Government Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of government corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Between 2005 and 2015, 6,913 people died while in legal custody in Texas. Many died of natural causes while serving long prison sentences. Others ended their own lives. A few died at the hands of another inmate, or, in some cases, police or correctional officers. Together, these deaths form revealing patterns about Texas-style justice and the state of corrections in an increasingly carceral country. This information used to be hard to access, but it’s now readily available in an online database called the Texas Justice Initiative. The final product was culled from thousands of internal reports and includes names, time and place of death, cause of death, time in custody, and a description of the circumstances. “These deaths occurred in local jail cells, in the backs of police cars, and on prison sidewalks,” [project creator Amanda] Woog wrote in the summary report of her findings. Among the “suicide” listings is one for Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a traffic stop. Like Bland, more than 1,900 of those who died, or 28 percent, had not been convicted of or even charged with a crime. Pre-booking deaths reported by law enforcement have been on the rise since 2005. The data gathered on Texas reflects a markedly high number of deaths in custody compared to national trends.
The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has called for an inquiry into juvenile detention after the ABC aired harrowing footage of apparent abuses of young people in custody in the Northern Territory. The program also prompted the leader of the NT, Adam Giles, to pledge he would seek advice on establishing a royal commission. The ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night aired footage of a 17-year-old boy, one of six boys tear-gassed at a juvenile detention centre near Darwin, being hooded and strapped to a mechanical restraint chair. The footage is part of a catalogue of evidence obtained by Four Corners of the repeated assault and mistreatment of boys at youth detention centres in the Northern Territory. Amnesty International has described the abuses carried out against children as shown in the Four Corners program as a violation of both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture. Julian Cleary, Indigenous rights campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, called for an end to the systemic abuse of children in youth detention. "To see a crying, distressed child seized by his neck, forced to the ground, manhandled, stripped naked by three grown men and left naked in a cell is just sickening," he said. "The footage of guards laughing at a child being tear-gassed and in distress defies belief." The NT has the highest rate of youth detention in Australia, and 95 per cent of detainees are Aboriginal.
Note: Unlike the US, Australia has signed and ratified The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A follow-up article suggests that the UN may take action on prison system corruption in Australia.
In 1986, the director of Britain's premier domestic spy agency told Margaret Thatcher's cabinet secretary the risk of "embarrassment" from publicizing a politician's suspected child abuse was greater than the "danger" he presented. CBS News partner network Sky News reported the new twist in Britain's long and still-unfolding child sexual abuse scandal on Thursday, saying then-MI5 director Sir Antony Duff had told Prime Minister Thatcher's staffer "the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger." The name of the Member of Parliament Duff had been asked to investigate, over allegations he had a "penchant for small boys," has not been revealed, but Sky reported Wednesday that four former senior politicians were named in previously unseen government documents on abuse. All four have been dead for years, but they were senior members of Thatcher's cabinet. Over the course of several years the sex abuse scandal has snowballed, revealing - at best - a pervasive lax attitude among British law enforcement, politicians and celebrity culture toward the abuse of children during the 1970s and 80s. The ongoing police investigation has already landed some big names from British culture ... in jail for abuses committed during the height of their popularity. Others have been posthumously revealed as serial abusers. Sky's investigation, however, is the first time any suggestion of a possible cover-up of abuse by senior government officials has emerged.
Note: The Thatcher government was reported to have covered up a VIP pedophile ring. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
After days of political tumult in Westminster, a single image of calm suddenly emerged on Wednesday evening from the inner sanctum of royal authority: The Queen granting private audience to a genuflecting Theresa May, who has succeeded David Cameron as prime minister of the United Kingdom. The photograph of the newly selected leader of the governing Conservative Party and the monarch who invited her to form a new government ... reaffirms that democracy in Britain, at least symbolically, is still subservient to inherited power. The mute postures of the two women – one deferential, the other munificent – are reminiscent of those depicted on a strange 16th-Century memorial in Bacton Church, Herefordshire: a sculpture that reminds us how secretive the pantomime of power has long been. Like the photo released by Buckingham Palace on Wednesday evening, the marble and alabaster work portrays a figure kneeling before royalty – in this case, the courtier Blanche Parry prostrating herself to Queen Elizabeth I. In time, Elizabeth would entrust Blanche with responsibilities that far exceeded her initial remit. What Elizabeth valued above all was loyalty of service – the kind of quality you demonstrate not with your mind, but with your knees. Today, the Queen has far fewer political gifts at her disposal than her Renaissance predecessor once dangled. Theresa May’s courteous curtsy, therefore, in no serious sense echoes the obeisance shown by Blanche Parry to her Sovereign over four centuries ago. In stooping low, she reaches high.
Note: Read about the secret societies which have long operated in the upper echelons of power. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
19,000 internal Democratic Party emails released on Friday by WikiLeaks [set] off a frenzy on the eve of the party’s quadrennial nominating convention and forc[ed] the resignation of the party chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Some of the emails revealed internal discussion by D.N.C. officials — obligated under party rules to remain neutral in the presidential primary — about how to discredit Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, enraging some of his supporters. Some ... are highly critical of Mr. Sanders. But the leaked cache also included thousands of emails exchanged by Democratic officials and party fund-raisers, revealing in rarely seen detail the elaborate, ingratiating and often bluntly transactional exchanges necessary to harvest hundreds of millions of dollars from the party’s wealthy donor class. The emails capture a world where seating charts are arranged with dollar totals in mind, where a White House celebration of gay pride is a thinly disguised occasion for rewarding wealthy donors and where physical proximity to the president is the most precious of currencies. Donors who raise $1.25 million for the party — or who give $467,000 — are entitled to priority booking in a top hotel, nightly access to V.I.P. lounges and an “exclusive roundtable and campaign briefing with high-level Democratic officials,” according to a promotional brochure obtained by The Times.
Note: This informative article reveals in detail how much influence wealth has on the democratic process. Democracy in America more resembles a system of one dollar per vote than one person per vote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
When you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun - they are lying. Read the 29 pages and ... remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq - not Saudi Arabia. So, 29 full pages that said “Saudi” and “Bandar” instead of “Hussein” and “Iraq” was a huge problem. There was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. The Joint Inquiry was still able to write 29 full pages regarding Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks. No other nation is given such singular prominence in the Joint Inquiry’s Final Report. Not Iraq. Not Iran. Not Syria. Not Sudan. Not even Afghanistan or Pakistan. The 29 pages have been kept secret and suppressed from the American public for fifteen years - not for matters of genuine national security - but for matters of convenience, embarrassment, and cover-up. Instead of calling for an emergency session of Congress to immediately name the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, President Obama continues to downplay, belittle, and ignore the truth leaving us vulnerable to terrorist attacks that are still to this very day being funded by our “ally”. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided operational and financial support to the 9/11 hijackers. That is a fact. And, the U.S. government has been covering up that fact for fifteen years - even to this very day.
Note: Read these pages that they didn't want you to see on this webpage and explore good commentary at this link. Check out also five key revelations of these documents. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
One of the most tortured men in the history of Guantánamo Bay has received clearance from the wartime prison’s quasi-parole board to leave after nearly 14 years of detention without charge. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen whose harrowing account of his torture at Guantánamo Bay became an international bestseller in 2015, will soon leave behind the Cuban detention center where US military personnel contorted his body; bombarded him with noise; deprived him of sleep; stuffed his clothing with ice during a nighttime boat ride meant to to convince him he was headed to an even worse place; threatened his life; and threatened his mother with rape. A nonlegal panel representing various US security agencies tasked with assessing threats posed by Guantánamo’s 76 residual detainees, found Slahi to represent no “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States”. The consensus decision, reached on 14 July, was made public on Wednesday. A federal judge in 2010 [had previously] ordered him freed for lack of evidence untainted by torture to justify his detention, yet the US justice department appealed. In the summer of 2003, senior Guantánamo officials, believing Slahi was an important link to al-Qaida, sought and received permission from the Pentagon to torture him. US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally approved Slahi’s torture. In his book, Slahi recalled ... that he would tell his tormentors whatever they wished to hear. “I don’t care, as long as you are pleased,” Slahi informed his interrogators.
Note: By the time Slahi's bestselling book Guantanamo Diary was published, leaked documents obtained by BBC News had revealed that more than 150 innocent people were detained at Guantanamo after being rounded up for no reason. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.
Thousands of dogs across Britain are dying or suffering severe allergic reactions after being treated with a vaccine meant to protect them against mild bacterial infections. Fears over the safety of the vaccine against leptospirosis - a bacterial infection spread to dogs through rats and wild animals – have now led veterinary organisations to issue warnings about its side effects. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is urging owners not to use Nobivac L4 vaccine on puppies under 12 weeks old. However, [it] is still being administered in veterinary practices across Britain to dogs from seven weeks old, with little warning of the potential side effects. According to reports made to the Government's Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) by pet owners, more than 120 dogs are feared to have died after receiving a dosage in the three years the product has been on the market. In the last two years, regulators have received 2,000 reports of dogs having suspected adverse or fatal reactions. Owners that have opted for the L4 vaccine ... have reported adverse effects including epileptic fits, swollen glands and blindness. The vaccine, which is manufactured by MSD Animal Health, a subsidiary of American conglomerate Merck Sharp & Dohme, is currently being monitored by the VMD. The regulator has however refused to reveal the total number of animals that had been affected since the product came onto the market, prompting concern among dog owners that the scale of problem is being kept hidden from the public.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Police officers arrest more than 1.2 million people a year in the United States on charges of illegal drug possession. Field tests ... help them move quickly from suspicion to conviction. But the kits - which cost about $2 each and have changed little since 1973 - are far from reliable. Some tests ... use a single tube of a chemical called cobalt thiocyanate, which turns blue when it is exposed to cocaine. But cobalt thiocyanate also turns blue when it is exposed to more than 80 other compounds, including methadone, certain acne medications and several common household cleaners. Other tests use three tubes, which the officer can break in a specific order to rule out everything but the drug in question - but if the officer breaks the tubes in the wrong order, that, too, can invalidate the results. There are no established error rates for the field tests, in part because their accuracy varies so widely depending on who is using them and how. In Las Vegas, authorities re-examined a sampling of cocaine field tests conducted between 2010 and 2013 and found that 33 percent of them were false positives. By 1978, the Department of Justice had determined that field tests “should not be used for evidential purposes,” and the field tests in use today remain inadmissible at trial in nearly every jurisdiction. But this has proved to be a meaningless prohibition. Most drug cases in the United States are decided well before they reach trial, by the far more informal process of plea bargaining.
Note: Drug test field kits sometimes produce wildly inaccurate results. And recently the FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing judicial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Over the last 30 years, local and state governments increased how much they spend on putting people in jail three times more than how much they spend on educating students, according to a new analysis by the Department of Education. From 1979-1980 to 2012-2013 ... governments increased spending on incarceration by 324 percent (from $17 to $71 billion). This is more than three times the spending increase on education, which only grew 107 percent (from $258 to $534 billion) over the same time period. All of the 50 states had lower expenditure growth rates for PK-12 education than for corrections. “When I think about the lives of those who are incarcerated, I can’t help but feel disheartened,” Education Secretary John King wrote on Medium. “I can’t help but think about their families, spouses, sons, daughters, and parents - or about the art not created; the entrepreneurial ideas that may never reach the drawing board; the classrooms these Americans will never lead; and the discoveries they’ll never make.” King also cited research showing [that] a 10-percent increase in high school graduation rates leads to a 9-percent decrease in the rates of criminal arrest, and reduces murder and assault rates by 20 percent. “Redirecting some of the funds currently spent on corrections in order to make investments in education that we know work,” the Department of Education report said, “could provide a more positive and potentially more effective approach to both reducing crime and increasing opportunity.”
Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. [Yet Holder] held his department back [according to] a new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee. Prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no. In September 2012, the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) formally recommended that HSBC be prosecuted for its numerous financial crimes. From 2006 to 2010, HSBC failed to monitor billions of dollars of U.S. dollar purchases with drug trafficking proceeds in Mexico. It also conducted business going back to the mid-1990s on behalf of customers in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma, while they were under sanctions. Such transactions were banned by U.S. law. AFMLS Chief Jennifer Shasky wanted to seek a guilty plea for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. On November 7, Holder presented HSBC with a “take it or leave it” offer of a deferred prosecution agreement, which would involve a cash settlement and future monitoring of HSBC. No guilty plea was required. HSBC [then] successfully negotiated to have individual executives immunized from prosecution. Lack of desire at the highest levels of the Justice Department was ... the primary reason that no prosecutions took place.
Note: While attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder consistently refused to prosecute Wall Street. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The Obama administration just released numbers suggesting ... that drone strikes in countries excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have resulted in between at least 64 and 116 noncombatant deaths during his administration. The president also issued an executive order effectively directing his successor to ... publish this data going forward. The new executive order means it will be harder for the next president to kill in total secrecy. Obama’s use [of drones] over the last seven years set a disastrous global precedent: using a new weapons technology as an excuse to kill in secret and without regard for international law. Today’s developments are an incremental but important step away from the notion that new technology is a license for secrecy. The downside, though, is that the drone data could be completely misleading – and provide a veneer of legitimacy to unlawful killings. There are reports of hundreds of unidentified people killed in apparent “signature strikes,” where targeting decisions were made on the basis of patterns of behavior rather than identification of a specific individual. Amnesty International and other groups have also documented so-called rescuer strikes, where the US killed or injured individuals who were trying to help the victims of an initial strike. The CIA, an agency with an extremely poor record of accountability to the public, is still conducting strikes. Its continued role is likely one reason we aren’t getting fuller answers to our questions about drones.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had complete their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever.” The report says that between early 2002 and March 2003 Blair was told that, post-invasion, Iraq could degenerate into civil war. Chilcot rejects Blair’s claim that the subsequent chaos and sectarian conflict could not have been predicted. Before the war, Blair had said that the US-led invasion coalition would try to minimise civilian casualties. As the war and occupation unfolded, however, the MoD made only a “broad estimate” of how many Iraqis were being killed. More time was devoted to which department should have responsibility for the issue than was spent on finding out the number. The government’s main interest was to “rebut accusations that coalition forces were responsible for the deaths of large numbers” of Iraqis.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
On Wednesday, July 17, 1996, at 8:19 p.m., TWA Flight 800 took off from JFK airport and headed out over Long Island toward Paris. Twelve minutes later, TWA 800 exploded mid-air, killing all 230 people on board. Twenty years later, the crash of TWA 800 remains a subject of horror and fascination. Conspiracy theorists still insist that TWA 800 was brought down, deliberately or accidentally, potentially by the US military - despite a four-year-long investigation, the most expensive in aviation history, which found that a short circuit in the plane’s center wing fuel tank caused the crash. In his new book “TWA 800: The Crash, the Cover-Up, and the Conspiracy,” author Jack Cashill maintains that the plane was brought down by external forces and that the government has engaged in a decades-long cover-up. Cashill doesn’t offer a definitive alternate cause, but the strongest portion of his book are reprints of multiple witness statements, taken by the FBI and CIA in the immediate aftermath. Over 700 of these have since been made public; in them, 258 witnesses told investigators they’d seen a streak of white light approaching the aircraft before the explosion. A few witnesses used the word “rocket” or “missile” in describing what they saw. These vivid, first-hand accounts remain in stark contrast to the final report - and at the time, every possibility was investigated.
Note: Journalist Kristina Borjesson, a long-time supporter of WantToKnow.info, explores evidence of a cover-up in the wake of this crash in the documentary, "TWA Flight 800". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2009, I was living in Tel Aviv during Operation Cast Lead. During that offensive, Israel killed about 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. To take concrete action to bring about freedom and full rights for Palestinians ... I embraced the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. The non-violent effort, started in 2005 by a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations, is a call for solidarity from the international community until Israel complies with international law and ends its violations of Palestinian rights. It’s hard going though. Seven years later, there have been two more horrific assaults on Gaza. During this time there have been attacks on Israeli civilians too. These are a horrifying symptom of ongoing occupation and repression, as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai pointed out after a recent attack in Tel Aviv killed four Jewish Israelis. BDS is a powerful way to encourage the state to act. But our efforts have been threatened here in the United States by a nationally coordinated, well-funded strategy financed by the Israeli government and advocacy organizations. Over the last year, 22 states have introduced or passed anti-BDS legislation. Many of these measures make it illegal for states to do business with companies that support BDS. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has escalated that strategy with a draconian executive order that would create a blacklist of companies and organizations that choose not to invest in Israel or that advocate for BDS.
Note: Read an Israeli soldier's account of following orders to methodically kill women and children in Israel's 2009 Gaza offensive. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is one of the world's biggest conspiracy theories – that the west was involved in plotting, organising, and even carrying out the 9/11 terror atrocities. One longstanding view is the towers would not have collapsed in the way they did if they were hit by aircraft. Some claim there must have been a "controlled detonation" at ground level for the Twin Towers to fall in on themselves as they did. One key part of their argument is the collapse of a third smaller tower, called Building 7, at the World Trade Centre complex, several hours after the huge skyscrapers fell. Now, the University of Alaska is sponsoring a full investigation into claims that World Trade Center Building 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition during the 9/11 attacks. Dr J Leroy Hulsey, chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ (UAF) Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, has partnered with architects and engineers linked to campaign group 9/11 Truth to evaluate the causes of its collapse. WTC7 was not hit by a plane. However, it collapsed at 5:20 p.m. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the official cause for the collapse was office fires. A growing number of family members, activists, architects and engineers question the official theory for collapse and are seeking a new investigation into WTC7. Dr Hulsey ... said: “NIST says the building fell down due to office fires. Our investigation will evaluate the probability that this was the cause of the collapse.”
Note: The Boston Globe recently published a letter by Richard Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Watch the excellent documentary "Incontrovertible" which presents powerful proof that the fall of WTC 7 was known and reported before it actually happened on BBC news and elsewhere. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
The [FDA] amassed a stockpile of pistols, shotguns, and semiautomatic rifles, along with ample supplies of ammunition, liquid explosives, gun scopes, and suppressors. Between 2006 and 2014, [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency of the USDA] spent nearly $4.8 million to arm itself. And far from being an outlier, it is one of dozens of federal agencies that spends lavishly on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. A report issued this month by American Transparency ... chronicles the explosive - and expensive - trend toward militarizing federal agencies, most of which have no military responsibilities. Between 2006 and 2014, the report shows, 67 federal bureaus, departments, offices, and services spent at least $1.48 billion on ammunition and material one might expect to find in the hands of SWAT teams, Special Forces soldiers - or terrorists. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, now spends more than $1 million annually on firearms, ammunition, and military gear. Since 2006, the Department of Veterans Affairs ... has poured nearly $11.7 million into guns and ammo. Even the Smithsonian Institution and the Social Security Administration have each devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars to weaponry. There are now fewer US Marines than there are officers at federal administrative agencies with the authority to carry weapons and make arrests.
Note: The Washington Post in 2009 reported that military influence over US civilian authorities was quietly increasing, and the militarization of US police has been well-documented. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Tailyn Wang was two months pregnant when federal police officers broke into her house in Mexico City, ripped off her nightgown and threw her to the ground. They groped her breasts while punching and kicking her in front of her terrified children, before taking her blindfolded to a police base – without an arrest warrant. Wang is one of scores of innocent women illegally arrested and tortured by Mexican security services looking to boost arrest figures to justify the war on drugs, according to damning new research by Amnesty International. Of the 100 women interviewed for the report, 72 said they were sexually abused during or soon after the arrest. Ten of the women were pregnant when arrested; eight subsequently suffered a miscarriage. The vast majority were young, poor, single mothers. Most spend years in prison awaiting trial, without access to adequate healthcare or legal advice. Wang, who has reported the torture to judges, prosecutors, doctors, and the National Commission for Human Rights, was falsely accused by an acquaintance, a local police officer, after he was also tortured. Reports of torture have increased exponentially in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderón first deployed tens of thousands of armed forces on the streets to combat warring drug cartels and organised crime. The navy, which has been deployed in some of the most violent states ... appears to have a particularly serious torture problem. Among the women interviewed by Amnesty, eight out of the ten arrested by the navy were raped.
On September 18, 2015, Guatemalan professor Rigoberto Lima Choc awaited a judge’s decision on an issue he had been the first to uncover: A company was polluting the waters of La Pasión River. Lima Choc had not only documented and reported the problem but had also taken journalists and photographers to witness the fish slaughter. That day, as he walked down the steps of the courthouse, two men on a motorcycle approached and fired at him. He died on the spot. Lima Choc’s death is, sadly ... not an exception. Through 2015 a worldwide total of 185 murders of this kind were documented by the nongovernmental organization Global Witness. A detailed report on these deaths ... implies a significant growth from one year to the next. Latin America had the dubious honor of being the region with the highest number of conservationist murders - 122; Brazil took the lion’s share with 50 killings. Indigenous communities are especially vulnerable, and it is there where most environmental activists are killed. Just a few cases [leave] a documented record. Osvaldo Durán, spokesman of the Costa Rica–based Federation for the Conservation of the Environment ... points out that many times the government does nothing to defend people or groups under attack; and that sometimes it even orchestrates disinformation campaigns. Duran says, “The economic model ... requires a fusion of interests between [the] state and corporations. This is when you see the state defending private interests instead of communities.”
Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials - far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures. The classified rules ... govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. Obtaining a journalist’s records with a national security letter (or NSL) requires the signoff of the FBI’s general counsel and the executive assistant director of the bureau’s National Security Branch. The Obama administration has come under criticism for bringing a record number of leak prosecutions and aggressively targeting journalists in the process. In 2013, after it came out that the Justice Department had secretly seized records from phone lines at the Associated Press and surveilled ... reporter James Rosen, then-Attorney General Eric Holder tightened the rules. The FBI could not label reporters as co-conspirators in order to try to identify their sources - as had happened with Rosen - and it became more difficult to get journalists’ phone records without notifying the news organization first. Yet these changes did not apply to NSLs. Those are governed by a separate set of rules. The FBI issues thousands of NSLs each year, including nearly 13,000 in 2015. Over the years, a series of Inspector General reports found significant problems with their use, yet the FBI is currently pushing to expand the types of information it can demand with an NSL.
Note: The aggressive pursuit of leaks and journalists that report them led BBC to recently ask: "Is the US government at war with whistleblowers?" Read more about the FBI's use of secret National Security Letters. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation and the disappearance of privacy.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.