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 PEERS and the Team 26/10/2007

Aller en bas 
Rang: Administrateur

Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

MessagePEERS and the Team 26/10/2007

is available online at

Dear friends,

are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have
These news articles include revealing information on the threat to
from GPS chips in cell phones, the cover-up by NASA of its own survey on
air safety, the dangerous legal precedent that would result from granting
telecoms immunity for their illegal cooperation with NSA surveillance,
more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed
the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with
By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build a brighter

best wishes,

Tod Fletcher and Fred
Burks for PEERS and the Team

Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find

October 23, 2007, New York

Two new
questions arise, courtesy of the latest advancement in cellphone
technology: Do you want your friends, family, or colleagues to know where
you are at any given time? And do you want to know where they are?
benefits come to mind. Parents can take advantage of the Global
System chips embedded in many cellphones to track the whereabouts of
phone-toting children. And for teenagers and 20-somethings, who are fond
of sharing their comings and goings on the Internet, youth-oriented
services like Loopt and Buddy Beacon are a natural next step. But ... if
G.P.S. [makes] it harder to get lost, new cellphone services are
now making it harder to hide.
�There are massive changes going
in society, particularly among young people who feel comfortable sharing
information in a digital society,� said Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at
the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
�We seem to be getting into a period where people are closely
watching each other,� he said. �There are privacy risks we haven�t begun
to grapple with.�
What if a boss asks an employee to use the
service? Almost 55 percent of all mobile phones sold today in the United
States have the technology that makes such friend- and family-tracking
services possible. Consumers can turn off their service, making them
invisible to people in their social-mapping network. Still, the G.P.S.
service embedded in the phone means that your whereabouts are not a
complete mystery. �There is a Big Brother component,� said Charles S.
Golvin, a wireless analyst. �The thinking goes that if my friends can
me, the telephone company knows my location all the time, too.�

For revealing major media reports of privacy risks and invasions, click here.

NASA Sits on Air Safety Survey

October 22, 2007, Washington

unprecedented national survey of pilots by [NASA] has found that safety
problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more
frequently than previously recognized. But the government is withholding
the information, fearful it would upset air travelers and hurt airline
NASA gathered the information ... through telephone
interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots
nearly four years. Since shutting down the project more than one year
the space agency has refused to divulge its survey data publicly. Last
week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all
related data from its computers. Congress on Monday announced a formal
investigation of the pilot survey and instructed NASA to halt any
destruction of records. A senior NASA official, associate administrator
Thomas S. Luedtke, said earlier that revealing the findings could damage
the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits. Luedtke
acknowledged that the survey results "present a comprehensive picture of
certain aspects of the U.S. commercial aviation industry. Release of the
requested data, which are sensitive and safety-related, could materially
affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air
carriers and general aviation companies whose pilots participated in the
survey," Luedtke wrote. NASA also cited pilot confidentiality as a
although no airlines were identified in the survey, nor were the
of pilots, all of whom were promised anonymity. Among other results, the
pilots reported at least twice as many bird strikes, near mid-air
collisions and runway incursions as other government monitoring systems
show. The survey also revealed higher-than-expected numbers of pilots who
experienced "in-close approach changes" -- potentially dangerous,
last-minute instructions to alter landing plans.

Immunity for Telecoms May Set Bad Precedent,
Legal Scholars Say

October 22, 2007, Washington

previous Republican administrations were accused of illegality in the FBI
and CIA spying abuses of the 1970s or the Iran-Contra affair of the
Democrats in Congress launched investigations or pushed for legislative
reforms. But last week, faced with admissions by several
companies that they assisted the Bush administration in warrantless
on Americans, leaders of the Senate intelligence committee took a much
different tack -- proposing legislation that would grant those companies
retroactive immunity from prosecution or lawsuits. The proposal marks the
second time in recent years that Congress has moved toward providing
immunity for past actions that may have been illegal. The Military
Commissions Act, passed by a GOP-led Congress in September 2006, provided
retroactive immunity for CIA interrogators who could have been accused of
war crimes for mistreating detainees. Legal experts say the granting of
such retroactive immunity by Congress is unusual, particularly in a case
involving private companies. "It's particularly unusual in the case of
telecoms because you don't really know what you're immunizing," said
Fisher, a specialist in constitutional law with the Law Library of the
Library of Congress. Civil liberties groups and many academics argue that
Congress is allowing the government to cover up possible
wrongdoing and is inappropriately interfering in disputes that the courts
should decide. The American Civil
Union [said] in a news release Friday that "the administration is
trying to cover its tracks."

From Casinos to Counterterrorism

October 22, 2007, Washington

Vegas], famous for being America's playground, has also become its
security lab. Like nowhere else in the United States, Las Vegas
has embraced the twin trends of data mining and high-tech surveillance,
with arguably more cameras per square foot than any airport or sports
arena in the country. Even the city's cabs and monorail have cameras.
privacy advocates view the city as a harbinger of things to

In secret rooms in casinos across Las Vegas, surveillance specialists are
busy analyzing information about players and employees. Relying on
thousands of cameras in nearly every cranny of the casinos, they evaluate
... behavior. They ping names against databases that share information
with other casinos, sometimes using facial-recognition software to
validate a match. And in the marketing suites, casino staffers track
players' every wager, every win or loss, the better to target
for special treatment and low- and middle-rollers for promotions. "You
could almost look at Vegas as the incubator of a whole host of
surveillance technologies," said James X. Dempsey, policy director for
Center for Democracy and Technology.
Those technologies, he said, have spread to other commercial venues:
malls, stadiums, amusement parks. After Sept. 11, 2001, several airports
tested facial-recognition software, with little success. But the
government is continuing to invest in biometric technologies. "We often
hear of the surveillance technology du jour, but what we're seeing now in
America is a collection of surveillance technologies that work together,"
said Barry Steinhardt, the American Civil
Liberties Union's technology and liberty project director. "It isn't
just video surveillance or face recognition or license plate readers or
RFID chips. It's that all these technologies are converging to create a
surveillance society."
For revealing major media reports of privacy risks and invasions, click here.

Energy Traders Avoid Scrutiny

October 21, 2007, Washington

One year
ago, a 32-year-old trader at a giant hedge fund named Amaranth held huge
sway over the price the country paid for natural gas. Trading on
unregulated commodity exchanges, he made risky bets that led to the
collapse -- and, according to a congressional investigation, higher gas
bills for homeowners. But as another winter approaches, lawmakers and
federal regulators have yet to set up a system to prevent another big
from cornering a vital commodity market. Called by some insiders
the Wild West of Wall Street, commodity trading is a world where many
goods that are key to national security or public consumption, such as
oil, pork bellies or uranium, are traded with almost no
Part of the problem is that the regulator, the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has had a hard time keeping up with
the sector it oversees. Commodity trading has exploded in complexity and
popularity, growing six-fold in trading volume since 2000 -- the year
a handful of giant energy companies, including Enron, successfully
to get Congress to exempt energy markets from government regulation.
Meanwhile CFTC's staffing has dropped to its lowest level in the agency's
33-year history. Its computer systems that monitor trades are outdated.
Its leadership has seen frequent turnover. "We are facing flat budgets
exponential growth in the industry," said CFTC Acting Chairman Walter
Lukken. "Over the long term this type of budgetary situation is not
sustainable." Commodities markets also have become complex with many
trading futures contracts as well as financial tools called derivatives
and swaps, whose value is based on the risk of futures contracts.
Gathering data on these products has been a challenge for the CFTC. The
evolution of the markets has led to some tension between the CFTC and the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
For more revealing major media reports of unregulated financial
and its impact, click

Sunlight cuts risk of many

October 21, 2007, Independent (One
of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)

considered risky by skin cancer experts, may actually reduce the risk of
breast and other cancers, new research has found. Some women who had
higher sun exposure had their risk of advanced breast cancer reduced by
almost half, according to the scientific study. The researchers from
Stanford University, who report their findings in the American
of Epidemiology
this week, said: "This study supports the idea that
sunlight exposure reduces risk of advanced breast cancer among women with
light skin pigmentation." The Stanford cancer specialists measured 4,000
women aged 35 to 79, half of them diagnosed with breast cancer, for the
effects of long-term sun exposure. Sun exposure may also protect against
number of other cancers, according to a second research team who studied
more than four million people in 11 countries, including 416,000 who had
been diagnosed with skin cancer. These results, reported in the
European Journal of Cancer, show that the risk of internal
cancers ... was lower among people living in sunny countries. The
researchers said: "Vitamin D production in the skin seems to
decrease the risk of several solid cancers, especially stomach,
colo-rectal, liver and gall- bladder, pancreas, lung, female breast,
prostate, bladder and kidney cancers." Sunlight plays a vital role in the
production of beneficial vitamin D in the body.
Although food
provides some vitamin D, up to 90 per cent comes from exposure to

For many reliable, verifiable reports on promising cancer cures, click

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Ma devise:
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PEERS and the Team 26/10/2007 :: Commentaires

Panel: Kids Shouldn't Use Cold

October 20, 2007, San Francisco
/Associated Press

medicines long used by parents to treat their children's coughs and colds
don't work and shouldn't be used in those younger than 6, federal health
advisers recommended. "The data that we have now is they don't seem to
work," said Sean Hennessy, a University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist.
The recommendation applies to medicines containing one or more of the
following ingredients: decongestants, antihistamines and antitussives. In
two separate votes ... the panelists said the medicines shouldn't be used
in children younger than 2 or in those younger than 6. A third vote, to
recommend against use in children 6 to 11, failed. The panel's advice
dovetails with a petition filed by pediatricians that argued the
over-the-counter medicines shouldn't be given to children younger than 6,
an age group they called the most vulnerable to potential ill effects.
American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups back the petition. But
officials and panelists agreed there's no evidence they work in older
children, either. Still, panelists held off from recommending against use
in those 6 and older. And some said they feared such a prohibition
wouldn't eliminate use of the medicines by parents. "They will administer
adult products to their children because they work for them or feel they
work for them," said the panel's patient and family representative, Amy
Celento of Nutley, N.J. Some of the drugs � which include Wyeth's
Dimetapp and Robitussin, Johnson & Johnson's Pediacare and Novartis AG's
Triaminic products � have never been tested in children, something
as long ago as 1972 by a previous FDA panel.
An FDA review found
just 11 studies of children published over the last half-century. Those
studies did not establish that the medicines worked in those cases,
according to the agency.

For a powerful expos� of corporate and government corruption in the
industry, click

4 colonels relieved of command over
nuclear-armed flight

October 20, 2007, Boston
Globe/Washington Post

Air Force colonels have been relieved of their commands and more than 65
lower-ranking officers and airmen have been disciplined over a series of
errors that led to a B-52 flight from North Dakota to Louisiana with six
nuclear-armed cruise missiles that no one realized were under the
The Fifth Bomb Wing commander at Minot, Colonel Bruce


was removed from command, along with his chief munitions officer and the

operations officer of the B-52 unit at Barksdale. The munitions squadron

commander at Minot was relieved of command shortly after the incident.


problems began with a breakdown in the formal scheduling process used to

prepare the AGM-129 cruise missiles in question for decommissioning. In

March, the Pentagon decided to retire it in favor of an older AGM-86.


of the preparation involved removing the W-80 nuclear warhead and


it with a steel dummy on missiles to be flown aboard B-52s to Barksdale


destruction. On the morning of Aug. 29, the loading crew at Minot used a

paper schedule that was out of date when members picked up 12 missiles

from a guarded weapons-storage hangar, six with dummy warheads and six

they did not realize had nuclear warheads. The trailer that would carry

the pylons to the B-52 arrived early, and its crew did not inspect the

missiles as it should have before loading them on the trailer. The driver

called the munitions control center to verify the numbers, but the staff

there failed to check them. At the aircraft, the crew that loaded the

pylons, one under each wing, failed again to check the missiles, which

have a small glass porthole to view whether a dummy or nuclear warhead is

installed. The next morning, Aug. 30, the plane's navigator failed to do


complete check of the missiles, as required, looking under only one wing

and not the one where the nuclear-armed missiles were.


How is it possible that 65 military people were involved in this? Could


be that they were part of a rogue operation that was uncovered? There's

more here than meets the eye.

Strict Visa Regulations Discourage Visiting

October 20, 2007, Washington



Orchestra, one of Great Britain's oldest symphony orchestras, has not

toured the United States in more than a decade, so spirits were high when

the group secured dates at Lincoln Center and in Upstate New York for

performances last winter. But when the orchestra learned that to
get their entry visas, all 85 musicians -- every last cellist, oboist and
piccolo player -- would have to travel from their Manchester headquarters
to the U.S. Embassy in London for personal interviews, electronic
fingerprinting and facial-recognition scans, it scrapped the
Budgeting for airfare and travel costs to New York was one

thing, but simply getting everyone to the embassy at the same time, along

with hotel bills and fees for the visas themselves, would have cost an

additional $80,000, said marketing director Andy Ryans. "It was very

simply money that we didn't have," Ryans explained. "We were desperate to

go to the States, but our hands were absolutely tied." Theirs aren't the

only ones. To perform in this country, foreign artists of all stripes --

punk rockers, ballet dancers, folk musicians, acrobats -- are funneled

through a one-size-fits-all "nonimmigrant" visa process whose costs and

complications have become prohibitive, according to booking agents,

managers and presenters, such as the Kennedy Center, who program and

market the performers. Visiting businesspeople face similar security

hurdles put in place since Sept. 11, 2001. But artists' visa petitions

also require substantial documentation to satisfy the "sustained

international recognition" requirement for the type of visa (called a

"P-1") issued to many performing artists. Arts organizations say they


become reluctant to book foreign performers because of the risk of

bureaucratic snags. Soon after Sept. 11, the State Department rolled out

its Biometric Visa Program, requiring all applicants to undergo

fingerprinting and have photographs taken at the nearest U.S. consulate

each time they apply.

Clinton rakes in cash from the US weapons

October 19, 2007, Independent (One
of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and
has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs
Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers
have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York
senator over the past three months
and, in the process, dumped

their earlier favourite, Barack Obama. An analysis of campaign

contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money

into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid


times over with future defence contracts. Employees of the top five US


manufacturers � Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General


and Raytheon � gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with


$86,800 going to the Republicans. "The contributions clearly suggest the

arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for

2008 are very good indeed," said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia

University in New York. Republican administrations are by tradition much

stronger supporters of US armaments programmes and Pentagon spending


than Democratic governments. Relations between the arms industry and Bill

Clinton soured when he slimmed down the military after the end of the


War. His wife, however, has been careful not to make the same mistake.

After her election to the Senate, she became the first New York senator


the armed services committee, where she revealed her hawkish tendencies


supporting the invasion of Iraq. Her position on Iran is among the most

warlike of all the candidates � Democrat or Republican. While on the


services committee, Mrs Clinton has befriended key generals and has won


endorsement of General Wesley Clarke, who ran Nato's war in Kosovo. The

arms industry has duly taken note.


For a revealing personal account of the "War Racket" by a U.S. general,

click here.

Spies Prep Reporters on Protecting

September 27, 2007, New York

by press leaks about its most sensitive electronic surveillance work, the
secretive National Security Agency convened an unprecedented series of
off-the-record "seminars" in recent years to teach reporters about the
damage caused by such leaks and to discourage reporting that could
interfere with the agency's mission to spy
on America's enemies.

The half-day classes featured high-ranking NSA officials highlighting

objectionable passages in published stories and offering "an innocuous

rewrite" that officials said maintained the "overall thrust" of the

articles but omitted details that could disclose the agency's techniques,

according to course outlines obtained by The New York Sun.


"SIGINT 101," using the NSA's shorthand for signals intelligence, the

seminar was presented "a handful of times" between approximately 2002 and

2004. The syllabi make clear that the sessions, which took place at NSA

headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., were conceived of ... as part of a

campaign to limit the damage caused by leaks of sensitive intelligence.

During one sensitive discussion, journalists were to be told they could

not take any notes. The exact substitutions of language that the NSA

proposed were deleted from the syllabi released to the Sun under

the Freedom of Information Act. In 2005, following the publication of a

New York Times story on a secret program for warrantless

wiretapping ... Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss crusaded

against leaks at the CIA and later told a Senate committee that he hoped

reporters would be called before grand juries to identify their sources.

Attorney General Gonzales also discussed the "possibility" of prosecuting

journalists who wrote stories based on leaked intelligence. The syllabi,

which are marked as drafts, list presenters including the director of the

NSA at the time, General Michael Hayden, [now director of the CIA].

Strongest Dad in the World

2005-09-17, Canadian Runner/Sports

Eighty-five times [Dick Hoyt has] pushed his disabled son,
Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2
miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while
swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in
the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken

him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on


bike. And what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save his

life. This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick

was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him

brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the

rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him. But the Hoyts weren't

buying it. [Eventually,] rigged up with a computer that allowed him to

control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high

school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a

charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that." Yeah,

right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a

mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then

it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it

felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

Note: Don't miss the entire incredibly moving

story with links to the Hoyt's beautiful website, inspiring photos, a

deeply touching video clip, and lots more at

Final Note: 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


change. Please visit our Inspiration Center at

for an abundance of uplifting material.

See our archive of
revealing news articles at

Your tax-deductible donations, however large or small, help greatly to

support this important work.

To make a donation by credit card,

check, or money order:


these empowering websites coordinated by the nonprofit PEERS network:

- Every person in the world has a heart

- Reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups

- Building a Global Community for All

- Strengthening the Web of Love that interconnects us all

Educational websites promoting transformation through information and


PEERS and the Team 26/10/2007

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