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Superfast Internet, Sonar Blamed for Whale
Deaths, Fourth Amendment Undermined
Revealing News Articles
April 10, 2008

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the development of a superfast Internet, whale deaths blamed on navy sonar, a secret US Department of Justice memo a month after the September 11 attacks that undermined Fourth Amendment protections, 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

Superfast internet may replace world wide web
April 9, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/06/ninternet106.xml

The internet could soon be made obsolete by a new "grid" system which is 10,000 times faster than broadband connections. Scientists in Switzerland have developed a lightning-fast replacement to the internet that would allow feature films and music catalogues to be downloaded within seconds. The latest spin-off from CERN, the particle physics centre that created the internet, the grid could also provide the power needed to send sophisticated images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call. David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a leading figure in the grid project, believes grid technology could change society. He said: "With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine." The power of the grid will be unlocked this summer with the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator designed to investigate how the universe began. The grid will be turned on at the same time to store the information it generates, after scientists at CERN, based near Geneva, realised the internet would not have the capacity to capture such huge volumes of data. The grid has been built with fibre optic cables and modern routing centres, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data, unlike the internet. There are 55,000 grid servers already installed, a figure which is expected to rise to 200,000 within the next two years. Britain has 8,000 servers on the grid system, meaning access could be available to universities as early as this autumn.

Navy sonar blamed for death of beaked whales
April 7, 2008, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/navy-sonar-blamed...

Anti-submarine sonar may have killed a group of whales found dead in the Hebrides in one of Britain's most unusual strandings, scientists believe. Five Cuvier's beaked whales, a species rarely seen in British waters, were discovered on beaches in the Western Isles on succeeding days in February. Another animal from a related species was discovered at the same time. Experts consider such a multiple stranding to be highly abnormal. The main suspect in the case is sonar, as it is known that beaked whales are highly sensitive to the powerful sound waves used by all the world's navies to locate underwater objects such as submarines. Groups of beaked whales have been killed, with sonar suspected as the direct cause, several times in recent years; well-documented incidents include anti-submarine exercises in Greece in 1996, the Bahamas in 2000 and the Canary Islands in 2002. Britain's Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has now submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Defence over the Hebridean strandings. The 21 species of beaked whale include some of the world's most rarely seen mammals; they are also the deepest-diving air-breathing animals. A Cuvier's beaked whale set the record for a deep dive two years ago: 1,899 metres, or 6,230ft, beneath the surface, holding its breath for an astonishing 85 minutes. The animals use these deep dives to forage, but when sonar gets involved, their remarkable habit may be their undoing. One theory is that the whales are so distressed by the intensely loud sound waves that they return too quickly to the surface, and in doing so, fatally suffer "the bends" – the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood which can kill human divers.

Note: For other revealing reports of the deadly impact of sonar on marine mammals from major media sources, click here.

Administration Asserted a Terror Exception on Search and Seizure
April 4, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040304136.html

The Justice Department concluded in October 2001 that military operations combating terrorism inside the United States are not limited by Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, in one of several secret memos containing new and controversial assertions of presidential power. The memo, sent on Oct. 23, 2001, to the Defense Department and the White House by the Office of Legal Counsel, focused on the rules governing any deployment of U.S. forces inside the country "in the event of further large-scale terrorist activities." Administration officials declined to detail what domestic military operations were being contemplated at the time. The memo has not been formally withdrawn. The Fourth Amendment assertion is one of several far-reaching legal arguments revealed by the disclosure Tuesday of a 2003 Justice Department memo that authorized harsh military interrogations. In its footnotes, asides and central text, that 81-page memo asserted nearly unlimited presidential powers during a time of war. The document disclosed, for example, that the administration's top lawyers had declared that the president has unfettered power to seize oceangoing ships as commander in chief; that Congress has no ability to pass legislation governing the interrogations of enemy combatants; and that federal laws prohibiting assault and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators. One section discussed to what extent the president might be allowed to legally maim a prisoner, such as through the use of a "scalding, corrosive, or caustic substance." A footnote argued that Fifth Amendment guarantees of due-process rights "do not address actions the Executive takes in conducting a military campaign against the Nation's enemies."

Note: For further disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties, click here.

Jesse Ventura says he regrets not asking more questions
April 3, 2008, WKBT TV/Associated Press
http://wkbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=8115056

Jesse Ventura says he regrets not asking more questions about the 9/11 attacks when he was still governor of Minnesota. Ventura tells the nationally syndicated radio host Alex Jones that his skepticism about the official version of events would have then carried more weight. Among many other things, Ventura questions how the Twin Towers could have fallen so fast and in such a way as to turn so much of the wreckage into dust. He also says that after watching the Twin Towers collapse in slow motion, it appears to him exactly like the controlled demolition of a Las Vegas hotel. Ventura spoke on Jones' program on Wednesday. Ventura was elected as an independent in 1998 and left office in 2003 after deciding not to seek re-election. Jones frequently questions the events surrounding 9/11 and often discusses conspiracies on his radio show and documentary films.

Note: For a powerful two-page summary of unanswered questions about the official account of 9/11, click here.

Torture Memo Gave White House Broad Powers
April 2, 2008, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/DOJ/story?id=4569746&page=1

The Justice Department's newly declassified torture memo outlined the broad legal authority its lawyers gave to the Bush White House on matters of torture and presidential authority during times of war. The March 14, 2003 memorandum ... provided legal "guidance" for military interrogations of "alien unlawful combatants," and concluded that the president's authority during wartime took precedence over the individual rights of enemies captured in the field. The memo ... determined that amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which in part protect rights of individuals charged with crimes, do not apply equally to enemy combatants. "The Fifth Amendment due process clause does not apply to the president's conduct of a war," the memo noted. It also asserted, "The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed 'punishment' for purposes of the Eighth Amendment," which prohibits "cruel and unusual" forms of punishment. The memo was drafted by John Yoo, who was at the time the deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Former aides to John Ashcroft say the then-attorney general privately dubbed Yoo "Dr. Yes" for being so closely aligned with lawyers at the White House. The memo also provided an argument in defense of government interrogators who used harsh tactics in their line of work. The memo also laid out a defense against the authority of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, or CAT. Jack Goldsmith who headed OLC from October 2003 to July 2004, and worked at the Pentagon before coming to the department ... described the problems he had reviewing and standing by Yoo's work. "My first [reaction] was disbelief that programs of this importance could be supported by legal opinions that were this flawed."

Note: For further disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties, click here.

Centers Tap Into Personal Databases
April 2, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/01/AR2008040103049.html

Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver's license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post. One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it's not clear what information those systems contain. Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers' importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers' activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed. The list of information resources was part of a survey conducted last year, officials familiar with the effort said. It shows that, like most police agencies, the fusion centers have subscriptions to private information-broker services that keep records about Americans' locations, financial holdings, associates, relatives, firearms licenses and the like. "Fusion centers have grown, really, off the radar screen of public accountability," said Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. "Congress and the state legislatures need to get a handle over what is going on at all these fusion centers."

Note: For further disturbing reports on threats to privacy, click here.

ACLU: Military using FBI to skirt restrictions
April 1, 2008, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23908142

The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans' Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, the ACLU said Tuesday. The American Civil Liberties Union based its conclusion on a review of more than 1,000 documents turned over by the Defense Department after it sued the agency last year for documents related to national security letters. The letters are investigative tools used to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena. ACLU lawyer Melissa Goodman said the documents the civil rights group studied "make us incredibly concerned that the FBI and DoD might be collaborating to evade limits" placed on the Defense Department's use of the letters. Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said the military is allowed to demand financial and credit records in certain instances but does not have the authority to get e-mail and phone records or lists of Web sites that people have visited. That is the kind of information that the FBI can get by using a national security letter, she said. "That's why we're particularly concerned. The DoD may be accessing the kinds of records they are not allowed to get," she said. Goodman also noted that legal limits are placed on the Defense Department "because the military doing domestic investigations tends to make us leery.

Note: For further disturbing reports on threats to civil liberties, click here.

Algae: 'The ultimate in renewable energy'
April 1, 2008, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/04/01/algae.oil/

Texas may be best known for "Big Oil." But the oil that could some day make a dent in the country's use of fossil fuels is small. Microscopic, in fact: algae. Literally and figuratively, this is green fuel. "Algae is the ultimate in renewable energy," Glen Kertz, president and CEO of Valcent Products, told CNN while conducting a tour of his algae greenhouse on the outskirts of El Paso. "We are a giant solar collecting system. We get the bulk of our energy from the sunshine," said Kertz. Algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50 percent of their weight is oil. That lipid oil can be used to make biodiesel for cars, trucks, and airplanes. Most people know algae as "pond scum." And until recently, most energy research and development projects used ponds to grow it. But instead of ponds, Valcent uses a closed, vertical system, growing the algae in long rows of moving plastic bags. The patented system is called Vertigro, a joint venture with Canadian alternative energy company Global Green Solutions. The companies have invested about $5 million in the Texas facility. "A pond has a limited amount of surface area for solar absorption," said Kertz. "By going vertical, you can get a lot more surface area to expose cells to the sunlight. It keeps the algae hanging in the sunlight just long enough to pick up the solar energy they need to produce, to go through photosynthesis," he said. Kertz said he can produce about 100,000 gallons of algae oil a year per acre, compared to about 30 gallons per acre from corn; 50 gallons from soybeans. Valcent research scientist Aga Pinowska said there are about 65,000 known algae species, with perhaps hundreds of thousands more still to be identified. A big part of the research at the west Texas facility involves determining what type of algae produces what type of fuel.

Note: For many exciting reports of new energy inventions, click here.

Monsanto's Harvest of Fear
May 2008 issue, Vanity Fair magazine
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his "old-time country store," as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City. As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto's genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company's patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him–or face the consequences. But Rinehart wasn't a farmer. He wasn't a seed dealer. He hadn't planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small–a really small–country store in a town of 350 people. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can't remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: "Monsanto is big. You can't win. We will get you. You will pay." Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers' co-ops, seed dealers–anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.

Note: For a revealing summary on the health impacts of genetically modified food, click here.

Aiming to put fuel cells to work
March 31, 2008, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2008/03/31/aiming_to_put_fuel_cells_to_work/

A powerful winter storm swept across northeastern Ohio in early January, knocking out power for nearly 60,000 customers. But in an isolated one-story building, tucked among the trees and fields of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the lights stayed on. So did the computers. The power source: two fuel cells, each about the size of a refrigerator. "It worked seamlessly," said Tom Toledo, maintenance operations supervisor at the park. "We didn't even realize there was a power outage." The performance of these fuel cells, a demonstration project for fuel cell maker Acumentrics Corp. of Westwood, is an example of a technology whose time may be approaching. Unlike traditional technologies, which burn fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas to make power, fuel cells rely on chemical reactions to produce electricity and heat. Fuel cells are most frequently imagined as an advanced engine for automobiles. But as Acumentrics' success in Ohio demonstrates, on-site generation represents another application, one that specialists say will make it to market long before fuel cells replace the internal combustion engine. Acumentrics, in fact, is moving toward commercial production of a compact fuel cell system to power and heat homes. Working with the Italian heating products company Merloni TermoSanitari, Acumentrics hopes to get these household units, small enough to hang on a wall, into European markets by 2010. Estimated price: $5,200. "This is a new way of making electricity," said Gary Simon, Acumentrics chief executive. "It's like going from vacuum tubes to microchips." Acumentrics is one of about 40 Massachusetts firms developing fuel cell technology that someday may power everything from military outposts to cellphones.

Note: For many exciting reports of new energy inventions, click here.


Special note:
Ever wondered why Congress continues to fund Bush's war on Iraq? The Center for Responsive Politics provides a major clue in its new report detailing the investments by members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in corporations receiving multimillion-dollar contracts from the Department of Defense. Their investments total as much as $196 million! To read a summary of the report, click here. And for those who are interested in solid, reliable information on UFOs, see our engaging UFO Information Center.

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Superfast Internet, Sonar Blamed for Whale Deaths, Fourth Amendment Undermined