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Colombian Hostages Ransomed, WTC 7 Theories, Government Secrecy
Revealing News Articles
July 10, 2008

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on evidence that the Colombian hostages were ransomed for huge sums of money rather than rescued by guile, an impending official report on theories to explain the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, increased government secrecy at the US Department of Justice, 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

Doubts emerge about 'daring' rescue
July 4, 2008, Times of London
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4270844.ece

The former Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt returned to what she called her "other family" in France today as doubt was cast on the apparently daring rescue that won her freedom. While she was still in the air, the Swiss radio station RSR broadcast a report questioning the official version of the operation to free Ms Betancourt and 14 other hostages – saying that money, not cunning, had clinched their freedom. RSR said that the 15 hostages "were in reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up". Citing a source "close to the events, reliable and tested many times in recent years", it said that the United States – which had three citizens among those freed – was behind the deal and put the price at $20 million. The Colombian Foreign Ministry furiously denied the allegations, with a spokesman calling them "completely false." He added: "They are lies". General Freddy Padilla, head of the Colombian military, categorically denied they had paid "a single peso" to Farc. The French Foreign Ministry denied any involvement in any deal. The US has not responded to the [allegations].

The evolution of a conspiracy theory
July 4, 2008, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7488159.stm

Nearly seven years after the terrible events of that September day, the US authorities are due to publish the final report on a third tower that also collapsed on 9/11. Unlike the Twin Towers, this 47-storey, 610-foot skyscraper was not hit by a plane. The official explanation is that ordinary fires were the main reason for the collapse of Tower 7. That makes this the first and only tall skyscraper in the world to have collapsed because of fire. Yet despite that all the thousands of tonnes of steel from the building were carted away and melted down. The way official bodies have investigated Tower 7 at the World Trade Center has made some people think they're hiding something. Its destruction was never mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report. An inquiry by the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the building collapsed because intense fires had burned for hours, fed by thousands of gallons of diesel stored in the building for emergency generators. But its report said this had "only a low probability of occurrence" and more work was needed. That was in May 2002. The task has now fallen to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) based at a sprawling campus near Washington DC. For more than two-and-a-half years, scientists there have been studying Tower 7. The officials have been criticised for being slow and even of being frightened to publish. Steven Jones, a former physics professor at Brigham Young University, who has become [a] leading academic voice in the movement, first watched a video of the collapse of Tower 7 in the spring of 2005. But when he did, he said he was taken aback as a physicist.

Note: For a two-page summary of some unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.

9/11 third tower mystery 'solved'
July 4, 2008, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7485331.stm

The 47-storey third tower, known as Tower Seven, collapsed seven hours after the twin towers. Investigators are expected to say ordinary fires on several different floors caused the collapse. Conspiracy theorists have argued that the third tower was brought down in a controlled demolition. Unlike the twin towers, Tower Seven was not hit by a plane. The National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] ... is expected to conclude in its long-awaited report this month that ordinary fires caused the building to collapse. That would make it the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire. [NIST's] lead investigator, Dr Shyam Sunder, spoke to BBC Two's "The Conspiracy Files": "Our working hypothesis now actually suggests that it was normal building fires that were growing and spreading throughout the multiple floors that may have caused the ultimate collapse of the buildings." However, a group of architects, engineers and scientists say the official explanation that fires caused the collapse is impossible. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth argue there must have been a controlled demolition. The founder of the group, Richard Gage, says the collapse of the third tower is an obvious example of a controlled demolition using explosives. "Building Seven is the smoking gun of 9/11. A sixth grader can look at this building falling at virtually freefall speed, symmetrically and smoothly, and see that it is not a natural process. Buildings that fall in natural processes fall to the path of least resistance", says Gage, "they don't go straight down through themselves."

Note: For a two-page summary of some unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.

More scrutiny, secrecy at Justice Department
July 6, 2008, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-opr6-2008jul06,0,7756465.story

The [DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility] that polices [DOJ] lawyers' conduct has been operating under a growing shroud of secrecy. It is taking on some of the weightiest issues in government -- examining the role Justice's lawyers played in formulating administration interrogation policies for suspected terrorists and in endorsing a National Security Agency program of warrantless electronic surveillance. It has ... the task of deciding whether department lawyers engaged in selective prosecution of Democratic political figures. It also is looking into lawyers' involvement in a decision ... to deport a Canadian citizen to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured. But officials have declined to say whether even one government lawyer has been found to have engaged in professional misconduct in connection with the war on terrorism -- despite often fierce criticism from civil liberties groups, defense lawyers and judges. The [unit] has exonerated department lawyers in at least two high-profile terrorism-related investigations. The office found that department lawyers had not engaged in misconduct in connection with ... using special warrants to round up and incarcerate men after Sept. 11. The OPR also exonerated department lawyers in ... the case of Brandon Mayfield, a Muslim attorney in Portland, Ore., who was detained when the FBI erroneously linked his fingerprints to ... the March 2004 Madrid train bombings. But the resolution of most matters investigated by the OPR remains closely guarded, even in cases where courts have found evidence of serious prosecutorial misconduct.

Note: For lots more on government secrecy, click here.

Civil liberties group criticizes new FBI authority
July 2, 2008, Boston Globe/Associated Press
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2008/07/02/civil_liberties...

Nearly 40 years ago, the FBI was roundly criticized for investigating Americans without evidence [that] they had broken any laws. Now, critics fear the FBI may be gearing up to do it again. Tentative Justice Department guidelines, to be released later this summer, would let agents investigate people whose backgrounds -- and potentially their race or ethnicity -- match the traits of terrorists. Such profiling ... echoes the FBI's now-defunct COINTELPRO, an operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s and 1960s to monitor and disrupt groups with communist and socialist ties. Before it was shut down in 1971, the domestic spying operation -- formally known as Counterintelligence Programs -- had expanded to include civil rights groups, anti-war activists, ... state legislators and journalists. Among the FBI's targets were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and John Lennon, along with members of black [political] groups ... and student protesters. The new proposal to allow investigations of Americans with no evidence of wrongdoing is "COINTELPRO for the 21st century," said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. "But this is much more insidious because it could involve more people. In the days of COINTELPRO, they were watching only a few people. Now they could be watching everyone."

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

Controversy and conspiracies
July 2, 2008, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2008/07/controversy_conspiracies_iii.html

World Trade Center Building 7 has become the subject of heated speculation and a host of conspiracy theories suggesting it was brought down by a controlled demolition. And some people suggest it was not just the government and foreign intelligence, but ... even the media that were involved. It is certainly true that on 9/11 the BBC broadcast that WTC7 had collapsed when it was still standing. Then the satellite transmission seemed to cut out mysteriously when the correspondent was still talking. Then [head of BBC News] Richard Porter admitted in his blog last year that the BBC had lost those key tapes of BBC World News output from the day. The internet movie Loose Change has been viewed by more than 100 million people according to its makers and it asks this question in the latest film release: "Where did CNN and the BBC get their information especially considering the building was still standing directly behind their reporters?" It turns out that the respected news agency Reuters picked up an incorrect report and passed it on. They have issued this statement: "On 11 September 2001 Reuters incorrectly reported that one of the buildings at the New York World Trade Center, 7WTC, had collapsed before it actually did. The report was picked up from a local news story and was withdrawn as soon as it emerged that the building had not fallen." And the reason the interview with the BBC correspondent, Jane Standley, ended so abruptly? The satellite feed had an electronic timer, which cut out at 1715 exactly.

Note: How many "coincidences" does it take for people to start to ask questions? How could people know that the building was going to collapse when a skyscraper had never collapsed before from fire? For a useful BBC FAQ on 9/11 alternative theories, click here.

Decades Later, Still Asking: Would I Pull That Switch?
July 1, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/health/research/01mind.html

Some of psychology's most famous experiments are those that expose the ... apparent cowardice or depravity pooling in almost every heart. The findings force a question. Would I really do that? Consider the psychologist Stanley Milgram's obedience studies of the early 1960s. In a series of about 20 experiments, hundreds of decent, well-intentioned people agreed to deliver what appeared to be increasingly painful electric shocks to another person, as part of what they thought was a learning experiment. The "learner" was in fact an actor, usually seated out of sight in an adjacent room, pretending to be zapped. Now, decades after the original work ... two new papers illustrate the continuing power of the shock experiments. [One] verifies a crucial turning point in Milgram's experiments, the voltage level at which participants were most likely to disobey the experimenter and quit delivering shocks. At 75 volts, the "learner" in the next room began grunting in apparent pain. At 150 volts he cried out: "Stop, let me out! I don't want to do this anymore." At that point about a third of the participants refused to continue, found Dominic Packer, author of the new paper. "The previous expressions of pain were insufficient," Dr. Packer said. But at 150 volts, he continued, those who disobeyed decided that the learner's right to stop trumped the experimenter's right to continue. Before the end of the experiments, at 450 volts, an additional 10 to 15 percent had dropped out. The other paper ... replicates part of the Milgram studies ... to see whether people today would still obey. The answer was yes. Once again, more than half the participants agreed to proceed with the experiment past the 150-volt mark.

Note: For many key revelations on mind-control research from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.

The Worms Crawl In
July 1, 2008, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/health/research/01prof.html

While carrying out field work in Papua New Guinea in the late 1980s, [Dr. David Pritchard] noticed that Papuans infected with the Necator americanus hookworm, a parasite that lives in the human gut, did not suffer much from an assortment of autoimmune-related illnesses, including hay fever and asthma. Over the years, Dr. Pritchard has developed a theory to explain the phenomenon. "The allergic response evolved to help expel parasites, and we think the worms have found a way of switching off the immune system in order to survive," he said. "That's why infected people have fewer allergic symptoms." To test his theory, and to see whether he can translate it into therapeutic pay dirt, Dr. Pritchard is recruiting clinical trial participants willing to be infected with 10 hookworms each in hopes of banishing their allergies and asthma. Never one to sidestep his own experimental cures, Dr. Pritchard initially used himself as a subject. After Dr. Pritchard's self-infection experiment, the National Health Services ethics committee let him conduct a study in 2006 with 30 participants, 15 of whom received 10 hookworms each. Tests showed that after six weeks, the T-cells of the 15 worm recipients began to produce lower levels of chemicals associated with inflammatory response, indicating that their immune systems were more suppressed than those of the 15 placebo recipients. Despite playing host to small numbers of parasites, worm recipients reported little discomfort. Trial participants raved about their allergy symptoms disappearing.

Note: For lots of exciting reports on new health research, click here.

Psychedelic Study Shows Positive Results
July 1, 2008, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/01/tech/main4221948.shtml

In 2002, at a Johns Hopkins University laboratory, a business consultant named Dede Osborn took a psychedelic drug as part of a research project. She felt like she was taking off. She saw colors. Then it felt like her heart was ripping open. But she called the experience joyful as well as painful, and says that it has helped her to this day. "I feel more centered in who I am and what I'm doing," said Osborn, now 66, of Providence, R.I. "I don't seem to have those self-doubts like I used to have. I feel much more grounded (and feel that) we are all connected." Scientists reported ... that when they surveyed volunteers 14 months after they took the drug, most said they were still feeling and behaving better because of the experience. Two-thirds of them also said the drug had produced one of the five most spiritually significant experiences they'd ever had. The drug, psilocybin, is found in so-called "magic mushrooms." It's illegal, but it has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The project made headlines in 2006 when researchers published their report on how the volunteers felt just two months after taking the drug. The new study followed them up [to] a year after that. Fourteen months after taking the drug, 64 percent of the volunteers said they still felt at least a moderate increase in well-being or life satisfaction, in terms of things like feeling more creative, self-confident, flexible and optimistic. The questionnaire answers indicated lasting gains in traits like being more sensitive, tolerant, loving and compassionate.

Note: For lots of exciting reports on new health research, click here.

Earth's Core, Magnetic Field Changing Fast, Study Says
June 30, 2008, National Geographic News
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080630-earth-core.html

Rapid changes in the churning movement of Earth's liquid outer core are weakening the magnetic field in some regions of the planet's surface, a new study says. "What is so surprising is that rapid, almost sudden, changes take place in the Earth's magnetic field," said study co-author Nils Olsen, a geophysicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen. The findings suggest similarly quick changes are simultaneously occurring in the liquid metal, 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) below the surface, he said. The swirling flow of molten iron and nickel around Earth's solid center triggers an electrical current, which generates the planet's magnetic field. The study, published recently in Nature Geoscience, modeled Earth's magnetic field using nine years of highly accurate satellite data. Fluctuations in the magnetic field have occurred in several far-flung regions of Earth, the researchers found. In 2003 scientists found pronounced changes in the magnetic field in the Australasian region. In 2004, however, the changes were focused on Southern Africa. The changes "may suggest the possibility of an upcoming reversal of the geomagnetic field," said study co-author Mioara Mandea, a scientist at the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. The decline in the magnetic field also is opening Earth's upper atmosphere to intense charged particle radiation, scientists say.

The Benefits of Biofeedback
June 5, 2008, U.S. News & World Report
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/living-well-usn/2008/06/05/the-benefits-of-biofeedback.html

Because she was planning to get pregnant, Janelle ... decided last year to go off powerful medication for stress-induced migraines in favor of a more fetus-friendly therapy. With sensors attached to her fingertips, neck, and abdomen, she spent 20 sessions learning to relax her muscles and slow her breathing and heart rate while watching a computer monitor for proof of the desired result. Eventually, she was able to do the work on her own. "The migraine pain doesn't go away completely," says the 39-year-old from Bethesda, Md., who has remained off medication since her son's birth two months ago. "But it's been greatly reduced, and I'm able to deal with it better." Like meditation and yoga, the biofeedback method that Janelle now swears by is enjoying a sort of renaissance; while it's been around for some 40 years, a growing body of research has brought it to the mainstream, indicating that it can relieve some hard-to-manage conditions exacerbated by stress. Many major hospitals and clinics, including Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Duke University Medical Center, now offer biofeedback to people with hypertension and jaw pain as well as headaches, for example. Biofeedback's major appeal is that one series of sessions purportedly teaches a set of skills you can use for life–without side effects. And it's pre-emptive. "Biofeedback teaches you to identify early signs that stress is starting to get to you and to bring that stress reaction down before it causes physical symptoms," explains Frank Andrasik, a professor of psychology at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Note: For the Institute of HeartMath's pioneering research in this field, click here. For other exciting reports on new health research, click here.

Key Articles From Years Past

The 9/11 Commission Second-Guesses the Pentagon
August 2, 2006, CNN News
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0608/02/sitroom.01.html

BLITZER: The 9/11 Commission second-guesses the Pentagon on the timeline of events on that fateful day. What kind of impact might that have? Let's check ... with Jack Cafferty in New York. CAFFERTY: A member of the 9/11 Commission says that the commission didn't trust some of the testimony from Pentagon officials about the timeline of events on that fateful day, September 11. The question we asked is: What does it mean if the 9/11 Commission thought the Pentagon wasn't telling the truth? Marie in Bartlett, Illinois, [writes]: "The 9/11 Commission failed. If they mulled criminal charges because they doubted the veracity of testimony from Pentagon personnel, why did they stop at that? And why say so now? If persons are suspected of lying, they must be brought up on charges, and found either guilty or innocent. The commission declared themselves to be judge and jury. And the kangaroo court verdict was not guilty." Paul in Rockville, Maryland [writes]: "The fact that Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell both took the job, and then quit, should have been a tip-off to how big a can of worms they were opening." BLITZER: And, as commercial airliners approached Washington and New York on 9/11, what did the Pentagon know and when?

Note: The above summary is taken from the section at the very bottom of the CNN News transcript at the link above. For a three-minute video clip of this report, click here. For a two-page summary of some other unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.

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Colombian Hostages Ransomed, WTC 7 Theories, Government Secrecy