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CIA Lied To Filmmakers About Torture, Business 'Gangs' Run US, Euros Dumped for Bartering
Revealing News Articles
January 8, 2013

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles on the CIA's lies to the makers of the film 'Zero Dark Thirty' about intelligence provided by torture, control of the US by 'business gangs', Euros being dumped for bartering in Greece, evidence that assassinated cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was working for, monitored and protected by the FBI and Pentagon before and after 9/11, and more.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and to spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Thank you!!! To the 504 caring people who supported PEERS and WantToKnow.info last year, thank you soooooooo much! It was a great year for PEERS. Our websites not only had a record of more than 3.2 million visits and 5 million page views, financially we ended up over nine thousand dollars in the black. To read our inspiring annual report showing all the ways PEERS and WantToKnow.info are making a difference, click here. For any who might be inspired to support our work this year, please click here.

Special note: For a great article by Bolivian President Evo Morales on the major transformation taking place in our world, click here. For ten kindness stories of 2012, click here. Declassified FBI documents show that agents knew about plans for snipers to assassinate Occupy leaders and kept it quiet; more here. For a report by a CBS affiliate on a very strange explosion in space, click here. For a long list of school shootings linked to the use of antidepressants, with links for verification, click here. For 100 years of wisdom from the world's oldest Holocaust survivor, click here.


Lawmakers say CIA may have misled 'Zero Dark Thirty' filmmakers on harsh interrogation
January 3, 2013, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/lawmakers-say-cia-may-have-misled-zero-dark-thirty...

Lawmakers accused the CIA of misleading the makers of the Osama bin Laden raid film "Zero Dark Thirty" by allegedly telling them that harsh interrogation methods helped track down the terrorist mastermind. The film shows waterboarding and similar techniques as important, if not key, to finding bin Laden in Pakistan, where he was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011. A Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the CIA's detainee program found that such methods produced no useful intelligence. In a letter to the CIA this week, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John McCain, R-Ariz., and others asked [the CIA] to share documents showing what the filmmakers were told. The senators contend that that the CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier who was tracked to bin Laden's hiding place "provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques," according to a statement ... from Feinstein. The CIA says it will cooperate.

Note: Note that this "critique" of the CIA by US Senators serves to maintain the claim that Osama bin Laden was killed by the Navy SEALs raid in Pakistan in 2011. But there have been numerous reports of bin Laden's death before the "official" killing. Click here and here for two intriguing BBC reports on this. WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's book establishing the likelihood that Osama bin Laden died in December 2001, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, is available here.


The four business gangs that run the US
December 31, 2012, Sydney Morning Herald
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-four-business-gangs-that-run-the-us-20121230-2c1e2.html

If you've ever suspected politics is increasingly being run in the interests of big business, ... Jeffrey Sachs, a highly respected economist from Columbia University, agrees with you - at least in respect of the United States. In his book, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, he says the US economy is caught in a feedback loop. ''Corporate wealth translates into political power through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs between government and industry; and political power translates into further wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth,'' he says. Sachs says four key sectors of US business exemplify this feedback loop and the takeover of political power in America by the ''corporatocracy''. First is the well-known military-industrial complex. Second is the Wall Street-Washington complex, which has steered the financial system towards control by a few politically powerful Wall Street firms, notably Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and a handful of other financial firms. Third is the Big Oil-transport-military complex, which has put the US on the trajectory of heavy oil-imports dependence and a deepening military trap in the Middle East, he says. Fourth is the healthcare industry, America's largest industry, absorbing no less than 17 per cent of US gross domestic product.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.


Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering
January 2, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/euro-greece-barter-poverty-crisis

In [the] bustling [Greek port city Volos], in the heart of Greece's most fertile plain, locals have come up with a novel way of dealing with austerity – adopting their own alternative currency, known as the Tem. As the country struggles with its worst crisis in modern times, with Greeks losing up to 40% of their disposable income as a result of policies imposed in exchange for international aid, the system has been a huge success. Organisers say some 1,300 people have signed up to the informal bartering network. The currency – a form of community banking monitored exclusively online – is not only an effective antidote to wage cuts and soaring taxes but the "best kind of shopping therapy". Greece's deepening economic crisis has brought new users. With ever more families plunging into poverty and despair, shops, cafes, factories and businesses have also resorted to the system under which goods and services – everything from yoga sessions to healthcare, babysitting to computer support – are traded in lieu of credits. "For many it plays a double role of supplementing lost income and creating a protective web at this particularly difficult moment in their lives," says Yiannis Grigoriou, a UK-educated sociologist among the network's founders. "The older generation in this country can still remember when bartering was commonplace. In villages you'd exchange milk and goat's cheese for meat and flour." Other grassroots initiatives have appeared across Greece.


The Results Are in and the Winner Is . . . or Maybe Not
February 29, 2004, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/29/opinion/editorial-observer-the-results-are-in...

Important Note: Though this New York Times article is from 2004, it is vitally important as just this week Chuck Hagel has been nominated by President Obama to be the US Secretary of Defense. Read on.

Charlie Matulka, who lost to Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska [in 2002], does not trust the results in his election. Most of the votes were cast on paper ballots that were scanned into computerized vote-counting machines, which happen to have been manufactured by a company Mr. Hagel used to run. Mr. Matulka, suspicious of Senator Hagel's ties to the voting machine company, demanded a hand recount of the paper ballots. Nebraska law did not allow it, he was informed. In his primary race in 1996, Mr. Hagel, who had lived in Virginia for 20 years, beat the state attorney general by nearly two to one. In the general election, he defeated the governor, who had been elected two years earlier in a landslide. In 2002, against Mr. Matulka, he won more than 80 percent of the vote. What gets conspiracy theorists excited is not just Mr. Hagel's prodigious wins, but his job before jumping into the 1996 race: heading American Information Systems, the manufacturer of the machines that count 85 percent of Nebraska's votes. Rob Behler ... who helped prepare Georgia's machines for the 2002 election, says secret computer codes were installed late in the process. Votes ''could have been manipulated,'' he says, and the election thrown. Modern technology is creating a whole new generation of conspiracy theories -- easy to imagine and, unless we're careful, impossible to disprove. Among the growing ranks of electronic-voting skeptics ... Mr. Hagel's wins in 1996 and 2002 have taken on mythic status. The problem is, there is no way to prove the right man was elected. A healthy democracy must avoid even the appearance of corruption. [The] Nebraska elections fail this test.

Note: For more clear evidence Hagel was directly involved in voting machine manipulation which lead to an illegal victory for him, click here and here.


Cleric may have booked pre-9/11 flights for hijackers, FBI documents show
January 3, 2012, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/03/exclusive-al-awlaki-booked-pre-11-air-travel-for-hijackers...

The FBI suspected within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that the American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have purchased tickets for some of the hijackers for air travel in advance of the attacks, according to newly released documents. The heavily redacted records – obtained by Judicial Watch through a [FOIA] request – suggest the FBI held evidence tying the American-born cleric to the hijackers just 16 days after the attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. "We have FBI documents showing that the FBI knew that al-Awlaki had bought three tickets for three of the hijackers to fly into Florida and into Las Vegas, including the lead hijacker, Mohammad Atta," Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told Fox News. He added that the records show the cleric, killed in September 2011 by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, "was a central focus of the FBI's investigation of 9/11. They show he wasn't cooperative. And they show that he was under surveillance." The cleric was a guest speaker on moderate Islam at a Pentagon executive dining room in February 2002. The newly released documents now suggest the FBI knew five months earlier of al-Awlaki's probable link to the hijackers. al-Awlaki was held at New York City's JFK airport on Oct. 10, 2002, under a warrant for passport fraud, a felony punishable by 10 years. However, ... an FBI agent, Wade Ammerman, from the bureau's Washington field office ordered the cleric be released from custody, even though there was an active warrant for his arrest.

Note: Click here to view the more than 200 pages of documents obtained by Judicial Watch. Isn't it quite strange that the continuously monitored Al-Awlaki was breakfasting with the Pentagon brass and was released from custody by the FBI, after the 9/11 attacks? Could his assassination by drone have been for the purpose of keeping him quiet about what he knew concerning 9/11?


Sexual violence is not a cultural phenomenon in India - it is endemic everywhere
December 30, 2012, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/sexual-violence-is-not-a-cultural-phenomenon-in-india...

The death of a woman popularly named Damini – "lightning" in Hindi – has provoked thousands to take to India's streets, furious at endemic and unchecked violence against women. Some have been met with police batons, tear gas and water cannon. But, in the West, Damini's death has triggered a different response: a sense that this is an Indian-specific problem. "The crime has highlighted the prevalence of sex attacks in India," says the Daily Telegraph; "India tries to move beyond its rape culture," says Reuters. It's comforting to think that this is someone else's problem. It is an assumption that is as wrong as it is dangerous. Rape and sexual violence against women are endemic everywhere. Shocked by what happened in India? Take a look at France. In 1999, two then-teenagers – named only as Nina and Stephanie – were raped almost every day for six months. Young men would queue up to rape them, patiently waiting for their friends to finish in secluded basements. After a three-week trial this year, 10 of the 14 accused left the courtroom as free men; the other four were granted lenient sentences of one year at most. Shocked? According to the [UK] Government's Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls, 80,000 women are raped a year, and 400,000 women are sexually assaulted [in the UK]. It is a pandemic of violence against women that – given its scale – is not discussed nearly enough.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.


123 child victims of Internet sex abuse identified -- one just 19 days old, US officials say
January 3, 2013, NBC News
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/03/16327023-123-child-victims-of-internet-sex-abuse...

In just over a month, more than 120 sexually exploited children -- one just 19 days old -- were identified in an international operation that found them depicted in child pornography on the Internet, U.S. officials said. In Operation Sunflower, led by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation unit from Nov. 1 to Dec. 7, 123 victims of child sexual exploitation were identified, ICE Director John Morton said at a press conference in Washington. Of that group, 44 children had been living with their abusers, and 79 children were exploited by people outside of their home or were victimized as children and are now adults. Seventy female and 53 male victims [were] rescued; 110 of the victims were identified in 19 U.S. states and the rest were identified in six foreign countries. Of the victims identified during Operation Sunflower, five were under the age of 3, and one of those was just 19 days old. Thirty others were below the age of 10, officials said. Younger children were more often abused and more women were directly involved in carrying out the abuse. Additionally, the victims of child sexual exploitation increasingly have an international nexus, said John Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "The problem of child exploitation is hardly confined to the United States," Ryan said.

Note: If you are ready to look at just how ugly this gets, watch the Discovery Channel documentary showing child sex abuse rings at the highest levels of government, available here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.


Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light
January 2, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/03/paedophilia-bringing-dark-desires-light

A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see [pedophilia] very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders. There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm. So what, then, do we know? A paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children. But not all paedophiles are child molesters, and vice versa: by no means every paedophile acts on his impulses, and many people who sexually abuse children are not exclusively or primarily sexually attracted to them. In fact, "true" paedophiles are estimated by some experts to account for only 20% of sexual abusers. Nor are paedophiles necessarily violent: no firm links have so far been established between paedophilia and aggressive or psychotic symptoms. Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Pedophiles in Society, argues that "The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational." Legal definitions of paedophilia, needless to say, have no truck with such niceties, focusing on the offence, not the offender. The Sex Offenders Act 1997 defined paedophilia as a sexual relationship between an adult over 18 and a child below 16. There is much more we don't know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure. Even less is known about female paedophiles, thought to be responsible for maybe 5% of abuse against pre-pubescent children in the UK.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.


De Silva report on Finucane case turns spotlight on MI5
December 13, 2012, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20708070

The prime minister says a public inquiry into the state's involvement in the assassination of solicitor Pat Finucane would not produce a fuller picture "of what happened and what went wrong" than the review he commissioned from Sir Desmond de Silva QC. But by publishing on Thursday the review containing hundreds of secret and confidential documents, Mr Cameron seems unwittingly to have strengthened the campaign by the Finucane family and others for a public inquiry. The scale of collusion is quite shocking: 85% of intelligence that the [Ulster Defence Association] used to target people for murder originated from army and police sources 270 separate instances of security force leaks to the UDA between January 1987 and September 1989 Agents working for MI5, [Royal Ulster Constabulary] Special Branch and Military Intelligence were participating in criminality, presumably including murder. Neither a proper legal framework nor even guidelines to control the criminality of what are known as these "participating agents". The Northern Ireland Office was "not overly enthusiastic" about attempts by senior RUC and MI5 officers to introduce guidelines "despite representations at the highest levels." This issue was also considered extensively at cabinet level and ministers were clearly aware that the agents were being run without guidelines. The director general of the MI5 raised it with the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1988. All this was a "wilful and abject failure by successive Governments" to run agents lawfully.

Note: Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989) was a Belfast solicitor killed by UDA loyalist paramilitaries. Two public investigations concluded that elements of the British security forces colluded in Finucane's murder and there have been high-profile calls for a public inquiry. A review, led by Desmond Lorenz de Silva, released a report in December 2012 acknowledging that the case entailed "a wilful and abject failure by successive Governments"; however, Finucane's family called the De Silva report a "sham."


Why We Must Go Off the Platinum Coin Cliff
January 3, 2013, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-03/why-we-must-go-off-the-platinum-coin-cliff.html

President Barack Obama should avert a debt-limit crisis by issuing large-denomination platinum coins, as permitted by 31 USC 5112 [k]. In case you're not familiar with this idea: In general, the Treasury Department is not allowed to just print money if it feels like it. It must defer to the Federal Reserve's control of the money supply. But there is an exception: Platinum coins may be struck with whatever specifications the Treasury secretary sees fit, including denomination. This law was intended to allow the production of commemorative coins for collectors. But it can also be used to create large-denomination coins that Treasury can deposit with the Fed to finance payment of the government's bills, in lieu of issuing debt. What the law should say is that the executive branch may borrow to pay whatever obligations the federal government has, but may not print. Unfortunately, when we hit the debt ceiling, the situation will be backwards: The administration will not be allowed to borrow, but it can print in unlimited quantities. Monetizing deficits through direct presidential control of the currency, in lieu of borrowing, is ... no way to run a country. It's silly, and it's perfectly legal.

Note: For more on this crazy idea and the power of government to do whatever it wants in printing money, click here.


Guantanamo Bay's other anniversary: 110 years of a legal black hole
December 28, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/guantanamo-bay-usa

Why is Guantanamo so hard to close? Because it's been an integral part of American politics and policy for over a century. Gitmo's "legal black hole" opened in 1903 with a peculiar lease that affirmed Cuba's total sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay, but gave the US "complete jurisdiction and control", creat[ing] a space where neither nation's laws clearly applied. Gitmo's generations of detainees have been inextricable, if often invisible, parts of America's deepest conflicts: over immigration, public health, human rights, and national security. The Guantanamo Public Memory Project involves historians, archivists, activists, military personnel, and over a dozen universities in raising public awareness of Gitmo's long history and foster dialogue on the future of this place, its people, and its policies. Gitmo will be with us for years to come. The lease with Cuba is perpetual. Today, even as 166 men remain detained, the base is readying itself for its next opening. Facilities to house 25,000 potential refugees were recently completed. Our responsibility is to remember Guantanamo: to learn from its past, listen to the stories of all of its people, and always keep it in our sights.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.


Long lines at polls caused 49,000 not to vote
December 29, 2012, Orlando Sentinel
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-12-29/news/os-discouraged-voters-20121229_1_long-lines...

After working a 10-hour shift on Election Day, painter Richard Jordan headed to his east Orange County polling place at about 4:30 p.m. Based on more than a decade of voting, he expected to be in and out in minutes. Three hours later, Jordan's back ached, he was hungry, thirsty – and nowhere near a voting booth. So he left. As it turned out, his Goldenrod Road precinct didn't close until 11 p.m. Like Jordan, as many as 49,000 people across Central Florida were discouraged from voting because of long lines on Election Day, according to a researcher at Ohio State University who analyzed election data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel. About 30,000 of those discouraged voters – most of them in Orange and Osceola counties – likely would have backed Democratic President Barack Obama, according to Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at OSU. Allen's first analysis of the impact of long lines at the polls was done in 2004, when he estimated that more than 20,000 voters in Franklin County, Ohio, where Ohio State is located, were discouraged from casting ballots in the razor-close contest between President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry. His review indicated that for every additional hour that a precinct stayed open past 7 p.m. – a good indicator of line length throughout the day – turnout dropped by as much as 4.8 percent. The precincts with the longest lines, he found, had some of the lowest turnouts.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major problems with the US electoral system, click here.


Goldman's Tax-Free Building Loan Makes Liberty Bonds Tough Sell
January 11, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-11/goldman-s-tax-free-building-loan...

A tax-free bond program that provided below-market financing to build Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s headquarters is expiring while New York developers say the city's commercial real estate market still needs support. Congress created the Liberty Bond program in March 2002 with $8 billion in tax-exempt funds to rebuild lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The allocation ran out last month, and the tax exemption ended on Dec. 31 along with dozens of other breaks for manufacturers, energy companies and transit commuters. Critics that include affordable housing advocates say the bonds were little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp. Developers counter that, more than a decade after the attacks, low-cost financing remains necessary to help lower Manhattan's commercial market recover. "The Liberty Bonds made available to the World Trade Center site are only enough to support rebuilding a little less than 60 percent of the office space lost on 9/11," Larry Silverstein, the World Trade Center's developer, said in an e- mail. "In an ideal world, more such resources would be made available to help jump-start construction of the remaining 40 percent of the office space that was destroyed by terrorists." His company, Silverstein Properties Inc., received almost $3 billion through the Liberty Bond program to help redevelop the World Trade Center site. Goldman financed construction of its headquarters at 200 West St. with about $1.5 billion in Liberty Bond financing. Bank of America's tower across from Bryant Park was financed with $650 million in Liberty Bonds.

Note: Larry Silverstein can't stop complaining about terrorists despite the billions of dollars he made from the 9/11 attacks. For his admission on television that WTC 7 was brought down by controlled demolition at his command, not by terrorists, click here.


Tending the Body's Microbial Garden
April 7, 2012, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/science/studies-of-human-microbiome-yield-new-insights.html

For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home – collectively known as the microbiome. "I would like to lose the language of warfare," said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. "It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies." This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers. No one wants to abandon antibiotics outright. But by nurturing the invisible ecosystem in and on our bodies, doctors may be able to find other ways to fight infectious diseases, and with less harmful side effects. Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes. Last week, Dr. Segre and about 200 other scientists published the most ambitious survey of the human microbiome yet. Known as the Human Microbiome Project, it is based on examinations of 242 healthy people tracked over two years. The scientists sequenced the genetic material of bacteria recovered from 15 or more sites on their subjects' bodies, recovering more than five million genes. The project and other studies like it are revealing some of the ways in which our invisible residents shape our lives, from birth to death.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


Dr. Robert Lustig crusades against sugar
January 1, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Dr-Robert-Lustig-crusades-against-sugar-4160268.php

Dr. Robert Lustig [has just published] his first book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease - a scientific and passionate diatribe against processed food in general and sugar in particular. Sugar, he argues, is the major culprit behind the country's explosive obesity rates. Sugar has poisoned the food supply and is altering people's biology, compelling them to eat more and move less. Sugar consumption is not unlike nicotine or alcohol addiction, he says, and kicking the habit - and in turn, reducing the waistlines of Americans - can't be done by sheer individual willpower. In other words: don't blame the fat for being fat, and don't expect most of them to drop the weight on their own. In 2009, a presentation he gave on sugar was posted to YouTube and has since collected more than 3 million hits. What Lustig suggested, and has since broadcast as a public health disaster in the making, is that sugar is poisonous. His scientific theory is that sugar in large quantities drives up insulin secretion. Insulin triggers the body to either use sugar as fuel or store it as fat, and Lustig argues that fructose is more likely to end up as fat, especially in the liver. Plus, insulin blocks a hormone called leptin, which signals to the brain when the body needs more or less energy. A lack of leptin tells the brain that the body doesn't have enough energy, which sets off efforts to increase and preserve fuel. In other words, it makes people want to eat more and move less.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


A Mondavi branches out to water witching
December 30, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/A-Mondavi-branches-out-to-water-witching-4156378.php

Marc Mondavi is standing in the middle of his vineyard, talking to two copper rods. "Find water," he tells them as he walks slowly down a row of vines holding the rods pointed in front of him. As if possessed, the rods start moving until they cross over one another. "Here," he says. "Here's where the water is." Yeah, right. Isn't the whole ... thing a little undignified for a descendant of California wine royalty - not to mention the vice president of Charles Krug Winery? Try telling that to grape growers in Northern California, who repeatedly call on Mondavi to seek out water for their industrial-size wells. "I don't know how he does it, and I'm not going to learn," said John Franzia, whose Bronco Wine Co. in Ceres (Stanislaus County) grows 40,000 acres of grapes. "But I'm a believer because I have water." Franzia has 300 wells on his various properties, and Mondavi told him where to drill a number of them. Rombauer Vineyards, maker of a famous Chardonnay, uses him. Patriarch Koerner Rombauer even had rods custom-created for Mondavi. When Carmen Policy, former president and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, bought property in Yountville contingent on finding water, Mondavi was called in. He found a gusher. He's a bona fide water witch - someone who can find groundwater without the use of science. It's also known as water dowsing, divining or doodlebugging. Oftentimes dowsers use forked willow, peach or witch hazel branches as divining rods. It is speculated that there are thousands of dowsers operating in the United States.

Note: For a rich collection of fascinating news articles which question the nature of reality, click here.


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