Government Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important government corruption news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their mainstream media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These government corruption news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Government Corruption News stories


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.

Lift Assange out of legal limbo
2014-06-17, USA Today
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:29:40
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/06/17/assange-wikileaks-espionage-...

A whistle-blower living in exile in Russia. A publisher seeking the asylum he has already been granted while his sources are imprisoned. This isn't the cast of a summer blockbuster. It's a perfect storm of real-life cases that make it clear that constitutional guarantees of a free press and government accountability are rhetorical devices, not political realities. The whistle-blower is Edward Snowden. This month marks the first anniversary of his disclosures of massive National Security Agency surveillance. The publisher is Julian Assange. Thursday marks two years since he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Meanwhile, two of Assange's sources, Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning) and Jeremy Hammond, remain in prison for providing WikiLeaks with confidential documents. Harassment, targeting and prosecution of whistle-blowers, journalists and publishers have become a dangerous new normal — one we should refuse to accept, especially in a time when governments are becoming more powerful and less accountable. It's time to end this assault, starting with granting Snowden amnesty and withdrawing the threat of U.S. criminal prosecution of Assange. Similar harsh treatment and excessive punishments haven't applied to the people in government who perpetrated the crimes exposed by these whistle-blowers and published by WikiLeaks. In fact, people such as national intelligence director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress, have avoided consequences altogether.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.




WikiLeaks publishes 'secret draft' of world trade agreement
2014-06-19, CBC News (Canada's Public Broadcasting Network)
Posted: 2014-06-23 08:03:53
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/wikileaks-publishes-secret-draft-of-world-trade-...

WikiLeaks has published what it calls "the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex," apparently covering 50 countries and most of the world's trade in services. "The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multinationals — mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt — into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers," the website says in a statement. The draft deal is seen as a way to prevent more regulation of financial services, despite calls for tighter regulatory measures that followed the 2007-08 world financial crisis. That market meltdown set the world's biggest banks up against critics who said governments needed to rein them in. The last round of TISA talks took place April 28 to May 2 in Geneva. WikiLeaks also [stated] that the U.S. is "particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow" and that this would include personal and financial data. During his teleconference, [Assange] urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to end a four-year-long grand jury investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks. "National security reporters are required by their profession to have intimate interactions in order to assess and verify and investigate the nature of the material that they are dealing with," he said. "So I call on Eric Holder today to immediately drop the ongoing national security investigation against WikiLeaks or resign."

Note: Why is this important release getting so little news coverage? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




The Koch Cycle of Endless Cash
2014-06-14, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-23 08:02:10
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/opinion/the-koch-cycle-of-endless-cash.html

It’s not enough, apparently, that some of the wealthiest Americans spend millions to elect their candidates to Congress. Now they are using their fortunes to lobby Congress against any limits on their ability to buy elections. Koch Companies Public Sector, part of the industrial group owned by a well-known pair of conservative brothers, has hired a big-name firm to lobby Congress on campaign-finance issues, according to a registration form filed a few weeks ago. The form doesn’t say what those issues are, but there are several bills in the House that would reduce the role of anonymous big money in campaigns, and restrict the kinds of super PACs and nonprofit groups that the Koch brothers and others have inflated with cash. Clearly, it’s vital to the Kochs and others like them to prevent such limits from being enacted; their network raised $400 million in 2012, and it has been extremely active again this year. To that end, they have done something ordinary citizens cannot do: They hired the lobbying firm of a well-known former senator, Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, to press their interests. Mr. Nickles started his firm a few months after leaving the Senate in 2005, and he takes in up to $8 million a year from big firms like Exxon Mobil, General Motors and Walmart. This is a perfect illustration of the cumulative power of cash in today’s Washington. Members of Congress get elected with substantial help from check writers like the Kochs and others. Once there, they do the bidding of former members paid by the Kochs to preserve their business interests and fight off campaign-finance reforms.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.




Inside the Koch Brothers’ Secret Billionaire Summit
2014-06-17, The Nation
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:59:51
http://www.thenation.com/article/180267/exclusive-behind-koch-brothers-secret...

Charles and David Koch wrapped up their annual summer seminar on June 16. [Their] combined net worth is more than $100 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The highly secretive mega-donor conference, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” featured a who’s who of Republican political elites. 300 individuals—worth at least a billion each—were present. The explicit goal was to raise $500 million to take the Senate in the 2014 midterms and another $500 million “to make sure Hillary Clinton is never president.” The Koch network raised an estimated $407 million in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics. Intriguing in its ambiguity was the “Energy: Changing the Narrative” session, presumably meant to change the narrative of climate change to one of energy independence. The Kochs are investing large sums in “a new energy initiative with what looks like a deregulatory, pro-consumer spin” to combat President Obama’s new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions and liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s $100 million commitment to fight climate change. It is not hard to see why the Kochs, as the owners of a large carbon-based energy conglomerate with interests in oil, natural gas and coal, are some of the most vocal climate deniers. In 2013, Forbes listed Koch Industries as the second largest privately held company in the country. This conclave of billionaires is determined to roll back Obamacare and carbon restrictions. In an America where money equals speech, Koch is king.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.




An expanding Koch network aims to spend $300 million to shape Senate fight and 2016
2014-06-18, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:58:15
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/an-expanding-koch-network-aims-to-spen...

The political network backed by the Koch brothers, already spending tens of millions of dollars this year to boost Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate, is expanding its national playbook as part of a long-term strategy designed to strengthen conservatives heading into the 2016 presidential campaign. The effort, part of an overall budget that organizers expect to total nearly $300 million this year, includes broadening outreach to veterans, viewed as an energized constituency in the wake of the recent Veterans Affairs scandal, and messages tailored for Latinos and young people, long considered core Democratic constituencies. The strategy for 2014 includes a new super PAC that can pour all its money into overt election activity. The plan underscores the huge reach of the Koch-backed operation, a singular force in American politics that has functioned outside the traditional campaign finance system. The Koch-backed network, a coalition of nonprofit organizations not required to disclose their donors, raised $407 million in the 2012 cycle, a presidential election year in which outside spending increased greatly on both sides of the aisle. This year, the network is likely to outstrip other organizations on both the left and the right with spending on television ads and on-the-ground organizing. Its main political organ, the free-market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, has 240 full-time employees in 32 states, more than double the size of its 2012 staff.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.




Final Word on U.S. Law Isn’t: Supreme Court Keeps Editing
2014-05-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:56:26
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/us/final-word-on-us-law-isnt-supreme-court-...

The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon. The court’s secretive editing process has led judges and law professors astray, causing them to rely on passages that were later scrubbed from the official record. The widening public access to online versions of the court’s decisions, some of which do not reflect the final wording, has made the longstanding problem more pronounced. Unannounced changes have not reversed decisions outright, but they have withdrawn conclusions on significant points of law. The larger point, said Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford, is that Supreme Court decisions are parsed by judges and scholars with exceptional care. “In Supreme Court opinions, every word matters,” he said. “When they’re changing the wording of opinions, they’re basically rewriting the law.” The court does warn readers that early versions of its decisions, available at the courthouse and on the court’s website, are works in progress. A small-print notice says that “this opinion is subject to formal revision before publication,” and it asks readers to notify the court of “any typographical or other formal errors.” But ... the court almost never notes when a change has been made, much less specifies what it was. And many changes do not seem merely typographical or formal.

Note: Read about a new app which tracks these changes. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




Study asserts startling numbers of insider trading rogues
2014-06-17, CNBC
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:54:43
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101764568

There is often a tip. Before many big mergers and acquisitions, word leaks out to select investors who seek to covertly trade on the information. Stocks and options move in unusual ways that aren't immediately clear. Then news of the deals crosses the ticker, surprising everyone except for those already in the know. Sometimes the investor is found out and is prosecuted, sometimes not. That's what everyone suspects, though until now the evidence has been largely anecdotal. Now, a groundbreaking new study finally puts what we've instinctively thought into hard numbers — and the truth is worse than we imagined. A quarter of all public company deals may involve some kind of insider trading, according to the study by two professors at the Stern School of Business at New York University and one professor from McGill University. The study, perhaps the most detailed and exhaustive of its kind, examined hundreds of transactions from 1996 through the end of 2012. The professors examined stock option movements — when an investor buys an option to acquire a stock in the future at a set price — as a way of determining whether unusual activity took place in the 30 days before a deal's announcement. The professors are so confident in their findings of pervasive insider trading that they determined statistically that the odds of the trading "arising out of chance" were "about three in a trillion." But, the professors conclude, the Securities and Exchange Commission litigated only "about 4.7 percent of the 1,859 ... deals included in our sample."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




Prosecutors Rarely Bring Charges In College Rape Cases
2014-06-17, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:53:10
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/17/college-rape-prosecutors-press-charg...

Although roughly 1 in 6 women nationwide are victims of sexual assault -- with the rate being higher for women in college, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey -- rapists often escape jail time. Only between 8 percent and 37 percent of rapes ever lead to prosecution, according to research funded by the Department of Justice, and just 3 percent to 18 percent of sexual assaults lead to a conviction. The likelihood of conviction inevitably factors into the decision of whether or not to pursue a case, explained Michelle J. Anderson, dean and professor of law at the City University of New York. The reasoning is based in how to spend limited time and resources. "What you don't want is the police and prosecutor's office to be more concerned with the win-loss record rather than justice," Anderson said. Recent legislation proposed in California and New York would require colleges to submit all reports of sexual assault to local police. The bill in California was developed at the urging of LAPD officers after it was revealed that USC and Occidental had underreported the number of assaults on campus. [But] the reality is [that] the criminal justice system often decides against prosecuting cases of acquaintance rape and date rape. An analysis of the National Violence Against Women Survey by the group End Violence Against Women International concluded that roughly 5 percent of rapes are ever prosecuted. Conviction rates present a "perverse incentive" for prosecutors to pursue only the strongest cases that offer the highest probability that a DA can win the case.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandals news articles from reliable major media sources.




Chelsea Manning breaks silence, accuses U.S. of lying about Iraq
2014-06-15, CNN
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:50:12
http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/15/us/nyt-chelsea-manning

A U.S. soldier imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks broke her silence in a fiery editorial accusing the United States of lying about Iraq. Chelsea [formerly Bradley] Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking 750,000 pages of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group. Manning has stayed out of the limelight since the conviction. But she was back Saturday, with an opinion piece titled "The Fog Machine of War" in The New York Times. In it, she accuses the U.S. media of looking the other way when chaos and corruption reigned in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance." She said that during the 2010 elections in Iraq, the media duped the world into thinking that all was well. "You might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers," she wrote. "The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq. Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality." She said at the time, she got regular reports detailing security forces' crackdown against dissidents "on behalf" of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. "I was shocked by our military's complicity in the corruption of that election," she said. "Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media's radar."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.




CDC's Vaccine Safety Research is Exposed as Flawed and Falsified in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal
2014-06-13, Yahoo! Finance/PR Newswire
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:46:00
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cdcs-vaccine-safety-research-exposed-115600020....

Just months after U.S. Congressman Bill Posey compared the Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s vaccine safety studies to the SEC's Bernie Madoff scandal, malfeasance in the CDC's studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines has, for the first time, been documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The journal BioMed Research International now provides direct evidence that the CDC's safety assurances about the mercury-containing preservative are not fact-based, according to the article's lead author, Brian Hooker. The paper [cites] over 165 studies that have found thimerosal to be harmful, including 16 studies that had reported [serious detrimental] outcomes in human infants and children. "Substantial scientific evidence exists and has existed for many years that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal is a developmental neurotoxin" says George Lucier, former Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program. Studies showing harm from thimerosal sharply contradict published outcomes of six CDC coauthored and sponsored papers – the very studies that CDC relies upon to declare that thimerosal is "safe" for use in infant and maternal vaccines. Dr. Hooker ... said of the six CDC studies, "Each of these papers is fatally flawed from a statistics standpoint and several of the papers represent issues of scientific malfeasance. For example, important data showing a relationship between thimerosal exposure and autism are withheld from three of the publications. This type of cherry-picking of data by the CDC in order to change the results of important research studies to support flawed and dangerous vaccination policies should not be tolerated."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccines news articles from reliable major media sources.




War Gear Flows to Police Departments
2014-06-09, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:44:08
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/us/war-gear-flows-to-police-departments.html

As President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice. During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Police departments ... are adding more firepower and military gear than ever. Some, especially in larger cities, have used federal grant money to buy armored cars and other tactical gear. And the free surplus program remains a favorite of many police chiefs who say they could otherwise not afford such equipment. The number of SWAT teams has skyrocketed since the 1980s, according to studies by Peter B. Kraska, an Eastern Kentucky University professor who has been researching the issue for decades. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




US Pushing Local Cops to Stay Mum on Surveillance
2014-06-12, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:42:57
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-pushing-local-cops-stay-mum-surve...

The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods. Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any [information] about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment. One well-known type of this surveillance equipment is known as a Stingray. The equipment tricks cellphones into identifying some of their owners' account information, like a unique subscriber number, and transmitting data to police as if it were a phone company's tower. That allows police to obtain cellphone information without having to ask for help from service providers ... and can locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message. The Obama administration is asking agencies to withhold common information about the equipment, such as how the technology is used and how to turn it on. "These extreme secrecy efforts are in relation to very controversial, local government surveillance practices using highly invasive technology," said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought for the release of these types of records. "People should have the facts about what the government is doing to them."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.




Ex-deputy details culture of abuse in L.A. County jail
2014-06-04, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:41:38
http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-deputy-trial-20140604-story.html

The deputy described beating inmates unprovoked, slapping them, shooting them with a Taser gun and aggressively searching them to pick a fight — something he learned "on the job." He would huddle with other jail guards to get their stories straight and write up reports with bogus scenarios justifying the brutality. If the inmate had no visible injuries, he wouldn't report the use of force, period. He did all this with impunity, former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Gilbert Michel testified ..., knowing that even if inmates reported the abuse it "wouldn't go anywhere." If they were to put it in writing and drop it in a complaint box, it was his fellow deputies who opened that box too. Michel, 40, took the stand at the obstruction of justice trial of six sheriff's officials accused of impeding a federal civil rights investigation into allegations of excessive force at L.A. County jails. Michel, the first sheriff's deputy to be charged in the wide-reaching, ongoing investigation, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to a count of bribery and agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Michel ... described a culture among deputies guarding the high-security floors of the jails that led to excessive force and frequent coverups. He matter-of-factly recounted incidents in which he said he and at least five other sheriff's employees brutalized inmates on the third, or "3000," floor of Men's Central Jail, then falsified reports to legitimize their actions.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




Internet Giants Erect Barriers to Spy Agencies
2014-06-07, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:39:51
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/07/technology/internet-giants-erect-barriers-t...

[Google engineers] are making it far more difficult — and far more expensive — for the National Security Agency and the intelligence arms of other governments around the world to pierce their systems. As fast as it can, Google is sealing up cracks in its systems that Edward J. Snowden revealed the N.S.A. had brilliantly exploited. It is encrypting more data as it moves among its servers and helping customers encode their own emails. Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo are taking similar steps. After years of cooperating with the government, the immediate goal now is to thwart Washington — as well as Beijing and Moscow. The strategy is also intended to preserve business overseas in places like Brazil and Germany that have threatened to entrust data only to local providers. A year after Mr. Snowden’s revelations, the era of quiet cooperation is over. Telecommunications companies say they are denying requests to volunteer data not covered by existing law. A.T.&T., Verizon and others say that compared with a year ago, they are far more reluctant to cooperate with the United States government in “gray areas” where there is no explicit requirement for a legal warrant. But governments are fighting back, harder than ever. The cellphone giant Vodafone reported ... that a “small number” of governments around the world have demanded the ability to tap directly into its communication networks [and] noted that some countries did not issue warrants to obtain phone, email or web-searching traffic, because “the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link.”

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.




Encouraging Words of Regret From Dean Baquet
2014-06-06, The Intercept
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:38:23
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/06/06/encouraging-words-dean-baquet-w...

NPR’s David Folkenflik has a revealing new look at ... one of the most important journalistic stories of the last decade: The New York Times‘ 2004 decision ... to suppress for 15 months (through Bush’s re-election) its reporters’ discovery that the NSA was illegally eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. This episode was one significant reason Edward Snowden purposely excluded the Times from his massive trove of documents. In an interview with Folkenflik, the paper’s new executive editor, Dean Baquet, describes the paper’s exclusion from the Snowden story as “really painful.” But ... Baquet has his own checkered history in suppressing plainly newsworthy stories at the government’s request, including a particularly inexcusable 2007 decision, when he was the managing editor of The Los Angeles Times, to kill a story based on AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein’s revelations that the NSA had built secret rooms at AT&T to siphon massive amounts of domestic telephone traffic. In his NPR interview, Baquet insists that he has had a serious change of heart on such questions as a result of the last year of NSA revelations: "[Baquet] says the experience has proved that news executives are often unduly deferential to seemingly authoritative warnings unaccompanied by hard evidence." Dean Baquet’s epiphany about the U.S. government and the American media ... is long overdue, but better late than never. Let us hope that it signals an actual change in behavior.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




FDA May Destroy American Artisan Cheese Industry
2014-06-09, Forbes
Posted: 2014-06-16 16:21:42
http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/06/09/fda-may-destroy-american...

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an executive decree banning the centuries old practice of aging cheese on wooden boards. Consumers who eat any kind of aged cheese should prepare for a potentially catastrophic disruption in the market for artisan, non-processed cheese. The FDA’s decision will not only harm American cheese makers, but may also bring a halt to the importation of artisan cheeses from abroad, as Canadian and European Union regulators have not imposed such draconian measures and still allow for the use of wood boards to age cheese. Corporate cheese makers like Leprino and Kraft will be able to weather this regulatory storm — they don’t make cheese, they manufacture cheese, and as such they do not follow the centuries-old [artisanal] techniques. But for small businesses and artisan cheese makers, wood boards are in fact essential to the making of cheese. As cheese expert Gordon Edgar writes, “wood creates a beneficial environment for cheese. After all, what is cheese but a great achievement of the microbe community?” Edgar notes that wood is essential to the flavor of artisanal cheeses: "Over the last 30-40 years cheesemakers here in the States have been trying to use the best practices of traditional cheesemakers to give smaller-scale production a taste/quality advantage over the larger (now almost completely automated) factories that dominate the market. [They] rely — in part — on wood aging. It could be devastating."

Note: The FDA appears to be backing down on this, yet the fact that they would even consider a move which effectively bans traditional cheese while promoting processed cheese shows the true colors of the FDA.




N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images
2014-06-01, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-09 08:19:10
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-we...

The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents. The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed. The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. It is not clear how many people around the world, and how many Americans, might have been caught up in the effort. Neither federal privacy laws nor the nation’s surveillance laws provide specific protections for facial images. Civil-liberties advocates and other critics are concerned that the power of the improving technology, used by government and industry, could erode privacy. “Facial recognition can be very invasive,” said Alessandro Acquisti, a researcher on facial recognition technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Note: For another New York Times article showing how the NSA is using mobile phone apps to "snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex and other personal information," see this article.




Vodafone: governments use secret cables to tap phones
2014-06-06, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-06-09 08:17:46
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet-security/10880208/Vodafone-gov...

Government agencies are able to listen to phone conversations live and even track the location of citizens without warrants using secret cables connected directly to network equipment, admits Vodafone today. The company said that secret wires have been connected to its network and those belonging to competitors, giving government agencies the ability to tap in to phone and broadband traffic. In many countries this is mandatory for all telecoms companies, it said. Vodafone is today publishing its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report which will describe exactly how the governments it deals with are eavesdropping on citizens. It is calling for an end to the use of “direct access” eavesdropping and transparency on the number of warrants issued giving access to private data. Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, said: "Vodafone is taking a commendable step by taking this issue on at an international scale. And they are trying to identify the legal basis for governments' claimed powers. Governments around the world are unashamedly abusing privacy by demanding access to communications and data, and alarmingly, sometimes granting themselves direct access to the networks. Now that Vodafone has been more open, the entire industry has cover to take the necessary next step of pushing back. Pushing back against bad requests is a start, pushing back against bad laws is the next step. The usefulness of transparency reports hinges on governments abiding by the rule of law. We now know that these reports only provide a limited picture of what is going on.”

Note: For more on government surveillance of the world's population, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Was the Iranian threat fabricated by Israel and the U.S.?
2014-05-31, Haaretz (One of Israel's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-06-09 08:14:23
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.596104

A new book by Gareth Porter, an American historian and researcher specializing in U.S. national security, shows how the actual state of the Iranian nuclear program does not match the Iranian threat narrative. Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Nuclear Scare ... is a highly detailed and well-documented book for all interested in understanding how we arrived at the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the “attack scenarios” and invented facts and intelligence reports. The story begins with U.S. support for the Iraqis during the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. The critical point [came] with the collapse of the Soviet empire. According to Porter, that event and the end of the Cold War pulled out the rug from under the CIA’s raison d’être. The solution the Americans found to continue providing the [CIA] with a tremendous budget was the invention of a new threat – the merging of weapons of mass destruction (an ambiguous term in itself) and terror. Iran ... provided the threat that “saved” the CIA. Running through Porter’s book is the well-substantiated claim that U.S. and Israeli policies on Iran derived from their political and organizational interests, and not necessarily from careful factual analysis of the Iranian nuclear program, which was subject to IAEA monitoring, or of the intentions of the Iranian leadership. According to Porter, no systematic analysis was made of the goals of the Iranian nuclear program, and neither U.S. nor Israeli policy makers devoted any thought to why all of Iran’s official declarations on the subject were in line with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Dr. Andres Carrasco, 67, neuroscientist fought Monsanto over Roundup
2014-05-13, Chicago Sun-Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-06-09 08:09:26
http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/27372174-418/dr-andres-carrasco-67-ne...

Dr. Andres Carrasco, an Argentine neuroscientist who challenged pesticide regulators to re-examine one of the world’s most widely used weed killers, has died. He was 67. Dr. Carrasco, a molecular biologist at the University of Buenos Aires and past-president of Argentina’s CONICET science council, was a widely published expert in embryonic development. His 2010 study on glyphosate [became] a major public relations challenge for the ... Monsanto Company. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand of pesticides, which have combined with genetically modified “Roundup-Ready” plants to dramatically increase the spread of industrial agriculture around the world. [The technology's] spread has increasingly exposed people to glyphosate and other chemicals. Dr. Carrasco, principal investigator at his university’s Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Institute, told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview that he had heard reports of increasing birth defects in farming communities after genetically modified crops were approved for use in Argentina, and so decided to test the impact of glyphosate on frog and chicken embryos in his laboratory. His team’s study, published in the peer-reviewed Chemical Research in Toxicology journal, found that injecting very low doses of glyphosate into embryos can change levels of retinoic acid, causing the same sort of spinal defects that doctors are increasingly registering in communities where farm chemicals are ubiquitous. “If it’s possible to reproduce this in a laboratory, surely what is happening in the field is much worse,” Dr. Carrasco told the AP.

Note: For further studies showing the grave dangers of Roundup and Glyphosate, see this article.





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