences panel on [April 22] that he believed it was impossible that the deadly spores had been produced undetected in Dr. Ivins's laboratory, as the F.B.I. asserts. Asked by reporters after his testimony whether he believed that there was any chance that Dr. Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, had carried out the attacks, the microbiologist, Henry S. Heine, replied, "Absolutely not." At the Army's biodefense laboratory in Maryland, where Dr. Ivins and Dr. Heine worked, he said, "among the senior scientists, no one believes it." Dr. Heine told the 16-member panel, which is reviewing the F.B.I.'s scientific work on the investigation, that producing the quantity of spores in the letters would have taken at least a year of intensive work using the equipment at the army lab. Such an effort would not have escaped colleagues' notice, he added later, and lab technicians who worked closely with Dr. Ivins have told him they saw no such work. "Whoever did this is still running around out there," Dr. Heine said. "I truly believe that."
Note: For more on the still-unsolved anthrax attacks, click here.
Cancer drug stops spread in its tracks
April 22, 2010, WPTV NewsChannel 5 (West Palm Beach, FL NBC affiliate)
Cancer patients reeling from metastasis may be on the verge of a major victory. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College say new anti-cancer agents may stop metastasis -- or the migration of cancer cells from a tumor to other parts of the body -- dead in its tracks. "More than 90 percent of cancer patients die from tumors spreading," Dr. Xin-Yun Huang, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College, [said]. "In turn," he continued "[this] may increase the survival rate." Researchers found mice implanted with cancer cells and treated with the small molecule macroketone lived a full life without any cancer spread, compared to control animals -- which all died from metastasis. Dr. Huang and his team have been focusing on macroketone since 2003, and he admits to being extremely excited about the future possibilities for his research. While information-gathering is still in its early stages, Dr. Huang says it's possible his team could get the green light for clinical trials in the near future.
Note: For more on this exciting development, click here. And why isn't this getting fast-track approval for studies? To learn how cancer cures which threaten billions in pharmaceutical losses are supressed, click here.
Flouridation may not do much for cavities
April 15, 2010, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's Leading Newspapers)
When it comes to fluoridating drinking water, Ontario and Quebec couldn't be further apart. Ontario has the country's highest rate of adding the tooth-enamel-strengthening chemical into municipal supplies, while Quebec has one of the lowest, with practically no one drinking fluoridated water. But surprisingly, the two provinces have very little difference in tooth-decay rates, a finding that is likely to intensify the ongoing controversy over the practice of adding fluoride to water as a public health measure. Quebeckers have more cavities than people in Ontario, but the difference is slight. Among children 6 to 19, considered the most decay-prone part of the population, the rate in Ontario was lower by less than half a cavity per child. In the 6-11 age group, Ontario kids have 3.5 per cent fewer cavities than those in Quebec: 1.7 cavities compared to 1.76.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Freaky Physics Hints Parallel Universes May Exist
April 5, 2010, Fox News
A strange discovery by quantum physicists at the University of California [at] Santa Barbara means that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a "parallel universe" -- a multi-state condition that has scientists theorizing that traveling through time may be much more than just the plaything of science fiction writers. And it's all because of a tiny bit of metal -- a "paddle" about the width of a human hair, an item that is incredibly small but still something you can see with the naked eye. UC Santa Barbara's Andrew Cleland cooled that paddle in a refrigerator, dimmed the lights and, under a special bell jar, sucked out all the air to eliminate vibrations. He then plucked it like a tuning fork and noted that it moved and stood still at the same time. That sounds contradictory, ... but it actually happened. It's a freaky fact that's at the heart of quantum mechanics. Sean Carroll, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology ... accepts the scientific basis for the multi-verse -- even if it cannot be proven. "Unless you can imagine some super-advanced alien civilization that has figured this out, we aren't affected by the possible existence of other universes," Carroll said. But he does think "someone could devise a machine that lets one universe communicate with another."
Key Articles From Years Past
USDA Backs Production of Rice With Human Genes
March 2, 2007, Washington Post
The Agriculture Department has given a preliminary green light for the first commercial production of a food crop engineered to contain human genes, reigniting fears that biomedically potent substances in high-tech plants could escape and turn up in other foods. The plan ... calls for large-scale cultivation in Kansas of rice that produces human immune system proteins in its seeds. The proteins are to be extracted for use as an anti-diarrhea medicine and might be added to health foods such as yogurt and granola bars. Critics are assailing the effort, saying gene-altered plants inevitably migrate out of their home plots. In this case, they said, that could result in pharmacologically active proteins showing up in the food of unsuspecting consumers. Although the proteins are not inherently dangerous, there would be little control over the doses people might get exposed to, and some might be allergic to the proteins, said Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "This is not a product that everyone would want to consume," Rissler said, adding that other companies grow such plants indoors or in vats. "It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors."
Note: For a detailed analysis of the dangers of this genetically-modified rice program, click here.
A dark history revealed
August 14, 1992, CBC News (Canada's Public Broadcasting Network)
During the reign of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis in the 1940s and 1950s, an alarming number of healthy children living in sanctuaries were hastily diagnosed as mentally incompetent, psychotic patients. The diagnoses were always swift – the children went to bed orphans and woke up psychiatric patients. The reason? Shrewd fiscal planning; federal subsidies paid out more to hospitals than to orphanages. Some children allegedly endured lobotomies, electroshock, straitjackets and abuse. For the rest of their lives they would struggle to bring attention to their story and demand compensation. They called themselves the Duplessis Orphans. Born out of wedlock and deemed "children of sin," [these] thousands of Quebec children were cut off from society and sent to orphanages during the 1940s and 1950s. Many were improperly diagnosed as mentally incompetent. The diagnosis would be a lifelong sentence; the orphans endured a difficult and sometimes abusive childhood. Fifty years later, the orphans who are now in their 40s and 50s have organized and are seeking compensation.
Trials: Sirhan through the Looking Glass
April 4, 1969, Time magazine
A mirror. Two flickering candles. And Sirhan Sirhan. Focusing his mind power on the looking glass, Sirhan soon convinced himself that he could order an inanimate object to move. He rigged a pendulum from a fisherman's weight, and on command, he said, it began to sway. Yet telekinesis–the ability to cause objects at a distance to move through the exercise of will–was a frightening power, and Sirhan feared that he might lose his mind. The candles swayed and changed color. Sirhan insisted that it was no trick of imagination, reported Dr. Bernard L. Diamond. The noted psychoanalyst, who combines professorships in law, psychiatry and criminology at the University of California at Berkeley, was the star witness for Sirhan's defense. His testimony buttressed the diagnoses of five other experts that Sirhan was afflicted with paranoia and schizophrenia. Sirhan professes that he has no recollection of shooting Kennedy. Prosecutor David Fitts peppered the diminutive professor with hostile questions, but he could not blunt the thrust of Diamond's testimony about murder in a trance. After two more psychologists declared that Sirhan suffers from grave mental disorders, avuncular Attorney Grant Cooper rested for the defense. The prosecution faces an uphill struggle to refute contentions that Sirhan was either insane or suffering from diminished mental responsibility.
Note: This article confirms that Sirhan was not mentally competent at the time Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, but it suggests that Sirhan's "trance state" was self-induced. Other sources, however, have argued that he was a victim of mind control; click here for more information on this possibility.
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