Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Monday, June 30, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday June 30 2008 - (813)

Monday June 30 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Thousands Riot In China Over Alleged Coverup In Girl's Death
2008-06-29 16:27:18
Thousands of people thronged a police station in southwestern China to protest the alleged cover-up of a teenage girl's rape and murder, witnesses and officials reported Sunday. The crowd set fire to a government building complex and several police vehicles.

The violence, which began Saturday, was brought under control by authorities around 2 a.m. Sunday. There were conflicting reports about the number of injuries and arrests as news of the riot spread over the Internet. Pictures and video from the incident were posted on Chinese online discussion forums and Web sites but quickly became inaccessible, ostensibly as government censors stepped in.

Spasms of public anger against perceived injustices or government corruption occur periodically in China, but this weekend's riot, in the seat of Weng'an County in Guizhou province, was larger and more destructive than many. The government has been anxious to contain such incidents, especially as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in August, pledging to show the world its prosperous, "harmonious" society, as the ruling Communist Party calls it.

Children as young as 12 began blocking the entrance to the police station sometime after 4:30 p.m. Saturday, said a middle school teacher who witnessed the incident. The teacher, who identified himself only by his surname, Zhang, said he then saw students carry two police cruisers into the building's first floor and set them ablaze.

"Police could not control them," he said in a telephone interview.

Read The Full Story

Obama, McCain In Agreement On Immigration Reform
2008-06-29 16:26:56
Courting the increasingly influential Latino vote, the rival presidential candidates each pledged Saturday to make overhauling the nation's immigration policies a top priority.

In separate appearances before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain looked for every possible way to connect with their audience and emphasize distinctions between themselves.

Before the candidates spoke, Adolfo Carrion, Jr., the association president and Bronx Borough president, laid down the stakes: "I believe that we will determine the outcome of the 2008 presidential election."

Perhaps with that in mind, Obama delivered a few lines in Spanish - "Sí, se puede," or "Yes, we can," he said - and recalled marching in the streets of Chicago, Illinois, in support of immigration reform. He offered his historic campaign to become the first African American president as a signpost for others.

"I'm hoping that somewhere out there in the audience sits the person who will be the first Latino nominee in their party," he said.
Read The Full Story

Commentary: The Shrinking Influence Of The U.S. Federal Reserve
2008-06-29 16:25:45
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Spiegel Online columnist Gabor Steingart. It appeared in the Spiegel Online edition for Thursday, June 26, 2008.

Humiliation for Mr. Dollar: Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the United State Federal Reserve Bank, is facing an investigation by the International Monetary Fund. Just one more example of the Fed losing its power.

The United States Federal Reserve Bank, or Fed, seems as much a part of America as Coca-Cola or Pizza Hut. But at least one difference has become apparent in recent days. While the pizza chain and soft-drink maker are likely to expand their scope of influence in the age of globalization, the U.S. central bank is finding that its power is shrinking.

No Fed chief in U.S. history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing.

This is partly down to circumstances. Inflation is going up and up, and this year's average will likely top 4 percent. But this time Mr. Dollar is also Mr. Powerless. He can raise interest rates in the fall, or he can pray, which would probably be the better choice. At least prayer would not prevent the U.S. economy from growing, a highly likely outcome if interest rates go up.

After years of growth, the United States is now on the brink of a recession, one that is more likely to be deepened than softened by a tight money policy. Investments will automatically become more expensive, consumer spending will be curbed and economic growth will slow down, immediately affecting unemployment figures and wages.

Read The Full Story

Iraq To File Oil-For-Food Lawsuit In U.S. Courts
2008-06-29 16:25:14
The Iraqi government announced Sunday that it intends to file suit in United States courts to recover funds allegedly embezzled from the United Nations oil-for-food program during Saddam Hussein's rule.

A statement by government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said the lawsuits would target companies and individuals that conspired to corrupt the U.N. program.

Dabbagh did not name any companies or say how much the government hoped to gain by going to court, but his statement cited the findings of a 2005 U.N. inquiry into the program.

That investigation, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, concluded that 2,400 companies and individuals participated in fraud that included $1.8 billion in kickbacks to Hussein.
Read The Full Story

U.S. Army Iraq Study Faults Pentagon
2008-06-29 03:15:12

A new Army history of the service's performance in Iraq immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein faults military and civilian leaders for their planning for the war's aftermath, and it suggests that the Pentagon's current way of using troops is breaking the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. 

The study, "On Point II: Transition to the New Campaign," is an unclassified and unhindered look at U.S. Army  operations in Iraq from May 2003 to January 2005. That critical era of the war has drawn widespread criticism because of a failure to anticipate the rise of an Iraqi insurgency and because policymakers provided too few U.S. troops and no strategy to maintain order after Iraq's decades-old regime was overthrown.

Donald P. Wright and Col. Timothy R. Reese, who authored the report along with the Army's Contemporary Operations Study Team, conclude that U.S. commanders and civilian leaders were too focused on only the military victory and lacked a realistic vision of what Iraq would look like following that triumph.

"The transition to a new campaign was not well thought out, planned for, and prepared for before it began," write Wright and Reese, historians at the Army's Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  "Additionally, the assumptions about the nature of post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned proved to be largely incorrect."

Read The Full Story

In Britain, Home-Grown Vegetables Ruined By Toxic Fertilizer
2008-06-29 03:14:51
Gardeners across Britain are reaping a bitter harvest of rotten potatoes, withered salads and deformed tomatoes after an industrial herbicide tainted their soil.

Gardeners have been warned not to eat home-grown vegetables contaminated by a powerful new herbicide that is destroying gardens and allotments across the U.K.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been inundated with calls from concerned gardeners who have seen potatoes, beans, peas, carrots and salad vegetables wither or become grossly deformed. The society admitted that it had no idea of the extent of the problem, but said it appeared "significant". The affected gardens and allotments have been contaminated by manure originating from farms where the hormone-based herbicide aminopyralid has been sprayed on fields.

Dow AgroSciences, which manufactures aminopyralid, has posted advice to allotment holders and gardeners on its website. Colin Bowers, Dow's U.K. grassland marketing manager, told The Observer that links to their products had been proved in some of the cases, but it was not clear whether aminopyralid is responsible for all of them and tests were continuing. "It is undoubtedly a problem," he said, "and I have got full sympathy for everyone who is involved with this."

Read The Full Story

Reported U.S. Raid In Iraq On al-Maliki Relatives Triggers Outrage
2008-06-29 03:14:22
Iraqi officials in the home town of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are calling for an investigation into a reported raid by the U.S. military  early Friday that resulted in the death of a man identified by some Iraqi officials as a relative of the prime minister.

The raid was carried out shortly after midnight in the town of Hindiyah, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad in Karbala province. According to Iraqi officials in Karbala, a team of about 60 U.S. soldiers traveling in four helicopters descended on a sparsely populated area a few miles from the town, where the prime minister owns a villa.

"We are shocked by the news of the raid," Karbala Gov. Aqeel al-Khazaly said at a news conference Friday afternoon. "The aerial landing and subsequent operations led to the death of an innocent civilian and the arrest of another."

Karbala is one of nine Iraqi provinces where the U.S. military has handed over responsibility for security to local officials. Khazaly, who has been a U.S. ally, said Iraqi officials were not notified about the operation and called it a violation of the handover agreement.

"Iraqi forces in Karbala had reached a level that qualified them to pursue criminal gangs and outlaw groups" on their own, he said.

Read The Full Story

After Severe Storms, Omaha Residents Face Up To A Week Without Power
2008-06-29 03:13:36
Nebraska's largest city struggled Saturday to restore power to thousands of residents a day after a severe storm damaged homes, uprooted trees and killed two people in a neighboring community.

It could take a week to fully restore electricity after high winds from Friday's storm, officials said. The storm is one of the worst the Omaha Public Power District has dealt with, said CEO Gary Gates.

Nearly 50,000 customers remained without power Saturday afternoon, said utility spokesman Jeff Hanson. At the peak of the failures, 126,000 customers lacked electricity.

"We've made very good progress so far with our restoration efforts, but as the work proceeds we're going to see fewer repairs that restore power to large numbers of customers," said Gates.

Some customers might not have power restored until next Saturday, he said.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: More Waste, Fraud And Abuse
2008-06-29 16:27:06
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Sunday, June 29, 2008.

Representative Henry Waxman recently asked a question for which we would also like an answer: “How did a company run by a 21-year-old president and a 25-year-old former masseur get a sensitive $300 million contract to supply ammunition to Afghan forces?” Mr. Waxman raised the issue after executives of a Miami Beach arms dealer, AEY, were indicted on fraud charges this month, accused of pawning off tens of millions of banned and decrepit Chinese cartridges on the United States Army to supply Afghan security forces.

The Pentagon’s folly with the fly-by-night trafficker is just the latest example of the Bush administration’s cynically cozy contracting practices and shockingly weak oversight that have wasted billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

Congressional investigators took testimony from a United States military attaché who accused the American ambassador in Albania of helping to cover up the Chinese ammunition’s origins. The ambassador, John Withers, denies wrongdoing. But Rep. Waxman is wisely working to map the dimensions of fraud and waste.

The AEY fraud case followed a detailed investigation by the New York Times, which found the company scored the Afghan contract despite a record of failure and risky corner-cutting in a half-dozen other plum contracts. (Along the way, Efraim Diveroli, the company president who is now indicted, had the gall to fight off a court case accusing him of abusing his girlfriend by claiming national security privilege “in the fight against terrorism.”)

Read The Full Story

In Environmental Flip-Flop, McCain Sides With Big Oil
2008-06-29 16:26:24
A heated debate erupted in the United States over oil drilling in coastal waters and Alaska. To the delight of business and the chagrin of environmentalists, President Bush and candidate John McCain are pushing to have a 26-year-old ban lifted - and fallaciously promising that the move would lower energy and gasoline prices.

John McCain has discovered the environment. The Republican candidate for president is suddenly a friend of the environment and a proponent of climate protection. Donning his new green mantle, he has taken to tramping through giant rainforests in the northwestern United States, inspecting wind farms and portraying himself as one of the first politicians to have "sounded the alarm about global warming".

Hardly a day goes by without McCain proclaiming some new idea to protect the environment, from strict greenhouse gas emission limits to new automobile technologies. From one day to the next, he touts the benefits of nuclear energy, wind energy, solar cells, biodiesel and even coal. At times he lumps everything together, as he did recently when he rattled off a motley staccato of proposals as part of his "great national campaign to achieve energy security for America."

But with his latest idea, McCain is hoping to reduce his opponent Barack Obama's lead in the polls. It amounts to a single word: oil.

Or rather: more oil, and not just from the Middle East, but also from domestic production.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: Oil And Inflation
2008-06-29 16:25:34
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Sunday, June, 29, 2008.

This month, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, broke from the usually banal official pronouncements about the dollar to talk bluntly about the risks of inflation. He told an international conference that a weakening dollar had caused an “unwelcome rise” in inflation and pledged to guard against such dangers.

Until this recent round of comments - which other Fed officials have now joined - the Fed had focused on the turmoil in the financial markets and slowing growth, not rising prices. With the markets relatively calm during most of June, it apparently felt freer to raise warnings about inflation. The Fed’s decision Wednesday to hold interest rates steady - after a string of cuts to stabilize financial markets and support the economy - underscored its growing concern about prices.

Then came Thursday and Friday. The stock market plunged into bear market territory, leaving no doubt that the credit crunch persists and the economy is still very fragile. At the same time, oil prices surged, sharply increasing inflationary pressure. The Fed would have preferred to deal with the threats of recession and inflation sequentially. But it does not have that luxury.

The Fed is in a bind. If it keeps rates low and loans plentiful to combat a recession, inflation could worsen. If it raises rates and tightens the money spigot to fight inflation, the downturn could be deepened and prolonged.

Read The Full Story

Shooting Demonstration In France Leaves 16 Wounded, Including Children
2008-06-29 16:23:09
A military shooting demonstration in southeast France on Sunday left 16 people wounded, including children, when real bullets were used instead of blank ones, said officials.

Four of the wounded were in serious condition, including a 3-year-old child, Bernard Lemaire, chief of the regional administration in Aude, said on France-3 television. Fifteen of the injured were civilians.

A Defense Ministry official said the incident occurred during a demonstration of hostage-freeing techniques at the Laperrine military barracks. The official said investigators will look into why real bullets were used.

No information was immediately available about what kind of weapon was used.

Read The Full Story

Shadow Of War Looms As Israel Flexes Its Muscle
2008-06-29 03:15:04
Israeli fighter jets flew 1,500 kilometers across the Mediterranean this month, in a dry run for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Tehran has threatened to treat such a declaration of war. As the Middle East braces itself for a standoff of epic proportions, how close is the region to that nightmare scenario?

The meeting at the home of Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was not supposed to be public. The man invited into Olmert's official residence in Jerusalem was Aviam Sela, architect of Operation Opera in 1981, when Israel launched a long-range strike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. Regarded as a brilliant aviation tactician, in particular in the field of in-flight refueling, Olmert's office tried to play down the meeting, but the rumors in Israel's defense establishment were already flying.

Sela, according to sources close to the meeting, had been called in so that Olmert could ask his opinion on the likely effectiveness of a similar raid to Opera on the nuclear installations of Iran.

Peace in the Middle East depends on Sela's and Israel's answer. Saturday, responding to the Israel's increasingly bellicose language, Iran's top Revolutionary Guards Commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned that it would respond to any attack by hitting Israel with missiles and threatened to control the oil shipping passage through the Straits of Hormuz.

Read The Full Story

Tax Scandal Leaves Swiss Bank Reeling, Could Lose License To Bank In U.S.
2008-06-29 03:14:39

It was an offer the Californian real-estate billionaire Igor Olenicoff couldn't refuse. For several years, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service had been on his tail. Suspecting serial tax evasion running into tens of millions of dollars, the IRS painstakingly amassed enough information to jail the Russian immigrant for decades.

In 2006, tax investigators offered Olenicoff, a man who has strong connections with Boris Yeltsin, a deal. In return for the identity of those who helped him evade taxes, his sentence would be slashed. It took Olenicoff, who owned 11,000 houses and a large collection of high-grade offices, less than 30 seconds to make up his mind.

After two years of further investigations, Olenicoff's evidence resulted this month in a dramatic development. UBS, the most powerful bank in Switzerland, is now on the edge of a steep cliff. Ten days ago, Bradley Birkenfeld, who between 2001 and 2006 was a senior UBS banker, signed a U.S. court statement detailing how he smuggled diamonds in toothpaste tubes, deliberately destroyed offshore bank records on behalf of clients and helped Olenicoff evade taxes of $200 million on offshore assets worth $7.26 billion.

In an explosive seven-page deposition, Birkenfeld claims he was encouraged to win clients at UBS-sponsored tennis tournaments and major art events. UBS bankers, he said, assisted wealthy Americans to conceal ownership of their assets by creating "sham" offshore trusts. Misleading and false documentation was routinely prepared to facilitate this, and the motivation, he concluded, was to ensure that UBS continued to manage a staggering $20 billion of assets owned by wealthy U.S. individuals, which generated the bank $200 million in fees each year.

"By concealing U.S. clients' ownership and control in the assets held offshore, [UBS] managers and bankers... defrauded the IRS and evaded U.S. income tax," reads the statement. The U.S. Department of Justice has scented blood and is moving in for the kill. UBS denies authorizing or encouraging any breaches of applicable laws and regulations and has put out a statement saying it will fully cooperate with all authorities and address any issues raised by the investigation (see below). It is now faced with having to hand over details of its 20,000 U.S. clients to the authorities.

Read The Full Story

Mugabe Rush To Be Sworn In After Election 'Landslide"
2008-06-29 03:13:52

Robert Mugabe is expected to be sworn in as President of Zimbabwe again Sunday after one of the bloodiest and most controversial elections in African history. Zimbabwean officials said that Mugabe had won a landslide victory with most of the count completed in Friday's widely derided presidential run-off.

Officials were reported as saying that, with two-thirds of the count completed, there had been a dramatic reversal of Morgan Tsvangirai's lead in the first round of elections three months ago, giving Mugabe a resounding victory before he heads to an African Union summit to confront growing criticism from the continent's other leaders.

The ruling Zanu-PF party's claims that voters have deserted the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in droves to support Mugabe's claim that the vote is part of a struggle to maintain Zimbabwe's independence have met with incredulity and anger.

Washington called the vote a sham and said it will seek a United Nations Security Council resolution this week to send a "strong message of deterrence" to Zimbabwe's leader. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington "will use everything in our power for appropriate sanctions". The U.S. is also expected to press for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and a travel ban on its officials.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday that Zimbabwe had reached a new low point with the election. "We will work with international partners to find a way to close this sickening chapter that has cost so many lives,"said  the prime minister.

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home