Ahmadinejad to OPEC: Dump weak dollar


Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iran urges the OPEC member states again to convert their cash reserves into a basket of currencies rather than the tumbling US dollar.

Speaking at a ceremony to open the 29th ministerial meeting of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his proposal made about six months ago in a rare summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’s heads of states.

“The fall in the value of US dollar is one of the pressing problems of the world today,” warned the Iranian president at the conference in Isfahan on Tuesday.

He further expressed concern over the adverse effect of the dollar depreciation on the international community, especially energy exporting countries through increasing the price of commodities like wheat, rice and oilseeds. (This could have also been said by Ron Paul or Jim Rogers. – The Infinite Unknown)

Ahmadinejad said he warned six months ago in the summit conference in Riyadh that there were many indications pointing to continued fall in the value of the greenback.

“And we see that this continues to happen and the resources and wealth of OPEC member countries have been hugely damaged.

“I again repeat my previous proposal; we should have a basket of different international hard currencies as the basis or the member countries should come up and produce a new hard currency for petroleum contracts,” he stressed.

“They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper,” Ahmadinejad said earlier after the close of the summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. (Which is absolutely correct too.)

The comments by the Iranian president gained backing from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as he said at the same event, “The empire of the dollar has to end.”

Read moreAhmadinejad to OPEC: Dump weak dollar

US role in Afghan prison attack



US-led forces have played a part in a Taliban attack on an Afghanistan prison that set hundreds of militants free, some reports speculate.

Experts in regional affairs believe that Taliban militants attacked the Kandahar prison with the green light from US forces.

They say it is questionable – how could the militants dare attack the prison with US-led troops stationed just northeast of the jail?

The sources also noted that although clashes between Afghan security forces and the militants lasted for several hours, US-led troops did not intervene.

Ordinary people share the idea, asking how is it possible that hundreds of militants could attack a government prison, detonating more than 800 kilograms of explosives and foreign forces show no reaction.

They say the blasts were deafening and awakened everyone in the region. No one can claim not being aware of the attack.

“There are two opinions among Afghans following up the attack; non-political individuals say the Taliban managed to attack the prison with the help of God, while those more political believe that US forces helped them,” Ahmad Saadat, a political expert, said.

Read moreUS role in Afghan prison attack

VA testing drugs on war veterans

Experiments raise ethical questions

The government is testing drugs with severe side effects like psychosis and suicidal behavior on hundreds of military veterans, using small cash payments to attract patients into medical experiments that often target distressed soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a Washington Times/ABC News investigation has found.

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In one such experiment involving the controversial anti-smoking drug Chantix, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) took three months to alert its patients about severe mental side effects. The warning did not arrive until after one of the veterans taking the drug had suffered a psychotic episode that ended in a near lethal confrontation with police.

James Elliott, a decorated Army sharpshooter who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving 15 months in Iraq, was confused and psychotic when he was Tasered by police in February as he reached for a concealed handgun when officers responded to a 911 call at his Maryland home.

For photos, video of James Elliott, official FDA documents and more, visit the interactive site for the Disposable Heroes report.

Mr. Elliott, a chain smoker, began taking Chantix last fall as part of a VA experiment that specifically targeted veterans with PTSD, opting to collect $30 a month for enrolling in the clinical trial because he needed cash as he returned to school. He soon began suffering hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, unaware that the new drug he was taking could have caused them.

Just two weeks after Mr. Elliott began taking Chantix in November, the VA learned from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the drug was linked to a large number of hallucinations, suicide attempts and psychotic behavior. But the VA did not alert Mr. Elliott before his own episode in February.

In failing to do so, Mr. Elliott said, the VA treated him like a “disposable hero.”

“You’re a lab rat for $30 a month,” Mr. Elliott said.

Brightcove Video

Brightcove Video

One of the nation’s premier medical ethicists said the VA’s behavior in the anti-smoking study violated basic protections for humans in medical experiments.

“When you’re taking advantage of a very vulnerable population, people who have served the country, and the agency that’s responsible for their welfare isn’t putting their welfare first, that’s a pretty serious breach of ethics,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read Full Article Here

Audrey Hudson
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Source: The Washington Times

U.S. School District to Begin Microchipping Students

(NaturalNews) A Rhode Island school district has announced a pilot program to monitor student movements by means of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips implanted in their schoolbags.

The Middletown School District, in partnership with MAP Information Technology Corp., has launched a pilot program to implant RFID chips into the schoolbags of 80 children at the Aquidneck School. Each chip would be programmed with a student identification number, and would be read by an external device installed in one of two school buses. The buses would also be fitted with global positioning system (GPS) devices.

Parents or school officials could log onto a school web site to see whether and when specific children had entered or exited which bus, and to look up the bus’s current location as provided by the GPS device.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has criticized the plan as an invasion of children’s privacy and a potential risk to their safety.

“There’s absolutely no need to be tagging children,” said Stephen Brown, executive director of the ACLU’s Rhode Island chapter. According to Brown, the school district should already know where its students are.

“[This program is] a solution in search of a problem,” Brown said.

Read moreU.S. School District to Begin Microchipping Students

Britain: EU agrees to freeze Iran bank’s assets


US President George W. Bushand British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (AP)

LONDON (AP) – Britain will freeze assets of Iran’s largest bank in a further move to discourage the country from developing nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday.

Brown, speaking at a news conference with President Bush, said Britain will work to persuade Europe to follow suit.

The British leader said that assets of Iran’s Bank Melli would be frozen. Last year, the United States accused the bank of providing services to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“Action will start today in new phase of sanctions on oil and gas,” Brown said. “We will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it needs to make.”

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies that, saying its atomic program is aimed at using nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of limited sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can both produce nuclear fuel and turn out the material needed for nuclear warheads.

The third round of U.N. sanctions passed in March introduced financial monitoring of Bank Melli and another bank with purported links to suspect Iranian nuclear activities, Bank Saderat.

Brown said his government wanted to do all it could to maintain a dialogue with Tehran.

“But we are also clear that if Iran continues to ignore (United Nations) resolutions, to ignore our offers of partnership, we have no choice but to intensify sanctions,” the prime minister said.

“I will repeat that we will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it has to make – to start to play its part as a full and respected member of the international community, or face further isolation.”

Read moreBritain: EU agrees to freeze Iran bank’s assets

Iran withdraws $75 billion from Europe: report

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has withdrawn around $75 billion from Europe to prevent the assets from being blocked under threatened new sanctions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear ambitions, an Iranian weekly said.

Western powers are warning the Islamic Republic of more punitive measures if it rejects an incentives offer and presses on with sensitive nuclear work, but the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter is showing no sign of backing down.

“Part of Iran’s assets in European banks have been converted to gold and shares and another part has been transferred to Asian banks,” Mohsen Talaie, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, was quoted as saying.

Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment on the report in Shahrvand-e Emrouz, a moderate weekly, which did not specify the time period for the withdrawals which it said were ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“About $75 billion of Iran’s foreign assets which were under threat of being blocked were wired back to Iran based on Ahmadinejad’s order,” the weekly said.

Read moreIran withdraws $75 billion from Europe: report

Tech Crunch – Here’s Our New Policy On A.P. stories: They’re Banned


The stories over the weekend were bad enough – the Associated Press, with a long history of suing over quotations from their articles, went after Drudge Retort for having the audacity to link to their stories along with short quotations via reader submissions. Drudge Retort is doing nothing different than what Digg, TechMeme, Mixx and dozens of other sites do, and frankly the fact that they are being linked to should be considered a favor.

After heavy criticism over the last few days, the A.P. is in damage control mode, says the NYTimes, and retreating from their earlier position. But from what I read, they’re just pushing their case further.

They do not want people quoting their stories, despite the fact that such activity very clearly falls within the fair use exception to copyright law. They claim that the activity is an infringement.

A.P. vice president Jim Kennedy says they will issue guidelines telling bloggers what is acceptable and what isn’t, over and above what the law says is acceptable. They will “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.”

Those that disregard the guidelines risk being sued by the A.P., despite the fact that such use may fall under the concept of fair use.

The A.P. doesn’t get to make it’s own rules around how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows. So even thought they say they are making these new guidelines in the spirit of cooperation, it’s clear that, like the RIAA and MPAA, they are trying to claw their way to a set of property rights that don’t exist today and that they are not legally entitled to. And like the RIAA and MPAA, this is done to protect a dying business model – paid content.

So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.

June 16, 2008
Michael Arrington

Source: Tech Crunch

AP To Set Guidelines For Using Its Articles In Blogs

The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.

The A.P.’s effort to impose some guidelines on the free-wheeling blogosphere, where extensive quoting and even copying of entire news articles is common, may offer a prominent definition of the important but vague doctrine of “fair use,” which holds that copyright owners cannot ban others from using small bits of their works under some circumstances. For example, a book reviewer is allowed to quote passages from the work without permission from the publisher.

Fair use has become an essential concept to many bloggers, who often quote portions of articles before discussing them. The A.P., a cooperative owned by 1,500 daily newspapers, including The New York Times, provides written articles and broadcast material to thousands of news organizations and Web sites that pay to use them.

Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.

The quick about-face came, he said, because a number of well-known bloggers started criticizing its policy, claiming it would undercut the active discussion of the news that rages on sites, big and small, across the Internet.

The Drudge Retort was initially started as a left-leaning parody of the much larger Drudge Report, run by the conservative muckraker Matt Drudge. In recent years, the Drudge Retort has become more of a social news site, similar to sites like Digg, in which members post links to news articles for others to comment on.

But Rogers Cadenhead, the owner of the Drudge Retort and several other Web sites, said the issue goes far beyond one site. “There are millions of people sharing links to news articles on blogs, message boards and sites like Digg. If The A.P. has concerns that go all the way down to one or two sentences of quoting, they need to tell people what they think is legal and where the boundaries are.”

On Friday, The A.P. issued a statement defending its action, saying it was going to challenge blog postings containing excerpts of A.P. articles “when we feel the use is more reproduction than reference, or when others are encouraged to cut and paste.” An A.P. spokesman declined Friday to further explain the association’s position.

After that, however, the news association convened a meeting of its executives at which it decided to suspend its efforts to challenge blogs until it creates a more thoughtful standard.

Read moreAP To Set Guidelines For Using Its Articles In Blogs

Flawed St. John’s Wort Study on ADHD Failed to Use Active Form of Herbal Extract

(NaturalNews) On the heels of shocking revelations that top psychiatric research Dr. Joseph Biederman secretly took $1.6 million from drug companies while conducting psychotropic drug experiments on children, it has been learned that Dr. Biederman is now one of the key collaborators behind the latest efforts to discredit St. John’s Wort. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and widely reported in the mainstream media, Dr. Biederman and fellow cohorts “concluded” that the St. John’s Wort herb is useless in treating ADHD in children.

What’s astonishing about this study, as you’ll learn in this article, is that all the children used in the study were given inactive forms of the St. John’s Wort herb where the active ingredients had been oxidized and rendered useless! In other words, this clinical trial, which was widely reported in the mainstream media with headlines like “St. John’s Wort Found Useless!” didn’t test the herb’s active ingredients at all! It sort of makes you wonder about the agenda of the people running the study, doesn’t it?

Keep in mind that one of the study’s authors, Dr. Biederman, is not merely on the take from drug companies that sell competing pharmaceuticals, but that he also lied about how much money he was being paid by drug companies, hiding the truth about his income by underreporting $1.6 million he took from psychiatric drug companies. See my report on that here: http://www.naturalnews.com/023408.html

Dr. Biederman has a clear financial interest in promoting patented prescription drugs for brain chemistry disorders while discrediting competing natural alternatives such as St. John’s Wort. This blatant conflict of interest was not disclosed by JAMA, nor was it mentioned in the text of the study on ADHD and St. John’s Wort. It appears Dr. Biederman would prefer his financial ties to Big Pharma continue to remain secret, even while producing questionable studies that desperately attempt to show that herbs don’t work.

Testing Herbs to Treat Fictitious Diseases

Read moreFlawed St. John’s Wort Study on ADHD Failed to Use Active Form of Herbal Extract

California Begins Poisoning Millions with Toxic Synthetic Fluoride Chemicals

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(NaturalNews)Fluoride is now being added to the water systems of Los Angeles and San Diego, in spite of the substance’s classification as a toxin by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Fluoride refers to any compound made with the element fluorine, one of the most reactive elements known. Because fluorine reacts easily with other chemicals, it is widely used in industrial applications such as metal manufacture, glass, ceramics, Teflon, pesticide, rat poison and the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

The EPA limits the fluoride content of water to four milligrams per liter, and suggests 0.8 milligrams per liter as the optimum concentration. But the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council has said that 10 to 20 years of exposure to 10 to 20 milligrams of fluoride per day may result in “crippling skeletal fluorosis.” At the EPA’s maximum concentration, this could be achieved by drinking less than three liters of water per day.

Because fluoride builds up in the body, longer exposure to lower levels of fluoride can lead to the same effects.

In spite of early studies implicating fluoride as a toxin, the United States began adding it to public water supplies in the 1940s. Fluoridation of Southern California’s water supply was discussed and defeated by citizen opposition in 1966, 1968 and 1975. But in the late 1990s, Los Angeles began adding fluoride to the water. San Diego’s Metropolitan Water District followed in December 2007.

Water fluoridation has been controversial from its inception, with critics pointing out that while dental associations claim that fluoride strengthens tooth enamel on contact, adding the substance to water exposes people on a systemic level.

A number of studies have linked ingestion of fluoride to neurological and skeletal effects, including causing brain and thyroid damage and bone cancer in adolescent boys. Recent research has found a number of fluoride compounds to be endocrine disruptors, which mimic the body’s hormones with the potential for serious reproductive and developmental harm.

Sunday, June 15, 2008
by: David Gutierrez

Source: Natural News