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 PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team 29/08/2007

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Nombre de messages : 8069
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Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

29082007
MessagePEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team 29/08/2007

This
message
is available online at http://www.WantToKnow.info/070829nobidcontractsgaspricefixingiraqwhistleblowers



Dear friends,

Below
are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have
missed.
These news articles include revealing information on the rise in no-bid
contracts by the U.S. Federal Government, gasoline price-fixing by major
oil companies, retaliation against Iraq corruption whistleblowers, and
more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed
at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with
limited
time.
By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build a brighter
future.

With
best wishes,

Tod Fletcher and Fred
Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team


Iraq corruption whistleblowers face
penalties


August 25, 2007, MSNBC/Associated
Press



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20430153/

One
after
another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption
in
the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.
Or worse. For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald
Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security
compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods. He
had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling
the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all
of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. The buyers
were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and
Iraqi embassy and ministry employees. The seller, he claimed, was the
Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co. “It was a
Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”
So
Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other
intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t
know whom to trust in Iraq. For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in
Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad. Congress gave
more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it
has
disappeared. “If you do it, you will be destroyed,” said
William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of
Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers
Coalition. “Reconstruction is so rife with corruption.
Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If
they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs.
They will lose everything,”
Weaver said.



Music Manager, Film Producer Dies at
64


August 25, 2007, Washington
Post



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/25/AR2007082501113.html

Aaron
Russo, who managed Bette Midler and went on to produce such films as
"Trading Places," has died. He was 64. Russo died from cancer before dawn
on Friday, surrounded by family at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said
Heidi
Gregg. Russo had been battling the disease for nearly six years. "He was
my
best friend for 27 years," said Gregg. "Aaron was a freedom fighter, a
film
maker and a lover of life." Russo ... began promoting rock and roll shows
at a local theater while still in high school. He later ... promoted some
of the most successful rock acts of the 1960s including Janis Joplin and
The Grateful Dead. In the 1970s, Russo managed Bette Midler, producing
the
Tony award winning "Clams on the Half-Shell Revue" starring the singer.
Russo eventually turned to producing feature films including "The Rose"
which starred Midler in 1979 as a self destructive rock star, and later
"Trading Places" in 1983 which starred Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.
Russo was also a long time political activist. In 2006, Russo
finished work on a documentary titled "America:
Freedom to Fascism," which was billed as an expose of the Internal
Revenue Service.
"He was an absolutely amazing man," said Ilona
Urban, his press secretary. "He was pointed and once he knew there was a
direction to go, you couldn't get him to turn left or right. He was very
committed."

Note:
Aaron Russo was one of the few respected film makers who dared to reveal
some of the major cover-ups going on behind the scenes in the world of
banking and more. To view his highly popular, five-star-rated 2006
documentary on this topic, America: From Freedom to Fascism, click
here.


Telecom Firms Helped With Government's
Warrantless Wiretaps


August 24, 2007, Washington
Post



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/23/AR2007082302056.html

The Bush
administration acknowledged for the first time that telecommunications
companies assisted the government's warrantless surveillance program and
were being sued as a result, an admission some legal experts say could
complicate the government's bid to halt numerous lawsuits challenging the
program's legality. "[U]nder the president's program, the terrorist
surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us," Director of
National Intelligence Mike McConnell said in an interview with the El
Paso
Times. His statement could help plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits against
the telecom companies, which allege that the companies participated in a
wiretapping program that violated Americans' privacy rights. David Kris,
a
former Justice Department official, ... said McConnell's admission makes
it
difficult to argue that the phone companies' cooperation with the
government is a state secret. "It's going to be tough to continue
to call it 'alleged' when he's just admitted it," Kris said. McConnell
has
just added to "the list of publicly available facts that are no longer
state secrets," increasing the plaintiffs' chances that their cases can
proceed
, Kris said. McConnell's statement "does serious damage
to
the government's state secrets claims that are at the heart of its
defenses," said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Bruce
Fein, an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration,
said that McConnell's disclosure shows that "an important element of a
program can be discussed publicly and openly without endangering the
nation. These Cassandran cries that the earth is going to fall every time
you have a discussion simply are not borne out by the facts," he
said.


Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise

August 22, 2007, Washington
Post



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/22/AR2007082200049.html

Last
year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security's
counter-narcotics
office took a shortcut that has become common at federal agencies: They
hired help through a no-bid contract. And the firm they hired showed them
how to do it. A contract worth up to $579,000 was awarded to the
consultant's firm in September.
Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract
illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition
to secure the best deals for products and services. A recent
congressional
report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full
and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a
$60
billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which
officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep
competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government
sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended
contracts. Government auditors say the result is often higher prices for
taxpayers and an undue reliance on a limited number of contractors. "The
rapid growth in no-bid and limited-competition contracts has made full
and
open competition the exception, not the rule," according to the report,
by
the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Keith Ashdown, chief
investigator at Taxpayers for Common
Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said that in many cases,
officials are simply choosing favored contractors as part of a
"club mentality." "Contracting officials are throwing out decades of work
to develop fair and sensible rules to promote competition," Ashdown said.
"Government officials are skirting the rules in favor of expediency or
their favored contractors."



Suit: Oil giants fixed prices for 23,000 gas
station owners


August 22, 2007, USA
Today
/Associated Press



http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2007-08-22-gas-lawsuit_N.htm

Nearly
two dozen gas station owners in California [have] sued Shell Oil, Chevron
(CVX) and Saudi Refining ... claiming the companies conspired to fix
prices for 23,000 franchise owners nationwide. The plaintiffs ... say
chairmen of the three oil companies met privately nearly every month
starting in March 1996 for the "purpose of forming and organizing a
combination." The lawsuit alleges executives destroyed documents from the
meetings, and a defunct joint venture violated U.S. antitrust laws and
caused artificially high wholesale gas prices in nearly every state from
1999 to 2001. The lawsuit hinges on a marketing deal that, plaintiffs
say,
allowed former rivals to collude on prices starting in 1998, when Shell
and
Texaco formed Equilon Enterprises [and] Motiva Enterprises LLC. Equilon
and
Motiva began operating when ... crude oil prices hit their lowest levels
since the Great Depression, according to ... lawyer Joseph M. Alioto, who
[represents] the plaintiffs. Yet gas prices soared for franchise
owners, forcing them to pass on the cost to consumers or cut profit
margins. "These executives get together and say, 'OK, we're going to
raise
Texaco's price to Shell's price, then we're going to raise both of them
50
to 75%, and we're going to do it after we've already had all these cost
savings,'"
Alioto said. [He] argues wholesale prices were higher
by at least 20 cents a gallon and possibly as much as 40 cents per gallon
from 1999 to 2001. Station owners had little choice but to pay higher
prices. Franchises typically sign long-term contracts with oil suppliers,
making it tough to switch to another brand or an independent
supplier.


Some Amish in Mich. resist electronic ID tags
for cattle


August 19, 2007, Associated
Press



http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/michigan/index.ssf?/base/news-46/1187539862261260.xml

Some
Amish farmers say a state requirement that they tag cattle with
electronic
chips is a violation of their religious beliefs. Last year, the state
Department of Agriculture announced that Michigan cattle leaving farms
must be tagged in the ear with electronic identification
as part
of an effort to combat bovine tuberculosis. That has drawn some
resistance
from the Amish, who typically shun technology. In April, Glen Mast and
other Amish farmers appeared before the state Senate Appropriations
Committee, urging it to block the program. "We're never happier than when
we're just left alone," said Mast, whose farm in Isabella County operates
without electricity. "That's all we're asking." State officials say the
ability to trace food sources is increasingly important in the global
economy. State officials said cattle are to be tagged if they are leaving
the farm to be sold or change ownership. Kevin Kirk, who coordinates the
program for the state agriculture department, said Amish farmers produced
a "very, very small" percentage of the nearly 397 million pounds of beef
sold by Michigan farmers last year. "Our No. 1 goal is animal health,
human health and food safety," Kirk said. "I know it's hard sometimes to
trust the government, but that's what we're asking is trust us." So far,
the state has not forced the Amish to use the electronic tags but said
they can wait until the animals arrive at an auction before having them
applied, the newspaper said. Animal identification has traditionally
involved a plastic or metal tag, or tattoo. Electronic ID uses a radio
frequency device with a number unique to each animal, and speeds up the
ability to locate or trace animals.

Note:
To read an article that explains in more depth how the attitude of the
Amish to the use of electronic chips on their cattle is that it is the
"mark of the beast" in Bible prophecy, click
here.



Robot wars are a reality

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PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team 29/08/2007 :: Commentaires

August 18, 2007, Guardian (One of
the U.K.'s leading newspapers)



http://www.guardian.co.uk/armstrade/story/0,,2151357,00.html

The
deployment of the first armed battlefield robots in Iraq is the latest
step on a dangerous path - we are sleepwalking into a brave new world
where robots decide who, where and when to kill.
Robots are
integral to [the U.S.'s] $230bn future combat systems project, a massive
plan to develop unmanned vehicles that can strike from the air, under the
sea and on land. Congress has set a goal of having one-third of ground
combat vehicles unmanned by 2015. Over 4,000 robots are serving in Iraq
at
present, others in Afghanistan. And now they are armed. Predators and the
more deadly Reaper robot attack planes have flown many missions ... with
inevitable civilian deaths, yet working with remote-controlled or
semi-autonomous machines carries only the same ethical responsibilities
as
a traditional air strike. But fully autonomous robots that make
their own decisions about lethality are high on the US military
agenda.
They are cheap to manufacture, require less personnel
and, according to the navy, perform better in complex missions. This is
dangerous new territory for warfare, yet there are no new ethical codes
or
guidelines in place. Policymakers seem to have an understanding of
[Artificial Intelligence] that lies in the realms of science fiction and
myth. Their answer to the ethical problems is simply, "Let men target
men"
and "Let machines target other machines". In reality, a robot could not
pinpoint a weapon without pinpointing the person using it or even
discriminate between weapons and non-weapons. Autonomous robots are not
like other weapons. We are going to give decisions on human fatality to
machines that are not bright enough to be called stupid.



No buyer for voting machine
unit


August 16, 2007, BBC


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6950024.stm

US cash
dispenser and security company Diebold has admitted that it has failed to
find a buyer for its troubled electronic voting machine business.
Diebold and other manufacturers of such voting machines have been
hit by criticism that they are unreliable and vulnerable to tampering.
Growing unease about the machines in the US has led to a number of
delayed
orders from states
. Diebold said that as a result, its 2007
revenues would fall $120m (£61m). It added that it would now allow the
unit to operate more independently, with a separate board of directors
and, possibly, a new management structure. Diebold said it had not ruled
out another attempt at a full or partial sale. Some 50 million Americans,
about 30% of registered voters, used electronic machines to cast their
vote in the 2004 presidential election. The machines were introduced in
the aftermath of the problems caused by antiquated punch-card systems in
the 2000 presidential election. However, there has since been growing
concern that electronic machines may be equally as unreliable.
Note:
For more reliable information on the serious problems with the
new
electronic voting machines, click here.



When a US soldier in Iraq won't
soldier


August 13, 2007, Christian Science
Monitor



http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0813/p20s01-usmi.html

No one
looked comfortable at the sentencing hearing. Not family and friends who
packed the US military courtroom's straight-backed benches. Not the
rookie Army prosecutor in stiff dress greens who flushed with every "Your
Honor." Not Judge R. Peter Masterton, whose usually animated face was now
grave. And not the convicted deserter – Army medic Agustín Aguayo – on
the
stand in a US military court in central Germany last March, pleading for
understanding. "I'm sorry for the trouble my conscience has caused my
unit," Private 1st Class Aguayo said, his voice thick with
emotion. "I tried to obey the rules, but in the end [the problem]
was at the very core of my being."
Aguayo craned to face the
judge. "When I hear my sergeants talking about slashing people's
throats," he said, crying openly, "if I'm not a conscientious objector,
what am I when I'm feeling all this pain when people talk about
violence?"
Every war has its deserters, troops who abandon their
posts. And every war has its converts to pacifism. The Defense Department

reports that 5,361 active-duty service members deserted the US Armed
Forces
last year; nearly 37,000 since October 2001. In today's all-volunteer
force, that means a desertion rate of less than half a percent – much
lower than the Vietnam War draft era, when it reached a 1971 high of 7.4
percent. In the past six years, 325 Army soldiers have applied to be
recognized as conscientious objectors, soldiers who no longer believe in
war; 58 percent were accepted. Still, Aguayo's story is revealing of the
mental battles of these thousands who change their minds during a bloody
war – and, arguably, of many who don't.
Note:
For a powerful statement about the reality of war written by a highly
decorated U.S. general, click
here.



US doles out millions for street
cameras


August 12, 2007, Boston
Globe



http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/08/12/us_doles_out_millions_for_street_cameras/

The
Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local
governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks,
accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of
freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy
rights advocates warn. The department ... has doled out millions on
surveillance cameras, transforming city streets and parks into places
under constant observation. A Globe [investigation] shows that a large
number of new surveillance systems, costing at least tens and probably
hundreds of millions of dollars, are being simultaneously installed
around
the country as part of homeland security grants. Federal money is helping
New York, Baltimore, and Chicago build massive surveillance systems that
may also link thousands of privately owned security cameras. Boston has
installed about 500 cameras in the MBTA system, funded in part with
homeland security funds. Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center,
said [the] Homeland Security Department is the primary driver in
spreading
surveillance cameras, making their adoption more attractive by offering
federal money to city and state leaders. The proliferation of
cameras could mean that Americans will feel less free because legal
public
behavior -- attending a political rally, entering a doctor's office, or
even joking with friends in a park -- will leave a permanent record,
retrievable by authorities at any time.





Key Articles From Years Past


CIA Commander: U.S. Let bin Laden Slip
Away


August 15, 2005 Newsweek
magazine



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8853000/site/newsweek/
During the
2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about
whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of
the war in Afghanistan. Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground
did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan
border. But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the
agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other
U.S. commanders did know that ... bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora ...
and could have been caught. Asked to comment on Berntsen's remarks,
National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones passed on 2004
statements from former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks. "We don't
know
to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001,"
Franks wrote in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed. "Bin Laden was never
within our grasp." Berntsen says Franks is "a great American. But he was
not on the ground out there. I was." In his book—titled "Jawbreaker"—the
decorated career CIA officer criticizes Donald Rumsfeld's Defense
Department for not providing enough support to the CIA and the Pentagon's
own Special Forces teams in the final hours of Tora Bora. Berntsen ...
has
sued the agency over what he calls unacceptable delays in approving his
book. "They're just holding the book," which is scheduled for
October release, he says. "CIA officers, Special Forces and U.S. air
power
drove the Taliban out in 70 days. The CIA has taken roughly 80 days to
clear my book."


Note:
For a concise summary of reliable, verifiable information questioning the
official account of 9/11, click here.



Taking Stock of Family Business

April 29, 2004, USA
Today



http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2004-04-29-family-mission-statements_x.htm

Family
mission statements are a way of transferring your highly effective
business habits to your home life. Finding the time to assemble a
document
that outlines a family's goals and philosophy might seem unrealistic ...
but believers urge a closer look at what they hail as a method for
getting
unwieldy modern lives back on track. Laura Puryear was introduced to the
concept when her mother handed her Stephen Covey's The
7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
. In Habits, the
well-known motivational guru asks couples to consider questions such as:
"If our family is a plane, are we on course?" Conflicting answers are OK;
the point is to discuss differences en route to a common destination.
"The
pace of life, technology and culture all put greater pressure on us to
decide what's really important," says Covey. "We all have values
that guide us, but 95% of us never write them down. It's precisely the
act
of writing that imprints it in the subconscious."
Start from a
family foundation of trust and openness, where everyone feels welcome to
participate. Schedule a time to share the mission statement concept,
keeping in mind that even young children can understand and contribute.
Brainstorm together about ideas for the statement. Encourage even the
most
off-the-wall contributions. Record all such suggestions in writing.
Revisit
the list regularly and pare it down to the most important ideas. Once
everyone agrees on a final draft that truly summarizes the family's
values
and vision, make copies accessible to all. Avoid rushing your family,
favoring any one person's agenda, or forgetting about the final product
once you're done. The mission statement carries weight only if you
actively pursue your stated goals.
Note:
For a concise guide to developing your own personal mission statement or
life intentions, click here.






Special Note: No big media covered an important
gathering of leaders from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The Toronto
Sun
did have a good article on Aug. 21st stating "both the left
and right wing of the political spectrum have all gathered to condemn the
gathering and SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership) as everything
from undemocratic to a move toward a North American union and a common
currency called the Amero." To read this revealing article, click
here. Why wasn't this important news get reported by the major media?




Final Note:
WantToKnow.info believes it is
important to balance disturbing cover-up information with inspirational
writings which call us to be all that we can be and to work together
for
positive change. Please visit our Inspiration Center at http://www.WantToKnow.info/inspirational
for an abundance of uplifting material.


See our archive of
revealing news articles at http://www.WantToKnow.info/medianewsarticles






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Explore
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- Reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups

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http://www.weboflove.org
- Strengthening the Web of Love that interconnects us all

Educational websites promoting transformation through information and
inspiration
 

PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team 29/08/2007

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