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The bio-tech company Monsanto can sell genetically modified seeds before safety tests on them are completed, the US Supreme Court has ruled. A lower court had barred the sale of the modified alfalfa seeds until an environmental impact study could be carried out. But seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices decided that ruling was unconstitutional. The seed is modified to be resistant to Monsanto's brand of weedkiller. The US is the world's largest producer of alfalfa, a grass-like plant used as animal feed. It is the fourth most valuable crop grown in the country. Environmentalists had argued that there might be a risk of cross-pollination between genetically modified plants and neighbouring crops. They also argued over-use of the company's weedkiller Roundup, the chemical treatment the alfalfa is modified to be resistant to, could cause pollution of ground water and lead to resistant "super-weeds".
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers of genetically-modified organisms, click here.
A prominent Catholic priest, praised by Pope John Paul II as "an efficacious guide to youth," Father Marcial Maciel, sexually abused not only young seminarians under his control but also abused his own children, according to a lawsuit filed today in Connecticut by a man who claims to be Maciel's son. The priest's son, Raul Gonzalez, 30, says he thought his father worked for the CIA or an international oil company, until he saw the priest's picture in a 1997 magazine article detailing allegations of sexual abuse. Under Father Maciel, the Legion of Christ became one of the Roman Catholic Church's most prominent, conservative and financially successful orders. Among its many supporters is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. [The] Vatican ignored reports of sexual abuse by Maciel since the 1950s, until he was forced out of the Legion by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Citing his age, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declined to put Maciel on trial but he was ordered to a "life of prayer and penitence." [A] lawsuit filed by Maciel's alleged son claims the Vatican and the presiding Pope from the 1950's until 2002 "engaged in a conspiracy to conceal their knowledge of Maciel's serial delicts, including the repeated sexual abuse of children." The lawsuit claims Maciel "gained influence and protection from the Vatican through giving substantial monies to Vatican officials" and providing other benefits and gifts.
Note: For more on sex crimes and the Vatican, click here.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not just an industrial accident – it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself. It lays bare the hubris at the heart of capitalism. This Gulf coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it's about this: our culture's excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us. But as the BP disaster has revealed, nature is always more unpredictable than the most sophisticated mathematical and geological models imagine. In the arc of human history, the notion that nature is a machine for us to re-engineer at will is a relatively recent conceit. In her ground-breaking 1980 book The Death of Nature, the environmental historian Carolyn Merchant reminded readers that up until the 1600s, the Earth was alive. Europeans – like indigenous people the world over – believed the planet to be a living organism, full of life-giving powers but also wrathful tempers. There were, for this reason, strong taboos against actions that would deform and desecrate "the mother", including mining. [But] with nature now cast as a machine, devoid of mystery or divinity, its component parts [can] be dammed, extracted and remade with impunity.
Note: For illuminating insights into the nature of reality and the reality of nature, click here.
BP is accused of destroying the wildlife and coastline of America, but if you look back into history you find that BP did something even worse to America. They gave the world Ayatollah Khomeini. Back in 1951 the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company - which would later become BP - and its principal owner the British government, conspired to destroy democracy and install a western-controlled regime in Iran. The resulting anger and the repression that followed was one of the principal causes of the Iranian revolution in 1978/79 - out of which came the Islamist regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. And what's more, BP and the British government were so arrogant and bumblingly inept at handling the crisis that they had to persuade the Americans help them. They did this by pretending there was a Communist threat to Iran. The American government, led by President Eisenhower, believed them and the CIA were instructed to engineer a coup which removed the Iranian prime minister Mohamed Mossadegh. The CIA, led by Allen Dulles, ... sent the CIA's top Middle East agen, Kermit Roosevelt, to run Operation Ajax. The plan, drawn up by the British and the Americans, was to bribe the street gangs of Tehran to create chaos, and then install an army general, General Zahedi, as prime minister.
Despite President Barack Obama's promises of better safeguards for offshore drilling, federal regulators continue to approve plans for oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with minimal or no environmental analysis. The Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency's acting director announced tougher safety regulations for drilling in the Gulf, a McClatchy review of public records has discovered. Three of the projects were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact â€” the same waiver the MMS granted to BP for the ill-fated well that's been fouling the Gulf with crude for two months. Environmental groups [say] the administration is allowing oil companies to proceed with drilling plans that may be just as flawed as BP's, which concluded that a major spill was "unlikely" and that the company was equipped to manage even the worst-case blowout. "It's just outrageous," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation organization. "The whole world is screaming and ... they're just continuing to move this stuff through the system."
Note: For abundant reports from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Roughly five million liters of dispersants have now been used to break up the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, making this the largest use of such chemicals in U.S. history. And there is no doubt that dispersants are toxic: Both types of the dispersal compound COREXIT used in the Gulf so far are capable of killing or depressing the growth of a wide range of aquatic species, ranging from phytoplankton to fish. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for one, has become concerned about the toxicity of the most-used dispersant at the Gulf of Mexico spillâ€”COREXIT 9500â€”and ordered BP to look at alternatives. The problem? The EPA's industry-generated data is unclear as to the relative toxicity of various dispersants. "If you think the data on COREXIT is bad, try to find any decent toxicology data on the alternatives," says toxicologist Carys Mitchelmore of the University of Maryland's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, who helped write a 2005 National Research Council (NRC) report on dispersants. "I couldn't compare and contrast which one was more toxic than the other based on that."
Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, is said to be under threat with reports that the site has hundreds of thousands of classified cables containing explosive revelations. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked Pentagon papers in the 1970s showing government deceit over the Vietnam War, says he believes Mr Assange has reason to keep his whereabouts secret. "I think he would not be safe, even physically, entirely wherever he is. We have ... for the first time ever ... in any democratic country ... a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad that he thinks is associated with terrorism." As far fetched as Mr Ellsberg's claim sounds, the national president of Whistleblowers Australia, Peter Bennett, agrees Mr Assange's life may be at risk. "There is a lot of money to be made from wars. There is a lot of people who will become very, very wealthy through the course of this Afghan war," he said. "To stop anybody raising questions about its conduct would put those profits at risk and profit is a high motivation to stop somebody interfering with those profits. There is a serious chance that his wellbeing could be at risk."
Note: For more on the ever-increasing governmental threats to civil liberties, click here.
Imagine a siege of hydrocarbons spewing from deep below ground, polluting water and air, sickening animals and threatening the health of unsuspecting Americans. And no one knows how long it will last. No, we’re not talking about BP’s gulf oil spill. We’re talking about hydraulic fracturing of natural gas deposits. Fracking, as the practice is also known, may be coming to a drinking well or a water system near you. It involves blasting water, sand and chemicals, many of them toxic, into underground rock to extract oil or gas. "Gasland," a compelling documentary on HBO ..., traces hydraulic fracturing across 34 states from California to Louisiana to Pennsylvania. The exposé by filmmaker Josh Fox, alternately chilling and darkly humorous, won the 2010 Sundance Film Festival’s special jury prize for documentary. It details how former Vice President Dick Cheney, in partnership with the energy industry and drilling companies such as his former employer, Halliburton Corp., successfully pressured Congress in 2005 to exempt fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws. Each well requires the high-pressure injection of a cocktail of nearly 600 chemicals, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins, diluted in 1 million to 7 million gallons of water. Some 450,000 wells have been drilled nationwide.
CBS News has learned in an exclusive report that the State Department has awarded a part of what was formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide a contract worth more than $120 million for providing security services in Afghanistan. Private security firm U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was awarded the contract [on June 18], a State Department spokeswoman said. Under the contract, U.S. Training Center will provide "protective security services" at the new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said. The firm can begin work "immediately" and has to start within two months. The contract lasts a year but can be extended twice for three months at a time to last a maximum of 18 months. The awarding of the contract comes just more than four months after the government of Iraq ordered hundreds of Blackwater-linked security guards to leave the country within seven days or face possible arrest. The Justice Department is also trying to prosecute a case against five Blackwater guards who had opened fire on a crowded Baghdad street in 2007. The Justice Department's case or Blackwater's expulsion from Iraq didn't block U.S. Training Center from bidding on the multi-million dollar contract, the State Department spokeswoman said.
Eric Merola's "Burzynski" charts how a Texas medical doctor and biochemist developed Antineoplastons, genetic-targeted medicines, and with them began to treat a wide range of cancers, including difficult-to-treat brain malignancies, with remarkable and continuing success only to bring down the full force of the medical establishment, which has laid assault to him in the most stupefying, devious and costly manner. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish immigrant ... eventually won a 14-year struggle – during which he found himself threatened with life imprisonment and astronomical fines for fraud and other violations – to obtain FDA-approved clinical trials of his Antineoplastons, an ordeal that cost Burzynski $2.2 million in legal expenses and the FDA $60 million in taxpayers' money. The film makes the case that big pharmacy holds the FDA in its thrall. Burzynski's Antineoplastons, with their high success rate and lack of side effects, pose a significant threat to the trillion-dollar industry of treating cancer with the traditional methods of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Note: The Los Angeles Times now requires payment to view this article at this link. For the Burzynski clinic website, click here. You can watch part or all of this revealing movie at this link. For another powerful documentary featuring a variety of potential cancer cures that have been suppressed, click here. For excerpts from numerous major media articles with potential cancer cures that are being suppressed, click here.
Lawmakers writing the biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression may have a stake in the outcome. Eight of 11 senators and six of 22 House members on a conference committee writing the final legislation own stocks in financial companies affected by the legislation, disclosure statements released yesterday show. One senator and nine representatives who also sit on the committee got extensions of the filing deadline and havenâ€™t yet disclosed their holdings. â€śItâ€™s always a concern that personal interests influence legislation,â€ť said Lisa Gilbert, a lobbyist for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a Boston-based organization pushing for stronger financial regulations. Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire reported Bank of America stock holdings and a savings account valued between $1 million and $5 million. The 43 negotiators are trying to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation as they respond to an economic crisis that forced the U.S. to provide $700 billion in bailout funds for New York-based Citigroup Inc. ... Bank of America Corp. and other banks.
Note: For abundant reports from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks says it plans to release a secret military video of one of the deadliest US air strikes in Afghanistan in which scores of children are believed to have been killed. It said it fears it is under attack after the US authorities said they were searching for the site's founder, Julian Assange, following the arrest of a US soldier accused of leaking the Afghanistan video and another of a US attack in Baghdad in which civilians were killed. It says it is still working to prepare the film of the bombing of the Afghan village of Garani in May 2009. The video could prove to be extremely embarrassing to the US military. The US ... used weapons that create casualties over a wide area, including one-tonne bombs and others that burst in the air. But two US military officials told a newspaper last year that no one checked to see whether there were women and children in the buildings. In an email to supporters, Assange said WikiLeaks has the Garani video and "a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the US government". In his email, Assange also calls on supporters to protect the website from "attack" by the authorities following the detention of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, who was arrested in Iraq after admitting to a former hacker that he leaked the Garani and Baghdad videos to WikiLeaks.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.
Imposing roughly the same cautionary standards for cellphones as for fatty food or sugary soda, this city -- never shy about its opinions -- voted on [June 15] to require all retailers to display the amount of radiation each phone emits. The law -- believed to be the first of its kind in the nation -- came ... amid opposition from the wireless telephone industry, which views the labeling ordinance as a potential business-killing precedent. But the administration of Gavin Newsom, the city's ... mayor ... called the vote a major victory for cell phone shoppers' right to know. Under the law, retailers will be required to post materials -- in at least 11-point type -- next to phones, listing their specific absorption rate, which is the amount of radio waves absorbed into the cellphone user's body tissue. These so-called SAR rates can vary from phone to phone, but all phones sold in the United States must have a SAR rate no greater than 1.6 watts per kilogram, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the $190 billion wireless industry.
Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in a push that is expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans. Free checking accounts, which have been widely available for more than a decade, have been a boon to middle-class consumers and attracted low-income customers to the banking system for the first time. Customers will likely be required to pay new monthly maintenance fees on the most basic accounts that don't generate a lot of activity. To avoid a fee, customers will have to maintain certain account balances or frequently use other banking services, such as credit and debit cards, automated teller machines and online accounts. Some consumer advocates warn the new fees will whack consumers who now manage their bank accounts to avoid such charges. The transformation of checking accounts comes at a time when banks are bouncing back from the steepest financial losses in a generation and are facing new regulations. To accelerate that recovery and recoup losses from new banking rules, financial institutions are increasingly leaning on customers who don't now generate enough revenue for the bank.
Note: Why hasn't the federal government protected consumers from this sort of response by the banking industry to new regulations imposed after the massive taxpayer bailout of these failing corporations?
The Federal Reserve scored a political victory ... as Democrats mulling financial reform backed off measures that would expose monetary policy to audits and make the head of the New York Fed a political appointee. The U.S. House of Representatives had approved a bill in December that included a provision, championed by Texas Representative Ron Paul, that would have opened the Fed's interest rate policy to congressional audits. But in a statement on Tuesday, House Democrats participating in negotiations over a final financial reform bill signaled a willingness to live with a narrower Senate audit provision that does not cover monetary policy. The Fed, which has admitted it was too complacent about regulatory oversight in the run-up to the global financial crisis, has come under heavy fire for being too close to the banks it regulates. The House Democrats also said they would try to defeat a plan contained in the Senate bill under debate that would allow the U.S. president to name the head of the New York Fed, a step that Fed officials have argued would undercut the central bank's political independence. The U.S. central bank appears to be emerging largely unscathed by the regulatory reform efforts. It successfully fought off a Senate push last month that would have stripped it of its oversight of smaller banks, and is poised to emerge as the most powerful financial regulator when reforms are complete.
Note: A news search on both Google and Yahoo revealed that MSNBC was the only media to pick up this Reuters story, yet MSNBC then removed the story. Why might that be?
The number of volunteers increased last year despite the recession, the biggest one-year jump since 2003. The volunteer rate has been rising nationally for years, ... but the increase in the midst of a punishing recession surprised some experts. More than 63 million Americans volunteered last year, a bump of 1.6 million, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service, an independent federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and other programs. That's nearly 27 percent of all residents. Americans donated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2009, worth an estimated $169 billion to the economy. "Folks throughout the country are looking around their communities, seeing people in pain and turning toward the problems, not away from them," said Patrick Corvington, chief executive of CNCS. "It's an important shift: Folks want to get engaged, want to make a difference." At the same time, charitable giving dropped nearly 4 percent last year, to about $304 billion, according to a study by Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Many experts had predicted a greater drop because of the economy.
Julian Assange, the Australian-born face of the [whistleblowers' website] WikiLeaks, is in hiding overseas after the US military arrested one of its own soldiers, Bradley Manning, and accused him of leaking a a secret video of a US Army helicopter gunning down civilians in Iraq in 2007. The video was released on Wikileaks this year, and the US is now desperate to find Mr Assange before he leaks thousands of hugely embarrassing state diplomatic cables, which are believed to discuss the Middle East, its governments and leaders. Mr Assange, 38, is an enigmatic figure who moves frequently between countries and has bases in Iceland, Kenya, Australia and elsewhere. He was due to speak at a conference in Las Vegas on [June 11] but cancelled shortly before he was due to appear. At the same time [a US website] published an article claiming that Pentagon investigators were engaged in a "manhunt" for Mr Assange. There have even been suggestions that Mr Assange may be in physical danger. Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked a top secret US history of the Vietnam War dubbed the Pentagon Papers at the height of that war, told US television he had spoken to Mr Assange last week. "He â€¦ understood that it was not safe for him to come to this country," Mr Ellsberg said.
Note: For more of Daniel Ellsberg's assessment of the personal dangers to Assange from the Pentagon's manhunt for him, click here.
Mafia bosses planned to "compromise" Bobby and Edward Kennedy at a New York party in a plot involving Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, according to FBI documents. The intention was to work through "associates" of the two stars to lure the Kennedys, as well as Peter Lawford, their British actor brother-in-law and fellow member of Sinatra's "rat pack", into actions they would regret. The plot is thought to have fizzled out, but it is consistent with other accounts of the extraordinary links between [the Kennedys], the country's biggest stars and organised crime. Monroe, who died in 1962, allegedly had affairs with both Bobby Kennedy and John F Kennedy. It has previously been claimed that she passed on pillow talk from Bobby Kennedy to Sinatra who in turn passed them on to his mafia friends. As attorney general Robert Kennedy launched several investigations into the mob which it may have felt warranted a measure of retribution. From early on in his four-decade career in the senate, Edward Kennedy, the youngest of the three brothers, was known for his affairs with women and extravagant drinking habits. Papers released earlier this year the library of former president Richard Nixon showed that in the early 1970s he discussed with the aides the possibility of discrediting Kennedy by leaking news of his infidelities. Agents in Milwaukee took the information from an unidentified source "who had furnished reliable information in the past," according to the memo. However, the informant could not verify the truth of any of the rumor's details.
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves. The previously unknown deposits â€” including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium â€” are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world. American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. Just last year, Afghanistanâ€™s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced. American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistanâ€™s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.
Note: With the highly sophisticated equipment now available for finding minerals underground, do you really think this was not known a while back? For an analysis of this "discovery," click here.
A Sunday Times investigation has exposed Japan for bribing small nations with cash and prostitutes to gain their support for the mass slaughter of whales. The undercover investigation found officials from six countries were willing to consider selling their votes on the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The revelations come as Japan seeks to break the 24-year moratorium on commercial whaling. An IWC meeting that will decide the fate of thousands of whales, including endangered species, begins this month in Morocco. Japan denies buying the votes of IWC members. However, The Sunday Times filmed officials from pro-whaling governments admitting: - They voted with the whalers because of the large amounts of aid from Japan. One said he was not sure if his country had any whales in its territorial waters. Others are landlocked. â€” They receive cash payments in envelopes at IWC meetings from Japanese officials who pay their travel and hotel bills. - One disclosed that call girls were offered when fisheries ministers and civil servants visited Japan for meetings. Barry Gardiner, an MP and former Labour biodiversity minister, said the investigation revealed â€śdisgraceful, shady practiceâ€ť, which is â€śeffectively buying votesâ€ť.
Note: For key articles from reliable sources on the amazing qualities and sad human abuse of marine mammals, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.