Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals. The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden ... outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were [using, which included] a method to hack and hijack phone users’ connections to app stores so that they would be able to send malicious “implants” to targeted devices. The implants could then be used to collect data from the phones without their users noticing. The agencies ... were also keen to find ways to hijack [app stores] as a way of sending “selective misinformation to the targets’ handsets” as part of so-called “effects” operations that are used to spread propaganda or confuse adversaries. Moreover, the agencies wanted to gain access to companies’ app store servers so they could secretly use them for “harvesting” information about phone users. The revelations are the latest to highlight tactics adopted by the Five Eyes agencies. Last year, The Intercept reported that the NSA ... was shown to have masqueraded as a Facebook server in order to hack into computers.
The CIA can keep secret a nearly 7,000-page Senate report on harsh interrogation methods, as well as an internal agency review. The complete 6,963-page report compiled by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [is] exempt from the dictates of the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg concluded. The Senate committee report, he reasoned, remained a document under congressional control, and Congress made sure to exempt itself from FOIA. “Congress has undoubted authority to keep its records secret, authority rooted in the Constitution, longstanding practice, and current congressional rules,” Boasberg stated. Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, voiced disappointment in the ruling. The Senate committee released a summary of the $40 million report last December, following years of back-and-forth.
Colonel Ian Henderson was a British official dubbed “the Butcher of Bahrain” because of atrocities he repeatedly committed during the 30 years he served as chief security official of that Middle Eastern country. A 2002 Guardian article reported that “during this time his men allegedly detained and tortured thousands of anti-government activists”; his official acts “included the ransacking of villages, sadistic sexual abuse and using power drills to maim prisoners”. Col. Henderson was never punished in any way. For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain ... a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable. Now, a governmental tribunal ruled ... that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed. The tribunal’s ruling was at least partially based on “secret evidence ... that the release of such information could jeopardise Britain’s new military base in the country.” This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and the rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.” This is exactly the same mentality driving the Obama administration’s years-long effort to suppress photographs showing torture of detainees by the U.S.. Obama insisted that to release the photos “would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”
The decapitated body of a missing blogger who was investigating a child prostitution ring has been found by police in Brazil. Evany José Metzker's body was found outside the town of Padre Paraíso, in ... Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state. Metzger, who maintained a blog named 'Coruja do Vale' (The Owl of the Valley), was reportedly investigating a child prostitution ring operating in the area. Metzger had travelled to Padre Paraíso three months earlier. His body was found on Monday. He had been missing for several days. Metzger's wife, Hilma Chaves Silva Borges, was quoted by The Committee to Protect Journalists as saying that Metzker was working in a dangerous part of the country. "There are lots of murders here. I think that the motive, given the barbarity of his murder, was because he hit on something," she was quoted as saying. Brazil is the third most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America, after Mexico and Colombia, according to Reporters Without Borders. In his blog Metzger often reported on corrupt officials and politicians. Extra, a local daily newspaper, quoted Metzker's family as saying the police were led to the body following an anonymous tip-off.
Note: Those running child prostitution rings make huge amounts of money and are protected by politicians at high levels. Many will not hesitate to kill if anyone threatens to expose their sex trade in children. If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don't miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here.
Five of the world’s largest banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion in fines to settle charges made by regulatory agencies and the Justice Department that the banks had acted in concert to manipulate international interest and foreign currency exchange rates. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the banks had engaged in “brazenly illegal behavior on a near-daily basis.” The scale of the price-fixing scandal is hard to grasp. It touched ... almost every company and individual in the financial markets. By tweaking global benchmarks used to set foreign exchange and interest rates for a staggering number of transactions a day, the banks — over several years — bilked billions of dollars of extra profits by altering rates in their favor. Critics complained that the Justice Department had failed to prosecute any additional individuals. Wall Street watchdog group Better Markets called it a “slap on the wrist,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an e-mail: “That’s not accountability for Wall Street. It’s business as usual, and it stinks.” Barclays, along with JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Citigroup, will plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. currency and euros, authorities said. JPMorgan Chase said it had agreed to plead guilty to a single antitrust violation and pay a fine of $550 million. Under the resolution with the Fed, the firm will pay a fine of $342 million. The bank said it had previously set aside reserves for these settlements.
Note: When it comes to international banking, it appears that almost everything is rigged. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry.
More than 1,400 suspects, including politicians and celebrities, have been investigated by police probing historical child sex abuse allegations. The figures were revealed by Operation Hydrant, set up by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC). It explores ... child sex abuse by "prominent public persons". Of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead and 261 are classified as people of public prominence, with 135 coming from TV, film or radio. The figures are taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They relate to reports of abuse, or investigations of abuse, which police forces were dealing with in the summer of 2014. Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead on child protection, said the referrals were increasing "on an almost daily basis". He also said police were projected to receive about 116,000 reports of historical child sex abuse by the end of 2015 - an increase of 71% from 2012. He added: "There is no doubt [Jimmy] Savile has had an effect on us. We are dealing with more and more allegations." Ex-DJ Jimmy Savile was revealed after his death to be one of the UK's most prolific sexual predators. Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's programme to tackle sexual abuse, described the figures as "astonishing" and said they showed abuse "permeates all parts of society". He added: "What we're beginning to see is a much more realistic picture now of the scale of the problem."
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis. Greg Boyce, the chief executive of Peabody, a US-based multinational with mining interests around the world, included a slide on Ebola and energy in a presentation to a coal industry conference in September last year. The slide suggested that more energy would have spurred the distribution of a hypothetical Ebola vaccine. Public health experts who were involved in fighting the spread of Ebola were outraged at Peabody’s suggestion that expanding energy access with coal generation could have hindered the spread of Ebola and helped with the distribution of a vaccine – especially as there is no approved vaccine against the disease. Skip Burkle, a senior fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative ... said Peabody’s claims were “absolutely ludicrous”. He went on: “The coal industry is going down but there are other answers to this and it is not to dump it in Africa. It is just an insult to the population.” The Ebola claims surfaced amid growing pressure on Peabody Energy from the downturn in coal and a global anti-apartheid style fossil fuel divestment campaign.
The Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge ... had an unusual distinction: David Polos, an official with the Drug Enforcement Administration in New York City, and Glen Glover, a civilian D.E.A. employee, each had ownership interests and actively participated in its management. That secret connection was revealed when the two men were charged with lying during national security background checks about their ownership interests and their work in the strip club. Mr. Polos, 51, had been with the agency for more than 20 years. He helped supervise the New York Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Strike Force, a multiagency group that targets large narcotics traffickers. Polos ... resigned from the agency last month. Glen Glover, 45, of Lyndhurst, N.J., also a longtime agency employee, worked as a telecommunications specialist. Each man was charged with one count of making false statements. The men had claimed that they had no employment outside the agency, when in fact they had ownership interests in the lounge, and actively managed it while working for the D.E.A.. The two men had worked regular shifts running the club, hiring and firing dancers, bouncers and other employees, arranging for advertising and using a video surveillance system to remotely monitor activities inside the club by smartphone or computer. Mr. Polos used his status as a law enforcement officer to facilitate the club’s operations. At times, he told people in the club that he was working for the F.B.I.
Note: Award-winning journalists have presented powerful evidence of direct DEA and CIA involvement in and support of drug running and drug cartels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (Ł3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF ... says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. The biggest single source of air pollution is coal-fired power stations and China, with its large population and heavy reliance on coal power, provides $2.3tn of the annual subsidies. The next biggest fossil fuel subsidies are in the US ($700bn), Russia ($335bn), India ($277bn) and Japan ($157bn), with the European Union collectively allowing $330bn in subsidies to fossil fuels. Subsidy reforms are beginning in dozens of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco and Thailand. In India, subsidies for diesel ended in October 2014. Coal use has also begun to fall in China for the first time this century. Shelagh Whitley, a subsidies expert at the Overseas Development Institute, said: “Our research shows that many of the energy subsidies highlighted by the IMF go toward finding new reserves of oil, gas and coal, which we know must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change.”
Note: The additional cost of suppressing new energy technologies does not appear to have been included in these IMF estimates.
1971: A group of ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. What they discovered shocked them. Long before Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance, these activist-burglars exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans. For forty years the burglars kept their identities secret, but in Johanna Hamilton’s new film 1971, these previously anonymous Americans publicly tell their story for the first time. Hamilton took the time to talk to us about how she approached telling this story: "To me, every aspect of the story was compelling. A group of ordinary people who put everything on the line to protect freedom of speech and hold their government accountable. They were total outsiders who trained themselves for one night of amateur burglary in order to break into an FBI office — on a hunch! They manage to evade capture. The revelations from the break-in helped lead to the Church Committee hearings in Congress, which ended up establishing the first ever set of guidelines governing the FBI’s investigative powers. The Citizens’ Commission risked everything because they suspected the government was conducting illegal surveillance. And they were right. We are in the midst of the same discussion today. Post 9/11 we lost many of the checks and balances that the government normally operates under. Governments should not spy on law-abiding citizens — whether it’s Hoover’s FBI or today’s NSA."
Kay Eva was travelling through rural Cambodia ... with a group handing out supplies to those in need when they approached a devastatingly poor family. They were there to deliver powdered milk for the family’s new baby. But the baby was missing. It had been sold the day before for $20 – a desperate act to raise money to feed the rest of the family. The news hit Kay like a punch to the stomach. Horrified, this mother of three knew she had to act. Fast forward 11 years and Kay has launched a thriving charity, Stitches of Hope, which operates a sewing centre to train women and help them find work, a children’s home for under-privileged kids, a community centre and a school. “It wasn’t even about helping with basics like education and health,” Kay says. “Basically, [getting some income] meant they didn’t have to sell their children into sex trafficking, or [to be] cleaners for the wealthy. It enabled women to obtain the skills to get a job. The Stitches of Hope Sewing Centre [is] a permanent institution that teaches women to sew, accommodates and feeds them, pays them a wage to fulfill factory orders, and encourages them to set up their own sewing businesses. In 2008, Stitches of Hope launched a children’s home which today houses 24 children cared for by live-in Cambodian couples. Those entrenched in poverty are too busy surviving the day to ponder how to escape its cruel clutches. With this in mind ... Stitches of Hope launched a community centre and school which now teaches more than 80 children.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of pursuing a strategy that would lead to potentially catastrophic climate change after an internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C, twice the level considered safe for the planet. A paper used for guiding future business planning at the Anglo-Dutch multinational assumes that carbon dioxide emissions will fail to limit temperature increases to 2C, the internationally agreed threshold to prevent widespread flooding, famine and desertification. Instead, the New Lens Scenarios document refers to a forecast by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) that points to a temperature rise of up to 4C in the short term, rising later to 6C. Louise Rouse, an investor relations specialist and consultant to Greenpeace, said the New Lens document undermined Shell’s claim that ongoing oil and gas exploration helps raise living standards in the developing world by supplying the energy for rapidly expanding economies. “There is an incoherence at best between oil companies on the one hand positioning themselves as being on the side of the world’s developing countries and while on the other actively pursuing strategies which will entail catastrophic climate change which we already know is having a significant impact on the global south,” she said. Shell’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen in 2014 and are set to increase further as it expands the business through a planned Ł47bn takeover of rival BG.
President Obama chose Nike headquarters ... to deliver a defense last week of his proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. It was an odd choice of venue. While Nike still makes some shoe components in the United States, it hasn’t assembled shoes here since 1984. Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production workers were laid off. Most of Nike’s products are made by 990,000 workers in low-wage countries whose abysmal working conditions have made Nike a symbol of global sweatshop labor. America has a huge and growing problem of inequality. Most Americans are earning no more than the typical American earned 30 years ago, adjusted for inflation — even though the U.S. economy is almost twice as big. Since then, almost all the economic gains have gone to the top. The so-called economic recovery that began in 2009 has ... had no effect on the wages of most Americans. Jobs are coming back, but wages are still stuck in the mud. Here’s where Nike comes in. Congressional Republicans — and the president — want a giant trade deal that protects corporate investors but will lead to even more offshoring of lower-skilled American jobs. We know that when Americans displaced from manufacturing jobs join the glut of Americans competing for personal service jobs ... their wages decline. It’s not Nike’s fault. Nike is simply playing by the rules. But the rules are tilted against the interests of most American workers.
Note: The above article further clarifies why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a pending disaster. The article was written by former US Secretary of Labor and current professor of public policy at UC Berkeley Robert Reich, who also released a two minute video to educate the public about the dangers of the TPP. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Grant David Gillham, former legislative staffer ... knows how to work the system. Three major manufacturers of fire retardants went to the right person in 2007 when they enlisted him to help defeat legislation that would ban two classes of retardants believed to cause cancer. Their instructions to him: Don’t worry about the science. Run a political campaign. Oh, and by the way, he was not to reveal his association with the industry. Now Gillham is speaking out in a big way, and his story ... illustrates the extent to which the legislative process can be manipulated. The chemical industry’s main trade group, the American Chemistry Council, denied any connection with Gillham after a 2012 Chicago Tribune series exposed that the advocacy group he created, Citizens for Fire Safety, was not as it claimed, “a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders,” [but] was funded by three manufacturers who controlled 40 percent of the global market for the targeted chemicals. The strategy worked in California — Leno’s bill to ban chlorinated and brominated fire retardants died on the Senate floor on Aug. 26, 2008 — and Citizens for Fire Safety went on to help defeat similar bills in other states. The manufacturers’ claims of the lifesaving benefits of fire retardants have been contradicted by scientific studies that suggests their flame-resisting properties are minimal, and are more than offset by their negative effect in making fires more toxic.
Edward Snowden is in exile in Moscow. He's still hard at work. Whatever he's working on, the former NSA contractor who exposed controversial US surveillance practices, says it's much tougher than his last gig. "The fact is I was getting paid an extraordinary amount of money for very little work with very little in the way of qualifications. That's changed significantly," Snowden said in an event at Stanford University on Friday, via teleconference from Moscow. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the NSA's massive collection of Americans' phone records is illegal — a victory for Snowden, who revealed the existence of the surveillance program in the documents he leaked to the press. Snowden said in the teleconference that he worked with reporters so that there could be a system of checks and balances, and noted that he did not publish a single document himself. Still, he couldn't leak his secrets anonymously to the reporters because his colleagues' livelihoods would have been at risk as well if the NSA conducted a witch-hunt, Snowden said. "Whistleblowers are elected by circumstance. Nobody self nominates to be a whistleblower because it’s so painful," Snowden said, [and] emphasized that he doesn't see himself as a hero or a traitor, but he had just reached the tipping point where he needed to do something.
There's now a new way you can report and recover from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission is unveiling a new website to keep your identity safe. It tells victims what steps to take in the moments after identity theft happens. You can see detailed advice and checklists at www.identitytheft.gov. The site also helps you check to see if you've been a victim of identity theft without knowing it. Federal officials said they created the site after receiving more than 300,000 complaints from id theft victims in 2014. A Spanish version of the site is also available at RobodeIdentidad.gov. The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources. In addition, the site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft. The site also has advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint reported to the FTC for the past 15 years, and in 2014, the Commission received more than 330,000 complaints from consumers who were victims of identity theft.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The city council of Berkeley, California, voted Tuesday night to pass a cellphone "right to know" law requiring health warnings with the purchase of a cellphone. When it goes into effect this summer it will be first safety ordinance of its kind in the country. Cellphone retailers will be required to include a city-prepared notice along with the purchase of a cellphone, informing consumers of the minimum separation distance a cellphone should be held from the body. The Federal Communication Commission recommends keeping your phone 5 to 25 millimeters away, depending on the model, to limit radio frequency (RF) exposure to safe levels. "If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF [radio frequency] radiation," the Berkeley safety notice reads. "This potential risk is greater for children." Lawmakers in at least six states have also considered warnings to address cellphone radiation concerns. The Berkeley proposal seeks to address concerns that even as cellphones become ubiquitous in our lives, many people remain unaware of basic safety recommendations. An April 30th survey funded by the California Brain Tumor Association (CABTA) found that 70 percent of Berkeley adults did not know about the FCC's minimum separation distance.
Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that mobile phone radiation is more dangerous for children than adults, and has been petitioning the FCC to modify safety regulations accordingly. For more, read concise summaries of revealing news articles on this and other important health topics.
We learned recently from Paris that the Western world is deeply and passionately committed to free expression and ready to march and fight against attempts to suppress it. That’s a really good thing, since there are all sorts of severe suppression efforts underway in the West — perpetrated not by The Terrorists but by the Western politicians claiming to fight them. One of the most alarming examples comes, not at all surprisingly, from the U.K. government, which is currently agitating for new counterterrorism powers, “including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalize young people.” Advocating any ideas or working for any political outcomes regarded by British politicians as “extremist” will not only be a crime, but can be physically banned in advance. Prime Minister David Cameron unleashed this Orwellian decree to explain why new Thought Police powers are needed: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” It’s not enough for British subjects merely to “obey the law”; they must refrain from believing in or expressing ideas which Her Majesty’s Government dislikes. Threats to free speech can come from lots of places. But right now, the greatest threat by far in the West to ideals of free expression is coming not from radical Muslims, but from the very Western governments claiming to fight them.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war. "Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons," the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. "For this reason, many people do not want peace." He also called the weapons business an "industry of death," according to Catholic Herald. The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding. “Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes," he said. "This does us good." The pope's strong words against the weapons industry echo the pontiff's earlier anti-war statements. On December 7, 2014 Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, stating, "Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home." "Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations," he continued. "To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty."
Note: Go Pope Francis! Watch the beautiful video of this event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change. A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidies were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. “At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is absurd to provide massive taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already enormous profits,” said senator Bernie Sanders, who announced on 30 April he is running for president. Sanders, with representative Keith Ellison, recently proposed an End Polluter Welfare Act, which they say would cut $135bn of US subsidies for fossil fuel companies over the next decade. “Between 2010 and 2014, the oil, coal, gas, utility, and natural resource extraction industries spent $1.8bn on lobbying,” according to Sanders and Ellison. Globally in 2013, the most recent figures available, the coal, oil and gas industries benefited from subsidies of $550bn, four times those given to renewable energy. In 2009, President Barack Obama called on the G20 to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies but since then US federal subsidies have risen by 45%. Every single well, pipeline, refinery, coal and gas plant in the country is heavily subsidised.
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.