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The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Police practices at Homan Square [allegedly] include: Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases; Beating by police, resulting in head wounds; Shackling for prolonged periods; Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility; Holding people [as young as 15] without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours. Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. After serving two and a half years in prison, Church ... and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses. Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations. “The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they ... creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”
Note: Church was one of three young activists charged with 'terrorism' after police manufactured evidence against peaceful Occupy Wall St protesters in Chicago in 2012. For more, read about the increasing militarization of police in the U.S. after 9/11, or see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles.
A large study that looked at data from nearly every general medical practice in England suggests that water fluoridation may increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. This condition, in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is associated with symptoms such as fatigue, obesity and depression. The study found that locations with fluoridated water supplies were more than 30 percent more likely to have high levels of hypothyroidism, compared to areas with low levels of the chemical in the water. Overall, there were 9 percent more cases of underactive thyroid in fluoridated places. Fluoride is added to the water of about 10 percent of England’s population—and to the taps of about two-thirds of Americans—for the purpose of preventing cavities. Fluoride was used to treat hyperthyroidism (or an overactive thyroid) in the 1950s. It may put a damper on the gland’s activities by suppressing the activity of various enzymes, causing physical damage or interfering with the absorption and use of iodine, a substance that is critical for thyroid health. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency convened a panel that recommended lowering the maximum allowable level of fluoride in water. Nine years later, the EPA is still considering whether or not to revise its fluoride standards.
Note: Read lots more excellent information on fluoridation of water in this article on mercola.com. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Last year Public Health England released a report saying fluoride was a ‘safe and effective’ way of improving dental health. But new research from the University of Kent suggests that there is a spike in the number of cases of underactive thyroid in high fluoride areas such as the West Midlands and the North East of England. In England, around 10 per cent of the population (6 million) live in areas with a naturally or artificially fluoridated water supply of 1 mg fluoride per litre of drinking water. The researchers compared areas to records from 7935 general practices covering around 95 per cent of the English population in 2012-2013. Rates of high underactive thyroid were at least 30 per cent more likely in practices located in areas with fluoride levels in excess of 0.3 mg/l. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water in varying amounts, depending on the region and it is also found in certain foods and drinks, including tea and fish. It helps combat tooth decay by making enamel more resistant to bacteria. But previous studies have found that it inhibits the production of iodine, which is essential for a healthy thyroid. The thyroid gland, which is found in the neck, regulates the metabolism as well as many other systems in the body. An underactive thyroid can lead to depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles and affects 15 times more women than men, around 15 in 1,000 women.
Note: Read lots more excellent information on fluoridation of water in this article on mercola.com. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
This is how the story goes: It’s 1966, and 6-year-old Thomas Reed is in his bedroom on his family’s horse farm in the Berkshires when the encounters begin. Suddenly, he’s in the woods near his home looking at a UFO. The following year, there is another incident. Two years later, the family is driving on Route 7 when they see strange lights in the sky. Thomas and his brother and mother and grandmother find themselves in a giant room. Next thing, he’s back near the car. Reed has told these stories many times, and it has not always gone well. But recently, his tale had found recognition in an unlikely place. The Great Barrington Historical Society & Museum has formally inducted the UFO story. "We believe it is true,” said Debbie Oppermann, the director of the society. “I know we’re going to get a lot of backlash. But ... based on the evidence we’ve been given, we believe this is a significant and true event.” The historical society believes it is the first time a “mainstream” historical society or museum in the United States has declared a UFO encounter to be historical fact. What most interests the historical society is the 1969 encounter, because dozens of people in the area reported seeing an unidentified flying object around that time. Many of those eyewitnesses called the local radio station, WSBS, which covered the sightings. The radio station has provided documentation to the historical society, which interviewed one of those eyewitnesses.
Note: The Great Barrington Historical Society joins a former presidential aide, a respected astronaut, countless others in legitimizing historic accounts of UFO activity. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles about The UFO cover-up and disclosure effort from reliable major media sources.
Syngenta, a Swiss chemicals company, produces one of America’s most popular herbicides. It is called atrazine, and 73.7 million pounds of the chemical compound were applied in the United States in 2013. It was used on more than half of all corn crops, two-thirds of sorghum and up to 90 percent of sugar cane. The weed killer is banned as a pesticide in the European Union as well as in Switzerland over concerns that it is a groundwater contaminant. Syngenta, however, did not get the memo. Even though the European Union banned atrazine over a decade ago, the company has long insisted that the pesticide was not banned. Sensitivity over regulatory gaps between the United States and Europe has flared during trans-Atlantic trade talks, which have been underway since 2013. An increasing number of critics of the process are concerned that the outcome could favor corporations more than consumers. Advocacy groups have particularly focused on chemicals, given the disparities in policy. Baskut O. Tuncak, a senior lawyer at the Center for International Environmental Law, said that in his view the chemical proposals that have surfaced so far “reflect a lot of industry’s demands and their concerns with more protective E.U. policies.” He added that proposed changes could “slow or stop and possibly weaken efforts to develop stronger chemical regulation in either the E.U. or the U.S.”
Note: Syngenta did everything in its power to discredit atrazine researcher Tyrone Hayes after Hayes published science proving that Syngenta's products were poisonous. The New Yorker published a detailed article on Syngenta's smear campaign. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gasses pose little risk to humanity. One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming. But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests. He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work. The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress. Dr. Soon has found a warm welcome among politicians in Washington and state capitals who try to block climate action. United States Senator James M. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who claims that climate change is a global scientific hoax, has repeatedly cited Dr. Soon’s work over the years.
Note: One of Dr Soon's primary funding sources is Donors Trust, a secretive organization found to have orchestrated a vast climate denial conspiracy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A senior writer at the Daily Telegraph has dramatically quit the newspaper after accusing its owners, the Barclay Brothers, of suppressing reports about the HSBC scandal out of fear of losing advertising revenue. Peter Oborne, the paper’s chief political commentator and an award-winning author, announced his resignation [and] accused the Telegraph of committing a “fraud” on readers. Mr Oborne detailed a series of investigations about HSBC, and other financial scandals, which he said executives at the newspaper had closed down. Mr Oborne wrote: “From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged [because] HSBC [had] suspended its advertising with the Telegraph. “Its account ... was extremely valuable. HSBC, as one former Telegraph executive told me, is ‘the advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend’. “Winning back the HSBC advertising account became an urgent priority. It was eventually restored after approximately 12 months. Executives say that Murdoch MacLennan [chief executive of Telegraph Media Group] was determined not to allow any criticism of the international bank.” As a result of a 2012 investigation into accounts held by HSBC in Jersey, he claimed: “Reporters were ordered to destroy all emails, reports and documents related to the HSBC investigation. I [resigned] as a matter of conscience. The past few years have seen the rise of shadowy executives who determine what truths can and what truths can’t be conveyed across the mainstream media."
Note: Oborne's online resignation provides a unique window into some of the ways that big money is used to manipulate the media. Read lots more on HSBC's empire of corruption in a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. HSBC was founded to service the international drug trade in the 19th century, and launders money for mobsters and terrorists on a massive scale.
David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance. This month, Korten, who is also the co-founder and board chair of YES!, publishes a new book challenging readers to rethink their relationship with Earth—indeed, with all creation, from the smallest quantum particle to the whole of the universe. The world needs “a new story,” he says. Buying into the “Sacred Money and Markets” story that money is wealth and the key to happiness locks us into indentured servitude to corporate rule. It’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living. The only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.
Note: David Korten's new book is titled: Change the Story, Change the Future. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The recent release of a landmark report on the history of lynching in the United States is a welcome contribution to the struggle over American collective memory. One dimension of mob violence that is often overlooked, however, is that lynchers targeted many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, including Native Americans, Italians, Chinese and, especially, Mexicans. Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes. From 1848 to 1928, mobs murdered thousands of Mexicans. These lynchings occurred not only in the southwestern states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, but also in states far from the border, like Nebraska and Wyoming. Some of these cases did appear in press accounts, when reporters depicted them as violent public spectacles, as they did with many lynchings of African-Americans in the South. The story of mob violence against Mexicans in the Southwest compels us to rethink the history of lynching. Southern blacks were the group most often targeted, but comparing the histories of the South and the West strengthens our understanding of mob violence in both.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data. The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands. With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted.
Note: In an article that updates the story above, The Intercept reports that Gemalto has now acknowledged this security breach, but is misrepresenting its significance to prevent client and investor fears from harming the company's profitability. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.
One man's story in particular highlights just about everything that can go wrong when you give evidence against your bosses in America: former Countrywide/Bank of America whistleblower Michael Winston. Two years ago this month, Winston was being celebrated in the news as a hero. He'd blown the whistle on Countrywide Financial, the bent mortgage lender that ... nearly blew up the global economy. Today, Winston [has] spent over a million dollars fighting Countrywide (and the firm that acquired it, Bank of America) in court. At first, that fight proved a good gamble, as a jury granted him a multi-million-dollar award for retaliation and wrongful termination. But after Winston won that case, an appellate judge not only wiped out that jury verdict, but allowed Bank of America to counterattack him. The bank eventually beat him for nearly $98,000 in court costs. That single transaction means a good guy in the crisis drama, Winston, had by the end of 2014 paid a larger individual penalty than virtually every wrongdoer connected with the financial collapse of 2008. When Winston protested his preposterous punishment on the grounds that a trillion-dollar company recouping legal fees from an unemployed whistleblower was unreasonable and unnecessary, a California Superior Court judge denied his argument — get this — on the grounds that Winston failed to prove a disparity in resources between himself and Bank of America! Four years later, we're still waiting for the first criminal conviction against any individual for crisis-era corruption. There's been no significant reform. What we've seen instead is a series of cash deals with the most corrupt companies.
Note: Countrywide bought political influence to more effectively defraud institutional investors and taxpayers. Thanks to Winston, they were caught and proven guilty. But Bank of America purchased Countrywide, and has been paying off officials in secret deals to continue skirting the law without admitting wrongdoing. And Michael Winston now has to pay Bank of America for their trouble.
From a Melbourne courtroom, the torment of the Chabad rabbis was streamed live to the world as the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse probed the city’s secretive and powerful Yeshivah community. Sharp divisions in the Jewish world have been exposed. Two rabbis, including one of the nation’s most prominent, have been forced from their posts. Whistleblowers, humiliated and ostracised for years by Yeshivah, have been dramatically vindicated. More victims have come forward. More criminal charges may follow. Yeshivah schools face a nightmare of civil litigation. The cast is Jewish, yet the bones of this story are familiar to anyone who has followed the scandal of child abuse in Christian schools and parishes. The witness stand of a royal commission is a cruel place for men of any faith. Cardinals and preachers are not used to being held to account. In their world, facts don’t necessarily matter. Belief is everything. Up against the law, compelled to answer, they find themselves trapped in daylight. Over 10 long days of hearings in Melbourne, rabbi after rabbi apologised for the failings of the Chabad-Lubavitcher communities of St Kilda and Bondi. Some did so bluntly. Some only when they were cornered by tough questioning. Only Rabbi Moshe Gutnick seized the opportunity. “I and many of my so-called ultra-Orthodox friends and colleagues share the outrage as to what has gone on here,” he told the commissioners.
Note: For more on this disturbing story read this article also in the UK's Guardian. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
A scandal implicating HSBC in alleged tax evasion widened further Wednesday, as Swiss prosecutors raided the Geneva headquarters of its private bank in Switzerland. The raid, in connection with an investigation into ‘aggravated money-laundering’, marks the latest twist in a saga that dates back 10 years. Materials leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ... indicated that HSBC aggressively marketed schemes suitable for tax evasion to rich clients across the world. The materials come from a stash of files stolen from HSBC by Hervé Falciani, a former employee and whistleblower. Falciani was indicted in Switzerland in December for industrial espionage and for breaking the law on banking secrecy. Falciani’s files have already led to criminal investigations in France, Belgium and Argentina. The Swiss authorities’ action Wednesday, however, is the first to suggest that they regard tax evasion itself as a bigger crime than exposing it. [HSBC has also recently] been found guilty of manipulating benchmark interest and foreign exchange rates, [and] desperately needs to be able to prove that it has not aided or abetted tax evasion or money-laundering since December 2012. That was when it signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. after admitting to helping Iran get round sanctions and laundering the profits of Mexican drug trafficking gangs. Any evidence that it has broken that DPA could lead to it losing its all-important license to bank in the U.S., destroying its status as a global bank overnight.
Note: Read lots more on HSBC's sweetheart deal with U.S. officials in a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. US Senator Elizabeth Warren is working hard to bring justice in this case. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about systemic corruption in government and the financial industry.
I have been the guest of both Jon Stewart and Brian Williams, the newsy comedian and the comedic newsman who announced very different sorts of leave-taking last week. As they depart — Mr. Stewart honorably, Mr. Williams with his integrity in doubt — I found myself recalling very different experiences on their shows. On Mr. Stewart’s show, the truth was a process; on Mr. Williams’s, it was an outcome. “The Daily Show” deconstructed purported truths. “Nightly News” took precarious facts and fallible “experts” and constructed them into something purporting to be Truth. An under-told aspect of Mr. Stewart’s legacy is how much his deconstructing spirit meant to many in the less open parts of the world. On a reporting trip to China some years ago, I was struck by the risks young people took to download the show illegally and, in some cases, to subtitle and disseminate it for others. I telephoned one such Stewart fan in Beijing to ask how she was coping with his departure. “We hope he can delay his resigning until after the 2016 election,” said Maggie Chen. “We’re not interested in your politics,” she said, adding: “We’re interested in the style of the show, and the idea that you can use jokes to tell the truth.” As a young Chinese woman living through a widening crackdown on free speech, Ms. Chen admires the show’s exploration of “the things behind the news or within the news.”
Astronomers have spotted huge cloudlike plumes erupting from Mars – a phenomenon that scientists are at a loss to explain. The bright flares, which have now died away, towered higher than anything else observed in the Martian atmosphere. Their tops reached some 150 miles in altitude, more than twice as high as the highest Martian clouds, and they sprawled across 300 to 600 miles, researchers report in this week's Nature, a science journal. The researchers initially were skeptical, but "we came to the conclusion that what we were seeing is actually real," says study co-author Antonio García Muńoz, a planetary scientist at the European Space Agency. The plumes are "exceptional. … It's difficult to come to terms with this." This scientific brainteaser first came to light in early 2012. "I don't think it's real. Basic physics says this can't occur," [Planetary scientist Todd Clancy of the Space Science Institute] says, adding that the conditions in Mars's upper atmosphere don't supply the necessary ingredients for clouds. In response, study co-author Agustin Sánchez-Lavega, a planetary scientist and physics professor at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, notes that 19 different observers captured the strange eruptions. He considers the source of the formations "open to discussion," he says via e-mail.
Note: Here is a picture that shows Mars' strange behavior. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about our enigmatic universe from reliable major media sources.
A senior American climate scientist has spoken of the fear he experienced when US intelligence services apparently asked him about the possibility of weaponising the weather as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week. During a debate on the use of geo-engineering to combat climate change ... Prof Robock said: “I got a phone call from two men who said we work as consultants for the CIA and we'd like to know if some other country was controlling our climate, would we know about it? ”I told them, after thinking a little bit, that we probably would because if you put enough material in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight we would be able to detect it and see the equipment that was putting it up there. “At the same time I thought they were probably also interested in if we could control somebody else's climate, could they detect it?” Professor Robock, who has investigated the potential risks and benefits of using stratospheric particles to simulate the climate-changing effects of volcanic eruptions, said he felt “scared” when the approach was made. “I'd learned of lots of other things the CIA had done that haven't followed the rules and I thought that wasn't how I wanted my tax money spent. Professor Robock’s concerns come as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week by the US National Academy of Sciences. Among the report’s list of sponsors is the “US intelligence community." The professor alleges that ... the US government had a proven history of using the weather in a hostile way.
Note: The National Academy of Science's two-part report says that geoengineering technologies "present serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally." With a deeply corrupt scientific establishment being guided by corrupt intelligence agencies to meddle with the planet's total ecology, and with low public awareness about the messy history of mysterious atmospheric experiments over cities in the U.S. and elsewhere, what could possibly go wrong? For solid evidence the military has used the weather as a weapon, read about HAARP.
It’s not so much that more than a whopping 100 cases of measles have cropped up in California since December. It’s not even that concerns over the number of unvaccinated kids have been escalating in recent years. The reason measles is on the tip of so many people’s tongues these days, and the subject of so much sturm and drang in the media, is this: It’s a mild case of mass hysteria. The reality, doctors contend, is that chances of the potentially deadly disease once again becoming epidemic are nil. The virus was declared wiped out in the U.S. in 2000, and with more than 90 percent of the country still getting vaccinated, overall safety is still strong. The current measles outbreak began in December, when the illness cropped up at two Disneyland theme parks in Southern California. Within a month, smatterings of viral infections had spread throughout the state with a handful of cases showing up in other states. To date, California has reported nearly double the 61 measles cases reported all of last year. That’s ... considerably fewer than the tens of thousands of cases that were diagnosed across the nation in 1989 in another outbreak. But try telling that to parents of little kids who have become alarmed at ceaseless news reports of increasing cases. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one or two people in 1,000 with measles worldwide will die from the illness. That’s less deadly than ... tetanus, which globally kills up to 20 percent of its victims.
Note: How many mass media mass hysterias do we have to endure? Every couple years there’s a new killer plague about to devour us all. Today, it’s measles, a couple of months ago, it was Ebola. A few years ago, avian flu was going to do us in. And there was the swine flu, which turned out to be just a common flu. Of course governments worldwide paid Big Pharma billions to buy a special swine flu vaccine. Now it’s measles, and everybody has to get a shot or the drug companies won't make their billions. We definitely wouldn't want that!
Outgoing Obama counselor John Podesta remains a devoted fan of things extraterrestrial. When Podesta, who was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, returned to White House duty in late 2013, we wrote that his arrival meant “the Obama presidential library will be inundated — just as the Clinton library in Little Rock has been — with Freedom of Information Act requests, such as this one: for ‘e-mails to and from John Podesta, containing the words either, X-Files or Area 51.’” Karen Tumulty asked him in 2007 about the FOIA jam at the library, and Podesta, through a spokesman, replied: “The truth is out there.” And, just to make sure the FOIA requesters don’t forget, Podesta tweeted Thursday: Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not securing the #disclosure of the UFO files. #thetruthisstilloutthere.
Note: Read more in this intriguing article and this one. Podesta wrote the introduction to a 2010 book titled, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.” Watch Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, talk about what really happened at Roswell. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself. But in the 1970s ... Bruce Alexander noticed [that] the rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends. The rats with good lives ... mostly shunned [the drugged water]. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did. Professor Alexander argues [that] addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage. This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection. This isn’t [just] theoretical. 15 years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with one percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The results? Since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent.
Note: The complete article tells the story of internationally renown journalist Johann Hari's profound shift in thinking about addiction as he personally investigated Portugal's inspiring success.
Russia, the United States, Japan and many parts of Europe lost ground last year in its ranking of global press freedoms. The rise of non-state groups, crackdowns on demonstrations, wars and economic crises provided a backdrop for a tough 2014. The Paris-based media watchdog [Reporters Without Borders] said two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed in its annual World Press Freedom index scored worse than a year earlier. Western Europe, while top-ranked, lost the most ground as a region. Three Nordic countries headed the list, but there was slippage in Italy — where Mafia and other threats weighed on journalists — and Iceland, where the relationship between the media and politicians soured. The U.S. fell three places to 49th amid a “war on information” by the Obama administration. Reporters also faced difficulty covering events like demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where black teen Michael Brown was shot dead in August by a white police officer. Russia dropped two notches to 152nd place after passing “draconian laws” to limit freedom of information, the group said. Legislation allowing access to information helped Mongolia jump 34 spots — the highest single advance — to 54th place. China, Iran and North Korea all remained among the 10 lowest-ranked countries. The group uses seven criteria to calculate its index — measures for media independence, the diversity of opinions expressed, self-censorship, transparency, abuses and the legislative environment.
Note: For more on ongoing threats to press freedom, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation stories from reliable sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.