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cryptesthesia: allegedly paranormal perception.

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Welcome to InfoCafe

We are here to help keep you informed.
Information (the truth) is every where - do yourself a favor - look, read, listen, feel, pass it on, act...
Act Like You Care - A project for youth in the Hartford CT area. - Site posted !
Photos of the Connecticut Transit bus are posted in the "About Us & Photos" area.
The bus will be transporting people on CT streets for one year!
Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II

WellPoint insurance sued an ENTIRE STATE to increase profits
Netting $2.5 billion in profits last year wasn't enough for WellPoint, the nation's largest insurance company.

Now, WellPoint's affiliate, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is suing the state of Maine for refusing to guarantee it a profit margin in the midst of a painful recession.

Watch the Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKXWP2HuxGE

As if Mainers didn't have enough to worry about just struggling to put food on the table, WellPoint is intent on forcing them to cough up 18.5% higher premiums on their insurance policies.

While WellPoint lobbies against granting Americans the right to affordable coverage, it's claiming that it has the right to a guaranteed profit margin, paid for by struggling working families. Mainers are outraged, and they're fighting back.

Do you know anyone who lives in Maine? Ask them to sign up for our Maine WellPoint Watch list to make sure WellPoint doesn't get away with it:


Yours,
Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New Films team

Join the conversation:
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sickforprofit

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Ex VP of CIGNA explains dirty tricks used to fight universal healthcare
A high-placed insider (ex VP of PR at Cigna) describes the machinations the insurance industry has used to keep us from getting a decent health care system.

This guy literally wrote the talking-points memo that the anti-universal-health-care crowd uses. He had a conversion experience and has now come clean. Remarkable.

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After six years, Homeland Security still without 'cybercrisis' plan
When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created, it was supposed to find a way to respond to serious "cybercrises." "The department will gather and focus all our efforts to face the challenge of cyberterrorism," President Bush said when signing the legislation in November 2002.

More than six years later, and after spending more than $400 million on cybersecurity, DHS still has not accomplished that stated goal. "We need to have a plan tailored for a cybercrisis," DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday.

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Judgment against RIAA precedent for more defenses
The newest development surrounding the long-lasting case of one Tanya Andersen and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), sees the single mother turning the tables on the RIAA, countersuing, and winning. Fearing the worst, the RIAA offered Andersen a $30,000 settlement, which she refused, then upped it $60,000 to the same effect before being ordered to pay nearly $108,000 by a judge and setting a precedent.

Andersen and her laywers, Lory Lybeck and Ben Justus, have opened the door in their efforts for more countersuits against the RIAA, which has been accused of bullying alleged illegal downloaders of copyrighted content into paying settlements to get rid of the lawsuits the RIAA slapped on them. Andersen's successful countersuit for the RIAA's frivolous lawsuit has earned her a court-ordered payment of $107,951.03, including $117.03 of interest, in attorneys' fees.

The RIAA represents music labels Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG.

The next step for Andersen is to join a class-action suit against the RIAA that accuses the conglomerate of violating federal anti-racketeering laws by pressuring the accused into settlements rather than face costly jury trials to defend themselves.

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RIAA's Bluff gets called
A single mother from Oregon won a victory against the recording industry in June. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) finally dropped its 2005 case, Atlantic v. Andersen, against Tanya Andersen.

The RIAA had accused her of using the peer-to-peer file-sharing program, Kazaa, to illegally download gangster rap songs. (Some blog posts give specific song titles, including Ludacris’ “Hoes in My Room.”) Andersen filed a countersuit later that year, accusing the RIAA of racketeering, invasion of privacy, and malicious abuse of the legal process. According to the text of her countersuit, an employee at the office trying to collect a fine from her told her that although he believed she was innocent, the RIAA would not “quit their attempts to force payment from her because to do so would encourage other people to defend themselves.” And unless she immediately paid them the sum of roughly $4,000 the RIAA allegedly would “ruin her financially.”
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What is Net Neutrality?
Save The Internet.com
Fighting for internet freedom

Straight forward video - that explains what net Neutrality is.
http://www.savetheinternet.com/
The phone and cable giants are launching a counterattack. We need to raise the alarm and send a clear message to our new Congress: Make Net Neutrality the Law in 2007!
http://action.freepress.net/campaign/savethenet

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Big Oil, Big Brother Win Big in the State of the Union
Big Oil, Big Brother Win Big in the State of the Union

by Greg Palast
23 January, 2006

There was that tongue again. When the President lies he's got this weird nervous tick: He sticks the tip of his tongue out between his lips. Like a little boy who knows he's fibbing. Like a snake licking a rat.

In his State of the Union tonight the President did his tongue thing 124 times -- my kids kept count.

But it wasn't all rat-licking lies.

Most pundits concentrated on Iraq and wacky health insurance stuff. But that's just bubbles and blather. The real agenda is in the small stuff. The little razors in the policy apple, the nasty little pieces of policy shrapnel that whiz by between the appearances of the Presidential tongue.

First, there was the announcement the regime will, "give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers." In case you missed that one, the President is talking about creating a federal citizen profile database.

There's a problem with that idea. It's against the law. The law in question is the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers thought the government had no right to keep track on a citizen unless there is evidence they have committed, or planned to commit, a crime.

But the Founding Fathers didn't imagine there were millions and billions of dollars to be made by private contractors ready to perform this KGB operation for the Department of Homeland Security, tracking each and every one of us to keep tabs on our "status."

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The War is going SUPER GREAT for some Corporations!
For One California Profiteer, Iraq is Going Great
By Sarah Anderson
AlterNet

"War is hell," Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman once stated. This Civil War giant clearly did not hold stock in a major defense contractor.

For soldiers on the frontlines in Iraq, Sherman's words might still resonate. But for defense executives and their shareholders, the open-ended "War on Terror" has been anything but hell for the bottom line.

A look at the San Francisco-based URS Corp., a major provider of Pentagon engineering and equipment repair services, can help illustrate this hell-only-for-some reality.

URS recently ran a help-wanted ad for experienced mechanics to work in Iraq. The ad made the job sound only slightly less brutal than Sherman's March.

"Extreme danger, stress, physical hardships, and possible field living conditions are associated with this position," the ad read. "You should expect to work 12 hour days, seven days a week."

For mechanics who agree to these terms, URS offers $80,000 a year. Meanwhile, company CEO Martin Koffel made 180 times that amount last year in his somewhat less hazardous office environs on San Francisco's Montgomery Street.

The pay gap stretches even wider between Koffel and soldiers on the battlefield. Army privates made about $25,000 last year, extra combat pay and housing allowances included.

Koffel and URS are booming. One big reason: Equipment under war-time stress, as URS officials happily report, wears out five times as fast as equipment in peacetime. In all, the defense contracts that URS has snared have brought in over $1 billion in each of the three years since the Iraq invasion, compared to only a few hundred million in 2002.

AlterNet
Truthout.org

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Iraq; rebuild power, water and sewage plants - not going to happen!
As Bechtel Goes
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Bechtel, the giant engineering company, is leaving Iraq. Its mission - to rebuild power, water and sewage plants - wasn't accomplished: Baghdad received less than six hours a day of electricity last month, and much of Iraq's population lives with untreated sewage and without clean water. But Bechtel, having received $2.3 billion of taxpayers' money and having lost the lives of 52 employees, has come to the end of its last government contract.

As Bechtel goes, so goes the whole reconstruction effort. Whatever our leaders may say about their determination to stay the course complete the mission, when it comes to rebuilding Iraq they've already cut and run. The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there's no more money in the pipeline.

NY Times

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Military Newspapers Call for Rumsfeld's Resignation
Army Times: "Time for Rumsfeld to Go"
By Andrew S. Ross
The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday 03 November 2006

An editorial scheduled to appear on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The papers are sold to American servicemen and women. They are published by the Military Times Media Group, which is a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc.
=============
Here is the text of the editorial:

Time for Rumsfeld to Go

"So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of US Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war."

Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on "critical" and has been sliding toward "chaos" for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for US troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake.

It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.
San Francisco Chronicle

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Rove's office called evangelicals "The Nuts"
According to Steve Benen, a damning new book by David Kuo -- former high-ranking official in Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives -- reveals that Bush's plan for social betterment through the religious community "was a charade," and "a political ploy."

Kuo appears to be one pissed off evangelical. And no wonder:

"National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous,' 'out of control,' and just plain 'goofy,'" Kuo wrote. He added that Karl Rove called some of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders "the nuts."

Watch video via alternet

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British Judiciary Chief Assails Guantanamo
The head of Britain's judiciary said Wednesday the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay is an affront to democracy, going far beyond Prime Minister Tony Blair's muted criticism of the detention facility for terror suspects.

"I speak with the authority of the government," Lord Falconer told British Broadcasting Corp. radio, emphasizing that he had Blair's backing for the comments delivered Wednesday at the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

In June, Falconer had denounced the detention center in eastern Cuba as a "recruiting agent" for terrorism, and described its existence as "intolerable and wrong."

In a prepared speech Wednesday, Falconer said that Guantanamo violated a fundamental legal principle that courts be able to review the conduct of the executive. A transcript of the speech was released in advance by his office.

"Otherwise the conduct of the executive is not defined and restrained by law," Falconer said in the prepared speech. "It is because of that principle, that the USA, deliberately seeking to put the detainees beyond the reach of the law in Guantanamo Bay, is so shocking an affront to the principles of democracy.

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Liquid Bombers Prove: They Hate Our Freedoms!
Liquid Bombers Prove:"They Hate Our Freedoms!"
by Edgar J. Steele
August 19, 2006

"You can fool some of the people all of the time
And you can fool all of the people some of the time,
But you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
--- Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President (1809-1865)

"Fool me once, shame on shame on you.
Fool me ... unnnhhh ... you can't get fooled again." (sound clip, <a target="_blank" href=http://www.conspiracypenpal.com/audio/bushfool.mp3>click here)
--- George W. Bush, 43rd US President (Nashville, Tenn., 9/17/02)

My name is Edgar J. Steele. This is a Nickel Rant.

Muslims were planning to blow up a bunch of jetliners enroute from London to America - or so say George Bush and Tony Blair.

Muslims without tickets.

Muslims without passports.

Muslims without bombs.

Muslims without a clue ... and they aren't the only ones, it turns out. Without a clue, that is.


What kind of bombs? TATP bombs, short for triacetone triperoxide. What's more, Bush and Blair told us that Muslims favor the TATP bomb, mixed on the spot with separate liquids. With that lie, both Bush and Blair foreclosed any possibility that the Muslims involved actually were guilty. With that lie, both Bush and Blair disclosed themselves for the treasonous, lying criminals that they are. Why? Glad you asked.

To Build the Impossible Bomb

You see ... it can't be done. It quite simply cannot be done. Not in any airplane toilet. Not with any resources that might be available aboard any airplane other than Tom Swift's Flying Lab. Not with the time afforded by a Trans-Atlantic flight. And certainly - not by anybody without chemistry lab training and experience - not under the circumstances claimed, anyway.

If Muslims favor TATP bombs - and there is evidence to support the claim that Muslims use TATP bombs - then Muslims who might do so know full well the limitations and hazards inherent to such an explosive. No Muslim in his right mind would attempt what has been claimed, because he would know it can't be done - and, believe me, doing it under any circumstances would require a Muslim in his right mind. At best, the guy simply would kill himself, and do little damage to the plane's toilet. Regardless, nobody would be allowed the opportunity to spend hours in the toilet ... not aboard a jetliner. In a moment, I will prove to you why TATP simply cannot be made aboard jetliners, but first, please be really clear about the significance of that fact: that it conclusively proves Bush and Blair to be lying weasels. Not just dumb. Not just stupid. Lying, treasonous, unforgivable, murdering bastards.

TATP or Not TATP? - That is the Question

A friend with a doctorate in chemistry sent me the following:

"According to the official government story, TATP (triacetone triperoxide) was the explosive these conspirators were planning to manufacture aboard the airliners.

"This story is not plausible for a number of reasons, but let's take a quick look at just enough of the science so as not to provide anybody with a guide to making an actual bomb: TATP is made from hydrogen peroxide solution, acetone and sulfuric acid. The reaction can be carried out with just about any concentration, but is best done with concentrated solutions of both peroxide and acetone.

"The peroxide and acetone can be pre-mixed, but the acid must be added, a drop at a time, to the solution, all the while continuously stirring it and keeping it continuously chilled. This step of the process will take several hours, during which the fumes given off will be substantial and quite overpowering, thus a lab-quality air evacuation system is required. (ES: right here, the whole idea of a TATP bomb becomes ludicrous. Difficult in a lab, but impossible in an airplane due to the environment - the toilet - and the time requirement.)

"One then must let the resulting solution stand for an extended period at temperatures above the freezing point, but definitely below 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). Above 10 Celsius, the TATP does not form; instead, diperoxide forms, which is so unstable it cannot be worked with. The time required for the reaction to go to completion is at least 24 hours and often several days.

"Once the TATP forms, it crystallizes as snowflakes from the solution and must be harvested by filtration and the liquid discarded. The TATP then is dried and carefully stored until needed. It must be stored below 10 Celsius or it converts spontaneously to the unstable diperoxide.

"There is neither the time, the workspace nor the other materials required to make TATP on an airliner. The time required, the temperatures required, the workspace required and the need to dry the chemical prior to use preclude this story being reasonable. This chemical process is much more sensitive than making, for example, nitroglycerin."

The technically proficient reading this will recognize that a necessary step has been omitted and some others have been altered in critical ways. None of these purposeful camouflages alter the ingredients or the time, care and equipment required. Nor will I describe how TATP can be fabricated beforehand and then detonated aboard an airliner in flight. After all, though we want to demonstrate the impossibility of what has been claimed, we don't want anybody actually trying this at home - and there really are some genuine whack jobs out there. After all, we elect some of them to public office.

An excellent (and humorous) on-line discussion by British writer Thomas Greene, also as to why TATP simply cannot be made aboard a plane: "<a target="_blank" href=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/17/flying_toilet_terror_labs/>Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?" Mr. Greene agrees with my friend, the PhD in chemistry, and concludes his description of the process of creating TATP with: "So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question."

So it's impossible to make TATP as claimed, yet still they confiscate liquids from us, including sodas and baby formula, not to mention toothpaste and, even, lipsticks? Even if possible to make TATP as claimed, the individual smells of peroxide, acetone and sulfuric acid are obvious enough to preclude people having to be shaken down and terrorized by the airport Gestapo in this fashion. You have to wonder: Just exactly what is going on?

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Children die in convoy attack as Israel widens Lebanon assault
Repost from CIMC
Children die in convoy attack as Israel widens Lebanon assault
by - Inigo Gilmore in Nahariyah, Patrick Wintour in St Petersburg and Tracy McVeigh
Sunday July 16, 2006
The Observer

Israel steeply escalated its military campaign against Hizbollah in Lebanon yesterday with a series of air strikes that left more than 35 civilians dead, including a single strike on a convoy of families fleeing the fighting in a village near Tyre in the south of the country that killed more than 20 people, most of them children.

The intensification of the conflict, in which Hizbollah fired missiles deep intoIsrael, came as international leaders appeared to be deeply split over how to respond to a crisis that threatens to spill over into a full-scale war involving Syria and Iran as well as Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. Last night the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, declared the country in a 'state of catastrophe'.

According to witnesses and photographs from the scene of the worst incident, an Israeli missile incinerated a car and a small truck full of families leaving their Lebanese border village of Marwaheen near Tyre after the Israeli army used loudhailers to tell residents they had just hours to go. Pictures showed charred bodies of children strewn across the road.

UN peacekeepers recovered the bodies. Half the passengers were children or teenagers, according to medical sources. It was the deadliest single strike since Israel started an air campaign against Lebanon after two of its soldiers were captured by Hizbollah on Wednesday.

Relatives gathered at a hospital to identify the dead said they came from two families - Abdallah and Ghanem.

Around 100 residents sought shelter at a nearby UN base, but left after officials were unable to confirm the warning by Israel, a UN spokesman said.

Other residents had tried later to leave and were killed in the missile strike, the spokesman said, adding that the Lebanese authorities had asked the UN to help evacuate about 160 people remaining in Marwaheen. They would be relocated in the morning. Relatives blamed the UN for the deaths, pelting peacekeepers with stones when they arrived with the bodies after the strike.

"If they had taken people in to begin with then they would never have died," said Mohammed Oqla, who was at the hospital.

Last night an Israeli military spokeswoman said they were still investigating the reports of the incident.
more...
Victims of Israelis attack of convoy in Lebanon

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The Brilliantly Profitable Timing of the Alaska Oil Pipeline Shutdown
by Greg Palast
For The Guardian (UK)
Tuesday, August 9, 2006

Is the Alaska Pipeline corroded? You bet it is. Has been for more than a decade. Did British Petroleum shut the pipe yesterday to turn a quick buck on its negligence, to profit off the disaster it created? Just ask the "smart pig."

Years ago, I had the unhappy job of leading an investigation of British Petroleum's management of the Alaska pipeline system. I was working for the Chugach villages, the Alaskan Natives who own the shoreline slimed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker grounding.

Even then, courageous government inspectors and pipeline workers were screaming about corrosion all through the pipeline. I say "courageous" because BP, which owns 46% of the pipe and is supposed to manage the system, had a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.

In one case, BP's CEO of Alaskan operations hired a former CIA expert to break into the home of a whistleblower, Chuck Hamel, who had complained of conditions at the pipe's tanker facility. BP tapped his phone calls with a US congressman and ran a surveillance and smear campaign against him. When caught, a US federal judge said BP's acts were "reminiscent of Nazi Germany."

This was not an isolated case. Captain James Woodle, once in charge of the pipe's Valdez terminus, was blackmailed into resigning the post when he complained of disastrous conditions there. The weapon used on Woodle was a file of faked evidence of marital infidelity. Nice guys, eh?

Now let's talk timing. BP's suddenly discovered corrosion necessitating an emergency shut-down of the line is the same corrosion Dan Lawn has been screaming about for 15 years. Lawn is a steel-eyed government inspector who has kept his job only because his union's lawyers have kept BP from having his head.

Indeed, it's pretty darn hard for BP to claim it is surprised to find corrosion this week when Lawn issued a damning report on corrosion right after a leak and spill were discovered on March 2 of this year.

Why shut the pipe now? The timing of a sudden inspection and fix of a decade-long problem has a suspicious smell. A precipitous shutdown in mid-summer, in the middle of Middle East war(s), is guaranteed to raise prices and reap monster profits for BP. The price of crude jumped $2.22 a barrel on the shutdown news to over $76. How lucky for BP which sells four million barrels of oil a day. Had BP completed its inspection and repairs a couple years back -- say, after Dan Lawn's tenth warning -- the oil market would have hardly noticed.

But $2 a barrel is just the beginning of BP's shut-down bonus. The Alaskan oil was destined for the California market which now faces a supply crisis at the very height of the summer travel season. The big winner is ARCO petroleum, the largest retailer in the Golden State. ARCO is a 100%-owned subsidiary of British Petroleum.

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THE JERK: WHY SADDAM HAD TO GO
by Greg Palast
Excerpt from Armed Madhouse
Greg Palast - Armed Madness at Amazon.com

The 323-page multi-volume "Options for Iraqi Oil" begins with the expected dungeons-and-dragons warning:

The report is submitted on the understanding that [the
State Department] will maintain the contents confidential.

For two years, the State Department (and Defense and the White House) denied there were secret plans for Iraq's oil. They told us so in writing. That was the first indication the plan existed. Proving that, and getting a copy, became the near-to-pathologic obsession of our team.

Our big break came when James Baker's factotum, Amy Jaffe, first reached on her cell in Amsterdam, then at Baker's operation in Houston, convinced herself that I had the right to know about the plan. I saw no reason to correct her impression. To get the plan's title I used a truly dumb trick, asking if her copy's headings matched mine. She read it to me and listed its true authors from the industry.

The plan carries the State Department logo on the cover, Washington DC. But it was crafted in Houston, under the tutelage of the oil industry -- including, we discovered, Donald Hertzmark, an advisor to the Indonesia state oil company, and Garfield Miller of Aegis Energy, advisors to Solomon Smith Barney, all hosted by the James A. Baker III Institute.

After a year of schmoozing, Jaffe invited me to the Baker lair in Houston.

The James A. Baker III Institute is constructed a bit like a church or mosque, with a large echoing rotunda under a dome at its center, encircled by memorabilia and photos of the Great Man himself with the world's leaders, about evenly split between dictators and democrats.

And there is the obligatory shot of a smiling Nelson Mandela shaking Baker III's hand. (Mandela is not so impolite as to remind Jim that he was Reagan's Chief of Staff when Reagan coddled the regime that kept Mandela imprisoned.)

For tax purposes, it's an educational institute, and looking through the alarm-protected display cases along the wall was unquestionably an education. You could virtually write the recommendations of the 'Options for Iraqi Oil' report by a careful inspection of the trinkets of Baker's travels among the powerful.

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AT&T retrofits privacy policy: your data is not yours.
Beginning Friday, AT&T customers can enjoy the benefits of an upgraded privacy policy that leaves the telecom giant free to share even more personal data with the government. Snip from SF Chron article by David Lazarus:

The new policy says that AT&T -- not customers -- owns customers' confidential info and can use it "to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process." The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service -- something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing.

Moreover, AT&T (formerly known as SBC) is requiring customers to agree to its updated privacy policy as a condition for service -- a new move that legal experts say will reduce customers' recourse for any future data sharing with government authorities or others.

The company's policy overhaul follows recent reports that AT&T was one of several leading telecom providers that allowed the National Security Agency warrantless access to its voice and data networks as part of the Bush administration's war on terror.

SF story.
Here's background on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's ongoing lawsuit against AT&T, over these same issues: EFF lawsuit.

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Give the Defense Department an F on it's reports to Congress
A report to Congress on the state of Iraq is inaccurate and misleading. Americans deserve the truth.
By Anthony H. Cordesman
June 3, 2006

IF THE UNITED STATES is to win in Iraq, it needs an honest and objective picture of what is happening there. The media and outside experts can provide pieces of this picture, but only the U.S. government has the resources and access to information to offer a comprehensive overview.

But the quarterly report to Congress issued May 30 by the Department of Defense, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," like the weekly reports the State Department issues on Iraq, is profoundly flawed. It does more than simply spin the situation to provide false assurances to lawmakers and the public. It makes basic analytical and statistical mistakes, fails to define key terms, provides undefined and unverifiable survey information and deals with key issues by omission. It deserves an overall grade of F.

link to LA Times original piece

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How They Stole Ohio
How They Stole Ohio
And the GOP 4-step Recipe to 'Blackwell' the USA in 2008
Abracadabra: Three million votes vanish

June 1, 2006
By Greg Palast

This is a fact: On November 2, 2004, in the State of Ohio, 239,127 votes for President of the United States were dumped, rejected, blocked, lost and left to rot uncounted.

And not just anyone's vote. Dive into the electoral dumpster and these "spoiled" votes have a very dark color indeed.

In another life, I taught statistics. And these statistics stank: the raw data tells us that if you are a Black voter, the chance of you losing your vote to technical errors in voting machinery is 900% higher than if you were a white voter.

Any guesses as to whom those African-Americans chose for president on those junked ballots? Check Ohio's racial demographics, do the numbers, and there it is: Kerry won Ohio. And that, too, is a fact. A fact that could not get reported in the USA.

But the shoplifting of those votes in Ohio was just the tip of the theft-berg. November 2, 2004 was a national ballot-box bonfire. In total, over three million votes (3,600,380 to be exact) were cast -- marked, punched, pulled -- YET NEVER COUNTED. I'm not talking about the Ukraine or Uganda. I'm talking about the United States of America "with liberty and justice for all."

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Yahoo helps jail another Chinese user
By Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
Just months after evidence emerged that Yahoo Inc. provided information that led to the arrest and imprisonment of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, the company is once again taking criticism for handing over information that allegedly led to the imprisonment of a Chinese political dissident.

In August 2003, Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. provided evidence to police that identified Chinese Internet user Li Zhi, according to a document made available online by his lawyers. Li was subsequently jailed for eight years on charges that largely stemmed from his association with the banned China Democratic Party, a political opposition group.
[Orig. Story]

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