News ArticlesExcerpts of Key News Articles in Major Media
[video transcript:] In America today we are getting closer to fully exposing the greatest con and cover-up in this [country's] history. It involves our banks, the federal reserve, our congress, and, of course, you and me. Here's how the con went down. The bankers were operating under an implicit guarantee from the godfather [at] the Federal Reserve, in the form of guaranteed interest rates, guaranteed cheap money exclusively for the con men. Then, Chairman Greenspan, the godfather, would agree to hold those rates -- let's say 2% -- for as far as the eye could see. The banks, or bankers, the con men, would borrow that money from the Federal Reserve, let's say 2%, and turn around and lend it back to [you], and let's say 6%. That encouraged the patsies, you and me, to be drawn into the con because 6% looks like a pretty low rate. Low rates for houses, low rates for cars. Heck, you could join a health club, make that into payments, turn that into bonds, and of course promises of a higher-than-average return for those managing teachers and policemen's and judge's pension funds that are buying into the con as well. And here exactly is where the con comes in. As you and I both know, the banks had no money. They were getting it from the Federal Reserve. It's funny money.
Note: For abundant reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of what may be the greatest con job in financial history, click here.
Activists behind a website dedicated to revealing secret documents have complained of harassment by police and intelligence services as they prepare to release a video showing an American attack in which 97 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. Julian Assange, one of the founders of Wikileaks, has claimed that a restaurant where the group met in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, came under surveillance in March and one of the groupďż˝s volunteers was detained for 21 hours by police. Assange, an Australian, says he was followed on a flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen by two American agents. The group has riled governments by publishing documents leaked by whistleblowers. Assange claims surveillance has intensified as he and his colleagues prepare to put out their Afghan film. It is said to concern the so-called ďż˝Granai massacreďż˝, when American aircraft dropped 500lb and 1,000lb bombs ... in Farah province on May 4 last year. Assange complained of ďż˝covert following and hidden photographyďż˝ by police and foreign intelligence services. There have been thinly veiled threats, he says, from ďż˝an apparent British intelligence agentďż˝ in a car park in Luxembourg. ďż˝Computers were also seized,ďż˝ another member of Wikileaks said ..., raising alarm among supporters: ďż˝If anything happens to us, you know why ... and you know who is responsible.ďż˝
Note: It's not surprising that US intelligence agencies are intimidating Wikileaks activists reporting on the atrocities committed in the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. As explained by Marine Corps General Smedley Butler in this excellent summary, modern US wars are the ruling elite's "get rich quick" scheme, and they don't want you to know.
Extrajudicial killings and targeted assassinations will soon become the main point of contention that Obama's administration will need to justify. The extensive use of drones under Obama have taken the death count well beyond anything that has been seen before. The legal justifications put forward by [the Obama administration] are reminiscent of the arguments that were used by John Yoo and others in their bid to lend legitimacy to unlawful practices such as rendition, arbitrary detention and torture. The laws of war do not allow for the targeting of individuals outside of the conflict zone, and yet we now find that extrajudicial killings are taking place in countries as far apart as Yemen, the Horn of Africa and Pakistan. From a legal and moral perspective, the rationale provided by the State Department is bankrupt and only reinforces the stereotype that the US has very little concern for its own principles. The hope that came with the election of Barack Obama has faded as his policies have indicated nothing more than a reconfiguration of the basic tenet of the Bush Doctrine – that the US's national security interests supersede any consideration of due process or the rule of law. The only difference – witness the rising civilian body count from drone attacks – being that Obama's doctrine is even more deadly.
Note: For lots more on the realities of the "war on terror", click here.
Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan ďż˝Turn on, tune in, drop out.ďż˝ Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugsďż˝ potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness. Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the United States in four decades. They plan to discuss studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol. Scientists are especially intrigued by the similarities between hallucinogenic experiences and the life-changing revelations reported throughout history by religious mystics and those who meditate. These similarities have been identified in neural imaging studies conducted by Swiss researchers and in experiments led by Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioral biology at Johns Hopkins. In one of Dr. Griffithsďż˝s first studies, involving 36 people with no serious physical or emotional problems, he and colleagues found that psilocybin could induce what the experimental subjects described as a profound spiritual experience with lasting positive effects for most of them.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
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."
A federal jury has awarded $1.37 million in damages to a former Pfizer scientist who claimed she was sickened by a genetically engineered virus at a company laboratory and then fired for raising safety concerns. The case ... has raised questions about the safety of workers in the biotechnology industry and about regulations to protect them. The jury ruled that Pfizer had violated laws protecting free speech and whistle-blowers by retaliating against Ms. McClain. The case has attracted the attention of some worker advocates, who say it shows the risks workers in biological labs encounter and the lack of rules to protect them. Ms. McClain, for example, claimed she encountered many difficulties in her attempts to learn the genetic content of the virus she suspected had infected her because it was protected as a trade secret. [She] had complained about what she saw as safety problems, including desks next to where biological experiments were done. Jeremy Gruber, president of the Council for Responsible Genetics, an advocacy group urging discussion of the ethical implications of biotechnology, applauded the award. ďż˝I personally believe that Becky McClain is really the canary in the coal mine,ďż˝ he said. Regulations ďż˝have not kept pace with the explosion of research.ďż˝
Note: Why are they creating genetically engineered viruses that can sicken people? Could there be some credence to those who claim the AIDS virus was manufactured?
Imagine being charged with a crime, but an imaginary friend takes the rap for you. That is essentially what happened when Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns. It's a story about the power major pharmaceutical companies have even when they break the laws intended to protect patients. The story begins in 2001, when Bextra was about to hit the market. The drug was part of a revolutionary class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors that were supposed to be safer than generic drugs, but at 20 times the price of ibuprofen. Pfizer and its marketing partner, Pharmacia, planned to sell Bextra as a treatment for acute pain, the kind you have after surgery. But in November 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Bextra was not safe for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bextra only for arthritis and menstrual cramps. It rejected the drug in higher doses for acute, surgical pain. Promoting drugs for unapproved uses can put patients at risk by circumventing the FDA's judgment over which products are safe and effective. For that reason, "off-label" promotion is against the law. Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
A federal judge ruled [on March 31] that the National Security Agencyďż˝s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administrationďż˝s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush. In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been ďż˝subjected to unlawful surveillance,ďż˝ the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages. The ruling by Judge Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, rejected the Justice Departmentďż˝s claim ďż˝ first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama ďż˝ that the charityďż˝s lawsuit should be dismissed without a ruling on the merits because allowing it to go forward could reveal state secrets. The judge characterized that expansive use of the so-called state-secrets privilege as amounting to ďż˝unfettered executive-branch discretionďż˝ that had ďż˝obvious potential for governmental abuse and overreaching.ďż˝
Note: For illumination of the dark world of state secrecy, click here.
In "Food, Inc.", filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli — the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan The Omnivore's Dilemma along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, "Food, Inc." reveals surprising — and often shocking truths — about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.
Note: For reviews of this important documentary, click here.
While the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal unfolds in Europe, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is under renewed scrutiny. In the wake of its own scandal almost a decade ago, the U.S. church says it has reformed its policies for handling sexual abuse allegations and will remove from ministry every priest who is credibly accused of abuse. But some of those priests are now being quietly reinstated. Juan Rocha was 12 years old when he says he was molested by his parish priest, the Rev. Eric Swearingen. He eventually brought his complaints to the bishop of Fresno, Calif., John Steinbock. When Steinbock said he didn't find the allegations credible, Rocha sued the priest and the diocese in civil court. In 2006, the jury found 9 to 3 that Swearingen had abused Rocha. But it could not decide whether the diocese knew about it. Rather than go through a new trial, the two sides settled. Bishop Steinbock continues Swearingen in ministry to this day, choosing to believe the priest is innocent, choosing to protect the priest, and choosing to disregard entirely the judicial finding by a jury that found he had committed the crime of sexual abuse against Juan," says Rocha's attorney, Jeffrey Anderson. Today, Swearingen serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees the youth ministry.
A U.N. report says Afghanistan, the world's biggest producer of opium, is also a "major producer of cannabis" and "the world's biggest producer of hashish." The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime issued its Afghanistan Cannabis Survey on [March 31], documenting large-scale cannabis cultivation in half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. "While other countries have even larger cannabis cultivation, the astonishing yield of the Afghan cannabis crop -- 145 kilograms per hectare of hashish, the resin produced from cannabis, as compared to around 40 kilograms per hectare in Morocco -- makes Afghanistan the world's biggest producer of hashish, estimated at between 1,500 and 3,500 tons a year," said Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC's executive director. The report says money "is one of the main reasons" for large-scale cannabis cultivation. "The gross income per hectare of cannabis (US $3,900) is higher than from opium (US$ 3,600)."
Note: What almost no media reports point out is that in 2000, the year before the US invasion, the Taliban had virtually eradicated opium and hashish. Is it a coincidence that under US control Afghanistan has since regained its status as top producer of these drugs? For powerful evidence suggesting rogue elements of government profit greatly from the drug trade, click here.
Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an "arc of instability" caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just "small wars in the midst of a big one." Consider the audacity of such an idea. An 80-year undeclared war would entangle 20 future presidential terms stretching far into the future of voters not yet born. The American death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan now approaches 5,000, with the number of wounded a multiple many times greater. And if the American armed forces are stretched thin today, try to conceive of seven more decades of combat. The costs are unimaginable too. According to economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Iraq alone will be a $3-trillion war. Those costs, and the other deficit spending of recent years, yield "virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors," according to a New York Times budget analysis in February. Continued deficit financing for the Long War will rob today's younger generation of resources for their future.
Note: Many people don't even know why the US is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The arguments about national security border on ridiculous. For a highly revealing essay by a top US general exposing the real reasons for war, click here. For lots more on the realities of the "war on terror", click here.
Urgent warnings by government experts about the risks of routinely using powerful CT scans to screen patients for colon cancer were brushed aside by the Food and Drug Administration, according to agency documents and interviews with agency scientists. Such scans can deliver the radiation equivalent of 400 chest X-rays. An estimated 70 million CT scans are performed in the United States every year, up from three million in the early 1980s. As many as 14,000 people may die every year of radiation-induced cancers as a result, researchers estimate. The use of CT scans to screen healthy patients for cancer is particularly controversial. The internal dispute [at the FDA] has grown so heated that a group of agency scientists who are concerned about the risks of CT scans say they will testify ... that F.D.A. managers ignored or suppressed their concerns, and that the resulting delay in making these concerns public may have led hundreds of patients to be endangered needlessly. Scores of internal agency documents made available to The New York Times show that agency managers sought to approve an application by General Electric to allow the use of CT scans for colon cancer screenings over the repeated objections of agency scientists, who wanted the application rejected.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
For three years, little Cameron Mott’s life was a nightmarish succession of violent seizures that consumed her days and threatened her life. Finally, doctors told her parents there was a way to stop them: All they had to do was remove half of Cameron’s brain. “It was very scary, because you just can’t imagine what your child will be like after such a dramatic brain surgery,” Shelly Mott, [Cameron's mother, said.] Doctors put a name on [Cameron's] condition: Rasmussen’s syndrome, a condition that causes the destruction of one side of the brain. The solution was radical. It’s called a hemispherectomy, which means the removal of half of the brain. Since the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain, doctors knew that Cameron would be paralyzed on her left side when she awoke. But they also knew that the brains of children have amazing abilities to rewire themselves. Cameron was immobilized for the first two days after the surgery to allow her brain to stabilize. Then she went into an intensive physical therapy program. Four weeks after the surgery, she walked out of the hospital. The agonizing decision the Motts had had to make turned out to be right. Cameron was able to return to school, where she is now in the second grade and a good student. Her physical therapy sessions have just recently ended, and she can run and play. “I want to be a ballerina when I grow up,” Cameron said.
In a significant victory for news media, a federal appeals court said the Federal Reserve must disclose records on emergency lending programs to banks bailed out by the government in the financial crisis. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on [March 19] ordered the Fed to release details of programs it adopted starting in late 2007 to shore up the financial system and forestall a complete meltdown of global financial markets. Bloomberg ... and News Corp's Fox News Network sought details of the central bank's actions under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The Fed argued against disclosure, citing an exemption that it said lets federal agencies keep secret various trade secrets and commercial or financial information. Writing for a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs said, however, that to give the Fed power to deny disclosure because it thinks it best to do so "would undermine the basic policy that disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective." Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said the rulings will help shed light on the Fed, which he called "the least transparent institution" in government.
Note: Isn't it crazy that the Fed would try to keep secret what it did with nearly $1 trillion of US taxpayer money?
Four men accused of trying to bomb synagogues and shoot down planes in New York last spring did little more than go along with a fake plot proposed, directed and funded by the federal government, defense lawyers claim in asking the court to dismiss the case. A federal informant chose the targets, offered payment, provided maps and bought the only real weapon involved, a handgun, the attorneys said in a dismissal motion filed this week in federal court. They alleged the defendants were not inclined toward any crime until the informant began recruiting them. The dismissal motion identified the government's agent as Shaheed Hussain, a "professional informant" for the FBI. The defense alleged that Hussain tried to incite the defendants by blaming Jews for the world's evil and telling them that attacks against non-Muslims were endorsed by Islam. Nevertheless, they said, he failed to motivate the defendants to any action on their own. Hussain suggested the targets, paid for the defendants' groceries, bought a gun, provided the fake bombs and missile, assembled the explosive devices and acted as chauffeur, the defense said. "The alleged crimes were almost entirely the product of Hussain's labors and the enterprise would have immediately collapsed if Hussain's guiding hand had been removed," the defense motion said.
Note: For lots more evidence of fake terror plots used to maintain the "war on terror", click here.
Nearly 21 years ago, Patty Webster landed her dream job as an adventure tour guide in the Peruvian Amazon. But as she shared the area's beauty and culture with tourists, she realized there was a darker side to the rainforest paradise. "I saw how poor they were and realized that people were dying because they didn't have medical care," Webster said. She started sharing her supplies with the locals and soon began waking up to find people waiting outside her mosquito net to ask her for medicine. At one point, Webster -- who had no medical training -- gave someone stitches, following instructions from a book. Since 1993, Webster has been bringing medical relief to some of Peru's poorest and most remote areas through her nonprofit, now known as Amazon Promise. Webster ... and her volunteers have provided free health care and education to more than 55,000 people. Today, she runs Amazon Promise from Iquitos, considered the most populous city in the world that can't be reached by road. It's in the northeastern corner of the country, in the middle of the rainforest, and is the capital of Peru's largest and most remote region. She organizes several expeditions to these underserved areas every year. Each trip is staffed by adventure-seeking medical volunteers from the West -- often from U.S. medical schools -- and Peruvian health professionals. A traditional shaman, or healer, frequently accompanies them.
A vegetarian diet may help to protect against cancer, a UK study suggests. Analysis of data from 52,700 men and women shows that those who did not eat meat had significantly fewer cancers overall than those who did. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the team said the findings were worth looking into. Although it is widely recommended that people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to reduce their risk of cancer and other diseases, there is very little evidence looking specifically at a vegetarian diet. In the latest study, researchers looked at men and women aged 20 to 89 recruited in the UK in the 1990s. They divided participants into meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. During follow-up there were fewer cancers than would be expected in the general population - probably because they were a healthier than average group of people. But there was a significantly lower incidence of all cancers among the fish-eaters and vegetarians compared with the meat eaters. For colorectal cancer, however that trend was reversed with vegetarians having a significantly higher incidence of the condition than the other groups.
Note: For many promising reports from major media sources on potential cancer cures, click here.
A worried accounting executive at Lehman Brothers, who raised the alarm about what he saw as dubious number-crunching at the doomed Wall Street bank, lost his job barely a month after alerting the auditor Ernst & Young, his lawyer [has] claimed. Matthew Lee, a senior vice-president in Lehman's finance division, outlined six allegations of unethical accounting in a memo sent on 16 May 2008 to Lehman's senior managers, who asked Ernst & Young to investigate. In discussions with partners at Ernst & Young, he highlighted controversial "repo 105" transactions that artificially boosted Lehman's balance sheet by $50bn. Lee's lawyer, Erwin Shustak, said his client lost his job in late June 2008, officially as part of a broader downsizing. Shustak told the Wall Street Journal: "It was just easier to shut him up and let him go." Lee, 56, has emerged as a crucial figure in Lehman's downfall and in controversy over the conduct of Ernst & Young. The six allegations made by Lee included claims that Lehman's monthly balance sheet listed $5bn of assets above reality, that the bank failed to value its inventory of financial products in a "fully realistic or reasonable" way, that audit-level personnel were inadequately qualified, that systems were ineffective and that there were "tens of billions of dollars" of possibly toxic liabilities.
Note: For a treasure trove of revelations of the hidden realities behind the financial crisis and bailouts, click here.
"The Game of Death" has all the trappings of a traditional television quiz show, with a roaring crowd and a glamorous and well-known hostess urging the players on under gaudy studio lights. But the contestants did not know they were taking part in an experiment to find out whether television could push them to outrageous lengths, and which has prompted comparisons with the atrocities of Nazi Germany. "We were amazed to find that 81 percent of the participants obeyed" the sadistic orders of the television presenter, said Christophe Nick, the maker of the documentary for the state-owned France 2 channel. "They are not equipped to disobey," he added. The game: posing questions to another "player" and punishing him with up to 460 volts of electricity when he gets them wrong -- even until his cries of "Let me go!" fall silent and he appears to have died. Not knowing that the screaming victim is really an actor, the apparently reluctant contestants yield to the orders of the presenter and chants of "Punishment!" from a studio audience who also believed the game was real. Nick said 80 percent of the contestants went all the way, zapping the victim with the maximum 460 volts until he appeared to die. Out of 80 players, just 16 walked out. "When it decides to abuse its power, television can do anything to anybody," said Nick. "It has an absolutely terrifying power."
Note: For more on this powerful and disturbing phenomenon, click here.
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