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Torture Investigation Urged, Ghost Voting,
Oil Futures Trading Unregulated
Revealing News Articles
June 10, 2008

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on the investigation into the Bush administration's decisions to torture captives taken in the "war on terror," ghost voting in the California state assembly, the unregulated oil futures trading market, 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

Capitol Chaos
June 8, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/06/INFS114789.DTL

[California] Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi had no intention of voting for AB2818, a bill that the Castro Valley Democrat feared could undermine its stated goal of protecting affordable housing. But on May 28, she nearly approved it - without her knowledge, and without her presence on the Assembly floor. As the roll call began, Hayashi was engaged in a budget subcommittee meeting on the Capitol's fourth floor. Suddenly, two floors below, the light next to her name on the big electronic voting board in the Assembly chamber turned green, a "yes" vote. Seconds later, it turned red. Then green. Red. Green. Finally, after 22 seconds of alternating colors, the space next to Hayashi's name went blank. While there are conflicting accounts of exactly what caused this dizzying sequence, this much is clear: Two people had their hands on Hayashi's voting switches during the roll call on AB2818 - and one was acting against her will. "Ghost voting" was not the only disturbing episode as the Assembly took up 316 bills in the three days leading up to the deadline for measures to pass their house of origin. In the frenzied treadmill, there was little or no debate on most matters, important bills died when legislators failed to vote, and votes were being cast for members without their express consent. In the Hayashi case, eyewitnesses said her initial "yes" vote was cast by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, an assistant majority floor leader who colleagues said had taken the liberty of voting for other missing members as bills were being rushed to beat the deadline. "I don't recall it, but I don't deny it either," de León said.

Note: For lots more on problems with voting systems, click here.

Experts Revive Debate Over Cellphones and Cancer
June 3, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/health/03well.html

What do brain surgeons know about cellphone safety that the rest of us don't? Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. "I think the safe practice," said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, "is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain." Dr. Vini Khurana, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University who is an outspoken critic of cellphones, said: "I use it on the speaker-phone mode. I do not hold it to my ear." And CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon at Emory University Hospital, said that like Dr. Black he used an earpiece. In recent studies that suggest a risk, ... tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone. The most important of these studies is called Interphone, a vast research effort in 13 countries, including Canada, Israel and several in Europe. Some of the research suggests a link between cellphone use and three types of tumors: glioma; cancer of the parotid, a salivary gland near the ear; and acoustic neuroma, a tumor that essentially occurs where the ear meets the brain. Last year, The American Journal of Epidemiology published data from Israel finding a 58 percent higher risk of parotid gland tumors among heavy cellphone users. Also last year, a Swedish analysis of 16 studies in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed a doubling of risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma after 10 years of heavy cellphone use.

Note: For a treasure trove of important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.

The truth is out there
June 7, 2008, Financial Times
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8d66e778-3128-11dd-ab22-000077b07658.html

When Cynthia McKinney speaks the words of Martin Luther King Jr, they resound through the church with some of King's cadence. "A time comes," declares the former US congresswoman from Georgia, "when silence is betrayal." Before the packed pews of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, McKinney is speaking of the American government's war on its own people. The shock and awe phase of this conflict ... began on September 11 2001, when the Bush administration launched attacks on New York and Washington, or at least waved them through. According to a show of hands that February afternoon, several hundred people in the immaculate church believe this to be true. They had all come to hear the message of Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, one of the dozens of [9/11 truth] groups across the US. Last winter, "Investigate 9/11" banners seemed to be popping up all over the place. Bill Clinton was heckled by "truthers" in Denver while campaigning for his wife. Country music star Willie Nelson ... described as naive the notion that the "implosion" of the Twin Towers was caused by crashing jets. Meanwhile the European Parliament screened the Italian documentary Zero, in which Gore Vidal, Italian playwright Dario Fo, and Italian MEP Giulietto Chiesa blame the US government, not al-Qaeda, for 9/11. The following month, Japanese MP Yukihisa Fujita raised his own doubts about the official story at a seminar in Sydney. A busy season for the "9/11 Truth" movement.

Note: This extensive story in The Financial Times shows that the 9/11 movement is having a major impact. For a detailed two-page summary of many questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.

Lawmakers Urge Special Counsel Probe of Harsh Interrogation Tactics
June 8, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/07/AR2008060701194.html

Nearly 60 House Democrats yesterday urged the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to examine whether top Bush administration officials may have committed crimes in authorizing the use of harsh interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists. In a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, the lawmakers cited what they said is "mounting evidence" that senior officials personally sanctioned the use of waterboarding and other aggressive tactics against detainees in U.S.-run prisons overseas. An independent investigation is needed to determine whether such actions violated U.S or international law, the letter stated. "This information indicates that the Bush administration may have systematically implemented, from the top down, detainee interrogation policies that constitute torture or otherwise violate the law," it said. The letter was signed by 56 House Democrats, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and House Intelligence Committee members Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y). The request was prompted in part by new disclosures of high-level discussions within the Bush administration that reportedly focused on specific interrogation practices. Some of the new detail was contained in a report last month by the Justice Department's inspector general, which described a series of White House meetings in which the controversial tactics were vigorously debated. Conyers, whose committee already is looking into the role played by administration lawyers in authorizing aggressive measures, said a broader probe is now needed.

Investors' Growing Appetite for Oil Evades Market Limits
June 6, 2008, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/05/AR2008060504322.html

Hedge funds and big Wall Street banks are taking advantage of loopholes in federal trading limits to buy massive amounts of oil contracts, ... helping to push oil prices to record highs. The federal agency that oversees oil trading, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has exempted these firms from rules that limit speculative buying. The CFTC has also waived regulations over the past decade on U.S. investors who trade commodities on some overseas markets, freeing those investors to accumulate large quantities of the future oil supply by making purchases on lightly regulated foreign exchanges. Over the past five years, investors have become such a force on commodity markets that their appetite for oil contracts has been equal to China's increase in demand over the same period, said Michael Masters, a hedge fund manager who testified before Congress on the subject last month. The commodity markets, he added, were never intended for such large financial players. Commodities have become especially enticing to investors as the credit crisis has roiled other investment opportunities such as stocks and debt-related securities. The recent flood of investment money has transformed the markets for oil, as well as uranium, wheat, cotton and other goods, into a volatile realm that some insiders call the Wild West of Wall Street. Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland and former CFTC commissioner, said there were loopholes the agency could close without much effort. "There's smoke here, and the CFTC hasn't wanted to look if there's a fire," he said. "But these are dark markets. They don't even know who's doing the trading."

Note: For revealing reports on financial corruption and criminality from major media sources, click here.

Wealthy Americans Under Scrutiny in UBS Case
June 6, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/business/worldbusiness/06tax.html

One afternoon in April, six dozen wealthy Americans were entertained at a luncheon party in Midtown Manhattan, along with a special guest from Paris: Henri Loyrette, the director of the Louvre. The host of the exclusive gathering was the Swiss bank UBS, whose elite private bankers built a lucrative business in recent years by discreetly tending the fortunes of American millionaires and billionaires. But now, as the federal authorities intensify an investigation into offshore bank accounts, the secrets of this rarefied world are being dragged into the open – and UBS's privileged clients are running scared. Under pressure from the authorities, UBS is considering whether to divulge the names of up to 20,000 of its well-heeled American clients, according to people close to the inquiry, a step that would have once been unthinkable to Swiss bankers, whose traditions of secrecy date to the Middle Ages. Federal investigators believe some of the clients may have used offshore accounts at UBS to hide as much as $20 billion in assets from the Internal Revenue Service. Doing so may have enabled these people to dodge at least $300 million in federal taxes on income from those assets, according to a government official connected with the investigation. The case could turn into an embarrassment for Marcel Rohner, the chief executive of UBS and the former head of its private bank, as well as for Phil Gramm, the former Republican senator from Texas who is now the vice chairman of UBS Securities, the Swiss bank's investment banking arm. It also comes at a difficult time for UBS, which is reeling from $37 billion in bad investments, many of them linked to risky American mortgages.

Note: For an illuminating overview of the secret world of banking and finance, click here.

Mukasey Declines to Create a U.S. Task Force to Investigate Mortgage Fraud
June 6, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/business/06justice.html

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rejected ... the idea of creating a national task force to combat the country's mortgage fraud crisis, calling the problem a localized one akin to "white-collar street crimes." He gave his most definitive answer ... in a briefing for reporters, saying that he did not think that the kind of national task force created at the Justice Department in 2002 to investigate the collapse of Enron was "the proper response" to the current crisis. Some critics have called for the same sort of broad federal law enforcement response seen in the Enron case and a wave of other corporate scandals earlier this decade, or in the collapse of the savings and loan industry in the 1980s and 1990s. "This is disappointing," Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the House financial services committee, said. Calling the mortgage crisis "worse than Enron," Mr. Frank said "Enron didn't cause a worldwide recession. This has more innocent victims." Mr. Frank noted that a $2.4 billion bill to prevent mortgage foreclosure, which has already passed the House, includes a provision backed by Republicans to provide an additional $300 million for law enforcement officials to fight mortgage fraud. He questioned how that money could be spent without a more centralized effort. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating 19 major corporate fraud cases related to the mortgage crisis. The targets of most of those investigations have not been disclosed. In addition, the F.B.I. has 1,380 small mortgage fraud investigations now open in field offices around the country.

Note: For many powerful reports on government corruption, click here.

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control
June 5, 2008, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-secret-plan...

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November. The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country. But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November. The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government. The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now.

Research Finds Wide Disparities in Health Care by Race and Region
June 5, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/health/research/05disparities.html

Race and place of residence can have a staggering impact on the course and quality of the medical treatment a patient receives, according to new research showing that blacks with diabetes or vascular disease are nearly five times more likely than whites to have a leg amputated and that women in Mississippi are far less likely to have mammograms than those in Maine. The study, by researchers at Dartmouth, examined Medicare claims for evidence of racial and geographic disparities and found that on a variety of quality indices, blacks typically were less likely to receive recommended care than whites within a given region. But the most striking disparities were found from place to place. For instance, the widest racial gaps in mammogram rates within a state were in California and Illinois, with a difference of 12 percentage points between the white rate and the black rate. But the country's lowest rate for blacks – 48 percent in California – was 24 percentage points below the highest rate – 72 percent in Massachusetts. The statistics were for women ages 65 to 69 who received screening in 2004 or 2005. In all but two states, black diabetics were less likely than whites to receive annual hemoglobin testing. But blacks in Colorado (66 percent) were far less likely to be screened than those in Massachusetts (88 percent). The study was commissioned by the nation's largest health-related philanthropy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which on Thursday planned to announce a three-year, $300 million initiative intended to narrow health care disparities across lines of race and geography.

Note: For a treasure trove of important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.

California medical schools earn A's in conflict grading
June 4, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/04/BUV3112O9V.DTL

Drug companies shower medical school faculty members with pens, pricey dinners, free samples and other inducements to influence their prescribing patterns, an organization of U.S. medical students says. The med students are now trying to erase that pattern by grading their teachers. The American Medical Student Association issued its second annual report card ... on the conflict-of-interest policies maintained at 150 universities that grant a medical degree. California dominated the honor roll. UC Davis, UCSF and UCLA captured three of the seven A grades across the country. But only 15 percent of U.S. medical schools made the top of the class with a grade of A or B, based on their adoption of rules such as barring drug companies from distributing lavish gifts to physicians. Sixty of the schools, or 40 percent, got an F on the student association's 2008 PharmFree Scorecard. The American Medical Student Association started its PharmFree campaign in 2002 after members shared their concerns about interactions they observed between their medical professors and drug industry representatives. The Association of American Medical Colleges in April proposed that all med schools adopt policies to prevent drug marketing efforts from distorting the educational environment. The proposed rules would restrict industry funding of seminars, forbid companies from selecting the recipients of scholarships they fund and strongly discourage medical school faculty members from participating in industry-sponsored speakers' bureaus.

Note: For a treasure trove of important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.

Expect new drugs to treat aging, researchers say
June 3, 2008, Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Cox News Service
http://www.ajc.com/services/content/health/stories/2008/06/03/anti_aging_drugs.html

Is 90 the new 50? Not yet, aging researchers say, but medical breakthroughs to significantly extend life and ease the ailments of getting older are closer than many people think. "The general public has no idea what's coming," said David Sinclair, a Harvard Medical School professor who has made headlines with research into the health benefits of a substance found in red wine called resveratrol. He said scientists can greatly increase longevity and improve health in lab animals like mice, and that drugs to benefit people are on the way. "It's not an if, but a when." Sinclair said treatments could be a few years or a decade away, but they're "really close. It's not something (from) science fiction and it's not something for the next generation." Robert Butler, a pioneer of aging research who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for the book Why Survive? Being Old in America, [said] that "people live longer and better by having a sense of purpose." He said that while medicine and biology are important for longevity, having friendships and close relationships also have a big impact. Richard Weindruch, a professor at the University of Wisconsin ... studies how extremely low-calorie diets affect aging. Sinclair said that based on Weindruch's work, he set out a decade ago to find the genes involved in caloric restriction and find a pill that can provide the benefits "without you feeling hungry all the time." He described how his research found that mice given large doses of resveratrol "live longer, they're almost immune to the effects of obesity. They don't get diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's as frequently. We delay the diseases of aging."


Special note:
For a two-minute CNN video clip on a new car that gets 230 miles per gallon, click here. And for three-minute clip on what inspires a princess to promote transformation, click here. For those who follow HAARP, former Forbes magazine bureau chief Benjamin Fulford has some amazing information available here. To watch the Free Bee's amazing new music video, "9/11's a Lie", click here.

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Torture Investigation Urged, Ghost Voting, Oil Futures Trading Unregulated