Italy Sentences CIA Agents, Secret Bank Control of Derivatives, CIA Protection of Gestapo Nazis
Revealing News Articles
December 20, 2010
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on an appeals court in Italy which increased the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted of kidnapping, control of the commodities derivatives market by a secret group of bankers, CIA protection and use of Gestapo Nazis after World War II, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives
December 12, 2010, New York Times
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable – and controversial – fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential. Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk. In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks. The banks in this group ... have fought to block other banks from entering the market, and they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available. Banks' influence over this market, and over clearinghouses like the one this select group advises, has costly implications for businesses large and small. The size and reach of this market has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Pension funds today use derivatives to hedge investments. States and cities use them to try to hold down borrowing costs. Airlines use them to secure steady fuel prices. Food companies use them to lock in prices of commodities like wheat or beef.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources detailing the amazing control of major banks over government and society, click here.
U.S. officials protected Gestapo agents
December 10, 2010, MSNBC/Associated Press
A report to Congress reveals details on how U.S. intelligence officials used and protected some Nazi Gestapo agents after World War II. The report was authored by historians hired by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The report draws from an unprecedented trove of records on clandestine operations that the CIA was persuaded to declassify and from previously inaccessible Army intelligence files. "The CIA records give us a much better picture of the movements of Nazi war criminals in the postwar period. The Army records are voluminous, and will be keeping people busy for many years," said Richard Breitman, of the American University in Washington, D.C., who co-authored the report with Norman J.W. Goda, of the University of Florida. The records were made available under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998. Nazi hunters and lawmakers have long raised questions about what U.S. government knew and its involvement with war criminals during the Cold War. The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act has so far resulted in more than 8 million documents being declassified; a landmark 2005 book on U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis in part authored by Breitman and Goda; and a final report to Congress.
Note: The CIA would never have declassified these documents were it not for pressure from caring citizens which caused Congress to act. For details of the CIA employment of Nazis in its post-war mind-control experimentation on humans without their consent, click here.
Italy court ups sentences for 23 CIA agents
December 15, 2010, MSNBC/Associated Press
An Italian appeals court on [December 15] increased the sentences against 23 Americans convicted in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect who was part of the CIA's extraordinary renditions program. In upholding the convictions, the court added one year to the eight-year term handed down to former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and two years to the five-year terms given to 22 other Americans convicted along with him, defense lawyers said. They were never in Italian custody and were tried and convicted in absentia but risk arrest if they travel to Europe. The Americans and two Italians were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnapping of ... Abu Omar from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 – the first convictions anywhere in the world against people involved in the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture was permitted. The cleric was transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released. Amnesty International praised [the] decision as a step toward demanding greater accountability in Europe for the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. Julia Hall, an Amnesty counter-terrorism expert, said in a statement, "The Italian courts have acknowledged that the chain of events leading to such serious abuses cannot go unanswered. Kidnapping is a crime, not a 'state secret.' "
Note: This is amazing news which shows that the CIA is losing its former status as immune in courts of law.
ACLU lawsuit: Military won't release rape records
December 13, 2010, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Sexual assault pervades the military, but the Pentagon refuses to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said in a federal lawsuit that seeks access to the records. Tens of thousands of service members have reported some form of sexual assault, harassment or trauma in the past decade, according to the lawsuit filed [on December 13] in New Haven against the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. "The government's refusal to even take the first step of providing comprehensive and accurate information about the sexual trauma inflicted upon our women and men in uniform ... is all too telling," said Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine captain. The government prosecutes 8 percent of military sex offenders, while 40 percent of civilian sex offenders are prosecuted. The lawsuit contends sexual assaults are nearly twice as common within military ranks as in civilian society, and surveys show that nearly one in three women report being sexually assaulted during their time in the military. About 80 percent of unwanted or threatening sexual acts are not reported, according to the lawsuit. Victims who report abuse to their superiors often face social isolation, retribution and counteraccusations, the lawsuit says.
TSA Under Fire for New Security Procedures
November 22, 2010, ABC News
The Transportation Security Administration has come under fire for new body scanners and what some say are highly invasive pat-downs. Thomas Sawyer, a bladder cancer survivor, said he was humiliated after a pat-down broke his urostomy bag, leaving the 61-year-old covered in his own urine. Sawyer said he warned the TSA officials twice that the pat-down could break the seal. Cathy Bossi, a long-time flight attendant and breast cancer survivor, said the TSA made her take off her prosthetic breast. "She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?' I said 'It's a prosthesis because I've had a breast cancer,'" Bossi said. "And she said, 'You'll need to show me that.'" In recent days, several passengers have come forward to tell such shocking stories about their experiences with TSA officers. An ABC News employee said she was subject to a "demeaning" search at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday morning. "The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," she said. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate." The head of the Transportation Security Administration John Pistole ... has said the TSA would not change its pat-down procedures.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on increasing threats to privacy, click here.
Leaked cables show Ireland 'offended' Vatican with pressure in clergy sex abuse probe
December 12, 2010, ABC News/Associated Press
Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that the Vatican felt "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See "sovereignty" by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy. That the Holy See used its diplomatic-immunity status as a tiny city-state to try to thwart the Irish fact-finding probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain's The Guardian newspaper ... contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation. One leaked document ... authored in February 2010 by Rome-based diplomat Julieta Valls Noyes, cited her conversations with Irish Ambassador Noel Fahey and his deputy, Helena Keleher. Ireland wanted to be seen as fully supportive of the independent probe into child-abuse cover-ups ... but its Rome officials also didn't want to intervene in the probe's efforts to get information from the Vatican. Noyes, citing a conversation with a Holy See official, wrote that the investigators' letters "offended many in the Vatican" because they were viewed as "an affront to Vatican sovereignty." "In the end the Irish government decided not to press the Vatican to reply."
Note: For key reports from media sources on the secrecy of the Vatican and other institutions, click here.
Air Force Blocks Sites That Posted Secret Cables
December 15, 2010, New York Times
The Air Force is barring its personnel from using work computers to view the Web sites of The New York Times and more than 25 other news organizations and blogs that have posted secret cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Air Force officials said. When Air Force personnel on the service's computer network try to view the Web sites of The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian, the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Spanish newspaper El País and the French newspaper Le Monde, as well as other sites that posted full confidential cables, the screen says "Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored," according to an Air Force official whose access was blocked and who shared the screen warning with The Times. Violators are warned that they face punishment if they try to view classified material from unauthorized Web sites. Some Air Force officials acknowledged that the steps taken might be in vain since many military personnel could gain access to the documents from home computers, despite admonishments from superiors not to read the cables without proper clearances.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.
Allied Irish Banks to pay €40m bonuses despite bailout
December 8, 2010, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Stricken Allied Irish Banks is preparing to hand out €40m (£34m) of bonuses next week – despite being on the brink of receiving another emergency bailout from the Irish government. As many as 2,400 bankers in its Dublin capital markets division are to receive the payments on 17 December under agreements struck with the bank in 2008. The bank, 19% owned by Ireland's taxpayers but expected to reach 95% state-ownership, had originally been blocked from making the payments under one of the government's bailout programmes. But legal action by a trader, John Foy, over a deferred €161,000 bonus awarded in 2008 has led the bank to conclude it will need to pay bonuses to many of the staff to whom they were awarded for that year. The bonuses are being handed out at a time when the government is instigating four years of tax rises and brutal cuts to benefits. Bankers are receiving much of the blame for forcing Ireland to take international assistance and implement the austerity budgetary measures.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the worldwide bailout by taxpayers of failed banks, click here.
CalPERS lawsuit shows need for strict ethics rules
December 15, 2010, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
An independent examiner has just recommended stricter ethics rules for managers of the $218.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System. According to a suit filed by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, back in 2007, CalPERS board member-turned-investment broker Alfred Villalobos took one of the pension fund's senior investment officers on a private jet ride to New York to attend a Museum of Modern Art fundraiser honoring a client Villalobos was representing. The client, Leon Black, heads the private-equity firm Apollo Global Management, which was seeking a $700 million investment from CalPERS. According to the suit, Villalobos and the investment officer, Leon Shahinian, shared a $1,000-a-night-plus suite at the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The suit claims Villalobos' firm billed the trip to Apollo. Sometime after, the suit claims, Shahinian touted the $700 million investment to the CalPERS board with nary a mention of the New York trip - and the deal was approved. Shahinian was not named as a defendant in Brown's suit, which is seeking $95 million in penalties against Villalobos and CalPERS' former chief executive, Fred Buenrostro - both of whom have denied any wrongdoing. As for Shahinian, who also maintains he did nothing wrong, he was placed on paid administrative leave over the incident and four months later resigned from CalPERS, where he was earning about $350,000 a year.
WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout'
December 9, 2010, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The world's biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable. Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996. But the cable suggests that the US drug giant did not want to pay out to settle the two cases – one civil and one criminal – brought by the Nigerian federal government. The cable reports a meeting between Pfizer's country manager, Enrico Liggeri, and US officials at the Abuja embassy on 9 April 2009. It states: "According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to federal attorney general Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer's investigators were passing this information to local media." The cable ... continues: "A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa's 'alleged' corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa's cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles."
Note: For more on this revealing case, see the New York Times article available here.
Court OKs Hormone-Free Label On Dairy Products In Ohio
October 1, 2010, NPR blog
A federal court yesterday struck down an Ohio ban on dairy products whose labels say they're made from milk that's free of hormones that increase cows' milk production. That means companies that want to say their products are "rbGH free" and "rbST free" and "artificial hormone free" are now free to do so. The ruling challenges the FDA's 17-year-old finding that there's "no significant difference" between the milk of cows given growth hormone and those that aren't. Just that sort of distinction ... is part of the ongoing debate about how to label genetically engineered salmon. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said there is a "compositional difference" between milk from cows given growth hormones and those without. The court gave three reasons they're different: * Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1; * A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation; and * Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk). But the FDA concluded in 1993 when it approved the growth hormone that the milk shows "no significant difference" in milk from untreated cows.
What's Fueling the Battle Over Raw Milk?
September 26, 2010, Time Magazine
For some Americans, milk has become a test of their freedom. And they're not paranoid kooks either; the government really is out to get them, authorizing seizures of bottles and jugs of unpasteurized milk and, in one recent case, a full-on, agents-brandishing-guns raid. Currently, under federal law, it's illegal to sell consumers unpasteurized milk that has been transported across state lines. Raw milk cannot be sold at all in 10 states. In 30 states, it can be sold only by certain farms under certain conditions. And in the remaining states, retail sales are allowed but are greatly hindered by technicalities. An underground railroad has emerged to get milk from cows to consumers without any high-tech processing in between. Now comes the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act, federal legislation that would improve the FDA's ability to trace [illness] outbreaks and give the agency – which can already fine companies that knowingly sell contaminated foods – the power to order recalls. Supporters say they know the milk may contain pathogens; the most ardent say they welcome the bugs, many of which have peacefully resided in our guts for thousands of years. All agree that they should be able to drink raw milk if they want to.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Houston TV stations refuse ad that slams fast food
December 14, 2010, Houston Chronicle (Houston's leading newspaper)
A physicians' group campaigning against McDonald's fast food offerings says that four Houston TV stations have refused to run its advertisement equating cheeseburgers with heart disease and death. The advertisement from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, titled "Consequences," displays a doctor and a weeping woman standing over a corpse clutching a cheeseburger in its right hand. The 30-second spot ends with a picture of the McDonald's logo, the words "I was lovin' it," a parody of the company's "I'm lovin' it" slogan, and the voiceover, "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian." Susan Levin, director of nutrition of education for the Washington, D.C., nonprofit, said all four of Houston's major network affiliates turned down "Consequences," which she said has aired in Chicago and Washington and was rejected by stations in Miami. The group was prepared to pay $5,000 to air the ad locally. Houston was selected for the campaign, the group said, because of its market size, its reputation as having one of the nation's highest obesity rates and because it has 149 McDonald's outlets, more than any city in the nation other than New York. The "Consequences" spot has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on the group's YouTube site.
Note: To view the commercial at YouTube, click here.
Vatican is world's greenest state
December 12, 2010, The Independent/Agence France Presse
The tiny Vatican City is now by far the world's most environmentally friendly state following the installation of giant solar power panels, the Vatican's official daily said. "The Vatican has reached a small record in solar energy power production per capita: 200 watts at peak times ... per inhabitant, compared to 80 in Germany, the world leader in this field," Osservatore Romano said. The Vatican City is the least populated sovereign state in the world, with a population of only around 800 people. Osservatore Romano said that the panels installed on the Paul VI conference hall two years ago had saved the Vatican 89.84 tons of oil equivalent. Pope Benedict XVI has been dubbed the "green pope" by the Italian media for his strong emphasis on defence of the environment. Earlier this month Vatican officials said they were thinking of using an electric-powered vehicle to replace the iconic popemobile.
Key Articles From Years Past
Houston Police Drone Aircraft
November 23, 2007, CNN
Transcript: [Suzanne] MALVEAUX: A Texas mystery solved -- at least partially. We now know Houston police are going to start using unmanned drone aircraft. But the question remains, well, for what? Stephen Dean of CNN affiliate KPRC has got an exclusive look. STEPHEN DEAN, KPRC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): HPD [Houston Police Dept.], the federal Department of Homeland Security and other invited guests all watching to see how this drone could be used for police work in and around Houston. We tracked that drone from News Chopper 2. And that drone was able to use a high-powered camera to track us. Those cameras can actually look into people's homes or even follow them in moving cars -- which raises all sorts of new questions. HPD quickly hustled together a news conference when it realized our cameras were there for the entire secret test. Executive Assistant Chief Martha Mantabo admits that could mean covert police action. But she says it's too early to tell what else HPD will do with the aircraft. We asked, are these drones headed for ticketing speeders from the sky? MONTALVO: I'm not ruling anything out. DEAN: Back at the secret test site, police helicopter pilots claimed the entire air space was restricted and even threatened our local 2 Investigates pilot with action from the FAA if we didn't leave. But we checked with FAA several times and there never was a flight restriction. That leaves some to wonder whether the police are now ready to use terrorism fears since 911 to push the envelope further into our private lives.
Note: To watch the video of secret police work in action, click here.
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