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Excerpts of Key Media Articles from Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of key media articles from the major media that suggest major cover-ups. Links are provided to the full articles on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These media articles are listed in reverse date order. For the same list by order of importance, click here. For the list by date posted, click here. For a list with headlines and links only to key media articles, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.



Note: For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Billionaires Worth $3.7 Trillion [in] 2013
2014-01-02, Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/billionaires-worth-3-7-trillion-surg...

The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp., was the year’s biggest gainer. The 58-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, rose 40 percent. Gates recaptured the title of world’s richest person on May 16 from Mexican investor Carlos Slim. Slim lost $1.4 billion during 2013. His America Movil SAB, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, dropped 12 percent in the first three months of the year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to quash the billionaire’s market dominance. Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino company, was the second-biggest gainer in 2013, adding $14.4 billion to his net worth as the company’s shares rose 71 percent.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Even After Volcker, Banks Aren't Safe Enough
2013-12-30, Time Magazine
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2160950,00.html

Despite the hoopla over the approval of the Volcker rule, which restricts banks from making certain types of speculative investments, our financial system isn't much safer than it was before 2008. A major reason for the continued complexity and risk in the financial system is lobbying power. The Volcker rule as it stands now has been turned into Swiss cheese by bank lobbyists, who represent the second biggest corporate special-interest bloc after the health care complex, spending nearly half a billion dollars a year on lobbying, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. So while the rule limits federally insured banks from trading for its own sake, they are still allowed to hedge their portfolios, which opens up a lot of gray territory for trading. Certainly having more lenders rather than fewer would help other kinds of businesses, and having trading walled off from lending would encourage that. The fact that the five largest U.S. financial holding companies control 55% of industry assets--compared with 20% in 1990--keeps competition low and credit constrained. In the next two to five years, there will likely be another crisis or trading loss of the kind that reignites the debate over closing trading loopholes and creating a truly safer financial system. Right now, banks complain about rules that would require them to hold a mere 5% of their assets in high-quality, low-risk capital (known as Tier 1 capital), despite the fact that in any other industry, doing business with less than 50% of your own cash would be considered extreme.

Note: For more on government collusion with the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




2013: Fewest Police Deaths by Firearms Since 1887
2013-12-30, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/2013-fewest-police-deaths-firearms-1887-21...

The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the 19th century, according to a [new] report. The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959. According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012. Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms. The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887. The report credits an increased culture of safety among law-enforcement agencies, including increased use of bulletproof vests, that followed a spike in law-enforcement deaths in 2011. Since 2011, officer fatalities across all categories have decreased by 34 percent, and firearms deaths have dropped by 54 percent. Fourteen officers died from heart attacks that occurred while performing their duties.

Note: Violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, which is one of the least reported good news stories. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




France approves Francois Hollande's 75% 'millionaires tax'
2013-12-30, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/france-approves-francois-holl...

France's constitutional council has given President Francois Hollande the green light to introduce a 75 per cent tax rate taking aim at the super rich. Under the new plan, which the French council found constitutional, companies will have to pay 50 per cent tax on all salaries exceeding one million euros, or the equivalent of approximately £833, 000. Including social contributions, the rate will effectively stand at 75 per cent, although the total amount will be capped at 5 per cent of a company's turnover. The levy is set to affect income earned this year and in 2014. The 'millionaire tax' could affect more than 450 companies and several football clubs, and could raise more than 200 million euros on an annual basis. The super tax, a flagship pledge in Hollande's political manifesto, has infuriated business leaders, high earners and celebrities. President Hollande, who once admitted that he dislikes the rich and has been accused of taking an anti-business stance, has fired back at critics insisting that high earners should do more to boost the country's public finances. But the super tax has sparked fears of a mass exodus of businesses, bankers and celebrities. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would "roll out the red carpet" and "welcome more French businesses to Britain" if Hollande raised taxes on the wealthy.

Note: A New York Times article shows that the tax rate for those earning over $8 million per year in the U.S. dropped from 41% in 1995 to 31.5% in 2005. For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on
2013-12-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/29/drones-us-military

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand. What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: "The feed is so pixelated, what if it's a shovel, and not a weapon?" I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if ... we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle. I know the feeling you experience when you see someone die. Horrifying barely covers it. When you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering. UAV troops are victim to not only the haunting memories of this work that they carry with them, but also the guilt of always being a little unsure of how accurate their confirmations of weapons or identification of hostile individuals were. The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.

Note: For more on war crimes committed by the US and UK in the illegal "global war on terror", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Agent: FBI key in border agent Terry slaying
2013-12-26, Arizona Republic (AZ's leading newspaper)
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20131226fast-furious-agent-terry-killi...

A federal agent who exposed the Justice Department’s flawed gun-trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious says the FBI played a key role in events leading to the 2010 murder near Nogales, Ariz., of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. John Dodson, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, contends that the bandits who killed Terry were working for FBI operatives and were sent to the border to do a drug rip-off using intelligence from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. “I don’t think the (FBI) assets were part of the rip-off crew,” Dodson said. “I think they were directing the rip crew.” Dodson’s comments to The Arizona Republic amplify assertions he made in his recently released book, The Unarmed Truth, about his role as a whistle-blower in the Fast and Furious debacle. In his book, Dodson uses cautious language to characterize his account of circumstances surrounding Terry’s death, saying the information is based on firsthand knowledge, personal opinion and press reports. He asserts that the DEA had information about, and may have orchestrated, a large drug shipment through Peck Canyon that December night. He alleges that DEA agents shared that intelligence with FBI counterparts, who advised criminal informants from another cartel that the load would be “theirs for the taking.” “Stealing such a shipment would increase the clout of the FBI informants in the cartel organization they had penetrated,” Dodson wrote, “and thus lead to better intel for them in the future.”

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




Alan Turing, code-breaker castrated for homosexuality, receives royal pardon
2013-12-24, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/24/world/europe/alan-turing-royal-pardon

Alan Turing, a British code-breaker during World War II who was later subjected to chemical castration for homosexual activity, has received a royal pardon nearly 60 years after he committed suicide. Turing was best known for developing the Bombe, a code-breaking machine that deciphered messages encoded by German machines. His work is considered by many to have saved thousands of lives and helped change the course of the war. "Dr. Turing deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science," British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said. "A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man." Turing's castration in 1952 -- after he was convicted of homosexual activity, which was illegal at the time -- is "a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed," Grayling said. Two years after the castration, which Turing chose to avoid a custodial sentence, he ended his life at the age of 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide. Supporters have long campaigned for Turing to receive greater recognition for his work and official acknowledgment that his punishment was wrong. An online petition in 2009 that drew tens of thousands of signatures succeeded in getting an apology from then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown for Turing's treatment by the justice system in the 1950s. Brown described the Turing sentence as "appalling." The German messages that Turing cracked at the British government's code-breaking headquarters in Bletchley Park provided the Allies with crucial information. Turing was considered a mathematical genius.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished
2013-12-23, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-mo...

Taken together, the [Edward Snowden] revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. Six months after the first revelations ... Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation. Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. Snowden ... had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a “graveyard of judgment,” he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. The NSA’s business is “information dominance,” the use of other people’s secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf.

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




Woman's Christmas Letters Reach Husband and New Family Two Years After Her Death
2013-12-22, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/US/womans-christmas-letters-reach-husband-family-years-...

A mother of four has surprised her children, husband and his new fiancée with heartbreaking Christmas letters two years after her death from ovarian cancer. Brenda Schmitz was 46 when she passed away in September 2011. As a parting gift, she entrusted a letter to a friend, who remains anonymous, to deliver when the time was right. A month before she lost her battle to the disease, Schmitz wrote the letter to KSTZ Star 102.5, which runs a Christmas wishes program each year. Listeners send in their Christmas wish letters, and the station elicits the help of sponsors to grant a select few. Brenda's wishes were finally revealed two years later when the station brought her husband, David, into the studio and read the note to him on air last week. "When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer," the letter from Brenda began. "I told [my friend] once my loving husband David had moved on in his life and had met someone to share his life with again, to mail this letter to all of you at the station." David had recently become engaged again and Brenda's first wish was a request for the station to give his "new lifelong partner," Jane, a pampering session. "She deserves it, being a stepmother to all those boys," the letter read. "Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me. "Thank you," Brenda added. "I love you, whoever you are."

Note: You simply must watch the profound video about this at this link. Incredibly moving! For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




100 Years Later, The Federal Reserve Has Failed At Everything It's Tried
2013-12-20, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhendrickson/2013/12/20/100-years-later-the-fe...

On Dec. 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve. As we note its centennial, what has the Fed accomplished during the last 100 years? The stated original purposes were to protect the soundness of the dollar and banks and also to lessen the jarring ups and downs of the business cycle. Oops. Under the Fed’s supervision, boom and bust cycles have continued. Three of them have been severe: the Great Depression, the stagflationary period of 1974-82, and the current “Great Recession.” Bank failures have occurred in alarmingly high numbers. Depending on what measurements are used, the dollar has lost between 95 and 98 percent of its purchasing power. (Amazingly, the Fed’s official position today is that inflation is not high enough, so the erosion of the dollar continues as a matter of policy.) Having failed to achieve its original goals, the Fed also has had a miserable record in accomplishing later goals. The 1970 amendments to the Federal Reserve Act stipulated that the Fed should “promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” In baseball parlance, the Fed has been “0-for-three.” So, what has the Fed accomplished during its century of existence? Well, it has become adept at bailing out mismanaged banks. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed orchestrated the big bailout of Wall Street. Politically, the Fed is repugnant. Its chairman is commonly referred to as the second most powerful person in the country. In a democratic republic, should the second most powerful policymaker be unelected?

Note: How remarkable for Forbes to publish an article chastising the Fed! The times are a changin'! For an essay by noted financial researcher Ellen Brown on this occasion, click here. For more on the collusion between government and the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Stealth Surprises in NSA Report Take on Non-NSA Spying
2013-12-20, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/stealth-surprises-nsa-report-nsa-spying/story?i...

The White House's expert NSA panel may have made headlines ... for telling President Barack Obama to knock off the collection of Americans' meta-data, but surveillance experts said they were surprised that the panel also took to task some controversial non-NSA-related spy tactics as well. One recommendation was to impose much stricter oversight on the FBI's ability to issue National Security Letters (NSLs), which have been used to obtain telephone call records and credit reports in terrorism and espionage cases. Another even more peculiar recommendation by the five national security experts ... was their advice that "governments" shouldn't hack into bank accounts and drain funds. "Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems," the unanimous Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies report warned Obama. "That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about," Kel McClanahan, executive director of government transparency group National Security Counselors, told ABC News. Michelle Richardson, the American Civil Liberties Union's legislative council in Washington, also said the findings on "NSLs" and government hacking were unexpected -- but welcomed.

Note: The fact that this expert panel would even mention governments manipulating financial accounts suggests that if it hasn't already happened, some were seriously considering this. For lots more on this strange news, click here. For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer
2013-12-20, CNBC/Reuters
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101290438

As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry. Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a "back door" in encryption products, the New York Times reported in September. Reuters later reported that RSA became the most important distributor of that formula by rolling it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products. Undisclosed until now was that RSA received $10 million in a deal that set the NSA formula as the preferred, or default, method for number generation in the BSafe software, according to two sources familiar with the contract. Although that sum might seem paltry, it represented more than a third of the revenue that the relevant division at RSA had taken in during the entire previous year. The RSA deal shows one way the NSA carried out what Snowden's documents describe as a key strategy for enhancing surveillance: the systematic erosion of security tools. NSA documents released in recent months called for using "commercial relationships" to advance that goal, but did not name any security companies as collaborators.

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




GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief
2013-12-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/gchq-targeted-aid-agencies-ger...

British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU's competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal. The papers show GCHQ [and the NSA were] targeting organisations such as the United Nations development programme, the UN's children's charity Unicef and Médecins du Monde, a French organisation that provides doctors and medical volunteers to conflict zones. The head of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) also appears in the documents, along with text messages he sent to colleagues. One GCHQ document, drafted in January 2009, makes clear that the agencies were targeting an email address listed as belonging to another important American ally – the "Israeli prime minister". Ehud Olmert was in office at the time. Three further Israeli targets appeared on GCHQ documents, including another email address understood to have been used to send messages between the then Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, and his chief of staff, Yoni Koren. The names and details are the latest revelations to come from documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. They provoked a furious reaction. The disclosures reflect the breadth of targets sought by the agencies, which goes far beyond the desire to intercept the communications of potential terrorists and criminals, or diplomats and officials from hostile countries.

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




Royal Commission hears Vatican told priest to offer a Mass every Friday for his victims
2013-12-19, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/royal-commission-hears-...

A Lismore [Australia] Catholic priest who sexually abused children was ordered by the Vatican to “live a life of prayer and penance” and offer a Mass every Friday for his victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been told. But the “overwhelming majority” of clerical sex abuse cases are not reported to Rome because the Vatican wants to know only about incidents which occurred within the past 10 years, the Commission heard. The Bishop of Lismore, Geoffrey Jarrett, did not pass on any complaints for five years, probably because a directive from the Pope to do so was filed in a drawer and forgotten, he told the Commission. In a day of astonishing revelations about the Australian Catholic church’s lackadaisical attitude to child sex abuse allegations, Bishop Jarrett admitted he did not pass on a 2002 complaint in which a woman alleged she “walked in on Father [Paul Rex] Brown in the act of sexually abusing a child in the sacristy of the cathedral” in 1959. That alleged incident preceded Father Brown’s abuse of Mrs Jennifer Ingham in the late 1970s by two decades. In 2001 [a] Holy See directive ordered bishops to refer to it every case with a “semblance of truth” involving sexual abuse of children by clerics who were still living. The revised rule that bishops should refer only allegations concerning incidents from the past 10 years came into effect in 2002 after the Holy See was “unable to deal with the vast number of referrals” from all over the world.

Note: For more on sexual abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Mysterious ingredients vanish from food labels
2013-12-18, Boston Globe/Associated Press
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/12/18/food-labels-get-closer-look-in...

Take another look at that food label. An ingredient or two may have vanished. As Americans pay closer attention to what they eat, food and beverage companies are learning that unfamiliar ingredients can invite criticism from online petitions and bloggers. The risk of damaging publicity has proven serious enough that some manufacturers have reformulated top-selling products to remove mysterious, unpronounceable components that could draw suspicion. Earlier this year, for example, PepsiCo Inc. said it would stop using brominated vegetable oil in Gatorade and find a another way to evenly distribute color in the sports drink. Last year, Starbucks said it would stop using a red dye made of crushed bugs based on comments it received “through a variety of means,” including an online petition, and switch to a tomato-based extract. Kraft Foods plans to replace artificial dyes with colors derived from natural spices in select varieties of its macaroni and cheese, a nod to the feedback it’s hearing from parents. Ali Dibadj, a Bernstein analyst who covers the packaged food and beverage industry, says the changes reflect a shift from “democratization to activism” by consumers. “It used to be that people would just decide not to buy the product. Now they’re actually agitating for change,” Dibadj said. “There’s a bullhorn — which is the Internet — so you can get a lot of people involved very quickly.” In the past, a customer complaint about an ingredient may have been addressed with a boilerplate letter from corporate headquarters. But now people can go online to share their concerns with thousands of like-minded individuals.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The most important political story you haven’t heard about
2013-12-18, Washington Post blog
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/12/18/the-most-important-...

Money is flooding into federal elections in the post-Citizens United era. And yet the agency tasked with monitoring and regulating all of that activity is close to crippled due to staff cuts and partisan bickering. That’s according to Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity, which released a massive analysis on the Federal Election Commission and its problems earlier this week. Among the problems with the agency Levinthal identified include: * The commission over the past year has reached a paralyzing all-time low in its ability to reach consensus, stalling action on dozens of rulemaking, audit and enforcement matters, some of which are years old. * Despite an explosion in political spending hastened by key Supreme Court decisions, the agency’s funding has remained flat for five years and staffing levels have fallen to a 15-year low. * Analysts charged with scouring disclosure reports to ensure candidates and political committees are complying with laws have a nearly quarter-million-page backlog. This is the rule-making and rule-enforcing entity for all federal money in politics. We live in an age in which public financing of presidential elections is a thing of the past — 2012 is the first election since Watergate where neither major party nominee accepted public funds for the general election – and, thanks to super PACs, wealthy individuals have more power than ever. The price tag for the 2012 election topped $6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. As Levinthal puts it: “As the nation heads into what will undoubtedly be the most expensive midterm election in history and a 2016 presidential election that, in no small way, has already begun, the FEC is rotting from the inside out.”

Note: For more on deep problems in the US electoral system, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Senate Asks C.I.A. to Share Its Report on Interrogations
2013-12-18, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/us/politics/senators-ask-to-see-internal-ci...

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the C.I.A. for an internal study done by the agency that lawmakers believe is broadly critical of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program but was withheld from congressional oversight committees. The committee’s request comes in the midst of a yearlong battle with the C.I.A. over the release of the panel’s own exhaustive report about the program, one of the most controversial policies of the post-Sept. 11 era. The Senate report, totaling more than 6,000 pages, was completed last December but has yet to be declassified. According to people who have read the study, it is unsparing in its criticism of the now-defunct interrogation program and presents a chronicle of C.I.A. officials’ repeatedly misleading the White House, Congress and the public about the value of brutal methods that, in the end, produced little valuable intelligence. Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, disclosed the existence of the internal C.I.A. report during an Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday. He said he believed it was begun several years ago and “is consistent with the Intelligence’s Committee’s report” although it “conflicts with the official C.I.A. response to the committee’s report.” “If this is true,” Mr. Udall said ... “this raises fundamental questions about why a review the C.I.A. conducted internally years ago — and never provided to the committee — is so different from the C.I.A.’s formal response to the committee study.”

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




NSA’s indiscriminate spying ‘collapsing,’ Snowden says in open letter
2013-12-17, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nsas-indiscriminate-spying-collapsing-sno...

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wrote in a lengthy “open letter to the people of Brazil” that he has been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of documents and that the NSA’s culture of indiscriminate global espionage “is collapsing.” In the letter, Snowden commended the Brazilian government for its strong stand against U.S. spying. He wrote that he would be willing to help the South American nation investigate NSA spying on its soil but could not fully participate in doing so without being granted political asylum, because the U.S. “government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.” The documents revealed that Brazil is the top NSA target in Latin America, in spying that has included the monitoring of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s cellphone and hacking into the internal network of the state-run oil company Petrobras. In his letter, Snowden dismissed U.S. explanations to the Brazilian government and others that the bulk metadata gathered on billions of e-mails and calls was more “data collection” than surveillance. “There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying ... and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever,” he wrote. “These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.” Brazilian senators have asked for Snowden’s help during hearings about the NSA’s targeting of Brazil, an important transit hub for transatlantic fiber-optic cables that are hacked.

Note: To read Snowden's full, inspiring letter, click here.




Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
2013-12-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/business/glaxo-says-it-will-stop-paying-doc...

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said ..., effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest. The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales. For decades, pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors to speak on their behalf at conferences and other meetings of medical professionals, on the assumption that the doctors are most likely to value the advice of trusted peers. But the practice has also been criticized by those who question whether it unduly influences the information doctors give each other and can lead them to prescribe drugs inappropriately to patients. Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.” It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries.

Note: For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




What's wifi doing to us? Experiment finds that shrubs die when placed next to wireless routers
2013-12-16, Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2524598/Experiment-finds-plant...

A group of schoolgirls claims to have made a scientific breakthrough that shows wifi signals could damage your health – by experimenting with cress. The 15-year-olds set out to test whether mobile phone signals could be harmful. They say the result could affect millions of people around the world. An experiment in Denmark claims to show that Wi-Fi signals are powerful enough to kill cress seeds after just 12 days of exposure. Pupil Lea Nielsen said: ‘We all thought we experienced concentration problems in school if we slept with our mobile phones at the bedside, and sometimes we also found it difficult sleeping.’ However, because they were not able to monitor their brain activity at their school in Denmark, they chose to monitor plants near wireless routers, which emit similar radio waves to mobile phones. When the girls grew trays of garden cress next to wifi routers, they found that most of the seedlings died. In the experiment, they placed six trays in a room without any equipment and another six trays in a room next to two routers. Over 12 days many of the seedlings in the wifi room turned brown and died, whereas those in the others room thrived. Kim Horsevad, the students’ biology teacher at Hjallerup School, said: ‘This has sparked quite a lively debate in Denmark regarding the potential adverse health effects from mobile phones and wifi equipment.’ The results will bolster the findings of researchers in Holland, who found that trees exposed to wireless radio signals suffered from damaged bark and dying leaves.

Note: For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.





 

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