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US Senate Torture Report Reveals Blatant Lies, Congress Bows to Banks, Freeing Child Slaves
December 15, 2014

Dear friends,

Senate Torture Report Reveals Lies

Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the US Senate report that details lies about the torture program and how torture is worthless in the war on terror, the new spending bill that congress passed to pave the way for another bank bailout, the militarized SWAT team raids that systematically terrorize innocent people, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the Nobel Prize winner that has freed hundreds of thousands of children from slavery in cloth weaving factories, the invention of inexpensive solar panel stickers, the growing responsible banking movement in US city governments, and more. You can also skip to this section now.

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 spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Mark Bailey and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Special note: Read a hopeful article and watch a related video on research showing that cancer can be controlled with diet. Read an informative article on how the Koch brothers are pumping tens of millions of dollars into a data company that's developing detailed, state-of-the-art profiles of 250 million Americans. Watch an excellent, well documented presentation by whistleblower Barbara Honegger on the 9/11 Pentagon attack. Watch a great TED talk on race titled "Don't Be Color Blind, Be Color Brave." Read an incisive article titled "The New Cold War Policy Has Backfired" showing how America's war policy is failing.

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Senate Report Rejects Claim on Hunt for Bin Laden
December 9, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/world/senate-report-raises-doubts...

Months before the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly prepared a public-relations plan that would stress that information gathered from its disputed interrogation program had played a critical role in the hunt. Starting the day after the raid, agency officials in classified briefings made that point to Congress. But in page after page of previously classified evidence, the Senate Intelligence Committee report on C.I.A. torture, released Tuesday, rejects the notion that torturing detainees contributed to finding Bin Laden. The crucial breakthrough in the hunt was the identification of ... Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. The United States had started wiretapping a phone number associated with Mr. Kuwaiti by late 2001. It was in 2004 that the C.I.A. came to realize that it should focus on finding Mr. Kuwaiti as part of the hunt for Bin Laden. [A man named] Hassan Ghul, who had been captured in Iraqi Kurdistan ... provided "the most accurate" intelligence that the agency produced about Mr. Kuwaiti's role and ties to Bin Laden. Mr. Ghul provided all the important information about [Mr. Kuwaiti] before he was subjected to any torture techniques. During that [initial] two-day period in January 2004, "He opened up right away and was cooperative from the outset." Nevertheless, the C.I.A. then decided to torture Mr. Ghul. During and after that treatment, he provided "no actionable threat information."

Note: Read revealing excerpts from this most disturbing report.


CIA interrogations report sparks prosecution calls
December 10, 2014, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30407950

The UN and human rights groups have called for the prosecution of US officials involved in what a Senate report called the "brutal" CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said that senior officials from the administration of George W Bush who planned and sanctioned crimes must be prosecuted, as well as CIA and US government officials responsible for torture. "As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice," Mr Emmerson said in a statement made from Geneva. Correspondents say that the chances of prosecuting members of the Bush administration are unlikely. Several countries suspected to have hosted [CIA torture] sites reacted strongly to the publication. Poland's former president [Aleksander Kwasniewski] has publicly acknowledged for the first time [that] his country hosted a secret CIA prison. Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius called on the US to say whether CIA used his country to interrogate prisoners. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani called the report "shocking", saying the actions "violated all accepted norms of human rights in the world".

Note: Read revealing excerpts from this most disturbing report. For more, read how the CIA teamed up with the UK's MI6 to kidnap people and deliver them to be tortured at a Libyan site in 2004. Could this US program have happened without strong international support?


10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture
December 10, 2014, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/10-craziest-things-in-the...

The release of the Feinstein report [places] the end of the American "torture" regime in January of 2009. I'm not sure I'm buying that the U.S. government suddenly got religion about mistreatment of terror suspects once Obama took office, particularly since this government massively accelerated a drone-assassination program. Still, the end result [shows] that we approved behaviors far worse, and far weirder, than was ever admitted to previously. CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding ... to put them in a talking mood. The interrogators gave pet names to all of their ... permitted techniques, as outlined in the report: (1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard. A small confinement box ... had a width of 21 inches, a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet. They didn't just put people in these boxes. They [added] insects. Detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a "rough takedown" [wherein] five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside of his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and [repeatedly] slapped and punched. Gul Rahman was said to have died after one of these choreographed scare-scenes.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.


Warren leads liberal Democrats' rebellion over provisions in $1 trillion spending bill
December 10, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/warren-leads-liberal...

Congressional liberals rebelled Wednesday against a must-pass spending bill that would ... roll back critical limits on Wall Street and sharply increase the influence of wealthy campaign donors. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a popular figure on the left, led the insurrection with a speech on the Senate floor, calling the $1.01 trillion spending bill "the worst of government for the rich and powerful." Meanwhile, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, "I don't think the vast majority of Democrats or even Republicans are going to look too kindly on a Congress that's ready to go back and start doing the bidding of Wall Street interests again." On the Senate floor, Warren said the changes in the spending bill "would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system." She added: "These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs." Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who opposed the 2013 bill, said he would vote against the new spending measure in its current form. The change to Dodd-Frank coupled with the campaign finance provision makes for a toxic blend, he said. Van Hollen was one of the few Democrats willing to risk a government shutdown by blocking the bill. Pressed by reporters, even Warren would not make that commitment.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.


Spending deal would allow wealthy donors to dramatically increase giving to national parties
December 9, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/09/spending...

The end-of-year spending bill deal crafted by congressional leaders Tuesday would dramatically expand the amount of money that wealthy political donors could inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. The language – inserted on page 1,599 of the 1,603-page bill – would allow ... a donor who gave the maximum $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee ... to donate another $291,600 on top of that to the party's additional arms -- a total of $324,000, ten times the current limit. In a two-year election cycle, a couple could give $1,296,000 to a party's various accounts. "These provisions have never been considered by the House or Senate, and were never even publicly mentioned before today," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the advocacy group Democracy 21. Adam Smith, spokesman for the group Every Voice, said in a statement, "Very few people can write checks almost twice the size of the country's median income, but that's what this provision will allow. It gives the biggest donors another opportunity to influence politics and buys them more access to politicians." Campaign finance experts were taken aback by the scope of the measure, rumors of which first surfaced Tuesday, hours before the deal was finalized.

Note: For more along these lines, see these summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption and income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


New ACLU report takes a snapshot of police militarization in the United States
June 24, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/06/24/new-aclu-report...

The American Civil Liberties Union has released the results of its year-long study of police militarization. The study looked at 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies in 2011-2012. Among the notable findings: 62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs. Just 7 percent of SWAT raids were "for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios." In at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studied, no contraband of any kind was found. This figure could be as high as 65 percent. SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color. 65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home. In over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon, the presence of which was cited as the reason for the violent tactics. SWAT teams today are overwhelmingly used to investigate people who are still only suspected of committing nonviolent consensual crimes. And because these raids often involve forced entry into homes, often at night, they're actually creating violence and confrontation where there was none before. In short, we have police departments that are increasingly using violent, confrontational tactics to break into private homes for increasingly low-level crimes, and they seem to believe that the public has no right to know the specifics of when, how and why those tactics are being used.

Note: For more along these lines, see this deeply revealing NPR report about The Pentagon's massive Program 1033 to widely distribute military hardware to domestic police forces.


Ex-CIA Operative Says Prison Was Punishment for Whistleblowing on Torture
December 9, 2014, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/International/cia-operative-prison...

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee connected to its interrogation program to go to prison. But he was prosecuted for providing information to reporters, not for anything connected to ... "torture." No other person connected to the program has been charged with a crime, after the Justice Department said their actions had been approved legally or that there was not sufficient admissible evidence in a couple cases of potential wrongdoing, even in light of the death of two detainees in the early 2000s. Kiriakou was the first person with direct knowledge of the CIA interrogation program to publicly reveal its existence, in an interview with ABC News in 2007. He is now serving a nearly-three-year prison sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, but he says that's only what the government wants people to believe. "In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA's illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official U.S. government policy," Kiriakou said in a letter last May from a prison in Loretto, Penn. In his groundbreaking interview with ABC News and later with other news outlets, Kiriakou described the details of the program. In some cases, it turned out that even Kiriakou ... was misled or kept in the dark about the extent of the program.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.


Feinstein prevails in long battle to release torture report
December 9, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Feinstein-s-long-battle-to-release...

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's last act as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee ... had Washington's most powerful forces arrayed against her. At the end ... Feinstein said she was more determined than ever to release the summary of a 6,700-page report on the CIA's use of torture after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "She has been vilified, the committee was spied on, the CIA and its supporters ran what amounted to a domestic disinformation campaign against the report and the committee," said Stephen Rickard, executive director of the Open Society Policy Center, a civil liberties and human rights group in Washington. "She did her job." Her job was to provide congressional oversight of an executive branch agency, and she met prolonged and intense resistance. Feinstein called the report "the most significant and comprehensive oversight report in the committee's history, and perhaps in that of the U.S. Senate." The Senate panel examined nearly 6.3 million pages of documents, without Republican cooperation and against the resistance of the CIA, which went so far as to hack Intelligence Committee computers and threaten to bring criminal charges against the staff. Although President Obama insisted he wanted the report made public, administration officials reportedly pressed for redactions that Senate Democrats said would make the report meaningless.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.


Talking to James Risen About Pay Any Price, the War on Terror and Press Freedoms
November 25, 2014, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/11/25/talking-james-risen-pay...

James Risen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for exposing the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, has [been] threatened with prison by the Obama Justice Department. [This] is almost certainly the vindictive by-product of the U.S. government's anger over his NSA reporting. He has published a new book on the War on Terror entitled Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. Risen's [critique] is one of the first to offer large amounts of original reporting on ... a particular part of the War on Terror, namely the way in which economic motives, what [he] calls the Homeland Security Industrial Complex, has driven a huge part of the war. GLENN GREENWALD: How much of this economic motive is the cause of the fact that we've now been at war for 13 years? RISEN: It plays a really central role. After so many years there's ... a post-9/11 mercenary class that's developed that have invested. Not just people who are making money, but people who are in the government. Their status and their power within the government are invested in continuing the war. There's very little debate about whether to continue the war. When Dick Cheney said, "the gloves come off," ... that really meant, "We're going to deregulate national security, and we're going to take off all the rules that were imposed in the '70s after Watergate." That was just a dramatic change. It's been extended to this whole new homeland security apparatus. People think that terrorism is an existential threat, even though it's not, and so they're willing to go along with all this.

Note: The complete interview at the link above provides details of James Risen's fight to preserve journalistic integrity against a corrupted government's attempts to manipulate the news. For more on Risen's deeply revealing investigation of the Homeland Security Industrial Complex, see this recent NPR interview.


Undercover CHP officer pulls gun at Oakland protest after outing
December 11, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Undercover-cops-outed-attacked...

An undercover California Highway Patrol officer who was attempting to infiltrate a demonstration against police brutality in Oakland pulled a gun on the protesters after he and his partner were outed. "About 50 people were marching near Lake Merritt just after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when some of the demonstrators began calling out two men who were walking with the group," said [news photographer] Michael Short. "Just as we turned up 27th Street, the crowd started yelling at these two guys, saying they were undercover cops," Short said Thursday. "Somebody snatched a hat off the shorter guy's head and he was fumbling around for it. A guy ran up behind him, knocked him down on the ground. The crowd began surging on them. "The other taller guy... as the crowd started surging on them, he pulled out a gun." Chief Browne said the officer also pulled out a badge ... though Short, other members of the media and protesters reported that they did not see a badge. The officers, who Browne said he is not identifying, had been trailing the crowd in an unmarked car and began following on foot. Short said the officers were wearing street clothes and had their faces covered with bandannas. Browne confirmed this and ... said it was common. Several protesters took to Twitter to say that the officers had actually instigated acts of vandalism and were banging on windows alongside others.

Note: Here is proof that the police are infiltrating marches by protesters and wearing masks to cover their identities. Often those promoting violence are using masks. Could the police in some instances actually be provoking violence among protesters to discredit the movement?


Key Articles From Years Past


Before Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin
March 15, 2009, NPR
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101719889

When [Claudette Colvin] was 15, she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person – nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing. Most people know about Parks and the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott that began in 1955, but few know that ... Colvin was the first to really challenge the law. She remembers taking the bus home from high school on March 2, 1955. The bus driver ordered her to get up and she refused, saying she'd paid her fare. Two police officers put her in handcuffs and arrested her. Now her story is the subject of a new book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Author Phil Hoose says that ... there was this teenager, nine months before Rosa Parks, "in the same city, in the same bus system, with very tough consequences, hauled off the bus, handcuffed, jailed and nobody really knew about it." He also believes Colvin is important because she challenged the law in ... the court case that successfully overturned bus segregation laws in Montgomery and Alabama. People may think that Parks' action was spontaneous, but black civic leaders had been thinking about what to do about the Montgomery buses for years. The stories of Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are ... the stories of people in their 30s and 40s. Colvin was 15. Hoose feels his book will bring a fresh teen's perspective to the struggle to end segregation.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties articles from reliable major media sources.


Inspiring Articles


Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi: an engineer of freedom
October 21, 2014, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent...

Kailash Satyarthi has ... just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi is a hero to many people. [He] has driven the global movement to end child labor. Because of his work, we now know there are 168 million child laborers worldwide. They used to be invisible. Kailash started risking his life for these children more than 30 years ago, when he broke into Indian factories to emancipate them. Early footage of him doing this "raid and rescue" work showed the world that child slavery exists. Along with his wife, Sumedha, he helped those he rescued to recover and find their place in the world, and he put their stories on the global stage, shaming lawmakers and companies into acknowledging the systemic exploitation of children for economic gain. GoodWeave [is] an organization that he created in 1994. At that time there were over 1 million children weaving carpets in South Asia alone. In exchange for proving that there were no children in their supply chains, carpet sellers could put the GoodWeave label on their products. Since 1995, more than 11 million carpets bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, reducing child labor in the carpet industry by an estimated 75 percent. GoodWeave aims to emancipate the last 250,000 children working the carpet looms by 2020.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Engineer Reimagines Solar Energy With Stick-On Panels
December 3, 2014, National Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/12/141203-xiaolin-zheng-emerging-explorer-solar

In Xiaolin Zheng's version of the future, installing solar panels could be as simple as applying a sticker. "In China, the rooftops of many buildings are packed with solar energy devices," says Zheng. "One day my father mentioned how great it would be if a building's entire surface could be used for solar power, not just the roof, but also walls and windows." An invention from Zheng's research team at Stanford University might someday make that possible. They have created a type of solar cell that is thin, flexible, and adhesive–a solar sticker. "Our new technique lets us treat the solar cells like a pizza," explains Zheng. "When you bake pizza, you use a metal pan that can tolerate high temperatures. But when it's time to distribute the pizza economically, it's placed in a paper box." Working with her students, Zheng set out to fabricate solar cells on a silicone or glass surface as usual, but she inserted a metallic layer between the cell and the surface. After some trial and error, the team was finally able to peel away the metallic layer from the surface. The result was ... skinny, bendable cells [that] can produce the same amount of electricity as rigid ones. According to Zheng. "The silicon wafers come through the process clean and shiny. So just like a pizza pan, they can be used again and again, which translates to savings." And because the solar stickers are lighter than conventional panels, they will be easier and less expensive to install.

Note: Watch a video of this amazing process at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Responsible Banking Is Responsible Government
February 27, 2012, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-alarcon/responsible-banking_b_1301026.html

Local governments, both big and small, are debating and approving "responsible banking ordinances" to hold banks accountable for how they treat people living in each city. The core tenet of each ordinance is simple: improve the availability of information that banks provide cities when we consider depositing taxpayer dollars and awarding contracts for new financial services. Responsible banking ordinances have recently been approved or are being considered in cities including New York, Seattle, Berkeley, Boston, Portland, Kansas City and San Francisco (responsible banking laws have been on the books in Cleveland and Philadelphia for years). The Los Angeles responsible banking ordinance will create a public, transparent process for gathering information about each bank's history of service in the community. The City of Los Angeles has a $30 billion banking portfolio, and the city's decision-makers are charged with selecting the financial institutions that will be allowed to profit from conducting transactions ... on behalf of our taxpayers. Progress toward banking responsibility is not coming without a fight. Big banks have been visiting city council offices [and have] argued that their investment divisions should not be held accountable. There is a good reason that responsible banking ordinances are being approved across the country -- banking responsibly is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

Note: The responsible banking ordinance movement has gained momentum since the above article was written about Los Angeles' inspiring success. In 2013, Minneapolis, MN became the 10th major US city to join this movement. In 2014, New York City beat the bankers in court to keep their ordinance alive. Want to see this model used by your city government?


12-Year-Old Spiritual Prodigy Akiane
2006-12-14, CNN Video Clip
http://edition.cnn.com/video/bestoftv/2006/12/14/beck.akiane.child.prodigy.cn...

A self taught artist who says her inspiration comes from above.... [These] Paintings ... are spiritual, emotional, and created by a 12-year-old prodigy. Her name is Akiane. She picked up the brush when she was just six years old, but the visions -- what she calls inspiration from God -- started when she was just four. She began to describe to her mother in great detail her visits to heaven. "All the colors were out of this world. There are hundreds and millions of more colors that we don't know yet." Her mother remarkably was an atheist. The concept of God [was] never discussed in their home. [Akiane:] "I explained to her you have to believe me. This is a different way ... a way that's so mysterious that God wants me to go through." To four-year-old Akiane, God quickly became a part of her daily life, and eventually became a part of her family's life, too. Her talent doesn't stop at her art work. Only a few months ago she decided to learn the piano and is now already composing her own music. But it is her painting that truly captures the incredible spirituality of this young girl. The visions to me [are] like he's explaining himself to me and what he does. She is a self taught painter, and as she grows older her paintings grow more expressive, more colorful, [and] more complex. A girl -- who armed only with a brush and some paints -- is determined to capture the essence of her faith, and hopefully along the way inspire others to feel the same way. [Akiane:] "It's just so beautiful! The most important things in this world is faith, because without faith you cannot communicate with God."

Note: The above CNN link takes you to a three-minute video (after commercial) showing the incredible talents of this amazingly gifted girl. If the link fails, click here. For her website, click here. For a collection of videos showing Akiane and her inspiration as she gets older, click here.


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Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The section below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.

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