SEC Destroyed Case Files, Food and Farmland Prices Soar, Anti-Corruption Activist Arrested
Revealing News Articles
August 23, 2011
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on thousands of case files from investigations of Wall Street corporations destroyed by the SEC, soaring prices of food worldwide causing a "farmland bubble," India's arrest of a prominent anti-corruption activist, 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. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: Many exciting developments are coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. International hearings will be held in Toronto during Sep. 8-11, at which expert witnesses will present the strongest evidence to a panel of respected academics. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth are releasing a new dvd, "9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out"; click here to view the trailer. And WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's new book, 9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed, will be released on September 1.
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SEC accused of dumping records
August 17, 2011, Washington Post
The SEC has violated federal law by destroying the records of thousands of enforcement cases in which it decided not to file charges against or conduct full-blown investigations of Wall Street firms and others initially suspected of wrongdoing, a former agency official has alleged. The purged records involve major firms such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and hedge-fund manager SAC Capital. At issue were suspicions of actions such as insider trading, financial fraud and market manipulation. A file closed in 2002 involved Lehman Brothers, the investment bank whose collapse fueled the financial meltdown of 2008, according to the former official. A file closed in 2009 involved suspected insider trading in securities related to American International Group, the insurance giant bailed out by the government at the height of the financial crisis. The allegations were leveled in a July letter to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) from Gary J. Aguirre, a former SEC enforcement lawyer now representing a current SEC enforcement lawyer, Darcy Flynn. Flynn last year began managing SEC enforcement records and became concerned that records that were supposed to be preserved under federal law were being purged as a matter of SEC policy, Aguirre wrote.
Note: For more on this important news by Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on the criminal practices of Wall Street corporations which led to global economic recession and massive government bailouts, click here.
Being Like Soros in Buying Farm Land Reaps Annual Gains of 16%
August 10, 2011, Businessweek/Bloomberg
Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar. A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA. Hedge funds Ospraie Management LLC and Passport Capital LLC as well as Harvard University's endowment are also betting on farming. TIAA-CREF, the $466 billion financial services giant, has $2 billion invested in some 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of farmland in Australia, Brazil and North America and wants to double the size of its investment. The growth in demand for food, spurred by the rising middle classes in China, India and other emerging markets, shows no signs of abating. Food prices in June, as measured by a United Nations index of 55 food commodities, were just slightly below their peak in February. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization said in a June report that it expects food costs to remain high through 2012. So many investors have rushed to capitalize on food prices in the past three years that they may be creating a farmland bubble. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and other agricultural states, said in May that farmland prices had surged 20 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.
Note: This news is further clear evidence that the rapid increases in food prices is another ploy to funnel money from the pockets of the public into the uber wealthy.
Indian police arrest 73-year-old anti-corruption activist
August 16, 2011, Los Angeles Times
An Indian government attempt to head off a political crisis by arresting a key anti-corruption activist appeared to backfire ... when parliament walked out and demonstrations broke out across the country. Approximately 20 plainclothes police surrounded activist Anna Hazare, 73, ... as he left his house to begin a hunger strike against alleged widespread corruption, reportedly forbidding him from leaving the premises. When he defied them, they took him into custody on peremptory charges of "breach of peace." In April, Hazare held a five-day fast that garnered enormous national support and helped make him the public face of a grassroots anti-graft fight. It also put the ruling Congress party under pressure to pass a controversial "Lokpal Bill" that, among other things, would establish an independent ombudsman able to probe senior officials. When the cabinet passed a version that exempted the prime minister's office and top judges from close scrutiny, Hazare announced a second hunger-strike. India has seen a spate of corruption scandals in recent months, many allegedly involving senior Congress Party officials or their close allies, involving telecommunications, defense and sporting events allegedly amounting to tens of billions of dollars.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Dag Hammarskj÷ld: evidence suggests UN chief's plane was shot down
August 17, 2011, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
New evidence has emerged in one of the most enduring mysteries of United Nations and African history, suggesting that the plane carrying the UN secretary general Dag Hammarskj÷ld was shot down over Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) 50 years ago, and the murder was covered up by British colonial authorities. A British-run commission of inquiry blamed the crash in 1961 on pilot error and a later UN investigation largely rubber-stamped its findings. They ignored or downplayed witness testimony of villagers near the crash site which suggested foul play. The key witnesses were located and interviewed over the past three years by G÷ran Bj÷rkdahl, a Swedish aid worker based in Africa. The investigation led Bj÷rkdahl to previously unpublished telegrams ... which illustrate US and British anger at an abortive UN military operation that the secretary general ordered on behalf of the Congolese government against a rebellion backed by western mining companies and mercenaries in the mineral-rich Katanga region. Hammarskj÷ld was flying to Ndola for peace talks with the Katanga leadership at a meeting that the British helped arrange. The fiercely independent Swedish diplomat had, by then, enraged almost all the major powers on the security council with his support for decolonisation, but support from developing countries meant his re-election as secretary general would have been virtually guaranteed at the general assembly vote due the following year.
The explosive truth behind Fukushima's meltdown
August 17, 2011, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
It is one of the mysteries of Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the 11 March earthquake inflict on the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit? The stakes are high: if the earthquake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every similar reactor in Japan may have to be shut down. Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: it was the earthquake that knocked out the plant's electric power, halting cooling to its six reactors. The tsunami then washed out the plant's back-up generators 40 minutes later, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world's first triple meltdown. But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes burst after the earthquake – before the tidal wave reached the facilities; before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the 40-year-old reactor one, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan. Problems with the fractured, deteriorating, poorly repaired pipes and the cooling system had been pointed out for years. In September 2002, Tepco admitted covering up data about cracks in critical circulation pipes.
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
August 15, 2011, New York Times
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors. Last year my federal tax bill – the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf – was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income – and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent. If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine – most likely by a lot. My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
Note: The author of this article is Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world. Thanks for the excellent article, Warren.
Bishop in Missouri Waited Months to Report Priest, Stirring Parishioners' Rage
August 15, 2011, New York Times
In the annals of the sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, most of the cases that have come to light happened years before to children and teenagers who have long since grown into adults. But a painfully fresh case is devastating Catholics in Kansas City, Mo., where a priest, who was arrested in May, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of taking indecent photographs of young girls, most recently during an Easter egg hunt just four months ago. Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has acknowledged that he knew of the existence of photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. A civil lawsuit filed last week claims that during those five months, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, attended children's birthday parties, spent weekends in the homes of parish families, hosted the Easter egg hunt and presided, with the bishop's permission, at a girl's First Communion. The case has generated fury at a bishop who was already a polarizing figure in his diocese, and there are widespread calls for him to resign or even to be prosecuted. Bishop Finn, who was appointed in 2005, alienated many of his priests and parishioners, and won praise from others, when he remade the diocese to conform with his traditionalist theological views. He is one of few bishops affiliated with the conservative movement Opus Dei.
Man makes drinking water out of thin air
August 1, 2011, KSDK.com/CNN
Water out of air? A Texas man has invented a machine that does just that. The drought doesn't worry [inventor Terry LeBleu] because he has invented and patented a new machine. It's called the "Drought Master" and makes drinkable water out of air. "It pulls the air through it, pulls out the moisture, and exhausts the air," LeBleu says. Depending on humidity, the machine can make between five to seven gallons of pure water in one day. All you have to do is plug it in, and one gallon costs only 4 cents in electrical charges. An independent lab took samples of LeBleu's water and found it had no bacteria and is free of metals. Lab techs say it's similar to distilled water. Willie Nelson owns 50 of these machines, including an indoor version. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry owns one. But LeBleu wants his invention to benefit local farmers and ranchers. The machine is quieter than a refrigerator, and you only have to wash the filter every few years. Building one takes only two hours. The oldest model made is still up and running. It's been functioning for a decade.
Note: For a more detailed article, click here.
Hackers target San Francisco's rapid transit system
August 16, 2011, CNN
Members of a well-known hacking group -- according to a statement and Twitter messages -- took credit ... for an online attack targeting San Francisco's embattled transit system. Anonymous ... said it would take down the website of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, known as BART, between noon and 6 p.m. PT Sunday. This is in response to the system's decision to cut off cellphone signals at "select" subway stations in response to a planned protest last week. "By (cutting cell service), you have not only threatened your citizens' safety, you have also performed an act of censorship," a seemingly computer-generated voice -- speaking over dramatic music and images -- said in a video posted online Sunday afternoon. "By doing this, you have angered Anonymous." On Sunday afternoon, a link off BART's website to myBART.org apparently had been hacked. It showed a page featuring, among other items, the Anonymous logo -- a smirking mask above two crossed swords, all on a black background. In addition, Twitter traffic related to Anonymous boasted that hackers had been able to get into BART's internal network.
Krugman calls for space aliens to fix U.S. economy?
August 12, 2011, CNN blog
Fareed Zakaria talks to Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. Why does Paul Krugman say space aliens could fix the U.S. economy? Paul Krugman: Think about World War II, right? That was actually negative social product spending, and yet it brought us out. If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and ... inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren't any aliens, we'd be better – there was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time ... we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.
Note: A Fairchilds Industries Corporate Manager turned whistleblower has been talking about a staged UFO alien invastion predicted by rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun for many years. See her comments here.
Extreme do-gooders – what makes them tick?
September 7, 2009, Christian Science Monitor
Most people in the world, it's fair to say, want to do a little good. At the very least, we try to follow a kind of secular golden rule: Try to do no harm. But in our communities and around the world, there's a kind of person who takes all this further – to an extreme, even. They're called, most often, "social entrepreneurs," and some of them have become famous, at least in certain circles: Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is revered in do-good financial circles for pioneering microfinance, a lending system for the very poor. From protecting our natural environment to improving our children's education to combating global poverty and disease, we've come to rely on extreme do-gooders to tackle the world's toughest problems. And they're happy to do so, even though their dedication will cost them in the long run. What makes these people tick, and how do they sustain a lifetime of commitment to a change that might take generations to see? Social entrepreneurs seem to think in terms of everything except sacrifice. "I've interviewed several hundred social entrepreneurs over the last 15 years," says David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, "and the thing that struck me is how little they think about sacrifice, ... and how much their lives are about really doing something that gives them extraordinary joy and satisfaction when they're successful."
Key Articles From Years Past
German Sept 11 theory stokes anti-US feeling
November 20, 2003, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A former German cabinet minister is drawing huge crowds ... with a book arguing that the US government mounted the September 11 attacks in a plot to win global domination. Mr von Bulow, 66, a former research minister in the German government, believes that September 11, when more than 3,000 people died, was staged to justify the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His ideas are very popular in Germany, [where] polls show that a fifth of the population, and one in three of those under 30, believe the US government ordered the attacks. "If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars," Mr von Bulow told The Daily Telegraph. "They have hidden behind a veil of secrecy and destroyed the evidence - that they invented the story of 19 Muslims working within Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda - in order to hide the truth of their own covert operation. What I saw on September 11 was a perfectly executed act that could have happened only with the support of intelligence services, and whoever controlled it must have known could only bring harm to the Muslim world," he said. "I'm convinced that the US apparatus must have played a role and my theory is backed up by the [Washington] government's refusal to present any proof whatsoever of what happened." Mr von Bulow's book, The CIA and September 11, has sold more than 100,000 copies, a vast print run for Germany.
Note: Although the tone of this report suggests that von Bulow is taking a fringe position on the events of 9/11, he has been joined by many highly-respected professionals around the world; to see questions raised by many top military and government officials, respected professors, and more, click here and here and here.
UK restates nuclear threat
February 2, 2003, BBC News
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says Saddam Hussein "can be absolutely confident" the UK is willing to use nuclear weapons "in the right conditions". Mr Hoon said the UK reserved the right to use the weapons "in extreme self defence". It is widely reported that before the first Gulf War the US and its allies made it known to the Iraqi leader that nuclear weapons would be the response to any use of chemical or biological weapons. Mr Hoon's Cabinet colleague, International Development Secretary Clare Short, said she could foresee no scenario in which a retaliatory nuclear strike would serve any useful purpose. Mr Hoon contradicted her view, saying nuclear weapons could not be a deterrent if there was no willingness to use them. He said: "We have always made it clear that we would reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in conditions of extreme self defence. Saddam can be absolutely confident that in the right conditions we would be willing to use nuclear weapons."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the dark realities of the new era of endless war, click here.
Nato directionless on nuclear policy
January 9, 2003, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The US, Europe and their Nato alliance are floundering in their nuclear policy, apparently willing to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear assault and relying on a magic umbrella of missile defence to defend themselves. The strategy is doomed to failure, [said] Sir Timothy Garden, visiting professor at the Centre for Defence Studies, King's college, London, and a former air marshal. "Now we seem to be moving to a mixture of pre-emption, apparent willingness to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear assaults, and developing magic umbrellas to defend ourselves. It does not appear to be a strategy which can succeed in the long term." From last year's US defence review and the testimony of the Defence Secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, to the defence select committee last March it was clear that a major change in the US and UK nuclear policy was taking place. For the first time Britain and America were contemplating using nuclear weapons against an enemy using only chemical or biological weapons. Referring to "states of concern", and Saddam Hussein in particular, Mr Hoon told the committee: "They can be absolutely confident that in the right conditions we would be willing to use our nuclear weapons."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the dark realities of the new era of endless war, click here.
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